Saturday 20 December 2014

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry: Two Band Interviews from 1986


 Red Lorry Yellow Lorry are a Leeds Indie band who take 
 their independence seriously. Andrew Darlington discusses 
 its implications with the band in a 1986 interview… 

 ‘this is the place where I have seen
you hide behind your sunken dreams
I had this feeling deep inside
you hid behind those hollow eyes’ 
                             (“Hollow Eyes”) 

‘One of my friends invented a computer program. It’s a quiz for bands. One of the questions is ‘Is there a Svengali in the band?’’

Is there a Svengali in Red Lorry Yellow Lorry? ‘No. Not Really.’

There’s a drum machine on the floor. A huge group tour-poster along the facing wall. A dead TV with a row of Birthday Cards along its polished brow. And there’s three – out of four, of Leeds finest Indie band Red Lorry Yellow Lorry up for analysis. Guitarist David ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden who speaks in a slow, loping – but lethally articulate drawn. Vocalist Chris Reed who talks in precise art-school lack of accent and wears a vaguely moderne demeanour. He formed the band’s first line-up circa mid-1981, and it’s his girlfriend’s birthday today. Plus resident big drum-beater Chris Oldroyd in token Rockist black leather jacket. Sending his apologies in absentia is bassist Leon Phillips.

I’m examining the Beatbox, looking for clues…

‘I think it’s boring talking about technology’ leers Dave mischievously, pre-empting muso-speak.

‘We enslave the drum machine to work for us’ adds Chris O, more helpfully. ‘It’s very important to the live sound of the group – because it’s relentless.’

‘It’s a ‘Slave to the Rhythm’’ from Dave.

The Lorries – RLYL, operate on a cusp that’s aurally shocked somewhere between Killing Joke and Hüsker Dü, between the angry hard-core burn of their “Jipp”, to the chopped tribal beats of “Hand On Heart”. The success of their two albums – ‘Talk About The Weather’ (1985), and more particularly ‘Paint Your Wagon’ (1986), led to exhaustive European dates and two ball-busting coast-to-coasters across the States. You probably know their contagious singles too – “Monkeys On Juice”, “Crawling Mantra”, “Hollow Eyes”, “Cut Down” etc? Well, now their whole Red Rhino period is retrospected on an impressive compilation – ‘Smashed Hits’ (1988), while the Lorries, who re-signed to Situation Two, have already scored an ‘NME’ ‘Single Of The Week’ (21 November 1987) from Jane Solanas for their current 45rpm “Open Up”, their first for the new label. They’re a powerful and highly individual band, who are also very accessible, and ideal interview material.

So, open up time. Chris is the most recent addition to the line-up. ‘I was WORKING up to last February! I joined the group about then, in time for the ‘Paint Your Wagon’ album. That’s the first time the Lorries actually used a full drum-kit, before that – ever since the beginning of the band – they’d had a drum-machine used with a stand-up percussion set-up. Now, with drum-kit AND drum-machine, it’s like having two drummers in a way, it tends to harden up the rhythm. Keeps the beats very very minimal – so it’s like being on a train that you can’t get off! But we intend to go along with the idea that we’re going to make technology work for us. The technology is NOT going to dictate how we go. I’m a bit of a Luddite really.’

‘That’s what the guy from ‘Melody Maker’ said’ smiles Chris Reed. ‘He said people think you’re all Luddites ‘cos you don’t use synthesizers. But I really like Jim Foetus (of Foetus Under Glass, You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath, etc) – what he does is good. I like the INTENSITY of Foetus music. I think it’s quite in keeping with the intensity of our music.’

But, like RLYL, ‘he CONTROLS the technology, he’s not subservient to it!’ points out Dave.

In fact the Lorries are subservient to no internal Svengali’s and no external controls either (’I think that we’re very much trying to uphold the ethos that individualism, individuality, is very important’). ‘Insular’ is a word they use to describe their fierce independence, one they’re rightly proud of. It’s a conscious self-sufficiency that starts in the studio and is carried clear down the line to sleeve art and merchandising, their records initially issued through a hook-up with the Red Rhino cartel. ‘We really try to control as much as we can ourselves. So that what WE do as a band comes across. That’s why we produce ourselves. The last recordings we did – the single, and the ‘Paint Your Wagon’ album, were done at Rockfield in Wales’ – Dave Edmunds studios, informs Reed.

Chris O takes up the narrative. ‘And one interesting thing about the way we record, which Rockfield’s environment helps, is that we stay miles from anywhere, in this old farmhouse. And there’s nobody else in the studio apart from the four of us. No tape operator or engineer or producer. And for two weeks – which is how long it took to make the album, or however long, we more or less lock the door, and that’s it.’

‘For ‘Paint Your Wagon’ we had two offers of producers,’ from Reed. ‘One was Colin Newman from Wire, the other was Nick Glossop, y’know, who did the Ruts and people like that. But we virtually turned them both down and did it ourselves. And that adds to the separateness of the music. It separates it out from anything else, from any other influences. It increases the group identity. We are very receptive to environment, and it’s like we take all the tensions that we pick up, and we just sort of – UNLEASH it all in one burst.’

‘The more we put into it, the more we get out of it in terms of satisfaction and fulfillment’ explains Dave.

‘A lot of the album was actually influenced by spending two weeks living in New York’ Reed continues, ‘and the intensity that we’re trying to project on the record is a similar intensity to living in a place like New York. We did an interview with ‘Radio Luxembourg’ the other week and the guy was saying ‘what do you think about New York, some people say it’s like hell on earth?’ And we said ‘yes, that’s a really good analogy of what New York is like.’

‘There’s a real tension to the place’ adds Dave. ‘And conflict – which gives it a spark, a vibrancy.’

‘We listen to a lot of music’ admits Reed. ‘We can probably listen to a hundred records – and the ones that cut across to us are the ones that have that sort of energy and that tension to them. That’s what actually stimulates our ears at the end of the day. Something that just LEAPS out of the speakers, and cuts straight in at your ears. That’s the sound we’re very fond of.’

‘It’s kind of like picking up the REAL electricity’ from Dave.

While Chris O retunes the conversation to the logistics of the long-distance touring that followed. ‘There’s a sense of unreality’ he says thoughtfully. ‘It’s a kind of situation where your head tends to become detached from reality. And when you come back from touring you get this continuing sensation of movement. It’s an absolutely physical sensation that you want to keep moving. You know, when you’re used to climbing into a vehicle and taking all your things with you every night…’

Dave: ‘It is like you’re living off nervous energy, and then – when you come home, you’re expected to switch it off, and you can’t do it. Its impossible.’

Chris O: ‘So you end up going out and just walking around compulsively, or driving vehicles all night aimlessly.’

‘We did three months of touring, and we were living LIKE THAT!’ Chris Reed sums it up with the moral. ‘And then we come back here, to Leeds, and we exist on a subsidence level. But THIS IS REALITY. This is how we live, and we respect that. It’s very important to keep our feet firmly on the ground and not lose sight of living day-to-day – rather than living in some complete bubble, some sort of cloud, which is the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll!’

In a fragmented Indie scene, with long-term Market Leaders either breaking up (The Smiths), or signing to majors (Cabaret Voltaire), RLYL continue to disseminate their edgy sonic violence, their zipgun guitars and gut-whacking thermo-emotional vinyl assaults through Independents – despite label hopping. So can we still look to the Indies for inspiration thus far into the terminal end of the eighties? When it’s as intense and committed as Red Lorry Yellow Lorry we can.

As the interview-tape winds down, Dave smiles a slow-motion drawling smile. ‘We’ve not really talked about music all that much, have we?’

‘What kind of guitar-strings do you use, Dave?’ cuts in Chris O like a perfect punch-line…

‘…a Rock band who have forgotten the rules.
This can only be a good thing…’ 
 (‘Melody Maker’, 17 December 1983)


Red Lorry Yellow Lorry are a band with Leeds written all over it. 
 Is that a bad thing? Andrew Darlington discusses the 
implications with the band in a 1986 interview…

From Leeds – to the pleasure centres of your mind.

‘Did you ever see the Bear Pits?’ enquires a Lorry. ‘There’s actually some REAL Bear Pits up Cardigan Road. Somebody was telling us ‘did you know that the whole of Leeds’ Hyde Park used to be a zoo?’ I thought he was joking. It’s like one of those useless little-known facts. DID YOU KNOW…? But it’s true. There’s still the actual pits they put the bears in.’

Dave Wolfenden, dark stubble, dark shades, dark Bebop berry leans across at me. Shows me the contact sheet of promo photos. He’s there in flat shades on monochrome, in the Bear Pits. He’s just to the right of vocalist Chris Reed who’s in regulation pale studio tan. Blonde drummer Chris Oldroyd and Leon Philips – in-group bassist, are stood just behind them, all neatly caged behind rusty bars.

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry are full of surprises. Did YOU ever see the Bear Pits?

I mean – I’d thought the scenario was all mapped out, ‘four gaunt guitarmen of the apocalypse’ with ‘a scorched-earth Pop vision to shock us out of our lethargy’ said ‘Record Mirror’ (16 August 1986), ‘tales of dark dislocation with a close, jerky energy’ from ‘Melody Maker’ (19 July 1986). It’s all there isn’t it? The ONLY problem I’d actually anticipated in interviewing Red Lorry Yellow Lorry was how to pronounce their tongue-twisting name in their presence without garbling Yerrow Lollies and the like. I practice beforehand in front of mirrors, and – by speaking it slowly one word at a time I’d about perfected it to rights. But while they settle any potential awkwardness immediately by referring to themselves exclusively as ‘the Lorries’ (or in print ‘RLYL’), they then muddy the picture further by their resolute refusal to fit the frame they’ve been assigned by my pre-digested press expectations.

Chris Reed hefts the inky tabloids, ‘did you see that review we got for the single from ‘New Musical Express’?’

‘Yeah, I just read it’ from Dave, none-too enthusiastically.

‘It’s ACTUALLY pretty good’ ventures Reed, ‘isn’t it? – for the ‘NME’!’

Chris Oldroyd talks it round further. ‘It’s not actually a slating, is it?’

I glance through the William Leith prose about the current “Cut Down” 45rpm, ‘suicide play’ it begins, ‘decked out in full regalia, creepy-crawly insect-bass, nasty guitar with slight feedback, rangeless gruff voice…’ (‘NME’, 1 November 1986), so far, so – not BAD!

‘But then they say – right at the end of it ‘THIS ONE HAS LEEDS WRITTEN ALL OVER IT’!’

Which is odd. Is there a recognisable ‘Leeds Sound’, like there’s a Sheffield sound or there was a Liverpool sound? Does Leeds have the same tightly-knit, mutually supportive scene, where musicians interact, like they’re supposed to do in Sheffield? Or is the scene something that’s more apparent to those outside looking in?

‘Probably he just meant the toughness, the abrasiveness of the music’ hazards Dave. ‘But in a way, what happens is that a band seem to get to a certain level of success here, and then move down to London, so it’s not really a Leeds scene. There used to be a scene – around when John Keenan’s old ‘F-Club’ was open. It was kinda like a focussing point for everybody to meet, people just getting together to have a drink and a laugh. Competing all the time. It was a lot friendlier then. There’s not as much of that kinda rivalry and incestuousness now.’

‘I think that’s something we don’t really want to enter into though’ censures Chris R quickly. ‘You see, we don’t want to enter into being competitive with other bands. That’s probably the difference between somewhere like Sheffield – as you put it, where maybe people ARE less competitive towards each other and they WILL actually genuinely try and help each other out. Whereas here there does tend to be a lot of rivalry which is a thing we don’t really want to enter into, as a band.’ His low sigh breaks into one of his rare smiles. ‘Somebody put it to us the other day that we’re… sorta, the biggest band in Leeds – because everyone else, like the Mission, are now basically based in London!’

Leeds is diverse. It’s Mekons, Gang of Four, Sisters Of Mercy, Sinister Cleaners, Rose of Avalanche, Three Johns, March Violets, Prowlers, etc etc – very little common denominator there, as – for eg, Kraftwerk /electro-Industrial was for Sheffield. They have their own ‘otherness’, but surely it CAN help to be seen as part of a ‘scene’. A promotable image package, even if – in reality, it’s more fiction than reality? ‘Y-e-e-e-e-s,’ he seems none too sure, ‘It probably is a fiction, but a lot of people come and stay with us, y’know – from America and Europe. We meet them on tour and they all say ‘can we ‘ave your address, we really want to come over and stay in Leeds, we really want to meet all these people in Leeds where this great scene’s happening.’ So THEY believe it exists.’

‘There was a guy who came over from Holland a while ago’ relates Dave. ‘He liked the Leeds ‘scene’ so much that he booked some time in a studio here, just to go in and make a record. He thought it would give him the ‘Leeds Sound’ (whatever THAT is!), and that’d solve all his problems. But even the studio he booked into was one that NONE of the Leeds bands had ever set foot in! Har Har Har!’

From Leeds – to the pleasure centres of your mind. Formed by Chris Reed in July 1982 the first Red Lorry Yellow Lorry single – and first Indie chart entry, was the modestly packaged seven-inch “Beating My Head” c/w “I’m Still Waiting”, a cavernous post-Punk sound informed by Joy Division bleakness, enlivened by token promo in the form of two free badges, one of an oncoming left-forking Red Lorry, the other of a right-forking Yellow Lorry. ‘I’ll go anywhere, I’ll go anytime, Beating my head, Beating my drum…’ I’ve still got my badges!

They played a near-residency at ‘Raffles’ – a small upstairs club in Wakefield. ‘We started playing there when they first thought of putting bands on. They didn’t even have a proper stage, we had to build our own stage, then dismantle it after the gig AND take it home with us! It was a nightmare in logistics setting it up, y’know. It was TOTALLY impractical. So we tried to sell our stage to the bloke who owned the Club. He’d say ‘I really ought to buy that stage off you,’ but then by the end of the night he’d change his mind again. We were so fed up of moving the fucking thing that eventually we just left it there. So he got himself a free stage…’

From that point, with minimal hype and flash, relying instead on a strong group integrity allied to the chemistry of solid live performance work, the Lorries’ profile gradient scored a strong ascent clear up to their breakthrough ‘Paint Your Wagon’ (1986) album. It proved their defining moment to date, all murkily numbing guitar drone, guttural throbbing industrial-dance drums and claustrophobic low-mix vocals, with odd allusions to the American old west. ‘I joined the group about then, in time for that LP’ remembers Chris O (replacing original percussionist Mick Brown). ‘That’s the first time the Lorries had ever actually used a full drum-kit, before that – ever since the beginning of the band, they’d used a drum machine with a stand-up percussion set-up. Now, with drum-kit AND drum machine, it’s like having two drummers in a way, it tends to harden up the rhythm. Keeps them very very minimal, so it’s like being on a train that you can’t get off.’

The success of ‘Paint Your Wagon’ led to prestige European dates and ball-busting American tours (‘they think of us being like an English Hüsker Dü, high energy raucous music’), selling out New York’s ‘Danceteria Club’ twice in the same week. All achieved through creativity over gigantesque overstatement or brazen-hussy cartoon-Rockist postures. A vindication for what the old Fabian party used to call ‘the inevitability of gradualism’? ‘We’d rather play to six-hundred people who appreciate and understand the essence of what we’re trying to do, than six-thousand people who are just there hero-worshipping.’ No bombast or outrageous claims either. Asked ‘is there a favourite RLYR track where you’ve achieved all you set out to do?’ Reed answers disarmingly ‘I think we should think that we’ve NEVER achieved it.’

He speaks carefully, each assertion hedged in with a qualifying ‘I think’, ‘in my opinion’ or ‘what is important to me.’

‘Each record we do is kind of our favourite record’ he explains, ‘because it means we’re getting a little bit nearer to finding the nucleus, to understanding how we want to project the music, really. But we’re never so smugly self-satisfied to say that we can’t improve upon it. Each time we make a record it’s got to be – certainly for us, a step on. A lot of the last album – ‘Paint Your Wagon’, was actually influenced by spending two weeks living in New York, and the intensity we’re trying to project on the record is a similar intensity to living in a place like New York. We did an interview with ‘Radio Luxembourg’ the other week and the guy was saying ‘what do you think about New York, some people say it’s like hell on Earth?’ And we said ‘yes, that’s a really good analogy of what New York is like.’ Its years ahead of what’s likely to happen in so many other places around the world. It’s just a VERY intense place, where – if people see someone lying in the street they won’t do anything for them, they’ll just completely turn a blind eye, it’s ‘look, I’ve got enough problems at the moment, thank you very much, you’ll have to stay there…’

That happens in Leeds. ‘But to a lesser extent.’

‘In New York there’s a real tension to the place’ adds Dave. ‘And conflict. Which gives it a spark, a vibrancy. Although the fact we’re all aged around thirty tends to help, because whereas a lot of younger people’d think, y’know – we might be in New York for two nights, let’s do EVERYTHING that New York can possibly offer in those two nights. But we wouldn’t do that to that extent…’ A pause, ‘well – we would, but we’d do it more intelligently!’

No Rawk ‘n’ Rolling life-style? No sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ boogie all night – from the band who recorded classic psycho-stormers like “Mescal Dance” – an imagey instrumental, and “Head On Fire”?

Chris R: ‘To some extent that’s from having done it all already, and come out the other side.’

Chris O: ‘Yeah, we’ve been through the mincer. There’s a sense of unreality when you’re touring. It’s the kind of situation where your head tends to become detached from reality. People are patting you on the back all the time telling you how good you are, until eventually you start to get used to it. You’ve got an unreal amount of money for food and unlimited drinks, and you’re staying in huge hotels – in America, one hotel we stayed in was just UNBELIEVABLE. You can’t focus your mind at all.’

Chris R: ‘You can imagine how confusing it is for us to experience things like that, then come back here – to Leeds, and exist on a subsistence level.’

Chris O: ‘When you come back…’

Chris R: ‘…it’s confusing sometimes.’

Chris O: ‘Yeh it is. When you come back…’

David W: ‘ turns your metabolism upside down’

Chris O: ‘Yes, it does. When you come back from touring you get this sensation of movement. It’s absolutely a physical sensation that you want to keep moving. You know, when you’re used to climbing into a vehicle and taking all your things with you…’

David H: ‘It’s like living off nervous energy, and then – when you come home, you’re expected to just switch it off, and you can’t do that. In fact, it’s impossible.’

Chris O: ‘So you end up going out and just walking round compulsively, or driving vehicles all night aimlessly.’

David W: ‘Is that how you overturned your van? Har Har Har!’

And the UP-side to touring? ‘We were in Italy towards the end of May – we did six or seven dates there which were EXCELLENT, they were smashing audiences. In northern Italy they told us we’re selling a lot of records over the border in the northern parts of (what was then) Yugoslavia too, but obviously it’s a lot more difficult to play there. But I enjoyed Italy, I like the country.’

‘Some girls came to see us in Italy, and they baked us a cake’ adds Dave, obviously impressed. ‘Even the response of the press is better over there’ continues Chris O.

‘Even if they don’t really LIKE YOU they WILL report what you’ve done fairly. While some of the things we’ve had in England have been just vitriolic and personal. I don’t know why they bother doing it. There’s a pessimistic sort of atmosphere to this country. It goes along with the economic climate! That we’re on the way down and everything’s got to be UUURRRGGGHHH!!!’

‘Being able to travel is a great thing’ from Reed. ‘It’s a privilege really, to be able to do it.’

The doorbell chimes in the background.

Chris Reed gets up to make the coffee. ‘Did you say ‘no sugar’?’

From Leeds – to the pleasure centres of your mind.

DID YOU KNOW that the Fish Finger was first commercially marketed over thirty years ago – 1955, which makes it about as old, and as exciting as most Rock Music? Convenience food, and convenience sounds quick-frozen and served to taste. But RLYR resolutely and deliberately refuse to fit the frame of anyone’s expectations, be it their press critics – or their Leeds ‘scene’ contemporaries. So can we still look to the Indies for inspiration thus far into the terminal end of the eighties? When it’s as intense and committed as Red Lorry Yellow Lorry we can.

Chris Reed winds down with the moral. ‘Something that we’re very conscious of being vitally important to us is – as we were saying before, when we did this three months of touring, we were living LIKE THAT, and then we’re coming back and suddenly finding ourselves – stationary… y’know. But THIS IS REALITY, this is how we live, and we respect that. It’s very very important to keep our feet firmly on the ground, and not lose sight of living from day to day – rather than living in some complete BUBBLE, some sort of cloud, which is the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll.’

From Leeds…


1982 September – “Beating My Head” c/w “I’m Still Waiting” (Red Rhino RED20) Formed in 1981 by Chris Reed (ex Radio Id) with vocalist Mark Sweeney (ex Knife-Edge), bassist Steve Smith and Mick Brown (percussion). Sweeny quit late 1981, leaving Reed to assume vocals, Martin Fagan joining as second guitar. This first single is lifted directly off their demo tape, relentless machine-drums, feuding guitars

1983 April – “Take It All” c/w “Happy” (Red Rhino RED28) written by Chris Reed. Fagan and Smith are replaced by Dave Wolfenden (guitar) and Paul Southern (bass) for this single

1983 October – “He’s Read” c/w “See The Fire” (Red Rhino RED39) both written by Chris Reed

1984 March – ‘This Today’ (EP, Red Rhino RED48) with ‘Beating My Head’ (re-recording), ‘He’s Read’, ‘Take It All’, ‘See The Fire’, the sleeve reproduces Edvard Munch ‘The Scream’

1984 June – “Monkeys On Juice” c/w “Push” (Red Rhino RED49) + “Silence” on 12” edition, writers Reed-Wolfenden c/w Reed, reaches no.9 on ‘NME’ Indie chart. RLYR do two Radio One John Peel sessions in March and November of 1983

1984 October – “Hollow Eyes” c/w “Feel A Piece” (Red Rhino RED52) + “Russia” on 12” edition. Writers Reed c/w Reed-Wolfenden. Reaches no.7 on ‘NME’ Indie chart

1985 – “Chance (Extended)” c/w “Generation” (RED55) Reed c/w Reed-Wolfenden

1985 – ‘TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER’ (LP, Red Rhino REDLP50) with Chris Reed (vocals, guitar, main songwriter), David Wolfenden (guitar), Paul Southern (bass), Mick Brown (drums), includes ‘Talk About The Weather’, ‘Hand On Heart’ (Reed-Wolfenden), ‘Feel A Piece’, ‘Hollow Eyes’, ‘This Today’ (Reed-Wolfenden), ‘Sometimes’, ‘Strange Dream’, ‘Happy’. Recorded at ‘Spaceward Studio’, Ely, Cambridgeshire. Sleeve notes by Alex Ogg. Reaches no.3 on ‘NME’ Indie album chart

1985 October – “Spinning Round” c/w “Hold Yourself Down” (RED60), plus “Spinning Round (Crash Mix)” on the 12” edition. Written by Chris Reed. Peaks at no.11 on ‘NME’ Indie chart

1986 – “Walking On Your Hands” c/w “Which Side” (Red Rhino RED66), plus “Jipp (Instrumental)” on the 12” edition. Written by Reed-Wolfenden

1986 February – ‘PAINT YOUR WAGON’ (LP, Red Rhino) with Chris Reed (vocals, guitar), David Wolfenden (guitar), Leon Phillips (bass), Chris Oldroyd (drums). All songs by Reed-Wolfenden, includes ‘Walking On Your Hands’, ‘Jipp’, ‘Last Train’, ‘Mescal Dance’ (instrumental), ‘Shout At The Sky’, ‘Which Side’, ‘Blitz’ (instrumental), plus written by Reed only ‘Head All Fire’, ‘Tear Me Up’ and ‘Save My Soul’. Early copies include bonus 7” single “Paint Your Wagon” c/w “More Jipp” (Red Rhino REDF65)

1986 November – “Cut Down” c/w “Running Fever” (Red Rhino RED73), plus “Pushed Me” on the 12” edition. ‘Cut Down’ by Chris Reed, two others by Reed-Wolfenden-Phillips. Management at the time of these interviews was ‘DNA’, Dave Hall at 3 Hessle Terrace, Leeds

1987 – ‘Crawling Mantra’ (12” EP, Red Rhino REDT52) recorded and released as by ‘The Lorries’, with ‘Crawling Mantra’, ‘All The Same’, ‘Hang Man’ and live ‘Shout At The Sky’ from Detroit

1987 –‘SMASHED HITS’ (compilation LP, Red Rhino REDLP86) with, ‘Take It All’, ‘He’s Read’, ‘Hollow Eyes’, ‘Monkeys On Juice’, ‘Generation’, ‘Hold Yourself Down’, ‘Cut Down’. ‘Q’ magazine says ‘from the nihilist, Eldritch-inspired debut ‘Beating My Head’ to the bonus tracks… most of these songs are just formula industrial-goth – bass lines like the growling of the Devil’s belly, vocals which sound like bass lines, a drummer who sounds like a drum-machine, shoutalong choruses with unhappy lyrics. But they did have their moments, particularly the manic ‘Spinning Round’, the Doors-gone-techno ‘Chance’, and ‘More Jipp’ – which pre-empted the Fall’s electronic phase by five years’ (Sam Taylor, September 1995)

1988 – “Open Up” c/w “Another Side” (Situation Two SIT49), plus “You Only Get What You Pay For” on 12” edition. By Reed, ‘Open Up’ with Wolfenden-Phillips. ‘NME’ Single of the Week

1988 – “Nothing Wrong” c/w “Do You Understand” (Situation Two SIT50), plus “Calling” on 12” edition, by Reed-Wolfenden-Phillips

1988 – ‘NOTHING WRONG’ (LP, Situation Two SITU20, Beggars Banquet), with Chris Reed (vocals, guitar, keyboards), David ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden (guitar), Leon Phillips (bass, keyboards), track listing ‘Nothing Wrong’, ‘Hands Off Me’, ‘Big Stick’, ‘She Said’, ‘Sayonara’, ‘World Around’, ‘Hard – Away’, ‘Only Dreaming’, ‘Do You Understand?’, ‘Never Know’, ‘Pushing On’, ‘Time Is Tight’ (cover of Booker T & MG’s). Produced by Bill Buchanan

1988 September – “Only Dreaming (Wide Awake)” c/w “The Rise” (Situation Two SIT 54), plus “Only Dreaming (3:43-min edit)” on 12” edition

1989 – ‘BLOW’ (LP, Situation Two SITU25) with Mark Chillington replacing Chris Oldroyd, plus guests Jilly Myhill (backing vocals), Steve Hagarth (keyboards) and Dick Adland (drums). Includes ‘Happy To See Me’, ‘Temptation’, ‘Shine A Light’, ‘Too Many Colours’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Gift That Shines’, ‘In A World’, ‘You Are Everything’, ‘West Wakes Up’, ‘It Was Wrong’, ‘Blow’. After the release of the album Leon Phillips is replaced by Gary Weight, while Chillington is replaced by George Shulz

1989 – “Temptation” c/w “Don’t Know Why” (Situation Two SIT60), plus “Blow” on 12” edition. ‘Temptation’ by Wolfenden, ‘Don’t Know Why’ by Reed

1991 – “Talking Back” (Deathwish Office MLP20694) 12” only, with “Talking Back (3:45-min edit)” and “Running Fever (Live)”

1991 – ‘BLASTING OFF’ (LP, Deathwish Office CD23556, Sparkhead), with Chris Reed (vocals, guitar, keyboards and production) plus Gary Weight (bass), George Schultz (percussion), and beatbox ‘Korky’ (and guests Martin Scott, guitar on ‘Train Of Hope’ and Sam Bell, percussion on ‘Talking Back’), track listing ‘This Is Energy’, ‘It’s On Fire’, ‘Don’t Think About It’, ‘Train Of Hope’, ‘Talking Back’, ‘Down On Ice’, ‘In My Mind’, ‘Sea Of Tears’, ‘I Can See Stars’, ‘Driving Me’ after which Red Lorry Yellow Lorry cease to exist, to be revived by Chris Reed in 2004

1994 – ‘THE SINGLES 1982-1987’ (compilation LP, Cherry Red CDMRED109), twenty-six tracks includes all of ‘Smashed Hits’ plus ‘I’m Still Waiting’, ‘Shout At The Sky’, ‘Crawling Mantra, ‘Spinning Round’ etc

1994 – ‘GENERATION’ (compilation LP, Cleopatra CLEO9404-2)

1995 – ‘GOTHIC ROCK Vol.2: EIGHTIES INTO NINETIES’ (Cleopatra Records) multi-artist collection includes ‘Monkeys On Juice’ plus tracks by Bauhaus, Theatre Of Hate, Southern Death Cult etc

2000 – ‘THE VERY BEST OF’ (compilation LP, Cherry Red CDMRED167)

2001 – ‘NOTHING WRONG /BLOW’ (LP, Anagram CDMGOTH11)

2004 – ‘Black Tracks’ (Not On Label, self-released) with “Worlds Collide”, “I Need Time”, “The Only Language” and “Driving Black”

2006 – ‘MINIMAL ANIMAL’ (LP) despite renewed group tours and website downloads, this acoustic album is issued as by the Chris Reed Unit

 Published in:
(‘From Leeds…’ UK – February 1987)
‘B-SIDE no.3’
(‘Angels Of Anarchy…’ USA – May 1987)
‘BUZZ no.34’ 
(‘Two Weeks In Another…’ USA – September 1988)

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