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Loft - Interview Part 2

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 7 / 1 / 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.

PB : You formed in '82, but the 2 singles were not released until '84 and 85, so what were you doing before that ? Were you touring or playing gigs? AS : No, we only toured once. We just played in Alan McGee's Living Room club( which while it had various locations was above The Roebuck in Tottenham Court Road at the time-AS), which is what we were originally called. There was an ad in 'Melody Maker', inviting bands to send in demos, and so we sent one in. As we were called the Living Room, we thought that maybe they would give us a gig, but Alan was insistent that we changed our name. I am sure that everyone's got a different memory of it though. As I recall it , Bill’s sister or Bill’s sister’s friend said "That’s you going up in the world, so maybe you should call yourself ‘The Loft’”. That’s how I remember it. BP : It’s interesting because I remember the Alan thing differently, I remember a story in the NME about Alan McGee, about this young man who had come down from Glasgow to London. He already knew Bobby Gillespie. He had already discovered The Mary Chain and he was starting a club night. We were all sitting around reading NME, and we noticed his club was called the Living Room, so we wrote him a letter, posted it off, and it was like “Your club is called the Living Room and we are called the Living Room, and Alan was like “Come and play then.” That’s my memory of it. PA : My memory of it was Alan had managed to get Rough Trade involved, and the Living Room was the new Rough Trade club , so we all went down, because we had read about it and it sounded good to see the Nightingales. It was at Shuffles folk club. There were folk albums pinned to the walls and candles on the tables. It was in a room above the Conway Arms, a little room, where 300 people were trying to get in. It was a fantastic night and so we then got to know him. We gave him a demo tape that we did at the Harringay boys club, which we didn’t really like . He didn’t really like us either, but he thought he could carry favours on us as some of us wrote for music papers, so he let us play support gigs to his bands. We supported the Television Personalities first of all, and then we began to play at the Living Room quite a lot. Dick (Green, the other co-founder of Creation, and McGee’s band mate in Biff, Bang, Pow!-AS) really started to like us, and Dick said to Alan “These people are really good.” Alan kept us as first on the bill for ages and it went from there basically, and then finally he offered us a proper gig. That’s how it developed and then eventually we ended up doing ‘Why Does the Rain ?’ BP : And then he decided to launch a label off the back of the club . I remember one night, he said “I am doing a label and I want you guys to record on it.” We were really excited, but then we found out we were number 9 on the list. He said the same thing to a number of bands. PB : .But you were one of Creation’s first 10 single releases. That’s pretty important. PA : Creation was launched by Alan initially as much as anything else to plug his own band. Biff, Bang, Pow !. It was a time honoured thing, to launch your own label to launch your own band, and by accident he found other bands and it went from there. PB : The indie chart was quite important, in those days. Did the singles do really well at the time ? PA : They were all number 1. AS : I don’t think Creation printed up too many copies. PB : I think Creation used to press about 1,000 per single. AS : It was great because ‘Why Does the Rain ?’ was picked up by the then Radio 1 DJ Janice Long. She played it to death, so that’s why it took off, and that’s why we got interest outside of London. By the time we did ‘Up the Hill and Down the Slope’ people knew us. Janice did a spot on TV and she got us on that and that was fantastic coverage for us and that got us the one national tour that we did which was with Terry Hall’s then band, the Colour Field. PB : I know Peter’s got various projects on the go. Are you guys doing other music right now ? Andy, you’re a DJ now, aren’t you ? AS : Yes, I got bitten by the Northern Soul bug, and I run a monthly soul night in Walthamstow. The Loft have been also working on some new stuff. We have been working on it in the same way as we used to work on the old stuff, which has been quite interesting PA : All the things we did back in the 80’s sounds fine now. There is nothing there that any of us look back on and think ‘Christ, what did we do there ?” There were a few ropey words in the past, but there’s no like Flock of Seagulls hair. We work together very well. PB : Bill, after The Wishing Stones did you do anything ? BP : No, that was pretty much my thing. PB : That was it. BP : . We recorded an album ‘Wildwood’ in the summer of ‘88, then we split up, and then that album didn’t see release until several years later in 1991. I haven’t played a bass or an electric instrument since ‘89. PB : So how did it feel playing an instrument again ? Did it all come back ? BP : Touch wood, it’s all come back. AS : He’s brilliant, When we got back together, when we rehearsed, we could still remember the songs. The second time that we rehearsed we found we had a certain confidence and a bit of a swagger coming back. We all found that and we were pleased that it sounded okay and we could play together, and we were happy to do it. PB : How did this all come together ? PA : Andy contacted me because it had been 20 years since we had split up. It was just pure chance. AS : I didn’t know about the ‘Magpie Eyes’ album and that there was a reissue in the pipeline, but I knew it was 20 years since we split up, and I thought it would be fun to get together to have a drink and, as it turned out, Peter had been talking to Cherry Red and had spoken to Bill and Dave and it was just the time. PB : The ‘Magpie Eyes’ album is on Rev-ola. That’s part of Cherry Red. PA :. Yeah, Rev-ola is Joe Foster’s label., so it kind of fitted because Joe was involved in Creation. PB : Two Weather Prophets albums, ‘ ‘Judges, Juries and Horsemen’ and ‘Blue Skies and Freerides’ have come out on Cherry Red. Why not remaster ‘Mayflower’ because that never made it onto CD ever ? PA : Because ‘Mayflower’ belongs to Warner Brothers, and it\s a piece of shit also. It’s got a terrible cover and it’s shit. PB : I love that album. PA : It is a great disappointment to me, although it had a fantastic producer. PB : It was produced by Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Band. PA : Yeah, Lenny Kaye was fantastic. We don’t own it though.. PB : There’s talk of a new Loft album? Will that be on Rev-ola ? PA : It’s just waiting to develop naturally. It’s nice we are talking about it. We have got some new stuff, which does sound great. PB : I have never seen the Loft live. BP : . I was speaking to someone about how many times the Loft actually played. It was under 50 times, maybe 25-35 times total. Now a band could do a tour or two and do 35 shows. PB : What are your current and future plans ? AS : Tonight, and then there’s a show in Nottingham, but there’s nothing else planned after that. We’ll see how it goes. BP : The thing about future plans is we are not in the same position as we were 20 years ago where all our hopes and dreams were with this band,. Peter and Dave are still recording, but having said that it’s nice that we got back together. It’s a nice thing to have at our disposal. W decided to play some gigs to celebrate the fact that we have a record coming out. What the hell !. All of us wanted to get back on stage, as the Loft again. I was nervous about playing the bass again. That was the acid test, so we got pass that hurdle, and now we know we can put it together as and if we want to. PB : Peter, Bill and Andy, thank you for your time. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Anthony Strutt

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Loft - Interview Part 2

Loft - Interview Part 2

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Interview Part 1 (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

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