Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Are Golden

Ride - Blue

Dave Grohl. Phil Collins. Don Henley. Karen Carpenter. Loz from Ride..? Yes indeed, you can add the name of Laurence Colbert to the list of singing drummers. Not that he ever sang when he was behind the kit, he was far too busy thumping the shit out of it, but occasionally, a bit like a prisoner on day release, Loz made it behind the microphone. Eventually, one of his compositions made it onto a Ride album; the lovely, jangly, Byrdsian ‘Natural Grace’, which slotted nicely onto the ‘Mark’ side of 1994’s ‘Carnival Of Light’ LP, but was beautifully sung by Mark, not Loz. By that time, though, Ride was a mess. Andy was, by his own admission, a “grade A loon” and rifts between Andy and Mark meant that by the time the band came to record their fourth and final album, ‘Tarantula’, Mark had all but given up on the band. It was the Andy Bell show and all the worse for it. Loz didn’t really get a look in, which is a shame, as you get the impression he had plenty to give…

But if we rewind back to 1992, and the release of ‘Going Blank Again’, Loz was a whisker away from making his song-writing debut on a Ride album. ‘Blue’ was written and sung by Loz, and was featured on the original tracklisting of the album. Creation, and the band’s US label, eventually ordered the band to shorten it, so ‘Blue’ was dropped, along with ‘Tongue Tied’ (which I wrote about here), and another Loz composition, ‘Everybody Knows’.

‘Blue’ is a great song, and fully deserving of a place on ‘Going Blank Again’. I take the record companies point – with these three extra tracks on the album, it would have been way too long, but I wonder if ‘Blue’ was dropped for being inferior, or because it was by Loz, and his standing in the band as a songwriter wasn’t as strong as Andy and Mark's. Rightly so, I guess, both Andy and Mark were exceptional talents, but it’s a shame nonetheless. ‘Blue’ is a lovely song, and Loz has a sweet, vulnerable delivery which suits the atmospheric, almost dubby qualities of ‘Blue’ perfectly. Funnily enough, it’s predominantly a drum-free track, with the percussion only coming in on the choruses, which feature swooping harmonies from the other two. This version of the song is taken from the ‘Firing Blanks’ CD, which was a collection of unreleased Ride material from the box set released in 2001. It ends with a couple of outtakes of some studio jams from the band – I was going to cut them off, but they’re a reminder that once upon a time, the band enjoyed playing together and had a laugh in the studio, resulting in some incredible music.

Post-Ride, Loz played drums in The Animalhouse, Mark’s new band, and is currently drumming in the reformed Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as playing solo acoustic gigs, performing his own material. You can hear some demos on his MySpace page, including the Kinks-y ‘Rainy Days On Sunday’.

Laurence Colbert MySpace
Interview with Loz on the Creation website