Sunday 31 August 2014

Keeping it Peel

In 1980, I and a couple of friends formed a band and we wrote to John Peel to tell him about it. I don't really know what made us think he'd be at all interested, but, at the time, it seemed the natural thing to do. We didn't have a tape, we'd never played live, we barely had any songs - in fact we were barely a band at all. We just wrote and told him how much we enjoyed his show, that we'd formed a band and to look out for a tape....... sometime in the future! Amazingly, he wrote back. In a handwritten letter of encouragement he said that he looked forward to hearing our 'fab teen combo' and signed it 'music lovin' Johnny P'. We were all astonished that he took the time to personally write to us and the letter took pride of place on the wall in the drummer's house, where we regularly met to practice.

The band, unfortunately, didn't last. We played three local gigs, never committed anything to tape and, within a matter of months, ground to a permanent halt. It was great fun while it lasted though. Our drummer, Andrew, won custody of Peel's letter. Andrew went on to create experimental electronic music of some note, which he continues to do to this day, and yes, his music was eventually played on John Peel's show.

Our short-lived little group was massively influenced by the music Peel was playing at the time, specifically Joy Division, to the extent that we covered 'Wilderness' from 'Unknown Pleasures' in our set. Here's the original, for Andrew and Chris (the boys in the band) and, of course, for music lovin' Johnny P, who would've turned 75 this weekend.


C said...

Lovely tale. Shame you never got to make/send a tape but perhaps it wasn't meant to be? Great choice of cover though!
I'm staggered to think that it's ten years this year since he died. His influence on me as a young teenager was, as on so many others, was profound.

Old Pa's Corner said...

Great story TS...lucky guy to have the kletter....but just shows what a good gut was....never missed his was there I heard JD for first time....shame nothing on tape.

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