Saturday, 16 August 2014

REWIND: Mansun - 'Negative'

Fans of the legendary 90s group Mansun will be thrilled to know that a fans convention takes place in their hometown of Chester in just under a week's time on August 23. Go HERE to read an interview with organiser Andy Lyth. And if you go HERE you can read an exclusive interview that I did with frontman Paul Draper himself... Amazingly Paul is currently working on his long-awaited solo material, with plans to premiere a new track at the convention. Go to his Twitter page (link below) for updates!

While chatting with Paul a few nights ago, I decided that the awesome 1998 single 'Negative' would be the next Mansun classic to feature as a 'Rewind' track, and asked him how the song came together. "We recoded that live in studio 1 at Olympic studios London," he told me, "in the same room as Led Zeppelin and Hendrix recorded their seminal albums, the band did all the music and I came up with the melody and lyrics over the top, a real organic band collaboration on that track."

Back in 2008, Paul explained the songs lyrics in a lengthy blog post, which you can read HERE. "I'd keep a record of my daily activities in a notebook to get song ideas from. This was about the day I went for a mortgage application. 'Negative' is about taking a blood test for a mortgage application. I loved this lyric, nobody knew what it was about. Fucking hilarious being at Brixton Academy singing about a mortgage application with loads of kids in black eyeliner going ape shit, awesome! A good parallel would be Howard, the guy from the Halifax adverts, the bald bloke with the little round glasses doing a cover of it at the O2 arena as the support act for My Chemical Romance. We all got mortgages after the first album and you had to do a blood test as part of the mortgage application. It was using the word negative as a positive. It's secretly an uplifting song but sounds really dark, pretty simple really, sort of wrong foots the listener, and nobody knew. The 'I look downwards' bit was just about reading the forms, and getting the OK, all good stuff. Next time you listen to it just imagine a giant blue X in a big field somewhere from a helicopter. This song should definitely be the new Halifax advert with Howard singing it on the top of a hill somewhere being filmed from a chopper. Quite apt in these credit crunch tinged times..."

It was recorded and produced by Draper and Mark 'Spike' Stent during sessions for the group's astonishing second studio album 'Six'. The song was released as the album's third single in 1998, peaking at #27 on the UK Singles Chart, breaking the group's run of seven consecutive top twenty singles.

The Mansun Convention will take place on Saturday August 23rd 2014 and will celebrate the 
legacy of Mansun, once hailed as the most thrilling live rock band in the country, whose number one debut album ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ was followed by the innovative ‘Six’, and who still have an incredibly dedicated fan base despite the band’s split over ten years ago.

Over 500 fans from across the globe will be attending the event, which will be held in the band’s hometown of Chester, at The Live Rooms; the city’s newest and largest independent live music and club venue. Several special guests have been invited to speak at the event, including The Guardian’s Paul Lester and former EMI commissioner Matt Davey, who will be introducing the first play of a Paul Draper solo track. Many renowned musicians have contributed to the event including Ryan Needham (Menace Beach), James Brown (Pulled Apart By Horses) and Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and the event programme features content from respected music journalists discussing their appreciation of the band including myself Ben P Scott, NME’s Mark Beaumont, Damien Jonez, Paul Lester,Simon Price, John Robb, Tom Pinnock and more.

The full itinerary for the convention can be read here which includes Q & A sessions discussing the band, displays of the bands instruments, never before seen photographs of the band from the EMI archive, live music, unseen archive video footage and the first airing of unreleased tracks from the sessions for the number 1 album 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'.

Ronnie Stone, the bands studio engineer has kept all of the daily sessions from the recording of Mansun's debut album and will be selecting some highlights and rarities from the hours of audio he has, to play exclusively for attendees of the fan Convention. About the tracks he says "I think hearing the fun element in these earlier sessions is important. I remember taking some tapes in to play EMI and they were astonished at what they described as '6 tracks and 5 hit singles in one session'"

Two teaser compilations of the exclusive audio can be heard on at the 
following links:

Convention organiser Andy Lyth says “this is an incredible discovery for Mansun fans –
listening to this will change the way fans enjoy Attack of the Grey Lantern. We’re all looking 
forward to hearing Ronnie’s stories about recording such a seminal album”.

The convention will also be raising money for CLIC Sargent
supporting children with cancer, as many items of personal band memorabilia have been 
donated by members of Mansun which will be auctioned off in support of the charity.

For more information go to the Mansun Convention website at 

1 comment:

  1. Great track from their best album...even though I can't attend the convention, I am still super excited for it!