Friday, 15 July 2011

Excerpt from a teenage record collection pt. 2

A few days ago I was rummaging through a clothes drawer and my hand touched an item that was incredibly soft - I pulled it out and was amazed to see it was an old band tee shirt that I'd thought had been thrown out years ago. It was so tatty and the material was so thin you could half see through it. The band in question? Birdland. I don't know if you remember them? Obnoxious brummies who were officially deemed uncool a long time ago. The Manic Street Preachers were big fans but they soon shut up about it.

Anyway, I loved their first two eps and saw them live a couple of times. Easily the most ferocious band I ever saw, and not just the speed of the playing - they actually hit members of the crowd with their guitars and after about twenty minutes of playing smashed the guitars to bits. Cool, I thought. I was into the general shoegaziness of the times and they were coming from a different place altogether, I don't think I'd heard of Television or Patti Smith before.

A lot of music I was into (like Ride for instance) featured strummed waves of distorted guitar, in contrast to which Birdland's guitarist was amazingly dexterous. Ultimately though their singer couldn't sing, and when the tunes inevitably slowed down and got quieter this shortcoming was cruelly exposed. The end.

Years later, chatting to the friendly owner of the record shop in Wigan, we'd got onto bands we'd been really into as teenagers (you think Birdland were bad, his was U2). When I mentioned Birdland he raised his eyebrows, he'd known someone who'd worked at their label and said he'd heard some very strange stories about them. Sadly our conversation was cut short at this intriguing juncture, (I forget how exactly, probably my missus storming into the shop and demanding to know how much fucking longer I was going to be). Anyway, the strange, sort of thoughtful look on the chappie's face suggested that these tales he'd heard were beyond the run of the mill decadence of your average touring band.

This track is from their first ep the first side of which has three songs on it which they just run into each other, if you listen to the end you can hear them storming into the next track - still pretty good I think. I wanted to rip the whole side but unfortunately I'm struggling with my USB device at the moment. Instead I've burned it from Gigantic 2, a cd given away with Melody Maker in 1990, which I was delighted to find in a charity shop a few months back.

Birdland Hollow Heart


  1. I met them once, well bumped into them, wandering around Chester. They were surly.

  2. I'd have expected nothing less. I never bump into pop groups. I think the drummer from Pulp was at a party I went to once, but I'd never have known.

  3. That's cos you were sorted out for e's and whizz

  4. Arf! What I meant was that he wasn't really a very flamboyant character. That's not to say I wasn't off my tits though.