The Bodines
NME, 24th June 1989.
From haircut role models and major signings, THE BODINES are now one of the few bands to go back to an indie label. But, argues ANDREW COLLINS, this is no reason to dismiss them as yesterday's heroes. Picture: CHRIS CLUNN
Scene: A smoke-filled common room. An informal debate, entitled C86 - Renaissance Or Not? is taking place.
Cynic: What have the Class of '86 ever done for us?
Clever Dick: The Wedding Present - hotly-tipped for the '90s, with RCA-backing to help them along.
Cynic: Oh yeah. They gave us the Weddoes.
Dick: Fuzzbox. Two Top 10 singles; WEA money; they've matured into a vote-winning kitsch phenomenon.
Cynic: Okay. The Weds and Fuzzbox.
Dick: Age Of Chance? An influential white industrial hip-hop LP on Virgin, and more fruits promised.
Cynic: Yes, yes - but apart from The Weds, Fuzzbox and AOC, what did the Class of '86 actually leave us with?
(A silence descends. Then, a brave, single-minded soul pipes up. . .)
Soul: The Bodines?
Cynic: THE BODINES? I rest my case.
'C86' was a compilation tape, nothing more, nothing less. In retrospect, it neatly captures the spirit of one aspect of the time - however naive that may have been. They were good bands if only for their actual independence, so it's no surprise that the major record companies had to stick their oars in and spoil it.
The Bodines were one of several bands that walked out of 'C86' only to be masticated around and then sort of dribbled out when the bright new indieboys failed to tickle the cash register.
Now The Bodines are back, with a single called 'Decide' on snappy Manchester independent Playhard (stable of King Of The Slums, The Train Set, MC Buzz B and more). This means, by definition, they are now (yawn) indie again. Hoo-bloody-ray.
Magnet singed the young foursome up for six albums, hanging onto them for just one year (and one album) during which time the original £80,000 advance grew less and less attractive. Sitting in a minibus in Germany in the winter of '87, having failed to conjure up the Housemartins-style hit Magnet were after, left with no money and a big debt to their agent, The Bodines' ranks were split - and only Mick Ryan (singer-songwriter) and guitarist Paul Brotherton survived.
"It took us a miserable year to get it all back together", says Mick, sounding as miserable as he probably did then. "It's still hard going. I find it dead hard to work with other people. I'm pretty lazy - if I've got an idea and it's not working out, I'll just jack it in. I won't flog a dead horse."
'Decide', twinned with the even better B-side, 'Hard On', is an idea that thankfully did work out. Mick has about half an LP's worth of new songs, but they'll all see the light of day on 12" singles, if he has his way.
"I prefer doing singles. It's such a bind to record a whole album. It's horrible."
Another Manchester band with lazyitis?
"I think we've never had a good reputation. We've always been at the tail-end of things. We joined Creation when that was doing shit, and The Mary Chain had just left. Then we went to Magnet and got bad press about that. We've never been well handled."
Enter guitarist Paul and new drummer Spencer, whose opening line is, "Got any cash?"
Paul takes up the theme: "Can you sub us any 'till we get to the bank?"
Times are hard. Are The Bodines angry young men?
"Mellow young men," claims Mick.
But you are poor?
"I'm doing some landscape gardening next week in Warrington."
They promise me that they wouldn't take the £80,000 if they were offered it tomorrow. How do Playhard treat them?
Mick says "Okay."
Does the word 'indie' mean anything?
"Not with Kylie Minogue at Number One", says Mick, still quite miserably.
"The word is dying," states Spencer, defiantly. That's for you to decide. Speaking of which, why should the spoilt-for-choice punter in Our Price decide to purchase 'Decide'? Come on Bodines, sell yourselves!
Mick: "It's fresh. It's produced right for the dance floor, and it sounds good at home."
Paul: "We've got a top rhythm section now! It's not got loads of depth to the song or anything."
Mick: "Yeah, but the last single we did was 'Slipslide' which was all depth and no f___ing tune!"
Musically, they've all been round the world and back since the pretty-pleas of 'Therese', and being sucked in and spat out like a gobstopper has done Mick no harm. 'Decide' might not be a global song with a poignant allegorical messages, but it is a song about deciding, which, as Spencer sarcastically quips, "happens to me every day!"
Are Bodines haircuts going to come back in, Mick?
"They already have!"
NME, 24th June 1989.
NME June 1989
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