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Bodines - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 6 / 6 / 2014

Bodines - Interview


Anthony Strutt speaks to Mike Ryan, the guitarist with Derbyshire-based indie pop band and original C86 act the Bodines, about his group's history

The Bodines were an indie pop band from Glossop in Derbyshire and lasted from 1985-1990. They signed to Creation Records, and released three of the best 7 inches during the C86 period,'God Bless', Therese' and 'Heard It All'. Aferwards they signed to Magnet Records, an offshoot of Arista Records, releasing only one album 'Played' in 1987. The Bodines' first line-up, which consisted Mike Ryan (vocals, guitar), Paul Brutherton (guitar) and John Rowland (drums), split up in late 1987 after the album didn't take off. They, however, reformed in 1989 with a new line-up which included Ryan, Brotherton, and new bassist Ian Watson and drummer Spencer Birtwistle. They released one final single, 'Decide', on the Manchester label Play Hard before splitting up again. Several years later Mike Ryan reappeared with a new band Medalark Eleven which in contrast to the Bodines' jangling sound had a Gothic sound. They released one album, 'Shaped Up, Shipped Out', in 1994. 'Played' was remastered and released on Cherry Red in 2010. With his former group included on the original 'C86' tape with their single 'Therese', and also on its new three CD box set, Pennyblackmusic spoke to Mike Ryan about the Bodines. PB: The Bodines were on the original 'C86' tape with ‘Therese’, which was also a fine single. How did you feel about being on the album? MR: We thought it was funny at the time. We knew other bands were giving demo tracks and B-sides to the tape, but we had just finished 'Therese' and thought it would be a good way of getting the single a bit more notice. PB: You are originally from Derbyshire. Was there a healthy musical community in your part of the country? MR: Glossop is a twenty five minute train ride or fifteen mile drive from Manchester so, yes, it was a fairly healthy musical scene. PB: You were an early signing to Creation Records which then was a do-it-yourself style label. Is that why you joined them -because it had more of a street credibility? MR: We joined because it was the first label to offer. We'd heard the Mary Chain stuff, but the label was not any big deal then. We really wanted to be on Factory or Zoo, but Factory was in a jazz phase and Zoo had gone. Our demo made its way to Alan McGee and Dick Green (Creation Records co-founders -Ed) via a fanzine Tim had sent it to and Creation got in touch. We had a look and knew how we wanted to sound. When we met up with Creation, they wanted us to say we were thirteen years old and wear leather trousers. PB: The three Creation singles did very well but then you joined Magnet. Why did you leave Creation and sign with them? Was it because they offered you a bigger advance to record the album? MR: Creation were looking to go major themselves, and were taking the Weather Prophets, Primal Scream and initially us to a new label called Elevation. But things had gone a bit sour between us and them, and we went with the label that offered us more money to record and promote. Frankly the Elevation deal was a bit shit. PB: Did you enjoy working with Ian Broudie who produced 'Played'? MR: He was really inspirational. When we did a pre-studio rehearsal for 'Heard It All' with him, he restructured a dirge into one of the best things that we ever did in about ten minutes. He was our hero. He'd produced the Bunnymen and the Wild Swans, and he's the only producer who we would have allowed the kind of input he had. PB: Did you enjoy making ‘Played’? MR: Very much. We recorded at Amazon in Liverpool with Ian and had a brilliant time. Shack were doing their first album and various Liverpool luminaries were in and out. Unfortunately Magnet got a bit involved and the mix turned out really flat. We remixed at Air on Tottenham Court Road and lived in the Columbia Hotel, money in our pockets, aged twenty one, best friends making our first record and liking what we were hearing. Yes, we enjoyed making 'Played' but ended up broke and touring Germany on a pound a day to pay our income tax, which was a pretty good too. . PB: And why wasn't there a follow-up album? MR: Magnet got sold to Warner Bros and the label was purged of...well, us actually. PB: Why did the band split up when it did? MR: I think some members felt the whole signing back on thing beneath them and moved onto adult life. PB: Was it because of major label pressures? MR: The opposite, the lack of a major label. PB: The band reformed in 1989 with a new line-up for a new label, Manchester's Play Hard, but didn’t meet with its original success, Why do you think it didn't work second time around? MR: Frankly the label folded after they released one single which did well given there was no promotion. We had a good time. The new line-up had a different sound and a decent following, but 1989 in Manchester was a bit strange. Everyone and their barber had massive record deals and we were haemoraging members. Terrible timing, really! PB: You appeared back on Creation for the wonderful Medalark Eleven album. Was this a happier time? MR: No. There was bad management and I had to do too much. I'd been used to kicking back, writing and playing, and now I was in meetings all the time. PB: Are any of the band still involved with bands today? MR: John plays with a revamped line up of the Rainkings which he formed after he left, Paul still plays and I think he may be doing some demoing with Tim who is a singer-songwriter. PB: Thank you.

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