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NEUROTICA THE BAND PT.1: IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS POP

 

Neurotica the band was formed by Miles 'Moose' Landesman in 1990. The name Neurotica was taken from a late 40's/ early 50's beatnik publication which was edited and published by Miles's father, Jay Landesman. The original line-up was:

 

 

The early sound was light, happy, funky and undeniably pop orientated. But while songs like 'Mega-cute' could have sold to the pre-teen market, there was something in Caitlin's sassy style and ironic wit that put an adult edge on the bubblegum songs, and earned her the accolade 'The Garbo of Pop' from Julie Burchill. Barry, who had worked with Miles for some years soon left, as did Max who departed London. This left Miles and Caitlin advertising for a keyboard player and this arrived in the form of Diesel Dave, a young multi-instrumentalist who moved straight from North Wales into Miles and Caitlin's flat in Islington.

 

 

The trio worked full-time in the studio developing some of Miles's endless list of songs written over the previous 15 years, and also writing new stuff together. Soon it was time to go live, and Neurotica was joined by Ian Thomson, a very disciplined and mature drummer, who was also a very capable producer. By summer 1991 the line-up was:

 

 

The first official Neurotica gig took place at The Hare & Hounds (RIP - now The Medicine bar), Upper St, Islington, sometime in September 1991. The gig was a slightly shambolic affair, what with Caitlin's stage-fright, Dave's keyboards breaking down and Miles looking like he'd just po-goed all the way from Broadmoor. Mid-gig entertainment was provided by Miles's parents Jay and Fran, who thankfully filled the gap while Dave repaired his rig.

 

Other gigs soon followed, and Neurotica became a 5-piece with the addition of Max Danish (we can't remember his surname, but he was Danish). Max was a strict jazz player, and very funky in his own way, but a bit square. He left after a while and Dave's left hand resumed control of the bass department, using a separate keyboard pumped through a bass amp, as Ray Manzarick did with the Doors. This enabled Miles and Dave to be more free with the arrangements, and Neurotica moved closer to the psychedelic sound they both loved.

 

1992-93 saw a lot of recording, sporadic gigs, a TV appearance and a management deal with Fugitive music, the company owned by Queen's manager Jim Beach. The band was sounding more electronic, and Neurotica started describing themselves as 'Electrifying Cyber-pop'. Another tag was 'Rock n Rave', as new tunes like 'Gonna Make U Move' and 'Feel the Rhythm' mixed Miles's rock guitar with Dave's acid synth lines. A sampler was installed in the studio and the band started using breakbeats and other loops and samples in their recordings.

 

Another big influence in Neurotica's sound was Bungra music. For some years Miles had been buying Bungra tapes from music stores in Brick Lane, and before the sampler arrived Miles would spend hours taking samples by holding a mic in front of a speaker and recording tiny clips onto the 4-track. Three of the most bungra-influenced tracks, 'Bungra Day', 'Pattey Hey' and 'Seven Lives' were sent to a TV company in Manchester who were producing a show for late night ITV called 'Bungra Beat'. The band were quite surprised to get a call asking them to go to Manchester and shoot a video and interview. Excitement prevented anyone from sleeping the night before, so some of Fran's diet speed pills were acquired to keep the energy levels up. The results are quite obvious and you can watch the clip here. Neurotica were the only all-white english band to ever appear on Bungra Beat, and even made it back into the 'Best of Series' compilation, despite the presenters' mild piss-taking!

 

The deal with Fugitive wasn't running run too smoothly though. Caitlin was unhappy with their attempts at styling the band. Dave was unhappy with their productions of the songs. Ian was unhappy with their constant refusal to give him a bus pass, him being the only member not based in Islington. (The band was incredibly poor at the time- no-one was working and everyone was living on sackfuls of brown rice.)

 

Click to enlarge and see notes

 

This publicity picture was taken by a film promo photographer called Richard Blanchard. The band had no say in the choice of photographer or stylist, and would have cost a lot of money had Fugitive ever recouped any money from the band. It's a good example of why the band was unhappy at the direction Fugitive was taking. It's not clear who sacked who, but the deal came to a mutual end in late 1993. Shortly afterwards Club Neurotica was born as a way of playing regular gigs. Shortly after that Caitlin and Ian both left the band. Miles and Dave were at a crossroads, and with no singer or drummer it was time to get experimental...

 

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