Love The Glove...
I remember standing on a dark stage, along with Ian Williamson, when Jim first performed as Louis Druidspear. Together we performed a couple of enchanting gigs around Brum. But, just how did I get from leaving Big Moon, to this?
After leaving “Big Moon”, I went off to demo some stuff I had been writing. I invested in a Tascam four track (remember those?) with support for midi. This allowed me to control the tape machine with my Attari. To this I added an Akai sampler and a reverb. I put together another musical collaboration with Allan Tappenden of YZI. We rapidly became “Aliens in My Attic”, spending lots of time recording. Some of this material was re-visited later with both “The Glove Puppet Orchestra” and “The Arrogance of Art”.
It was around 1990 that Jim and I got together once again. Each of us had been demoing new songs on home studios and we were getting into an experimental stage for musical possibilities, well before the concept of samples and sequences existed outside the likes of Laurie Anderson and Kraftwerk. For us, anything could have possibilities, including sampling vacuum cleaners, slowing down or reversing drum loops. Many of the things that we did are now mainstay techniques, but then it was very much “create by the seat of your pants” stuff that either worked or didn’t. I admit that some of the recordings sound rough by today’s standard, but I still find interesting sounds in them when I hear them. For us, it was new and exciting. With the help of various interesting bits of equipment we could beg, borrow or steal, a midi recording studio was gradually set up. This became known as “Glove Island”. Initially a studio project for the “Realms” and “Green Knight” albums, it rapidly drew a following and it was decided to consider a live set of our songs. By this time we had moved away from the experimentation of creating “ambience with balls” to a more interesting form of rock, which would gradually evolve into “Druidspear”. At this time Ian Rushberry was called in to provide some interesting bass lines that would go with the sequences and synths. Go Birch was also invited to play keyboards. A set featuring some of Jim’s work and some of mine were given “the glove treatment”. As I recall, the set included “Dreamtime”, ”Homeland”, “Basic Essentials for Environmental Control” and “Refugee”. A number that I don’t recall featuring, in the now culturally famous “Synatra’s” gig was the “Glove version” of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman”. We backed this with “Dreamtime” as a potential cassette single. I do remember that we gave a copy to Donovan and he sent Jim and myself a card saying how much he’d liked “Dreamtime” and asked us to keep in touch. Sadly the “Glove Puppet Orchestra” had come to the end as both Jim and I were being spurred on to work with other people and other projects. We formed “Gzypio” with “YZI” and recorded an insane version of “Pink Floyd’s” “Brain Damage”.
Jim was working on songs that would feature in his “Louis Druidspear”, whilst I was putting together “The Arrogance of Art”. Initially, it consisted of the wonderful Ian Williamson playing some excellent “Mick Karn” type bass and myself on acoustic guitar and a few well received gigs around the City inspired us. It was about now that Jim was ready to appear as “Louis Druidspear”. He enlisted Ian and myself to accompany him on guitar synth and bass. I will always remember one of those magically surreal moments when, as my guitar synth kicked in with the seashore noises, I heard a voice with a terrific Black Country accent go “Fuck me where’s all that water coming from”? I recall “Silver Sister” and “Homeland” were in the set, “Loving Net” may also have been. Jim went on to form the full blown “Druidspear” I went on to add Craig Egan on lead guitar to “The Arrogance of Art” who then supported “Druidspear” at several of their early gigs. Indeed, “Professor Firestick” played on one or two “Arrogance” jams, most notably “Truant an ‘ D’Fly”. The album “Touched By The Hand of God” was finished around this time. Tracks included, “Touched By the Hand of God”, “Refugee”, “Dreamtime”, “Welcome to the Real World”, “Radio Gaia” and “Nikki’s Wedding”. “Touched” featured a belly dancer that Jim and I had sampled and laid across a keyboard. Much of what I had learned working with” the gloves” went into the “Touched” project. Indeed both Jim and Ian played on it. In return I guested on a couple of tracks on the “Slow” album.
This was an immensely satisfying experience for me on several levels. I feel that the best of my writing has been brought out of me within three collaborations. Once, with Mike Chant, now with “Nexus” when we worked together as “Wrecked Again”. And then with Jim and Allan. The two came together so often during those “Glove Puppet” days. James Binning and Allan Tappenden are two people who have pulled the best out of me and inspired me in so many ways. I love ‘em all, long may they rock.
Dave The Glove.