a r k s p a g e
was born on the fourth of December 1963, in Ongar War Memorial Hospital,
the last tube stop on the central line. However, I was brought up in Petersfield
in Hampshire, a sleepy market town, where I went to Sheet County Primary
School from the age of five and Petersfield Comprehensive School from
eleven. I had been taught the piano fom an early age, as most of my family
had been (and still are) keen amateur musicians and actors, although of
a classical nature. Handel and Shakespeare were the hero`s in my house
and `pop` music and TV although not exactly banned, they were frowned
upon. Actually I now agree with this sentiment despite everything that
I have done since.
at this time (eleven or twelve) a friend of mine (Nick Elborough) and
I were making stupid Pythonesque tape recordings, like you do, and at
school we were hearing about Punk Rock etc. The tape recordings changed
slowly into being musical experiments, playing things backwards, making
tapeloops and attempting to play Clash City Rockers with little success.
We suddenly realised that we had a band, and named it straight away after
our hated Geography Teacher. "Uncle Ian" was born!
Over the course of ten years, we produced some of the weirdest fucked
up music I`ve ever heard. We were mainly electronic, using synthesisers
and home made electronics that todays Techno artistes would have killed
for. Our influences included Caberet Voltaire (the early stuff: Mix up,
The Voice of America, Nag Nag Nag),The Residents (the early stuff: Duck
Stab, Buster and Glen) Kraftwerk (the early stuff of course) Test Dept,
Can, Pil, Tangerine Dream. We recorded hours and hours and hours of stuff,
mostly improvised noise, which sounds today like very Lo Fi Techno but
we never released a thing as no one was interested! Slowly we changed
into more of a `band`and did gigs in and around Portsmouth where we had
both moved in order to go to Art College to do film and video. Around
this time, approximately 1985, We released one track on the Against the
Tide compilation tape on the local Bite Back! label. One other track on
the tape caught our ears, it was Vegetate by a band called the Cranes,
We immediatly used it in a video we were making at the time, and were
introduced to Jim and Alison in order to show it to them.
It was during this time that I also met Steve Austin, at an Uncle Ian
gig, at the Portsmouth Poly Student Union. I was chain-sawing huge blocks
of polystyrene on stage (just one of the weirdy things that we used to
get up to!), after the gig I was congratulated on the performance by Steve
who was covered, head to toe in tiny bobbles of polystyrene, and looked
like a walking snowman! We`ve been friends ever since!
Soon we all released tapes on Bite Back! Uncle Ian released `Going ape
in the optics factory`. Steve Austin released his solo project `Music
from the Withered orange tree`, (Both are still available from Bite Back!
51 Bath Rd, Portsmouth,PO4 OHX) and Cranes released `Fuse`.(Whichis available
from Cranes, PO Box 144, Portsmouth, hants PO5 2PY)
In about 1988/9, I was asked by Alison to join the Cranes on guitar and
keyboards, which I promptly did and for a year or so was in both bands
at once, until Uncle Ian was no more, we went quietly and no-one noticed
much, with pleasant memories of ten years of weirdness! The highlights
were...Hmmm, let me see? Playing at the last Stonehenge festival, Supporting
UT at the Club Dog, which later became the very successful MegaDog.
Anyway, Cranes went from strength to strength and is another story which
it is not my intention to speil on about here but can of course be investigated
and a good starting place is the dedicated web site at http://www.dedicated.com
or click here!
For a couple of years I was very happy to tour and perform with the Cranes
and be in a "proper" band and I still am, however the Cranes
are a writing partnership of Jim and Alison Shaw, always were, always
will be, and I slowly needed to write some of my own stuff (if only for
myself)So I got myself a sampler and a computer and Eardrum was born.
Wow, what a crazy instrument the sampler is! If only we`d had one in the
old days!! Ha Ha! Of course I did not stay on my own for long, I think
everyone needs someone there to play things to and get ideas from, and
Steve stepped in and became that person. He interestingly enough is not
in the slightest bit interested in technology or computers and is more
into the spiritual, ethnic side of life. So our "studio" is
divided in two, half is computers, synthesisers and technology, and the
other half is drums, bongos and shaky things! (when I say studio, its
actually half my bedroom, much to(my wife) Christine`s annoyance!) All
our (fairly meagre) equipment is old, broken/malfunctioning and make lots
of hiss and hum, so we are not exactly perfectionists. And thats all I
want to say!!