with ELI JANNEY of


“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’s guest is part of the two time bass expansion unit of Touch & Go Records legends Girls Against Boys, turned producer, TV composer and performer, all round suave bon viveur and raconteur. He’s recorded some US underground greats including Jawbox, Brainiac, Enon, The Rapture and Ryan Adams, but also now in his more grown up life he’s also worked with the likes of James Blunt (yep you read that right, Blunty, who I felt better about after he did that Sesame Street thing). These days he’s the Associate Music Director of Late Night with Seth Myers, where he plays keys on the show. The UK equivalent might be Dave Arch of the Strictly Come Dancing band!

Back in the days of the original A4 paper Velvet Sheep fanzine when I interviewed Girls Against Boys at John Loder’s Southern studios, thanks to man mountain Rob Tennant, I found this fella to be the most erudite and charming man of a band who I’d fully expected to be intimidating. It’s the reassuringly good quality that is Eli Janney!


The original zine that featured Girls Vs Boys – issue 16, circa “Cruise Yourself”, 1994, alongside Swans & Cop Shoot Cop

I took Big Rich the guitarist in my own fledgling punk university band to meet the band as I’d just started flogging the zine at college, and he also had his socks charmed off by Eli. I co-opted another pal Jon to see Girls Against Boys support the “Cruise Yourself” album at the Highbury Garage, and it was during the encore where fellow bassplayers Johnny Temple and Eli came off stage only to return and chug straight into the eerie Twilight Zone chords of “Psychic Know How” when I knew I’d love this band forever. If I shut my eyes I can still re-live this most rock and roll moment in its full glory.


Now, I can only but massively apologise at the extreme tardiness of this post. Eli gave me his song choice nearly 18 months ago, and it got lost in the machine (possibly due to a ghost in the machine)…talking of which here’s one from their most recent come back which seems like yesterday, but was in 2013…”It’s A Diamond Life” from the “Ghost List” EP.

The huge delay in putting this out explains why although Eli picks Bowie, there’s no mention of the Thin White Duke’s untimely demise early this year, but what a man, and what a choice, so without further ado (there’s already been way too much ado to get to this point), here’s Mr. Janney with his “song for ewe”…

Here ya go:

Recently I had to learn “Modern Love” by David Bowie, one of his biggest hits but not highly regarded critically in view of his long career. Getting down into the arrangement and lyrics gave me a new appreciation for this great song. The sounds are defiantly 80s (especially the dirty sax solo) but it’s an amazing production from the Power Station (now Avatar) recording studio in New York. The chords are really quite simple on the face, but the guitars and the piano really dig into some complex voicing, and the energy and harmonies are amazing. Check out this very 80s video, mostly footage from a live concert from Philadelphia on 20 July 1983. Gotta love those outfits!

Best, Eli”