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The Monophobia Story (Part 3)

The Vegas Years: 1999 to 2002

Almost Monophobia...

Tony, March 2001

By the end of 1999 Tony and Phil were looking for musicians to get Monophobia going as a full band. Tony got in touch with drummer John Gaine from his old band The Honeymoon's Over. John was already involved with Barry Charman, another singer/songwriter/guitarist, but Tony persuaded Phil to meet up with them in the new year. They started rehearsing in February, but it was probably doomed from the outset. Phil wanted Barry and John to be members of Monophobia and had ideas of bringing electronic sequencers into the band. Barry wanted Tony and Phil to be members of his band the Free State Prophets and to make American grunge music. Barry was not conceding to Phil's ideas and as the spring months wore on he planned to gig the band under the name Free State Prophets. Already offended at having all his songs dropped or re-written and feeling generally marginalised, Phil (ever the coward) decided to bow out of the band rather than confront Barry. Tony stayed on for another eighteen months, a rockin' (more enthusiastic) new bassist was recruited - Andy Symes - and the Free State Prophets became easily one of the most exciting rock bands in London.
2007 RETROSPECTIVE: Phil was a big fan of Tony's Free State Prophets but lost interest after he left.  Ironically it wasn't until Tony's departure that the band had any real success: they were signed to Rough Trade a few years later and did well in South Africa of all places.

Alex Berry (centre) with Mickey Winn (left) and Phil Quinton miraculously eclipsed by little Alex. (I don't remember the Belgian drummer's name.)

The line-up 2000...

And Phil started Monophobia again. Tony was still interested in working with Phil and so started to divide his time between Free State Prophets and Monophobia.
Outside Monophobia Phil occasionally worked with Mickey Winn (by now singer/songwriter/guitarist with Nashville-based band The Pioneers featuring John Entwistle of The Who), gigging under the bandname Mickey Winn & The Shady Grove (with Janos Bajtala on keyboard, Madelaine on backing vocals and Pino on drums) as well as two more recording sessions and a gig with Alex Berry under the bandname Tramp.  It was at around this time that the website was first set up.

Mickey Winn and The Shady Grove featuring Pino (right) behind the drum kit and Phil much more miraculously eclipsed by the sexy Madelaine (centre)

Phil set about completing the band. Ex-Jeray guitarist and one-time Monophobia member Steve Hearne, back in London from travelling the world, was invited to re-join Monophobia permanently. Helen Gayle, a gifted singer, answered an advert in Loot seeking musicians for Monophobia. She wasn't a musician and Monophobia already had a singer but she had a good attitude and a flair for improvisation (she finished writing and recording a demo within hours of meeting Phil and Steve) so she was in. Funky drummer Mark Titcombe was spotted through an advert in the Melody Maker; he had the same musical interests as Phil and had interesting ideas. New songs were recorded including Upside Down (Helen Gayle's impressive studio debut) and a new rockier version of Indian Summer with co-writer Chris Gregory guesting on keyboard. It wasnt groundbreaking but it sounded good, even commercial.

Monophobia - INDIAN SUMMER (2000)

Monophobia - UPSIDE DOWN (2000)

Early logo design by Geoff Reed, 2000

2001: Into the Millennium...

Rock Garden flyer

January 2001 saw the first Monophobia gig (not counting Phil's embarrassing one-off solo in 1994) in London's Covent Garden. Unfortunately as well as problems with the Rock Garden and their surly freelance sound engineer, the performance was loose and lacklustre, highlighting a problem some bandmembers had with rehearsals. There had been almost no full-band rehearsals since the 2000 line-up came together in March/April due to rotten attendance. The band were forced to pull out of two scheduled gigs in November and December 2000 due to drummer problems, and the chances of playing the Mean Fiddler's mighty Garage venue in Highbury were also starting to fade. Reluctantly Mark was dropped. Other bandmembers had conflicting priorities outside the band which slowed things down to a complete standstill. As several weeks passed without a single band meeting Phil decided to cut his losses and shelve Monophobia.
2007 RETROSPECTIVE: Mark had basically become a big company director with no time for playing in bands.  Helen carried on singing and recording solo even after moving out of London.  Steve Hearne formed his own energetic post-punk band The Phugs A.K.A Dislocated Thumbs who lasted until early 2006 when he crossed paths with Phil again...

Back in Business...

New revamped logo designed by Geoff Reed, 2001

Zizi, Dave, Tony & Phil after the Bull & Gate gig Kentish Town, July 2001

Monophobia webcast link, July 2001

By March 2001 Phil and Tony were already bored and had decided to give it another shot.
Summer 2001. After many Loot ads and dozens of rehearsals, Monophobia hit the venues of London with new, more dedicated musicians on board. Dave Bateman, a Limp Bizkit fanatic from Ruislip, West London, joined the band on drums along with quirky keyboardist Zizi Schuh from Munich. The first gig was broadcast on the internet from the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town, North London, and enthusiastically reviewed.
During the summer Phil and Dave Bateman also recorded songs with Mickey Winn as members of The Shady Grove now featuring the legendary BJ Cole on pedal steel, Janos on keyboard and veteran producer Mick Glossop on the desk.
Tony and Phil continued writing new songs and reworking old songs with Zizi and Dave. Guitarist Nimesh Hathiwala from Leicester, new to the band scene, joined up to fill out the sound but wasn't to make it to the stage until 2002. What should have been his first live appearance at the infamous Hope & Anchor was cancelled on the eve of the gig in September when the Islington venue lost its live music licence. Further gigs were planned for October but the band never quite made it; differences within the band were causing friction and Dave, amicably, decided to move on.
Canadian-born human drum machine Todd Suggitt joined in November for a brilliant but all too brief spell.  Having learned the set in record time Todd played one tremendous gig with the band in January 2002 and recorded drum tracks for four new songs - Remnant Head, Clubland, Mr. Diver and Cop Show - in February.
Disaster struck in the form of a speeding car.  Todd left the recording studio to head north for a holiday and got struck by a careless motorist, shattering his arm and his confidence.  He returned to Canada and never played with Monophobia again.

Monophobia - MR. DIVER (2002)

Monophobia - REMNANT HEAD (2002)

Ex-drummer Dave Bateman, evergreen friend and true gentleman, offered to play drums for the band while they found a replacement for Todd.  By now the band had a substantial Internet presence and promoters were starting to call the band for gigs.  In addition to this, the video for Monophobia's first single Boogie Your Bum Off was aired on Channel 4 Television by Adam & Joe, and the band was being plugged by London independent radio station Xfm. Monophobia played solidly through the spring in the various small clubs and dives of London, with Dave on board once again.  They recorded two songs with Dave - As and Bastard - with a couple of students on the desk.  Sadly one song never got mixed and the other song was so badly mixed that it was completely unusable. 
Mixes of songs that the band had done with Todd (The Clubland EP) were not quite as bad but were almost as disappointing due to Phil's decision to cut corners by using a cheap studio - BonaFide Studios in Shoreditch, east London - who employ non-existent studio assistants, argumentative engineers and clueless session musicians as "producers".  The head engineer tried to make amends by giving the band more studio time but the mixes still sounded far from professional despite the band buying more studio time to concentrate on the title track Clubland.

Monophobia - CLUBLAND (2002)

Monophobia - Cop Show (2002)

Continued on next page...

The Monophobia Story (Part 4)

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