Great Lost Bands no. 13; Fabric, with an interview

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Carrying on from the F section of the John Peel archive, I'm actually going to upload an interview with a band that are pretty lost to me, to be honest. Fabric were an English experimental hardcore band who released a couple of albums in the mid-90s and then, as far as I know they disappeared. If anyone knows what they do now, or if they made any more music, please comment below.
The album on John's shelves was 'Body of Water' which was their debut full length. I met them when they played Giro's in Belfast in late summer 1994, I think. They were a nice bunch. Here is our chat...

**this was published in Weedbus fanzine, issue 9, spring 1995**

Fabric are a hardcore punk with their fingers in a few pies. They have set up their own label – Whole Car – and persuaded Gary Walker from Wiiija to run it for them; they were the first English band to release anything on the US Dog House label; and they’ve contributed ‘March of the Machines/ Seven’ to the split 7” single series Fierce Panda #4 – ‘Built to Blast’. Their whole attitude is refreshing and un-cynical, certainly not like the cliques in the hardcore scenes of old. And besides, they also agreed to me interviewing them on the pavement outside Giro’s in Donegall lane, Belfast. Punk rock! Their exceptionally talkative drummer Chris (who incidentally has 22 body piercings) began by telling me about the set-up with Whole Car records.

“Basically the band got together a while ago, did a few demo tapes and Gary from Wiiija decided to help us out. We recorded a 7” for another label but they let us down, so we had recording but no-one to release it. We didn’t really fit in with the whole Wiiija records thing so we set up a little offshoot. Whole Car is our label but Wiiija produce and distribute everything. We basically say what goes and if it is economically viable then it happens. Rather than just distribute in America, the Dog House label had heard about us from a mutual friend, and then they started talking about us becoming “a Dog House band”. In hardcore circles that is a good thing because they’re very highly respected over there. So we did a 7” for them (’Saturnalia’/ ‘Without’) – we just gave them the recording as a favour and they decided to put the album out over there. It’s much more accessible to be on Dog House than be on some label that no-one has heard of. They really cool thing is that they never previously put out any records by anyone outside of Ohio, and now they’re got us English geezers.”

Is there much life left in the UK hardcore/ punk scene?

Jamie: We like a lot of bands in general but the hardcore scene is pretty dead. There was a time in the early ‘90s when Napalm Death, Heresy, Extreme Noise Terror could sell out decent sized London venues like ULU. Now there are too many bands who sound like Discharge, very few are doing anything original. We do what we do because we’re involved in a lot of different music scenes, and we take them all on board in what we do. There are bands that we like such as Bob Tilton, Polaris, and Dead Wrong all doing interesting stuff.”
Chris: “We played a show in Leicester the other day and this kid came up to me with a Born Against t-shirt on and he gave me a tape of his band. From the t-shirt I thought it might be interesting but it turned out it was just three-chord punk.”
Tony: “The term hardcore now tends to mean big metal bands, it doesn’t mean what it did in the mid-‘80s. Offspring have sold over a million records and five years ago they were playing small clubs in New York. The whole Nirvana thing opened up music so much – people found loud music accessible again.

I notice a big chance in sound between your first two singles and the ‘Body of Water’ album.

Tony: “Yes, there is a huge difference, mainly because we’ve got another guitarist (Kevin) and from the day he joined, things changed. I’m happy because it has expanded the sound.”
Jamie: “the point is that we didn’t have enough money as a band to get equipment to sound how we wanted. As a four-piece we couldn’t quite pull it off.”
Chris: “I just think that we have become the band we wanted to become, we’re not so defined that people can say we’re a metal band or whatever.”

And you’ve stopped using samples.

Tony: “You’re the second person who has said that in as many days!” We used samples on the second single – some dialogue from Staedler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show – that was our experimental phase – we also used a bong break for some reason!”
Chris: “I think with the album we never really thought about samples and when it came to the final mix down we didn’t have any.”
Tony: “We’ve got an idea for a sample in a new song if it makes anyone happier!” I’d like the next record to be more experimental, loads of different guitar sounds, samples, maybe not so defined – why not do a 20 minute song? ‘Body of Water’ was recorded very quickly, with just six studio sessions over a period of three months.”
Chris: “At one stage we wrote some songs while Andy was away in America and he had one day to come up with lyrics and record them when he returned. He managed it, but I’m not saying what songs they are!”

As if on cue, vocalist and lyricist Andy comes over to join us on the pavement. I mentioned in my album review last time how much I liked this guy’s lyrics. I ask him how he first became acquainted with the poetry of Anne Sexton. (She was most famous for the autobiographical work, ‘To Bedlam and Part Way Back’. She took her own life in 1974).

Andy: “Well I studied American Confessional Poetry at college, and my friend Kate who lives in America, gave me an Anne Sexton book. ‘Hurry up Please It’s Time’/ ‘The Death Song’ just fitted the idea I was after. Obviously she said it much better than I could, so why change it?”
Tony: “So instead of taxing your mind, you said, that’s good enough, I’ll use it!”
Andy: “I think there is something to be said for plagiarism. Why write something in a poor way, when someone has done it really well?”
Tony: “Enough bands plagiarise music, so why not lift lyrics? The title of our song ‘A-Student Baby’ is a direct steal from Sam Cooke.”
Andy: “And ‘Shake it’ ends with a Nietzsche quote – ‘Glowing, I myself consume/ All I seize and touch makes light’”.

That’s a good final word to end on, and anyway we have been sitting on the pavement long enough! I’ll leave you with a list of the music the band were listening to on their respective walkmans, en route to Belfast….

CHRIS – Shudder to Think, Raw Shag, Antioc, Arrow, Heroin.
JAMIE - Miles Davis’s ‘In A Silent Way’, Porno for Pyros, Girls Against Boys
TONY- Danzig, Jeff Buckley, Palace Brothers, Chet Baker.
ANDY- Avail, Life of Agony, an Embrace covers compilation, and more Avail.
KEVIN was too shy to be interviewed.


  1. I saw fabric live and they were really good,I was looking for the body of water rar and came across your blog,the interview takes me right back to when music was exciting.

  2. Love this, thanks for posting! Fabric were a great band and seemed like nice dudes.