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Four Shades Of Blue

Set to rival Supergrass as the year's best new British band, Harlesden-based four-piece The Bluetones, like Blur or Oasis, sound like the collective sum of their record collections. Both singer Mark Morriss and his brother, bassist Scott, claim that seeing The Stone Roses live made them want to be in a band, while guitarist Adam Devlin cites The Smiths as his inspiration and drummer Eds Chesters singles out The Small Faces.

Mark Morriss reckons The Bluetones' songs sound a lot like Buffalo Springfield, while the press have them halfway between The Stone Roses and The La's. Of course, the band, all still in their early 20s, haven't always been so hip. Here, they try to stay cool while confessing to record collections that include Howard Jones, Big Country, Bruce Springsteen, Duran Duran and Iron Maiden...

MARK MORRISS (22)

"I wasn't much into music as a kid. Kenny Dalglish was my hero. He was everything to me; I really badly wanted to be him."

"When I went to the barbers, I'd ask my mum to tell them to cut my hair like Kenny's. They never did, though. They'd always just give me the usual crew cut. It was the crew cut and crying routine every time. I stopped wanting to be a footballer at about 15. I was good and I played for a brilliant team, but it wasn't fun. It got too competitive. I'd been playing for the same club since I was ten, and we just got better and better. Suddenly it was all about winning and not about playing. Anyway, I was at that age when I was starting to go to parties and drink cider."

"The first record I bought was 'Moonlight Shadow' by Mike Oldfield and the first band I really got into was Duran Duran, when I was about 13. I bought some of their singles: 'The Reflex', 'Rio', all that rubbish. I even went to see them once. I was with these girls from the year above me at school who were big fans. There were about eight of them and me, the only boy. It was great. I wore those pixie boots and put blonde streaks in my hair, but I wasn't a New Romantic. I don't know what I was. was lost for years. I was into Goth music, and shit indie bands like The Wonder Stuff, All About Eve and The bloody Mission. "

"The first band that really mean something to me were The Smiths, although I got into them a bit late. missed the boat really. I went to se The Stone Roses when I was about 17--I guess that was my spiritual awakening to music. It was right at the beginning when they were coming up from the street. I felt I was part of it cos I'd been there right from the start. "

"In my flat now, I have pictures of Peter Sellers, Audrey Hepburn and Roger Moore, a round Jimi Hendrix poster and a Walker Brothers limited edition print that came with my mum's Portrait album. I never had pictures of women on my wall when I was younger, but I do now. Sherilyn Fenn pictures--tasteful ones-- and Ingrid Bergman. No female bands. I'm more into film and TV stars. Do I sound like a boy rocker? If I had to choose one woman musician, it would be the keyboard player from Pulp [Candida Doyle]. She's got the coolest set of keyboards I've ever seen. She tilts them up when she plays and it looks great. I've got a lot of admiration for her."

EDS CHESTERS (22)

"Through my brothers, I got into The Beatles and The Clash at about 11 or 12. I also liked Stiff Little Fingers, although I couldn't listen to them now. The first band I discovered on my own was The Small Faces. I had already fallen in love with that '60s sound when my uncle gave me a box of old seven- inches he'd collected as a kid. Steve Marriott's songwriting made me want to join a band with soul and I tried to drum like Kenny Jones for years. After that, I copied Reni. I've always been into rhythms, though. From the age of five, I used to dance like mad to every record that I liked on the radio."

"Growing up, I played in some shit bands in this tiny town called Crook in County Durham. Then I moved to London and joined Soho, my first proper band. It was a total head-fuck having chart success at 19. I don't know what happened to them. I think they were trying to be totally anti-establishment and just ended up fucking everyone off. It was seeing The Verve play their first London gig in 1991 that made me want to leave Soho. I met Mark and joined The Bluetones a month later."

ADAM DEVLIN (24)

"When I was about 15, I was definitely drawn to The Smiths. I also really liked Orange Juice and Aztec Camera; it had to be guitar hands. I went to see The Smiths a couple of times, which I'm quite proud of now. It's amazing the number of people that appear to be huge Smiths fans who never saw them. I liked Felt too; still do. Not Denim, though. I did like a lot of shit. I was really into The Alarm and Big Country. That was my rock phase. I'd go to lots of dodgy gigs and pose. I was a bit of a casual, actually. Well, my older brother was, but I got his hand-downs."

"I've still got my Big Country records. When we supported Strangelove, our tour manager was going on about the first Big Country album and I thought I'd found a soulmate cos I'd never met anyone else who was into them. Then he got the record out and I had to admit, with hindsight, that it wasn't as good as I remembered."

"The only woman I was ever into was Kate Bush. I really fancied her because she was so mad and scatty. My mum liked her, too, which appealed to me. My dad was into country and western, but I could never listen to that. He was in a rock band in Ireland when I was little. He's a much better musician than me. He can play any instrument with strings. My mum and my sister play the piano and my little brother plays bass. When I go home at Christmas, we all have to sit round playing fuckin' carols. It's so weird. I'm totally shy about it, but the rest of them aren't at all. When The Bluetones played in front of 2,000 people, that wasn't in the least bit scary. Play in front of your family and it's fuckin' terrifying."

"I've still got framed pictures of some of my heroes on my bedroom wall. There's Ed Collins, Johnny Marr, Scott Walker, Arthur Lee and Jimmy out of Quadrophenia, sitting on his scooter."

SCOTT MORRISS (21)

"I used to love Iron Maiden. Remember that monster, Eddie? I had him on a poster. I also had The Stone Roses up there. And Julian Cope. And Howard Jones. I really wanted to be Howard Jones. I wasn't allowed the haircut but I had the rest of the get-up: baggy shirts, home-made jumpers. His dancer was brilliant, pre-Bez."

"The first record I ever bought was 'Just Got Lucky' by The JoBoxers. Howard Jones was the first person I started listening to seriously, though. I met him a few times and got his autograph. I just stood there, starstruck. My mum was manageress of the bar at Shepperton Studios. Whenever someone came down that we liked, she'd take us out of school to meet them. She met Robert Plant, too; she had to keep the bar open late for him. Our mum's really into music. I'm called Scott because she's such a huge Scott Walker fan."

"I also used to have a picture of Jane Fonda in Barbarella on my wall. Now I've got an Ian Brown photo by Pennie Smith and some of my own drawings, like this pencil portrait of the Beastie Boys I did. Whenever I get bored, I start drawing. I design all our record sleeves. I don't know yet what the album sleeve is going to be, but the next single is a picture of a petrol tanker with 'The Bluetones' written on the side, going down this dusty, desert road in the sunset. It's going past a sign pointing to a minefield. It's meant to be a metaphor for the band, heading into the unknown a a very fast rate."'

Transcribed by Clarence Tsui (clarencetsui@cuhk.hk)


Extracted from VOX magazine, September 1995.