The north west of England in the late '80's was the hotbed of UK music, and as ever the British press thought world domination was on its way. Sadly, the two leading lights, those bands who actually had the talent and charisma to possibly make it were beset with problems, the Stone Roses who finally managed to release a second album, and their Liverpool contemporaries with a '60's fixation The La's.
Having tried to record the album around four times, and with as many different producers, they eventually released their self titled debut. Lee Mavers, the frontman and talisman of the band swiftly disowned the album as it didn't meet his crackly, cheap microphone recorded, dust in the sliders of the mixing desk standards.
John Leckie, the guy behind Radioheads knobs, was one of the many to try and capture the sound they were after, but ultimately got fired too.
"When I started working with them, it was Lee, John Power and a Salsa-type drummer called Terry, but then Lee decided he’d play drums himself. He could do a brilliant Keith Moon impersonation, arms flailing everywhere, but it sounded awful.
Lee was also inclined to talk in a kind of Scouse psychobabble. He’d spend half an hour describing the way he’d want the guitar to sound, things like wanting to capture the sound of the tree it was made From. Or he’d decide he didn’t like a particular cable because it was yellow. John Power was a bit like that too, but when he did it, there was an element of humour. Lee seemed serious.
We worked like this through a bunch of songs, then finally he says, I’ve got this other one, which turned out to be There She Goes, and it was brilliant.
In the studio, they would drink beer and smoke dope, but I never saw any evidence of hard drugs, or even of harder spirits. If Lee was doing heroin, which people have said he was, it didn’t seem to affect his ability to work.
The most frustrating thing was, at the end of each session, when everything was switched off, Lee and John would pick up guitars in the kitchen and sing together and it was utterly fabulous. In the end I was sacked because, apparently, I was no good."