Saturday, 16 March 2013

"Why I fucking love Gary Crowley"

A couple of weeks ago I bought one of those cassette tape to mp3 converters.  In our loft I've got quite a few mixtapes, albums by bands who aren't on Spotify and songs that I wrote and recorded in my bedroom (on a crappy little tape recorder, not on an 8 track or anything) on guitar (3 chord, Status Quo specials) when I was a teenager. 

When I saw you could buy one of these converters for £15 I thought why not, the nostalgia value will be worth 10 times that.  And I was right, it's brilliant and works a treat, however, I've been using it merely as a Walkman rather than a converter since I bought it.

You see, on one of the tapes I found in the loft was an old Gary Crowley GLR radio show from 1996 and I've been hooked on it ever since!

Gary Crowley, along with John Peel, has been one of the most influential DJs in my life.  Ever since the early 90s it was Gary's TV programme 'The Beat' where I discovered a lot of my new music.  I still remember seeing Radiohead perform 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' live on the show and they soon became my favourite band.  My mates and I played the footage of The Jesus Lizard playing 'Mistletoe' in the studio over and over after we'd videoed it (I think it used to be on about 2am in the morning!) because it was just so bloody funny! They were great times for music.

Around that time 'The Beat', 'Snub TV' on BBC2 and the 'ITV Chart Show', along with John Peel's radio show, were must watches / listens for me.  And with 3 weekly music mags at that time (NME, Melody Maker and Sounds), us Indie Kids really were spoilt for choice.  Even Top of the Pops featured really good bands in the early 90s.

Gary also championed shoegazing when it first arrived and a series of gigs at The Marquee as part of the 'Band Explosion' heroed the genre.  I was lucky enough to see the Chapterhouse, Slowdive and Moose gig and the week after it was all televised on 'The Beat' (I'm sure I saw myself queueing up at the venue on telly, can't be 100% certain it was me but it sounds good anyway).

Anyway, the tape I found brought back loads of happy memories of Gary's GLR show including the 'Demo Clash', where 3 unsigned bands were played and listeners had to ring up to vote for their favourite.  To win was seen as a huge accolade, I think Suede were probably the most famous band to feature and they didn't do badly out of it did they?

It seems I'm not the only one who loved Gary either, as soon as I mentioned his show on twitter, and especially that he'd play 'Wembley' by The Candyskins on the particular show I was listening to, fellow music lovers like @1pAlbumClub , @extreme_rice , @Snippetcuts and @woodmanstone all reminisced about him or the music he was playing.

As I was very excited by the whole thing, I decided to put the following Spotify playlist together of all the songs featured in the show here - Gary Crowley June '96 Playlist

If you're not on Spotify, the songs were :

"How does it feel to feel?" by Ride
"Forbidden City" by Electronic
"Set the controls for the heart of the pelvis" by Barry Adamson featuring Jarvis Cocker
"Born Slippy (Nuxx)" by Underworld
"Hate" by Acacia
"Wembley" by The Candyskins
"Juvenile Scene Detective (Howie B's Tribute to Mr Laudanum Mix)" by Compulsion
"Chelsea Girl" by Ride
"Devils Haircut" by Beck
"Theme From Turnpike" by dEUS
"Marching Men" by Rich Kids
"Tattva" by Kula Shaker

The other songs played, which aren't on Spotify were :

"Mermaid" by Posh
"Eat my goal" by Collapsed Lung
"Everything must go (Chemical Brothers remix)" by Manic Street Preachers
"I never want to see your face again" by Black Star
"Ponces" by Swimmer
"Computer Crash" by Computer

Gary is still DJ'ing for BBC London 94.9 (what GLR became). I have to admit I haven't listened to a show of his in years but after finding that gem in the loft, I definitely will again soon.  I always have and always will fucking love him! Would love to hear your memories of him too.

Thanks for reading.

Loads of love

Simon S.
x

6 comments:

  1. Hi Simon, great post as always mate! I have been toying with the idea of getting one of those cassette to mp3 thingies for a while now, for exactly the same reason. May just do it now you have inspired me with quotations of such great music. Funnily enough I was also bidding on an old candyskins recording on eBay last week, for a gig they did in oxford many years ago where I got to meet the boys. Sadly I missed out by about 20p on eBay so I will have to keep looking!

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    1. Thanks Kevin. Yep, highly recommend you buy one. I actually don't know many Candyskins songs but I'm definitely going to check out their back catalogue now as so many people are raving about them. Cheers for commenting.

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  2. Cheers for the shout. Surprised at no Collapsed Lung on Spotify (although not disappointed, I remember that song being a bit irritating).
    I think Coldplay were on Demo Clash as well, but according to Chris Martin they were beaten by the Llama Farmers.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Chris. I think Collapsed Lung were featured on the show due to Euro 96 being on at the time. Think that's why they played "Wembley" by The Candyskins as well, very topical.

      Never knew Coldplay were on the Demo Clash, great story. I don't know many Llama Farmers songs either but the 1p Album Club mentioned them on twitter the other day so I want to go and check them out again too.

      I listened to last night's Crowley show on BBC London 94.9 on the web this afternoon. He played 'Captain' by The Phoenix Foundation and 'Oh my Lord' by Steve Mason showing he still has fantastic taste.

      At the time I was preparing the sunday roast and making pipe cleaner animals with my two year old. The last time I listened to him I was in my bedroom at my parents' house, drinking a can of beer and strumming away on my acoustic guitar. How times change.

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  3. Yes, great post as always! I haven't heard him as much as Peel, for instance, but he's a real hero of music, for sure. Listening to your playlist now, really good, thanks.

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    1. Thanks mate, he is a true Legend.

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