11th September 1982
Simon Tebbutt coaches the latest batch of young hopefuls, the EUROPEANS
On stage they plug their guitars in to white kitchen chairs and the drummer writes the songs on a piano because he can't play piano.
They're the Europeans, featuring fellow Scots Fergus Harper, Colin Moore (sic) and Geoff Dugmore along with Doncaster lad Steve Hogarth. Athletic young men to say the least - Fergus visits the Pineapple Dance Studio every day - with fresh faces and fresh ideas, they cut a striking pose in their gymnastic gear.
"Before, we were working on this idea of not dressing up but dressing down" explains Fergus, the one with the explosion of blonde curls, "there's a limited way you can go with dressing up."
"So we started of with ballet tights and stuff like that. Of course that had a profound effect on the audiences."
"Also, what we're doing is very physical. That's the idea of the gymnastic outfits"
Working together as the Europeans for the past 18 months, it's not that the lads are aspiring Charles Atlases, just that they're not so much interested in the usual rock n'roll pursuits of spending all their time down the boozer playing darts. They've got a different viewpoint and this comes across in their music, witness their debut single 'The Animal Song'.
"It's totally different," says Steve, "It's like nothing you've ever heard. I feel strongly about that. It's because of the way we write, the structuring as much as the musical part."
"Geoff, our drummer, can't really play the piano so he writes the songs on the piano."
"He has a very musical mind though," Fergus reassures me, noting my quizzical look, "he has a very fixed pattern in his head of the chords he'd like."
"He puts notes together that create moods that inspires him, rather than having a knowledge" says Steve, "then we have a get together, rehearse, and Colin has the arduous task of transferring random key notes onto a guitar neck, a feat in itself."
The end result of this "mental and experimental" style of writing is an accidental form of jazz. But what about the experiments on stage too ?
"We want people to be talking about it, the following morning, saying 'Well I've never seen or heard anything quite like that before'" says Steve.
"We use black screens to black out all the gear," adds Fergus, "I mean, what's the first thing you see when you go to a gig? You see a drum kit and a whole lot of speakers, cabinets and guitars and what have you."
"So we though, what can we do to make ourselves different before we even come on stage. We have white kitchen chairs and then plug the guitars and things in to them."
"We decided to plug the instruments into inanimate objects so people would think, God, what's going on here," concludes Steve, "It's just a way of exploring different ways of knocking people backwards."
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