Releasing Shriekback as a live animal after a quarter century of strictly studio-based captivity is no small thing. To deliver what we want to give and, more importantly, what you want and deserve to hear and see, no corners can be cut. If we say so ourselves, we have a huge amount of material that means a lot to a lot of people and, on stage, we have a lot of history and expectation to live up to. For years now we’ve fielded requests to play live again, but for various reasons, whether financial or related to the availability of the core members, the ducks haven’t been in a row: now they are. With some help from you, of course.
Since Barry, Martyn and myself have re-established our relationship in the studio – and found it as thrilling as ever – it seems the right time to put that chemistry back on the road. But unlike the world of recording, where technology has made everything cheaper, smaller and faster, the stage lights are as cruel and unblinking as ever and the journey into the glare even longer and more expensive. So, without further shoe-shuffling, this is what we need.
The band will need to deliver all the force and nuance of a very diverse catalogue. We have lined up (ahem) an 8-piece unit that we know can hit every mark. Martyn, Barry and myself will be entwined with Steve Halliwell on guitar and keyboards and Mike Cozzi on guitar, with the Partridge sisters, Wendy and Sarah, on vocals. As Barry explained in the video, we can’t give you Dave Allen, but we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be joined by Scott Firth on bass – Scott comes to us from P.i.L and has played with Martyn extensively on other projects, so we know we know The Groove will be just fine.
Eight people means a lot of equipment, rehearsal, transportation, accommodation and everything else – but if we’re doing this we’re doing it right and we’re doing it big. Setting this up, getting it rolling from a standing start, is by far the biggest ask of this appeal. Once the machine is built and fired up we can take it anywhere – and you will very much have a say in where that might be. Given the cost and effort of the start-up, we are committed to touring for a year from when we roll; this, we believe, will give us the opportunity to visit you all, wherever you are.
The logistics (and indeed politics) of securing agents and promoters – one of the essential first steps – means that we have so far committed to three shows in the UK in June (plus some more intimate warm-ups, which will form part of a rewards package for early subscribers). After this we are looking at European shows – probably festivals – over the rest of the summer. This is effectively Phase 1 of the campaign.
By this point the band will be running at full speed and have achieved a large degree of self-sufficiency, enough to continue into Phase 2, which targets the US, Canada and beyond. We fully realise that asking our American friends, in particular, to support Phase 1 of this venture without solid dates in your territory set for Phase 2, is testing your faith and loyalty; however – and I cannot stress this enough – we really need everyone’s help in the crucial early stages: Phase 2 is not a stand-alone option, it cannot happen without Phase 1. With that in place, though, we are set to appear somewhere near you before summer 2018.
Fancy helping Shriekback get back on the road? Their Kickstarter campaign is here.