The story so far...
"It started with an empty vow...."
Once upon a time in the mid-nineties there were four no-good long-haired drop-outs with a common liking for eighties music and goth in particular. Bad cover versions of songs such as 'More' and 'Vision Thing' would occasionally be heard emanating from a large upstairs bedroom in Sharrow. From these tune-free beginnings in South Central Sheffield coalesced the band currently known as The Way of All Flesh. After a year or so of this we used the Student Sounds Society - the muso's equivalent of Dateline - to hook up with a suitable life-form (no-one could accuse us of being choosy) willing to sing and write lyrics. A fresh-faced, dark young thing called Simon was drafted in and as of October 1995 the band had a five piece line-up consisting of Simon Clifton (vocals), Steve Jackson (lead guitar), Dave Redford (rhythm guitar), Jasper Fisher (bass) and Kathryn Rennie on keyboards and other such technological nightmarishness.
We spent the next year rehearsing in a cold damp garage with a low ceiling and sloping floor, with the taller band members (and Kate in heels) playing at one end, and Simon at the other. For reasons none of us can remember, we decided that the University Student Band Competition, with an audience of several hundred, would make an ideal first gig.
In the run-up to the gig we were practicing 3 or 4 times a week, driven by Simon's single-minded determination to become an international rock star and our very real fear of sounding completely crap on the night. Dave struggled with the 196bpm downpicking on a proposed cover of 'Ribbons' which never saw the light of day, Kate struggled to memorise the keystrokes required to load up the midi files since our computer had no monitor, Simon struggled to reach the microphone and it all somehow came together. We duly turned up to the soundcheck in full goth gear to the bemusement of a room full of indie kids and lumberjack shirts, so the following review (reproduced in its entirety) should not have come as a surprise...
'and next up were the goth metal, makeup wearing, The Way Of All Flesh, Ha Ha Ha'
This from a student paper whose name was popularly supposed to stand for 'Does Anyone Read This Shit?' Can't think why they renamed it.
Actually the gig didn't go too badly considering we nearly blew out the P.A. with our drum machine (when sound engineers talk about speaker excursion they don't usually mean the cone to end up in Blackpool...) and also considering that Dave had roundly (and wrongly) criticised the Union's Technical Services Committee in a music review for the aforementioned DARTS. What hadn't crossed his mind was that TSC were also to be responsible for running the Student Band Comp. Cue much fingernail chewing days before the gig as we visualised many and varied sound problems inflicted on us by a vengeful TSC crew...
In case you were wondering, professional ethics prevented Dave from reviewing our gig himself.
On the basis of the Student Band Comp. we got a support slot with Libitina, a more established local goth band, at the Hallamshire Hotel. This entailed hastily adding to the fifteen minute set played at the band competition, finishing the last song (So Cold) the morning of the gig. Even so Simon had refused to show anyone the lyrics, so for all we knew they could have been lifted from the Sheffield phone directory. The gig itself went pretty well, although when it came to the encore we were requested to play 'So Cold' again by a so called friend who shall remain nameless.
In the aftermath of the Hallamshire gig, it became clear that people were pulling in different directions. Jasper was in the middle of a PhD and so was intending to leave due to course commitments, and Dave's habit of cooking in rehearsal time (as a result of needing to consume 10% of his own bodyweight in pasta per day) was at odds with Simon's more committed approach. By the end of April the band had undergone a spot of downsizing; Jasper and Dave rode off into their own respective sunsets (Dave already plotting a new and louder band), with Kate taking over on bass. Things pottered along while we sequenced the keyboards and got used to being a three piece, rehearsing at local practice space The Collective. However, efforts at getting some work done were hampered by a certain chart-friendly Sheffield band who muscled in on our regular practice slot, having been told by their management to come up with an album or else. Unfortunately after about three months Simon came out as a thespian and left to spend more time holding skulls and talking to himself. And then there were two!
Steve and Kate spent the next nine months, practicing, writing and trying to find a vocalist.
Dave, meanwhile, was trying to get a band together with guitarists Kelly Dorset and Liz Ward and a drum machine, but due to course commitments and other problems, progress was slow to say the least. By a bizarre coincidence Liz later met, became engaged to and married Simon in fairly short order. As far as we're aware they haven't yet formed a band but are reportedly trying for a rhythm section...
We reformed again in June '98 with Dave on vocals, his other band having ground to a halt. After about six months practicing we brought in Kelly on rhythm guitar. Barely a week went by without the acquisition of some sort of black box, the purpose of which would remain a mystery to anyone who wasn't an avid reader of Future Music. In November '99 we got ourselves a gig at Bar 8 (formerly Tin Pan Alley) and finished recording a three track demo.
For those of you who haven't heard us and that's about 99.9% of you!, our music draws on the goth/rock/pop scenes of the 80's for inspiration along with the harder feel (oo-er madam!) of Goth and Industrial music of the 90's. A list of specific influences would probably take the rest of your natural life to download, so just a few examples:- Rosetta Stone, Fields of The Nephilim, NIN, Ministry, Bauhaus, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Early Sisters Of Mercy, ASF, Suzi Quattro (?!) Any mention of Bon Jovi covers will be furiously denied by all band members.
"Oh no! The drum machine's exploded...!"