The June Brides were regulars at Alan McGee’s early club nights ‘The Living Room’, after they split in 1986 Creation signed their lead singer Phil Wilson as a solo artist. We caught up with Phil after a recent June Brides reunion gig.
You started off in The June Brides, how did you all meet?
The way most bands do – at college through friends of friends. We initially got together as a joke to play punk rock and take the piss of a college talent competition. Regrettably, we won and the rest is history 🙂
Your famous for playing at Alan’s club nights ‘The Living Room’, how did that come about?
I’d known Alan a little bit before – having gone to his “Communication” club (I think it was called that) to see people like the Television Personalities. We’d spoken a few times at the gigs – Not surprising as there were hardly any people at those early concerts. When I got the June Brides together I sent him a tape at the address I’d got from his fanzine (Communication Blur). He put us on at his new “Living Room” club soon afterwards – and we played it about 10 more times after that, each time getting more and people until we could usually sell it out (and thus bankroll early Creation releases!).
Do you have any particular outstanding memories of that era?
Just that it was an exciting time: our kind of music hadn’t been very popular, but then, suddenly, you met all these other great people at the Living Room who were listening to, and playing, the same kind of music as you. There was a real spirit of kinship.
You supported the Jesus and Mary Chain at one of their early gigs. What were your initial impressions? Were they as strange as everyone states?
They were fantastic! I saw one of their very first gigs – there were maybe 10 or 20 of us watching them. I remember coming downstairs feeling absolutely sick – the knowledge that here was someone so much better than you doing something you could never do! You could just tell they were destined for greatness.
You also toured with The Smiths, did that give you a taste of what was possible?
It gave me a horrible insight into fame. Morrisey was a virtual prisoner in his hotel room – only coming out to do the actual gigs. He looked thoroughly trapped. I thought that if that was fame, then I didn’t want it.
Were The Smiths tours as chaotic as they appeared?
Chaotic and wonderful: about the best I’ve ever seen. Certainly the best I’ve played at. The fans were fanatical – almost as much about us as the Smiths!
Alan never signed The June Brides to his label. Did the band ever feel any resentment to him for that?
Not at the time. In retrospect, we realise that we probably would have been much bigger if we’d been on Creation. But it was not to be – Alan said it was “too obvious”! No hard feelings, though.
What were the reasons for The June Brides split?
Disillusionment: we were fed up of not getting paid, pissed off that the deal with Intape records hadn’t really worked, Just tired, really…
You later signed to Creation as a solo artist, how did that come about?
I think Alan had secretly regretted not signing the Junies (you’ll have to ask him if that’s true). He was certainly very quick about suggesting that I record for Creation, almost immediately after we’d split up.
What other artists on the label did you like?
At the time, I was very keen on Momus and The Loft, and the Jasmine Minks had some great moments. Since then, The Primals, Super Furries, Sugar, Boo Radleys have been great. As for Oasis, I absolutely loved the first few singles and the album, but they very soon became parodies of themselves.
How did your relationship with the label come to an end?
With a whimper rather than a bang. There had been talk about doing an album, but nothing really happened. I think I realised that Alan had lost interest, so I just drifted away.
Do you ever see Alan or Ed this days?
Not in years and years. They seem to be doing alright without me, though!
What did you think of Creation’s progress throughout the nineties from a small indie label to a multi-million pound business?
I was pleased. I thought Alan had got the recognition and success he’d deserved after slogging it for Creation for so many years. The man’s a great guy (even if he is a little fickle sometimes)
Did you enjoy the recent reunion and are there anymore gigs planned?
The gig was a blast! It was great not just to see old friends, but a lot of young indie kids – and they all seemed to enjoy it (apart from the two miserable goths who must have gone there by mistake!).
It’s difficult for us to get together for gigs, as we all have jobs, and Ciaran and Brendan have other musical commitments. If we do it again it would need to be for something special – going to the US or Japan, for instance (wishful thinking). But the urge to play is still strong…so let’s just wait and see what happens.
Apart from the reunion, what have you been up to since leaving the music business?
Working! I do policy work as a civil servant. It’s a different world.
Finally, have you got anything to say to the kids today?
Form a band! Do a fanzine! Be the Creation of tomorrow.