Over in downtown Middlesbrough, Ronnie Burke checks out TOO MANY CROOKS.
Over in downtown Middlesbrough, Ronnie Burke checks out TOO MANY CROOKS.
One of the things I did during my brief jaunt to The Big Apple in 2001 was to walk from Times Square- where I was staying – and down Broadway to place my hand on the Brill Building. And I did. It was a hot summers day and I burnt my hand.
It’s a fantastic looking building, of course, but that wasn’t the reason for my pilgrimage.
You see, not a lot of people know this- not even Michael Caine – but once upon a time, I wanted to be a songwriter. Indeed, after the band Oceans 11 split up in the mid ‘80s, guitarist Peter Ord and I decided to write songs together. Like Bacharach and David. Goffin and King, Fagan and Becker. But, of course, nothing came of it.
In the 1960s the Brill Building, though, was a hit factory that housed some great songwriters. Including the ones that I mentioned above plus Paul Simon, Laura Nyro and more.
And Allison Anders’ wonderful Grace Of My Heart is the story of that era, that great period of musical creativity. Well, it’s a fictional amalgam of a couple of people’s stories-mainly Carole King, I think – and it’s a gem.
Music is by Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach and others and it’s a smashing story, very well told, with fine performances from Ileana Douglas, John Turturro, Matt Dillon and others.
PDB: Can you pitch the latest LINEAR OBSESSIONAL RECORDINGS release in 25 words or less?
“Tulse Hill” by Hannah Marshall is an introspective solo cello album, built around hypnotic repetition and strange extraneous noises.
PDB: What music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
I loved David Peace’s “Occupied City” – probably his most experimental yet, but so well researched and compulsive he really captures the true horror of the way crime effects ordinary people. I also really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s “Started Early, Took My Dog”, which reminded me of my Barbara Vine kick of a few years ago.
I recently watched “The White Ribbon” which is still reverberating round my bonce.
Music – Petrels, Joni Mitchell, Vic Godard, Evan Parker, Chic, Bob Dylan…
Also,can I add http://www.mobydickbigread.com/ to my stuff that I like? It’s an amazingly inventive thrilling serial…with terrific artwork and more terrific readers. What the internet is for.
Unless you’re one of those weirdos who only listen to yourself, I don’t see why not. I listen widely, even though the music I produce or distribute is generally classed as “experimental”, so I’m rarely thinking “could I do better?”
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing music for films, theatre or television?
Yes, and I have done a bit – the last was the soundtrack for Clive Shaw’s “True North” a brilliant animated film about a polar bear. On the whole it seems a hard area to get into.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?
Quite important – although I kind of resent it too! I can’t see me ever using Twitter though and I recently deleted all my blogs.
PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012?
An EP with Alex Charles, recording with Foulkestone and the Horse Trio. Concentrating on noisy solo work too. A gig with loads of others at Cafe Oto for the wonderful Mike Cooper’s 70th Birthday. New releases on Lin Ob from Kev Hopper, Alex Charles, John Love, Jude Cowan Montague, Hanetration etc. Boxing day tour with Blackheath Morris. Possibly a compilation album of my old songs – to say goodbye to them…
RICHARD SANDERSON’S BIOG:
I’m originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, but I’ve lived in London since 1985. I started off playing guitar and singing in punk and post-punk bands in Teesside. The most successful of which, Drop (1978-1979) was championed by Julian Cope who praised the band’s “sheer confidence and succinctness”. Drop have been dragged out of retirement a couple of times in the 21st Century, and may be again. In 1980 I released a 12″ EP with the band Tick Tick that has remained resolutely underground ever since.
Since arriving in London, I gravitated towards the improvised music scene, initially playing toys, samplers and electronics alongside musicians such as Adam Bohman, Mark Browne, Mike Walter, Mark Wastell, Chris Burn, and others before joining the band Ticklish with Kev Hopper, Phil Durrant and video artist Rob Flint. Other groups I was in included Kelsey Michael’s widescreen pop octet “Minnow” and a trio with Steve Beresford and Anna Homler. From the late ’90s onwards I played many gigs throughout the UK experimental scene as well as at festivals in Germany, Austria, Holland, Denmark and France. I was also active as a promoter, organising clubs such as The Club Room (with Mike Walter and John Russell), Reaction Time, The Departure Lounge and Baggage Reclaim. For nearly 10 years I was a director of the London Musicians Collective.
In the last 7 years my interests have widened to include traditional English music and dance, taking up morris dancing (with Blackheath Morris Men) and the melodeon (a diatonic button accordion). These interests are also reflected in the group Foulkestone (with Jude Cowan Montague) which performs traditional songs with modern accompaniment. As well as playing solo gigs with amplified melodeon, I play in the Horse Trio with Sue Lynch (saxophone and flute) and Hutch Demouilpied (trumpet), and in duos with Paul May (drums) Clive Pearman (guitar and banjo) and Steve Moyes (‘cello). I’m also continuing to make music with Mark Spybey and my cousin Mark Sanderson – a collaboration that has lasted 38 years.
In 2012 I started the netlabel Linear Obsessional Recordings to release music by experimental musicians from around the globe under a Creative Commons licence.
How can you resist that?
Yeah! Back in the Mid 90s when Ticklish were just starting, I used to play a big collection of toys, which I’d amplify and process. It was very John Cage and abstract.
‘In 1979, a smart, cool-looking guy called Richard Sanderson came backstage after a (Teardrop Explodes) Middlesborough show and gave me a bedroom recording of his quartet Drop. In his manner, style and quiet confidence, Richard was the Peter Hammill of Post-Punk; anguished, lean and nobly Norman. I loved every song on the tape and played it to Bill Drummond and Dave Balfe (of Zoo Records) , who rejected it outright for being too much like ‘The Teardrops and the Fall’.
So, who was the ‘Peter Hammill of Post-Punk’?
His bio says this: Richard Sanderson was born in 1960. He is originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, but has lived in London for 24 years.
After a background in punk and post-punk groups he shifted into experimental music. Playing electronics, toys and squeezebox, he has recorded and performed with many left-field musicians. He was a director of London Musicians Collective for 10 years, and ran several clubs promoting experimental and improvised music such as “The Club Room”, “Baggage Reclaim”, “Western Civilisation” and “Scaledown”.
In 2009 he left the world of paid employment in the music business, and scaled down his other activities to look after his two young children. He has been married to Ruth for 15 years.
And what of Richard’s legendary band Drop?
Richard says: ‘Drop coalesced out of my first punk band, The Silencers, and by the end of 1978, the steady line-up was-
Richard Sanderson – Vocals/Guitar Neil Jones- Keyboards Chris Oberon – Bass Andy Kiss – Drums
Listen to the music that Julian Cope raved about HERE
I’ve know Richard Sanderson for over thirty years. I first met him in a pub in Stockton when he was in DROP and I’ve been a friend and fan since then. I was even in a couple of bands with Richard- Halcyon Days and Oceans 11.
Richard has now also released an MP3 compilation of some of his songs from 1978 -2009. One of the songs is Oceans 11‘s ‘I Guess I’m Sentimental’ which was one of their better tunes. There’s also some other cracking stuff there including Drop’s French Windows which was covered by Julian Cope’s brother’s band. Click HERE for the track listing and download details at Richard’s blog BAGGAGE RECLAIM.
There’s more to The Weird & Not Very Frightening World Of Richard Sanderson than this but it’ll get you started.