Almost immediately after signing with Infectious, the band went to Wales for a week and gave birth to their debut mini – album ‘Down Lift The Up-Trodden’. It was during this recording session that we had our legendary 'fight' with Oasis, who were recording their second album next door to us – we were at Monnow Valley studio, Oasis were at Rockfield.
Both bands had finished recording on the same day and had gone to the local boozer to celebrate. We met Noel, Liam and the rest of the band in the local pub and Oasis had yet really to be come a household name. Naturally, much booze flowed and we all got on swimmingly, so Noel invited us back to their side of the building after closing time, for 'a few more bevvies'.
Anyway, we were all pretty drunk and I just remember this argument brewed up between Liam and Darius about the Beatles – well more specifically about how ripping them off so totally was, well, a bit wank.
Next thing we knew, fists started flying between Darius and Liam and then Bonehead went in. It was actually Noel that broke it up. Liam, by now u for a fight with anyone, began swinging at his brother who was trying to restrain him. That night they smashed the place up and sure enough it made the papers – Oasis split shocker! We carried Darius off, who of course slept like a baby, albeit with a black eye…it's one misadventure I'll never forget, that's for sure.
When released, the record was well received and many stated that Cable were showing that guitar music had definitely got a creative future ahead if it.
Things were snowballing nicely for the band, but this meant more problems – Neil was finding it difficult to tour with Cable as well his other group Gorilla, not to mention his studio work producing other acts.
After an exhausting tour with A.C. Acoustics followed by a brief stint on the continent, Neil decided to leave the group for his own health’s sake. The parting was amicable and Neil offered to honour any commitments Cable had until We found a replacement.
In November 95 a certain Richie Mills arrived for his audition at the bands rehearsal studio in Derby.
Richie lived in nearby Nottingham and had recently quit the band he’d been a member of for the past three years on the grounds that it was quite definitely going nowhere.
Only the third person to make it through to audition out of around seventy candidates – Richie had not only learned the three songs requested of him, he knew the full live set. With a sledgehammer style that could be subtle too, Richie earned himself a trial period of one month in the group.
The band decided that he was the man for the position whilst playing a show in Manchester the next night. Not only was it meant to be Neil’s last show with the band, it was almost the end of the band itself!
After dropping Neil off in Derby, we parked our van outside my house while We sorted out monies and pick up arrangements for the following night’s show in Tunbridge. While parked, a drunk driver tore up the quiet residential street and slammed in to the back of Cable’s van at 70mph, smashing it on to it’s side and totally destroying the vehicle. By some miracle only Darius was injured – knocked unconscious by the crash, he suffered concussion and spent several days recovering in hospital. The other members only had minor cuts and bruises.
With the release of ‘Down Lift’ looming, we knew we had to pick ourselves up and get on with things as soon as possible. Richie began playing with the group immediately and cancelled shows were hastily rescheduled. Neil asked to play one more show with the group, not wanting to remember his last gig as the accident night. We agreed and Neil bowed out from Cable in front of an eager audience at London’s LA2 venue, even though Richie had already played three shows with the band.
1996 Began with Cable touring with indie rock veterans The Wedding Present and ‘Down Lift’ was released to critical acclaim, sales were modest, but indie chart placings were good. The fan base began to grow in earnest. Richie became a permanent member and the band recorded a second session for John Peel.
We took to Europe to woo Germany with our special brand of punk rock. Having played Reading Festival in 95 as veritable newcomers, Cable were warmly welcomed to the stage at Phoenix 96 by the ever growing fanbase.
Tours with like minded acts such as Elevate and Understand worked very well for all parties and half empty venues gradually became full over the course of the year. Having toured solidly for the first half of 96, Cable retreated into their rehearsal studio in Derby to pen their first full length album.
A new single was pencilled in for an Autumn release, which was to be Richie’s first release with the group. A tour was planned with the then recently signed Groop Dogdrill. The band began looking for a producer, wanting something totally different to the raw Albini-esque style of John Robb who had produced all their earlier releases.
We chose cult US undergrounder Kramer, proprietor of Shimmy Disc Records and producer to acts as diverse as Galaxie 500, Urge Overkill and White Zombie.
The band flew to Kramer’s native New York and recorded a bunch of new songs that were to form the basis of the ‘Whisper Firing Line’ EP, to see if he was the right man for the job.
After playing their 100th show of the year at the 100 club in Oxford St, London in October 96 (20 years to the day that the Sex Pistols had last played there.) The band took up camp in their home town of Derby once again, to finish writing the new album.
The beginning of 1997 had the band perform live in Brixton Prison (just one of our off the wall ideas fuelled by a desire to always do something different!). We then returned to New York to finish what we had started and ‘When Animals Attack’ was crafted over a period of three weeks.
On our return the band began work on a short film that was to promote the album and contain exerts of all their new songs. Starring Vincent Regan as an escaped convict the film was directed by Mark Adcock and was featured at the Edinburgh festival later that year, as well being shown on MTV’s ‘Alternative Nation’ show.
Once again the group toured with old friends A.C. Acoustics, this time to promote new single ‘Blue Birds Are Blue’ and we recorded our third session for John Peel.
While on tour with the A.C's, Darius broke his arm the night before our major London end of tour show. We played bristol the night before and Darius decided that his chosen sport after the show that night was 'boat hopping'. This meant leaping from boat to boat in the bristol docks with AC guitarist Mark. This seemed to be great fun, until Darius jumped from one boat onto another and disappeared. The trapdoor on the deck of the boat had been left open and Darius fell a good 8 feet into the hold, breaking his arm in the process. The band's next show was at Dingwalls in London, to a sold out crowd.
In true showbiz style, we decided the show had to go on – we had an emergency rehearsal in London the afternoon before the show, altered some songs to fit a 3 piece outfit and dropped some that obviously couldn't work without him. We then took to the stage that night with Darius coming on with his arm in plaster. Instead of playing though, he sat down in a comfy armchair and watched telly, which had been placed on stage where he would normally have stood! half way through the show, a pizza delivery moped entered the venue and, as a total surprize to Darius, bought him a pizza to eat as well. Naturally, the press lapped the spectacle up and the gig got great reviews.
The tour came to a successful close after what could have been a complete disaster. Darius had about 6 weeks off for his arm to recover before we could do more shows though. Events of late spring saw Cable’s profile rocket and our underground cult status was finally broken.
We tentatively agreed to let Sprite use one of our new songs for an advert to promote the soft drink. ‘Freeze The Atlantic’ became the group’s biggest seller to date, skimming the national charts at no. 43. Not wanting to be caught up in the advert trap like Babylon Zoo or Stiltskin, we refused to release the song until a month after the ad’s run had finished.
Supporting major rock act Reef ensured that Cable were not a sudden flash in the pan and their own headline tour in the summer was sold out in almost every venue. The debut full length LP was again critically praised as another step forward for British guitar music. Kerrang! Magazine nominated us for best new British act of 97 in their ‘K’ awards.
The band appeared at Reading Festival 97 and two more releases followed that year ‘God Gave Me Gravity’ and the limited edition ‘Live at Brixton Prison EP’ which contained songs from our performance there in January.
1997 was tied up with two more gigs. The first, a breathtaking show at Radio1’s ‘Sound City’ festival in Oxford, was broadcast live to the nation.
Then, once home, Cable gave their final show of 1997- a secret Christmas performance to fans in their home town of Derby, as a thank you for their continued support. The gig sold out within days of it being announced.
1998: To the public, Cable remained defiantly silent for most of the year, with only a few shows in the UK, some of them under a secret name. Of course, We hadn’t been idle. The band decided that it was now time have a serious look at the Cable battle plan and the direction We were going in.
Despite the fact that ‘When Animals Attack’ was very well received, we wanted to strive for something much better, seeing our previous efforts as patchy at best. We decided that our next record would be our best and so as 1998 began we began writing the new album – this time taking much more time over the crafting of songs, which were then tested as they were written, by performing them at the aforementioned secret gigs.
We knew that in order to survive, Cable’s vision must expand – not just musically but commercially. We signed new bigger distribution deals for Europe and the far east and began negotiations with US licensees, as our records had only been available in the States as imports so far.
We travelled to America to showcase our new material at the important ‘South By South West’ festival that takes place in Austin Texas every year. This was an important milestone for us and we began to make serious inroads in the US, I remember that we were in serious nagotiation with Roadrunner records after that show.
After finishing around 20 new songs, We then returned to Wales to record the new album, choosing only the best ones to make up the album. Some of the songs never even got recorded properly at all. The producer was Paul Tipler, known for his work with Elastica and Stereolab amongst others, chosen because his experimental work ethic would add an extra dimension to the band’s new songs. The combination proved extremely productive as the band took up instruments and adopted imaginative new studio techniques to make the new record…it was by now, the middle of 1998…and there was a storm brewing…