New album ‘White Numbers’ out now on Wronzow (double CD and limited edition triple vinyl – WORONZOW WOO 60 LP & CD)
To a tumult of excitement and anticipation The Bevis Frond release their 21st album. ‘White Numbers’ is the logical successor to 2011’s ‘The Leaving Of London’, not simply in that it’s the next album, but because it follows on in the style of great songs played well in an esoteric, but totally musical panoply of styles.
If there was one complaint about the last record, it was that there were not enough of the Fronds’ signature guitar wig-outs. Wronzow is therefore happy to inform one and all that this aberration has been well & truly rectified with the inclusion of a 42 minute instrumental. You may wonder, therefore, how there will be room for anything else. Well, eschewing the ‘less is more’ theory, ‘White Numbers’ comes as a double CD and triple vinyl release. Frond-in-chief, Nick Saloman (that’s me, and after this bit I am not going to write in the third person) always comes up with far too much material, and spurred on by the relative success of ‘The Leaving Of London’, I have come up with no less than 24 new titles for this new effort.
The album was recorded & mixed over a period of 10 days in Bromley’s palatial Gold Dust Studios with Dave Palmer again at the controls. The line-up being: me Nick Saloman on guitars, keyboards, analogue synth and vocals, Paul Simmons (Alchemysts, Oddfellows Casino, Jello Biafra) on guitars, Adrian Shaw (Hawkwind, Hawklords, Arthur Brown) on bass, and Dave Pearce (Psycho’s Mum, Limehouse Lizzy) on drums. My daughter Deb helped out with a bit of backing vocals.
There is an intriguing mixture of music, all fed through the Bevis Frond’s psychedelic mincing machine. We have heavy guitars, gentle acoustic balladry, short and sharp punk, some great psych/pop, and even a smattering of prog organ. One of the more alarming aspects of the album is the inclusion of ‘Homemade Traditional Electric Jam’, a 42 minute improvisation played as a warm-up exercise on the first day of recording. Dave Palmer recorded it to gauge various sound levels, and when it was played back, it sounded so good that I felt it had to be put on the album. I did a one-take organ overdub and that was that.
I truly believe that this album shows the Bevis Frond at their very best. I also acknowledge that when anything is released for public consumption, there is the possibility (however unpalatable) that the critical response may not mirror the artiste’s opinion. But bear in mind that, as with all Frond albums, this is a genuinely independent piece of work. I have no record company deal, no manager, no touring budget, I get hardly any British radio play, I’ve never been on UK television, but I’ve sold albums on my own label for over 25 years, I’ve performed round the world, and, despite the passage of time, I still labour under the misapprehension that The Frond is still seen as a relatively interesting and uncompromising pop combo.
Anyway, enough about how interesting and uncompromising we are, I hope you enjoy this offering, and maybe find something nice to say about it.
A big thank you to the following: Dave Palmer & Mark Dawson at Gold Dust, Chris and the folks at Shellshock, Ken and Co at Hermana for doing some budget PR for us, Mark at Symptomatic for asking us to gig in London, Sabine at IBD for sorting out our European dates, all the kind people who have written nice things about us over the years, and much more importantly the lifeblood of the band, which is/are the people who actually buy the product and pay to see us play. Without them, the Bevis Frond would (in the rather troubling words of Charles Manson & Dennis Wilson) cease to exist.
A SWIFT BEVIS FROND BIO
In the unthinkable circumstances that you might know nothing about me, Nick Saloman, or my band, The Bevis Frond, here are a few facts you may or may not find interesting. The Bevis Frond began in about 1986 as an outlet for my songwriting and musical endeavours. Initially, I wrote all the material, played all the instruments, recorded, produced and released everything on my own label, designed the sleeves, drove boxes of records round the country….the lot. At first it was just an albums project, but after a while I began to get offers of gigs, so I put a band together, and we started touring. Over the years we’ve been round Europe many times, toured the UK, and toured the USA several times as well. We’ve also done loads of one-off gigs and festivals.
My songs have been covered by such artists as Teenage Fanclub, Mary Lou Lord, Juliana Hatfield, The Alice Band, Barbara Manning, Velo Deluxe, Elliott Smith, The Walking Seeds, The Tables and many others. I’ve also had the privilege to play guitar with Arthur Lee, Country Joe, Teenage Fanclub, Oneida, Barry Melton, Current 93, The Green Ray, Hal (Japanese girl singer), Randy Hammon (Savage Resurrection), Tom Rapp and lots more. Among the artists I’ve gigged with are Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Motorpsycho, Sebadoh, Hawkwind, Teenage Fanclub, Hawkwind, Hothouse Flowers, The Walkabouts, Come, Grant Hart, Current 93, Nirvana, Mary Lou Lord, Guided By Voices, Sun Dial, Man, Twink, UK Subs, Masters Of Reality, Yo La Tengo, Jack Endino, Howe Gelb, Jello Biafra, Tortoise, Swight Twilley, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Tortoise, Ozric Tentacles, Modest Mouse, Tenacious D, My Drug Hell, Silver Apples, The Raging Teens, Fifty Foot Hose, Mo Tucker etc etc. I’ve even given Randy California a lift to Warren Street Station. But I think that’s enough name-dropping, don’t you?
NB: Basically, the above is to establish my allegedly ‘cool’ credentials, which I am attempting by name-checking various associates and passing ships (all of whom are considerably cooler than self), and thereby to confirm my status as influential and ‘criminally under-rated’.