Part One – 1990-1995.
In 1990 Matt Bagguley and Darius Hinks move to Derby to attend Derby university studying graphic design. They had both been playing guitar together for about a year, with the dream of forming a band at uni. They shared a house and persuaded the 3rd member of the house (Russell) to try his hand at playing drums. Various college mates came and went on bass and generally things were just a racket in a bedroom until a college battle of the bands made them decide to knuckle down, write some songs and enter.
Another band also competed on the night, a poor man's My Bloody Valentine called "Pathfinder" – whom I was playing bass for at the time. Neither band were placed anywhere in the competition!
For a while, local guitarist Gary Thatcher took on the bass duties (he later went on to play guitar for the beekeepers, a Derby band who signed to Beggars Banquet and released a number of eps, but were dropped before they releasde an album I think). It was about this time, around 1992, that Cable met Bivouac – UK grunge upstarts signed to Elemental Records (home of rocket from the crypt etc). Nick, who ran the label, watched Cable supporting Bivuoac and liked what he saw very much. They were rough round the edges, but had great song potential he thought. He paid for them to record a demo. Songs that got recorded were 'choice' 'weakened' and 'amy'.
Nick was disappointed with the demo – particularly the rhythm section, which let the band down – they were loose and undisciplined. Nick told the group that if Elemental were to sustain any interest in the band, they needed to change their rhythm section. By now, Darius, Matt and Russell were best mates, so giving Russell his cards was very difficult. Gary wasn't such a problem – he had his own project anyway, which would ultimately lead him to his job in the bee keepers.
Russell was gutted, but remained friends with the band and became a driver/roadie instead, as he was the member of the band who owned the van!
Local gig promoter John Armitage also liked the band but not the recording and offered to 'help them out'. He organised adverts in music shops and local rags and began asking around to find the group a rhythm section.
They found a female bass player (Suzie Ward) and heavy metal guy called Martin Sivret to play drums. Suzie suffered from terrible stage fright and often threw up before seconds before taking to the stage. This lasted around 6 months. Another demo was recorded – this one paid for by MCA, (Nick was friends with an A&R guy there and had pretty much ground him down till he agreed to demo the band). This demo was better received and the A&R guy, John Walsh decided to check the band out live. They were good, but they just had to get rid of the guy out of Iron Maiden on drums. This time, the band resisted blindly following the advice of an A&R guy, but tried to get Martin to get rid of the tassled leather jackets and van halen t-shirts. He was having none of it. Suzie sided with Martin. About this time, they came to record in a studio I was working at – a little 8 track place opposite the local music shop in Derby. I was bored of my band and wanted to do something with a bit more get up and go. I recorded Cable's new songs over 2 days, whilst Matt and Darius were constantly pitched in arguments with Suzie and Martin. It didn't look good and it made the work slow.
2 days after they'd recorded their 3rd set of demos, Darius phoned me. They'd had a big row with Martin who'd quit in a huff. Suzie had walked out, coming out on Martin's side. Whilst I'd been recording them, we'd talked about music and they knew that I played bass. Plus I knew all their new songs inside out, as I'd listened to them dozens of time while recording them. So Darius asked me to join – they were desperate too, as they had a number of gigs supporting cult skate band SNFU, who were on Elemental in the UK. We had 3 days before the first show and no drummer. I called Neil Cooper, who I knew from Gorilla and The Beyond – they had a rehearsal room at the studio where I was working – he was the best drummer I could think of and probably the only one who could learn the material in the time remaining.
I think we had 1 rehearsal on the saturday morning before we got in the van. Me and Neil had had the tapes of the recording to listen to, but due to commitments between the pair of us, we couldn't actually get together until the day of the gig. We did 3 hours and set ourselves a limit of 5 of the easiest to learn songs. We then jumped in a transit and drove to Leicester for the first of the gigs.
I knew from the rehearsal that the chemistry was spot on. There was a vibe to it, we were super confident and cocky, because the practising had been such a breeze. When we got on stage, we were right – it just went off like a bomb, the gig was awesome, and Neil's power drumming finally gave Cable the artillary it needed.
In the audience that night was Gaz Roberts, owner of Krunch records.
He approached us the minute we left the stage, offered us a chance to do a single and helped pack the gear away – he was in love with the band! He had enough cash to press the record and pay for distribution etc, but we had no cash to record. John Armitage, the promoter who'd helped us out earlier lent us the money to go to a 'proper' studio. It was somewhere in Redditch we went, a place recommended by Neil that was owned by a guy who'd recorded the first Wonderstuff album.
We recorded 'sale of the century' and 'hydra'.
John Peel had played Gaz's only other release, a single by a canadian band called 'the dambuilders', so he sent him his newest release. the contact number on the record was mine and literally 3 days after he'd sent it in, John played it on the show saying it was the best record he'd had in weeks. I couldn't believe my ears, as I was listening to the programme at the time! When the record finished, I was still in shock. Peel played another record and the phone rang. I assumed it was one of the others phoning me to ask if I'd heard it being played – but it was Peely himself! He offered us a session immediately. At the same time, the record was reviewed in the Melody Maker, given 5 out 5. By now it was the back end of 1993, so we went into 1994 on a high – we were being given A&R cards at every gig now, Steve Lamacq was turning up at our gigs to check us out and so we played it cool. Another show in Leicester and a guy came over who introduced himself as the manager of the Wedding Present. He'd read the review, heard the session and said he wanted to manage us. He gave us his card, told us to come down to London to talk about it.
The company also managed 'These Animal Men' who were riding high at the time, so we signed with them. Unbeknown to us, the first proper business dicision we'd had to make on behalf of the band, would be the one that ultimately led to our demise. Neil never liked them, either. We just needed someone to deal with the amount of attention we were getting professionally. We were now being chased by RCA, Geffen and a new label run by Korda Marshall (who signed Ash, Garbage and more recently The Darkness) Infectious records. Infectious were funded by Mushroom records, who, with their Jason/Kylie/Neighbours empire behind them, had money. Infectious actually offered us the least amount of money, but Korda was so in love with the band and came to see us so many times that we felt our requirements would be best served by this company – everyone at the label loved the band. Looking back, Infectious records was probably the single best decision we made. I think RCA and Geffen would have dropped us after the first album, but Korda had promised he was in it for the long haul and he stuck by his word. I remember we took very careful consideration over all the labels though and had lawyers look over the every one of the agreements. Eventually we put pen to paper with Infectious in April 1995. We were on our way…