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 JAMES (Alternative Rock/Britpop)

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Number of posts : 172
Registration date : 31/05/2008

MesajSubiect: JAMES (Alternative Rock/Britpop)   Sam Mai 31, 2008 4:11 pm

Origin: Manchester, UK
Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Britpop, Psychedelic Rock
Years active: 1981-2001; 2007-present


James is a rock band from Manchester, England, formed in 1981. After an uphill struggle throughout the 1980s, they went on to become one of the most consistently successful acts of the 1990s, scoring a string of hit singles during the decade including "Sit Down" and "Laid". Following the departure of lead singer Tim Booth in 2001, the band became inactive, although no split was ever officially confirmed. In January 2007, the group reformed for a nationwide tour and a new album, Hey Ma, was released in 2008, alongside the single "Whiteboy".

Tim Booth
Jim Glennie
Larry Gott
David Baynton-Power
Saul Davies
Mark Hunter
Andy Diagram

Former members:
Adrian Oxaal
Paul Gilbertson
Gavan Whelan
Michael Kulas


Studio Albums:
* 1986 Stutter (UK #68)
* 1988 Strip-mine (UK #90)
* 1990 Gold Mother (UK #2)
* 1992 Seven (UK #2)
* 1993 Laid (UK #3, US #72)
* 1994 Wah Wah (UK #11)
* 1997 Whiplash (UK #9, US #158)
* 1999 Millionaires (UK #2)
* 2001 Pleased to Meet You (UK #11)
* 2008 Hey Ma (UK #10)

Live Albums:
* 1989 One Man Clapping
* 2002 Getting Away With It... Live (UK #102)

* 1991 James
* 1998 The Best Of (UK #1)
* 2001 B-Sides Ultra
* 2004 The Collection (UK #43)
* 2007 Fresh as a Daisy - The Singles (UK#12)

Ultima editare efectuata de catre slapper in Sam Mai 31, 2008 4:12 pm, editata de 1 ori
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Number of posts : 172
Registration date : 31/05/2008

MesajSubiect: Re: JAMES (Alternative Rock/Britpop)   Sam Mai 31, 2008 4:11 pm

James was formed in 1982 in Whalley Range, Manchester, when music enthusiast Paul Gilbertson, inspired by the post-punk bands of the era, convinced his best friend Jim Glennie to buy a bass guitar and form a band with him. Rehearsing regularly in Glennie's bedroom with whatever other musicians were available, their line-up solidified with the acquisition of Gavan Whelan on drums, whose erratic, frenetic and almost tribal drum sound gave their music a distinctive edge against Gilbertson and Glennie’s raw, untutored guitar and bass styles. They played a string of gigs under the names Venereal and The Diseases and, later, Volume Distortion (note the initials), before settling on the name of Model Team International, then shortened to Model Team.

They performed mostly spontaneous, purely improvised material derived from jam sessions, supporting The Fall at an early gig. Vocalists and other musicians drifted rapidly in and out of their line-up, until the band encountered Tim Booth at a student disco they had sneaked into. Intrigued by Booth’s wild, Whirling Dervish-like dancing style, Gilbertson invited him to the band’s Scout hut in Withington to join the band as a dancer. After accepting the invitation, Booth was quickly promoted to lead vocals as well as lyricist.

The contrast of well-spoken drama student and ruffians from Withington may have seemed a strange one, but it worked, imbuing the band’s raw, primitive sound with an artistic sensibility. After a brief period under the name Tribal Outlook, the band renamed themselves James in August 1982, following Gilbertson’s idea to name themselves after one of the band members. The name came from Jim Glennie. The other members' names were rejected - Gavan was "too heavy metal", while Paul was “too modest” to put his own name forward and Tim was concerned about accusations of egomania that might be associated with a band being named for the lead singer. James was, however, declared "amorphous enough" to summarize what the band was about. The band instantly knew that people would make the mistake of thinking their name represented one person, and played upon this by having Tim walk on stage alone at the beginning of one gig and reading a poem to trick the audience into thinking they had been conned into watching a poet. (Maconie, 2000).

The band became more and more prolific, operating on Gilbertson’s principles of concentrating on their own individual sound, rejecting anything that sounded like any other band, and never being afraid to take risks. A gig at The Haçienda caught the attention of Tony Wilson of Factory Records. He offered James an album deal with Factory, but the band, by now excelling as a live act, was worried about tarnishing their material in the studio and settled instead for a three-track EP. Their debut release, the Jimone EP, was recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, in August 1983 and released on Factory Records in November. It was named single of the week by major music papers in the UK, and led to a tour supporting The Smiths.

Although they were now being touted as the 'next big thing', several complex issues slowed their progress. As well as their suspicion of Factory, Paul Gilbertson’s drug problems were causing his playing style to slacken and, despite having been their driving force, the band had no choice but to ask him to leave. Also, Booth and Glennie’s search for spiritual meaning had led them to join a sect named Lifewave, which imposed many restrictions which threatened the band’s stability. The band’s second EP, James II, was released over a year after the first and accompanied by a feature on the cover of the NME, Gilbertson having been replaced by the band’s guitar tutor Larry Gott. (The first two EPs would later be collected as Village Fire.) Reviews were once again positive, and Factory was eager for James to record an album with it, but the band mistakenly believed Factory was purely image-based and left the label, striking a deal with Sire Records that would cost them dearly.

Their third release, the Sit Down EP (no relation to the song of that name) came out in March 1986, and was followed by their debut album, Stutter in June of that year. Although a powerful debut, reviews were generally lacklustre, the press having lost interest in James due to their slow progress, and the record company quickly lost faith in the band, the album making only number 68 in the UK chart. Low on money and lacking coverage and promotion, the band recorded their second album, Strip-mine under awkward circumstances, attempting a more conventional song structure in a desperate attempt to please Sire. The album almost went unreleased, but after undergoing a slight remix to sound more radio-friendly, Sire finally relented and released the album in September 1988, over a year after it had been initially completed. However, Sire was unwilling to invest in any kind of promotion, and the album reached only number 90. After finding a clause for escape in their contract, the band left Sire. Lacking both a deal and press coverage, they faced financial hardship. Desperate for money, the band members were driven to the extreme of participating as human guinea pigs in medical experiments at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, earning them a place on a TV documentary about the desperation of fallen rock stars.

However, all was not lost. James had by this point earned themselves a reputation as a solid live act due to the powerful and ritual-like feel of their live performances. They had built a solid fanbase, which was expanding via word of mouth, earning them the tag of ‘Manchester’s best kept secret’. Sales of James t-shirts skyrocketed, and James t-shirts were a common sight in Manchester even before they reached the top 40 (it was even joked that they sold more t-shirts than records). With a loan from a kindly bank manager, James financed the production of a live album, One Man Clapping, with the help of Rough Trade Records. The album went to #1 in the indie charts, reinvigorating media interest in the band.

In November 1988, drummer Whelan became involved in an on-stage fight with Tim Booth and was asked to leave the band. He was replaced by David Baynton-Power a few months later. With the loss of Whelan’s distinctive drum sound, the band realized they would have to recruit new musicians to rejuvenate their sound, and during the following year they hired three new members in the forms of Saul Davies (guitar, violin, percussion), Mark Hunter (keyboards) and Andy Diagram (trumpet, percussion). The new seven-piece line-up went into the studio to record their third studio album, and new singles “Sit Down” and “Come Home” became strong hits in the independent charts. The album, Gold Mother, was intended to be released on Rough Trade but the owner of the label, Geoff Travis, believed James could only reach an audience of 20,000 to 30,000. The band believed they had more potential than this and bought the rights to the album from Rough Trade. A successful winter tour in 1989 attracted a deal with Fontana Records, and the band ended a difficult decade on an optimistic note.

Gold Mother was released in June 1990, just as the ‘Madchester’ movement, with its wave of popular Manchester-based indie bands, focused public attention on James and won them mainstream recognition. Singles “How Was It For You”, the remixed “Come Home” and “Lose Control” all made the top 40, and the band’s newfound success was re-affirmed when they played two sell-out dates at the Manchester G-Mex at the end of the year, without even having had a major hit yet. Their biggest beakthrough to date was still to come but in March 1991, when the popularity of “Sit Down” led to a re-recorded version being released as a single, and shot to #2 in the UK singles chart, only kept off the #1 spot by Chesney Hawkes' "The One And Only". Gold Mother was re-released to include "Sit Down" and previous single "Lose Control", and the album sold ten times more copies than Geoff Travis originally predicted. The song became one of the biggest-selling singles of the year, making James a household name; it has remained ingrained in the minds of the British public to the present day. Also in 1991, the band performed a cover of Leonard Cohen's "So Long Marianne" on a tribute album called I'm Your Fan.

The band spent the rest of the year recording their next album, Seven, which was finally released in February 1992, showcasing an expansion of the band’s newfound seven-piece sound to epic, arena-rock proportions. It reached #2 in the UK album charts and earned the band some recognition in the US as they embarked on their first Stateside tour. The band’s activities culminated in a sell-out show to 30,000 people at the Alton Towers theme park in July, broadcast live on BBC Radio 1. However, despite their success, media response to the band had become negative once more; critics viewed the large-scale sound of Seven as overblown and pompous, and made comparisons with the perceived excesses of Simple Minds. Although the band knew that these criticisms were overly harsh, they felt they needed to return to their acoustic roots to rediscover their sound. Conveniently, they were invited on an acoustic tour of the US supporting Neil Young at a series of natural outdoor venues in the autumn of that year. They returned to England refreshed and ready to record their new album, with Brian Eno (whom they had originally approached to produce Stutter, but who had been unavailable at the time).

Eno, impressed by the band’s penchant for improvisation and spontaneous jams, set about bringing out the ambience in James’ music, and took them through a recording process that the band later described as a "journey of self-discovery". The process resulted in not one but two albums: the 'song' album, Laid, and the experimental Wah Wah, which showcased the band’s improvised jams recorded on the spot, then mixed by Eno. Booth's vocals were then added to the results.
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MesajSubiect: Re: JAMES (Alternative Rock/Britpop)   Sam Mai 31, 2008 4:12 pm

Laid was released in September 1993 to positive reviews. Fans and critics alike were impressed by the album’s more ambient, stripped-down sound, and it was immediately regarded as their best work yet. Gone also was the trumpet sound of Andy Diagram, who decided to leave the band before the recording sessions. As well as being a success in the UK, the album also broke the band in the US, shipping over 600,000 copies despite only charting at #68, propelled by the immense popularity of its risqué title track on US student radio. The song Laid has become a staple live cover of the American band Better than Ezra, which segues directly into the song from their own single "Rosalia." The band spent most of 1994 touring the States. Wah Wah was eventually released in September 1994 to a lukewarm reception. The gap between the release of the two albums caused Wah Wah to be treated purely as a new James album rather than a companion piece to Laid, and many were therefore confused by the album’s experimental style and its dabblings with electronics and techno.

The band was set to begin work on a follow-up album, but a bombshell struck on a day in November 1995 which the band came to refer to as ‘Black Thursday’. Exhausted from the pressures of touring, Larry Gott announced he was going to leave James, which seriously dented the confidence of the band. The situation was made worse by manager Martine also quitting, the discovery of a £250,000 tax bill, and an announcement by Booth that he would take a break from James to record an album with Angelo Badalamenti. However, the band refused to give in easily. Forced to abandon their tradition of full-band jams, they set up studio in David Baynton-Power’s house and embarked on the recording of a new album. Adrian Oxaal was drafted in to replace Gott on guitar, while Booth returned periodically from the States to add his vocals. 1996 saw the release of Booth’s album with Badalamenti, Booth and the Bad Angel, and the new James album, Whiplash, was finally released in February 1997. The album proved a successful comeback, reaching the UK top 10 as did the single “She’s A Star”. Both appealed to fans of the post-Britpop wave of alternative music, and brought the band back into the public eye. Stylistically, the album combined several radio-friendly ‘pop’ singles with a generally experimental bulk of techno-influenced stylings derived from the experiments on Wah Wah, which evoked a mixed reaction from both fans and critics.

The band toured to promote the album, recruiting new member Michael Kulas while in the States, on rhythm guitar. However, touring was far from easy - Booth suffered a neck injury while dancing on stage in the US, resulting in a series of tour dates being cancelled as he underwent emergency surgery, and the band being offered a place instead on the Lollapalooza tour on which they were severely out of place among the heavy rock acts of the tour. To add insult to injury, tensions were brewing between Booth and Glennie over money issues, culminating in a full-blown row which caused a near-rift between the two of them for almost a year and resulted in an awkward working relationship for the whole band.

In March 1998, a greatest hits album, The Best Of, was released, compiling all the band’s hits since their signing to Fontana, ignoring the Sire years and serving as a reminder of how many hits the band had scored throughout the decade to a public who knew them mainly for “Sit Down”. The album shot to #1 in the UK album charts and brought the band their biggest wave of success since the start of the decade, and their success and longevity was celebrated in sell-out tours throughout the year. However, the band’s internal situation was less pleasurable - the tension between Booth and Glennie had heightened, and a meeting was called with the band’s manager Peter Rudge to mediate the situation. With the tension finally resolved, the band returned to the studio to begin work on their next album, Millionaires.

The recording process was slow, but the album was eventually released in October 1999. Hyped to be their most successful album yet, the album received mostly positive reviews from the press. However, the reaction from fans was, for once, less enthusiastic. The album noticeably indicated that the band had abandoned their spontaneous, fluid style and jamming techniques for a more conventional approach to song-making, and some fans felt this caused the album to sound forced and lacking in the true James spirit that had characterized their previous work. Indeed, Saul Davies had spoken in the press of hoping to reach a more respectable peak among the mainstream acts of the time, and it was clear from sales that this was not to be - the album did not reach the phenomenal sales level predicted, its singles reached disappointingly low chart positions, but the album entered the chart at #2 and sold over 150,000 copies. Despite this, it seemed as though James’ latest wave of commercial success had reached its end.

After the disappointing performance of Millionaires the band chose to start anew in their approach to their next album. Working with Brian Eno once again, they spent most of 2000 recording the album, starting afresh as if this was their first album by writing the songs, then performing them live before actually recording them. They embarked on a small-scale tour in the autumn of that year on which their setlists consisted almost entirely of new material, feeling their songs had always reached their strongest levels and been honed into shape following their live reception. The album, Pleased To Meet You, was released in July 2001. The album's artwork featured a composite image of the faces of all the band members to create a new person - he was given the name 'James'. Stylistically the album was eclectic, combining elements of all the band’s previous albums to create a compound representation of James’ sound. With the media having lost interest once again, the album sadly received little promotion and was largely overlooked, reaching only #11, the lowest position for a James studio album since their signing to Fontana.

Shortly after its release, James reached the end of their contract, and Tim Booth announced he was leaving the band to concentrate on other projects of his own. They played a farewell tour of the UK at the end of the year, on which the loyalty of the band’s fanbase was once again re-affirmed, with exuberant responses prevalent throughout the whole tour. Their final hometown gig, at the Manchester Evening News arena on December 7th, was recorded for a live CD and DVD, Getting Away With It... Live. Past members Larry Gott and Andy Diagram rejoined them for the tour, and Brian Eno himself joined them onstage at their final gig at London’s Wembley Arena. The albums Gold Mother, Laid and Whiplash (each containing bonus tracks) were re-released by Mercury Records the following year, as well as a b-sides compilation entitled B-Sides Ultra.

Jim Glennie stated that James would continue despite the departure of Tim, having already had their fair share of setbacks. But Michael Kulas confirmed that he was told he wouldn't be needed in any future incarnation of James where Tim Booth wasn't the singer, and Saul Davies also confirmed his departure in two separate articles during 2002. Nothing new was heard from the band for the next five years.

A planned compilation of material from the band's Factory and Sire years was announced in 2001, but its release date was slowly pushed further and further back. Some mail-order companies listed it in 2002, but the album (named Strange Dancing) was never released. It had been suggested this compilation would include previously vinyl-only b-sides and maybe some unreleased songs from the eighties. A similar project also appeared in the listings of the on-line music retailer in early 2007, following the band's reformation. Titled "Lost Innocence" (the original working title of their debut 1986 LP "Stutter"), it was advertised as a three-CD set. No tracklisting or other information was announced, except that the set was due to be released through Rhino (a subsidiary of Warner Brothers/Sire). The album disappeared from's release schedules in October 2007. It is possible the release was withdrawn due to Warners UK discontinuation of its re-release programme (which had previously seen reissues from bands like the Wild Swans and Electrafixion) in summer 2007. The first two James albums, Stutter and Strip-mine, were however re-pressed in June 2007, but without any additional rarities.

Tim Booth established himself as a solo artist in 2004 with the release of his solo album Bone, co-written and produced by Lee Muddy Baker.

A new compilation album, The Collection was released in late 2004, and Seven - The Live Concert (a DVD version of a previously released video) in 2005. Neither of these releases had any record company promotion, or input from any band members.

An article in Q Magazine in March 2006 entitled "Where are they now?" seemingly confirmed the band's demise (Dave Baynton-Power referred to the band as having split in the article).

In January 2007, music magazine Filter cited an announcement on singer Tim Booth's personal website, saying that "Tim will be rejoining James in early 2007 for a series of live shows to be announced very soon." [1] At the same time, James' old website was replaced by a new domain holder at The site confirmed the line-up as that which recorded the album Laid: Booth, Gott, Glennie, Davies, Hunter and Baynton-Power. Booth confirmed in interviews that he became convinced to rejoin the band after meeting up with Glennie and Gott the previous November for a jamming session, out of which new songs were born.

The initial five dates of the tour were expanded to seven on the day tickets went on sale (26th January) due to high demand; the whole tour had sold out by close of business. The tour took place during late April 2007, and was followed later in the year by more live shows, including festival appearances at T in the Park and V Festival. The band also appeared at Summercase, Barcelona's top music concert in Spain during July 2007. Andy Diagram also rejoined the band as trumpet player during the festival tour. April saw the release of a new compilation album, Fresh As A Daisy - The Singles, accompanied by a DVD compilation of all the band's promo videos.

The new album Hey Ma was released on April 7th 2008, and a three-week tour to promote the album commenced on April 10th 2008.
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