1 February 2013

The Blow Monkeys play Eric's Liverpool Sunday 7 July

The Blow Monkeys

The Blow Monkeys play Eric's Liverpool Sunday 7 July

Eric's , 9 Mathew Street, Liverpool, Liverpool, L2 6RE
Tickets are £16.50 from Ticketmaster or 0151-236 9994 or the Eric’s box office

The Blow Monkeys formed in 1981, releasing a single Live Today, Love Tomorrow on the tiny Parasol label the following year and signing to RCA and releasing a debut album Limping For A Generation, produced by Jam/Style Council knob-twiddler Pete Wilson the year after that. It wasn’t until 1986, however, that the band achieved the commercial success that matched their nascent critical acclaim with the song Digging Your Scene followed by the hit single It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.

The follow up album She Was Only A Grocer’s Daughter left controversy in its wake: if some remained unaware that erstwhile UK PM Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a grocer then the subsequent duet with Chicago soul/funk legend Curtis Mayfield Celebrate (The Day After You) left no doubt where the Blow Monkeys stood on the subject. Naturally, the BBC banned the single and the band then nailed their colours to the mast by joining the Red Wedge tour.

Fast forward twenty years and the Blow Monkeys are back together and remain Robert Howard (vocals, guitar), Neville Henry (saxophone), Mick Anker (bass) and Tony Kiley (drums). Back in 1990, the split had enabled main-man Dr Robert to desert the capital for a remote cottage in Oxfordshire before embarking upon a solo career that’s produced several solo albums including Realms Of Gold, which spawned a songwriting partnership with Paul Weller on Wildwood and Stanley Road – both of which Robert contributed vocals and guitars to, the partnership extending to Robert playing bass on Changing Man and Weller reciprocating on Realms Of Gold and Flatlands, based upon Robert’s childhood memories of the vast expanses of East Anglia reclaimed from the sea and marshes.  As well as spells producing Beth Orton and Terry Callier and writing soundtracks to two UK documentary series Dave’s World and Gangsters.

In 2002, he also relocated his family to Sierra Nevada, Andalusia which enabled a more reflective take on life as well as a different way of making music. It was here in the mountains that he bumped into PP Arnold, sang some Hendrix and soul (“and The First Cut Is The Deepest!”) before recording an album entitled Five In The Afternoon that was inspired as much by the poet Frederico Garcia Lorca as it was by the hour that Spain kick starts its day. The collaboration, however, catapulted Robert into another headspace he hadn’t quite envisaged or, as he recalls: “I fancied being in a band again. I got in touch with the other guys and we talked about getting back together, then went away and wrote the songs quickly with the band in mind. The main thing was to do something new. I didn’t want to get back together and just play all the old songs.” Naturally, he’s talking about The Return Of The Blow Monkeys and an album – Devil’s Tavern, recorded in Motril, southern Spain and released in 2008.

The Blow Monkeys spent 2009 touring Devil’s Tavern, recording a live album at the 100 Club (Travelin’ Souls – Live At the 100 Club) before signing to FOD Records and settling down to write the follow-up. The resultant record deal has spawned Staring At The Sea, an album that has turned out to contain the best collection of songs the band have ever recorded.

With a new album scheduled for 2013 The Blow Monkeys continue to flourish and grow on a journey that after 30 years shows no sign of slowing...

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