For years I hoped to find another band just like the Smiths, perfectly knowing that it was a kind of illusion. Amongst the best groups that sounded alike, I like to remember Ian H. band called "Bradford", coming from Blackburn (!?). They had great singles out in the beginning ("Gatlin' gun" & In Liverpool" were my favourites!) and an interesting compilation album on Midnite Records France. Later they began recording for Stephen Street's Foundation Label but the magic of the first years seemed soon to be lost. Morrissey himself loved the band and he also recorded his own version of "Skin Storm" as a bside. ".... Ian H, once Bradford’s frontman, says that the reason the band folded had nothing to do with Morrissey. “In a word, the reason was ‘Madchester’. Bradford, in some respects, were Britpop five or so years too early. We were five Northern working-class lads with skinhead crops, the odd Fred Perry, Docs, Harrington, Levi 501s and red tab jackets in the wardrobe, singing about a Greed And Pleasant (sic) Land etc. All completely out of step with the baggy/dancey/ravey Manchester which, of course, became legendary. We had lots of press, but while we scraped into the indie Top 10 on several occasions, we didn’t (to use the bean-counting parlance of the modern record companies) ‘shift enough units’. Sire dropped us in America and that’s you, mate – three years of indie fun then back on the dole. Did Morrissey help? A resounding yes. We’ll be forever grateful and flattered by the attention. I still have ‘silly notes’ he sent me and postcards, plus the accolade of a major icon recording Skin Storm, a song I wrote. However, I never received a penny in royalties from record sales or publishing for the substantial sales of this track. So if anyone can help out with this on a no-win, no-fee basis, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).” Ian H, now with a band called Acoustic Uprising, adds that he still has contact with other Bradford members. “Cherry Red were planning the re-release of a 20-year-old album of ours in April and we were all at bass-player Jos’s house discussing it. Some virtual jousting commenced but legal/ownership issues put the kibosh on things.” From MOJO # 189, August 2009
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