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Monophobia

The Monophobia Story (Part 2)

The Missing Years: 1994 to 1999

Evening Gazette, Eston, Cleveland, 5 August 1994

Last ditch.

Phil made one embarrassing stab at fame that summer by performing Boogie Your Bum Off! against a backing tape to a panel of judges and an audience of well over a thousand at a club in Essex called Hollywood's (which achieved nothing more than a mis-quoted interview for Middlesbrough's Evening Gazette) before giving up on music to run off to Europe with a homesick Spanish girlfriend in 1995. Monophobia ended up getting mothballed for three years.

1996 Part 1: Phil

Madrid mugshot: tarjeta de residencia

Madrid 1996. Phil came to his senses and joined a local band.  Like Tony he had been involved in a failing relationship and was keen to get back to making music.  Having failed to get an alternative band going with a musician called Juanjo and various wannabe singers in a hot basement somewhere in Urbanitaciones Rivas (a desert suburb to the south of the city), he left to join a couple of old pros with a studio in the metropolitan district of Cuatro Caminos: singer/songwriter Enrique and Argentinean drummer Lani Ludin (ex-member of '80s Spanish group Nacha Pop) who had a few industry contacts.  By rehearsing 5 times a week, Phil learned to play bass (by ear) with a basic level of confidence.  (Rehearsal tapes still exist.)  Sadly, money problems soon forced him back to merrie olde Englande where, in the summer 1997, he joined a wonderful backstreet indie band from Shepherds Bush fronted by a laid-back, occupationally-challenged young gentleman of Irish descent; a brilliant songwriter and a creative guitarist. Tony Longworth.

Phil during his ''running around Europe and not doing much music'' phase

1996 Part 2: Tony

London 1996. Tony came to his senses and ditched the bitch for a band called Tremens, with Yugoslavians Slav (guitar) and Davor (bass) and a Portuguese drummer called Pedro. Slav and Davor left Tony and Pedro early in 1997 due to musical differences. Baha (bassist from previous band River's Edge) got back with Tony, this time as a guitarist. Tony replied to an advert in Melody Maker headed "bored bedroom bassist seeks band" and met up with Phil in Camden Town. The new, as yet nameless, band rehearsed through the autumn and Tony and Phil wrote Time which, a couple of years later, became the catchiest Monophobia song written.  Only one song was recorded that year: an 80's-style solo demo called Fly performed (somewhat inadequately) by Phil, and stylistically seemed to pick up where Weekend Woman had left off in 1994.
The new band - upon whose doubtful members Phil had now succeeded in bestowing the name Monophobia - broke for Christmas but for some reason never reconvened again.

1998

So Phil tried to set Monophobia up as a going concern again at the start of 1998 using Pedro (the previous drummer), an old college mate Adam Mycroft (bass player for superb Britrock band Phaser) on keyboard, Nana - an American-trained jazz singer from Denmark on vocals and a guitarist from Battersea called Steven. Pedro disappeared before the first rehearsal never to be seen again, Adam was too committed to Phaser and pulled out before the first rehearsal, so only the singer and the guitarist turned up. Oh, and the singer emigrated the following week. End of another chapter.

Phil's portastudio has recorded a couple of album's worth of songs for Monophobia and Tramp.

Tremens and Jeray...

Jeray at Location Zeebrabar, Soho, London, July 1998.

Spring 1998. Tony got back together with Slav and Davor to reform Tremens and Phil gave up on Monophobia to join pop band Jeray formed by Stephen J and featuring future Monophobiac Steve Hearne (guitar), Derek Walsh (vocals) and various keyboard players & dodgy drummers.
Steve Hearne joined Phil for the only Monophobia recording of 1998: Cybersexy Computerlove.
Phil, by now residing in Camberwell, also co-wrote Indian Summer and Save My Life with neighbour Chris Gregory of glam-pop band Valentine Jeep, although only very rough recordings were made at the time.
 
Another project which went by the wayside was a group called Jackie Powers.  Glamorous French singer/songwriter Erika Kholladi and her gifted musical partner Jean (from 80's synth-pop throwbacks Alaska Bent) were the nucleaus of the band, with Phil on bass and synths and another member of Monophobia (who doesn't actually recall ever being in the band, which is almost true) on samples and programming.  Drugs and drink problems destroyed the excellent new project very quickly despite serious interest from Peter Jenner, Pink Floyd's old manager.
Jeray got a dodgy manager - Mark Daghorn - who ripped them off for over a thousand pounds and recorded a crap demo tape at his big house in Peldon, near Colchester in Essex.
Interesting fact: Daghorn frequently bragged to Jeray about having managed Stereophonics. Kelly Jones, on the subject of ex-managers, later spoke to the NME about a "dickhead from Colchester" who had taken their money, recorded a crap demo tape at his house and never returned their calls.

1999: Another lost year...

Phil's beloved basses: #5 (Crafter) from The Bass Cellar, London 2001 and #3 (Ibanez) from Cash Converters, Middlesbrough 1997

Phil saw the New Year in onstage in Brixton with Chris Gregory as a very temporary member of Valentine Jeep, with another neighbouring Camberwell resident, Mickey Winn, in the audience. Jeray was not celebrating however. The disappearance of two successive drummers right before a recording session (Andy) and a gig (Richard Haythorne) respectively were setting the band back, and Jeray was losing momentum. They had split up by Easter.
(Stephen J has since gone solo under the name XN and has been signed to Peoplesound.com.)
During the lull in activity Phil started teaming up with Mickey Winn, country music fanatic and entrepreneur extraordinaire, to record several demos with songwriter Alex Berry which culminated in a one-off gig under the band name Tramp a year later.

Phil also recorded rough demos of Indian Summer and Save My Life with Chris Gregory. Unknown to Phil at the time, Chris and Mickey had recorded other versions of the songs with another neighbour, Clare Wilkie, on vocals. Clare moved out of Camberwell shortly afterwards to tour with a theatre company before landing the part of Sandra di Marco in the popular BBC TV soap opera Eastenders at the end of the year... before Phil had chance to bag a copy.
Tony meanwhile had become tired of his involvement with the increasingly noisy Tremens (Slav had left and the new drummer was becoming prone to premadonna tantrums), and got back together with Phil in the autumn to record Smash (with Adam Mycroft), which became the last Monophobia recording of the 20th Century*.
 

Continued on next page...

The Monophobia Story (Part 3)

*Apologies to the pedants who celebrated the real millennium alone and misunderstood in 2001.

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