The La's - ' Side Lines ' - Melody Maker interview & photo. June 10, 1989. " .. I was off with Elvis at the time. "

Left to right - Sutton, Sharrock, Mavers, Power
  • PUBLICATION - MELODY MAKER
  • ORIGIN - UK
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION - 10th June, 1989
  • SUBJECT - The La's 
  • TITLE - SIDE LINES
  • AUTHOR - Bob Stanley
  • CONTENT - Recording techniques, the search for the perfect set-up...
  • PHOTO - Mike Norton
  • "WE spent four months in a studio in Liverpool and then scrapped everything."

    The LA'S are nothing if not perfectionists. After two years work they've just completed their debut LP - no wonder they look knackered as they sip on a well-earned pint and soak up the Kentish Town sunshine. Two of them are off playing football on Parliament Hill, so it's down to curly haired bassist John Power and drummer Chris Sharrock to tell the sorry tale.

    John: "Don't make me remember, please! We've been through about 20 studios."

    Chris: "We ended up getting this old deck that had been in pieces at Abbey Road and took it to a house in Devon and set it up in the living room. It looks like a spaceship but it sounds brilliant!"

    After being touted as the new Beatles by NME some two years back, the Liverpool lads-most-likely promptly disintegrated on moving to London. John and singer Lee Mavers kept faith, moved back home, drafted in two new members (Chris had recently quit The Icicle Works) and released a second single, the irresistible "There She Goes", nearly 18 months after their debut. It picked up tons of airplay around last Christmas time and hung around just outside the Top 40 for a couple of months. A new single, "Timeless Melody", is the first fruit from their Devon spaceship sessions and is a genuine chart contender. Can the boys really see themselves selling as many records as Stock Aitken & Waterman?

    John: "I think we will in time. I mean, they're shit aren't they? Its just a blag. It's gonna go. I mean, it's got to go or we're all a bunch of dickheads - if that's really what the people want then I don't want to be a part of it In 20 years time, everyone will be laughing at what a rip-off they were. And they're old. I see Pete Waterman on 'The Hitman And Her' and he's just a drooling old man plugging his own records, he's just a greedy bastard... actually they don't really bother me!"

    "It's a SAW point," adds Chris, obviously the Dennis Norden of the band.

    Still, the youth of Liverpool seem to have an infatuation with Pink Floyd and Seventies prog rock at the moment.

    John: "At the moment? It always has had. When I was 15, I was heavily, badly into Floyd and all the scals had Floyd tee-shirts, listened to 'The Wall', smoked pot. I thought it was like that all over the country until recently."

    You're feeling better now, though.

    "No, I still play them now and again. I went to see them at Wembley, last time they played, stoned off me head. They were good."

    Like, wow! More frequent visitors to the LA's turntable are Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimi Hendrix.

    John: "I've met Jimi Hendrix. . . Honest I have. Tripping me head off. I wasn't the only one, like, there was a few of us. He was there."

    Chris: "I was off with Elvis at the time."


    Left to right - Sutton, Mavers, Power, Sharrock.

    Do you draw inspiration from Liverpool's musical heritage?

    John: "We just saw that 'Story Of Merseybeat programme. It just showed how shit most of it was.

    Chris: "The Beatles were good, and The Big Three. My landlord used to be the drummer with them, a nasty man."

    John: "That Freddie Dreamer; Freddie Garrity, he was on it. A Manc wasn't he? Manchester's answer to The Beatles!"

    Chris: "The only Liverpool sound we've got is our own - it's inevitable that we'll have one because we come from Liverpool. But it's like we're the Nineties, we don't look back."

    "Timeless Melody", with its battered acoustic guitars and seamless harmonies, confirms that "There She Goes" was no one-off. It boasts a supremely tight production, and implores the listener to "open your mind". Hailing pop's magical, uplifting qualities, it virtually celebrates its own existence. Setting standards for the Nineties they may be, but isn't the title a little presumptuous?

    John: "But we know it's timeless. We wouldn't have called it that otherwise.

    BOB STANLEY

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