|The Story of The Nubiles...
The Nubiles formed in Oxford in the beginning of 1993. After the demise of his previous band Five Thirty, (who had done an album 'Bed' on East West, toured the world, charted top twenty with '13th Disciple' and accrued a large and fanatically loyal live following) singer/bass player Tara Milton had moved back from London to a flat in Little Clarendon St. in Jericho, and was getting to know the local music scene and writing new material. In addition to advertising in the national music press, he'd become good friends with drummer Danny Goffey and guitarist Gaz Coombes of The Jennifers (who were looking for a bass player to form the band that would become Supergrass) and done some demos for his publisher, EMI, with Andy Bell (the guitarist from Oxford shoegazers Ride ) and Witney drummer Dan Goddard (who he'd originally spotted playing with Witney band The Hyde.)
In January 1993 Tara got a tape from me with a whole bunch of fully formed songs, including 'Best Friends..', 'Chasing Ten' and 'Tatjana' which I'd written in the previous year, several of which were subsequently to become staples of The Nubiles live show. I went to Oxford to meet him, and my first memory of him as he came to meet me coming off the coach was that he looked really cool in a maroon cord Levi's jacket and tight flares...and that he had a smile the size of The Cheshire Cat. Tara had a flat overlooking an ice cream parlour, and it was loaded up with records, books, paintings and touring paraphernalia. When we got in the door he made me coffee with nutmeg grated over the top, which seemed pretty damn sophisticated ... God knows what he must have thought of me, dressed in huge indian pantaloons with plaits tied around my chin, desperately trying to look as surreal as possible... but fact is we immediately clicked, and though our lives had taken quite different paths up to that point, on a musical level we were very much on the same planet as to what kind of band we wanted to be in. He loved my songs, and I loved the energy I felt bouncing of the walls when we were in a room together. Though he was a great bass player who'd really gone to great lengths to learn the heritage of his instrument, where I was bound by theory and was very knowing about what I did, Tara didn't appear to have any rules, he just seemed to play what he felt like, and this resulted in some early songs, Like 'A Sap's Guide To Rock'n'Roll' being really experimental without any conscious decision to do so. Left to his own devices, he had written some freeform songs which were just him singing over bass guitar , which presented a brilliant canvas upon which I could add chords, textures etc. I think you just know when a musical relationship achieves a critical mass and starts a chain reaction that none of the contributors can fully control. It's certainly been at the heart of every great band that I can think of... I set about moving from London to Oxford and had found a place just off the Cowley road by March.
Soon we were jamming with the musicians Tara had met in the previous year, Danny and Gaz, and Dan Goddard, and even at one stage auditioned my old drumming compadré Cliff Harris, who'd also moved to London after the split of Hollyweird. Dan was the man, though... he very much had his shit together even then, at the age of 19...a solid technically competent rock drummer with a broad pallette of influences and styles, ambitious, and keen to expand and try new things. Dan was another thinker, just like me, never visibly exploding, but containing and channeling his explosions to power along like a roaring V8. Though the core of the band was complete, Tara still felt that he wanted a fourth member to augment the sound, perhaps another wild card like him to counter the seemingly reasoned and thought-through approach that I shared with Dan. The wild card came in the form of the angular garage-jazz-punk guitar of Giorgio Curcetti.
I would have never been able to imagine what milkshake you'd get if you shoved Arthur Lee, Johnny Thunders and John Coltrane in a blender. After playing with Giorgio for the first time I understood perfectly. For better or worse, Giorgio was on another planet. He'd instinctively choose blue-note strewn motifs that strayed between chaos and utter genius. and always with gusto and energy, like his guitar was the outlet for a violent storm that seemed to live inside. He could innovate in his sleep, it just flew out of him, and I'd wonder how anyone could come up with such consistent curve balls, a Muralitharan of a guitarist.
|Our first gig was played at The Pit in the Hollybush In Witney, the venue which Dan promoted as his 'day job' and went down a storm, and from there the band went on to establish themselves on the Oxford circuit, playing the Jericho Tavern, The Dolly, The Venue (later to become The Zodiac) while still returning to The Pit, which was to become a bit of a spiritual home.|
|We were a strange looking bunch, Tara looming at the front, staring with big wide eyes at the audience, 6'2" with his ex-mod's penchant for looking sharp, and me on one side, swaying like an alt-rocker, my long hair messily plaited, looking like some odd gothy hybrid of Perry Farrell and Dave Grohl (I had adopted an 'ironic' stage name, 'Penny Schueller' , which lasted for most of the bands career). To the other side, you'd find Giorgio, with greased back hair, dressed in 70s threads like he'd walked out of 'Mean Streets' , twitching and chopping his guitar as if he was a marionette animated by the god of Thunders, and to the back Dan powering away, the engine underneath the bonnet, tying us all together just as he tied his long Wonderstuff curls back...|
|we were about as far removed as you could get from homogeneity, as if we had all been plucked from different universes, yet we were tightly bound by the music we made and the energy we generated, four wheels of one unholy mother of a road racer. Whether we jumped around or stayed relatively static, the stage always felt like it was bristling with electricity. Our first London gig in the Camden Falcon in June of 1993 caused quite a buzz! At the time Tara used to be really frustrated that we weren't as much of a social unit as we were a musical unit, but I used to think about my favourite band at the time, Jane's Addiction, and how they apparently didn't get on... I used to think that perhaps that was a price you paid for that electricity, as if the electricity were a function of our being polar opposites.|
|In retrospect perhaps Tara better understood than the rest of us what the band would be heading for when it came to touring and recording, having been there before with Five Thirty, not that there was anything any of us could have done about it. Certainly the forces that would five years later divide the band were even apparent during these harmonious early stages. Sometimes I wonder how it would have been if I had had the bottle to sing my own songs, instead of asking Tara to do it and then making him feel under pressure when he didn't do it in the way I wanted. Later on when I was singing my own songs and it was Tara making me feel under pressure for not being his idea of a frontman, I wonder if that was a reaction to the mould we had set earlier, or would it have always been that way?|
Tara had retained his publishing deal with EMI after Five Thirty, and at around the same time as our Falcon gig we had got some time in their studio, where we recorded four songs with producer/engineer Marc Waterman (who Tara had worked with in Five Thirty).
|To be recording in EMI felt pretty illustrious, though Danny and Tara had been here before. Tara seemed to know everyone,and everyone had their own stories about him and Five Thirty. We recorded 'Tatjana', one of the songs from my original demo, which remained fairly true to the demo arrangement, and three of Tara's songs that had been developed from the original bass and singing by the four of us, 'Starfried Man', 'Terminal Disease', and 'Love On The Dole'.|
EMI Publishing's Studio Manager, John Etkin-Bell (always known as 'JB'), and Assistant Engineer Daren Eskriett played together in a band called Jeff, and as a result of that studio session we were invited to support them a couple of months later at the Thirst Club at the Bedford Angel, and The Islington Powerhouse in London. By this time we were travelling around in our own van, too... a fairly rough and ready white VW LT45 that had been kindly given to us by Tara's Stepdad, Roger.
The Thirst Club was run by a keen promoter, called Neil Primett, who was about the same age as us, and who seemed to really have his finger on the pulse of what was going on in the music scene. Neil was also an award winning entrepreneur, responsible for the creation of Planet Clothing in Bedford, and in the course of conversation, Tara asked him if he'd manage us, and after a bit of thought, and coming down to see us play The Venue with his business partner, Kevin Bailey, Neil became the manager of The Nubiles. Eventually he named his management company after the Thirst club, and would go on to manage several good bands after us, The Pecadiloes, The Junket and Goldrush.
Of course, now we had a manager, life began to get busier... By this time we had a good following in Oxford, and quite a few fans who were prepared to travel to London to see us play there. Our shows at The Venue in those days were mad. We'd do an hour long set, with loads of dynamics, long builds and short choppy stops, running in songs and jamming our instrumental endings. Some of those gigs felt pretty mindlblowing. The Venue's stage manager, Scot McKenzie, was keen to get experience as a roadie, and became the string that held Nubiles live shows together (which was a bit of a stressful and thankless task at the best of times, as onstage volatility frequently continued off stage). We were getting good press in Oxford, and also steadily accumulating a London following. At this point in time there was a healthy local music scene in Oxford, with the emergence of Supergrass, ourselves, and Thurman, and with Radiohead about to record their crucial second album. It was amazing to see Supergrass play their first gig a the New Inn on the Cowley road, support us at the Jericho Tavern, and then seemingly go meteoric, off into the charts and into another league. Looking beyond such illustrious alumni, it was a funny atmosphere, especially in East Oxford... it felt a little too self-satisfied and inward looking, and Tara and I would soon begin to yearn for the more expansive and ambitious mindset of London. The phenomenon later known as 'Britpop' was emerging, and a new label, called Fierce Panda, was releasing a sequence of six-track EP's containing the cream of the crop. We had a kick-ass version of 'Tatjana', recorded at EMI that fitted the bill perfectly, and a slot was offered to us on the third of the compilations 'Return To Splendour' .... and with that, the first Nubiles recording was finally in the shops!
Toward the tail end of 1994 we had recorded our first single, 'Layabout', and were embarking on our first UK tour, first on the bill before new Virgin signings Rub Ultra and tabloid-baiting headliners S*M*A*S*H.
|I was on a bit of a trip...our first tour, playing gigs to different faces all around the country, mostly ending up on someone's floor afterwards. We spent much of our time crammed into the back of the van, with amps as armchairs, reading books, playing acoustics and getting lost in city centre one way systems. I think we were mostly listening to a cassette sampler of 'In on The Killtaker' by Fugazi, on a battery powered radio cassette. I loved the cameraderie with the other bands,us against the world, one big gang of minstrels rolling from town to town, and it felt so cool to end the tour with a great big school disco snogging session on the floor of the New Cross Venue. Tara had slightly more mixed feelings than the rest of us. He'd done it all before, and his last tour had been headlining large halls with Five Thirty, travelling in proper tour buses, staying in good hotels. To be touring again on a shoestring budget must have felt a bit of a comedown.
'Layabout' was released as a limited edition 7" in January of 1995 on Neil and Kevin's label, Lime Street Records, followed by a tour. This time we were on a rolling headline with two other up and coming bands, Flinch and Hopper, which began with a show on a club night in the Kentish Town Forum (previously The Town and Country Club). By forfeiting our fair share of headline dates on the shows around the country we got to headline the Forum... The Nubiles on a big stage in a 2000 capacity venue...ok...well it wasn't more than half full, but the principle of the thing... We wigged out and ran around far too much, suddenly let loose on a stage with loads of room to move and a big ol' drum riser... maybe Tara'd done it all before, but for the rest of us it was a big step up in the rock'n'roll world! The tour went on around the country. Scot and I both had a crush on the singer from Flinch, and were doing our best to hang out with them as much as possible, and Giorgio and I had a good slice of drama en route to The Hacienda when our tyre blew out in the middle lane of the M40 at 60mph. Sometimes we were using Neil's pad just outside Bedford as a staging post, and floor to sleep on, mostly when we were in the North of England we were staying in Sheffield, with Scot's friend, the Throwing Muses Tour manager, Jimmy Stone , and when we were in Scotland we stayed with Danny's Granny, in Ayrshire, an hour outside of Glasgow. We'd look forward to that especially, as it was particularly grounding and calm being at her house, amidst the hubbub of a tour, and we were always blown away by the fact that, even if we turned up at 3am, she would always be wide awake and waiting for us with fresh Tea and sandwiches!
While we were away, the single had been making quite an impact, reaching No10 in the indie charts and getting a great reception from press, radio and fans alike. We'd attracted attention from the industry too, and while the band were busy recording our second single with JB, and then going off on tour supporting Elastica and straight afterwards Canadian rockers Moist, behind the scenes a recording contract was being negotiated with Chrysalis, which included a small amount of money for tour support.
With a little money to play with, we hired a new van and Kevin used his chippie skills to put in a temporary partition...all we had to do was add Neils's old sofa and hey presto - instant splitter bus!Now we could travel faster than 55mph in..er... comfort, and with a built-in stereo (which was mostly playing 'Worst Case Scenario' by dEUS). We could also hire our first soundman, Timm Cleasby, a friend of Jimmy Stone's from Sheffield. Elastica were taking their own lights and PA, so it was the same rig every night...As the tour went on Timm was getting such a good sound that we could have almost made a live album from the desk recordings.
|We were being driven around by one of Neil's friends , Graham Wilks, Kevin was selling 'nubile' t-shirts like hot cakes and tour managing, while Scot was, as ever, taking care of the stage... It felt amazing to be playing to 1000+ people night after night, and especially amazing to be playing Nottingham Rock City, and Cardiff University main hall, because they were places I'd always dreamed of playing when I was a teenager. We even managed to squeeze in one off supports to Blur (at Cambridge Corn Exchange) and the new pretenders, Oasis. Heady times, indeed!
Our second single, 'Without Waking' was released in April, funded by Chrysalis, though it still appeared on the Lime St. imprint, and though slightly less well received than our debut, reached No8 in the indie chart.
|Shortly afterwards, we signed a deal with Chrysalis in June for that single, plus another followed by the option on an albums deal, the singles to be funded by them but to appear on the Lime St. label, and the album to be released on Chrysalis. Giorgio had been living in London for a while, but at this point, amidst more touring, the rest of us began relocating to London.
When you are on an upward curve like that, London is the best place in the world, because you start getting invites to parties, getting on to guest lists for gigs. Though it might have only happened in a small way from our point of view, when you're a new face in town, people want to talk to you, and when they do, you've got plenty to say for yourself. The flipside is that you begin to realise that you are never off-duty. Anytime, anyplace someone could come up to you and start talking about the band and you've got to switch in to PR mode, projecting the image you've chosen for yourself, selling your 'product', and hopefully you bothered to look presentable when it happened because that's part of it too...it's just as much a part of the job as practising guitar. I remember a point where I consciously stopped telling my friends about gigs, because at a gig , when professionalism requires that you give time of day to everyone who wants to talk to you, you may not have (and often didn't have) the time to talk to them. Perhaps another time, you're out with your mates, and a total stranger comes up to you and says they saw you play last week, and despite the interruption to your social life, you've got to be nice, polite and helpful... that's your job. Remember what it was like when you, as a fan, met bands, what impressions they made on you, only now the shoe's on the other foot. I remember being impressed by each member of Moist always carrying round a black marker at their gigs, ready to sign things at a moment's notice... true pro's.. (Several years later, in another parallel entertainment universe, I met Frank Bruno, who in addition to a pen, always carries around photos, ready to sign and give to fans, who take away the memory of Big Frank - A True Gent!)
We had a load of meetings to decide on producers for the next single, which was to be 'Tatjana', but we hadn't really done our research, and while we knew plenty of names of top producers who we couldn't afford (the likes of Butch Vig, Rick Rubin etc.) we didn't know the names of anyone else. In the end Chrysalis persuaded us to go with Steve Brown, who had a huge track record of hits, most notably The Cult's 'Love' album. In retrospect, the single version of 'Tatjana' sounds like a good polished rock record, which is not a bad thing, but somehow we felt that the identity of the band had been polished away, too. The single was released in June, and got to No10 in the indie chart.
|For the acconpanying tour, in the true spirit of major label bands, we hired a proper tour bus with comfortable seats and blacked out windows. We still hadn't got to the chapter marked 'hotels', but it was a definite step in the right direction. Scot was tour managing, and one of his friends, Jason Randall was driving and selling t-shirts. It was nice to have a touring party that was totally independent from the business management side of things...a bit more like we were all in the same 'gang'.|
|Aside from being an avid cartoonist, Jason was really into US underground punk/hardcore, and on that tour we kept on playing 'Repeat' by Cop Shoot Cop, one of his Cows albums, mid-late era Faith No More and a bit of Frank Zappa. Spirits were good on that tour, even when we blew up the van. I had signed off, with Chrysalis paying me the same as I would have got on the dole, and it was the best feeling in the world to go into the DSS after all their efforts at pushing me into a McJob and tell them that I was signing off due to signing a major record deal.|
|After that tour ended, with Chrysalis happy with the way it was going, we all awaited signing the album deal, a living wage and actually being able to afford to live without state aid.
Our first major setback happened within a month of the single's release, when every employee in Chrysalis bar two had received an e-mail from parent company EMI telling them they were laid off. Our main contact, A&R Director Mike Andrews, was gone, the MD, Roy Eldridge, was gone, the marketing department, and all the other departments were gone, just leaving two people behind to tidy up the company's affairs, and it's premises in Holland Park before the building was sold, and the label absorbed into the EMI, one of the first of a spate of major labels to go down the pan in the late 90s as the major record companies merged themselves into the 'big five' we have today...
... and with that our album deal was killed off while it was still in the womb. It was depressing, but there was nothing we could do about it, and there then followed a strange waiting period of about 6 months, where we toured once, and started recording our fourth single with producer Colin Leggett, but couldn't release any records, waiting while EMI decided what to do with us. Since we knew that none of the other EMI labels were into our music, we were hoping to be dropped, and that finally happened at Christmas. As a hectic year came to a close, we realised another one of our ambitions as we got to record a session for the John Peel show on radio 1. There's something dead cool about hearing your own voice blaring out of the radio closely followed by Peely's dulcet bone-dry sarcasm. The BBC puts you in perspective. Mike Engels, the producer, had been doing it for twenty odd years and in the process had recorded many of our heroes in the very same studio. That felt pretty awesome.
|We had enough money left over from the deal to begin recording our album ourselves. Originally we wanted to use the tracks we'd recorded for a Radio 1 John Peel Session in December for the album, but we couldn't afford what the BBC were asking for the tapes, so we decided to book a week in the studio in the new year, and attempt to record the album in that time, with Producer/Engineer Laura B manning the faders. In true anal retentive Nubiles style, while we did some great work in that week in Matt Johnson's studio, The Garden, we came away with about half the work completed.|
|1996 became a bit of a saga, with the recording sessions for the album consisting of a couple of days every month, and the odd week here and there, alternating between Blackwing and Boundary Row studios, and with us trying to fit the rest of our lives and more touring in the gaps. While the music was certainly taking shape, we were all impoverished and it was taking it's toll on our morale. Three of us were living in Kings Cross at this point. I was living off the Cally road, and Tara and Dan were living nearer the Station, in the flat underneath Donna Matthews from Elastica, who'd become good friends with Tara. Donna's house at that time was pretty much a 24 hour party, laden with Britpop glitterati, beautiful people and wanton hedonism.|
|The neighbours were riding a wave, and living the high life... by comparison, our enforced stoicism seemed all the more brutal. One good thing about having rock and roll neighbours was that we were able to jam in Tara and Dan's front room. Many good ideas came and went, as Tara and Dan brainstormed new rhythm section ideas and demoed new songs on 4 track.
We had toured again in at the beginning of the year, and released our fourth single, 'I Wanna Be Your Kunta Kinté', on Lime St. Records in May. Tara and Dan had been working on a lot of jungle and hip hop at the time, and we thought it would be cool to have a few remixes, especially since Kunta Kinté was meant to be a rock/jungle crossover in the first place.
|The remixes came in the form of a stripped down ambient drum'n'bass remix from Laura B, and a chilled-out dark Mo-wax style hip hop mix by DJ David Patterson. The single was very well received, and after the relatively mainstream third single, it was good to be on the forefront of something new, along with other emerging crossover artists like Sneaker Pimps. In the summer we had a big beat remix done by Avenue A (the guys behind Wall Of Sound artists Ceasefire), which we released on a 12" white label with the Patterson mix on the flip.|
|Tensions within the band were getting worse, and it felt very much as if the album was being beaten in to shape, with some of us, especially Giorgio, almost losing the will to express themselves for fear of criticism. Tara and I were verbally battling at practically every corner and it was hard to keep spirits up, yet at the same time we all really loved the process of making a record. Dan was making leaps and bounds, getting deeply involved in arrangements, but with others in the band often racked with self-doubt it was becoming mentally arduous. As the album neared completion, the tension had reached the point of almost making us delirious. Giorgio didn't seem to want to turn up, and Tara and I were spitting fire at each other. Just at the end of 1996 we were invited to be filmed for a new comedy series on BBC Wales, featuring three or four live bands per episode, 'The Celluloid World Of Desmond Rezillo'. Giorgio simply refused to travel to Wales for the shoot, though it was obvious that such a public appearance would require all members of the band. When it was put to him that this was an 'are you in/are you out' situation, he said Out, and so at the end of 1996, The Nubiles became a 3-piece. I needed a holiday quite desperately, and had the fortune to be invited to stay in Prague over Christmas, and to be invited to accompany my brother to San Francisco in January.|
|I returned from the States refreshed and full of beans. The album was at mixing stage, with most of the work being done by Laura B at Boundary Row and Blackwing, and a couple of tracks mixed by Ali Staton at Maison Rouge (while Robbie Williams was busy recording his debut album next door). I'd grown in confidence over the last two years and had been constantly writing new material while we were doing the album, and since we were going to have to radically re-arrange songs to get them into a three piece format, I wanted to sing any future songs I brought into the band. Tara was happy with that, perhaps because he'd grown tired of my backseat driving, and we set about two months of intensive rehearsal, four to five days a week, 8 hours a day. After Kings Cross, Tara and Dan had moved to Highbury for a bit, and then Tara had moved to Camden, sharing with Elastica's new bass player, Sheila Chipperfield and her sister Sarah. Dan had moved back to Witney in theory, but in practise was mostly staying at their house.|
|We were working our asses off, and about half way through that period of writing and rehearsing we were offered the first on support to Supergrass on three of their 'In It For The Money' tour dates, playing to audiences of between 2 and 4000 people a night... what a thing to look forward to! Rehearsals had a strange atmosphere. Tara was often very withdrawn, and it seemed to be Dan and I who were pushing things. I was really excited about singing my new songs and was probably a little oblivious, caught up in my own little bubble.
For our next single we planned to do a double A side called 'Layabout Vs Mindblender' which would enable us to re-release 'Layabout', which was very much in demand, and also release the title track of the album, which was to be called 'Mindblender'. Both were going to be released on Lime St. Records, and timed to coincide with the forthcoming Supergrass shows.
|We were a little nervous about our first gig as a three piece being in front of X thousand people in the Manchester Apollo, since the new arrangements hadn't been 'road tested'. Much to our horror, on the first night several of the song arrangements felt like they dragged on too long or needed work, which was disconcerting, since we had no time to rearrange them before the Newcastle Mayfair and Brixton Academy. I sang OK, but the dynamic of the band wasn't quite as good as it had been previously.|
|I never really wanted to be the 'frontman' of the band, like Tara was at the beginning... I more envisioned a situation like the Beatles, where there were clearly two lead singers, but somehow this seemed to put Tara in a less certain territory, and the net result was that we weren't really sparking in the way we had before. In other departments things were going really well, however. Stu, our soundman, a friend of Dan's from Witney, was getting an awesome sound out front, and we were going down brilliantly with the audience, despite our personal worries. It felt like we were on an upward progression, just like the one before we got the Chrysalis deal, and for all our neuroses, every now and again someone would come up and say that one of our songs had made the hair stand up on the back of their neck, and that kind of comment really knocks you out. As I musician I wonder if there's any greater achievement than to really move someone? Having said that, Tara once had a girl come up to him and say that the lyrics to Chasing Ten had really helped her with Bulimia. He was a bit dumbfounded, and said that I'd written them, which probably helped de-intensify the situation. That's the kind of thing you have to deal with as a frontman... I mean what do you say? ...Part of you would be, like... 'for Gods sake, it's only a SONG!', while on the one hand, the other part would be revelling that you'd 'made a difference', the ultimate ambition of any 'artist'.
We played a few small headline shows around the country in the middle of the Supergrass dates, and then had a week to rehearse before a couple of headline London shows at the Falcon, which had been taken over by Barfly... It seemed quite poetic, as it was where we had played our first London gig, and those two shows slayed! At last I got that feeling again, where I was part of some machine, some powered rollercoaster flying around a track! They were sold out, sweaty, loud and bursting with Punk rock electricity...truly the boys were back in town, and the buzz was back in our court...
After the second show, Dan said he'd had enough and was leaving, which felt something like getting to the top of a climb on that rollercoaster and finding that the track has disappeared from underneath you. Much later I found out that he'd become sick of the clichéd rock'n'roll excess and consequent loss of focus behind the scenes in our band. Together with the constant attrition of the arguments and raised voices, it didn't even matter that we were on a roll.. he just wasn't enjoying it any more, and this time he really did move back to Witney.
We searched for a new drummer. Tara was withdrawn and lethargic, and didn't seem that interested any more, but I had energy to spare and when Neil put in the ads, I was happy to do the legwork. We auditioned loads of people and often had fun doing so, and it felt like we were pulling together, which we needed to do. Alongside the auditions the mastering and pressing up of the album was underway. After many auditions, in the tail end of 1997 we found a drummer called Monty Sneddon who was both keen and capable. It seemed like we were ready to go again, but when it came to our first proper rehearsal in 8 months, Tara came in two hours late, shooting evil eyes in all directions, behaving as if he'd been deeply inconvenienced by having to turn up, and it was my turn to become sick of it all. I'd forgotten about the fire spitting atmosphere we'd had during the album sessions, and here it was again in glorious technicolour. I just couldn't go through that all over again. A band was meant to be a pleasure, not a curse. It was so disappointing. We'd both watched bands around us throw away their tangible crown jewels to live in a glamorous myth... and we were at a time when we really needed to get our feet on the ground, pull together and push forward, and yet here was the other pillar of the band wilfully running backwards. It just couldn't work any more, and one of us had to go. I started having panic attacks. The first was a funny drama, in retrospect, because I woke up in the middle of the night with my pulse going like a jackhammer, thought 'F**k...something's wrong with my heart!', and called an ambulance, and when that ambulance arrived, they pretty much knew within seconds what had happened, and by then I'd figured it out myself, but I still had to go to the hospital, get my blood pressure taken and have an ECG, and then wait for the doctor to give me the all clear (in my case, I waited five hours - I watched a whole series of the X-Files on video in the UCLH waiting room). I knew the panic attacks would continue until I acted upon my feelings and split the band up.
We met with Neil and Kevin, and I felt like the No1 c**t in the world, knowing how much time, money and energy those guys had invested in us and there was me telling them it was all for nothing. The album did get released, and got some good reviews, but with no band to promote it it disappeared pretty quick, which was a shame. It is a great record, from beginning to end, and while listening to it takes me right back to the saga of it's making, it remains a source of great annoyance is that we never got to tour it....to show the world a truly electric, truly eclectic shit hot band called The Nubiles.
And so we began our respective individual stories. After going back to Witney, Dan settled down with his childhood sweetheart, Amanda, and these days you can find him playing in a band called The Four Storeys with Nick and Simon Kenny, formerly of Thurman. Tara and I both set about getting solo projects off the ground, with him pursuing an acoustic route and me getting back to my rock roots. He moved to the East End and got inspired by the tabla rhythms of the bangla boys, before taking a three year walkabout in Japan. I hooked up with some old friends and seasoned rockers and spent two albums and a bunch of tours mixing Zappa, Faith No More and Kiss in the supergroup Sack Trick, before recording the 'Oversize EP' as The Masterblaster.