Levitation – 20 Questions

This imaginative outfit are releasing a ‘lost’ album ‘Meanwhile Gardens’ on Flashback Records and rather good it is, too. They sound closer to Echo than I remember them first time around, but those relentless guitars and the winsome vocals do get to you…..they agreed to one of our customised 20 Questions sets and we can present their responses. Democracy rules and each group member contributes. Thank you, chaps, from Just Listen To This

Terry Bickers (Vocals & Guitar)

  • Your best career decision? And your worst?

Best- learning how to teach music.

Worst- me leaving the House of Love (first time around), although this was not exactly my decision but my actions led to me being kicked out of the band.

  • What set House of Love apart from the pack?

I think that Guy (Chadwick) writes great songs and as a band we are very good at interpreting/ supporting his ideas. I also think we have our own unique sound, which is a blend of Rock, Indie, Blues and Psychedelic influences.

  • Favoured stage guitar(s) and strings?

My favourite guitar is the one I have used since I was 16 years old and it’s a CMI (Cleartone Musical Instruments) Gibson 335 copy circa 1976. D’addario strings.

  • The radio is playing…what song would you cross the room to turn UP and what song would you cross the room to turn OFF?

Turn up- anything by The Who.

Turn off- ‘Saturday Night’ – Whigfield and Dexy’s – ‘Come On Eileen’

Christian Hayes (Guitar and Backing Vocals)

  • The third track on an album is often a gem – can you think of any?

Spratley’s Japs, ‘Fanny’ from the album ‘Pony’

  • Name a song or instrumental that fades too early, for you (artist/title )

Portishead – ‘The Rip’

  • Which song – any artist, any title – would have made a fine single release? IF it had been a SINGLE! – why do you think this?

‘How Wild The Wind Blows’ by Molly Drake . I’d love to live in the world where this song was a ‘hit’… even just for a day.

  • An acoustic gem? What song /tune and who by? What’s the appeal?

‘The Word Song’ by Syd Barrett. The sound of the universe observing itself.

Robert White (Keyboards, Bass and Backing Vocals)

  • Name a TV series where the theme music was better than the actual shows and do you know who created or recorded it?

‘Mission Impossible’ – Lalo Schifrin. Sublime music but the show was always dreadful

  • Name an album or a couple of albums where the cover or artwork could have been better, in your humble opinion….give any thoughts around this

‘Round The Sun’ by The Milk and Honey Band – indiest cover art of all time, out of focus, illegible type – it really bent the needle on the indie-o-meter – though I do like the back shot out of a train window

  • Your favourite chord progression on a Levitation song

The drop into the chorus of ‘Evergreen’ is huge and beautiful – like falling into an ocean from a great height and I like the ‘lives collide’ bit of gardens overflowing – there are always favourite bits but they change each time I listen to our stuff now as I can actually hear it – the middle bit of sharks that sounds all Morricone…

  • I am always surprised if I meet a keyboard player who doesn’t rate Devo – any thoughts or favourite tracks?

Never liked Devo – hated the singing – for me it’s always about the singing if it’s songs – no matter how good the boiler suits and the moves

Laurence O’Keefe (Bass)

  • Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?

Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) gave his first solo show at the ICA in 1993. Still the best live performance I have ever seen. Brendan has a truly stunning voice – Levitation had just hit the buffers, so this completely plugged me back in – I have since recorded & toured with Mr Perry.

Don’t meet your heroes.

  • Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What particular venues appeal?

– Festivals are always good for serendipitous discovery & everyone is usually up for it – the Forum (or Town & Country) in Kentish Town is probably my fave – oh, and Red Rocks really is quite amazing.

  • Has a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?

– Many honourable guides & curators I’ve loved. No single figure, but all equally inspirational. I had the great fortune to grow up in Suffolk throughout the 70’s with Radio Caroline – recently, Late Junction on Radio 3 is unmissable.

  • Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?

Nope. More of a leaning sway. I avoid. That’s my dance – ” The Avoid ” : clasp a drink and try not to bump into anything.

My family and Sister Sledge, know me to be the greatest dancer they have ever seen.

David Francolini (Drums)

  • Which is the best sequenced album- any artist, any genre – that you really rate and why is this? Any favourite songs or pieces on this album?

4’33” BY JOHN CAGE. It speaks volumes. I particularly like the third movement..

(and at least the second movement isn’t spoiled by poor drumming eh? – PS)

  • Which of Levitation’s songs should open a film  and in which cinematic genre?

‘Food for Powder’ – Star Wars.

  • Nick Cave and P J Harvey record a song together – suggest a song and who would you would choose to be in the band

‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – Terry (guitar), Bic (guitar), Laurence (bass), Bob (Fender Bass VI), Adam Coombs (piano), Rohan Kriwaczek (percussion) and Clive Deamer (drums). Everyone (“Woo! Woo!”)

  • Three tips, please, for a stagebound novice drummer?

Take. More. Drugs.

Pete Sargeant

Levitation’s lost album ‘Meanwhile Gardens’ is out ———- on Flashback Records.

(Thanks Matt, you’re a helpful cat)