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Main » 2006 » November » 25 » Skeletal Family - 1985 - Futile Combat
Skeletal Family - 1985 - Futile Combat

Track Listing : 

1.  Hands On The Clock
2.  Move
3.  This Time
4.  Don't Be Denied
5.  Far & Near
6.  No Chance
7.  Streetlight
8.  She Cries Alone
9.  What Happened?
10.  Promised Land

The Skeletal Family history ::

Formed from the ashes of The Elements (Keighley,  West Yorkshire, England). The Skeletal Family began life in December  1982.

The initial line-up  consisted of: -
Anne-Marie Hurst  (Vocals)
Stan Greenwood  (Guitars)
Roger "Trotwood"  Nowell (Bass)
Steve Crane  (Drums)
Ian "Karl Heinz" Taylor  (Keyboards)

Taking their  name from a David Bowie track off the Diamond Dogs album, the band quickly  gained a sizeable local following, encouraged by this produced a self funded  single "Trees"/"Just A Friend" released through the Leeds based Luggage  label.

The single quickly  gained the attention ofRadio One's John  Peel which through regular airings on his late show,saw the single breach the lower regions of the  National independent charts.

Due to this radio airplay the band by-passed the  usual route of playing the small pub circuit and made their London debut at the  Fulham Greyhound to an enthusiastic audience, no doubt bolstered due to the  current radio airplay. The gig also received an encouraging reaction from the  now defunct national music paper "Sounds", which secured the band other  prestigious support slots with Sex Gang Children and Play  Dead.

By now with a Radio  One session booked for March, the band recorded a second single "The  Night"/"Waiting Here". For this release drummer Steve Crane was replaced by  Manchester based Howard Daniels. Karl Heinz also departed (occasionally  resurfacing on various future projects). Due to disappointing sales the single  the single fails to make the impression expected, and the band set about  recording their third single "She Cries Alone". Enlisting the services of the  recently defunct Southern Death Cult guitarist Ian "Buzz" Burrows as co-producer  and roadie, now turned drummer Martin Henderson replacing the increasingly  unreliable Howard, "She Cries Alone" gave the band their first major mark in the  independent charts, and armed with this success recorded the debut album  "Burning Oil".

Around this  period the band came close to extinction, whilst returning from a Belgium  appearance, the tour van rolled over, and after crawling from the van it was  discovered to be teetering on the edge of a 10 ft fall over the canal.  Miraculously no one was hurt apart from one passenger who lost half his lower  ear!!! Whilst recording the album the band learnt that Sisters Of Mercy front  man Andrew Eldridge had specifically asked the band to support the Sisters on  their Autumn Black October tour.

Now playing to much larger receptive audiences,  the reaction ensured that when released "Burning Oil" reached the top of the UK  indie charts, beating The Smiths & New Order in the process. With a now much  larger profile and two more Radio One sessions the band played numerous dates  around Britain and Europe and proved popular enough to sell out London's then  prestigious Marquee club.

Despite previously enduring limited recording  budgets, the bands success now enabled them to enlist the services of Cult/Gene  Loves Jezebel producer John Brand, relocating to Highland studios Inverness and  recording the bands second album "Futile Combat". Aided by Waterboys saxophonist  Anthony Thistlewaite and Graham Pleeth on synths, the band achieved a more  polished sound, a marked improvement on the previous  offering.

Live favourite  "Promised Land" was chosen as the first single off the album and on release  reached the top three of the National Indie charts. The band topped the year  with special guest appearances with Siouxsie & The Banshees at Brixton  Academy plus Spear of Destiny London's Lyceum.

By this time tensions within the band were high  which culminated in both Anne-Marie and Martin (who joined March Violets  vocalist Simon to form The Batfish Boys) leaving.

With a nationwide tour still booked, Anne-Marie  rejoined and the band enlisted ex Gene Loves Jezebel drummer Dik on drums.  Relationships in the band were still strained and although then tour was a  success, Anne-Marie once again departed to form Ghost Dance with Sisters Of  Mercy founder Gary Marx, forcing the band to cancel what would have been the  band's seventh Radio One session for John Peel.

At this point the band, who were at the height  of their success decided to carry on. Additional musicians were drafted in,  Kevin Hunter from Hull based band Cold Dance and local Keighley guitarist John  Clarke joined the ranks while Trotwood and Stan sifted through numerous replies  from a Melody Maker advert, intent on finding a replacement  vocalist.

An initial  rehearsal with Look Back In Anger vocalist Mitch Ebbling didn't work out, So the  band plumped for ex Colourfield, Manchester vocalist Katrina  Phillips.

Katrina, who had  sang and appeared with Terry Hall (ex Specials lead singer) on The Colourfield  single "Thinking Of You" had a different voice and character to Anne-Marie, but  had the added advantage of writing her own tunes and lyrics.

A new manager was found in the form of Tony  Perrin and the band set about recording the next single "Restless" at Bradford's  newly formed Flexible Response studios. The single was originally intended for  release on the Red Rhino label, but after shooting a video with Pulp's Jarvis  Cocker and Russell Senior directing decided, with the aid of the band's  publishing company DJM to try for a major label release.

After offers from various companies the band  decided to sign with Chrysalis Records, as they seemed to be the most  enthusiastic regarding promoting the band. "Restless" was remixed and partially  rerecorded in Island Studios London with Smiths producer Steven Street, who  whilst giving a more professional mix, deviated it so much from the original  master tapes that it was almost unrecognisable as the Skeletal Family  sound.

Nonetheless the  single was released in 7" & 12" format gaining plenty of airplay on Radio  One's Janice Long's Evening show which resulted in a further two sessions for  the station plus a double page feature in Melody Maker.

The second single for Chrysalis "Just a Minute"  recaptured the classic Skeletal Family sound and gave the band their highest  success in the National charts at the time.

The band completed a highly successful German  tour before retuning to Britain to record demo's for their forthcoming album  with seventies glam rock Sweet' guitarist Andy Scott at the helm. Again  disruptions occurred within the ranks causing the band to split the day before  the bands first pre recorded TV performance was aired.

Following a successful gig at the Cockpit Leeds  on 5.12.02 the Skels have reformed . And have played several more sucsessful UK  gigs with new dates steadily appearing

The Skeletal Family Story  continues..................

By association:: 

John Brand who produced  Futile Combat now manages The STEREOPHONICS. The engineer on that session was  Brendan Lynch of Paul Weller and OCS fame.

Tony Perrin who managed the band briefly went on  to success with The MISSION, and then RIGHT SAID FRED.

Spike who did the early Ghost Dance singles now  produces for OASIS.

Shaun  from MANIC STREET PREACHERS fame's first single was Promised  Land.

Resources :

Highly Recommended for all dark wave fans and not only...

Watch "Promised  Land"

Category: Alternative/Punk | Views: 58975 | Added by: innocent76 | Rating: 0.0/0 |

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