Before the Internet and social media in general, keeping in contact with your favourite bands was decidedly tricky. When I started to properly listen to music, there was generally speaking an address on the back of your record or CD in which you could write to the band. This generally meant having your name added to a database and every now and again you would get something through the post. Essentially it was a mailing list masquerading as a fan club but some bands used to send you brilliant things.
The Frank and Walters for instance used to send out flexi discs every so often that you would have to weigh down on your record player with a 2p coin in order to make them play properly.
Happy Busman – The Frank and Walters (1992, Go! Discs, Taken from ‘Trains, Boats and Planes”)
Other bands used their mailing list fan clubs to surprise people. Spiritualized once sent a 7 inch record to 500 people on their mailing list. It was a specially recorded version of ‘I Want You’ with a shortened version of ‘Feel So Sad’ on the B Side – I know this because my mate John got one through the post and I didn’t. Each one was individually stamped and it was a thing of absolute beauty. I did one get a much coveted green lolly from the Ludicrous Lollipops though.
Feel So Sad (7 inch version) – Spiritualized (1991, Dedicated Records)
The Manic Street Preachers used to send fan club members free tickets to their shows – they did this for every tour up until the release of ‘The Holy Bible’ although I was a member of their fan club from about a week after the original release of ‘You Love Us’ I never ever got a free ticket.
In 1994, to promote the release of their single ‘How Does It Feel to Feel?’, Ride played a gig at a tiny venue in London (the Highbury Garage, capacity 600) and made the gig only available to fan club members. Tickets were £5 each and every person who bought one got to appear in the video to the new single. You can see me (or my hair at least) flying through the air at around the 85 second mark should you be interested.
How Does It Feel to Feel? – Ride (1994, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Carnival of Light’)
That gig was the first time that I ever went to a gig on my own. I wasn’t supposed to be going on my own, but my mate John couldn’t come as his dad had grounded him after finding three bags of high quality skunk in his underwear drawer.
The second gig that I attended on my own was also a secret gig that wasn’t a fan club but one that had been announced quietly in a small advert in the Melody Maker. In October 1994 Dinosaur Jr announced a gig at again the Garage in London and tickets would only be available on the door. So I stuck a notice up in the students union to see if anyone wanted to come along and at 5pm on the day of the gig I waited in the Union for twenty minutes for all the grunge kids to turn up and no one did. So I went on me own and they were great.
All of which brings us to the final CD from the pile at the front of the cupboard because the CD directly underneath the Dodgy Greatest Hits album is ‘Bug’ by Dinosaur Jr.
No Bones – Dinosaur Jr (1988, Blast First Records)
Budge – Dinosaur Jr (1988, Blast First Records)
(oh and with the exception of yesterdays post, which was a slightly recycled post from a piece that I wrote for but never sent to the Vinyl Villain about two years ago, all of the tracks that have appeared this week are taken from one of the ten new series that will grace this blog this year. Yep TEN. And that doesn’t include next week, in which I attempt to somehow blend the art of the short story with a music blog)