The number of bands that we’re still writing about from the beginnings of Joyzine back in 2003 has dwindled over the years to a mere handful, but as others have given up the ghost, South West London punks The Fades are still very much alive and kicking, and with the upcoming release of their ‘Lost Tapes’ on June 20th, we caught up with frontman Dave Lightfoot to look back at how the band have evolved and share tracks from some of the bands that they’ve shared a stage with – you can watch them in the video playlist below:
After our debut single ‘You Say’ was playlisted on XFM we quickly exploded onto the scene with loads of gigs around London. It was a really exciting time and there were gigs everywhere – live music was thriving and small venues were popping up all around the city.
Tim Perry from the Windmill heard us on the radio and got in touch for us to play one of the first gigs down there – a start of a wonderful relationship with this legendary venue.
We regularly played with fellow mop haired vagabonds Metro Riots, who were the best group of lads, and who remain friends to this day (flowering into the beasts that were Antlered Man). We had one of our best gigs together at the now defunct Aldgate East Arts Club, on the day that we realised our regional PR person Maureen was beau to Mr Simon Pegg, and being massive fans of Spaced at the time we were buzzing when he turned up at the gig. We ended up knocking back shots into the early hours after the show.
It was a really exciting time, and we went on our first (and one of our best) ever tours with the amazing Art Brut. All crammed into a back of a van, all tour virgins, we instantly fell in love and really took advantage of the touring band lifestyle. Highlights include on stage clothes swapping, Eddie’s red head after too much wine, Dr Jager and adding Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’ lyrics into all our songs – it was an experience we will never forget. Eddie Argos best sums up this time in his brilliant book ‘I Formed A Band’.
And how could we forget Rhesus? We would play loads and hang out with them from this point until forever. Jim Rhesus has had the most guitars we’ve ever known anyone to have, and also probably the most different bands over the years too – one of which is Subliminal Girls who we played loads of gigs and had many great times with later on.
This is where our collective memories are a little bit more blurry. A whirlwind of gigs and parties. We played with loads of different bands across many many venues the breadth of the UK, some gone, some still around.
We spent a lot of time hanging around and playing gigs in the Metro Club in Tottenham Court Rd, the legendary Buffalo Bar in Islington (also appearing on the Buffalo Bar sessions CD), the Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green (including one great weekend for you wasn’t it Paul? Editors Note: In fact is was for our good friends at God Is In The TV, but I was DJing) – it was like the indie band who’s who at that one – it felt like such a cool and exciting time for the music scene, the Rhythm Factory in Aldgate East (who didn’t?) and The Fighting Cocks in Kingston Upon Thames where we used to put on our own nights. We also put on our own club night at the Spitz in Spitalfields Market where we invited a lot of the bands we’d met on our travels to play. Including the excellent Bidgie Reef & the Gas who we met in Reading during the Art Brut tour.
We played with Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah a ton of times, enjoyable and very messy. Gigs were usually referred to as ‘the Fade grenade’ around this time…. We played with Neils Children, Mystery Jets, Paper Cuts, The Others (as part of the Love Music Hate Racism event on the back of a truck), Mower, the lovely Ciccone (Mickey ended up making the album Ragnarok with us), the mighty Keith TOTP (with whom we recorded loads of records including an aborted one that ended up with Dave leaving his guitar in a bar and James getting glandular fever), two gigs supporting Ocean Colour Scene, Special Needs at the mighty Brentford FC (who we are happy to report, play our song ‘Meccano’ at half time most games), Eight Legs, awesome gigs at the Boston Arms supporting Comets On Fire and The Beat Up, and gigs with our close friends White Man Kamikaze, too many to mention – fantastic times.
This was when we started going over to Europe. This is also the year ‘Flash’ joined the band on drums, with his debut gig at the Rhythm Factory. Not long after we went on tour in Ireland – this was another brilliantly hilarious touring experience.
Although we didn’t really sit well together musically, we played with a group called The Bamboos from Australia who were a lot of fun.
We also played a lot with Abdoujaparov – the new band from our great mate Les ‘Fruitbat’ Carter of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine fame. The Fades were his backing band for a gig at the Endorse It festival in Dorset too and Jonny Fade still plays with the band often. We visited and toured Italy for the first time, building a great relationship and love for the place and were looked after by the wonderful To Be Rhudes who are still best mates. Russ’ new band Aquarama are well worth checking out.
We had the pleasure of touring NYC after putting a couple of records out on US label Cranky Girl Records, and playing some classic punk venues over there in Williamsburg and Brooklyn including the now defunct Trash Bar and the Ding Dong Lounge with some ace local bands , one of which was Bartholemew. Nothing beat the giant snake around Flash’s neck at a wild warehouse party we played that finished two days later though.
2011: We were invited to play the Tbilisi Open Air Festival 2011, which we first thought was a scam and they were going to steal our kidneys as we’d never heard of it, but to our immense joy it was legit and they flew us over to play the first of what is now a massively successful festival. We headlined Saturday night in front of around 20,000 people, but none of us can remember it too well.
After spending the first day being shown around the great city of Tbilisi and checking out the festival site we got back to the hotel and went for a quick trip to the cornershop that was 2 minutes away to get some beers. Somehow this ended up with a ‘party’ in a crazed man and his Mum’s flat somewhere in the town, leading to our stand-in guitarist disappearing into a local mafia car for the night, James lying comatose next to the main road, having his phone stolen from his pocket as he slept and getting locked out of the hotel and Flash trying to escape by dangling from a 2 storey window – another Fade grenade was thrown without even playing the show yet.
2012: Year of Ragnarok – we recorded our best work, RAGNAROK in Keith TOTP studio with Mickey Ciccone in Soho and then played it to the world with lots of gigs, highlighted by the ‘Meccano’ single launch at the Camden Barfly and the album launch show at the much missed Borderline.
2014: We cracked on playing with some classic old boys in Punk Rock history with another great gig at the Borderline supporting The Boys for their album reissue.
2015: After putting out the Black Drop EP we took some time out on other projects, until…
2020: LOST TAPES and….. (to be continued…..)
The ‘Lost Tapes’, a collection of unreleased recordings, dating from 2002 – 2007 will be released on 20th June. In the words of the band, “There will be 10 cassette tapes available. Each of them will be different. Each of them will have different songs. And some of them might have something extra extra special on it. Musical Easter eggs…. It’s pot luck on what you might get. Let us know what you discover.”
Listen to one of the tracks, ‘Mobile phone’ below:
Get your ‘Lost Tape’ here.
Introduction and photography by Paul Maps