Quick Fire John Peel Related Questions To Dandelion Radio DJ’sAs well as doing a more formal interview with the team behind Danndelion Radio I also shot them a few Peel related questions as it’s #keepingitpeel day. They masterfully managed to answer them all despite the obvious difficulty of picking one answer from the many possible to each question. This goes out with special apologies to Marcelle for asking for “favourites”. In hindsight I should have maybe asked for “the first that came to mind” or something similar, something that didn’t suggest inferiority / superiority anyway!

Needless to say we’d love to hear some of your answers to these questions – this is what the comment section’s for after all! And don’t forget the content of this page is best enjoyed if you open a separate browser window, got to this url & press one of the “Play” buttons.

What was your favourite band / artist discovered from listening to Peel

Joy Division (Rocker)
So many, but the one that leaps to mind is Maher Shalal Hash Baz (Gareth)
There’s a few but Pavement probably tops the list (Jeff)
Many but decided to go down the weird and wonderful route – Viv Stanshall (Paul W)
Delta 5 (‘Mind Your Own Business’)! (Marcelle)
Off the top of my head, Squarepusher… (Pete J)
From a list of hundreds, I’ll go for Culture. (Mark W)

What was your favourite Peel session.

The Orb first (Rocker)
The Grandmaster Gareth one, 15minutes of pure nonsense (Gareth)
Wedding Present 1988 – A girl i was seeing, at the time, went mad at me because I wouldn’t get out of the car until ‘Take Me (I’m Your’s) had finished playing on the radio – (Jeff)
Love this story Jeff! I had a similar experience when he played the Pulp session with the first recorded version of “Common People” (Rocker)
Cheating again … Loudon Wainwright III – with sessions from early 70s up to 2003 including one at Peel Acres (Paul W
Impossible question, but ones which were very influential on my life were The Slits both early sessions (Marcelle)
The Carcass one with ‘Reek of Putrefaction’, probably.(Pete J)
First Yeah Yeah Noh session (Mark W)

Your favourite Track he ever played.

The Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” (Rocker)
Jeez, no idea, but one track that stands out from the recent re-uploading of his shows was U Good to Go by Vybz Kartel (Gareth)
Husker Du – Eight Miles High (Jeff)
Native Hipsters – There Goes Concorde Again (Paul W)
Impossible question again, why does art / music have to be listed, with favourites and so? Ok, Delta 5’s ‘Mind Your Own Business’ again (Marcelle)
Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod. Fell instantly in love and played it over and over for years. (Pete J)
Cocteau Twins – The Spangle Maker (Mark W)

Peel notorious for his occasional faux pas’s, have you a favourite?

Not exactly a faux pas, but while reading the chart rundown on TOTP he once said “Eric Clapton Unplugged… (wistful pause) …If only…” (Rocker)
Again not a faux pas but I Remember when he cried after playing Amsterdam’s Does this train stop on Merseyside during the 2003 F50 – incredibly touching (Jeff)
A personal one … he was reading out from a letter of mine on a BFBS show – I leapt out of chair to hit the record button but he had lost the letter (and my name) by the time the track ended so moment of “fame” missed. (Paul)
I loved it once when he played a record at 33 then wasn’t sure it was the right speed so played it again at 45 – some time in the late eighties. Can’t remember the name of the track. (Mark W)

Are there any artists in particular who’ve appeared since Peel died who you think he’d have loved.

Hundreds! The Chasms; Chips For The Poor; Manhattan Love Suicides; Monster Island; The new line up of The Nightingales; Paul Rooney (who did “ Lucy Over Lancashire”). (Rocker)
Soom T and the whole Jahtari lot would have probably got a lot of airplay, more recently: Devilman, Dead Fader, Sensational, way too many to name – hopefully he’d like D.E.A.D. as well (Gareth)
yeah ditto! I’m sure he’d love the majority of acts played on DR (Jeff)
Another vote for The Chasms. They played their first live gig at a DR CD launch. Almost guaranteed to make other members of the family complain when I play them at home! (Paul W). (Now that’s always a sign of a great band! (Rocker)
German electronic music labels like Pan, Raster-Noton. Reissues on Mississippi Records. (Marcelle)
Yes to The Chasms, also Lord Numb, I think (Pete J)
Agree with a lot of those previously mentioned. I like to think he’d also have been into The Sinatra Test and Vert:x too. (Mark W)

Are there any other shows / stations around at the moment who you’d consider to be #keepingitpeel? (Apart from yourselves obviously).

Not really – It’s the commitment to discovering obscure new music that really made Peel different – closest things outside Dandelion are Marc Riley; Rob Da Bank; and of course Tom Ravenscroft. Also Marcelle’s Another Nice Mess show on DFM radio Amsterdam. (Rocker)
Not really no, The Freakier Zone is full of oddities, but as Rocker says, the Peel show was unique in the pure eclecticism of the music he played. That is not matched outside of Dandelion. So saying that, there are hundreds of great specialist shows and stations around the web so in a way, you could argue the advent of the web and services like Mixcloud is #keepingitpeel (Gareth)
I agree with the above comments certainly there are a few Radio Stations that have quite an eclectic range with shows that feature particular genres but I think DR is unique because each show tries to be as mixed as possible (a la Peel) – (jeff)
My own weekly live show, which i have been doing for more than 25 years, but keeping it Peel means for me trying out new, contemporary sounds, rather than (still) playing bands and styles Peel played 20 years ago and who have become utterly boring (Wedding Present, most indie- and guitarstuff) (Marcelle)
Sorry, really wish there were but no. I’ve tried loads of them and found nothing that comes close to what my Dandelion colleagues are doing – particularly Mark Cunliffe, whose show I find the most consistently exciting and fresh thing around today. (Mark W)

When did you first listen to Peel & can you remember what your thoughts were then.

1976. He was playing the first punk things, but also still a lot of hard rock, folk etc – Aged 16 I was blown away by hearing so much music I’d never heard before, and in so many genres. (Rocker)
I was a late bloomer – must have been around 2001 when I was still struggling to overcome the stains of Britpop on my young skin. Peel helped… immensely (Gareth)
1977, on badly received BBC on the medium wave, and in 1979 I found his weekly show on BFBS which I could receive perfectly in my hometown Maastricht. I was totally excited; it changed my life. In retrospect, I already bought a single with Peel’s sleevenotes on it in 1975, Status Quo – Roll over lay down, but then I had never heard of the man or knew who he was. (Marcelle)
Summer 1981 during a family holiday in Wales. It rained the whole time and I accidentally tuned into his show, not only saved my holiday but made me listen to music in a whole new light (jeff)
Mid-70s for me – just before he started playing punk. I used to fall asleep with the radio under the pillow … until punk started – then I tried to stay awake until the end of the show (Paul W)
Mid 1980s – I remember hearing The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘You Trip Me Up’ and thinking ‘where has this been all my life?’ (Pete J)
1978. I was 13 and got tipped off at school that this was the best place to hear punk. Then was totally surprised and had my mind ripped open by someone confronting me with reggae and things like Lightnin Hopkins. Totally not what I’d expected. Mind-opening and changed my whole way of looking at life, not just music. My first Peel-fuelled obsessions were The Ruts and Flying Lizards. (Mark W)

Name one thing you learnt from Peel that’s affected how you listen to music now.

Keep an open mind and judge every track on its merits, ignoring hype, the artist’s prior output or ability as musicians. (Rocker)
If it’s interesting, it’s worth playing, regardless of your own musical prejudice. (Gareth)
Listening every week to piles of new vinyl i have never heard of. (Marcelle)
The childlike excitement that, today, you might hear the best piece of music ever recorded and that the whole thing repeats again tomorrow. (Jeff)
Be ready to try something new. (Paul W)
Don’t dismiss anything, look to the future, learn from the past. (Pete J.)
Challenge yourself as well as your listeners. (Mark W)

Name one thing you learnt from Peel that you carry into your dj’ing now.

Never play 2 similar tracks together (Rocker)
Men with monotone voices can still be on radio (Gareth)
Try to be adventurous in your thinking, ignore (most) promos and stay ahead of the audience, which is almost by definition conservative and wants to hear the same sounds again and again. I make my living as a live dj in clubs and in that respect (live dj) Peel was only spectacular in his choice of records, not of his (absent) mixing, in that aspect he was boring. (Marcelle)
Keep the talking to a minimum and play as much music as possible. (Jeff)
Wherever possible, play as different a track as you can after the previous one – no-one, especially the DJ, should get too comfortable. (Pete J)
Don’t take yourself too seriously and just be honest about what you like – including stuff you suspect no one else might share your passion for. (Mark W)

Most unusual genre you discovered through listening to Peel.

I think the Hindi Abba Covers by Salma & Sabina were a particular niche – they evidently spoke little English and had learned the songs phonetically, which lead to some interesting mispronunciations. (Rocker)
Nothing particularly unusual per se, but when I’d been listening to boys with guitars for years, hearing Breakbeat for the first time destroyed my mind (for the better). (Gareth)
World Music – I’ll never forget the sheer elation hearing the music of the Bhundu Boys & Four Brothers in the early/mid ‘80’s (?)
I don’t really like classing “World Music” as a genre because there is so much within it – however, it does make it easier to find the material when searching in a Western music shop. However, overall music from Africa and Eastern Europe changed what I sought out to listen to and watch live. (Paul)
I agree with Paul’s answer (Marcelle)
Not unusual, but loved hearing hip-hop in the 80s and early 90s, remember recording Peel playing Public Enemy’s ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ and confirming, unlike almost everyone I knew, that I was right about this. (Pete J)
I don’t like labels, but I recall The Orb changing my whole approach to what electronic music could offer. (Mark W)

What’s your Favourite Fall track.

50 Year Old Man (Rocker)
Depends on my mood, but for the sake of an answer I’ll say The NWRA (The North Will Rise Again). (Gareth)
hmmmm changes often! At the moment ‘what about us’ as it’s my six year old son’and mine favourite singalong track (last week is was ‘I can hear the grass grow’) – (Jeff)
Totally Wired. (Paul)
Another impossible ‘’favourite’’ question, one I still play in clubs every now and then is ‘Big New Prinz’, which goes down well with young (continental) audiences who sometimes have never heard of both The Fall and Peel (true!), and also think it’s a new record!(Marcelle).
As above, impossible, changes several times a day. Just now, I’ll go for ‘Chicago, Now!’ (Pete J)
Bremen Nacht – closely followed by Prole Art Threat. May interchange depending on my mood. (Mark W)

Have you a favourite Peel aphorism

Someone tried to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, LIFE has surface noise.” (Rocker)
“When Chris Moyles came to Radio 1, I thought about strapping explosives to myself and taking us both out. I’m an old man now, it’ll make little difference.” (Gareth)
“It is music that MUST be played!!” (jeff)
Not really an aphorism, but a frequently used phrase and one that is important for us to say as well “Thanks for listening” (Paul)
The one about the CD being created by the same social structure that invented vaginal deodorant (Pete J)
As a United fan, I loved his ‘A merry Christmas to everyone with the usual exception of Norman Whiteside’ after we’d beaten his beloved Liverpool. Not really an aphorism, I suppose so what about ‘interesting structure, if structure’s the right word.’ I also loved his ‘Blow it out of your ass, needle-dick’ which was later sampled by The Cuban Boys. I recall the original context of the remark and it was perfect. (Mark W)

Thanks to all the DJ’s who contributed to answering the above questions & especial thanks to Rocker for his help in setting this up.

For more info & to stream the station head on over here. The station can be found at various online homes such as Facebook, Twitter & Last.fm. Oh, and Myspace too I guess.

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All words Guy Manchester. More words by Guy can be read here. He tweets as @guid0man & uses Tumblr.

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Guy is a former full time member of the Louder Than War editorial team, who's since moved on to pastures new. Music's been a large part of his life since he first stumbled across Peel on his tranny as a fifteen year old. His whole approach to music was learnt from Peel in fact, which includes having as inclusive a taste in music as possible. Guy devotes most of his time looking for new music & although he's been known to say "the only good music is new music" he pretty much accepts this is bollocks. Favourite band The Minutemen.


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