“SONG FOR EWE”
with BEN HARDING of SENSELESS THINGS
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.
Today it’s the guitarist/vocalist from a 90s band that was one of my first indie loves, Senseless Things. Their singles and EPs were not only played on Peel, they were things of beauty with Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl/Gorillaz) designed covers. They were melodic and yet frantic as hell. They were the British version of The Replacements and Husker Du, coupled with the kitchen sinkhole domestic poetry of the C86 gang. This guy was a former BBC clerk (“do you wanna make Tea at the BBC?”) and thus a man after my own TV heart. He also played in the band 3 Colours Red who got some play on MTV2 when I was there in the late 90s, but I’ll always be a sucker for the Senseless Things, so it made sense to find him on social meeja. I was chuffed to find him, and find that he’s a stand-up guy. Here with his “song for ewe”, it’s not too late for Ben Harding!
Our correspondence began thus, with a hirtherto unusual request:
“Hi Nick – would you consider it kinda cheating if I chose a cover of a Senseless Things song that I stumbled across a few months ago? There’s a good reason for it – it introduced me to Beach Slang, who make me feel about a band in a way that I haven’t for about 25 years – breathless and completely swept up in the noise.”
I said, “it’s a great excuse to play Senseless Things on the site”…so true to my word…
and while we’re at it, here’s my all-time fav ST song, from their ’92 TOTP appearance !
Senseless Things including Ben & Keds did reform for a tribute gig to Mega City 4’s sadly departed frontman Wiz in 2006, but I wondered what our man was up to now…and pleasingly it’s a band with a double e in the the, a true garage rock trope at work…
and they’re supporting The Membranes at London’s Lexington on Friday 3rd June. Ben is pleasingly socialist and raises the red flag with football too, as a card-carrying Gunner, which is ok in my house/book.
But what of Ben’s “song for ewe”? Without further ado…
“Not today, but a few months ago, I was sent a link by a Facebook friend. It was a Bandcamp download of a band I’d never heard of, Beach Slang, covering ‘Too Much Kissing’, a single by the band I was in from 1987-1994, Senseless Things.
It was part of ‘Here, I made this for you’, a little labour of love by the band, covering some of the favourite songs of the singer and founder member, James Alex.
I was flattered by that, of course (just flattered to be remembered, really) and really taken with the cover – very faithful, but with a vocal that put me instantly in mind of Richard Butler of Psychedelic Furs. So now I was intrigued. What did their own stuff sound like?
A little googling later, and I sat dumbfounded as I heard Noisy Heaven (‘The night is alive, it’s loud and I’m drunk…’) for the first time.
They sounded like every band that had influenced Senseless Things rolled into one. The Replacements were there in spades, for example. And I loved them. I loved them like I haven’t loved a band for 25 years. I’d forgotten what that felt like.
A couple of months later, I was onstage with them at a grimy gig in Chalk Farm, heart bursting as I played the solo to Too Much Kissing alongside James, Ed and JP, with Ruben looking on and filming. So thrilled. Turns out they are the loveliest chaps on God’s good earth, too…”
THANK YOU BEN. I SALUTE EWE!