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Hey Hey Rachel Stamp, You’re Really Fantastic!

(Taken From Black Velvet 14 - Nov 97)

By Shari Black Velvet

RACHEL STAMP are a band that have had quite a buzz around them. Signed to WEA Records, they released three singles, ‘Pop Singer’, ‘Hey Hey Michael You’re Really Fantastic’ and ‘Madonna.....Cher’, the latter on an E.P. entitled ‘Bring Me The Head Of Rachel Stamp’, and won fans from both the indie and rock genres simultaneously. Then sadly, their fairytale met with an untimely hiccup and WEA waved them goodbye prior to the release of a debut album - which consequently never saw the light of day. Currently the band are back to being unsigned, but twice as determined, and with many votes in the Kerrang! Awards’ ‘Best New UK Band’ category, Rachel Stamp look set to um... stamp their mark on the world with or without record company backing.




Since Emma at WEA Records gave me lead singer, Dave Ryder-Prangley’s phone number, I took the opportunity to call him up for a chat. It was a Friday evening in September and he was at home watching Top Of The Pops.

"If anyone exciting comes on I’m going to go ‘Uuuh’" he informs me! OK, but when are YOU going to be on Top Of The Pops, David? I question "Oh, never at this rate!" he witters.

I’d tried calling David the evening before but was told by his flatmate, also in a band - but not Rachel Stamp, that David was out and would be in at varying intervals. Thus, I was quite surprised when he picked up the telephone himself. I bet he’s one of these constant liggers or party-goers, I thought. Always on the move, never stopping for breath, hard to catch hold of. "Well, I do go out quite a lot. I normally go and see bands. I just like going to see other bands and seeing what’s going on."

One of the bands that would merit a spot in his diary would be the London band, Persecution Complex. "They’re not really doing that much at the minute. I used to go and see them quite a lot. They are a cross between Radiohead and Japan, if you can imagine that. They are sort of strange and into a lot of eighties music but good eighties music like Japan and David Bowie. They’re really brilliant and don’t sound like anyone else really."

But enough on Persecution Complex, we’re here to talk about Rachel Stamp. How are things in the Rachel Stamp camp at the moment - hectic or quiet?

"Fine at the moment. We haven’t got a keyboard player at the minute. But we’ve got two on rotation!" he laughs. "We borrow them from other bands at the minute because our old keyboardist went to play with Oasis... But we don’t talk about that!"

The current line-up of Rachel Stamp is David, guitarist Will Crewdson, and a new drummer called Robin. Cliff, drummer on ‘Bring Me The Head of...’ "just left for one reason or another" according to David. "He had a lot going on with his family and stuff like that. It all got a bit much for him and he just decided to leave. He plays for a few other people and he’s just starting his own band".

When asked for a definition of Rachel Stamp, David comes up with "We’re like Roxette with VD".

He talks of the split with WEA Records. The suits who originally signed the band apparently left the company about two months after they were signed, moving to EMI. The band decided to stay and hope for the best, but things didn’t quite work out. "The week we got dropped we were supporting No Doubt and doing all these really big gigs and Warners were there going ‘Oh, well we just don’t know how to market you’, so we just thought we’d go."

Couldn’t you get in with EMI then?

"Well, by the time this had already gone around, the people who had signed us and gone to EMI had left EMI. Yeah, the record industry works in weird ways; It’s only when you are a part of it that you realise how horrible it is."

So what’s happening now?

"We’re going to start our own label. We’re going to put our own records out at the moment. So we’ve just done a new single. We’re in the process of getting all the cover together and all that stuff." The single’s called ‘My Sweet Rose’. David tells me how the band always try to put different things on the B side of their singles. With their first single he says he didn’t even sing on it! "We got someone else to sing it and it was all done with drum machines and stuff. I wanted to sound like The Flying Lizards so I got a girl to sing on it and she sounded like The Flying Lizards! We like doing that. We don’t like to stick to one thing."

"Whenever we go into recording studios we don’t have any fixed rules as to who does what. I play bass but I don’t actually like playing bass so if I can I’ll get Will to do it or our keyboard player will do it or sometimes we don’t even have any bass on the record. We just have synthesizers doing it. I think it adds more variety to the sound."

I ask if ‘Bring Me The Head Of...’ is still available. A couple of friends want it but can’t find it anywhere. The vocalist doesn’t know. He said they used to sell them at their gigs after being dropped but has none left now. "Hopefully at some point we’ll put out a mini album with all the singles on it." he adds. "I did find our first single in a bargain bin in Scotland for 50p so I bought it of course because I didn’t actually have a copy myself."

Any new exciting songs you’re itching to put out?

"Yeah, we’re actually going into the studio on Monday to demo some. We almost want to write a whole new album even though our first one never came out. So we’re just going to try and write a whole lot of new stuff."

Back to the support with No Doubt - how was that? He replies "It was really good fun. They were really nice to us. It was brilliant really. It was a sold out show so it was just great. They’re one of my favourite bands anyway. I had their album ages ago, it wasn’t just when we were going to support them."

The band also supported Korn, strangely enough. "Yeah, that was really funny. You’ve heard Korn, and you’ve heard us... So just imagine! It was brilliant - when we walked on I think people thought we were girls! And then when the lights went up people were like ‘Oh my God’. From the moment we went on stage to the moment we left we just had cans thrown at us the whole time. But it was really funny. We just thought it was hilarious. They were empty cans you know, they don’t actually hurt. So you could actually stand there and get hit with a can in the head and it doesn’t actually hurt. So it was quite funny actually and we were really hard and wound the audience up as much as we possibly could!"

Who would possibly arrange for a band like Rachel Stamp, with their glam pop rock campiness to support a band like Korn? "We just got it through our agent. I’d never even heard them before we played with them. Our guitarist had their CD and he rang me up the day before and went ‘Er... I’ve just listened to the CD... I don’t think we’re going to go down very well.’ But it was good because the singer from Korn wanted a band like us to support them because he didn’t want a band who sounded like Korn".

Oh... I think there was no chance of that!

"There was a band on before us called Above All, just like that heavy metal hardcore kind of thing and they kind of went on and went down well and whatever, and they walked off and no-one would remember who they are, y’know. With us, we kind of went on and by the time we left, everybody knew who we were! It was probably the best thing we could have done because we got a lot of respect from all the real hardcore metal kids in London. A lot of them turn up to our shows now. At the time they were like ‘What the f**k’s going on? What is this?’ y’know, but by the end of it I think they thought that we had a lot of nerve to do it. I think they quite liked that."

Rachel Stamp were lucky enough to perform at the Phoenix festival in July. How was that?

"It was good. The festival was a bit weak because we’re so used to playing clubs where people literally fall over onto the stage. When you do festivals they’re just so big and really scary! It’s weird, kind of like being a bit lost, really.

"We did T In The Park before that. The tent at the Phoenix was actually smaller because at T In The Park we played the NME stage, which was quite a big tent. We were on at midday which was quite bizarre.

"It’s good playing out of London. In London audiences are a bit cool sometimes. Everyone’s just stood there really trying to look cool. When you do festivals people get really, really into it. The last couple of things we did were two festivals in Wales. You know I’m from Wales. And they were brilliant. They had to bring extra security to the front of the stage. People were stage-diving and crowd-surfing and all that stuff! It was really good fun doing that."

Have you got a big following in Wales?

"We didn’t up until then but I think people kind of read about us in Kerrang! and Melody Maker, and came to see us out of curiosity. That was probably the best thing we’ve done - those two festivals, one in Cardiff, one in Swansea."

Did you get around to watching any of the other bands on the bill?

"Yeah, in Swansea Tampasm were playing so I went to see them because I really like them. I saw a bit of Terrorvision but Terrorvision’s not really my thing. We were supposed to do a gig with Tampasm ages ago but we didn’t. They cancelled it because the guitarist had to go to hospital. I think we’re doing a gig with them in London in King’s College in November. That’s the plan anyway."

Living in London, the band obviously do quite a lot of gigs there...

"Yeah, but we’re stopping. The next one is that November 12th one. Basically we can’t afford to tour because we haven’t got a record company to give us the money to afford to do it. But as soon as we can do something we will."

I guess you must see the same old faces at your gigs in London.

"Yeah, it’s getting to that now, but we do get more and more people every time we play, which is good.

David says that if he could pick a celebrity to attend a Rachel Stamp gig it would be Joan Jett. A self-proclaimed massive Joan Jett fan, he met her when he was 14 and she has remained his idol ever since. "She’s just brilliant" he declares with an awe-inspired gasp.

Talking of female icons, a silly question now...Who’s best - Barbie or Sindy?

"Barbie of course" he answers nonchalantly. "Sindy’s head is too big! Barbie’s fantastic. I’ve got a Barbie poster on my wall - Hollywood Barbie!"

We then chatter on about Barbie for a while before I tell David I saw his face in Kerrang! from the Kerrang! Awards. He explodes "Oh God, I was so drunk!" ...With Jo Guest and whatsername from Gladiators. "I really regret having that photo taken! It’s a Page 3 girl, that’s awful! And I didn’t know the other was a Gladiator. I didn’t know who she was but I was quite pleased she was a Gladiator because that’s quite funny isn’t it? Of all the pictures they printed they had to print that one!"

You must have been chuffed to have been nominated though. "Yeah, that was amazing" he replies, "because we were the only unsigned band to be nominated for anything really. So that was really good.

"From what I remember the Awards were really good. I remember spilling a drink over someone from Marilyn Manson by accident which was quite amusing! It was quite funny really because we’re quite known in clubs and fanzines and stuff like that, and a lot of these big bands would walk in and think ‘Who the f**k are these people who are being really drunk and falling over?’ and it was us! A lot of the bands were from London that we know, bands like Feeder and 3 Colours Red, bands like that. It was really good fun from what I can remember."

Future plans for Rachel Stamp include putting an album out or preferably getting a new deal "because we’re completely broke" says David. "We’re starving artists, it’s awful! Well, I dunno about the artist bit but we’re starving".

My advice is to try and get hold of some Rachel Stamp material and go and see them play live. Apparently someone once handcuffed themself to David during a gig! She (I assume it was a she!) must have been very impressed then! I’m sure you will too!!!

Visit www.rachelstamp.co.uk for more info.



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Please note that all articles, photos and other items on this Black Velvet website are owned and copyrighted by Shari Black Velvet/Black Velvet Magazine unless otherwise stated and must not be used elsewhere under any circumstance. Articles in Black Velvet Magazine should not be put online without the express permission of the editor.