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Loft - Interview Part 1

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 29 / 11 / 2005

Loft - Interview Part 1


One of the first bands on Creation Records,the Loft split up on stage after recording two acclaimed singles. Recently reformed for the first time in twenty years, Anthony Strutt, in the first part of a two part interview, chats to them about their history

The Loft were one of the first bands on Creation Records. They lasted from 1982 to 1985 and split up on stage at the Hammersmith Palais in London. In their original lifetime they released just two singles, 'Why Does the Rain ?' which came out just on 7 inch vinyl in 1984, and 'Up the Hill and Down the Slope' which was released on both 7 and 12 inch vinyl in 1985. Several tracks appear on compilation LPs, but their posthumous debut album 'The Loft 1982-85', which like the singles came out on Creation, did not appear until 1989. It compiles together the singles' tracks and a Janice Long session from the days she worked at Radio 1. The Loft were Peter Astor (guitar, vocals); Andy Strickland (guitar, backing vocals) ; Bill Prince (bass, backing vocals) and Dave Morgan(drums). This year saw the twentieth anniversary of the band splitting and Rev-ola have issued a new compilation CD 'Magpie Eyes '82-'85', consisting of most of the original album and also a few live tracks. After the Loft split, Peter and Dave formed the Weather Prophets, Andy formed the Caretaker Race, while Bill formed the Wishing Stones. The group recently reformed to play three gigs in London to coincide with the compilation. In what is the first part of a two part interview, Pennyblackmusic spoke to Peter, Andy and Bill at a gig at the Spitz in London. PB : How did you guys originally meet ? PA : There's quite a story there. (To Andy) Do you want to tell it ? AS : Bill and I went to a gig in Islington where we thought that a band would be playing which featured a guy who I was at school with on the Isle of Wight. PA : It was Razzle... AS : Who was the drummer in Hanoi Rocks and who was killed after being involved in a car crash in a car that was driven by Vince Neil from Motley Crue. Anyway, he wasnt playing, but Pete's band, News of Birds, were playing, so we went to that gig to see a band who weren't even playing. We were looking for a singer and we thought Peter had something about him, so Bill talked to him after the gig and they exchanged phone numbers and it went from that. PB : When was that ? Are we talking around about 1980 to 1981 ? AS : No ,it was a bit later. It was 1982 maybe. BP : We didnt make contact straight away. There was a big gap of about 6 months. We met in '81, and then got in touch in '82 at which point News of Birds were no more. PA : You were rehearsing at that stage at a squat in Crayford Road in Tufnell Park and you didn't have a phone. I was in my last year of college and I had fucked up my first year already, so now I was trying to get a proper degree. I went along there because there was no phone and without my guitar to say that it was fantastic offer, but as it was in my last year I didn't want to do it. They were all finishing off their degrees as well and they were like "You're here now. Why don't you just play ?" and so we played for an afternoon and then we hatched this plan during our last year at college to rehearse every Sunday. BP : So that's what we did. PA : I didn't really want to do an English Literature degree anyway. BP : It made it easier. It created a certain purpose, allowing us to take time over stuff. We didnt have this mad packed scheme just to get up on stage. PB : What were your influences ? That was around the time of post-punk. It was about five years after punk had kicked off. AS : We had all been in bands. I came to London, especially to get into a band because I thought it would be a better place than the Isle of Wight. PA : We used to rehearse in Crayford Road with a band called B.U.M.S. and another band called the Ruds. I have just read 'Rip It Up and Start Again" which is very much about that time and post punk and the Gang of Four. We all loved that music but there was an element of that which was coming to a dead end. You had the likes of The Pop Group, who had ended up doing their finger-pointing Marxist rock which was all a bit boring. We all loved The Beatles and the Stones, and I remember that band that we rehearsed with, the Ruds, saying "Your songs are great. They are love songs" and I went "Are they ?" At that moment it was quite radical to say something nice. We wanted to do something that added something to that, which was a bit rich and had a bit of depth. It didnt have to be Marxist, Lenninist, or hairshirt misery. We were trying to do something that had a bit of pop to it. We all liked pop. BP : In a way it was like making something up on the spot. It was like is that what a band can do and where can we take it. Could we be political ? Could we reinvent the wheel ? I was personally thrilled at being in a band. I was like the 16 year old that saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I thought it was brilliant being in a band with four people coming together to produce one thing. PB : What was the original idea behind the sound ? I played the original album last night, and it sounds very much like the Velvet Underground, very primitive and raw, and a bit like Television as well. AS : That's it basically. We listened to 'Marquee Moon' a lot and I don't think you could of gone to a student party at the time without hearing the Velvet Underground. We were into things like the Go Betweens and Orange Juice as well. BP : We were also trying not to play in any sort of genre. C,F and G might have been country and western chords. We were going to use C,F and G but we were trying to look at using them in an interesting way. The second and final part of this interview will follow in our next edition. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Anthony Strutt

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Loft - Interview Part 1

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Interview Part 2 (2006)
Loft - Interview Part 2
In the second part of his interview with early 80's Creation signing the Loft, Anthony Strutt talks to the group about their two classic singles 'Why Does the Rain ?' and 'Up the Hill and Down the Slope' and recent reformation after 20 years apart.

favourite album

Ghost Trains and Country Lanes: Studio, Stage and Sessions 1984-2005 (2021)
Loft - Ghost Trains and Country Lanes: Studio, Stage and Sessions 1984-2005
In our 'Re:View' section Tommy Gunnarsson reflects on a new double CD retrospective by influential early indie act The Loft.

digital downloads


Model Village / Rickety Frame (2006)
Limited edition excellent new single from early Creation signing the Loft, their first in over two decades
Magpie Eyes 1982-1985 (2005)

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