1987, Oxford, Old Fire Station
A propos de cette soirée et de sa première partie, on peut lire quelques informations sur le site Internet d’ « Unbelievable Truth », le groupe désormais dissolu d’Andy Yorke, le petit frère de Thom : http://www.unbelievable-truth.com/features/biog/biog1.html
Nigel Powel, le batteur d’Unbelievable Truth , et Andy Yorke y racontent les prémices de leur groupe, qui s’appelait alors « Illiterate Hands ». Le Jonny dont ils parlent est bien Jonny Greenwood, qui a l’époque semblait avoir un peu hésité sur le groupe dans lequel il voulait s’investir :
Andy Yorke (le frère de Thom) :
[quote ] Around the 5th year I expressed a vague desire to take up an instrument, and for some reason I took up the saxophone instead of going back to the guitar. Maybe because Thom seemed very keen on me becoming a saxophonist, and I didn’t have a strong opinion either way. I played one of the school’s saxophones. It was the only one they had spare, probably because everyone else refused to touch it for fear of infection. It smelled like an old wet flannel. When you played it for a while the saliva would leak out from one of the joins and onto your fingers. Still I persevered and seemed to have quite a talent for the instrument. I might have been a good improvisational soloist, if I had bothered to learn my scales.
Matt Hawkesworth (guitars) and a certain Jon Greenwood (keyboards, harmonica) had formed a band called “The Illiterate Hands” (the name was Matt’s idea) and had already written some songs together, which they asked me to sing. A very old friend of mine from primary school called Simon Newton was recruited to play bass. My memories of all this are pretty dim – all I can remember from the pre-Nigel days was rehearsing in Simon’s bedroom.[/quote]
[quote ] (…) Although those first few months in Abingdon introverted me beyond belief, it also focussed me towards my music. I travelled back to London for regular rehearsals with my brother’s band, but the first friend I made in Abingdon was also through music. The most outgoing guy in school, Alan Welby, had, for some reason, brought his drum machine into an art lesson. My curiosity overcame my shyness, so I sidled over to ask about it. I think around this time I’d got my first Portastudio (a four track cassette recorder with a very basic mixer connected), so we chatted about that for a while, and through him I met a lot of other music connected guys. Eventually, hearing through Welby (as we referred to him – it was a public school after all) that I had some recording equipment, Mark Schofield, who was managing a band called The Illiterate Hands, approached me to find out if I would record them.
Through him I met Jonny, and we formed an instant connection, discovering we used the same drum machine (the SpecDrum, a small box attached to the back of a ZX Spectrum computer – what dynamic and exciting lives we led). I also met Andy, but my earliest memories of him are how completely silent he was. Early in 1987 we convened at my parent’s house to record 8 songs onto my portastudio, although two of them were alternate versions of the same songs. (…)
Also around this time, Andy mentioned that his brother was jealous of the quality of the Illiterate Hands’ demo (? ?),and was asking who’d done it.
So after my exams that June (1987), I spent a good few weeks of the summer recording a demo for On A Friday, who by this time had included Jonny in their ranks, as a keyboard player. The next year also saw lots of gigs for everybody, with my brother’s band Nightshade playing in Oxford with On A Friday, The Illiterate Hands supporting OAF at The Old Fire Station (we were described in music magazine ’Local Support’ as « like those nauseating kids from the Casio advert », before saying that really we were quite good), and all the Abindgon school bands (bar OAF) playing at St. Helens, Abingdon’s sister school. Headlining that night was Skag and the Gynacologists, featuring Alan Welby on bass and a certain Jim Crosskey on guitar.