Andrew Roachlord swept on to our radios and TV screens earlier in the year, seemingly irom nowhere, with the single ‘Family Man', which can be lound on his eponymous Iirst LP. At a time when everyone and his publicist is trying to etiect a marriage at Eighties rock and black R&B styles, ‘Roachtord' is the work oi a man clearly several turlongs ahead at the rest. His style. he insists, ‘iust happened as it went along. I love blues, I love Motown and obviously I love rock. I like the old, the real rock‘n'roll, that grew out at the blues: Little Richard, and those artists. I also like Hendrix, and a lot at the stuti that’s being played in America. Well, bits oi it. The rest sounds mass-produced and churned-out.‘
Andrew grew up in London, encouraged by a musical iamily, in particular his uncle, who got him gigs in Soho strip joints when young Andrew was still at the tender age oi 14 (‘Some underage musician was the least oi theirworries’). Not surprisingly, he enioyed the atmosphere oi his early engagements.
‘Most oi the clubs were pretty seedy. but at the same time the people who worked there were like a tamily. You‘d get to know the whole Soho crowd — the night people.‘
College, which iollowed, was less gratifying, and he spent less time at classes and more in the music workshops he ran. When a light broke out over whose turn it was to play the tew instruments to which they had access, damaging most at them in the process, he dropped out altogether. Today he doesn‘t regret missing out on structured education.
‘I don‘t miss it atall, because I think it you learn too much it can dazzle you artistically, because you let the book rule your mind too much. And when you‘re dealing with something like art it‘s more to do with what you‘ve got naturally than what you acquire technically.‘
Beiore long Andrew was working ior Iormer Clash manager Bernie Rhodes. who had a vision oi a British Motown, ‘the creme de la creme ol black artists'. He was enlisted to help Rhodes till the roster, but now claims he was only given a week in which to do it. The enterprise naturally crumbled, but He lound that working in the environment
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The Ants, Bow Wow Wow and Dexy's Midnight Runners had been based. ‘opened my mind up to things even more'.
Aiter three years oi writing and recording, a tape Andrew had made was in the hands at CBS, where the newly-signed Terence Trent D‘arby made a lot oi noise, insisting that they take this amazing new talent under theirwing at once. CBS obliged. and Roachlord became a band. ‘some oi whom I‘d known beiore, others l'd met along the way.‘
Alterthe speed at which the British public picked up on ‘Family Man', the greatest victory oi Roachlord so tar must have been their triumph on stage at the Reading Festival, winning over a crowd notorious ior their dislike oi black music, and who even pelt the acts they like with tlagons oi urine. He must leel they could play in iront oi any audience now. surely?
‘Yeah, I reckon we could, because what we‘re doing is real, and is good music, and on that level you can communicate with most people. it you‘re trying to put oversomething which is more based on the image then you'll only get one crowd. At Reading people were quite surprised by the raunchy set. They weren‘t expecting that.’
The next Roachlord album will in all probability be recorded at Prince‘s
‘ studio. Paisley Park. In the more
* immediate iuture they can be seen at 3 the Edinburgh Venue on Friday 9 and ; Strathclyde University on Saturday 10. at The Clash. in rooms where Adam and
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