The Slowest Clock – Hot Press Sep 1987
The link is tenuous but The Celibate Rifles do get a name check in the article below so that’s my excuse for including it. For a long time i didn’t know who the track was by but thanks to the wonder of the internet I finally figured it out. It’s a fantastic track and one I never grow tired of.
The Celibate Rifles – Pretty Colours (1984)
Paul O’Mahony comes face to face with The Slowest Clock
The Slowest Clock came together through the Musicians’ Contact section of Hot Press. “It’s true,” bassist Brian Neavyn insists. “Gerry put an ad in Hot Press looking for a bass player and I ended up joining his band that lasted a few weeks , but in that time, Gerry and I had hit it off and so we began writing songs together. We were working for about six months on our own before deciding to get another band together. Frank placed an ad in HP looking for a drummer! It all linked up quite nicely. Does this sound like one of those promo ads?! (laughs).”
In February ’86, the four musicians who were to become The Slowest Clock sat around the table in a local pub and decided that they were going to spend six months refining their music and adding to the songs that Brian and Gerry had already written. That they did, finally emerging to fill support slots to outfits like A House, Guernica, The Stars Of Heaven, Something Happens!, The Gorehounds, and occasional visitors to theses shores, The Celibate Rifles. There was one hectic night when the band opened for Microdisney in the Top Hat then dashed back to The Underground to headline there.
Brian: “We had to support Microdisney in Dun Laoghaire until 9.20pm and we had to get back into town to play from 10.00 to 11.00. The support act From The Needle were very helpful because they kept the crowd in The Underground going and let us use their equipment.” Gerry: “We walked in the door at 10.00, got a pint, had no soundcheck, plugged in our guitars, and that was it. Best gig we’ve ever done!”
The Slowest Clock’s reputation spread like wildfire. “We were extremely lucky,” Brian elaborates, “because the first demo was played a lot on RTE and then there was a Dave Fanning Session in November. Out of that came the B-side of the ‘Wash Day’ single, then the ‘Comet One’ ep, and the various support slots. Bands like The Stars, Something Happens! and The Gorehounds were great – they gave us gigs and also told other people about us.”
“The other side to that,” Gerry adds, “is that we also only supported bands we liked. I mean, it was £3.00 to get into The Baggot and I certainly couldn’t afford it – so it was easier to play than to find the money to get in to see a band I wanted to see!”
While some musicians fell that it’s better to avoid current musical happenings for fear of absorbing them into their creative subconscious, Brian asserts that The Slowest Clock are still “active listeners. I can understand that sort of hibernation,” he adds. “We just do it out of interest and I would say that the amount of ‘influence’ by other band on our songwriting in the last three or four years is very, very little.”
Gerry: “First and foremost, we’re all fans. If you’ve been listening to music from say fourteen years old, then just because you pick up a guitar and join a band doesn’t mean you stop listening. You become more interested – not so much in the actual music but the process of it. Once you get the initial buzz off the music, then I would then listen to how it’s made, what instruments are going in, where, and the techniques used.”
What is intriguing about The Slowest Clock and bands of a roughly similar ideology on the Dublin scene like Something Happens! and The Stars Of Heaven is that, although they would have grown up on Seventies Glam and Punk their strongest influences go back to the previous decade.
“Punk brought me back to the Sixties,” Brian says, “Some of the Seventies punk bands would be influenced by The Stooges and The MC5. Then you’d get another band mentioning The Count 5’s, The Barbarians… and it just goes from there.”
While The Slowest Clock have seen both their first Richie Taylor-produced demo of “Little Boy Lost” and their Dave Fanning session end up on vinyl, they’re still awaiting their debut proper. A couple of tracks recently recorded in Temple Lane could form the basis of a new EP – though the practical details have yet to be confirmed.
When it does happen, the finished product will represent one of the most eagerly-anticipated Irish rock artefacts in years. The Slowest Clock have the potential to justify that kind of intense interest. Their time will come!
Hot Press VOL 11 NO 18 24th September 1987