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Monday 26 March 2007


thanks to Steve (http://www.myspace.com/jesusofknackereth)
Before Richie Edwards took a header off the Severn Bridge and the Manic Street Preachers became mid-table rock tedium-mongers extraordinaire they are now, they were mid-table sub-punk-mongers extraordinaire; but the Manics don't interest us here.

What does interest me are Birdland; by God they wanted to be the Manics and who knows, with a little less swagger and a bit more talent they may have been; and now we'd be subjected to a bloated Robert twatting around on Radio 2 like a performing seal instead.

The entire Wikipedia entry for the boys from Brum says "Formed in 1989 by brothers Robert and Lee Vincent. Their debut single 'Hollow Heart', released on 'Lazy Records', was much hyped in the British weekly music press, due partly to their adrenalised live shows but also to their striking cartoonish 'four peroxide blondes' image, one which suggested in equal parts Brian Jones, Andy Warhol and Transvision Vamp. Despite the release of two well received singles and a Peel Session, by the time of the release of their debut album 'Paradise' their time had passed."

And passed it had. Even releasing a limited edition all-white version of the album (which of course I bought) didn't help. Caught up in their own hype and believing their talent far beyond what it was, they covered Patti Smith's "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" in a last ditch attempt to salvage some critical credibility. They failed.

When I was a lad, Birdland were one of my favourite bands, something that has led to unremitting mockery for the past 15 years. I don't care though. They shouted, they swore, they bleached their hair, they were cool to me, I bloody loved them. It doesn't matter now that they are long forgotten, I can hold my hands up here and say with pride that I own everything they released in Britain. I've even got a bootleg album called Kamikaze Kids.

I went to see them playing a gig in Leeds in what must have been their post-halcyon days - I'd guess 1991. They were bloody awful. Still, like many bands would have loved to have been, they were big in Japan and that was the main thing.

So hats off to Birdland, and have a vinyl-to-mp3 of Paradise to remember the mop-topped ones by.

Buy Paradise the Birdland Anthology


  1. One of my favorite bands when I was a kid (I was about 11 at the time, but my older sister had the record.) I later played with Lizzy Lee Vincent in his band Psychic Drive. Imagine my suprise and pleasure when I found out it was Vincent whose band I joined! Anyway, just to clarify: The band failed because they're management were a bunch of crooks! They're talent would have surely evolved had they the opportunity (check out Vincents songwriting for proof.)

  2. Every generation needs its Sex Pistols! The best stuff I thought though was actually the Peel sessions; in the event the long awaited album was a bit over produced I thought?

    Did anyone else see the tour where they were supported by Trip and Chunk?

  3. I went to see them at Dudley JBs one December, supported by the godawful Rose of Avalanche. Birdland eventually turned up at about twenty to twelve, played a couple of songs and then trashed their equipment before wishing us all a merry christmas and leaving the stage.

  4. what is that guy talking about?
    birdland where around before the manic street preachers!...get your facts right you idiot!
    the manics stole everything from birdland!
    even admitting at times if it wasn't for birdland they wouldnt even have formed.
    and the singer of the manics has even gone on record saying birdland were his favourite band, i dont remember birdland ever mentioning the welsh tarts.

  5. Anonymous19 July, 2008

    Birdland should have been held high as the saviours of english (Punk) rock. Blazing white light warriors with their hearts beating fast and fire in their eyes. Gave me a reason to live and believe in the power of music that still survives. Awsome. Dead Modern.


  7. Anonymous09 July, 2010

    Birdland ! brilliant live JBs gigs were great. As time went on though the ideas ran out .saw them for the last time at Digbeth town hall and it was a crying shame .I remember them as they were .BRILLIANT !!!!

  8. For a time, it felt like they could take over the world...I loved being a fan, even if everyone i know took the p*ss. I was in my late teens and learnt that music is about excitement, fun and spirit...being technically good doesn't really count for much.

    Birldland were definitely around before the manics. I occassionaly read a fanzine called Back to Nowhere..i remember an interview with the manics where they said the only band the liked were Birdland...

    I stumbled on this forum as a result of searching for Birdland as their entry on Wikipedia mentions reforming and some gigs in 2011. Is any of this true? Will the Tamworth punks rise again!!

  9. Birdland were fantastic, your comments about them being like the manics make no sense, they were before the manics anyway, check your history

  10. Re the last comment from Anonymous, the first word of this post if "before", check your eyesight :)

  11. The manics idolised Birdland, Richie and Nicky would show up at the gigs with Birdland painted on their jackets. They were very shy and unassuming, nice guys. The problem was the manics suddenly became uber-famous during the media backlash against Birdland leading to a great deal of anymosity towards them. The manager of the manics attempted to sign Birdland during their last UK tour. He was told to go fuck himself. Stupidity, some might say but at the end of the day the manics were never as "rock n roll" as Birdland.
    Also, I heard from a "very reliable source" that the reformed Birdland are gonna be gigging with the (also recently reformed) Primitives. Interesting