Marion (band)

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Marion
Origin Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Genres Britpop, rock
Years active 1993–2000, 2006–2008, 2011-present
Labels London
Associated acts RYNA, New Order, Haven
Website www.marionuk.co.uk
Members Jaime Harding
Phil Cunningham
Tony Grantham
Julian Phillips
Jack Mitchell
Past members Nick McCall
Jake Evans
Murad Mousa
Damien Lawrence
Nick Gilbert
Che Hargreaves
Johnny Regan
Wayne Ward
Ollie Moore

Marion are an English rock band, originally formed in 1993, in Macclesfield, Cheshire. They became connected to the Britpop music scene, appearing on the Britpop Now BBC television special. Influenced by local stars like Joy Division, Buzzcocks and The Smiths, they were hailed as possible successors to The Smiths,[citation needed] but never achieved the success predicted for them, falling prey to the so-called "curse of Morrissey" (by which Morrissey's praise and support for young bands are said to be fatal). They split up in 1999.

In 2006, Jaime Harding and Phil Cunningham recruited a new set of musicians and reformed the band. They started working on new material, having played their first live gig together as Marion in more than seven years on 1 April 2006 in Bath. They followed this up with sold-out shows in Manchester and London in September 2006.

As of September 2011, Marion have reformed again - with Jaime and Phil joined by Tony Grantham and Julian Phillips from the original line-up.

Early years (1991-1995)[edit]

Harding and Cunningham played together in various bands (such as Cloud, Push The King and The Shags), starting in their school days. After leaving school, Harding was immediately forced into work by his mother, taking a job in a garage [1] (hence his receiving credit for providing 'motor insurance' on early demos). Harding, along with Tony 'Beard' Grantham on guitar, Nick McCall (who wrote the riff for "Toys for Boys") on second guitar, Murad Mousa on drums, and Damian Lawrence on bass, in the beginning of 1993, adopted the name Marion for the band, in tribute to Harding's gran,[1] and set about recording a demo. Nick McCall's brother Paddy suggested Jamie should send the demo to former manager of The Smiths, Joe Moss, who liked it enough to agree to manage the band. Nick McCall was asked to leave by Geoff Travis, as he was only 15, and Phil Cunningham was recruited to play guitar.

Gigging relentlessly gained the band a reputation as an excellent live band, and eventually a single, "Violent Men", was released on Rough Trade Records. By this time Julian Phillips had taken over bass duties. They went on to sign for London Records in October 1994 and released a succession of singles, "Sleep", "Toys For Boys" and "Let's All Go Together", while continuing to tour, and build a fan base via the NME Brats Tour and support slots with Radiohead and Morrissey in 1995. They also gained notoriety around this time when "Sleep" was used in an advert for Citroën cars, and this led to an appearance on Channel 4's The Word programme, and an appearance on the cover of Melody Maker in April.

This World and Body-era (1995-1996)[edit]

In early 1995, Nick Gilbert replaced Phillips on bass and the band started recording their first album, This World and Body, with producer Al Clay. They recorded the album through May and June before playing the Glastonbury Festival late June (Nick's first gig with the band). It was released early 1996, and promoted with singles "Sleep" (re-recorded and reissued) and "Time". The album went top 10, and touring continued, including trips to Europe, Japan and America.

The Program-era (1997-1999)[edit]

The band largely disappeared from sight in 1997 to record their second album The Program with former guitarist of The Smiths, Johnny Marr. Around this time, cracks began to appear in the band, in part due to the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle taking hold. Additionally, interference from London Records caused further friction, as they asked for various songs to be re-written.[2] A single, "Miyako Hideaway", was released in early 1998, and the band played gigs and festivals in support, even once again travelling to Japan. However, the album wasn't released till September that year when it almost apologetically crept onto the shelves of shops with little or no promotion. Another single, "Sparkle", was released, but only in Japan.

The band headed to America to start afresh, and try to gain a new record deal. Around this time, Tony left the band (late 1998), with Johnny Regan replacing him. Despite radio airplay for the track "The Smile", and even some appearances of the video for "Miyako Hideaway" on MTV, London Records and their prospective US label were unable to reach an agreement that would allow Marion to release and promote The Program in America. So, in May 1999, the band gave up and went their separate ways.

The Wilderness years (1999-2005)[edit]

Harding went on to work with friend Wayne Ward, writing and demoing tracks, with a view to releasing an EP (tentatively titled Sisters) still under the Marion name. While numerous tracks were produced from this collaboration, running from 1999-2005 in various sessions, involving both Johnny Marr and Joe Moss, nothing has so far ultimately come of it. These tracks were recorded: Can't Help You, Loaded All This To Say, Anyway. Harding went on to take time away from the music business, heading off to Eastern Europe for a prolonged break.

Cunningham continued to play guitar, joining as a touring guitarist for Electronic and working with bands Run Run Run and Label. At one point, Harding even joined Label on stage to run through a couple of Marion tracks, "Sleep" and "The Only Way". Cunningham went on to join New Order when Gillian Gilbert left, and later became part of the band's continuation, Bad Lieutenant, as well.

Tony Grantham has also continued in the music business, initially in Chalk and most recently, RYNA. Murad has left the music business, but Nick has continued, working as both a session bass player and graphic designer.

Reformation (2006-present)[edit]

At the beginning of 2006, Harding and Cunningham started working together again, writing new songs, and planning to put together a band for a gig in Bath in early April. Bringing in local musicians Jake Evans on guitar and Che Hargreaves on bass, and recruiting Jack Mitchell from Haven on drums, they duly played a show comprising both old and brand new songs. Initially, this was meant to be a one-off show under the name Marion, with a new name to be chosen at a later date, but it was ultimately decided to keep performing under the same name. Further sold out shows were played in Manchester and London in September and then again in December to even bigger crowds, with new songs debuted both times. Cunningham continued to divide his time between Marion and New Order up until New Order's split and is now said to be working on 'various projects'.

On 24 August Carl from the band, via 'The Marion Archives' announced that the band were still together but had suffered some major setbacks. The open letter states that the response to the reformation was far greater than they expected but that since both Che had broken his neck, and Harding had been admitted to hospital with a blood condition that required open-heart surgery. He was described as being 'unwell' but that he was making a slow and steady recovery. The letter stated that the band hoped to be playing around Christmas 2007.[3] On 18 October 2008, the band supported Puressence at Manchester Academy 1, a reversal of the order when the two bands toured together in the mid-1990s.[4]

On the 6 October 2008, it was announced that the October and November gigs had been cancelled, due to Harding contracting pneumonia. The gigs were not re-scheduled.[5]

Towards the end of September 2011, Harding and Cunningham have been joined by Grantham and Phillips from the original line up, with a come back gig scheduled for December 2011 in Manchester.[6]

In November 2011 it was announced by Marion's new management company Townsend Records that the band's new (original) line-up would be making a live debut on Thursday, November 24 at a secret location in their hometown Macclesfield for 60 invited fans. These fans were asked to meet in the Snowgoose Bar on Sunderland Street, Macclesfield and then marched around the corner at 9pm onto George Street to the recently opened studio, Cabin 5150, where they were treated to a one hour performance which included both old and new material in the studio's live room. It had been 16 years since this line-up last performed together.

Band members[edit]

1993-1995

1995-1999

2006-2007

2007-2008

2008-current

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

EP[edit]

  • "Live in the studio sessions EP" - (April 2008)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Record Collector, No. 198, February 1996
  2. ^ Interview with Jaime Harding, 8 February 2006[dead link]
  3. ^ "The marion archives - news". themarionarchives.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ Manchesteracademy.net[dead link]
  5. ^ "Marionuk.co.uk". Marionuk.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Marionuk.co.uk". Marionuk.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 350. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]