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Greatest Bands Never to "Make It"

Discussion in 'music' started by RustyB, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. RustyB

    RustyB Registered Ginga

    Recently got turned on to New Model Army courtesy of a colleague who is an amateur muso and possesses impeccable taste in music. When Emily mentioned the Pixies as a fave, I knew we would get on just fine!

    NMA are one of those bands that are so damn good it's to believe they remain so low profile that it's taken this long for me to find them. Nelson's bass lines in particular, sublime. Ain't no justice.

    Hitherto my vote for best band...etc had to go to that wonderful bunch of Brisbanites the Go Betweens. Melodic alt rock, quirky rhythms, intelligent, pasionate, evocative lyrics...bah! who needs that!

    Sooo...makes one wonder how many other great bands are out there waiting for me to discover them. If you're a fan of any of the above or similar bands and have a secret unknown fave, you know what to do!
  2. coredump

    coredump Press <ALT-F4> to continue.

    After the fab "Sit Down" I would have thought that James were the new Simple Minds... didn't work out for some reason.
  3. Paul R

    Paul R pfm Member

    I saw a 'New Model Army' back in 1984ish. All I remember is the name...

  4. coredump

    coredump Press <ALT-F4> to continue.

    '51st State' by NMA is one of those cliche party songs in Germany... I liked 'Vagabonds' quite a lot.
  5. RustyB

    RustyB Registered Ginga

    Another not quite so belated discovery. Lyrically one of the smartest in the bizz. Actually I thought they were pretty big in the UK?
  6. smegger68

    smegger68 Mango Enthusiast

    I've been an NMA fan since '84 myself. I remember how after 51st State came out they were banned from touring in the states for having 'No Artistic Merit'. How pathetic. If the band couldn't write a tune or a lyric, how come the yanks got SO upset at them?

    Truth is, these guys are very, very good. I had the pleasure of meeting Justin Sullivan after a gig in Cambridge back in '87. He was sitting on the floor outside the dressing room, playing an acoustic guitar and singing just for the pleasure of it - this after an hour and a half of being on stage. I sat with him for 20 mins or so, and he couldn't have been nicer or more open.

    Their output since has been invariably excellent and they remain one of my favourite bands from a musical, lyrical and (not unimportantly) political point of view.

    OK, fanboy rant over! Other bands who have never had a high profile that deserve it? King's X. This rock trio are so damn talented it almost hurts! Also Steve Earle deserves more attention than he gets I reckon.
  7. Paul Mc

    Paul Mc pfm Member

    Why did all NMA fans wear black from head to toe? I'm afraid they were/are one of the worst groups I've ever heard and that is the reason they never made it.

    James, which I have no liking for either, were very successful for many years.
  8. Jez Quigley

    Jez Quigley Active Member

    Back in the early/mid '70s I rated 'Man' alongside my other favourites at the time - Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Pink Floyd etc and although they had some success it was modest and short lived. I have never understood why they didn't get the same glory. The upside is that I was able to see them many times in small venues rather than the stadiums.

    Check out C'mon from Back to the Future, Spunk Rock from Greasy Truckers and the Maximum Darkness and Be Good to Yourself albums.
  9. Mr Perceptive

    Mr Perceptive Perceptive Member

    Gregson and Collister

    Great Songwriting and Christine Collister, a voice to die for.

    Check out 'Mischief' and 'A Change in the Weather', laso Christine Collister's live album with a cracking version of 'Last Chance Texaco'.

    80's NWOBHM

    Two bands I loved in my youth, Diamond Head and Magnum. Had all the albums and saw them several times.

    Also Praying Mantis, did they release aything other than the single 'Captured City'??

    Free Offshots

    Crawler and Back Street Crawler, Free style music without the names!!

    Mr Perceptive
  10. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    There was a Canadian band called 1994 that were a bit like Heart. I bought two of their albums in Yanks record shop in Manchester in the 80's.
    I've always been a fan of Billy Squier, but he never really made an impact in the UK.
  11. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    I could never understand why Edinburgh's The Lost Soul Band never made it big, really big. Frustratingly, despite top-notch compositions and a great frontman in Gordon Graham, they fizzled out into obscurity in around 1994/5. Which is a real shame.

    The real story apparently involves the sad old script of "Band makes great demo, gets signed by dubious label, is never promoted properly, band falls out with label, legal departments ensure band is stuck in contractual limbo. The End."

    Which is a really big shame. If anyone ever encounters any Lost Soul Band vinyl, please let me know - I'll happily take it off your hands for decent money.

    's funny how my tips for the top always come to 'owt...

  12. Herbert Thumpy

    Herbert Thumpy pfm Member

    I'm afraid I never much cared for New Model Army, to put it mildly. The clogs didn't help either. I once saw Slade the Leveller (I think that's what he used to call himself!) and his wife Joolz perform a poetry/spoken word type evening thingy. It was bad. I cringed and in protest sat and read the Daily Mirror instead.

    The Go-Betweens, however, were a fantastic band. I believe they are still going. They reformed a while back and I recently bought 'The Friends of Rachel Worth' CD (from 2000). Nothing quite as good as the likes of 'Spring Rain' but still a really good record.

    Coming form New Zealand, I'm sure you are familiar with the Chills. They were brilliant but not many people over here knew of them. 'Pink Frost', 'Doledrums' etc. and the album 'Submarine Bells' is a classic.
  13. RustyB

    RustyB Registered Ginga

    Indeed the GB's (well, Rob and Grant) are still going; they recently released a follow-up to Rachel Worth, the name of which escapes me.

    I have for some reason always been drawn more to Australian music than NZ, the Triffids are another fave, also the Saints, and a little known outfit called Not Drowning, Waving.

    The Chills are great, Pink Frost a classic. The Muttonbirds have been consistently good.
  14. RichardH

    RichardH Bodging pleb

    Yes, I'll vote for the Triffids too - cracking band.

    On the subject of Man - are they still knocking around at all? My wife keeps saying how great they were, and would love to see them play again.
  15. DSCOTT

    DSCOTT pfm Member

    Some great bands mentioned here :

    The Saints
    The Go-Betweens
    The Chills

    How about RADIO BIRDMAN. I saw this wonderful band many times in 1977/78 here in Australia. I urge anyone into the Stooges\MC5\Velvets with a touch of Blue Oyster Cult and surf music to track down their "Radio's Appear" and "Living Eyes" albums or the excellent Sub-Pop compilation. My second favorite band of all time behind the Velvets.
  16. smegger68

    smegger68 Mango Enthusiast

    MAN still play every now and again (at least here in Cardiff). I think the last gig was about a year ago.
  17. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    Is this not perhaps a slightly odd definition of "not making it" here as arguably New Model Army and certainly the Go-Betweens and The Triffids were well known and widely respected bands who released a number of albums and sold a fair few copies. If you take them as a yardstick for non-success then we could be here for weeks.

    However I think you can make a good case for the wrong Triffids albums being feted as the disappointng "Calenture" was the one that got the big label treament and lots of publcity but their best studio album is "Born Sandy Devotional" and thier finest moments are the Peel sessions ("Life of Crime" and "Lonely Stretch" in particular, the Field of Glass EP and their masterpiece is the almost live "In The Pines" on which they effectively invented alt.country.

    The Chills were good but not great and after "Pink Frost" the fall off is very rapid. "Doledrums" is a bad record IMHO and never recoved fro the cringe making chorus ("In the doledrums on the dole" for gawds sake -- this is like VIth From band material).

    Sticking with the indie theme two names that occur to me are The Field Mice and Galaxie 500. Both woefully underappreciated IMHO.

    And of course the single most underrated band in the entire history of the universe is Half Man Half Biscuit for whom a large monument should be erected forthwith and a National Holiday declared in their honour. They currently have a new EP out called "Saucy Haulage Ballads" at the moment which is worth it for the line "Can you hear Talvin Singh" alone.

  18. Fretless Eric

    Fretless Eric Musketeer Bathos

    I loved this four piece, most of whom went on to other bands with greater success. They were great live with perfect 3 minute pop. I also have their first album in orange vinyl!

    Grand Hotel were also a local band that showed great promise and had a good first album but then went the "producer" and "session musician " route.

    Ah, youth.
  19. RichardH

    RichardH Bodging pleb

    Matthew - you're right re In the Pines - what a cracker.
  20. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld


    "Only One Life", "25 to 5", "One Soul Less" (so much better than the over produced version on Calenture), "Keep Your Eyes on the Hole" and the utterly sublime "Love & Affection" (first track I ever heard on an LP12) are some of my favourite songs ever by anyone.

    And the album was recorded on my birthday to boot.


    PS If anyone can play Love & Affection on the guitar I'd appreciate some hints as its defeated my attempts to work it out for nearly 20 years. (I don't have the best ear bvut can usually work most things out).

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