Senseless Things

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Senseless Things
Origin London, England
Genres Indie rock, punk rock, pop punk, alternative rock
Years active 1986–1995, 2017
Labels Epic, Way Cool, Decoy, Cherry Red
Associated acts Jolt, 3 Colours Red, Delakota, Morgan (aka M. Organ), Vent 414 (aka Vent), The Wildhearts, Gorillaz, Deadcuts, Like A Bitch, The Lams, Trip Fontaine, Penguin Cafe, Muse, The Streets,
Members Mark Keds
Ben Harding
Morgan Nicholls
Cass Browne

Senseless Things are an English indie rock/pop punk[1] band, formed in 1986 in London.[2] The band released four albums and achieved two UK Top 20 hit singles before splitting up in 1995. Senseless Things reformed in 2017 to play several gigs including Shepherd's Bush Empire,[3][4] as well as to record and release new material.[5]

Career[edit]

Senseless Things formed around the musical partnership of songwriter Mark Myers[6] aka Mark Keds (vocals, guitar) and Morgan Nicholls (bass, originally guitar), who as eleven-year-olds in Twickenham, Middlesex put together Wild Division in the early 1980s. With the addition of drummer Cass Browne (also occasionally known as Cass Cade and Cass Traitor) they became the Psychotics, playing various venues in their local area despite still being at school. Their first gig together as the Senseless Things (named after a phrase used in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar) followed at the subsequently-demolished Clarendon in Hammersmith, London, in October 1986. Auxiliary members at this stage included a keyboard player, Ben, and a guitarist, Gerry, who deputised for Nicholls while the latter was studying for his O levels.[7]

The definitive Senseless Things line-up formed in summer 1987 when Nicholls returned to take over bass, with the new recruit, former BBC clerk Ben Harding acquiring the vacant guitarist's role. Taking their musical cue from the Ramones and the Dickies, and their spiritual lead from fellow guitar outfit Mega City Four, the quartet embarked upon a hectic touring schedule, often playing on the same bill as Mega City Four, Snuff and Perfect Daze.

The band's first releases were singles given away with issues of Yo Jo Jo[8] and Sniffin' Rock fanzines.[7] By March 1988 the band had attracted the attention of the BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who invited them to record the first of three sessions for his programme. The "Up And Coming" 12" followed, then "Girlfriend" the following year, both on Way Cool Records.[9]

Their first album, Postcard CV,[10] was released in 1989, capturing the energy of their concerts by packing ten tracks into twenty two minutes. Record Collector called it "sprightly pop-punk/ indie with touches of Buzzcocks and the Undertones".[11] The album was rounded off by "Too Much Kissing", which was released as a single[12] and was to become their signature track.

In 1990 the band signed with What Goes On Records, just as the label collapsed, resulting in an abortive EP release.[13] The band then signed to Vinyl Solution subsidiary Decoy Records, who released the four-track EP "'Is It Too Late?", produced by Jon Langford of the Mekons.[14] The group stayed with Decoy for "Can't Do Anything",[15] (also produced by Langford), which prefaced an appearance at the Reading Festival; the band then signed to Epic Records at the start of 1991.[7]

The subsequent album The First Of Too Many saw the band experimenting with other styles including acoustic songs, and the single "Got It At The Delmar" entered the Top 50 of the UK Singles Chart.[16] Allmusic praised the album's blend of "bubblegum pop" and "gobstopping hard rock", likening the band's sound to the Who and the Replacements.[17] Two further Top 20 singles followed in 1991/1992 - "Easy To Smile" and "Hold It Down".[16] The band toured the United States, supporting Blur, and went to Japan for the first time, appearing on talent show Ika-Ten.[18]

Cover art for the first two Senseless Things albums and most single releases around the same period was provided by comic artist Jamie Hewlett, creator of Tank Girl and later Gorillaz.

The second single from their third album, 1993's Empire of the Senseless, "Homophobic Asshole" (with promotional video directed by Steven Wells[19]) received critical acclaim but was released reluctantly by their record company due to the band's choice of title[7] and failed to chart highly. Follow-up single, "Primary Instinct", an equally political (anti-racist) lyric but a more radio-friendly title, had slightly more commercial success. In a further Mekons connection, the album shared its title with a track from the 1989 album The Mekons Rock 'n Roll, itself named for a Kathy Acker novel.[20]

In 1995, the band released a final album, Taking Care Of Business accompanied by two singles, "Christine Keeler" (renamed from "Christian Killer") and "Something To Miss". The latter's b-sides included a Replacements cover as well as a song co-written with Lenie from Mambo Taxi.[21] Senseless Things split up the same year after farewell tours of the UK and Japan.

Line-up[edit]

Post-Senseless Things[edit]

Keds very briefly became a member of The Wildhearts before forming Jolt,[1] Trip Fontaine, The Lams, Like A Bitch and, most recently, Deadcuts. He also has a co-write credit on The Libertines 2004 #2 hit "Can't Stand Me Now", which took a line from the 1998 Jolt single "Hey! Kitten".

Harding went on to join 3 Colours Red in their original incarnation from 1996 to 1999,[22] before pursuing a career in public and media relations.

Nicholls joined Vent 414[23] with Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff until 1997, released the solo album Organized a few years later, then went on to play with The Streets. He is now part of Muse's touring line-up and has also played with Lily Allen and The Who.

Browne went on to become a central collaborator of Hewlett and Damon Albarn's virtual band Gorillaz, playing drums in various live incarnations of the band from 2001-2010 and also serving as one of the primary writers for the animated characters in interviews and cartoon shorts, including the 2005 book Rise of the Ogre (Nicholls also played bass in the Gorillaz live band from 2005-2006). Browne also briefly played with bands Delakota,[24] Urge Overkill and The Lams. In September 2015, he once again linked up with his former bandmate Mark Keds in Deadcuts and is now a full-time member.

Reunions[edit]

Senseless Things reformed (minus Nicholls, who was unavailable and replaced by Micky Wyle, ex-Hitechjet) for a secret (billed as Mark Keds) four-song performance at Islington Academy, London on 4 March 2007 – over twelve years after the band last performed – as part of a gig to celebrate the life of former Mega City Four frontman Darren "Wiz" Brown, who died in December 2006. The same band members had an impromptu reunion in June 2016 when they joined fans Beach Slang live on stage in London to perform their cover of "Too Much Kissing".[25]

In December 2016, a full Senseless Things reunion concert was announced for 25 March 2017.[26] A warm-up date was later announced for Hull on 19 March.[27] A one-sided 7" single with new recording "Lost Honey" was released to mark the concerts,[28] the band's first new material in 22 years.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Postcard C.V. (1989) - LP, MC - Way Cool (WC 004 LP)
  • The First of Too Many (1991) - LP (black vinyl), LP (purple vinyl), CD, MC - Epic - UK No. 66[16]
  • Empire of the Senseless (1992) - CD - Epic - UK No. 37[16]
    • Empire of the Senseless/Postcard C.V. (1993) - Double LP, double CD, MC - Epic
  • Peel Sessions (1994) - CD - Strange Fruit
  • Taking Care of Business (1995) - CD, LP - Epic
  • The Singles (1998) - CD - Epic
  • Postcard C.V. (2010) - CD - Cherry Red (re-issue inc. tracks from "Up and Coming" 12" & "Girlfriend" 7")[11]

Singles/EPs[edit]

  • 1988 - "I'm Moving" 7" flexi
  • 1988 - Up & Coming EP, 12" (re-released 12"/CDs, 1991)
  • 1989 - "Senseless Things" - rehearsals bootleg 7"[29]
  • 1989 - "Girlfriend" 7"
  • 1989 - "Too Much Kissing" 7"
  • 1990 - Andi In A Karmann EP, 12" (promo only)
  • 1990 - "Is it Too Late?"
  • 1990 - "Can't Do Anything"
  • 1991 - "Everybody's Gone" - UK No. 73
  • 1991 - "Got it at the Delmar" - UK No. 50
  • 1991 - "Easy to Smile" - UK No. 18
  • 1992 - "Hold it Down" - UK No. 19
  • 1992 - "Homophobic Asshole" - UK No. 52
  • 1993 - "Primary Instinct" - UK No. 41
  • 1993 - "Too Much Kissing" - UK No. 69 [remixed w/new artwork & b-sides]
  • 1994 - "Christine Keeler" - UK No. 56
  • 1995 - "Something to Miss" - UK No. 57[16]
  • 2017 - "Lost Honey"[30]

Selected compilation appearances[edit]

  • 1988 - "Sniffin' Rock #6" - split 7" w/ Crazyhead, The Birdhouse[31]
  • 1989 - "Pssst" EP - split 7" w/ Snuff, Sink, Perfect Daze[32]
  • 1989 - "The Shape Of Things to Humm" - split 7" w/ Perfect Daze, Playground, Exit Condition[33]
  • 1989 - Underground Rockers Volume 2 - LP (reissued on CD, 1992) w/ Manic Street Preachers, HDQ, The Price, etc
  • 1991 - "Submerge #3" - split 7" flexi w/ Bugeyes[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tim Sendra. "Senseless Things | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  2. ^ "Senseless Things". Trouserpress.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  3. ^ "Senseless Things, O2 Shepherds Bush live review - Louder Than War". Louderthanwar.com. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Senseless Things - Shepherd's Bush Empire, 25/03/2017". Godisinthetvzine.co.uk. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  5. ^ Gourlay, Dom. "The Return of the Empire of the Senseless - Gigwise". Gigwise.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  6. ^ "BMI - Repertoire Search". Repertoire.bmi.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d "Senseless Things". Senseless Things. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Senseless Things - I'm Moving / Low-Time - Yo Jo Jo - UK - YOJOJO 3". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Who are they?". Suborbital.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Senseless Things - Postcard C.V. (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  11. ^ a b "Postcard CV- Record Collector Magazine". Recordcollectormag.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  12. ^ "Senseless Things - Too Much Kissing / Trevor - Way Cool - UK - WC 003 S". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  13. ^ "Senseless Things - Andi In A Karmann EP (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  14. ^ "Senseless Things - Is It Too Late?". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  15. ^ "12" Single: Senseless Things - Can't Do Anything (1990)". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 488–489. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  17. ^ "The First of Too Many - Senseless Things - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. 
  18. ^ "Ben Harding (Senseless Things) - interview - Louder Than War". Louderthanwar.com. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  19. ^ "Pop Will Shoot Itself". Thisisyesterday.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  20. ^ Kathy Acker. Fiction Book Review: Empire of the Senseless. Grove/Atlantic. ISBN 978-0-8021-1079-4. 
  21. ^ "Senseless Things - Something To Miss". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  22. ^ "3 Colours Red | Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  23. ^ Jason Damas (1996-10-07). "Vent 414 - Vent 414 | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  24. ^ Dean Carlson. "Delakota | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  25. ^ di Marco Lorenzi. "BEACH SLANG + DEADCUTS + WEAVES + MUNCIE GIRL – Live @ Dingwalls (Londra, 08/06/2016)". =IndieForBunnies.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  26. ^ "Senseless Things London, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, 25 Mar 2017 – Songkick". Songkick.com. 2017-03-25. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  28. ^ "constantrotation — Senseless Things" Lost Honey" vinyl release 230 made". Constantrotation.bigcartel.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  29. ^ "Senseless Things - Can't Stop Loving You". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  30. ^ "Listen to first Senseless Things track in 22 years". TeamRock.com. 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  31. ^ "Various - Sniffin' Rock #6". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  32. ^ "Various - Pssst E.P.". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  33. ^ "Various - The Shape Of Things To Hum......". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  34. ^ "Senseless Things / Bugeyes - Senseless Things / Bugeyes". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 

External links[edit]