Rooney (UK band)

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This article is about the UK band. For the US band, see Rooney (band).

Rooney were a British lo-fi band, that released three albums between 1998 and 2000.


Rooney at the Magnet, Liverpool, 1999

Artist Paul Rooney recorded the first Rooney EP (this is not the US band of the same name), Got Up Late, in October 1997 in Newcastle-under-Lyme,[1] using a mini-disc four-track recorder with Paul Rooney on all instruments and vocals. Initially only five copies were self-released on Common Culture Records. The lo-fi music incorporated sometimes humorous — but often unsettling — spoken-sung lyrics describing everyday, mundane activities and observations, an approach which was consistent across all Rooney releases.[1][2] BBC Radio 1's John Peel and BBC Radio Merseyside's Roger Hill played tracks from the record,[3][4] and from the subsequent EP Different Kinds of Road Signs.

The debut album Time on Their Hands, released September 1998,[5][6] was distributed by Cargo Records (UK), and featured the tracks Went to Town,[7] Into The Lens,[8] Throw Away,[9] Touts,[10] Scratched, Walked Round The Estate, and Fountainbridge amongst others. The writer Michael Bracewell described the album thus: '... [encountering] Time on Their Hands, 1998, by the group Rooney, the listener might be reminded of any and all of the following: Patrik Fitzgerald's dour requiem to hope, Tonight, the later songs of Ivor Cutler, the Intense Emotion Society of middle period Dexy's Midnight Runners, the industrial melancholy of Throbbing Gristle's Twenty Jazz Funk Greats and the ambiguous intellectualism of The Television Personalities, notably their re-issue, ...And Don't the Kids Just Love It.'[2] The album was widely and favourably reviewed,[11][12][13][14][15][16] including notices by Stewart Lee in The Sunday Times,[17] Tom Ridge of The Wire[18] and Gary Valentine of Mojo magazine.[19] The continued support of John Peel earned a place for Went to Town at number 44 in John Peel's Festive Fifty of 1998,[20] and a Rooney Peel session in 1999.[21] The album received extensive airplay, including BBC Radio 3's Mixing It.[9]

By 1999 Rooney had become a band with new members Colin Cromer and Half Man Half Biscuit/Jegsy Dodd and the Sons of Harry Cross ex-member Ian S Jackson (some of the final performances included Paul Rafferty, who was later a member of Hot Club de Paris), and were operating out of Liverpool, intermittently gigging at venues such as The Dublin Castle, London, and The Briton's Protection, Manchester. As well as conventional gigs the band appeared in events at art venues[22] — Ormeau Baths, Belfast; Grizedale Arts, Cumbria;[23] the My Eye Hurts project at Green Room, Manchester and Thread Waxing Space, New York[24][25] — and undertook a series of collaborative 'variety' performances involving the band itself, choirs and other performers.[26] The second Rooney album On Fading Out was released in 1999,[27][28][29] and the project ostensibly ended with the third and final album, On the Closed Circuit, in November 2000,[30] though gigs continued sporadically until late 2002.[26]

In the years that followed Paul Rooney referred to the history (real and fictionalized) of the band in a number of his artworks, references which usually centred on singer Dermot Bucknall from the pre-1997 period of the band.[31][32] In 2006 comedian and writer Stewart Lee curated the Rooney track Into the Lens for the CD/book The Topography of Chance, which also included Mark E Smith, Derek Bailey and Simon Munnery.[33] In 2014 the three Rooney albums where made available for the first time on iTunes, Spotify and other streaming sites,[34]and the Rooney Peel session was repeated in 2016 on Gideon Coe's BBC 6 Music show. [35]


  1. ^ a b "Situations : Atmosphere; the work of Paul Rooney : Claire Doherty" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  2. ^ a b Bracewell, Michael. 'The Art of Paul Rooney', in Got Up Late the Other Day: Paul Rooney artist monograph. Firstsite, 2006.
  3. ^ "playlists/1998/05". Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  4. ^ "Common Culture". Frieze Magazine. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  5. ^ "Rooney* - Time On Their Hands (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  6. ^ "Common Culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  7. ^ "Rooney – Went to Town – Listen and discover music at". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  8. ^ "Rooney – Into the Lens – Listen and discover music at". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  9. ^ a b "15th March, 1999 | Mixing It". Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  10. ^ "playlists/1998/06". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  11. ^ Clark, Robert. 'Rooney Tunes'. The Guardian (The Guide). May 1999
  12. ^ Bunn, Jonathan. 'Rooney, Time on Their Hands'. Sleazenation magazine. Jan. 1999
  13. ^ Mackintosh, David. 'Time on Your Hands COMCD009'. AN Magazine. Nov. 1998
  14. ^ Oxley, Steve. 'Sound Bites'. Interview with Paul Rooney. The Big Issue magazine. Nov. 1998
  15. ^ Mason Neil. 'Rooney, Time on Their Hands'. Melody Maker. Oct. 1998
  16. ^ "MusicDish e-Journal - Rooney - Time On Their Hands". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  17. ^ Lee, Stewart. 'Rooney, Time on Their Hands'. The Sunday Times. Oct. 1998
  18. ^ Ridge, Tom. 'Rooney, Time on Their Hands'. The Wire magazine. Nov.1998
  19. ^ Valentine, Gary. 'Rooney, Time on Their Hands'. Mojo magazine. Nov. 1998
  20. ^ " Peel's Festive 50's - 1977 - 2003  .....". Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  21. ^ "Rooney (1999) | Peel Sessions". Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  22. ^ Briers, David. ‘Small Battles’. Art Monthly. Nov. 2000
  23. ^ "Grizedale Arts: Paul Rooney". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  24. ^ Parker, Graham. 'My Eye Hurts'. Art Monthly. Oct. 1999
  25. ^ Archives of American Art. "Detailed description of the Thread Waxing Space records, 1980s-2001, bulk 1991-2001 | Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  26. ^ a b "SATURDAY: The N.W.R.A. Variety Night". Cubitt Artists. 2002-06-08. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  27. ^ Lee, Stewart. 'Rooney, On Fading Out'. The Sunday Times. April 2000
  28. ^ Beasley, Mark. 'Rooney'. Untitled magazine. Spring 2000
  29. ^ McGill, Hannah. 'Rooney, On Fading Out'. The List (Scotland). Oct. 1999
  30. ^ Lee, Stewart. 'Rooney, On the Closed Circuit'. The Sunday Times. Dec. 2000
  31. ^ Gallery, Castlefield (2005-03-18). "PureScreen #9: PureScreen DVD *01 – Launch Party & Screening – Castlefield Gallery". Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  32. ^ "Akerman Daly". Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  33. ^ "ireallylovemusic › the topography of chance – curated by stewart lee". 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  34. ^ "iTunes - Music - Rooney". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  35. ^

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