Any Trouble

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Any Trouble are a British rock band, originating from Crewe, England, best known for their early 1980s recordings.[1]

Early days[edit]

Founding members were Clive Gregson, Chris Parks and Tom Jackson. Soon after, Mel Harley and Phil Barnes completed the line up. After Tom Jackson left, the band was fronted by Clive Gregson. The remaining four were the first Any Trouble line-up to record.

Signed to Stiff Records[edit]

Any Trouble signed to Stiff Records and their first release Where Are All The Nice Girls was perhaps their most successful. The album was produced by John Wood (Fairport Convention etc.) and the band gained instant notoriety for gaining a Melody Maker front cover with a gushing article by Allan Jones. In some ways the band's career never recovered from this early rush of success and Gregson's singing was unfairly compared to that of Elvis Costello.

Move to EMI America[edit]

Endless touring and the release of a second album Wheels In Motion produced by Mike Howlett (and with Martin Hughes replacing Mel Harley on drums), nevertheless did not further their status and, by 1984, the band had moved to EMI America after being dropped by Stiff. During their tour in the U.S. the band supported Ian Hunter. The band found out mid tour that they were no longer being supported by Stiff.

The band's manager arranged for Any Trouble to open for Molly Hatchett to help keep them afloat. At that point Clive Gregson indicated that he "pulled my plug...threw in the towel...we straggled back to NYC, where our van was robbed whilst we were in the Stiff offices trying to wrestle return tickets to the UK out of the office manager."[2]

The band flew back to the UK on stand by tickets. After a long break Gregson returned to making demos. Clive Gregson met with Ray Williams as a potential new manager and Williams convinced Gregson to reform Any Trouble because of the brand recognition of the band's name. Gregson reformed the band (Chris Parkes wasn't interested in returning to the fold)and, on the strength of the demos Williams secured a contract with Gery Gersh at EMI.

By now the line-up consisted of original members Gregson and Barnes with the addition of Andy Ebsworth on drums and Steve Gurl on keyboards. The sessions started promisingly enough with Val Garay (The Motels)as producer but Garay wasn't able to get the contract he wanted and passed. David Kershenbaum (best known for producing Joe Jackson) was brought on board to produce the band's self titled third album "Any Trouble". The band was extremely unhappy with the synthesizer heavy sound of the album. While they toured the UK to support the album, EMI didn't finance the band to tour the U.S. to support "Any Trouble" and the album never cracked the charts.

Gregson decided to throw everything into their second effort for the label producing an ambitious double album that featured a mixture of new and previously recorded material to highlight how diverse they were. Their double album Wrong End of The Race) also failed to chart despite the support of EMI.[2] After the failure of the band's second EMI album, Gregson broke the band up again. After a solo album of his own Gregson joined Richard Thompson's road band for a time before continuing an extended solo career. Andy Ebsworth was one of the members of Ryder, the purpose-made pop group which represented the United Kingdom at the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest.

Re-formation[edit]

In 2007, following the re-release of several Any Trouble albums on CD, Clive Gregson, Chris Parks and Martin Hughes, plus Mark Griffiths on bass, re-formed to record a new album which was released on the reborn Stiff Records label on 10 September 2007. The album was titled Life in Reverse and featured thirteen new Gregson songs. It was produced by John Wood, and had unique artwork by the Stiff Records designer Tobbe Stuhre. The band played a reunion gig at the Jazz Cafe in London to celebrate the release. Cherry Red Records released The Complete Stiff Recordings in November 2013 and the band have recently reformed to perform on 5 December 2014 at London's 229 club.

The Complete Stiff Recordings consist of the band's first two studio albums, a live album and assorted singles and b-sides packaged in mini-sleeves.

Band members[edit]

  • Clive Gregson (Vocals/Guitar)
  • Chris Parks (Guitar)
  • Tom Jackson
  • Mel Harley (Drums)
  • Phil Barnes (Bass)
  • Martin Hughes (Drums)
  • Steve Gurl (Keyboards)
  • Andy Ebsworth (drums)

Where are they now[edit]

  • Clive Gregson is still a full-time musician, working in America
  • Chris Parks is now working in the UK as a music software developer
  • Tom Jackson went into social work. Worked again with Gregson in The Oatcake Brothers
  • Phil Barnes worked producing music videos for bands such as Oasis; now produces TV adverts
  • Mel Harley runs a design & marketing company and property business
  • Andy Ebsworth is now a music technology lecturer at Croydon College.

Discography[edit]

Albums

  • Where Are All The Nice Girls (1980, reissued in 2007)
  • Wheels in Motion (1981)
  • Any Trouble (1983)
  • Wrong End of The Race (1984)
  • Life in Reverse (2007)

Singles

  • Yesterday's Love (7" - Stiff Records - 1980)
  • Second Choice (7" - Stiff Records - 1980)
  • Live And Alive (12" - Stiff Records - 1980)
  • Girls Are Always Right (7" - Stiff Records - 1980)
  • Dimming Of The Day / Another Heartache (7" - Stiff Records - 1981)
  • Trouble With Love (7" - Stiff Records - 1981)
  • Foundations (12" - EMI America - 1982)
  • Touch And Go (7" - EMI America - 1983)
  • I'll Be Your Man (7" - EMI America - 1983)
  • Party In The Streets (12" - EMI America - 1983)
  • Baby Now That I've Found You (12" - EMI - 1984)
  • Open Fire (7" - EMI America - 1984)
  • That Sound (CDr - Stiff Records - 2007)

Lives

  • Live At The Venue (1981)

Compilations

  • Girls Are Always Right - The Stiff Years (2002)
  • The Complete Stiff Years (2013)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ All music guide: the definitive guide to popular music, p.15 (4th ed. 2001)
  2. ^ a b Interview with Clive Gregson from Any Trouble: The Complete Stiff Recordings 1980-1981 booklet

External links[edit]