WTF000 - Bedroom.
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human situation.
- Graham Greene
Sin writes histories, goodness is silent.
I'm guessing we've met, you look familiar. Just in case we haven't, I'd better give you a brief grounding in what happened before the start.
My brother and I first met at a gig in Wrexham. Seeing as we were both studying there, this shouldn't seem too odd – in many ways it was bound to happen. I was reluctantly doing a degree in Shouting (specialising in Punctuation and Pretension) whilst my brother was mostly mastering in Dark Arts.
I remember one session where, mixing OCD and mechanics, my brother struck a note on his guitar (I can't remember which one now), fed this note through an infinite delay and then proceeded to dismantle the guitar with the note still playing. He won the coveted ‘If It Turns Out You're Taking The Piss Then There'll Be Trouble' award for that year – previously winners including an entire year's worth of students for sellotaping strawberries to a ceiling.
NEWI, as it then was, lay on either side of Wrexham in two halves. (A bit like that cow Damien Hirst took a chainsaw to – this'll be important later.) Plas Coch was the posh part, nearer to the motorway and bus and train stations. Cartrefle was the bit that might vanish into the ground at any moment due to being built on top of a network of unmapped mine-tunnels running through the area like cheese-worms. Guess which one we were playing in.
The Watershed was a long black bungalow of a pub. The band played in front of a fire exit while staring down a roomful of pissed-up students who were sat at oak picnic tables arranged like a confrontational wedding reception or Viking funeral. My brother was playing acoustic cover versions from the Simon and Garfunkel songbook in the style of Slayer , which was a refreshing thing on to hear on a band night in the last century. As is often the case, a shared recognition of a valued thing brought us together. The French's band were named Salacious Crumb.
And from that moment he was doomed.
Continuing the acoustic theme amongst others (I hope you're still awake because there's a test), I was performing general throat-wrangling for an act comprised of funky bass, ad-libbed drums and a 12-string. It was called NIW , and was an odd, desperate continuation of my first band, Nightmares In Wax . Yes, Nightmares On Wax had been kicking around for a bit, but I didn't know that at the time, being more into films than music. I dragged some songs with me from the old band and one of them, ‘Strawdog', got an airing this night. I was very, very rude to the audience – Morrisey may have been mentioned. This delighted the French.
And from that moment I was doomed.
We bumped into each other at random points. Sometimes a hole would open up in the ground and a crowd would form to see whose car insurance had just sky-rocketed and there he was. Sometimes I'd be narrating at strangers and he'd try and make me crack up from offstage. And once, I turned up at his house freshly short back and sided and wearing a Road Runner t-shirt. He didn't recognise me at first. After a bit of nervous shuffling we decided to try and blag ourselves a career in music. After a cup of tea.
My brother invited me in.
And from that moment you were doomed.
01 - Needleteeth.
The first song we wrote.
02 - River.
The second song we wrote. We'll talk more about ‘River' later.
03 - Sepulchre.
This and the next one started life in a different band in a different life. Ambitious ending though – sequenced collapse.
04 - Strawdog.
This song was one of three that started life in a church hall sat next to an allotment in the town that Broadchurch was filmed in. I'd already mentioned ‘Sepulchre', yeah? These were already starting to feel quite dark although it's patently obvious we were making it up on the spot.
These tracks were recorded using headphones for monitoring because if you made a sound you'd wake the landlady and her seven hungry sisters or something. You'll notice that the vocals at this point are trying very hard to be all dramatic whilst hiding behind a newspaper in case someone notices. Well, that's why. The landlady's seven hungry sisters.
As an aside, I like the way this one starts with a toilet flushing and ends by foreshadowing the next WTF .
05 - Floorshow.
Proving that it's possible to make something great even better by making it faster. And faster. Originally by famous non-goths The Sisters of Mercy .
06 - Yesterday, when I was mad.
Like a strange curse, the lyrics to this got more and more pertinent as time went on. In the band documentary that doesn't exist in this parallel, this would play over a montage of lots of driving interspersed with drunken nonsense. Originally by famous goths Pet Shop Boys .
07 – Too drunk to fuck.
With mandolin. The landlady must've been out when we recorded this one. Originally by famous goths Dead Kennedys .