Saturday, 7 January 2017
Social media has been taking a battering recently. Twitter is full of trolls, Nazis and Donald Trump. Facebook is awash with pictures of cats and kids. Instagram is populated by pictures of celebrities dinners. And yet if you look only at what your friends/people you follow post you can also imagine that the world is made up entirely of people like you. It has its good points though- I got in touch with several people from my past last year which led to real life meetings, which was good. One of them was the young man on the left in the photo above, Darren Jones. We were friends at school, knocked around with the same group of people and then lost touch in the 90s. He was the guitar player in Rig.
When The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays gatecrashed Top Of the Pops and a nations kids began wearing baggy jean and casual wear the record companies sped up north to sign groups. From this second wave of Manchester bands came The High, Northside, Paris Angels, World Of Twist, Intastella, Rig and others. Rig didn't sound like a stereotypical Madchester band- in fact all of the bands listed above sounded pretty different from each other. Rig had an industrial, indie, mutant funk sound and imagined they sounded like a south Mancunian Talking Heads. ACR's Martin Moscrop produced a single. They put out a cover of E.S.G.'s Moody and did a cover of Adolescent Sex by Japan. In 1990 and 1991 they released a handful of singles (and some songs on 'scene' compilation albums). Two of the singles, Big Head and Spank, came out on Dead Dead Good, home of The Charlatans. Through Facebook I found this recently, a remix of their song Dig by DJ Blue which sounds a bit like Tackhead remixed by Weatherall.
This video captures Spank played live in Stockport. After thirty seconds the studio version comes in on the audio, Martin Moscrop at the desk. The funky guitar and fast dub bass sound pretty fresh all these years later and the vocals and sax show that late 70s/early 80s New York art-punk scene coming through.