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Q&A with The Sound
Graham Bailey
Michael Dudley
Bi Marshall
Steve Budd
GRAHAM BAILEY - 17/7/00
First of all........you were a great brilliant bass-player with his own style (and gloves!).......thank you for all your enthusiasm and music you gave.....

Thank-you for your compliment. I guess at that time the style was unique, and was mainly brought about by my inability to play the instrument in the usual fashion! Initially I wore the gloves out of necessity - because of the way I played my wrist rubbed against the body of the bass causing it to bleed .



How is Graham Bailey doing today?
When and why did you decide to leave to the USA?

At the end of the 80's my life reached a turning point. Out of the blue, one cold, wet and boring November evening in 1990, a friend called to tell me that she had moved to New Orleans, that she was having the time of her life and she suggested that I visit for a holiday. I did in January the following year, which coincidentally included the Mardi Gras festivities, and boy, did I have fun! It was during this vacation that I met my, now, ex-wife. I moved to the States because she couldn't stand the English weather! That was nine years ago.... Now I devote my life to raising my son, my dog, Bear, and of course work!!



Any involvement in music today?

No



Which music are you listening to nowadays? Don't you have the impression that they (the bands) are recycling 80's stuff? Is everything already done? Or what is going on?

Not a lot, my rock and roll years took a toll on my hearing, however, I usually listen to the alternative rock station in my car and when the ads come on I switch to the classic rock station and vice versa.
I recently bought a Monster Magnet CD, and also enjoy Dread Zone, but mainly return to my oldie collection which includes, not in any particular order of preference Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Iggy and the Stooges, Pink Fairies, The Doors, Joy Division, U2, MC5 and many others.



What's your best memory of the Sound-years?

I have so many that to attempt to list them would take forever. A few I will remember for the rest of my life include the No Nukes festival in Utrecht, the first gig in Sicily, the Paradiso , Amsterdam, The Marquee, London and the tour of Germany in support to John Watts



What's your worst memory of the Sound-years?

Obviously I have two worst memories.



How do you have Borland and Max Mayers in mind?

I miss them both greatly, and think about them often. It is difficult for me to listen to our recordings without feeling a deep sadness and great loss. Adrian and I were friends since primary school days, need I say more?



What did you do after the break up of the Sound?

The same things anyone does when going through a divorce! Well that's really what it felt like, I now know this from experience.



What is your main impression now of the old days.....

I assume that by old days you mean the Seventies and Eighties? Personally I had the time of my life, in terms of sex and drugs and rock and roll! But that's what you're supposed to do when you are in your twenties, isn't it?



What went wrong, in your opinion, with The Sound conquering the World?

As we never set out to conquer the World, I would have to say nothing went wrong! On the other hand if you're talking about our lack of commercial success, then there were many things that went wrong, some because of the things we did or didn't do and some things that were beyond our control. I don't think any of us really wanted to become superstars. Perhaps one day the original final cut of " We Could Go Far" will be released, without the (unnecessarily loud ) pounding bass drum that was added by order of the record company, who complained that "All Fall Down" was not commercial enough!! That record got us kicked off Warner Brothers.... Oh well!



Why didn't you contribute to the Book of (Happy) Memories? (I informed you via Ineke Canters)

Needless to say, I have my reasons, maybe unfounded, maybe you could have waited a little longer before writing this book.



Why did you use the name 'Greene' in your Sound days?

I was young and silly and thought it was the thing to do, not too bad when you consider some of the stage names in use!



Do you remember a gig at Bristol Poly just before "All Fall Down", where you met me & my girlfriend backstage after. I asked you to sign a poster, which you reluctantly did, but not before scribbling all over the large letters of "Aztec Camera"!

At the risk of sounding rude, I will have to say that I don't. Maybe a name would help jog my memory. And your point is? I guess I ruined your poster...
Sorry.



Who ripped off who? - you versus Hooky (Joy Division), with that crisp trebly bass sound.

Chicken and the egg. I listened to Joy Division then as I do now, although I think we each possessed our unique style. I seem to remember reading an interview with Peter Hook way back, when he stated that he listened to the music of several groups that I also listened to at that time. Some of my style was due to the fact that I really wanted to play lead guitar, but couldn't because it had too many strings !



What do you think a Sound-fan looks like? Is it a 40 years old person, or can it be a younger one? Is he "up to date" about the music nowadays?

What a funny question. In my dreams, a beautiful female. In reality short little green men with three eyes. In real reality it could be anybody, and I hope it was a mix of everybody!



I'm a drummer. I was - at that time - inspired by some bands (Stooges - Sound - "garagerock-bands") to start drumming, what inspired you to play the bass?

LEMMY is my HERO.



Are you surprised that up to this day so many people have interest in The Sound?

Surprised and amazed and honored, to the point that I am considering putting together a web site (it will be www.thesound.ws) to make available all the Sound articles and other stuff, for all to see. Won't be any time soon as I still have to learn to use computers better!
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MICHAEL DUDLEY - 17/6/0000 back to top
The last gig The Sound did was in the Dutch place called Zoetermeer. The show got only halfway because Borland ( a bad hangover???) left the stage.
What happened afterwards with the band? What about the split later???

Does Dudley have a cd-player inbetween???

******* ...and YOUR surname is?
With the benefit of hindsight, I wish that WAS the reason Adrian left the stage, if only for his sake. Adrian had become too ill to carry on, unfortunately.

After the Zoetermeer gig, we made our way back to England where we decided that The Sound should come to a temporary halt so that Adrian could relax and recover from the pressures of life in the band whilst the rest of us carried on with other projects. Sad to relate, his condition was such that a mere vacation would not have improved matters, and he was determined to carry on regardless against all my advice to the contrary.

I decided to leave the band shortly after this for reasons other than Adrian's illness. Rather than elaborate, it is sufficient to say that these were an amalgam of all the usual hackneyed reasons rock bands split up rather than anything terribly interesting. I did, however, see it as a means of ensuring that Adrian had a complete break from all the things that were exacerbating his condition because I knew that my move would cause the band to split. And so it proved.
To my shame, I STILL do not possess a CD player. All my spare cash seems to be spent on Mountain Biking rather than home entertanment, although I do intend to get a DVD machine as soon as someone produces a recording as well as playback version...



What is your favourite Sound song and why????

******My favourite is without a doubt "Barria Alta" from "Thunder Up". To my mind, this is the finest Sound song Adrian ever wrote and the best interpretation the band ever came up with. It is a song of optimism and grace, about overcoming negative influences and rising above to a place of peace. Anybody can wallop out loud rock stuff (not that that's a bad thing of course), but our restraint and attention to atmosphere in this piece is our most perfect moment, I believe.



Was there ever a time in the last 13 years where there was any consideration of reforming, even if for only one night?

******Not for a second.



In general, last year's tragic events made me realise that I knew so little about my heroes. So perhaps you could shine a light on the lives of you guys (preferences, dislikes, when did you meet, how did you feel after the first success, etc., etc.)

****** Some Dutch fans of the Sound and Adrian are in the process of producing a book of reminiscences from people who were part of Adrian's life from the earliest days to his passing on. If you want to order a copy, please email Willemein Spook at spookie@xs4all.nl (please note this book is now sold out)



If someone would do a pilgrimage and visit London, what would such person have to see in order to see the London of The Sound (pubs, clubs, restaurants, studios, other special places)?

******You can never go back.



How are you today and are you still involved in music and if so, in what way?

***** I gave up drumming in 1988. To join another band after eight years with The Sound was impossible. The whole thing and especially it's climax in the previous year was, frankly, so traumatic that I needed to get grounded more than anything else. I got myself what most Mothers would describe as a "proper job". Currently, I am working in Occupational Psychology as an IT Manager. How am I? Clear and open-eyed....



Do you still see Graham, how is he today and is he still involved in music and if so, in what way?

***** Graham now lives in New Orleans with his young son. We exchange email only occasionally, so I cannot comment on his current state of well-being or musical activity.



Did you guys still meet after The Sound split up?

***** No.



Is that a mistake in "Missiles" on the live album, or did you all intentionally mean to go a bit out of sync with each other half way thru the song?

***** Less is more, more or less.



Me & my girlfriend (now wife!) met you all after a gig at the poly in Bristol around 81/82 - just before the release of All Fall Down. Thought it was a top gig, & distinctly remember the kick drum during the intro to New Dark Age - it nearly blew me head off. The guy who soundchecked you that night must have been a bit deaf, I reckon

***** Sorry about your head, hope it's on straight nowadays. You're not Wurzel Gummidge by any chance?



When you first played the big wigs at Korova the first fruits of post Lions Mouth (ie - All Fall Down), did they have a bit of a fit? What did they say to you all? Was it handbags at dawn? (I reckon they must have wanted you to become a kind of angst Spandau Ballet or at the very least sound a bit like the Bunnymen.) I think All Fall Down is a great record, & a fantastic example of "2 fingers" to all record companies who just think about the money & not artistic content. I can't wait to get a CD version someday

**** I have written the liner notes for Renascent's re-releases of Jeopardy, Lion's Mouth & All Fall Down, wherein all your questions are answered, my son...

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STEVE BUDD (band's first manager) - 9/8/0000 back to top
How did you first discover The Sound?

Adrian lived next door to a school friend. We met when we were both 14. he was the only other kid I knew with an electric guitar. Even at 14 you could see he was a genius. He was into the Stooges and MC5 in 1973 !
When he was 18 he formed The Outsiders - an early punk band in 1977. When they folded or morphed into The Sound in '79, I 'signed' them to an indie label I had just started (Torch) and commenced managing them.



What was the best gig you saw them play? What was the worst?

Best ? So many, they were one of the best live bands I ever saw - total raw energy and very uplifting. I guess best may have been a Moonlight Club gig or Glastonbury. Worst ? We did a gig in Milan the night after I broke Dudley's arm in the tour bus (he was practising Kung Fu....). Dudley played with 1 arm...



What were the highlights during your time with the band, and do you think the band members share (or in Adrian and Max's case: would share) your thoughts?

Finishing the 1st album before WEA signed the band, which we made for a ridiculously small budget out of my back pocket and realising it was amazing ! / The first proper NME interview - we knew we were being taken seriously / tours with The Jam and The Bunnymen / Glastonbury with me mixing ! / Doing Whistle Test.



What is your abiding memory of The Sound?

The most powerful, emotive music around at the time by far and Adrian's unbelievable guitar playing.



Which is your favourite song and album?

'Silent Air' is my favourite song but 'Jeopardy' my favourite album.



It would appear that they were 'critically acclaimed' - was this true at the time?

Yes, the inkies liked them (more Melody Maker and Sounds, though NME did the first serious piece) and also the 'intelligent' national newspapers like The Guardian, Times etc often wrote about the band.



What was The Sound's first break?

Getting the record deal.



How did they manage to get their first record deal?

We put out the 'Physical World' EP on my label and it got good reviews. The band were gigging a lot and Greg Penny (now kd Lang's producer in LA) came and saw the band. Before we knew it they were signed.



Why did you choose to sign with Korova - was it because they had signed Echo And The Bunnymen?

Because we had made the album ourselves, they liked it, we liked the Bunnymen and because Rob Dickins talked a good talk, and because we were broke.



Why did you stop managing them?

After 'Lion's Mouth' I couldn't afford to keep going. I later came back into the business and still work in it today.



What do you think of what happened after you stopped working with the band? Did you keep in touch with them?

They made some more great music, but I think the initial excitement dissipated somewhat. I think their recordings would have benefited from working with a great producer and better budgets. I did stay in touch with Adrian over the years and last saw him 8 months before he died.
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BI MARSHALL - 28/4/0300 back to top
How did you join The Sound?

I first met Adrian and Graham in late 1977. I was introduced to Adrian by an old school friend of his with whom I was at college. He thought we had similar musical tastes – Velvets, Doors, Stooges, MC5, and although Adrian and I did have many overlaps in our record collections I’ve always felt more at home with, and been more influenced by, English rock bands, The Beatles (especially Revolver), early Roxy Music (1971-73), The Only Ones and subsequently the Psychedelic Furs. Adrian was at the time playing in a three piece called The Outsiders with Bob Lawrence on bass and Adrian Janes (Jan) on drums. Adrian, Graham and I became friends so that when Graham took over playing bass from Bob I was often invited to the rehearsals. On one such occasion Adrian asked me if I could play anything and on learning that I played piano and clarinet he asked me to bring the clarinet to the next practice session with a view to playing on a couple of songs on their live set. I joined them on stage at their next gig for what I thought would be a one-off but ended up staying, gradually increasing the number of songs I played on. I started with the covers that were in the set as encores, such as Looking at You, TV Eye, Louie Louie , and I Wanna Be Your Dog. In the autumn of 1979 I got my hands on my first synthesiser and became a full time member. Sadly there are no Outsider/Sound tracks released that feature the metal clarinet. This is a shame as it had a unique wailing sound although the (unreleased) Crazies album A Simple Vision reminds me of those days.

Shortly after Jan left to go to college our manager Geoff Cummant-Wood introduced us to a drummer he knew called Dudley who joined us on drums.

It was also around that time that the band changed their name to The Sound.



Which personnel changes did you live through?

There were very few personnel changes as we tended to work with friends and people we knew. Geoff Cummant-Wood, who had managed The Outsiders, stayed on to manage The Sound and it was only later in the summer of 1980, after we signed to Korova and the touring schedule became heavier, that Steve Budd, an acquaintance of Adrian’s was bought in to assist Geoff and act as a kind of unofficial tour manager. I guess the only real change I ever witnessed was the departure of Jan and arrival of Dudley, but even then we didn’t break with tradition, Dudley was an acquaintance of Geoff’s and we auditioned him on his recommendation, of course he stayed.



Any anecdotes about the recording of Propaganda? (Adrian described the nature of the recording in his parents' front room in the album's sleevenotes).

At that time I was only playing clarinet on some of the songs so I would come in when the others had laid down the rest of the track and add the clarinet. The tracks were recorded over many months as we saw them more as a record of our progress and to allow us to create demo tapes of our then best songs. I never really imagined them coming out altogether on an album but I think they hang together pretty well even after all this time, and some that never made it to an official Sound album, like Static, are still
amongst my favourites. I also think that the clarinet on the Propaganda version of Missiles is in many ways more menacing than the keyboard equivalent that appeared on Jeopardy.



Any anecdotes about the recording of Jeopardy?

Jeopardy was recorded during the spring/summer of 1980. The intention was to record a selection of songs which would either be released on a small indie label or else be used as a good quality demo. We were on an extremely tight budget so we tended to work fast and furiously, mainly at night when the studio rates were cheaper. We were very pleased with the results. Nick Robbins, our engineer/producer at the Elephant, did wonders with the limited eight track facilities. We were even more pleased when a couple of record companies started showing an interest. We did not realise when we signed to Korova that they would be releasing the material as it stood. We really thought that the record company would pay for us to go back into a bigger studio and re-record the songs. After all Korova had already signed The Bunnymen and we had all received our complimentary copies of ‘Crocodiles’. We knew comparisons would be made between the two bands signed to this new label and were terrified for ‘Jeopardy’ and how it would stand up next to the much more lavishly produced ‘Crocodiles’. What we thought of as Jeopardy’s weaknesses then have turned out to be its strengths. I think it is representative of the way we sounded live and because of its lack of production it probably hasn’t dated in the same way as a lot of its contemporaries - it’s still vibrant and the raw energy comes through.



What were the early gigs like? (we have seen pictures of your beer crate keyboard stand in Mike's pictures!)

In the late 70’s the music scene was very different from today, so many small and medium sized venues where new bands could play, almost every pub had live music. Most of those gigs were great although I suppose the ones that stick in my memory are the best and the worst.

The low point for me was a short tour supporting The UK Subs, the only time I’ve ever finished a set covered in spit and prayed not to get an encore.
There was also a memorable gig in Glasgow where we arrived to find ourselves billed as a ‘Heavy Metal band from London’ and were informed by a very gleeful barman that the audience would beat the living daylights out of us if they didn’t like us. Adrian’s brilliant idea to start the set with three raucous Stooges/MC5 covers delighted the punters but almost backfired on us as the music press were there in the form of Johnny Waller. He just couldn’t understand why this hot new London band seemed so reluctant to play their own material. To compound matters, I almost threw him out of the dressing room when I came off stage and found him lurking there, believing him to be either a burglar or a worse still a groupie. Johnny turned out to be a really nice guy and came back to see us play in Edinburgh a couple of nights later and wrote a favourable review.

Of the gigs I played with the Sound the high point for me was definitely The Rainbow in London at the end of 1980 with The Bunnymen and The Passions. Every musician has a hero and mine was, and still is, Andy Mackay. I first saw him play in late ’71 early ’72 and although I was only 13 it was love at first sound. To play my sax on the same stage I’d see him play on was a huge thrill.



You've seen the local press clipping in the Jeopardy sleeve about The Sound signing to Korova – what was the mood in the band like at that time?

Excited and apprehensive, probably in equal amounts. We had had numerous discussions amongst ourselves about the relative merits of indie v. large established record companies. On the whole we favoured a deal with a small/indie label, we thought we would probably have greater freedom and less interference that way, although we recognised that financially it might be less secure. When Korova expressed an interest in The Sound it seemed the perfect solution, a small new label with the financial backing and security of its parent company Warner Bros. How naïve!



What are your memories of the first session that the band recorded for the BBC in London?

That was done in the Autumn of 1980 shortly before we left to do a nationwide tour with Echo and the Bunnymen. The allocated time for the session was one short day of six to eight hours to record four songs which had been decided by us and Korova the previous week, and a copy of the album had been sent to the producer. Everything was on a tight schedule. We arrived on time and were promptly summoned into the control room for a pep talk. I found the producer rather severe and felt a bit uneasy, Adrian on the other hand was grinning like a cheshire cat about to burst, he couldn’t wait to tell us that our producer was none other than Dale Griffin, drummer with Mott the Hoople. This news delighted Dudley of course.

For a BBC studio it was rather basic and so much like Elephant studio that we felt right at home. We had previously only been in studios at our own expense and so we were used to working with a certain amount of discipline and precision plus we were about to go off on a major tour so were very well rehearsed. The session went amazingly smoothly. Dale turned out to be a delight to work with, neither severe nor dour, but enthusiastic and encouraging. It was probably apprehension at working with a new band, an unknown quantity with a bit of a reputation for being uncompromising that coloured our initial meeting. He later admitted that he was struck by our professionalism and the speed at which we worked. The admiration was mutual. I think he did a great job, I particularly like ‘I can’t escape myself’. His production gave those songs an extra edge, a punchiness that elevates them above the previous studio recordings. When one thinks of how long some bands spend recording and mixing one track it’s just amazing to think what those BBC guys were accomplishing in one day, and on a regular basis. I think Dale became a bit of a fan, he certainly became a friend for a while and I have memories of some great rock and roll parties at his flat!



Which was your favourite Sound song?

That depends. Thinking back to the gigs my favourite was ‘Heartland’ as it was both a great song to play live and has some of the best interplay between my keyboards and Adrian’s guitar. I also have a soft spot for ‘Words Fail Me’ as it is the only surviving woodwind although I had only just converted to playing sax a few months previously so it was painfully simple compared to some of the clarinet on earlier songs. From the studio material ‘I Can’t Escape Myself’ and ‘Hour of Need’ stand out for me as they are quietly haunting. My least favourites have to be any songs where I had to sing backing vocals. Despite having sung in a choir I have never liked hearing the sound of my own voice and have never aspired to being a vocalist!



...and what are your favourite post-Bi songs?

I am not sure what qualifies as a post-Bi track as almost all of the songs that ended up on From the Lions Mouth were written and arranged by the end of 1980 and were in our live set. However, my favourite track of all time is Silent Air.



What were your musical influences?

I grew up with classical music alongside big fifties and sixties rock and roll, film music and instrumentals. The desire to play the Beethoven piano sonatas got me through twelve years of lessons but instrumentally it was always the saxophone that did it for me. It is a really sexy instrument although so few players do it justice, especially in rock.

I’ve always found myself drawn to bands that use the saxophone. I love the up-front use of sax and oboe that defines early Roxy Music and discovered The Only Ones after hearing ‘The Whole Of The Law’ and the Psychedelic Furs after ‘Sister Europe’. In general I would say I have more empathy with British and European bands although having said that I would still include Johnny Thunders’ ‘So Alone’ and Pere Ubu’s ‘Modern Dance’ in my top twenty favourite records of all time. I also enjoy listening to the more modern classical/avant garde - Philip Glass, Stockhausen, and Michael Nyman as well as some electronic bands like Kraftwerk, John Foxx and Brian Eno, but loathed the 80’s pop synthesiser bands. No New Romantic I!



Do you have any remaining musical aspirations?

If only there were a musical fairy godmother! Wish one: A masterclass with Andy Mackay to learn how to make that big sleazy rock and roll sound that only he can do; Wish two: Take over Duncan Kilburn’s saxophone duties with the Psychedelic Furs especially on Sister Europe which I think really needs a saxophone; And I would keep wish three in reserve because you never know what you might want to do in the future!
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