During the Autumn of 2010, work began on another HiddenMasters project, centered around one of the truly great ‘lost’ Manchester bands of the early 80s – The Distractions.
If the name doesn’t readily spring to mind, a brief aide-memoire: The Distractions’ first releases were on the TJM label before they signed to Factory. One single later and Nick Stewart (the man who inked the pact with U2) signed them to Island.
The Distractions one and only album, Nobody’s Perfect, was released to sales that singularly failed to match the lavish critical praise heaped upon the band or the record. Thus, after the obligatory singles and weeks spent touring the length and breadth of Britain as well as playing dates in New York, the group were promptly dropped when label cutbacks dictated that tough A&R choices had to be made.
The Distractions reappeared on Rough Trade and Bronze before grinding to a halt at no real fixed point in time during the middle of the decade.
And there the tale would probably have ended… were it not for Occultation’s Nick Halliwell who reunited co-founders Steve Perrin (writer & guitars / at that point, a lecturer in Auckland, NZ) and Mike Finney (singer of songs / a Customs Officer in Hull) at a studio in Liverpool during the summer of 2009.
Occultation released the resulting two EPs to rave critiques. The shell on the egg of Distractions #2 had been pierced and, although geographically challenged, vague plans were made to record a second album… 30+ years after their first.
With better than anticipated sales of these two EPs coupled to renewed media interest in The Distractions as the backdrop, HiddenMasters began the research process that would lead to assembling a database of all known recordings. Because, other than their Factory single, none of The Distractions’ material has ever been made digitally available or reissued in any form.
Meantime, those imprecise new-LP plans turned to reality during the Summer of 2011 when messrs Perrin (now living in Australia) and Finney tipped up at a small studio in Exeter armed with a clutch of new compositions. Accompanied by Halliwell (guitars), Arash Torabi (bass) and veteran drum-major Mike Kellie, the new Distractions album was recorded in four days.
With the 2nd Distractions’ album – The End Of The Pier – having been heaped with critical praise, there are now (real) plans afoot for a 3rd album to be recorded before 2015 morphs into 2016. .
Concurrently, the months of deep-archive research have also borne fruit; all of The Distractions key masters had been located. However, using the same methodology as for any HiddenMasters project, the complete audio-database also includes live recordings; demos, outtakes, different mixes and radio sessions – some of which only now exist on DAT, cassette or virgin vinyl.
HiddenMasters have now completed the digitisation process of all found (at FX with Richard Whittaker as chief engineer) and will shortly be embarking on the song selection process in collaboration with Mike Finney and Steve Perrin.
The retrospective+ is entitled Parabolically Yours and will not only include historic Distractions recordings but bring the story totally up to date by featuring more recent material (as well as some prime cuts from the band’s sold out shows in Salford during 2013).
Parabolically Yours will be presented in a 12″ hard back, casebound book format (96 pages – with text drawn from extensive interviews with the key people involved in the story of The Distractions – edited by David Quantick) featuring a wealth of previously unseen images. It will be issued as a limited 1st edition of just 1,000 copies worldwide.
Further details – including the full track listing and pre-ordering details – will be announced shortly.
For more… visit The Distractions website