Two Tune Tuesday: Shriekback

What I’ve found in introducing people to Shriekback over the years is that you either you get them or you don’t. You could describe them as amphibious, maybe, or as something like geek funk. Most of you probably (only) know “Nemesis” — which was recently re-mixed — or you might know the lead, Barry Andrews, as that guy who was in XTC at the very beginning but was gone by the 3rd XTC album; Shriekback is where he went next. Here’s a recent interview with him talking about those days & about a bunch of other things. There’s some cool live footage on YouTube, too – here’s “All Lined Up” which was a WLIR favorite back in the day. (Check out the bass that’s got FACT written on it. Loved that. & Yes, Dave Allen was the bass player for Gang of Four, too.)

If any of you were also fans, you might be surprised to hear that there was a video for “Despite Dense Weed” – the first song they ever recorded, & which was only ever on a Y Records compilation called The Birth of the Y (which had a Diamanda Galas track, too).

& Yes, I saw them a bunch of times live, too. I learned the word scapula from Barry Andrews, because he signed over mine on the t-shirt I was wearing. I met Stewart Copeland that day too, but that was incidental & hardly very important to a Shriekback fan.

It was only a year or so later that I had shaved my head and wore an old priest’s cassock a lot; I think of it as my first (of many) monk phases. I found the cassock in my family’s basement, which means it was probably an altar boy robe once worn by one of my brothers.

3 Replies to “Two Tune Tuesday: Shriekback”

  1. Oddly enough, Shriekback was the first live band I ever saw. They were the opening act for Simple Minds in, I guess, the fall of 85, which was my freshman year of college.

    I’d never heard of them before, and what I really remember was that much of the crowd hated them, and practically shouted them off the stage. I remember thinking “Oh come on — they’re not that bad. I’d kinda like to hear the songs.”

    When I told the guy across the hall from me, he just about freaked out, cause they were one of his favorite bands at the time, and he immediately sat me down and made me listen to their LP. Which was, you know, good.

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