In Praise of the Band TShirt – #4

Wonderment – Thousand Yard Stare (1991, Stifled Aardvark Records, Taken from ‘Weatherwatching EP’)

My Thousand Yard Stare TShirt was not like the one in the picture.  My one was long sleeved and it had the words ‘Thousand Yard Who?’ emblazoned on the front.  Which is rather apt because Thousand Yard Stare were yet another one of those bands that promised so much, had (some of) the records to match but the public failed to keep their end of the bargain and refuse point blank to take them to their hearts.

Take ‘Wonderment’ from the ‘Weatherwatching EP’, it’s a tremendous five minutes or so or indie pop excellence.  It has a terrifically chunky riff that flies through it from the start and then after a minute or so is joined by the half sung half preached vocals which talk about “throwing garden benches” should at the very least been enough to catapult the band into staple indie disco favourites, but no they remained in indie obscurity for a while at least.   Most of their releases deserved better especially this one.

Standoffish – Thousand Yard Stare (1991, Stifled Aardvark Records, Taken from ‘Hands On’)

The media seemed to love them as well,  Gary Crowley for instance, used to host an indie show on GLR on a Sunday lunchtime (which I have mentioned before) and he used to play them all the time.  A few months later Crowley was appointed editor in chief of a new indie style magazine called ‘Rage’ which for about six months threatened to be quite a good read, until he did a ‘Sex’ issue in which indie bands talked about sex and where they bought their pants.  The band on the cover….Thousand Yard Stare….one of whom was stark bollock naked….’Rage’ went bust the very next week.

Buttermouth – Thousand Yard Stare (1991, Stifled Aardvark Records, Taken from ‘Hands On’)

I loved my Thousand Yard Stare TShirt, it was I think the first long sleeved band TShirt I ever owned, having bought it at a James show where they were the support band (might have been at the cavernous Brixton Academy).  I used to wear it to school when I was in the Lower Sixth much to the annoyance of the teachers who wanted its sixth form pupils to look ‘Business Like’ – well the boys at least, the girls it seemed to wear what they like.  One girl who shall remain nameless (to protect them from ridicule) used to wear a Ministry TShirt once a week.

Stigmata – Ministry (1988, Sire Records)

Anyway, I used to argue petulantly that rock music was my business and as I had pretty much made up my mind that even at 16 and a half that I wanted to be a music journalist, I was, when you think about it, wearing clothes that were in keeping with ‘that business’. 

Based on that argument my teachers somehow manage to land me a weeks work experience at the local ‘Medway News’ in their Reviews Department but my 200 word review of Mint 400 at the Bull & Gate failed to be published, I can’t think why.  If you ask me the pensioners of Hempstead Valley were exactly Mint 400’s target audience.

She Hangs Beautiful – Mint 400 (1992, Incoherent Records)


  1. Martin says:

    Have always enjoyed a bit of TYS. I have their “How Soon is Slough?” t-shirt, partly because it’s funny and partly because it has John Betjeman on the front, drinking a cup of tea.


  2. JC says:

    This is a wonderful reminder that even as far back as 30 years ago, when I was a mere slip of an ageing lad, I was unable to keep up with everything that was happening in music. I can’t recall a thing about TYS, nor indeed the other bands mentioned above.

    Must be an age thing…..everything about the music when you’re 16 years old is never forgotten which is why I’m your go-to guy for questions about 1979. Once you get out of student days and have to devote time to earn money and not just pursue leisure, it gets more difficult to stay on top of things.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s