Interview: Manchester stars discuss new charity compilation album ‘Distant Drums’

Manchester group Paris Angels will release the exciting new ‘Distant Drums‘ compilation album through Stereokill Records on March 4th in memory of their late drummer Simon Worrall.

The likes of The Inspiral Carpets, Supajamma, Mark Burgess (The Sun and The Moon), Proud Mary, Elixa P and many more of Simon’s friends have contributed to the tracklist, with all profits being donated to the Hectors Fund charity set up by Clint Boon in support of the baby ward at St Mary’s Hospital.

‘Distant Drums’ offers one-off tracks and special releases such as former World Of Twist man Tony Ogden‘s ‘Girls In Color‘, and Paris Angels themselves with a gem from their ‘long lost’ album. There’s also a super-cool collaboration between Intastella‘s Spen, MC Tunes and Mani on the outrageous and energetic rap/rock stomper ‘Saturday Night‘.

Simon’s passing last year brought his former bandmates together for two special reunion shows in his memory. Performing for the first time in 20 years, Paris Angels made a triumphant return to the stage supported by a long line of artists and groups who all knew and loved Simon; a big man with an equally big character, his loss was felt by many around the city of Manchester.

Live4ever contributor Carl Stanley recently talked to a selection of artists due to feature on the album. Ex-Fall drummer and Intastella’s Spencer Birtwistle, who features alongside Mani and MC Tunes on ‘Saturday Night’, explains how this unique line up and the monster rap/rock crossover came together:


Proud Mary have contributed a track to the album (Photo: Andy Crossland for Live4ever Media)

Spen: I did the backing track to ‘Saturday Night’ at home using samples and had no bass on it, and I didn’t have any idea who to give it to. At the time I was really listening to a lot of Captain Beefheart, and it dawned on me that MC Tunes had a similar voice to Beefheart and a rap on there would be ace. So I thought I would try and get in touch with him, and when I found him he said, ‘OK’. I gave him a CD, and then picked him up a week later and we went to my house in Fallowfield where I had it all set up. He did two vocal tracks that kinda over lap each other. He knew exactly what to do. It was perfect straight away, maybe two takes on each track and boom it was done.

Regarding Mani, I told him when we were out having a drink one day that I had this track and I asked him if he would do bass. He wasn’t doing much at the time – I think he was on strike from Primal Scream for some reason! So he came round one afternoon with his bass and we recorded him playing. It just fitted the tune like a glove; it brought everything together.

Would you say ‘Saturday Night’ sounds a bit like MC Tunes’ former group? I bet it would sound pretty awesome live, do you think it would ever happen?

They were more funk, I think this track is more 60s garage/punk if you know what I mean? Yeah it would sound great live but I doubt it unless it took off, maybe we could do it once. I saw MC Tunes the other week at Gulliver’s, he was DJing there and I gave him another copy of the track which he hadn’t heard for ages. When the pub closed he played it and he seemed to like it more than I think he did when we recorded it.

It’s great that Si’s memory has brought all these people together to produce a quality album, the support for ‘Distant Drums’ has been really positive, and all for the Hectors Fund charity.

I think it’s a really good thing to have happened in Simon’s memory, he would be very touched I’m sure. My mum gives lots to charities, she had breast cancer a few years ago and manged to get cured, so I am now a firm believer in good causes. I also think it’s good that Manchester has come up with the idea of an old idea – the compilation LP. I can’t remember the last time there was one since 80s/90s. It could spark off another trend, it’s great.

What other tracks are you looking forward to see on there?

One track I am excited about is ‘Girls in Colour’, by Tony Ogden. I mixed the track because, as we all know, Tony died in 2006. His mum gave me his studio as I actually have the same one – a Roland V1680. When she gave it to me she said she wanted to find out what was in it, which was 15 tracks all finished. All great tracks – some happy, some sad. ‘Girls in Colour’ just blew me away, Tony at his best. All the right noises, a good groove with him singing like he’s happy.

Another track I’m excited about is the Intastella track ‘I Believe in Changes’. It’s got Richard Harris on it which is fab. I haven’t heard all the tracks yet, but I know it’s all good Manchester roots stuff, not just the big boys! More underground for a change. Check out Laugh with ‘Time To Lose it’ – the first indie-dance record ever. ‘Fools Gold’ would never have been written had this track not come out first.

Paris Angels bass player and Simon’s former bandmate Scott Carey speaks about what it has meant to him and the group to be releasing ‘Distant Drums’ in his memory:

Scott: The LP is the brainchild of Phil Q, who is managing Paris Angels. It seems the most natural step to remember Simon would be through music. Simon was my best friend in the Angels and back then we were as thick as thieves. After Paris Angels, I lived in London for ten years so we didn’t see each other as much, but as with all great friends you just pick up where you left off when you see each other. It was devastating news when I heard he was ill, but as Simon was a giant of a guy we thought he’d pull through.

The irony is if Simon was still around the Paris Angels wouldn’t have got back together. We were offered a few times to get back to tour but I couldn’t see a reason to go back and cash isn’t a reason. A few months after Simon’s death, I got a call from Rikki saying they were doing a gig for Simon, so I really couldn’t refuse. Rehearsing again was a strange experience; weird without Si but also as if we’d stepped through a portal bridging the 20-year gap and it was the most natural thing to do.

The track ‘Sleeping With The Radio On’ comes from one of the last ever sessions we did with Simon, and as a band, recorded at Rockfield. It represents the power of music to pull you through bad times – so we felt it was the most apt for this LP. We really hope it does well and raises cash for a great charity and that Simon would’ve been both chuffed and proud. He will be sorely missed by all who called him a friend.

And lastly Manchester singer songwriter Mark Burgess talks to Carl about his track with The Sun and The Moon:

Mark: Well I knew of Paris Angels of course and had always held a lot of respect for them. So when they wrote and told me of Simon’s death and what they were planning we were happy to do it. They specifically wanted ‘Death Of Imagination’ because they told me it had been one of his favourite songs. Geffen owned the original recording and they’re a bunch of, well you know, so as we were planning to be in the studio we offered to include it in the session, re-record it and let them use it if they covered the extra day, which they did. I didn’t really know Simon but I was sad to learn of what happened and just glad that we were able to help out.

(Carl Stanley)

A four-track promo EP featuring the Clint Boon Experience, Plastic Gun Alliance, Paris Angels and Thrush Puppies is available now on BandCamp.

‘Distant Drums’ tracklist:

Paris Angels – ‘Sleeping With The Radio On’
Plastic Gun Alliance – ‘Television’
The Sun and The Moon- ‘Death Of Imagination’
Inspiral Carpets – ‘You’re So Good For Me’
MC Tunes, Mani, Spen & Bunn – ‘Saturday Night’
Weaveworld – ‘Out & Down’
Music For Aborgines – ‘ Sitting On A Biscuit’
Andy Whitaker – ‘Stars’
Intastella – ‘I Believe In Changes’
Tony Ogden – ‘Girls In Colour’
Super – ‘I Went To The Mirror’
Dub Sex – ‘Swerve’
Thrush Puppies – ‘Tart/Bint’
Bong – ‘Sometime To Sometimes’
Motion Incorporated – ‘Strawberry Sunshine’
Laugh – ‘Time To Loose It’
The Second Floor – ‘Strange Blues’
Best – ‘Better Move Over’
Happier Than Us – ‘Dreaming’
Orange Skies – ‘Strong As You’
Eliza P – ‘Hedge Witch’
Supajamma – ‘Rudi’
Clint Boon Experience – ‘Somewhere In Time’
Bubblegum – ‘Hoochy Coochy Girl’
Loopzilla – ‘True Colours (One For The Haç)’
The Cornelius Crane – ‘June Has Gone’
Rod Smith – ‘When I Was Young’
Echo Devils -‘There Ain’t No Sound In Space’
Proud Mary – ‘Give A Little Love’
Spartak – ‘ Let’s Go Get ‘Em’
Bad Man Wagon – ‘Kill ‘Em All’
The Vincent Valmara Show – ‘Murder In The Flat’
Walton Hesse – ‘Walt’s 15th Dream’
Foilface – ‘The Rolling’
Truant feat. Chris Jam – ‘Howulikeme’

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