The Blue Aeroplanes formed out of the ashes of the Art Objects. Their first gig under the name Blue Aeroplanes was at the King Street Art Gallery in Bristol in 1981.
Recorded tracks for 1st album, and played other gallery gigs and a Karl Marx Centenary benefit.
Bop Art released.
Launch party at The Red House, Bristol’s first warehouse gig. First London gig at The Rock Garden leads to signing with Fire Records (and first meeting with The Jazz Butcher). First touring line up.
Action Painting And Other Original Works Of… released. Single of the week in Melody Maker.
Single ‘Lover & Confidante’ also Single Of The Week. Single ‘Tolerance’ played on Whistle Test, followed by live performance of ‘Lover & Confidante’ four weeks later as late replacement for The Smiths. Their performance at WOMAD is later cited by The Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield as a major influence on their stage approach.
Spitting Out Miracles released.
An ambitious album, featuring guest slots by Michelle Shocked on mandolin and Nigel Eaton on hurdy-gurdy (later of Ancient Beatbox and Page & Plant). The band start to build a loyal following, including a youthful Stewart Lee.
A line-up change as several members finish at university and go off to get jobs. A new line-up plays a 36-date tour and gigs in Berlin and Scandinavia.
A busy year. The band support the Darling Buds and REM, then sign a major label deal with Ensign/Chrysalis. Start recordings for Swagger.
The band start selling out gigs, including the Astoria, and Swagger reaches the National Charts. They complete a massive three and a half month tour of the US with The Church.
Alex Lee and John Langley leave, to form Strangelove. ‘Yr Own World’ picks up blanket play in the US and is set for a Top 20 position following a successful tour. The tour is cancelled due to the label being sold (all tours were cancelled) and the radio play stops. The band tour widely in the UK and Europe but Ensign ceases to exist.
Beggars Banquet want to sign the band, but legal problems prevent this being signed off for 2 years. The band play on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival.
Eventually Life Model comes out on Beggars Banquet. It is neither Britpop nor Grunge, but sells surprisingly well and the band again tour successfully as well as play Roskilde and Hutsfield festivals, both main-stage appearances.
Rough Music released.
Following a difficult and fractious European tour, the line-up disperses. For the next four years they only play some festivals and charity gigs, mainly writing and recording demos.
Generally, a quiet period of charity performances and a few festivals, while working on the sessions that will become Gerard Langley’s solo album ‘Record Player’ and the psych-folk extravaganza ‘Cavaliers’.
Recorded at Bristol’s J&J studio with Jesse Vernon, once of the Moonflowers and later This Is The Kit, this was a return to the band’s earlier semi-acoustic post-punk.
Weird Shit was released, a compilation of eccentricities that had found no place even on EP’s, but many of the new recordings made at this time are more mainstream-oriented and lead to a surprise deal with EMI.
Altitude released on the re-activated Harvest label and receives 4 and 5 star reviews in publications as far apart culturally as The Sun and The Morning Star. EMI then decide to release Harvester, an album covering songs by former Harvest luminaries from Deep Purple to Professor Longhair. The album was originally intended as promo only and was recorded and mixed in 24 hours. EMI then self-destruct (see About).
Tired of the music business, the band takes stock, releasing the live albums Skyscrapers and Live In Cheltenham, as well as the first 4 volumes of Gerard’s Lit. series. Meanwhile, the band are still writing and recording which results in…
… Anti-Gravity is released as a (then controversial) vinyl-only release, though a Deluxe 2 CD eventually follows. They also start regular “1st Friday in December” gigs at The Fleece, recently acquired by the band. They begin their self-sufficient cottage-industry phase. Gerard joins BIMM as Head of Songwriting.
Bec Jevons and Mike Youé join and gradually the band’s profile increases, playing a number of UK tours and a Spanish festival.
Welcome, Stranger! released and the band play a successful 3-week tour, during which the album is only available via the Pledge website. Before it can be released to shops Gerard is hospitalised with stage 3 cancer.
During the next 3 years, the band write and (occasionally) record tracks towards a new album. They also continue the December gigs which are sold out farther and farther in advance, and play Glastonbury again. The recordings eventually become Culture Gun, which will be released in April 2023.
- The future
See you there…