Monday, 14 October 2013

The World Of Twist / Photo by Jim Fry


1990. L to R: Gordon King, Andy Hobson, Julia McGreechin aka MC Shells, Angela Reilly, Alan Frost aka Adge and Tony Ogden. Photograph by Jim Fry.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

World Of Twist / A History

"The World Of Twist were a Manchester based band that meant, and mean, a lot to a dedicated fan base of whom I am one. The band was made up of a group of music lovers who wore their hearts on their sleeves. They are part of my mental image of the city, so when I think of Manchester I think of them." - Jeremy Deller

A history of the band.

In 1990, when Manchester's Madchester was turning into an embarrassing cliché, many of us had the day saved by the wonderful, and still missed, World Of Twist.

Difficult to musically pin down, they might be described as early Roxy Music meets BBC Radiophonic Workshop meets Northern soul meets Joe Meek meets Hawkwind meets early 80s British Electropop. With a few teaspoons of Can thrown in.

Nevertheless, the World Of Twist were, without question, the first band to be making futurist-retro electronic slightly proggy pop music of the kind of that bands like Pulp (who supported WOT live in 1991), Air and Goldfrapp would later be exploring and gaining wider success with.

The origins of World Of Twist begin at Stockport's Art & Design college, with a punk band called Blackout (1977-79). The line consisted of Dave Connor (vocals), Tony Odgen (drums), Gordon King (bass), Julia Adamson (guitar) and Jamie Fry (guitar). [1]

The first World Of Twist formed in Sheffield 1984. This line-up consisted of James Fry (vocals, wasp synth), Gordon King (guitar, casio MT32), Tony Ogden (drums), Rory Connelly (saxophone) and Andy Robins (organ). A later line-up lost Andy Robins but gained Andy Hobson (bass) and Nick Phillips (keyboards). They recorded a dozen or so songs, some of which can be heard here. This World Of Twist soon fell apart, but a new Manchester version would emerge a few years later.

The bands name, was inspired by the well known late 1960s /1970s 'World Of...' series of compilation albums by Decca records, usually featuring middle of the road acts. The inspiration for the Quality Street lettering is also from these. The band members at one point had a club night in Manchester called 'World of Music' in 1986.

The 1989(?) MK2 World Of Twist had Tony Ogden (now singer and co-songwriter) and Gordon King (guitar & co-songwriter) joined by Andy Hobson (synthesisers), Alan Frost aka Adge (visual effects. synthesisers), Julia McGreechin aka MC Shells (swirls & sea noises) and Angela Reilly (visual effects). Nick Sanderson (drums) joined a little later. James Fry was now the band photographer.

A four track demo tape released in early 1990 (featuring The Storm, Blackpool Tower Suite, The Spring and She's A Rainbow) gained considerable local alternative radio play and rave reviews in the local press. The inevitable London A&R frenzy soon followed.

World Of Twist finally settled for Circa Records (a subsidiary company of Virgin Records), believing they would best meet the bands creative needs. Within the year, they had released the critically well received singles The Storm / She's A Rainbow (one of Martin Hannett's final productions) and Sons Of The Stage. They both only just failed to make the top 40 [2].

The band toured the UK and Europe, gaining a cult following along the way with their extravagant and eccentric stage shows. The music press showered them with coverage and superlative reviews. Meanwhile, two excellent Radio 1 sessions for John Peel (June 1991) & Mark Goodier (Sept 1990) hinted at what the debut album should sound like. It seemed like a collision with wider success was just around the corner.

However, in October 1991 when the album Quality Street did appear, it (almost heartbreakingly) failed to live up to the expectations for many fans and most reviewers. The fault definitely lies with the somewhat limp production (by The Grid) who clearly didn't understand what made the band click, failing to capture the colour, energy or 'art school' edge of either the band live or the earlier singles. They unfortunately produced six of the twelve tracks, The singles on the album escape mostly unscathed. The two tracks produced Martin Moscrop (Jellybaby & The Scene) work nicely.

That said, there's still a great collection of songs lurking within. And while a 'Let It Be...Naked' version of the album is unlikely to ever appear, the new Quality Street Expanded does at least add the aforementioned BBC sessions, as well as the utterly brilliant Blackpool Tower Suite. A better picture has now been finally painted as the band's existence.

Regardless, Quality Street was a modest success, and Circa continued to have faith in the band. Plans were made for a follow up album and further touring.

In early 1992 World Of Twist, or rather Circa trying to gain a hit single, reissued She's A Rainbow along with a Fluke remix (Tony described this to me as a "fucking pile of shit”), and a new version of the albums opening track Lose My Way. The band performed Lose My Way on two children's TV shows. A tragic and humiliating career finale, by anyone’s standards.

Big problems emerged when Tony Ogden - who was increasingly unhappy and loosing his confidence in the lead role - decided that he actually no longer wanted to sing. He urged drummer Nick Sanderson, who refused [3]. Wider auditions happened, but without much success. As soon as Circa caught wind of Tony's decision not to sing they were reluctant to re-new the bands contract. Creative differences within the band, and outside pressure from Circa to have a hit, also contributed to the band breakdown.

World Of Twist officially ceased to be in June 1992. (NB. Branson sold Virgin Records to Thorn EMI in June 1992, this lead to a cull of bands on it's labels).

In 1993, the band (with possibly a different line up, but definitely one that included Tony) almost signed to Creation Records. Alan McGee himself was a huge fan. Exactly why that never happened is somewhat a mystery.

The final World Of Twist outing was New Electric Pop And Soul in 1994 on Saint Etienne's Icerink Records. As Earl Brutus were already up and running, I suspect that this was just Tony.

Tony Ogden soon after disappeared from the Manchester music scene and became something of a mythical and reclusive Brian Wilson character. During this time he privately continued to record hundreds of songs at home in demo form, and many are a continuation of the World Of Twist idea [4]. In the mid 2000s Tony had began tentative steps back into the music business. In Jan 2005 he spoke to The Guardian about his history and future ambitions, but before these plans could even progress any significant distance, Tony died unexpectedly in 26 July 2006. This music remains officially unreleased.

Meanwhile, Gordon King and Nick Sanderson, along with Rob Marche, Jamie Fry and Stuart Boreman, formed the future-glam 'conceptual art' pop band Earl Brutus in 1993. Like World Of Twist, Earl Brutus received favourable press interest, and gained a cult following, but ultimately this never broke through to wider success (Noel Fielding & Jeremy Deller were amongst their fans). If you've never heard any Earl Brutus, they can be found on Spotify. Enjoy.

"Earl Brutus (had) some common ground with the conceptualised output of the Brit Art school. But they celebrated the poetry and desolation of contemporary life in a more demotic, populist style. Rather than the gallery, Earl Brutus's natural habitat was the rubbish-strewn rock festival – or, even more, the pub. Strange, impassioned snug-bar tirades set loose by alcohol, but this time preserved forever on record." - Roy Wilkinson

Nick Sanderson sadly developed lung cancer. He died on 9 June 2008 at the age of 47. Earl Brutus ended as a group soon after.

In June 2010 Jamie Fry, Gordon King, Stuart Boreman and Shinya Hayashida with Laurence Bray, George Phillips and Vincent Gibson formed The Pre New. They have been known to play World of Twist and Earl Brutus songs as well as new material.

Notes

Most facts about the World of Twist, in interviews, should be taken with a pinch of salt. They never gave much away, and what they did give away, was usually nonsense. The above came from conversions with Angela Reilly, Tony Ogden, Julia McGreechin, Jim, Fry, Ian Rainford (who helped with the visuals and stage design), Andy Robbins (WOT MK1) and various other people I met on the way who knew things.

1. http://www.invisiblegirl.co.uk/archive/1977.html

2. The Storm & Sons Of The Stage actually sold more than enough to comfortably enter the Top 40. However, due to a quirk in which high local sales were 'levelled' out across the country, it was positioned lower.

3. "So he was trying to get me to sing and I was ‘no fucking way, who do you think we are – Genesis?’ From behind the drum, if I wanted to do that I’d do it in my own band, because he is a great singer." Source.

4. In 1999 I originally spoke of an unreleased second album, that I described as Manchester's own 'Smile' - the infamous unreleased Beach Boys that never followed Pet Sounds. This was a cassette I gained access to, belonging to Ian Rainford, who had been given it by Tony's friend John West. As it was entitled World Of Twist and containing 10 poor sound quality tracks, everyone thought it was an unreleased second album.

I subsequently learnt from Tony and his then co-songwriter John West, that this was really a random collection of post 1992-1995 recorded Tony demos. While it's quite possible that some of these might have become a second album - and boy are some of them as strong as anything on Quality Street - to actually describe them as the unreleased second album stretches the fact of their existence a little too far. At it core, World Of Twist was Tony AND Gordon.

Nevertheless, ideas have legs, and this one has spent 14 years running around the internet adding to the myth. But that's not a bad thing.

Text. Copyright © 1999-2013. Gary Andrew Clarke.
It's not gone unnoticed that my original 1999 'story' has been plagiarised without crediting the source!

World Of Twist / Photo


1990. L to R: Andy Hobson(?), Tony Ogden, unknown, Gordon King, MC Shells, unknown, Adge, unknown, Angela Reilly. Photographer unknown. The Face Magazine, Vol 2, No.22, July 1990

World Of Twist / Photo by James Fry


1991. L to R: Adge, Andy Hobson, Gordon King, Tony Ogden. Photograph kindly given by Jim Fry.

Quality Street: Expanded Edition (2013)

from Cherryred Records...

Available 18 November 2013

Quality Street, their only album, was released in 1991. It features the singles The Storm, the ecstatic cover of the Stones She’s A Rainbow, Sweets and the legendary Sons Of The Stage.

The band left a mark on many people who have achieved greatness - Jeremy Deller, one of the finest artists the UK has ever produced, included a "We Miss The World Of Twist” float in his work ‘Procession’ at the Manchester International Festival. Noel Gallagher nearly called Oasis Sons Of The Stage and Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye have covered that track in tribute to a band who influenced them so much. Noel even personally insisted that Jamie Fry, whose photographs grace the album artwork, was used for Oasis shoots.

Now after many years of being unavailable, this legendary album is now available on CD and LP. Expanded to 2CDs, the album comes with a selection of B-sides chosen by founder member, Gordon King, plus the two Radio 1 sessions for John Peel and Mark Goodier.

The album will include a 24 page booklet featuring extensive sleevenotes by Gordon King and full of memorabilia and rare photos from the World Of Twist archive.

Original Album
  • Lose My Way
  • Sons Of The Stage
  • This Too Shall Pass Away
  • Jelly Baby
  • Speed Wine
  • The Lights
  • On The Scene
  • Sweets
  • The Spring
  • The Storm
  • She's A Rainbow
  • Life And Death (Extended Mix)
Bonus Material
  • Blackpool Tower Suite
  • This Too Shall Pass Away (Chat)
  • She’s A Rainbow (12” Version)
  • Sons Of The Stage (12” Verson)
  • Sweets (Barrett 200 Mix)
  • Lose My Way (John Peel Session – 25 June 91)
  • St Bruno (John Peel Session – 25 June 91)
  • Kick Out The Jams (John Peel Session – 25 June 91)
  • Blackpool Tower (John Peel Session – 25 June 91)
  • I’m A Teardrop (Mark Goodier Session – 22 Sept 90)
  • Fire (Mark Goodier Session – 22 Sept 90)
  • Jelly Baby (Mark Goodier Session – 22 Sept 90)
  • Sons Of The Stage (Mark Goodier Session – 22 Sept 90)
www.cherryred.co.uk

Tony Ogden / Photo by Jim Fry


Tony Ogden. Photograph kindly given by Jim Fry.

Tony Ogden / Photo by Jim Fry


Tony Ogden. Photograph kindly given by Jim Fry.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tony Ogden / Photo by Jim Fry


World Of Twist / Sweets / Advert


Full page advert for Sweets, from Uncut Magazine 1991

Quality Street by World Of Twist (1991)

Album
Released: 28 October 1991
Chart Position: #50

12" Vinyl with Gatefold Sleeve (CIRLP 17)
Cassette (CIRMC 17)
CD (CIRCD 17)
  • 1. Lose My Way
  • 2. Sons Of The Stage
  • 3. This Too Shall Pass Away
  • 4. Jellybaby
  • 5. Speed Wine
  • 6. The Lights
  • 7. On The Scene
  • 8. Sweets
  • 9. The Spring
  • 10. The Storm
  • 11. She's A Rainbow (CD Only
  • 12. Life And Death (CD Only)

Production Notes
Lose My Way
This Too Shall Pass Away
Speed Wine
The Lights
Sweets
The Spring
Produced by Dave Ball and Richard Norris (The Grid)
Recording Engineer: Nick Hopkins
Mix Engineer: Richard Evens

Sons Of The Stage
The Storm
Produced by Cliff Bridgen
Additional Production and Mix by Dave Ball and Richard Norris (The Grid)

Jellybaby
On The Scene
Produced and Mixed by Martin Moscrop
Engineered by Tim Oliver
Programmed by Peter Smith and Liam Mullan

She's A Rainbow
Produced by Martin Hannett and World Of Twist
Engineered by Liam Mullan

Life And Death
Produced and Mixed by Cliff Bridgen
Engineered by Steve 'Barney' Chase

All Tracks
written by Tony Ogden and Gordon King

Except:
This Too Shall Pass Away written by Howard Blaikley
She's A Rainbow written by Mike Jagger and Keith Richards
Life and Death written by D Baldwin, W Nelson and P Stewart

Notes

Tony Ogden on the album "We had an amazing time. We wanted to make the greatest psychedelic dance rock album ever and there was a lot of coke and E in the studio. But the album came out at half normal volume. We'd spent £250,000 making an album with the smallest bollocks in pop history! The band just fell apart. We were smoking marijuana for breakfast and that led to communication problems. I didn't wanna sing, the guitarist didn't wanna play. When the company didn't get a hit they threw us in the bin. I was devastated - I spent four years on smack watching Third Reich movies because the good guys always win. I'm really sorry for letting our fans down. But I'd ask anyone to play that World of Twist album 20 times with every dial on full. If it doesn't rock, come and smash it over my head." - The Guardian, 28 Jan 2005.

Gordon King on the recording. "We recorded the album at Real World, Peter Gabriel's studio. And he's a classic case of a man who's lost touch with reality. The title of the studio's so ironic. He was a childhood idol of me and Nick, and we were dead keen to meet him. But he was really shy. Worse thing is, he makes such strenuous efforts to stay in contact with the real world. It's almost touching. Like he kept making cups of tea for everybody in the whole room. It's little gestures like that, where he's trying to say 'I am normal'."

MC Shells & Cath Berry are the uncredited backing vocals on Jellybaby.

The photos for the sleeve were taken in The Pantiles part of Tunbridge well. The idea was to echo the 1970s design of the tins for Quality Street sweets.

The original CD pressing came with a 12 page booklet containing more Victorian photos.

She's Like a Rainbow was originally recorded by The Rolling Stones. It appears on the 1967 album 'Their Satanic Majesties Request'.

Life And Death was originally recorded by Chairman Of The Board in 1979.

This Too Shall Pass Away was originally recorded by The Honeycombs in 1964.

You can hear the originals to all songs on this page.

World Of Twist / Interview by Tim Southwell / NME 1991

NME, 12 Oct 91

PHEW! JACK CITY

You shall go to the bowl, WORLD OF TWIST! Away from their Technicolor revolving pop world, wood-bes WOE take on the NNE posse at bowls in the ultimate battle to be green kings. I'd rather jack, says TIM SOUTHWELL. Duel on the crown green: PETER WALSH.

"If we get on Top Od The Pops, it'll never be the same again. Just watch!"

Ominous words from World Twist frontman Tony Ogden, a man who wields a crown green bowling ball by day and turns into Frank Sinatra by night.  It's obvious, from the near-hit singles 'The Storm' and 'Sons Of The Stage', and the elaborate live shows, that World Of Twist are no ordinary band.

World Of Twist make a wild, unusual sound, affected by its '60s influences but still, well, unique. From the helicopter rescue shakedown of 'The Storm', through to the twangy afflictions of the new single 'Sweets', the band have proved that there is no one who remotely looks or sounds like them. Furthermore, how many pop groups do you know that dig crown green bowls?

The venue is Withington's Red Lion pub, which entertains everyone from students to the Bowls Club regulars. Today, the green is empty in preparation for our visit and World Of Twist are ready for rock 'n' roll crown green action!

END ONE, and the NME bowls team of Southwell and Walsh are psyching out the opposition of Ogden and drummer Nick 'Sandy' Sanderson. The jack is cast by Walsh and Tony follows it with an over-zealous wood that collides into the back ditch with an embarrassing crash. Played before or what? This is a good omen for Walsh and Southwell, who take advantage of the lapse by rolling two woods absolutely sex-close to the jack. Sandy's fierce attempt to smash our balls (oo-er) into next week fails and the NME crew go one up. A stroll down to inspect the damage and time to start the pop chat, beginning with WOT's cabaret image conundrum.

"I think a lot of people come to see us looking for laughs," says Tony cynically, "and they don't get them. I mean, we all have a lot of personal laughs in the band but we're never trying to get the audience into hysterics or anything. I think some people have trouble taking us seriously, which is stupid... I haven't seen that much cabaret, to be quite honest."

As we move on to the next end, Sandy attempts some gamesmanship of his own by taking his jeans off and showing us his black nylon underpants. He emerges with a determined grimace a a pair of fancy bowls trousers. As he prepares to send the jack deep down the far end, a distant voice breaks the silence. "There are two concepts of time, qualitative and quantitative... man".

The voice belongs to a young bearded chap called Ken, who has latched on to the World Of Twist posse for the day. The band thought he was with me and I though he was part of the band - possibly drafted in to replace the now-departed MC Shells. Before we knew it, Ken had appointed himself World Of Twist Religious AttachŽ. You know the kind, thick-skinned, slightly lecherous, pretty good entertainment but certainly no replacement for MC Shells... as Tony explains.

"It's absolutely final, the Shells thing..."

"We're going to have to open up a new bank account and save some money first if we replace her." adds WOT noise fiend Andy Hobson sarcastically, "we'll actually save quite a bit of money now she's gone. Shells was very good at shopping, spending the record company's money."

"Personally, I'm gonna miss her," laments Tony. "We had a bit of a fall out... all sorts of things really."

"It won't detract from the sound too much," says Sandy, "only the look. She made a lot of strange noises which we'll maintain through Adge, he'll do both jobs."

"Contemplation is received in the third eye..." adds Ken, who's now striding slowly and confidently about the beer garden like some acid-headed creature from Hector's House.

Following a brief spell of dumbfounded silence, we decide to carry on with the bowls. This time Tony and Sandy at last manage to keep the woods on the green, but are no match for Team NME, who take the end, boosting their lead to seven-nil. Changing the subject quickly, we turn to matters of great commercial and worldly import: World Of Twist's new single, a song which seems to be saying something pretty damn crazy and wild.

"It's not about anything!" laughs Tony, "it's just a pop song... we all write the lyrics... actually, he wrote them."

Ken?

"Yeah, Ken wrote them." So, what's it all about, Ken? "Well, I suppose it's about an error in justice," muses Ken with ingenious conviction. "You can talk about nothing and you can talk about a concept of time and it doesn't quite articulate to time in terms of being a quality. You have a transient and an intransient verb... you know, love is an actor."

"That's it in a nutshell," roars Tony, who then indecisively begins to scratch his chin, "at least I think it is."

Anyone who's ever seen the Peter Sellers film Being There will recognise the wayward deepness of the World Of Twist Religious Attach's approach. This is a Chancey Gardener: I00 per cent right and I00 per cent wrong hypotheses, a complete analysis with no beginning and no means to an end, but one which could unwittingly save the world and be heralded as the second coming. Then again, those who've seen Hector's House will suss that Ken may be no more than a "Grrreat big rrrridiculous old Hector".

"At first there, I thought he was talking about the first chorus but now I'm getting a second verse vibe off him," muses Tony.

BY THIS time we've established two things. Firstly, World Of Twist are the worst bowls players to come out of Manchester ever, and secondly, that this band don't really like talking about themselves much. Anyone who would have thought a band with so much going on in their records would have a thousand philosophies about their work. Instead, World Of Twist appease their interview squeamishness by answering with cautious brevity and a nice line in self-effacing humour.

World Of Twist have a lot of conviction, born from a knowledge that what they're doing is cool and pretty bloody good. The fact is, this band could go all the way to the top but, incredibly, they've had no offers of TV appearances to date and have not received a lot of day-time Radio 1 support. In fact, there seems to be a widespread suspicion towards World Of Twist.

Two weeks prior to the bowls frenzy, they had to hire out the Hacienda in order to play there -
Manchester has not exactly fallen over itself to put the WOT logo up in lights.

"It's actually hard finding places to put us on round here," says Tony. "I don't know why, you'd have thought it would be easy for a band like us, ha ha ha!"

"A lot of people here seem to think we're trying to cover up something because we put on a bit of a show on stage, but I think people should regard it as a bonus. We've even been slagged off for having quite fancy record sleeves, like it's a rip-off, and the fans have to pay for it or something. The fact is, we pay for it."

"Did anyone see the Last Night Of The Proms?" enquires Ken.

"Our music stands up for itself," continues Tony. "We don't need a big live show to sell our records and I don't need the Bryan Ferry comparisons I keep getting."

"It's like the goats and the sheep, man!" adds Ken.

"We don't use a goat on stage," replies Tony, "maybe we should, though."

ERM, I think we've slightly lost track of what we're here for, lads. Hey, look at the remarkably interesting position of the jack on this next end!

Bad weather approaches, so we make this the final game. Team NME are in an unassailable 12-1 lead as Tony thinders a wood straight into my foot. Apparently this is all my fault and constitutes 'rolling a reel rake' or something, transgressing law 2.34, paragraph two, page 163 of the Chorly Window Cleaners' Bowls Club And Fish Cake Society Rule Book, which was conveniently misplaced in 1932.

World Of Twist attempt to claim the match by default. A violent on-green scuffle breaks out, during which the umpire is struck on the nose. The police are called and World Of Twist are expelled from the Bowls Club for bringing the game into disrepute

Top Of The Pops? For World Of Twist it's just one roll of the reel rake away.

World Of Twist / Photo by Angela Reilly


L-R: Tony Ogden, Adge, Andy Hobson, MC Shells, Gordon King, Nick Sanderson. Photography by Angela Reilly, from the film for Sons Of The Stage.

World Of Twist / Sweets CD



Sweets by World Of Twist, 23 September 1991

World Of Twist / Sons Of The Stage CD





Sons Of The Stage by World Of Twist, 11 March 1991

World Of Twist / Sons Of The Stage Cassette



Sons Of The Stage by World Of Twist, 11 March 1991

World Of Twist / The Storm CD



The Storm by World of Twist, 15 November 1990

World Of Twist / Quality Street CD








Quality Street by World Of Twist, 28 October 1991

Adge / Photo by Jim Fry


Alan Frost aka Adge. Photograph kindly given by Jim Fry.

World Of Twist / Blackpool Tower Suite 12"


Blackpool Tower Suite by World of Twist, 15 November 1990

World Of Twist / Interview / NME Oct 1991