sexta-feira, 9 de novembro de 2018

64 Spoons - Landing On A Rat Column

64 Spoons - Landing On A Rat Column - 1992

64 Spoons (also known as The Legendary 64 Spoons, or simply The Spoons) were a British pop and rock band during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Alhough the band never met with commercial success, they were the launch pad for Jakko Jakszyk and Lyndon Connah.

64 Spoons was formed by Lyndon Connah and Tam Neal, a pair of multi-instrumentalist friends who had been writing songs since the age of 10 (Tam having trained at the Royal Academy of Music). Their studies brought them into contact with Andy Crawford, a Royal College of Music flautist and classical guitar player with an interest in Early Music, but who also played bass guitar on the side. Coalescing around a line-up of Connah on drums, Crawford on bass and Neal on keyboards, 64 Spoons began playing concerts in and around their home base of Watford, Hertfordshire in 1976.

One of the band's early audience members was a teenage musician called Jakko Jakszyk (generally known as "Jakko"), who had been drawn to the band by "the ludicrous complexities of a fifteen-minute number called Life Is Unsaid". Despite his youth, Jakko had already fronted his own band - Soon After - which his self-confessed "dictatorial tendencies" had ultimately reduced the band to a lineup of "two screaming lead guitars and a trumpet", the latter played by former National Youth Jazz Orchestra musician Ted Emmett. Despite feeling that he was out of his musical depth, Jakko was soon installed as 64 Spoons’ lead singer, guitarist and frontman, using his "insecurities and arrogance" to spur the band on. With Jakko now also contributing to the songwriting, the expanded 64 Spoons line-up produced a whole set's worth of new material. Despite this, Jakko abruptly quit 64 Spoons after the first concert with the new line-up, having chosen to join Warren Harry’s punk/pop band (which had the advantage of already having a recording deal with Bronze Records). Before leaving, Jakko recommended Ted Emmett as his replacement.

However, Jakko’s tenure with Warren Harry was short-lived and musically unsatisfying (he had done it mostly for the money) and by 1977, he had rejoined 64 Spoons. Retaining Emmett (on trumpet and backing vocals) and continuing as a five-piece, the band spent the next three years touring and playing around the United Kingdom in small venues, building up a reputation as an interesting cult act. With punk rock now in fashion, 64 Spoons had to work hard to "justify" their progressive-rock-styled virtuosity. Jakko would later recall that the band had "somehow survived for a number of years by working our arses off and attempting to make our musical vision more palatable. We did this by making the whole thing theatrical. Ridiculous set pieces that involved various band members dressing up, coupled with an almost Dada-esque approach to audience participation."

Live gigs were animated affairs, with the band employing any entertainment tricks they could to keep the gig going. Neal and Connah frequently swapped roles between keyboard playing and drumming. Pete Goddard of Facelift magazine remembers a show at the Palace Theatre in Watford as "one of the finest and most ludicrous shows I've ever seen", with the band making full use of the theatrical facilities, up to and including flying themselves around on stage hoists. Thanks in part to Jakko’s incessant promotion, the band attracted numerous fans both in and out of the industry (including several of the band’s own heroes such as Bill Bruford and Dave Stewart). However, this did not translate into success. According to Jakko, the band had "management, an agency; record company interest and we worked all the time. It just didn't go that one step further. Some kind of bad luck always seemed to befall us, just when we looked like getting our big break."

By 1980, 64 Spoons was nearing the end of its life, plagued by insecurity, internal bickering and feeling ever more at odds with British musical fashion and critical taste. The band went through several developments involving changes of presentation (via "a series of haircuts that would frighten a gibbon") and a change of name (shortened to The Spoons). There was also a change of line-up: Jakko recalls that "in another inspired piece of career based decision making, we… sacked Ted (Emmett). We felt that the trumpet was a stupid, outmoded and ultimately unfashionable instrument to have in a pop group. Ted joined The Teardrop Explodes." This was a cruel irony, as The Teardrop Explodes were, at the time, enjoying the very success which the newly rechristened Spoons were aiming for.

None of these efforts made any difference. Following a particularly disastrous gig outing to Oldham and Carlisle in May 1980, the band played a couple of final gigs and then folded for good. Jakko subsequently commented "They say that success is largely down to timing. Well, we timed it perfectly. We were the wrong band at the wrong time."

A one-off 64 Spoons live reunion was planned in the mid-1990s but never happened. However, various 64 Spoons members still keep in touch and work together. Jakko and Lyndon Connah, in particular, are frequent collaborators (predominantly on Jakko’s projects).  

01. It's All Overture
02. Aggressive Travelling
03. Fat Chance
04. Ich Bin Heidi
05. Nib
06. Tails In The Sky
07. Ivory Ball
08. Plonder On
09. Weird Granny
10. It's Only A Party
11. Dear Clare
12. Lens
13. Five Miles
14. Julius Caesar
15. This Old Man (Live)
16. Do's & Don'ts Of Path Laying
17. Landing On A Rat Column (Live)