White Feather 1980 - Present Day
My closest friends at the time music first caressed my ears were Wayne Chester and Alan Robinson............I would be thirteen.
Before that football and fishing were all that stirred my young juices.
I’m not sure that it is still the case in these halcyon days of music genre 'mish mashery' but it has always been my thinking that each generation will seek out that music which kind of defines it (and thereby detaches itself from the generation which preceded it)
The music of my generation was Punk, and it defined me....so to completely throw spanners into that theory Alan was into Pink Floyd and Wayne was into ELO!
I guess, to some extent, we are all influenced by our peers and I will forever have a soft spot for The Floyds and The ELO’s but it was the energy and directness of Punk that I preferred.
Initially I dipped my toe into the less spikey side of Punk; my first real love being Ian Dury - I’d still put ‘New Boots and Panties’ in my top twenty albums of all time. There was something rather daring and somewhat inspiring about this curious little man crippled by polio, he was a great wordsmith, particularly when throwing in the vernacular, and I loved the fact that he sang in his own English cock-er-ney accent not some cod American like much of the chart music of the time……
By 1979 Punk music was the only thing that mattered and I immersed myself in it whole heartedly, the sound track to my life being played out by the bands that remain closest my heart….The Ruts, The Skids, UK Subs, The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, Generation X and, of course………The Clash!
The album ‘London Calling’ by The Clash, released at the end of 1979, had a significant and lasting effect on me for it opened up my ears to music other than Punk. In particular reggae and ska caught my attention and through this newly opened door I quickly discovered the infectious beats of Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley, Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, Culture, The Abyssinians et al
I digress! …………………………………Back to White Feather (and their confused hippy traits!)
Alan and his family moved onto the same street my parents lived and we became friends. I don’t recall exactly how it started but somewhere along the way, possibly towards the very end of 1979 or early 1980 we started playing guitars and writing songs.
This is why I have to position ‘White Feather’ after Solvent Abuse but before ‘Emily’ because it existed at virtually the same time as the Punk stuff, which all seems rather odd when I look back now – Solvent Abuse and White Feather are opposite ends of the musical spectrum.......right?
We recorded lots (and lots and lots) of demo tapes in the 1980’s, always at the same recording studio in Annesley Woodhouse which was owned by the late great Stu Stevens the Country and Western singer (Go Google him pop pickers)
Stu was brilliant to us, very supportive, very patient, often charging little for the studio time. I think he enjoyed our mad little musical doodling’s and we enjoyed his company, sadly he passed away in 2016.
For reasons I am unable to determine the White Feather period of my recording ‘career!’ is my least listened to, but for this website project I made the effort to revisit the songs, I picked out some of my favourite sessions for the White Feather music page on the website under the title ‘Songs in B Flat’.
It really is an eclectic mixture of songs and a bizarre listen I think; I’m am most pleased that ‘as a whole’ it is not easy to pigeon hole.
We cut a seven inch vinyl single from our very first studio session, ‘Summer Day’s and a Golden Haze’ features Darren Warner on drums (with whom we had one practice the night before the recording). The song sounds quite psychedelic now and very (very!) reminiscent of Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’ which was released about two years after we released our single! (did she steal it – perhaps we should sue?)
In 2020, during the covid pandemic, people suddenly started contacting Alan and myself for the single, I think someone somewhere played it on some kind of 'influential' radio show, one person took about a hundred off us and sold them all from his record shop. As I write this in 2021 it sells for around £40 on record collector websites (what's that all about?)
Although White Feather remains and unclosed project we haven’t done much recently under that banner, we had a brief stint in the early nineties doing some live stuff when Simon Withers joined us on drums and we supported The Little Pigs a few times, but other than that we continue to do home recordings and some joint song writing on occasion.
Actually there are a couple of songs on ‘Songs in B Flat’ that were recorded a couple of years ago for a friends mooted film project (about Zombies), the film got no further than a discussion but me and Alan wrote and recorded two songs (‘I hear silence’ and ‘Time to bury love’) that until now have not seen the light of day.
With Alan I learned how to construct a song; initially my job was to put melodies to his lyrics but with time I began to contribute words also.
I rate Alan Robinson as one of the finest lyricists I
have known, listening back to some of these words
written when he was still at school I am still
absolutely astounded that he isn’t known more widely,
his poetry is sublime and his use of language dynamic.
Alan is one of my greatest inspirations in music and
certainly made me more precious about my own words.
Check out Alan and his music here http://www.alansrobinson.co.uk/music.html
Cookie 17.02.18 (updated 26.08.21)