© Fotos & Words by Steve Drury
Interviews Pd: 2021
Here are a few interviews due to the release of Sorted!
"Depending on the things we said”
1. What do you remember from the first days of the band?
Carl: The immediate, positive responses (from playing live gigs) we kept getting. We didn’t feel like we were just copying other bands styles/music but we were developing our own.
2. Your music got the attention of the famous DJ John Peel. How did you meet him and what was his feedback regarding your music?
Steve: The first time was at the BBC Radio building, the day after he’d played our first single. He’d been aware of us since the demo tape. A little later while he was doing his road-show in Sheffield, Steve had a chat about a possible Session. He was very enthusiastic and definitely interested. But after Spider, Martin’s breakdown slowed the process down. By the time we were up and running again, Peel seemed to be more interested in the Cowpunk scene.
In the meantime PD had been busy doing radio interviews with Radio Hallam (Sheffield) and Radio Shoestring (pirate radio in east London ‘what a day that was’!).
3. The single ‘Spider’ from 1984 had been successful among the fans of the scene. Which was the process of music promotion back then, before the internet days?
C: Mass mail-out to each valued music paper/ magazine. Copies sent to known journalists. Copies sent to Fanzines (they were a great source of positivity). Copies sent to promoters in order to gain gigs in vital places. Copies sent to relevant radio shows. Follow up calls etc. leading to interviews. Lots of positive responses, through radio-play, gig reviews, magazine interviews, etc. Mass mailout to each valued music paper/ magazine.
S: With the first single, BBC Radio Leeds/Radio 1 DJ Andy Kershaw wanted to collect a copy of each coloured bag!
Mick: The packaging designed to catch people’s attention. Steve’s confetti to annoy them! And Gigs, gigs, gigs! – as many as we could get to keep the publicity and interest rolling on!
4. The self-released debut album Glasshouse was released in 1985, did you release it on a DIY level or through a music label?
C: Steve, our manager, set up our own independent record label –“Party Day Records” (1983) – by doing this enabled us to use Red Rhino Records’ distribution arm, one of the bigger, more established indy-label’s who in turn, were part of the Independent Record labels “Cartel” – An organisation of all the big and some smaller indy-labels that shared distribution of each others releases. This enabled the purchase of the records in virtually most record shops throughout the UK and also selected places abroad. By using this method and all the positive press the band received led to the first pressing selling out and having to re-press a second batch!
Abroad – this led to Play It Again Sam Records interested. We were on their second ever release ‘4 your ears only’.
5. What do you remember from the recordings of the Glasshouse album?
M: – “The recordings spanned over a few sessions recorded between 1983 and 1985. These were recorded at “Woodlands” studio, a (very) small studio situated in an old terraced house and basement in Normanton, northern England.
The studio relocated (upgraded) to a much more spacious site on an industrial park, close by. Here the last 3 tracks of the album were recorded at this location (see below).
“Row The Boat Ashore” from a 1983 session for the 1st single, other 83/84 sessions included “Rabbit Pie” and “Athena” (both used on Compilations also) along with “Boredom” and “Atoms”. These 5 tracks were recorded as a 3 piece (Carl, Martin and Mick).
Martin fell ill and temporarily left the band, leaving Carl and Mick to complete the other 3 tracks as a “duo” – the tracks being “Firehorse”, “Carousel” & “Grace”.
The title track “Glasshouse” (1982) was to be included, but on listening to it along side the other later tracks, was deemed not to be a good enough recording, hence it’s omission.
6. The Glasshouse album is considered as a collector’s item. What happened with the distribution of the album and the item became hard to find?
C: Please refer to the answer to question 4 – distribution and sales (including repress) totalled around 1500 copies – which all sold out.
The idea of our own label was to be a stepping-stone and get the bands material heard by major labels in the hope of getting a record deal.
I think it’s just the passage of time (36 years!!!) that the record now seems so rare!
The interest in the band has been kept alive through Steve’s Party Day website, www.party-day.co.uk
M: People have stumbled across the website and seem to have spread the word about the band to others. The tracks seem to get a fair bit of airplay as well, which helps!
Re-sale of the records keeps popping up across the globe and the vinyl keeps going up in value (especially the Glasshouse LP). I think the artwork and packaging are important selling points, along with the music.
7. The next music releases (The Glasshouse EP and the second album Simplicity) followed, however it seems that the band decided to break up after that. What happened?
M: The band parted company with manager, Steve, during all the turmoil of Martin’s departure.
The Glasshouse EP had already been planned by Rouska Records, so that got a good push in promotion by the label, which spurred the band on to continue and release the 2nd album “Simplicity”. Without management and promotion it was just too difficult to continue. At this point, a disillusioned Carl had had enough of the situation and decided to call it a day. This was around September 1986. Mike and Dean (Peckett) continued with the band through 1987 and recorded an unreleased third album. They finally called it a day in April 1988.
8. A re-mastered 31 track double-CD of all of the vinyl releases plus unreleased recordings, Sorted! was released from the Optic Nerve Recordings. Did you collaborate with the label on this project and what type of special footage is available for the fans?
M: Steve contacted the past band members in 2015, mentioning the interest of ONR in releasing the back catalogue of all the early Party Day recordings. Things were starting to develop when it was suddenly announced that Dean had died in the New Year of 2016!
This totally derailed the project. Shocked by Dean’s death along with the fact that everybody had too many work and family commitments to afford the time to continue – Party Day was again to be shelved!
Then... it took a pandemic to free up enough time and get the project moving again. It’s been a long time coming, but after 40 years since the inception of the band, we hope that you all think it’s been worth the wait!
By special footage you mentioned, we take that as being previously unreleased tracks from the band? Early tracks included are “Party Day” – recorded as a 4 piece with Greg Firth, and tracks as a 3 piece “Glasshouse 1982”, “Opium Gathering” & “Tin Sky”.
The double CD finishes featuring the last line up of Party Day with the track “Surge!”
Purchases of the double vinyl set include a voucher to download the entire 31 tracks from the double CD.
On the website, Steve has slowly created his own videos for a few of the songs using royalty free images, although Carousel does use live footage of us.
Before these videos, there were only fan videos online with a static image for the song.
9. Is there any unreleased material that you plan to release in the next years?
M: There are a good few tracks that never got recorded as a 3 piece (but played live or rehearsals) and a few earlier tracks that got recorded as a 4 piece, but the quality was too bad to warrant releasing them.
I’d say that’s about another album’s worth!
We’ll have to see what the interest in this one is like and take it from there! Watch this space!!
10. What is the current status of the band’s members and is there any plan for live shows?
M: No–one has been in contact with Martin for a while (but hopefully that will change soon), although he still lives in Barnsley.
Carl told me a few months ago, he hasn’t “played a guitar for about 30 years”, but has now acquired a bass (Mmm! – heh heh)
I’ve been plugging away in various bands over the years but not to the level Party Day reached. Music took a back seat whilst raising a family – but the kids are all grown up now and have left the nest! . . . so who knows!
As for live shows???
(https://skylight.gr/index.php/author/yfantis123/) - [PA Review - PDF]
Skylight Webzine/ Greece - September 21
The following is an excerpt of this interview with the band . . .
We got the chance to speak to Mick Baker and Carl Firth from the band and chat about the past, present and even the future of Party Day.
PB: I said in my review of ‘Sorted!’ that I had missed out on most of your output due to other stuff going on in my life back then so it’s almost as if I have discovered Party Day all over again and the findings are incredible because I just love the sound of Party Day! How does that make you feel now - that you can have that sort of reaction to your music all these years on?
MICK: It’s fantastic that folk think the music still sounds good after all these years! We all used to listen to lots of different bands and styles/genres of music to try and formulate our own sound. It’s amazing when we think back to the recording process and how limited our options were. I suppose that helped us get on with it and make the most of our limited studio time!
CARL: It’s a strange feeling to be honest, strange but very uplifting. From my perspective, I was always excited to write and play in a band and got a huge buzz from putting together something coherent. It was a great feeling when simple jamming suddenly turned into something like a recognisable tune. We never wrote down any kind of music, everything came from experimentation, trial and error. You couldn’t be too self-critical as there wasn’t time or resources to ‘perfect’ things, practise and studio time were at a premium, we often trialled new songs out during gigs. As long as we were happy with the outcome, I was happy, regardless of wider opinion. So then, after consigning all our songs to the jukebox of history, I feel extremely pleased and somewhat humbled that their re-release has generated so much interest and kind comments from a far wider audience than I ever expected.
PB: Did you ever fall out? There must be a funny incident you could share with us from all the gigging.
MICK: I wouldn’t say fall out! We had our differences but accepted them and got on with it.
CARL: . . . another time when we were supporting The Cult in Leeds. In our first song I broke my second bass string. Being the consummate professional that I was I had obviously not got a spare bass or even a spare set of strings (times were hard!!). I turned to the main act’s bass player, who was stood at the side of the stage, and gestured as if to say, ‘lend us your bass mate!’ …zero response! I had to play the entire set with three strings.
To make it worse, Martin, in his inimitable style announced to the audience that the next song was our newly released single, ‘The Spider’, and duly decided to take the black vinyl out of the cover and throw it, frisbee-style, into the audience. I watched in horror as it disappeared like a Bond villain’s bowler hat into the blackness of the audience. After the three-string debacle and the prospective beheading of an audience member I thought to myself ‘Jesus, we are going to get annihilated here, and probably beat up by a furious guy with a record lodged in his skull’. So, imagine my relief when a grinning, overexcited individual approached us after the gig saying ‘I got the single lads, can I have the sleeve. That was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen’. No-one even noticed I had only got three strings.
Dave Goodman - Black Penny Music, March 2022
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