EAT have been described as one of the indie scenes best kept secrets. Their 1989 debut album,’Sell Me A God’ , with its heavy leaning towards the sounds of Creedance Clearwater Revival, but also taking influences from the likes of The Doors, Gang of Four, and Big Audio Dynamite, was hailed as a one of the best and most diverse debuts of its time. Building up a dedicated fanbase in the UK, for some reason the band went virtually unknown oversees. Things never seemed to run smoothly for the band – line up changes, drugs, internal fueds – the odds seemed stacked against success. After a couple of years hiatus, original members, Ange Dolittle, Pete Howard, and Tim Sewell recruited a couple of new guitarists and returned with the album ‘Epicure’ in 1993. With it’s anthemic, somewhat psychedelic, feel, and heart felt personal lyrics (a number of tracks are about Ange’s struggle with heroin) it not only showed a new direction for the band, it has become known as ‘the best rock album of the 90’s that you have never heard‘. Despite getting rave live reviews for their packed out live performances at home, the bands first US tour saw them playing to empty rooms. It was to prove too much for EAT, and they ended up not only aborting the remainder of the tour, but, much to the disappointment of their fans,also calling it a day as a band.
Thankfully EAT reformed last year, playing two back to back sell out gigs at The Half Moon, Putney, which in someways is testament to how good and how well loved they were by those in the know. We recently bumped into drummer Pete Howard – who with the rest of the band, is looking forward to playing live again in Manchester next weekend at the Gigantic Indie All dayer (see below) – and got him to tell us about the music that has inspired and driven him over the years…
BM: Let’s start at the beginning, was there record in your parent’s record collection that attracted your attention?
PH: My Father worked for Phillips records so there was always a lot of curious looking records around that he had to listen to. Like Gentle Giant, Black Sabbath and Rod Stewart (before he became a cretin). My poor father who liked Frank Sinatra and Dave Brubeck had to listen to this stuff so he could have an informed view when he spoke to clients. He hated it all, but it gave me exposure to lots of stuff. I still love Frank Sinatra.
BM: What was the first record you ever bought?
PH: Willy and the Poor Boys by Creedence Clearwater Revival I bought it because I liked the cover and it just turned out to be a very good record.
BM: What about the track that influenced you to start making music?
PH: Ballroom Blitz by Sweet but that could be a drummer thing. I recall seeing the drummer twirl his sticks and thinking it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I mastered that way before I tackled a rattamacue, a paradiddle or a pressed roll.
BM: What was the first record you ever covered?
PH: Paranoid by Black Sabbath, it’s a piece of piss to play all the parts and everyone sounds better than Ozzy Osbourne.
BM: Is there a song you’d like to cover, but can’t or won’t?
PH: Sun Zoom Spark by Captain Beefheart. It’s really difficult to play and it’s unfair to ask a singer to try and sing like him or indeed to interpret the vocals in any way.
BM: Your Saturday night tune?
PH: Boogie Van by Fu Manchu or Shake a leg by ACDC or cherry cola by the Eagles of Death Metal.
BM: …and your Sunday morning record?
PH: Music for Films by Brian Eno especially if I’ve pulled the night before.
BM: The track most likely to get you on the dancefloor.
PH: New Rose the Damned or Burn Rubber On Me the Gap Band.
BM: What about a karaoke tune?
PH: Karaoke is evil.
BM: Is there a record we might be surprised that you like?
PH: Follow you Follow me by Genesis. Selling England by the pound always seemed like the prog version of the Village Green Society or Ogdens Nutgone Flake but when Peter Gabriel left they became a bit shite. I heard Follow you Follow me one drunken night when I’d just been chucked and It became my private soundtrack for self pity.
BM: A track that you find particularly inspiring?
PH: My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains by Captain Beefheart. Aching long distance love.
BM: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
PH: Frank Zappa. I’m bored of trying to tell people why he was good. If someone can’t hear Peaches en Regalia or Regyptian Strut or Sofa No.1, then I’ll keep it to myself
BM: The record you shall have at your funeral?
PH: Sofa No 1 by Frank Zappa. Solemn without being morbid.
BM: What would you say is the best track ever?
PH: There could never be only one, but maybe Three Days by Janes Addiction.
BM: Your favourite track made by your friends?
PH: Weeds by Queen Adreena. It’s just beautiful.
BM: And by the band that should have been/should be bigger?
PH: EAT of course! We were always billed as the industry’s best kept secret and we think it’s about time to change that.
BM: Talking of EAT – What was the track that brought you together?
PH: This Is Pop by XTC. Stupid and clever at the same time.
BM: Do you have a tour bus favourite?
PH: Dubnobasswithmyheadman by Underworld or Clear Spot by Captain Beefheart. Underworld were the first band I really got into that didn’t have a drummer which meant they were shite live but great road trip music. Clear spot is the greatest record ever made.
BM: And finally, from your own back catalogue, which song are you most proud of/means the most to you? Why?
PH: Red Moon or Mr and Mrs Smack from the Sell Me A God Album. Both have great moods, great lyrics. I also like playing Golden Egg (from the Epicure Album) live as the crowd participation during this track is just brilliant and overwhelming!
Gigantic Indie All-Dayer – Saturday 23rd May.
Manchester Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester
1.30PM – 11.30PM Tickets £29.00 Advance Box Office: 0161 832 1111 / www.manchesteracademy.net
MAIN STAGE – MANCHESTER ACADEMY
Doors open at 1.30pm the same time as the Real Ale and Cider Festival
Echo And The Bunnymen – on stage 10.05pm
Plus Very Special Guests Inspiral Carpets (Greatest Hits set) – on stage 8.30pm
Pop Will Eat Itself (Greatest Hits set) – on stage 7.00pm
Gang Of Four – on stage 5.35pm
Hurricane #1 – on stage 4.30pm
The Primitives – on stage 3.30pm
The Annual Gigantic Raffle – get down early and collect your free entry tickets – 3.00pm
SECOND STAGE – MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 – Doors open at 4.30pm
The High – on stage 10.00pm
EAT – on stage 8.25pm
Diesel Park West – performing their classic album Shakespeare Alabama – on stage 6.55pm
Milltown Brothers – on stage 5.35pm
ACOUSTIC STAGE – MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY – Doors open at 4.30pm
Echobelly – on stage 10.00pm
The Woodentops – on stage 8.25pm
Mark Morriss – on stage 6.55pm
BOB – on stage 5.35pm
For more SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES features click HERE
More by me -stAn
Follow me on Twitter – stAn