12″ single THUNDERBIRD CSA002T
REMEMBER MY NAME – HERE COMES THE RAIN / COME ON – THE CARING STAGE
I came across a few copies of this single while I was moving some stuff around in the loft the other day (upgrading the insulation!), one of the few sleeves I was involved in by a local Sheffield band. Out of interest I had a hunt on the web to see how history had treated it and found no pictures and just the odd aside in biographies. So with my archivist’s hat on, back to 1992…
The Lovebirds were an excellent Sheffield based indie outfit but very short lived. I was co-running RPM Records at the time, a reissue label, but we all had an interest in new material and Steve Fellows from The Comsat Angels (we’d reissued some of their albums) put us onto the band. The Lovebirds had evolved from Treebound Story, signed to Sheffield’s FON label and then Native Records, based in nearby Doncaster. I did quite a bit of sleeve work for Native but they were a little overstretched to say the least and when they stopped paying even my modest artwork bills I jumped ship. Treebound Story were left in the lurch with an unreleased album and split up, with some of the band forming The Lovebirds, getting in singer John Stuart from Chakk.
Treebound Story were a bit too US West Coast for me but the Loverbirds demos were excellent, hard edged with great slabs of guitar noise from Richard Hawley, and the single was cut at The Comsat Angels’s Studio, Axis, produced by the Comsat’s bassist Kevin Bacon. RPM agreed to release it as a 12″ single. It was all a shake of the hands sort of affair, and while my partner sorted things out, I co-ordinated the sleeve. I went over to Richard’s flat on – where else? – Hawley Street in town (number 93) to discuss what they wanted. One of the band’s mates had done a plaster relief moulding of feathers, and they also had a logo (drawn in indian ink by John Pedder), so it wasn’t very difficult to put things together. The photos of the plaster moulding were taken in the flat (by Mick Marston) and came out a bit fuzzy – it would have been great to have photographed this properly in a studio (and to have done the cover on matt card instead of the sticky varnish they used to get a gloss finish then). For the back, they had collected a few plastic birds, the sort you find in budgie cages, and these peeped out of the back corner. I did a two colour label design and the artwork was ready.
The 4 track single was mastered and pressed for us by SRT studios near Cambridge. There was a launch party arranged at a pub – The Rattener’s Rest, in the old restored Globe Works (the band had rehearsal rooms in the same complex – a lot of their gear was nicked one day, while the pub only lasted a couple of years). The boxes of the single arrived a few days before, the band did a great gig and it got some good local publicity.
As a label we just got round to sending out review copies and the single was shipped to the distributors – good old Pinnacle – when we got the news that Richard Hawley had jumped ship to join The Longpigs, signed to Elektra. Which buggered everything up; 500 singles and no band. We were cheesed off at the time, and financially it hurt the label. I’d like to say it taught us a valuable lesson too but it didn’t, history repeated itself a few years later with another local group.
We were certainly a bit backward; if we’d had a contract we could have got Elektra to cough up and cover the costs. As it was The Longpigs were soon off supporting U2 in America, after which it was amazing to watch Richard’s rise as a solo act, and a more down to earth guy you’d be hard pressed to find in the business.
The Lovebirds single sold a few copies, but most ended up in my partner’s store room near London, and were skipped when he moved some years later (“typical,” he said recently. “The one record I was involved with which might now be worth something and I binned them all!”). I stuffed the remaining copies I had in the loft and forgot all about them.