– Catherine Wheel – In Session for John Peel – July 12, 1995 – BBC Radio 1 –
Another session tonight from one of my favorite bands of the 90s – Catherine Wheel, this time from 1995 for the inimitable John Peel.
As I said several months ago, I always felt Catherine Wheel were one of those sadly overlooked and underrated bands who provided a real backbone for the musical goings on in the 90s. Seeing them in concert was a very satisfying experience, and hearing their studio material set them apart from a lot of bands on the scene at the time. They were intelligent, engaging and were able to instill a vibrant and high energy sound both on stage and in the studio.
Catherine Wheel formed in 1990, comprising singer-guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), guitarist Brian Futter, bassist Dave Hawes, and drummer Neil Sims. Hawes had previously played in a Joy Division-influenced band called Eternal.Template:Fix They took their moniker from the firework known as the Catherine wheel,Template:Fix which in turn had taken its name from the medieval torture device of the same name. The band was sometimes included in the shoegazing scene, characterized by bands that made extensive use of guitar feedback and droning washes of noise, as well as their continuous interaction with extensive numbers of effects pedals on the stage floor.
The band performed a Peel session in early 1991 while still unsigned; two 12″ vinyl EPs were released on the Norwich-based Wilde Club Records, named after the regular weekly Wilde Club gigs run by Barry Newman at Norwich Arts Centre. They signed to major-label Fontana Records after being courted by both Creation Records and the Brian Eno-run label Opal Records. The band’s debut album, 1991/92’s Ferment, made an immediate impression on the music press and introduced Catherine Wheel’s second-biggest U.S. hit, “Black Metallic”, as well as the moderate hit “I Want to Touch You”. The album features re-recorded versions of some of the Wilde Club-issued EPs. “Black Metallic” was later featured in the film S. Darko.
One of these days, if I ever get around to playing regular old records again, I will run some of their early albums and eps to give you an idea of how great they were in a studio setting.
But for now, it’s the sessions and this one, recorded on July 12, 1995 had them during a peak period.
It’s definite play-loud material – because that’s just the kind of band they were.
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