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Bio (based, as all other Names-material I've found, upon text by James Neiss in the liner-notes of 1990 release "Swimming + singles", see websites below)


Calcutta/Postcards :

56 sec. - 110 Kb.

1 min. 8 sec. - 134 Kb.
songs : m. Smordynia
Produced : Martin Hannett
Year : 1981
Record co. : Factory


The Names are a band who got noted as much for their record label and producer as for the actual quality of their cold-wave music in the early eighties.


The band came about as "The Passengers" (a name they abandoned just after their first release) in 1978, recruiting musicians from the student circles in Brussels. Their initial lineup included a female singer, and was geared towards the new wave & punk-scene that was reigning at the time. They won a talent contest and got a one-single deal with WEA Belgium. Their debut became the single "Spectators of Life", put on vinyl directly from the demo-tape.

Despite the lack of reaction to the single, 1980 became sort of a breakthrough, since they got to open for Magazine, Simple Minds ..., and got a record deal for one single with the English Factory label (they handed their songs to labelmanager Rob Gretton at a Joy Division concert at the Plan K in January 1980). "Nightshift" became the result, in a production by Factory's house-producer Martin Hannett (who fame comes from working with bands such as Buzzcocks, Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, Joy Division, New Order, OMD, Psychedelic Furs, Stone Roses, and the early U2), recorded in Manchester.


The single sold reasonably well (almost 5,000 copies, most in the UK), mostly due to the label affiliation. As their bio later said : "It was overshadowed by Factory's high label profile at the time however, which for genuinely inventive groups such as Section 25, Crispy Ambulance, Minny Pops and the Names proved both a blessing and a curse. The careers of all four (and many others besides) were dogged by accusations of slavish Joy Division imitation long after each had produced entire albums of unique and original material, and while the charge doubtless helped shift units through 1981 it was to prove the kiss of commercial death a year later."

A second single "Calcutta / Postcards", was recorded in May 1981 in Brussels, and then sent to Manchester for mixing by Hannett (which would take until January of the next year). Although "Calcutta" (the gay community sang it as "Quelle Cute Ass", apparently) got a much smaller reception than "Nightshift", it is nowadays the best-known Names-song (due to inclusion in the "Wit-Lof From Belgium"-cd').


In 1982 also, they went on a tour with the "Les Disques Du Crépuscule"-label in the Benelux and France (with Tuxedomoon, Marine, Isabelle Antena, Anna Domino ...), and had the honor of recording a John Peel-session (together with Marine, who came back from London as "Allez Allez"). They also traveled to Manchester for a short week in which they recorded the full-album "Swimming".

Although the album (with water-sounds in between the songs) got a favorable reception, it didn't produce much of a stir at the time : the cold-wave period was being left behind already. With a new drummer (Luc Cappelle had a motorcrash), they released a last 12" (The Astronaut), but by then it had already become clear that The Names were finished. The reason : "both Sordinia and Deprez had graduated from university shortly before (majoring in journalism/law and economics respectively) and were thus denied grants on which to subsist. Since neither wanted to collect unemployment and carry the group on that way, proper dayjobs had to be obtained and wages earned. With no real audience beyond a widespread cult and no band revenue besides occasional gig fees and small copyright fees, all notions of a musical career took a back seat." Sordinia became a filmcritic, Deprez civil servant, Den Tandt professor in literature.

Band members :
- Marc Deprez (guitar)
- Michel Sordinia (bass, vocals)
- Christophe Den Tandt (synth)
- Luc Capelle / Michel Silverstein (drums)

Albums :
- Swimming (1982, Les Disques du Crépuscule)
- Swimming + singles (1990 heruitgebrachte CD, Factory Benelux)
Singles / 12" :
- Night Shift / I Wish I Could (1980, Factory)
- Calcutta / Postcards (1981, Factory Benelux)
- The Astronaut (1982, Les Disques du Crépuscule)
Singles (als The Passengers)
- Spectators of Life (1979, WEA Belgium. Also as a 12" on Celluloid)

Websites :
- The Names discography & information
- The Names story @ the wonderful The Crepuscule and Factory Pages
- The Names at a website about producer Martin Hannett

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about The Names
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about The Names


The Names

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