2001: Into the Millennium...
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...
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)