Friday, 28 December 2012

Broccoli - first demo

 Back in late 1992 I was at uni here in Dundee doing electronic engineering, or at least tying to, damn mathematics, just when you think you've got it licked it ramps up the difficulty again. Any way, one day my new friend in class, Stu, asked me if I wanted to go see a friend's band at the union. What are they like I asked. "A bit like Green day" he replied. Hey! This was 1992, that was a compliment back then! Sounds cool, what are they called? "I don't know, I don't think they do either." So, a local band trying to sound like an American band and haven't even managed to come up with a name yet, my hopes aren't set high so let's go.
The union was quite a big hall and sparsely populated when we got there, the poster at the entrance gave two band names: Broccoli and Captain Trips, well I'm not overly fond of broccoli the vegetable so Stu which one do reckon they are or are they maybe not even listed as they don't have a name? Shrug. Still none the wiser we got some drinks and joined a table of folk that Stu knew (I knew no-one really as I was fairly new in town) and got down to the serious business of talking bollocks.
This was interrupted by Captain Trips taking to the stage and boring us silly with some rock music. The kind of rock music that is very technically proficient but just lacked any sort of spark to make it interesting. They don't sound like Green Day Stu. "That's not them." Ok your punk cred is still intact for now then my friend. After about an hour of thinking maybe this was the right time to start drinking the musos finally left the stage to resounding indifference and we could at least get back to talking crap again.
"This is them!" Stu announced as three scruffy guys started plugging in. They really didn't look like much but to be honest I don't know what I was really expecting. 
"Er, hi were Broccoli and it's a shit name sorry" one of them mumbled into the mic followed by a bit of silence, looking at each other and the floor. I dialed my expectations lower, do they know they're up there to play music? They seem lost, do they even know each other? Have they practiced or written any songs? Oh no, maybe they're like my old band! If I leave now will I have to wait long for the bus home? I could walk I suppose.
Luckily I didn't slink out and watched pensively as the guitarist lined plectrum up with strings and struck the first notes. Da na-na naa, da na-na naa, hey sounds alright. Then the whole band kicked in and my jaw hit the floor, Whoah Ya Fucker! These guys sound amazing. Speedy tunes, great hooks, gravelly vocals, thrashing about and big jumps, holy cow this is awesome. Yeah they sound a bit like Green Day but more a mix of Senseless Things, Snuff and Leatherface. Bad Religion cover too? Sweet. Then they stopped playing and I was left empty and wanting more. The band then came over and joined our group, our group? Their group, this was a table of their mates not mine after all but you know what I mean. Now they were up close I recognised the bassist (Paul or Zoff) as the first punk i met in Dundee about two years previously in Grouchos record shop, back then he had told me to come back through for a gig a few days later which I did (even though it meant a long bus ride from Anstruther and an uncertain trip back home after the gig relying on the thumb) and got to see Brain Damage, Exalt and a couple of other punk bands as a reward for trusting his advice. So I got talking to him again and also the guitarist Grant. I wanted to know if they had anything recorded which they didn't but were about too so I had to wait for their next gig before I could hear them again and they were even better second time around (and third and fourth and...) and they had the demo done as well. 
That demo tape stayed in my walkman for about a year, everywhere I went I had it playing full volume, it made a two hour walk seem like minutes and these tunes are associated with a period in my life that was just full of great times. Abject poverty, but great times. Going up to Aberdeen in the back of Paul's van in the middle of winter, a group of us huddled in the back with the amps and drums with only each others body heat stopping us from perishing. Well that and a lot of alcohol. Making up gig posters and Grant offering to buy me a drink as thanks as i wouldn't take any payment, I really had to go so said just the one but it turned out to be happy hour in Chevys, so I ended up with two pints of cider which just snowballed from there, we nearly ended up on a train bound for London with £400 of Grant's wages to drink through. Thankfully we had missed the last train but it seemed like a great plan at the time. We ended up in a night club and I woke up in the morning wrapped round a lamp post at the bottom of the Hiltown feeling like I had been turned inside out. There was a lot of making new friends, going to gigs and hanging out with guys and girls into the same stuff as me which was liberating for me coming from a village where no one was punk. It was sad when they left Dundee for London around '96 or so, left a gap for sure, I miss those days but I suppose we all grow and change with the years.
So yeah, this demo means a lot to me in those terms but probably means fuck all to you in that sense, however take my word that the tunes here are well worth a listen for anyone.

The quality of the mp3s might be a little wobbly in places but this is from a very old very well played tape so live with it. Crackle Records are doing a Broccoli discography soon which will have a better quality version of this demo on it so pick it up when it comes out folks.