Wednesday, 5 March 2008

No-Guitar Heroes




Unfortunately, Guts Pie Earshot were the best band I'd ever seen. The reason I say unfortunately will become clear.

Back in (I think) '96, Spithead were touring Europe. We had to do our first couple of gigs without Julee, our organ player, so we weren't firing on all cylinders, to be honest. Anyway, we were due to headline the Stemwede Festival near Osnabruck, Germany, which turned out to be the biggest gig we'd ever played - it was a really brilliant free festival with thousands of punters.

Our German tour manager, Nolle, had told us about this brilliant local band who were also playing, so I wandered round to the stage to watch them and blimey! I'll try and describe the experience as best I can, but you really had to be there...

At the time GPE consisted of bass and dums, keyboard, cello and a female singer. The noise they made was a mixture of raging hardcore punk (think NomeansNo) with techno, and even folky and classical elements - and (even better, in my opinion) no guitar. The singer was tattooed, mohicaned and in possession of a voice of such intensity, power and technical ability that I have rarely heard the like. She would switch between operatic wailing and gutteral snarling with absolute ease, and all this whilst looking cool as fuck and doing karate kicks in the air (not easy, I reckon).

So there I stood, half-cut on fine (and free) German beer, smoking the rich, dark (and free) Dutch tobacco kindly given to me by a nice young man, whose job seemed to be giving away decorative tins of tobacco, watching thousands of pissed locals going absolutely mental and thinking to myself, "this is the most stunning band I've ever seen". Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by the realisation that we had to go on after them. And let me tell you, dear reader, that no-one but NO-ONE in any band wants to go on after the best band they've ever seen.

Thankfully, though, whoever had planned the line-up for that evening (Ich weiß nicht, wem Sie sind, aber ich bin ewig in Ihrer Schuld, mein Freund!) had put on what could only be described as a Pink Floyd-esque-too-much-cheese-for-tea-bad dream next who acted as such an effective buffer between GPE and ourselves that the crowd was more than ready to overlook our many shortcomings that evening.

GPE are still going - although are now a cello and drums two-piece, who play a sort of drum 'n' bass/punk/arabesque hybrid which is well worth checking out on their website. They continue to be truly unique and have remained DiY-as-fuck. I'm still listening to them and enthusing passionately over them to anybody who will listen.

The tune I've uploaded for your listening pleasure is the incredibly beautiful Close To Distance from the 10" EP I purchased that very day at Stemwede, a version which I don't believe is available elsewhere.

8 comments:

John Spithead said...

Soz everyone, I'm having technical probs - will upload ASAP. Check in a couple of days.

Malisha Old 666 said...

I think I know that version. It's longer than on Wait LP. I had that in shitty mp3 with quality of 'round half kbps. Can't wait to hear it in better quality. Great song/band.

irishdave said...

I just got their new (33rpm) 7" today - very good!

John Spithead said...

At last, folks, here is the 10 1/2 minute version of Close To Distance. I don't know why they used the shorter version on both the Wait and 10 years CDs, as I reckon this version is better.

http://www.4shared.com/file/40750199/a9895a9d/Close_To_DistanceGuts_Pie_Earshot.html?

guts pie earshot said...

hi john,
wow, i remember that festival very good and ... thank you for the honoration of our music! and... of course i am suffering with you, as i know that feeling you describe... ;) on the one hand it´s so cool to play with cool bands, but sometimes it can be hard to play after...

the 10" version of close to distance we alo think it is the "nicer" version, but it has to be minimum mastered again as the sound is... hmmm, let´s call it "difficult". and the other thing is that on the "wait" the keyboarder was away, and we wanted to record it again in a good sound and actual version...

so anyway thank you for your blog and greetings!
jean from guts pie earshot

John Spithead said...

There we go, folks, a nice buch of people too!

John Spithead said...

The link has expired, so if you desperately want to hear the tune, message me and I'll sort it out.

Dr. said...

hello,

I've gone through half the German DiY & HC blog scene looking for this (which being quite a ride with my knowledge of German)

If you're still offering the long version of Close to Distance, I'd love to have it.

a great blog, keep up the good work!