Audio Production MiloMc Music Personal Writing

Swivel Chair: Beautiful Losers?

 At least that’s what Nude Magazine thought, who printed this brief version of my ‘I Was a Swivel Chair’ story:

Name: Swivel Chair. Town: Edinburgh, Scotland. Years: 1999-2004

Influences: KLF, Pet Shop Boys, Joy Division. Career Highlight: Our third triumphantly drunken gig.. Lowpoint: Our fourth disastrously drunken gig. Line Up: Craig Low (bass, samples) Milo McLaughlin (vocals, guitar) David Robertson (99-2002): madness, Dave Burnett (2002-2004)- lead guitar, production

I met Craig working in a miserable till-monkey job at HMV on Edinburgh’s Princes St.  He had already started recording Swivel Chair as a joke, using the recording software Acid, and he handed me a CD on which he had used a recording of the store manager giving him a bollocksing over a Led Zeppelin sample.

I was impressed and when he suggested I come up with some lyrics/ideas for a Swivel Chair track, I jumped at the chance and our first collaboration, The Man Who Listened to Planes was recorded, wholly based on the A-Team theme.

A few more sample based comedy recordings (with original vocals) and a friend agreed to sell our CD in Fopp Records- to our surprise we sold quite a few. We were even more surprised when our second EP got us some brief record company interest. However we were stumped when they asked when we were playing live as neither of us could play an instrument.

Our egos inflated, we decided to stop using samples and learn instruments. Third member David Robertson, who lived in Dundee, was also cruelly ejected from the band as egos ran riot, and a new member, Burnett was reluctantly recruited. The only one who could play his instrument, there was a lot of pressure on Burnett as we started rehearsals.

Finally we played our first gig using a computer to provide backing tracks. It was an entertaining spectacle and a few drunken girls danced, but we were barely competent and doubt set in for Craig and Burnett. There was a significant break in which they both refused to play live and we half-heartedly agreed to split up before we were approached by a band called Quantum Ho Ho. Unbeknownst to us they had bought our CDs and it had inspired them to start their own band.

We reluctantly reformed and played three more gigs in support of them. One was mediocre, the second was a triumph, despite full drunken arrogance and a stand in guitarist who we’d only had one rehearsal with; the night before. We were high as kites as XFM Scotland (then Beat 106) DJ Jim Gellatly proclaimed our set “Fuckin’ Mental”. Unfortunately underlying tensions and alcohol led to a bust up after the gig in which punches were thrown but no-one except pride was hurt.

A week later and the final gig was an utter disaster due to lack of a soundcheck and this time being the wrong side of wasted. I threw a tantrum at the soundman. The others laughed at me. Our bonds were broken. Craig and I are still in contact now and again and have joked that we would reform if 1000 people demanded it. So far 8 people have expressed a vague interest.

Read the first 4 parts of the full tale below (originally published on the first Gaseous Brain blog in 2005 but extra video and mp3s have now been added)

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