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press release for Times Up single
the release of the single "time's up" and imminence of a second lp,
"mecca", marks the dawn of a new era in the age of chance, and the
arrival of vocalist charles hutchinson. after the departure of steven
elvidge in september 1988, the group spent three fruitless months
auditioning for a new mouthpiece. they were ready to move their search
to the usa, when guitarist neil howson remembered a group he'd seen
that summer at a leeds house club. the unknown singer had won not only
the band's audience but also pulled in a floor of strobe-crazed
e-heads and kept them dancing. hurried phone calls were made, the
singer was finally located and on january 3rd 1989, charles hutchinson
became a member of the age of chance. this is his story..
"my musical education came from my brother's record collection. i'd go
to sleep listening to james brown and curtis mayfield, and wake up to
bootsy collins and otis redding. i think what drew me to soul music
was the contrast between the rough and the smooth in the singer's
voice. i like a lot of hard rock for the same reason - led zeppelin,
hendrix - and i used to sneak them on the turntable whenever i could.
it was the dynamics of their sound that took me in; the power of the
music and vocal together. i've always had a sound in my head that is a
fusion of all my favourite music: soul, rock, dance, r'n'b. this is
the beginning". charles' arrival and re-vocalling of "mecca" brought a
new human power to age of chance, reflecting the increasing synthesis
of dance rhythms that had once been decoded and dismembered with scant
respect but great effect. the focus of age of chance's impact has
shifted down the body, and culminates now in the fin-de-siecle dark
dance melodrama that is "mecca". here's how they got there:
early '85 - age of chance come together to exercise a common
obsession with tamla motown, the pop group, northern soul, suicide and
the funky 4.
mid '85 - having made their live debut at a clothes shop opening party
in leeds, age of chance release their first single on their own riot
bible label, "motorcity". a tribute to the sound of detroit, it
prompted their first session for the john peel show, and a series of
dates round the north of england.
early '86 - group release second single "bible of the beats", inspired
in equal parts by the stomping sound of vintage northern soul and glen
branca's noise ensemble of new york. an embryonic cover of prince's
"kiss" - itself still in the top 20 - emerges as part of a second peel
mid '86 - age of chance sign one-off deal with sheffield-based
independent fuck off nazis (fon), resulting in their radical cover of
"kiss" being released as a single. the record is s.o.t.w. in all the
uk music press and goes straight to no.1 in the independent chart.
group play first london date at the ica.
late '86 - "crush collision" mini-lp released on fon. the 6 track
record helps push "kiss" into the national top 50 just as the band
return from their first european shows. video for "kiss" goes on
daytime rotation on mtv in us, while here, group rework the single as
"kisspower", creating an underground dancefloor classic with help from
mc5, hamilton bohannon, lenny bruce, the supremes and leonard
early '87 - age of chance sign to virgin records worldwide following a
series of major offers and record first single for the label, "who's
afraid of the big bad noise" - the record that marks the beginning of
their collaboration with dj powercut.
mid '87 - group and dj powercut take to the nation's stages. debut lp
"one thousand tears of trouble" recorded, and a second single, "don't
get mad, get even" is released. the track reaches no.5 on the us dance
chart, and is picked up by c4 for its american football theme.
late '87 - "one thousand years of trouble" released, followed by a
third single, "take it", remixed by public enemy.
mid '88 - work on second lp halted by departure of steven elvidge,
which kind of brings us back to where we came in.
gratitude goes to Rock Wilson