The Gresham Flyers: Missing In Action?

I’ve got a CD in front of me- nothing very special to look at, just a standard Sony CD-R. The significance of it is probably lost on the majority of the global population, but to at least six people, it’s the final piece of a jigsaw that has been slowly put together over the last 13 months. With a couple of false starts, and plenty of drama, we can now confidently say that we have finished recording our debut album. The last two tracks we did were new versions of Shiftwork (titled Shiftwork2, in true New Order style) and Factory Records Museum, which we finished mixing last night. Despite being recorded with a slightly depleted lineup (see below), we can certainly say that both versions are a vast improvement on the previously recorded versions, even if the 7inch version of Shiftwork is already a classic (apparently)

All that remains is to decide on a track sequence, do a bit of sweetening- the odd new vocal or bass part here and there and then let the inhumanly talented hands of Mr. Simon Trought do what they need to do to make it sound like a coherent Proper Album. Nonetheless, the actual task of agreeing on an album title, and which track(s) should be left off may very well be the final nail in the Flyers coffin- we’ve all been putting sequences together of the 13 nominated tracks and we’re all very stubborn!

I realise that in the interim between this blog entry and the previous entry, four eventful months have elapsed. The actual machinations of the band have been at work as normal- we’ve paid two visits to the studio and put down a further six songs, and played out hat-trick of North London gigs, and kept up the rehearsals with a fervent zeal. But, underneath all of the successes, there’ve been changes afoot.

First though, to set the scene, the trio of late November north London gigs were about as active as we’ve ever been; we played all three in a fortnight to a mostly enthusiastic reception. The venues and billing increased as we went, from the opening band at Archway tavern, to a spectacular show at the Bull & Gate (undertaken after a full day’s recording) to a suitably ramshackle finale headlining the superb Mixtape night in Stoke Newington, complete with our own freebie CD called ‘The Gresham Flyers: Under The Influence’, which collected tracks chosen by us from other influential bands and an exclusive new Flyers song. We got to play with some excellent bands along the way, such as Opaque, Foxes!, and (especially) the highly entertaining Bonsai Kittens, and we did ourselves proud I’d say. Every silver lining has a cloud, though, and as you may have noticed, where we were once six, the departure of Kerry means we are currently five.

This unfortunate parting of ways with our newest member was certainly not what we expected or wanted, especially after such a successful year together. But, it has happened, and though she’s gone, Kerry has left a very definite stamp on our sound. It’s not been easy to replicate her superb drumming, and as you hear from the tracks we’ve put on our Myspace page, she’s made an invaluable musical contribution. Luckily for all of us, she played on just about every track on the album (apart from the two above- the drumming was done by Andrew and me), so we’ll have a very firm lineup throughout and a fantastic document of how we sounded throughout 2006, not to mention a fucking great album. Despite the split, Kerry’s also assured us that she’s happy to fill in if we need a drummer in the future, so there may be an opportunity to play with her again. I would hope so.

For now, however, we’ve added James to our ranks. Whilst things are still being ironed out in terms of whether James can balance being a full-time Flyer and continue to provide his drumming skills to his long-term band tELLEY, it’s a certainty that we’re all very glad to have landed on our feet with another excellent multitasking drummer, and one who fits in with us on a personal level. I first met James about four years ago when both of us were traveling around Australia. We ended up sharing a dorm in Sydney and a cleaning job that meant both of us could stay rent-free in the hostel, whilst spending the evenings in salubrious indie clubs in the King’s Cross area of the city. He stuck around after I went off up the coast, and we lost touch, despite his gift of the first Scaramanga Six album which he played drums on, and got repeated spins on my Antipodean road trip. A serendipitous chain of events last year, which involved finding a new copy of that album in my office, and both of us finding each other on myspace at exactly the same time meant that we’ve stayed in touch, to the point where James was the only serious consideration to fill the Kerry-shaped hole in our ranks. As above, it’s too early to say whether James can commit to the band full-time (he won’t be on the new album, but we’ll try and get a new EP recorded sometime this year which he will be on), hence his name’s missing from the band lineup or photos, but it’d certainly be a boon for us if he does decide to stay. Aside from his excellent drumming, he is a thoroughly decent bloke.

Which brings me neatly onto our future plans. It’s definitely all change round these parts as Andrew plans to revamp the website, the album gets put together and we look forward to some new gigs. We’ve got an exciting gig that we’ll be announcing in the next week, but for now, the band is still incomplete as Sharon recovers from her recent tonsillectomy and we’re currently rehearsing without her. Hopefully she’ll be back up to speed in no time and we can get ourselves back out there! In the meantime, if you feel you have a mild Flyer deficiency in your life, we’ve got an exclusive album taster on the new Tasty Fanzine compilation Tasty Tracks Volume 3. Find yourself at a Tasty Fanzine gig around Nottingham or Leeds, and blag yerselves one of these (lineup below)



Tasty Tracks Volume 3:

The Gresham Flyers - Suits
Days Like Postcards - Whispers and Raindrops
Pocketbooks - I'm Not Going Out
Lardpony - Who Loves Sol?
Postal Blue - For You
The Argyl Wishlist - Weatherwerk
Lorenzo Snow Collective - Three Drunken Brothers
The Solvents - John Lennon
Finlay - Phantasmagoria
Of Saints and Liars - Where Did Ya Go
The Loves - I My She Love You
Airport Girl - Hold Me Through the Night
Sodastream - Reservations
Spring Hill Fair - A New Road
Stagecoach - Giddy Up
Hemsted - Charkdisco
Moogle Charm - The Old Men
Frankie Machine - Gyproque (Plans & Apologies Frankie Panky Mix)

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