The Red Lapels:
The TVD First Date

“For me, going vinyl means going back to basics. And going back to basics means one thing—no stress.”

“Sometimes the thought of listening to music gives me a headache. Find laptop, turn on, no charge, find plug, no internet connection, skip song, annoying advert—etc.

But when it comes to listening to vinyl, things are far less complicated. Record on, get jealous of not living in the Sixties, record off. Even the process of buying a record is better for me, no card details or download issues, instead you just sift through countless Neil Diamond and Genesis records until you find that hidden gem you’ve been searching for—and when you do… well, you know the feeling.

When I first met Richard he was the only person I knew who had a record player and immediately I was jealous. He had set up his old ’80s HiFi (of which I have now acquired), in the garage we rehearsed in and whenever he put it on it seemed to transform the damp and cluttered space into a Californian beach shack where the sun shone brighter and our early unpolished tunes sounded better.

The record he used to play that really stands out for me was called 22 Golden Guitar Greats and the song I loved most was called “Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny Farina. To say we overplayed it would be an understatement.

Once I had managed to wrangle my way into getting Richard’s record player, it was a question of getting records to actually play on it. As ever, money was tight and so I asked my Grandad to bring round any of the old ones he had in his loft.

What I received was the usual bargain bucket bound crap but amongst them I did find a copy of The Searchers’ Greatest Hits hidden inside a Jack Jones record sleeve. As soon as I put it on and heard “Needles and Pins,” I was sold and to do this day I don’t know why the band doesn’t get the praise they deserve. Around once a month I get the urge to play this record before I go to work—I don’t know why but it’s definitely made me late a few times.

A couple of years ago, after Richard’s granddad passed away and the band went to stay in his farm out in Selsey. The house was up for sale and therefore everything that was in it had to go too. One thing that was saved however was a mint condition 1950’s Bush radiogram. It even still had the protective covering on it and the option to tune into radio Luxembourg only made it better.

Although our trip was aimed to be a productive weekend of song writing, it of course wasn’t and instead we done pretty much everything but that. We did however find the masterpiece that is Lennon’s, Mind Games in Richard granddads’ limited record selection and this at least made our stay worthwhile. The radiogram is now the centre piece of Richard’s house and has hosted many a drunken night at the Maddy household.

When I can afford it I will occasionally got to Crusin Records in Welling High Street to buy vinyl. Perhaps my best buy from there is an original copy of Loaded by The Velvet Underground—I will never get bored of it.

The last tune on the album is called “Oh Sweet Nuthin,” and I have been annoying my neighbours by constantly playing all seven minutes for years now. I have a group of friends who seem to have remembered the first verse and the three word chorus and if ever there is a guitar on hand at one of our many sessions we always seem to end up murdering it with a whiny and bumbling rendition.

Next month we will release our first single “It Aint Easy” on seven inch vinyl. Deep down I guess we probably know that this isn’t the most practical way of releasing music but the feeling I get every time I see the sleeve or play the record I still can’t quite get over.

It only gets more surreal however, when I put it amongst the rest of my alphabetically ordered record collection – firmly between The Jam and Thin Lizzy that is.”
Harvey Lee, Lead Guitar, Vocals

The Red Lapels play Club Radio Free Europe at The Miller, 96 Snowfields, SE1, at London Bridge on 26th April.

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