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
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)
- 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)
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