Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Chefs Photograph

Peter has just sent me a link to this: it was taken probably around 1980 by a food photographer (which we found very funny) who was trying to get into taking photos of bands. We went to the studio where he was an assistant, gobbled up the chicken curry that he had been photographing earlier on, and did the shoot. It was so hot under the lights that James, Carl and Russell started sprouting stubble.
I've got a whole lot more from this session somewhere either here or at the storage unit where I keep the things that wouldn't fit into my house!
He was actually a very good photographer and his name was John but that's all I can remember about him.
This was the night that, after we'd finished, our manager Jonathan and myself wandered over to Portland Place with a copy of 24 Hours and waited for John Peel to walk in. We were very self-conscious but when he came in at 9.45 to do his show, he invited us up to the studio and put the record on there and then, broadcasting it before even hearing it.
It was mortifying and I tried to talk over it but he shushed me because he wanted to listen to it. He then went on to play it almost every night, it seemed and it became an independent hit.
We were such a silly band, looking back on it: quite immature. The only sillier band was Black Uhuru, who spent a whole interview session with the New Musical Express arguing about a ballpoint pen with a picture of the Statue of Liberty on it. I remember reading it and thinking 'That sounds a bit like us'.
I remain hugely proud of our recordings though. The one thing that we totally agreed on was working and working on our songs until we thought they were perfect, as good as they could be, and I definitely think we had a 'sound'. From time to time over the last 30 years the occasional person has 'discovered' us. I spent a while corresponding with a Swedish teenager who used to run her own fanzine; she would write lovely emails about climbing mountains and eating raspberries with her boyfriend, and she told me she always played The Chefs songs before going out because they made her happy.
Someone wrote to Julie Blair at Attrix and told her they had got married because of 24 Hours, and then of course there is Monty, whose birthday party I am playing later this month.
I have still got three checky shirts that I used to wear on stage, and a rather natty fringed buckskin jacket, but a lot of stuff got stolen from dressing rooms- I had some little gold guitar ear-rings and a bolo tie that matched them with a mother-of-pearl disc with a gold guitar in the middle.
And of course, I've got the first Hofner bass that I used to play; the second was a violin bass that had a horrible sound and a heavy neck that pulled it skew-whiff if I didn't hang on to it all the time.
Yellow and blue, yellow and blue, those were our colours, happy colours to brighten up the recession!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Photographer's name is John Barlow (written on the back)

Pete x