||[May. 10th, 2005|02:20 pm]
Spoon-fed a steady diet of retro rock, ironic pop and bloated egotism, the right-thinking British music fan appears to have been lead down a blind alley, wrapped in gossip mags and kicked into complacency. The london-centric industry has dealt a serious blow to bands that choose to veer away from the accepted standards of the current scene bands that may not want to dress like the homeless, regurgitate tired rocknroll cliches or give their name a convenient The‚ prefix.
One band, though, is making the transition from the underground of the New X anti-scene into the mainstream without conforming to any of the aforementioned requirements. This is happening without the tastemakers‚ permission. This is a band of action and conviction, a Gang in the real sense of the term, drawn together by the xfactor that X-Factor‚ could never conjure; a belief in music as an art form of communication and inspiration. The band is Corporation:Blend (just C:B to the hardcore), a genre-defying pinball machine of snatched influence and raging experimentation, and in the wake of the success of their recent single For All My Sins, they have plenty to tell us about their past, future and current UK tour.
Myself and Andy (keyboards) got the band together initially. We‚ve been friends for so many years. Dexy (bass) joined
and we had a few drummers. It was only when we brought Ash that everything started to make sense. Four people with the same goal, the same ideal, focusing our efforts. Corporation:Blend is a strong unit now∑?we look at what was going on with the band before Ash and think∑What the fuck were we doing?‚
Singer/Guitarist Rob sets the tone for the whole band: a forthright man of words and ideas, wrapped in a semibondage
skintight jacket, face shrouded in a frantic mop of hair. It’s a neat analogy for C:B, intelligence and thought inside glamorous wrapping Dexy makes for a smart counterpoint to the band‚s frontman abrasive, opinionated and often very funny, this is a musician who tempers his girl-pretty looks and enthusiasm with a healthy sense of disgust for fakery and
cliché; We tour because being in a band is all about learning. Everyone wants to be cool in London so there‚s no communication. We go to different cities to play and we learn things and maybe the people that see us and meet us learn something. Most bands are too fucking lazy to do that. The highlight of their career is playing Death Disco and meeting
Alan Mcgee‚ Dexy‚s strong feelings on the matter of touring turn to more measured thoughts when discussing the New X
Scene‚: It’s just happened that some likeminded people are in bands at the same time in the same area. If people want to see us because they hear that we‚re part of a scene then great. They’re coming to see us. They still pay their money and walk through the door whatever their reasons. We had a picture in the NME when they did their New X piece and it didn‚t mean anything to us. That’s more NME being irrelevant, than anything to do with the “scene” though‚
The band‚s passion for playing up and down the country sees them on another self-booked, self-promoted tour of the UK this Autumn their third jaunt this year: It’s the only way to do things‚ says Andy You go out and play, you win people over, you gain fans. How can you ever sell records without fans?‚ Their fanbase is an incredibly devoted one, drawing comparison with the likes of Manic Street Prechers and the late, great Mansun. Like those bands, C:B are honest, genuine and care about the people that care about them. I‚m all for devotion!‚ sighs Dexy. Of course devotion doesn‚t come easy, but without the helping hand of a major label‚s chequebook, C:B have earned it predominantly through the most important aspect of any band: the music. It’s genrehopping stuff, veering between the anthemic punk of prime Clash, Devopowered electro-rock, stop-start math-pop and growling wall of sound wigouts. With big choruses. Often all in the space of a song. And all of it touched with a kind of personal socialism; they know who they are and what they‚ve seen and They’re not afraid to write about it. There‚s no process to the songwriting‚ Andy explains We don‚t have a formula. We‚d lose interest if we worked like that.‚ It’s democratic‚ continues Ash We all bring something to the songs because our influences are so different.‚ It’s not a good idea to try to sound like one band in particular.‚ Adds Dexy Look at all these bands trying to be Television They’re fucked, cos Television only ever made three records. Their first was an absolute
classic. But once you‚ve stolen ideas from those albums, where do they go then?‚ So what current bands actually do float the C:B boat? Elliot Smith‚s new album. If you don‚t like it you haven‚t got a soul.‚ Declares Dexy with authority. It’s different things from week to week for me‚ continues Rob take something from everything.‚ Dexy notes Being able to play with good bands, bands we actually like is a real treat. Doing this tour and seeing Nebraska every night is great, we‚ll get to see Do Me Bad Things again later in the tour, and Martha Wainwright. And all for free!‚ So is the future DIY for C:B?
we‚re sharpening our tools‚ Rob looks deadly serious Write and rehearse, over and over. Put out another record. Tour again.‚ We have more important things to do than beg for a big deal, crawl to some label. We won‚t lose our dignity, but bands who say they don‚t want to be huge are liars. We want to be huge in the same way any footballer, when he‚s growing up wants to Captain England, not Kidderminster.‚ Dexy takes he final word. Later that evening C:B storm through an electrifying set in a packed Cambridge club. Mouths move along to every word of every song and C:B t-shirts fill the room. The sense that this band is doing something special, going where they want by whatever means necessary, and taking a lot of willing followers, is hard to deny. Dexy wants a word after they have left the stage: We‚re doing this until we physically can‚t do it anymore‚ he says. Corporation: Blend are in the process of changing the face of British music, and you‚d be a fool not to want to be a part of it. www.corporationblend.com