"In our early days I often played at very high volume and would regularly hit off-key notes" - Interviews - Soundblab

"In our early days I often played at very high volume and would regularly hit off-key notes"

by Rob Taylor Rating: Release Date:

The venerable guitarist Terry Bickers spoke with Soundblab recently about the Live at the Lexington release by his principal band, The House of Love. Terry has also been playing with band Montana Rain, which has a very different repertoire of Americana, country and western.


The track listing for the Lexington show in 2013 draws almost exclusively from the Chadwick/Bickers period. Are you amenable to playing other tracks live, outside that partnership, such as 'Into the Tunnel', which demonstrates a more experimental side to The House of Love ?


I suggested bringing songs such as 'Phone' and 'The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes' into the set since we reformed, so in that respect I am amenable to playing songs which I was not involved with first time around. Another one I like is 'Last Edition of Love'.


Although you were attracted to the chaos and dynamics of bands like Jesus & Mary Chain, there was always more subtlety than clamour in your music, more like the widescreen indie of The Triffids, or The Smiths. Is this how you see yourselves ?


In our early days, I often played at very high volume and would regularly hit off-key notes. In addition to this, our guitars often went out of tune during gigs, so there was an element of raucousness and chaos in there but it was not contrived. It was just a combination of limited technical ability and bravado. Through playing a lot of gigs we refined our craft and became better and more like the bands you mention.


More than ever, the beauty in the songwriting shines through on the new live album. There’s also more nuance, for example the beautiful slide that you play on ‘Lost in the Blues’.


I think I follow what you are getting at here. I enjoy playing the quieter songs as much as the rockier ones these days, and I think we are good at creating an atmosphere of intimacy on stage with the slower numbers.


The track ‘Road’ was a song written about finding a place to settle and belong. Is ‘Road’  an apt metaphor for the re-establishment of your friendship and professional union with Guy,  and a happier and more contented outlook ?


For me, the song 'Road' reminds me of the freedom and excitement I experienced being 20 years old and out on tour. I associate the song with our early and mid-period gigs and tours.


The relationship the band had with Alan McGee of Creation Records was fraught, but brought about a particularly florid artistic and creative period for the band between 1988-1989. Looking on it now, even in light of the fractious relationships and ructions that afflicted the band, can it be said that those years proved to be a seminal period for the band, and placed you at the vanguard of great British rock?


The period of 1986 to 1988 was creatively the most enjoyable time for me in The House of Love prior to reforming. 1988 to 1989 was when our profile grew, and when we recorded the Butterfly album. Even though there were trials and tribulations during this period, we didn’t lose our creativity. There is validity in what you are saying because the Butterfly album was an artistic milestone for us.


On a personal note, did you enjoy the Lexington shows, and will the band be still performing into 2015 ?  


I enjoyed the second night of the Lexington shows; the one we are releasing, and I hope we will perform live in 2015.


Live at the Lexington by The House of Love is out now on Cherry Red Records.


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