Ever since last years inspired return of Paris Angels when the MCR group reunited and performed for the first time in 21 years in tribute to their late friend and drummer Simon Worrall, we at Louder Than War have been keenly following the bands reunion – so it gives us much pleasure to announce the release of a very special and unique compilation produced in the drummers memory.
The album will be released on the 4th of March on Stereokill Records & will be called ‘Distant Drums’. It continue’s the tribute to their former drummer but this time round with the help of some of Simon’s musical friends and fellow band members as well as some of Manchester’s other finest groups & artists including Mark Burgess, Proud Mary and Stone Roses Mani. Whats more, Distant Drums is all for charity with album profits going to the ‘Hectors Fund’ charity established by one of Simon’s closest friends, Clint Boon.
Very much like the city of Manchester itself the albums track-list is an exciting blend of sounds and styles- from punk, dance and rap to indie, acoustic and straight up Rock’n’Roll its 40 tracks cuts right into the heart and soul of the cities iconic music scene from the last 25+plus years. From unearthing the un-heard and un-released to rediscovering underground gems and indie favourites, Distant Drums is a ‘real’ compilation- one that goes from melodic pop to dark indie tones, and from the acoustic / piano swirls of Andy Whitaker’s ‘Stars’ to the euphoric sound of Manchester’s club scene with Motion Incorporated’s pulsating ‘Strawberry Sunshine’.
Some real treats come in the way of unheard / un-released tracks from artists like former World of Twists Tony Ogden with the excellent ‘Girls in Colour which is one for the collectors, as too is Supajamma’s contribution to Distant Drums with a special acoustic version of the soulful ‘Rudi’. A track which was Simon Worrall’s personal fave from cool Manc-reggae-rockers catches ex Audioweb front man Martin Sugar Merchant in fine voice indeed. Another un-released gem comes direct from Paris Angels themselves with the albums opening song and finest tune ‘Sleeping With The Radio On’, which brings it all back to the same sound and energy that fueled their biggest hit with the now-classic ‘Perfume’. ‘Sleeping With The Radio On’ features Simon himself on drums and is taken from the groups ‘Long Lost’ album, which is understood to be on its way along with new material which the band have recently been working on.
Other picks feature Laugh with the indie / dance underground ‘Time to Loose’, Proud Mary with ‘Give a little Love’, Echo Devils ‘There ain’t no sound in Space’, the gentle ‘Television’ by Plastic Gun Alliance and the pop punk of Thrush Puppies explosive ‘Tart- Bint’, Thrush Puppies Lauren Hyde recalls fond memories of The Paris Angels drummer…
Lauren Hyde- “Big Si set up my first ever drum kit for me, I didn’t have any cymbals though so he made me a set of cardboard ones, scrawled ‘Crash” and ‘Splash” on them & got me started with a few beats. A couple of years later after a Thrush Puppies gig Si remarked that I really should have stuck to the cardboard cymbals!”
“The track is one of our earliest and noisiest offerings and was featured in a 1994 Peel Session which had to be halted whilst the BBC decided whether ‘Bint’ was a swear word or not.” The amount and calibre of artists who have contributed to Distant Drums is a fitting tribute to Big Si’s popularity and uniqueness and I’m honoured to be part of it.”
On top of that Distant Drums carries surely one of the coolest Manc collaborations ever with the Spen (Intastella), MCR’s most lyrical MC, MC Tunes and ‘King of Bass’ Mani for the hip / hop rocker ‘Saturday Night’. There’s a track produced by ex Fall drummer Spencer Birtwistle with Tunes let loose over the top with a set of savage bars and all pushed along by the fat funky bass of Mani, making his only musical performance outside of the Roses revival of his old friend. A real loud and nasty party number, enough to get any Saturday Night started, as well as end any friendship you had with the neighbour’s. Nicky Lockett aka ‘MC Tunes’ gives Louder Than War a brief and enlightening run down of how he, Spen and Mani teamed up to record ‘Saturday Night’.
MC Tunes- “Well from what I remember …me an our Mani had been DJ’ing in Sweden or B Barcelona when Mani mentioned he had been working with Spen and wanted me to drop a lyric on a track they’d put together. So after we had spent a couple of days banging around the euro-zone and partaking in a few of the various herbalistic free bees that were being thrown at us I decided to write down a few ideas on the plane home. I remember having to use the easy jet sick bag as paper because there was fuck all to right on at that time, quite fitting for the style of raw rhymes that we ended up with. so as soon as we landed in Manchester and after a few cheeky beers we bopped over to Spen’s house and dropped the rap on the track, short, sweet and a little ruff round the edges (a bit like my self} took no more than 20mins)..proper rock an roll.
That’s all I heard about it until you got in touch about the album Phil and the Angels are putting together. Being friends with Spen / Mani and as one of my best mates is Paul Wagstaff (Wags) when I was asked if the track ‘Saturday Night’ could be included on the album i said “FUCK YEAH!!”.and that’s about the long an short of it.”
Bringing so many groups and artists together to compile a fantastic track-list Louder Than War talk to the albums key creator and Paris Angels manager Phil James about how it feels to release the album. As one of Simon Worrall’s best friends he takes us through the events and ideas behind Distant Drums.
Congratulations on the album Phil, fantastic line up and some great tracks on there…but how did Distant Drums initially come about?
Phil- Thank you Carl. Originally we were going to put out a four track EP to sell at the Simon Worrall Memorial Evening with all proceeds going to Hectors fund. Due to timescales this wasn’t possible. I decided it would be more fitting to take our time and release a really great tribute album to Simon. After a conversation I had with Rikki, who is the lead singer of Paris Angels and who’s family has gone through similar circumstances as Clint Boon had with his daughter Luna, I phoned Clint and told him the whole story. Clint was very supportive of the project and really happy that the money will go to his son’s fund.To start the process of compiling the album, I began by contacting Simon’s close friends and music associates. One of them being Ste Wilson (Simon’s best friend) who works at Canalside studios, Stalybridge, Manchester. (Ste and his partner Dawn Acton have been tremendously helpful to us throughout all of this). Ste introduced me to his business partner Simon Collier of his record label, Stereokill Recordings. After negotiations, we all decided it would be great to release the album on this label. Once this was sorted, we had a good team together: Paris Angels label manager ~ Simon Collier; Ste Wilson ~ Studio Engineer; Alison Bell ~ PR; plus me at the controls.
The first track I went for was Simon’s favourite song, Death of Imagination by Sun and the Moon, I learnt this from a conversation at Simon’s wake with Andy Whitaker and Andy Clegg from the band, The Sun & The Moon.
I had already emailed all members of The Sun & The Moon asking if it would be possible to use their track, Death Of Imagination for a future project. They all agreed it was an appropriate idea & re-recorded especially for Simon. The result is a stunning, trippy psychedelic track. So compiling the album became a long task of chasing bands down and asking permission to use their tracks. Fortunately, all the bands were only too happy to help and everyone of them has been amazing with their time. The end product is sounding rather special and I’m hopeful that we’ll raise a lot of money for St Mary’s Hospital.
You’re not only the groups manager but you were also one of Simon’s best friends weren’t you, Distant Drums is an album you and others have worked tirelessly since Si’s funeral, putting on shows and doing fundraising to put the album together and now you’re releasing it too eh?
Phil- “We were great friends, graduating from the legendary Birch in Guide Bridge to the Hacienda. Happy times for us all. Simon was always a larger than life character. I remember Simon once bought my Chameleons ~ In Shreds promo off me for £14, he used to buy a lot off me back then for Record Fairs. I purchased it 10p from Sifters In Stockport. I told Si that but he didn’t seem concerned at the time. Now I felt I was getting my own back, or did he know something I didn’t! We all joined various bands, like you do when you’re young. Paris Angels, they took off & got signed. Their career had many highlights! Few people may realise that their debut album hit 28 on the national chart in 1991. The single Perfume is still played on enlightened radio stations today.”
“It was with terrible sadness that we heard of Simon’s death in 2011. Such a wonderful man who always enjoyed life, to be taken so early. I was personally devastated. Then came more news Simon’s siblings couldn’t afford a burial. His friends & fans clubbed together to help with the expenses.”
“On the day of the wake the baskets at the door were over flowing and the attendance was incredible. This just proves what a popular fun loving guy Simon was.
To thank his friends we arranged a celebration evening of his life at Gullivers. Huge success, packed all night with people having a great time. A big thanks goes to Leroy Richardson for giving us the premises. Without his generosity, the next chapter might not have happened.
I heard through Rikki Turner and Scott Carey, Simon’s family couldn’t raise the finances for the headstone for Si. On St Patricks Day 2012 all the old band met back up and decided we would perform a charity gig for the headstone. Jay Taylor offered us Ruby Lounge for free. Ste Wilson who owns Canalside studios, very kindly gave us free rehearsal time. The gig sold out in two days, even before posters went up. Photographer Ian Tilton donated a print of Paris Angels to auction and Man City Football Legend Paul Lakegave us a signed City shirt to auction too. It was a huge success, even a bit of a reunion for all. We’ve all been close friends for a long time. If one needs help, it’s a proud feeling to know there’s always someone there. Not many people can say that.”
The Distant Drums track list is a fantastic mix of sounds from a wide range of groups and artists from around MCR, Including yourself with Motion Incorporated, which tunes on the album stand out to you?
Phil- “To me all artists involved are equal in their own measure. There’s a real eclectic selection. Each track has its own personal connection to Simon and its a great way to pay tribute by doing something that he loved the most. Take Paris Angels track~ Sleeping with the Radio On. That was written in memory of much missed friend Paul “Simi” Simpson and tells the tale of how music can pull you through the dark times. Motion Incorporated ~ Strawberry Sunshine, that was co-written by our dear departed pal Paul Burns. True Colours~ Loopzilla which is sung by the sadly missed Barrington Stewart, who was also a brilliant backing singer for Paris Angels. Si’s old musical mate Tony Odgen, he sings on the breathtaking Bubblegum ~ Hoochy Chooky Girl and Girls in Colour. Supajamma re-recorded that version of Rudi for Simon, one of his favourite songs by them.
Also ‘Together’s’ track with Storming Heaven (Sasha’s 1991 Broken Table Remix). This was written by Suddi Raval in memory of his very close friends Jonathon Donaghy and his girlfriend Emma who were tragically killed in an accident in Ibiza shortly after Hardcore Uproar was released. As well as Big Si, this album is in memory of all these departed friends also.
Simon plays on ‘Sleeping with the Radio on’, will we see anymore of the Paris Angels ‘long lost’ album material released?
Phil- “Paris Angels will be releasing their (long-lost) second album, Eclipse, in 2013 which is being edited and mastered. Release date is April / May with tracks including “Sleeping With The Radio On” written for Paul “Simi” Simpson & Shake.
As well as the album itself and the artists on there a lot of people from around the city have contributed in some way to Si’s tribute in one way or another, it must be so rewarding to know that so many people have come out in support of the album and Simon’s tribute?
Phil- “Yes Carl it warms my heart to know that people care, especially people like Phil Beckett (Simon’s stand in drummer), Oz Cooper, Leroy Richardson and all Gulliver’s staff, Jay Taylor and all Ruby Lounge Staff, Ian Tilton, Paul Lake, Ste Wilson, Simon Collier, Alison Bell, Scott Carey for the phenomenal design work on the album, Simone Braithwaite, Nick Davies & all crew, Tony Didcyz, Zeke Lownds, Angela Doyle, Mark Timperely, Tom Smith, Elspeth Mary Moore, Simon Mound, Tin Tin, Jason Boardman, Scott Simms, Nicky Lockett, John Robb, Carl Stanley and Guy Lovelady, Chris Bridget all artists that have contributed their material for the album.
Simon’s headstone is currently being made and we would just like to thank you all again for helping us take the debt off the family – not forgetting Simon’s close friends that helped raise money for the funeral and headstone. Also anyone I forgot you know who you are.
Whats makes this album special is its only available in one full album download, like albums use to be. Only difference is its online. One unique anthology inspired by a close friend and lovely man who we all miss fondly x
Also, Paris Angels guitarist Wags pays tribute with a comment only he could make, about his good friend and former band mate?
Wags- “Repeats of TV programmes…I stumbled on a vintage Tommy Cooper show that made me weep, the jokes were crap….but….and this is the sucker, the timing was beautiful, I never laughed as much as I did then.
Both Si and Tommy god bless em…were giants in stature and charm. I could go on…but the sheer amount of contributions on Distant Drums, and it does speak volumes….says it all, I love him just as much now, maybe more…I’ll say no more but love to Si and his folks and family.”
Clint Boon– “I have only nice, warm memories of Simon. From record fairs in the mid 80s where we’d enthuse over rare vinyl treasures, to gigs at the Boardwalk through the late 80s where we’d enthuse about the new breed of bands passing through. To his days as the drummer in one of Manchester’s truly seminal bands. Paris Angels. Simon was nothing short of… well… a beautiful human being.When I heard about the band reforming in order to celebrate his life and raise some funds towards a headstone, as a fan and a friend, I was keen to get involved..When I heard that the band wanted to give any extra money (after buying Simon’s headstone) to a fund set up by my little boy Hector, in memory of my baby girl Luna Bliss, I was completely overwhelmed. Not only one of our City’s greatest bands, but a band who’ve experienced such tragic loss of their own (as well as losing Simon, singer Rikki lost his sister Mandy to cancer many years ago, and more recently, Rikki lost his grandson, Mason in similar circumstances to Luna’s). Learning that they wanted to contribute to Luna’s fund was such a nice thing.The track I’ve given to the album (Somewhere in Time) is very special to me and, I think, perfect for Simon. And for Luna. I recorded it around 96/97. The Inspirals had split a couple of years earlier. Things weren’t going great for me. I spent a lot of time driving to London and back. Trying to get a record deal. Trying to get back on track. One night, driving home up the M1 after a pretty miserable and non productive trip, I saw the sunset in my rear view mirror. The sky was scarred with vapour trails from planes and the general breathtaking stuff that happens in those spectacular dusk minutes. For whatever reason, it made me think about passing over to whatever comes next.
That’s where the song started. It’s me talking about death and the afterlife. “We’ll live again”. None of us know in exactly what state that might be, but we do carry on. The impact which the short lives of people like Simon, Mandy, Mason and Luna Bliss, make on those around them is often immeasurable.
And we will meet again.
Somewhere in time.
Clint Boon 2013 xxx”
Track-listing for ‘Distant Drums’:
Paris Angels ~ Sleeping With The Radio On
Plastic Gun Alliance ~ Television
MC Tunes,Mani,Spen & Bunn – Saturday Night
There is also 4 Track Promo EP available on BandCamp
Plastic Gun Alliance ~ Television
Paris Angels ~ Sleeping With The Radio On
Thrush Puppies ~ Tart/Bin