Tuff Life Boogie's UnPeeled series of John Peel tribute shows featuring acts who recorded Peel sessions return after lockdown with Garage Peel, a superlative edition featuring the cream of the British garage rock acts championed by the legendary DJ.
This stonking all-dayer features The Primevals, Wolfhounds, Folk Devils, Inca Babies, The Total Rejection, Stephen Hartley, The Bell Peppers and The Flying Starts. DJs Fenny and Lez will be spinning appropriate tunes in-between acts and afterwards until you (or they) drop! 5pm til late, turn up early, don't miss a thing!
Glasgow’s The Primevals are recognised worldwide, along with Billy Childish, as one of the UK’s most respected and productive garage rock acts, although sometimes they don’t get the credit they deserve in Britain. Starting in 1983, the band went through a few periods on hiatus between 1990 and 2007, but have been consistently great when operational and are now on their 12th album, 2021’s lauded ‘New Trip.’
During their original stint, between 1983 and 1988, The Primevals recorded for the genre-defining French New Rose label, alongside garage rock luminaries such as The Gun Club, Alex Chilton, Tav Falco and The Lyres. It was during this period, in 1985, that the band recorded their stunning John Peel session, one of 5 that they recorded for various BBC Radio 1 shows, which was also subsequently released as a 12” on Peel’s boutique Strange Fruit label the following year.
Since original members Michael Rooney (vox/harmonica, sax, guitar) and Tom Rafferty (guitars) reconvened the band in the mid noughties, The Primevals have racked up 7 more albums, including 2 in the last 2 years, the aforementioned ‘New Trip’ and ‘Second Nature’ in 2020, which won praise from Stewart Lee who said, “who would have thought that, in 200, The Primevals would suddenly release their best album for 32 years. Scotland’s resilient blues punks have given the locked down world their best shot.”
Tuff Life Boogie witnessed the band’s last North West outing in Liverpool and can confirm that The Primevals are in tip-top form and you should not pass up this opportunity to see them.
The Wolfhounds were Romford's representatives of the C86 boom, signing to the hip Pink Label for debut single 'Cut The Cake.' An administrative error relegated the raucous and far superior effort, the raw garagey 'L.A. Juice' to the B side and set the template for the Wolfhounds ill-fated career Part 1. Their second single, 'Anti Midas Touch' was an absolute classic masterpiece and would have been a massive hit had it been released 10 years later, when indie acts were making waves in Britpop's heyday, but in 1986 it was lost in the shuffle, except for on the John Peel show where it featured on the first of three Peel sessions the band recorded.
After a brief flirtation with a major label for the 'Me' single, the band regrouped with a new line-up and sealed their obscurity with a new uncompromising approach and a string of great records, culminating in 1990's final album, 'Blown Away', which was informed by the noise rock of Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine. Around this time, the band spent a week in Preston on the way back from gigs in the north, literally penniless and stuck until they organised a show to fund their travel home.
The Wolfhounds got back together in 2005 for a 20th anniversary gig and gigged sporadically up for the next few years before deciding to up their game. First, they released a clutch of amazing new singles that stood up against anything in their back catalogue and were collected on the 'Middle Aged Freaks' album in 2014. Two fantastic new Wolfhounds albums have also appeared since then, ‘Untied Kingdom’ in 2016 and ‘Electric Music’ in 2020, which were both timely, relevant, fiercely intelligent, and genuinely the band’s best work to date. For this show at UnPeeled, The Wolfhounds have tipped us off that they will be playing a special ‘garage’ set reflecting their early inspirations. Tuff Life Boogie cannot wait!
Inca Babies were formed in Manchester’s infamous Hulme district in 1982 by Bill Marten (bass) and Harry Stafford (guitar, later vocals). Their music was a raunchy death ray twang from a punk-trash, Americana perspective, also informed by the goth scene which was just starting then and genuinely exciting. The Inca's first single 'The Interior' secured them the first of four John Peel sessions recorded between 1984-87. With two number one slots in the Indie single chart and a top 5 album 'Rumble', the Incas soon began to find an audience abroad. Tours of mainland Europe included Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Scandinavia. Three further albums (This Train, Opium Den and Evil Hour) and six more singles were released. During this time popularity was not a problem but keeping personnel was, and while singers and drummers came and went, Bill and Harry, the backbone of the band who played every gig and appeared on every record, struggled to keep the integrity of the band alive. The end came when there were no more singers and no more drummers.
ut then in 2006 came the ’Best of’ compilation 'Plutonium', and the band reformed in 2007 with Gold Blade drummer Rob Haynes the new occupant behind the drum kit. Gigs at home and abroad followed and a new album was midway through being written when the band were hit with the shocking news of the death of bassist Bill Marten. The band was put on hold while they came to terms with this loss, but it was eventually decided to keep Bill's legacy alive by continuing and finishing off the album they had started writing. Their old friend and former A Witness bass player Vince Hunt joined and made his live debut in Warsaw, Poland in late 2008. The album 'Death Message Blues' was released in October 2010, and their first single for 25 years, 'My Sick Suburb', was released on 7' blue vinyl in April 2012, followed by the album 'Deep Dark Blue' later that year. For Record Store Day 2014, the band released the 4 track 12' EP 'Scatter' on clear vinyl and their most recent album 'The Stereo Plan' was released in September 2014.
The Incas have continued to gig occasionally when their schedules permit and interest in the band remains high, prompting the issue of an 80s set, ‘Live at the Hacienda’, by Smash records last year. The band have been recording during lockdown and have new material ready to go. They have played a couple of UnPeeled’s in the past and were a hard act to follow both times, Tuff Life Boogie is happy to welcome them back in 2021.
The Total Rejection
If you dig back far enough, The Total Rejection have a big John Peel connection through one of singer/guitarist Arthur Andrew Jarrett’s previous bands, Beatnik Filmstars. The Beatniks were a well-loved Brit Lo-fi pop act, often compared to Pavement and Guided By Voices, who were around in the 90s and 00s. They racked up 5 Peel sessions in their most fecund period between 1995 and 1997 and were much loved by Peelie, who sadly wasn’t around to give them a boost when they reformed in 2004.
Jarrett started The Total Rejection in 2017 with the intention of recreating the garage punk and psych-pop sounds that inspired his first outfit, The Groove Farm, in the 80s. The band describe themselves as “mixing a love of the Pebbles LP series, Barracudas, Seeds, 13TH Floor Elevators, the Who, Pretty Things with a healthy dose of Spacemen 3.” They have proved that they have the chops (and sideburns) to justify comparisons to these acts across 3 LPs in 3 years, the most recent of which was ‘The Time Travellers 3rd Will and Testament’, released on their own Raving Pop Blast Label in June 2020. They would have had a 4th out by now too, except for a disaster involving the analogue masters and the recording studio dog (honest!) which necessitated a re-record.
Tuff Life Boogie are delighted to be presenting The Total Rejection and you should go out of your way to catch their set.
Stephen Hartley is a veteran of many several UnPeeled events, qualifying through his tenure in Burnley’s finest punk outfit Notsensibles, who recorded a Peel session in 1979. Stephen doesn’t play in his garage, but does utilise the backroom of his terraced house for rehearsal, recording, and running his record label, Eli Records, so there is none more DIY than Mr Hartley. In recent years Stephen has expanded his palette to include writing his autobiography, the inspiring ‘Painting Snails’ and expanding the selection of organic crops grown on his hillside smallholding. If you turn up early for Stephen’s set you will be rewarded with quirky songs and wry observations on life, jobs and everything else.
The Bell Peppers
The Bell Peppers are a rock n roll, R&B, surf, doo wop beat combo from Manchester via Leigh. They were active between 2011 and 2014 and went on hiatus after the career high of sharing a stage with The Sonics in Manchester.
However, Capsicum Dom and Mike got the 7 year itch in 2021 and have decided to play some shows to mark the 10 year anniversary of their first release, ‘Cooking with The Bell Peppers.’ Tuff Life Boogie is really pleased to bend the rules a bit and host one of those shows in Preston at Garage Peel.
The Flying Starts
East Lancashire’s answer to the Detroit Cobras, Blackburn septet The Flying Starts, will be kicking off the show with their specially selected brew of R’n’B and soul covers. One half of their brass section, Michael Fenton, who many of you will know from his regular spot on Steve Barker’s ‘On The Wire’ show, tells Tuff Life Boogie that he sat in on at least two Peel sessions, so that is good enough for me. Fenny and Lez from the band will also be DJing appropriate tunes in between sets throughout the evening until you (or they) drop!
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