Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Auctioneers (Part 2)

Recording with The Auctioneers began for me in a sixteen track 
Southend studio. 'House' is the only one of the three songs we did that I enjoy now.
The other two in my opinion we're not thought out enough before and during a typical rushed recording attempt. Some nice parts but the whole lets them down.
I remember the band working on my initial idea for 'House' and being very happy with it when we pulled it into shape. Our man at EMI publishing rated it the best demo of that year 1987. At least that's what he told us!

Even after the positive response to the 'House' demo's playing live didn't seem to be working. We even had a ludicrous two week officially announced name change until someone saw the light and it was swiftly changed back. By this time London based ex Doctors Children Keyboardist Matthew Woodman had  joined as it was decided we needed to fill out the live sound. He came in via another Melody Maker ad. I remember rehearsing a lot with him in south London in the summer and not playing live too much for a while. When we did start again I thought it sounded a lot more confident and together.

The last demo's we recorded were with Matthew in Peckham south London.

 I was happier with all three tracks this time. Everyone seemed to be into it and playing and singing well. 'Watch It All Come Down' I really like. I got a very over driven guitar sound for a change via the studios Marshall amp. 'Wire' and 'Violent Kisses' I think are good songs that again could have benefited from a little more time spent on them. 'Wire' has quite bad tape hiss at the beginning that maybe I should try and remove one day.

Unfortunately behind the scenes the original band members decided that after all 
the keyboard wasn't a sound they wanted. The main complaint was that it made us sound too obvious. Too much rock n roll. Not only that but 'The Auctioneers' was a band they didn't want to do anymore either for various reasons and called it a day.
They went on to form another band soon after with a heavier 'Pixies' type sound.
Sorry guys can't remember the name!
Listening back after all this time I think stopping at that point was a mistake.
We should have carried on a while longer and built on all the hard work.

Afterwards I found out that our manager had been asked by EMI publishing for my phone number. 
They were interested in me as a potential replacement for Terry Bickers in The House Of Love. She mysteriously told them she had lost my number.
Finding it later when I got a call from her about joining her sons band! 
I could have been a contender? I'll never know.
Beware management types and their 20%. Lesson learned trust no one.

I'm still in touch with half the band. Chris Clarke is currently not involved in music I'm told. His brother Martin Clarke has never stopped making music and is one prolific musician. Now working with prog/pop project 'Those Men' amongst other things.
Martin Temperton runs a restaurant in Maldon in Essex. 
Mathew Woodman now lives in Cornwall and fronts a Paul Weller tribute. And I'm writing this and remembering.


Monday, 3 October 2011

The Auctioneers (Part 1)

The Auctioneers were a band from Southend.
In action from about 1985 - 90.
Featuring Martin Clarke - vocals & guitars, Chris Clarke - bass,
Darrall Knight - Guitars, Martin Temperton - drums.

After moving to London in late 86 I spotted an ad in Melody Maker.
Mainly due to the name and obvious REM connection plus they had management.
I was offered the vacant guitarist job after a meeting and an audition.
I thought their demo was great and still  like the songs all these years on. 

We gigged in all the right places at the time for an unsigned band.
Dingwalls, Marquee, lots of central London pubs.

A couple of memorable trips to Wales for university gigs.
Picked up a few decent reviews and a few not so good ones.
Got quite serious publishing interest from EMI for a while only for them to turn around and say the image was wrong. Music was right but...
Why we just didn't self release something I don't know. A bit of general disdain for the business side if I remember rightly. A downside of having management is that you leave it to them to do it all. Or not enough as it turned out.

Demo tracks Drainaway, Honeypot, and Mystery Girl we're all recorded in Southend and I think had Martin Temperton's brother on guitar as well.
(someone correct me if I'm wrong.)
After I joined things started to go in a slightly more rock direction.
Which with hindsight was inevitable but probably not quite right.
I still like most of the songs I recorded with them.  I was coming up with a lot of music ideas and Martin was writing lyrics to them. But we did lose the pop appeal that I find in these great Martin Clarke written tracks.

If any ones got any Auctioneers press clippings or photos could you please let me know.