The early 1980's UK Post-Punk scene was a fertile ground ripe with a diverse landscape of acts, many lost in the annals of time. Others, however, have been able to thrive in a cultdom that seems to grow every year. While these bands never received the commercial success required to sustain a long-term career (fleeting critical accolades have only so much impact in ensuring longevity), one such band has managed to survive in various incarnations for over 30 years.
Watford, England's (17 miles/40 minutes from London) Sad Lovers & Giants are those survivors. Rightly sitting alongside other huge Big Takeover contemporary favourites such as The Chameleons, The Sound and Comsat Angels in the pantheon of largely overlooked acts who used atmospherics a mystery to paint musical landscapes, they were once dscribed as a 'pastoral Pink Floyd'. The story is a familiar one; series of singles, EP, John Peel session, LP, success on mainland Europe, the cusp of an international breakthrough, collapse, compilation, reformation, collapse again, rebirth, dormancy, reactivation, return!
Through it all has been singer Garce Allard (or just Garce)and like the above, he has many stories to tell. On the verge of the band's first new LP of material since 2002 (2010 saw a stand-alone single) and pending the release of his book about the band, Allard opened up about Sad Lovers' often tumultuous journey, splinter groups, influences and future.
"By the time (1983 second LP) Feeding The Flame came out I had left the band because it wasn't going anywhere and by that I mean we weren't getting the UK approval I thought we were worth and frankly we were never going to with the unfashionable Midnight Music. Now, had we been signed to 4AD - might have been a different story!"
(on initially quitting in 1983): "I was drinking heavily as normal and was generally unstable but some great songs came out of it, the best of which was 'In Flux'. I had always been a heavy smoker and had just given up but the availability of spliffs on tour caused a relapse and added to my emotional instability. For me the band was dying; the dawn-like promise of The Peel Sessions, the live Dutch radio sessions (Total Sound) and getting Epic Garden Music into the independant charts seemed a generation ago, when in fact it was all in a couple of years,"
"When punk first happened I dismissed it as nothing The Rolling Stones hadn't already done. Then I saw The SexPistols perform 'Pretty Vacant' onTop of The Pops (July 1977) and a little light went on in my head. Then came The Stranglers and 'Peaches' - I'd be the one taking 'Stairway to Heaven' and 'Hotel California' off the record player at parties and putting The Sex Pistols on and pogoing madly! In a matter of months I was in a punk band called Suspect Device."
For full interview in two parts purchase The Big Takeover issues 73 and 74 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to The Big Takeover, attn. Jack Rabid, 1713 8th Avenue, Suite 1-4, Brooklyn, NY 11215