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MINISITES

In The Beginning...
Mar 1986 to Sept 1988
Oct 1988 to Dec 1989
Jan 1990 to Apr 1991
May 1991 to Jan 1992
Feb 1992 to Aug 1993
Sept. 1993 to Feb 1994
Mar 1994 to Nov 1994
Dec 1994 to Dec 1999
Jan 2000 to Dec 2000
Jan 2001 to Dec 2003
Jan 2004 to Dec 2004
Jan 2005 to Dec 2005
Jan 2006 to Apr 2006
May 2006 to Oct 2006
Nov 2006 to
Sept 2008
Oct 2008 to Sept 2009
Oct 2009 to Dec 2010
Jan 2011 to Dec 2011
Jan 2012 to Feb 2015

In Memoriam
Rob Jones
Martin Gilks

In December, producer Pat Collier began work on mixing a live album at London's Greenhouse Studios. A number of dates had been recorded during the 1994 UK tour including Leeds Town & Country Club and Leicester Granby Halls. As the group had always been noted for their live performances, it seemed logical to bring their album releases to an end with a definitive compilation of live recordings. Sadly, although a double album was produced of their Granby Halls performance, the group were not happy at the timing of the release and the album has never surfaced although some tracks would eventually appear on a 2007 live compilation album released by the BBC.

To compensate for the non-appearance of a live album, a bootleg CD recording of the Phoenix gig was released in February 1995 which featured the Radio 1FM broadcast except for the final track, 'Good Night Though'. Around the same time, Polydor reissued 'The Eight Legged Groove Machine', 'Hup' and 'Never Loved Elvis' on their mid-price range.

For a brief while, it began to look as if the split had been over-emphasised when Malc, Martin and Paul were seen meeting up on a number of occasions. However, it would transpire a couple of months later that these meetings were due to a new musical project the three of them were working on alongside former Eat frontman Ange Dolittle in the name of WeKnowWhereYouLive. No sooner had this news emerged than details of Miles' new band Vent also came out.

In the sudden spate of interviews and articles, Malc became the first to talk openly about the split. "We lost the plot," he said. "No-one seemed to pull in the same direction at the same time. It mutated over the last English tour. We had a meeting after that and said it's not worth it. It was a brave thing for us to do because we could've gone on. But I think we all knew it wasn't happening. I still see Miles though from time to time."  He went on to add, "The Wonder Stuff has all gone now. It's been a year since the last tour and nine months since Phoenix. We can't live on what we've done previously, we're doing stuff now which is different and fucking great."

In July, one year and a day since they split up, BBC Records released a CD-only live recording of The Stuffies' Manchester G-Mex gig from 1991 - a strange choice of release as the concert is already available on the 'Inertia' bootleg. The release included sleeve notes written by Miles and had a slightly different track listing with the addition of a couple of tracks. The sound quality was also greatly improved.

LIVE IN MANCHESTER

With all members currently taking first steps with new projects including the spunky WeKnowWhereYouLive, The Wonder Stuff are now just a salty memory but in November 1991 they were alive and very much kicking, and more than capable of energising the vast echoey tramshed of the Manchester G-Mex Centre.

In it's own way, this is just as appropriate a summary as the recent greatest hits package since a muscular competence and Miles Hunt's abrasive chumminess were always part of the group's uncompromising charm. 'Sleep Alone', 'Size Of A Cow', 'Golden Green', 'Dizzy', 'Welcome To The Cheap Seats' and the rest are delivered with typical verve and aplomb.

This is stadium rock with a comfortingly homely edge, which is perhaps why they never mounted a serious challenge to U2. But it's no less enjoyable for that. ****

Stuart Maconie, Q Magazine

 

An interview appeared in the New Musical Express in October, around the time of Vent's first live UK performances, in which Miles spoke about the break-up of The Wonder Stuff. "I used to go on stage thinking, what's the fucking point? You've got the records, you know what they sound like so why do you want to hear them again?' But that's just me being cynical about being in a band. There are some people who, if you tell them they are going on stage and grossing 60,000, then there are some people who will do that. Myself, I've never had any respect for money. The Wonder Stuff ended up with five people on the payroll that weren't in the band. We had three fucking managers and we ran a studio. On the last tour we had 25 crew and you wake up in Glasgow with a stinking fucking 'flu and 25 people are wanting to work and they can't because you've got 'flu. I don't want that pressure, I just ended up thinking in commercial and competitive terms."

 

A little over a year after the mid-price release of the group's first three studio albums, Polydor reissued the 'Construction For The Modern Idiot' album on CD as part of their mid-price range. Unlike the previous reissues which had been identical to their original release, the record company repackaged the album in its original 'palm trees' sleeve design. This caused considerable confusion for collectors of the group's releases as copies of the original withdrawn album were highly sought after but the reissue gave no way of proving whether a copy of the album was now an original or not. However, by the Summer of the same year Polydor had deleted all of the group's releases from their catalogue except for 'If The Beatles Had Read Hunter' - which they reissued on their mid-price range - and the 'Greatest Hits - Finally Live' video.

 

Between 1997 and 1999 The Wonder Stuff, as a musical project, ceased to exist. The surviving group members were off doing their own things, their contractual obligations to Polydor were completed and, aside from the occasional inclusion of a Stuffies track on a compilation album, there were no more releases. Then, at the end of December, I caught up with Miles Hunt for an interview on the TWSonline website (the forerunner to Room 512). During the interview he revealed that he had been talking with Martin Gilks, Malc Treece and Martin Bell for a number of months about whether or not to reform the group. The group had been given some very serious offers to work together again and it was only after very serious consideration between all of them that they agreed to leave the past behind them and continue working on their current projects.