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Bands: The Fabians

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Around about 1996 everyone in Leicester was excited again about MUSIC, because most of us had been up to Glasgow to see Belle & Sebastian, had a FANTASTIC time, and came back determined to get going. Handily, around this time, Jimmy The Kung Fu Cookery Teacher arrived in Leicester. He originally came from Glasgow and had a whole heap of ideas for songs that were a bit like Belle & Sebastian and quite a lot like Arab Strap. He was full of enthusiasm too and very quickly put together a huge band which included me on bass, Neil occasionally on synthesiser, Tim very occasionally on drums, and also two guitarists, a flautist, and a cello player. The first thing I did with him was record additional bass and flute for Last Notes On A Late Story, and then we had a couple of practices but never with the whole band in the same place at the same time.

I think our first gig was at The Physio in Leicester, and it went incredibly well. All the Leicester Music Types were there and they loved it - i particularly remember Nigel from PickledEgg saying "At last, you're in a band that people actually like!" which was, sadly, very true. I really enjoyed the few gigs we did, as I took on the role of Musical Director, with everyone looking to me for when changes would be happening. As I say we hardly ever practiced, never as a full band, and there weren't any choruses so we had to wait until Jimmy got to a certain bit in the talking before we could all change together.

It worked really well, and we played a few gigs, including my first (and so far only!) gig in Coventry, when Jimmy stood on the Cello and broke it. Oh dear. We went into the studio to record some songs for a proposed single which never materialised, and recorded quite a bit of stuff, including some with drums by Tim. I wonder whatever happened to that? The "Last Notes On A Late Story" single, however, did come out, and it was mastered at ABBEY ROAD!! Usually singles like ours get mastered at wherever's got a free slot at short notice, and it just so happened that Abbey Road was free that day. Normally you don't go to the mastering session, but oddly EVERYBODY was free that day and eager to see how it would turn out, so about 10 of us turned up giddy with excitement. I nearly passed out when we walked through the door, and throughout the hour we were there all of us kept "popping to the loo", just so we could sneak around and try and look into Studio 2.

The very last Fabians gig was at The Shed in Leicester, and it was awful. I went on first on my own, then me, Neil and Jimmy came on, as we were the only ones who could make it. We died on our arses and finished with "Day Care Centre" after which we were banned from ever performing again. The two main bands were doing it as part of their GCSE Project work, and they did much better.

It didn't end well, but it was nice to be in a band that was so musical and appreciated - it would be a long time before it happened again!

Tarotplane Kandy Korn: The Sorted Records Anthology, Vol. 1
Cardboard Cutout Sundown: The Sorted Records Anthology, Vol. 2

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