60 Ft. Dolls

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60 Ft. Dolls
OriginNewport, Wales
GenresHard rock, Britpop[1]
Years active1993–1998
LabelsIndolent Records (UK)
Geffen Records (US)
Past membersCarl Bevan
Mike Cole
Richard Parfitt

60 Ft. Dolls were a Welsh rock trio active in the 1990s, known as the Cool Cymru era.[2]

Formation[edit]

They were formed in Newport in 1992 by Richard J. Parfitt and Michael Cole,[3] who met through Donna Matthews (later of Elastica),[4] who was at the time dating Cole[5] and working part-time in the same pizza restaurant as Parfitt.[6] After problems finding the right drummer, they eventually took on pastor's son Carl Bevan.[7] Initially influenced by touring American hardcore bands that played in Newport (and in particular prominent local venue T. J.'s),[8] the Dolls played noisy yet melodic rock, described by the NME as "grunge mod...proto-pub metal blues of the first order".[9] In 1993, Huw Williams of the Pooh Sticks became their manager[10] and released the debut single "Happy Shopper", named after a British convenience store chain, on his own Townhill label.[11]

Tours and 90s success[edit]

In 1995 they joined the first 'BratBus' NME tour with Veruca Salt, Marion and Skunk Anansie.[3] After support spots with Oasis, Elastica and Dinosaur Jr.,[12] 60 Ft. Dolls released their second single "White Knuckle Ride" on Rough Trade Records and then "Pig Valentine" on the RCA imprint Indolent Records. These early singles were championed heavily by BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq, and as a consequence were picked up by influential American DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ-FM. This resulted in the band signing a deal with Geffen Records in the US.[13] The New York Times listed "Pig Valentine" among its 1996 singles of the year.[14] The band broke into the UK Top 40 with their fourth single "Talk to Me" (Indolent, 1996), the video for which extensively featured the Newport Transporter Bridge.[15] This was followed by their debut album, The Big 3, which was produced by Al Clay,[5][16] Reviews called it "as close to soar-away rock perfection as it's possible to imagine" by the NME[17] and "pure, unadulterated, no nonsense, emotional, tuneful, impassioned, purposeful, hedonistic rock 'n' roll"[18] by Melody Maker. The album was included in Select magazine's top 30 albums of 1996[19] and Mojo's 2003 retrospective feature "Top 12 Britpop albums of the 90s", which called it "a devilishly evocative document of the period".[20]

The band toured extensively in the UK, Japan and Europe, including several summer festival appearances such as Glastonbury 1997[5] as well as opening for The Sex Pistols at their 1996 Finsbury Park reunion gig.[21] But they were dogged by alcohol problems, and after an exhaustive three tours of the US in 1997, never toured again.[22] They released their second album Joya Magica, in 1998[23] but the band were dropped from their label deal along with other acts at Indolent[5] and split soon after.[24]

The band recorded two sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, in 1996 and 1998,[3] and appear in the top 125 Peel sessions of all time.[25]

Mike Cole once played guitar for Newport's The Darling Buds but was asked to leave after just three gigs. He was also asked to stand in for Paul McGuigan on Oasis' 1996 tour of the US, but declined.[26]

The track "Hair", written by Mike Cole about his then-girlfriend Donna Matthews, was placed Number 7 in Mojo's "100 Most Miserable Indie Songs of All Time" feature.[27]

The Dolls were included, with Catatonia and others, in a House of Commons Early Day Motion, extolling the virtues of Newport's rock and roll credentials.[28]

Carl Bevan's father, Pastor Ray Bevan, heads one of the biggest evangelical churches in the UK and once sang guest vocals on the Dolls' "Let The Spirit Move You", a 12" white label-only release, limited to one thousand copies and mixed by Wubble-U.[29]

Later history[edit]

Richard Parfitt played as a session musician after the band split, working with the likes of McAlmont & Butler and Dido,[6] and later released a solo album called "Highlights in Slow Motion" in 2002.[23] He started teaching songwriting at Bath Spa University[30] and then in 2015 Richard became a senior lecturer in popular and commercial music at the University of South Wales.[31]

Welsh pop-soul singer Duffy credits Richard Parfitt with "changing her life"[32] and setting her on the road to fame after he hooked her up with manager Jeanette Lee.[33][34]

Carl Bevan took a few years off from music, before getting into producing into 2008.[5] More recently, Carl produced Black Junk, the 2011 album by Cardiff trio Exit_International, which was shortlisted in the 2012 Welsh Music Awards.[5] In 2012 the former 60 Ft. Dolls drummer launched a new project, the female-fronted rock and roll band The Lash.[5]

The Big 3 was re-released as a 2CD special edition in 2015 by 3 Loop Music,[35] including B-sides chosen by the band and tracks from their Peel sessions.[6]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • The Big 3 (Indolent, 1996/Geffen, 1997) UK: No. 36[36]
  • Joya Magica (Indolent/Geffen, 1998)
  • The Big 3 (2CD reissue, 3 Loop Music, 2015)

EPs[edit]

  • Supernatural Joy EP (Geffen, 1996)
  • Hair EP (Indolent, 1996)

Singles[edit]

  • "Happy Shopper" (Townhill, 1994)
  • "White Knuckle Ride" (Rough Trade, 1995)
  • "Pig Valentine" (Indolent, 1995)
  • "Talk to Me" (Indolent, 1996) UK: No. 37[36]
  • "Stay" (Indolent, 1996) UK: No. 48[36]
  • "Happy Shopper" (re-recording) (Indolent, 1996)UK: No. 38[36]
  • "Alison's Room" (Indolent, 1998) UK: No. 61[36]

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "London Breeds" on I Was a Teenage Gwent Boy (Frug Records, 1994)
  • "Dr Rat" on Club Spangle (Spangle Records, 1995)
  • "British Racing Green" on For Immediate Use (Raw, 1995)
  • "The Universal" on Long Ago and Worlds Apart (Nippon Crown, 1995)
  • "Number 1 Pure Alcohol" on Home Truths (Echo, 1995)
  • "Happy Shopper" on Indie Top 20, Volume 21 (Beechwood Music, 1996)
  • "Talk to Me" on Indie Top 20, Volume 23 Beechwood Music, 1996)
  • "Pony Ride" on London Calling 1 (London Calling, 1996)
  • "Talk to Me" on Mad for It (Telstar, 1996)
  • "Stay" on The Best Album in The World Ever! Vol. 3 (Circa Records, 1996)
  • "Stay" on The Magnificent Seven cassette (Melody Maker covermount, 1996)
  • "Baby Says Yeah" on John Peel's Sounds Of The Suburbs (Shifty Disco 1999)
  • "Talk to Me" on Shine 5 (Universal Music TV, 1996)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Everhart, "Caught By The Buzz: A Look Back At Britpop's B-List", Stereogum, 23 April 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  2. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. "( 60 Ft. Dolls > Overview )". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b c "BBC - Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - 60ft Dolls". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  4. ^ I-D, November 1995)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "INTERVIEW: Carl Bevan(60ft Dolls, The Lash) - "Prior to 'Cool Cymru', Welsh music was generally ridiculed by the London based industry and had no chance of being taken seriously. "". February 25, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Owens, David (July 17, 2015). "Britpop, bullets and break-ups - 60ft Dolls remembered". Walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  7. ^ NME, p.10, 13 May 1995
  8. ^ The Independent section 2, p. 7, 21 December 1995
  9. ^ NME, April, 1995
  10. ^ Wales - Music - 60ft Dolls. BBC (2009-07-03). Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  11. ^ Select, September 1994
  12. ^ "60ft Dolls - The Big 3 - Deluxe Expanded Edition / 3 Loop from Piccadilly Records". Piccadillyrecords.com. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Music: Rovers return". The Independent. March 20, 1998. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  14. ^ Strauss, Neil (4 January 1996). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  15. ^ 60 Ft Dolls - Talk to Me (Version 1) on YouTube
  16. ^ "Al Clay | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  17. ^ NME, 30 November 1996
  18. ^ Melody Maker, December 1996
  19. ^ "Select Magazine Website". Selectmagazinescans.monkeon.co.uk. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  20. ^ Mojo, p.82, April 2003
  21. ^ 60ft Dolls Discography at Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  22. ^ Select, May 1997
  23. ^ a b "BBC Wales - Music - 60ft Dolls - Biography". www.bbc.co.uk.
  24. ^ Q, July 1998
  25. ^ Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - Sessions - Best 125. BBC. Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  26. ^ The Chart Show, 20 January 1996
  27. ^ Mojo, p.94, June 2004
  28. ^ The Observer, 24 November 1996
  29. ^ 60ft Dolls - Alison's Room (CD) at Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  30. ^ "Ex-60ft Dolls frontman becomes university lecturer". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  31. ^ "60ft Dolls front man Richard Parfitt joins USW to teach Popular Music". Southwales.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  32. ^ Cavendish, Lucy (17 August 2008). "Duffy: small wonder". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.[dead link]
  33. ^ Music. Channel 4. Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  34. ^ NME Album Reviews - Duffy. Nme.Com (2008-02-29). Retrieved on 2012-04-01.
  35. ^ "The Big 3 Expanded Edition". 3loopmusic.tmstor.es. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  36. ^ a b c d e 60ft Dolls at Official Charts Company officialcharts.com

External links[edit]