Hi and welcome to the latest Squire Fan Club Newsletter where we look back not only on the exciting year just passed, but deep into the Christmas past - and to the future too!
The year for Squire has been one of celebration! With the 40th Anniversary of the release of Get Smart, it gave us the perfect excuse to focus on the songs from the album, and it became a wonderful opportunity to revisit the arrangements and find a way to condense them so we could perform them live! In fact, we managed to play them all on stage except the three ‘acoustic’ songs. Indeed, playing live became the thrust of the year as we found all our activity seemingly squeezed in to the last four months when we kicked off the live tour in Brighton on August Bank Holiday, and ended some eighteen dates later, in Blackpool on 9th December!
Of course, the in-between dates were all with Secret Affair on their UK Tour. And this unique bond and synergy between our different styles yet similar influences reminded us much of our early relationship with them that started when we first played together at the Mods Mayday concert on May 7th 1979 (we had actually seen them play live in February 1979 when the supported The Jam at Reading University). So let us quickly reflect back to 1979 ,and to the parallel 1979 Secret Affair / Squire UK tour!
We had already enjoyed a short UK tour together visiting towns such as Bath, Aberystwyth University and Friars, Aylesbury.
We had also supported them many times in London, such as at The Music Machine or Marquee. Here are Squire headlining at the Music Machine, Camden Town, which, instead of a Mods Monday', held a ‘Metal Monday’ gig - with Iron Maiden!
Looking back to that time, through the lens of these live concert adverts, its notable that while we were wrapped up in the media bubble that was the ‘mod revival’, there was also a concurrent ska revival, and a heavy metal revival in place as well!
Look at this ad for Squire in Aberdeen, followed by the Ska entourage the week later! And a metal night for good measure!!
These 'new scenes' may have appeared as ‘revivals’ of previous music scenes because they were shaped by specific socio-cultural and historical contexts that were distinct from the original ones. But while the mod revival was subjected to considerable media skepticism - critics perceived its aesthetic – the visual silhouette – as a somewhat anachronistic parody, nostalgically harking back to a youth culture not long elapsed. In contrast, the ska revival resonated deeply with the multicultural and politically charged zeitgeist of the post-punk era, thereby garnering support from journalists who were originally aligned with the punk movement. This alignment can be attributed to the ska revival's ability to articulate contemporary socio-political narratives. Concurrently, the metal revival functioned as an auditory homage to the rock legacy epitomised by early 1970s bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. This revival specifically resonated within the enduring framework of American arena rock, reflecting a continuity of the rock tradition rather than a retrospective revival per se.
Nevertheless, back inside our ‘Mod Bubble’, things were going great! We had been in the studio with Ian and Dave as producers to record 'Walking Down The Kings Road', 'The Face Of Youth Today' and 'Its A Mod Mod World', all in the same afternoon! And then the Autumn UK tour that coincided with the height of the Mod Revival, the release of 'Kings Road', Secret Affair’s 'Let Your Heart Dance' and the film release of 'Quadrophenia', made the whole event a major phenomena, and took us on a new adventure where we were on the road for weeks and had our share of drama! Not least the Leicester concert where the entire lighting gantry fell down onto the stage, on top of Squire, mid set, completely smashing up the equipment, and injuring Kevin the drummer, and eventually resulted in us having to leave the tour earlier than expected!
Hence the much looked forward to Squire at the London Rainbow concert never occurred, with Back To Zero taking our place instead.
Out final date of 1979, at the Acclaim Hall in Notting Hill on 23rd December, finalised our dramatic year as we had to barricade ourselves inside to avoid the local ‘skins’ waiting outside!
While we missed playing this years 2023 London Mods Mayday event, the 7th May newsletter included the most watched Squire YouTube video ever, when we talked about the enduring legacy of the mod revival, and how it nevertheless built a bridge between the 1960s and post punk, and inspired an enduring trans cultural international phenomenon. You can read about it again via the link here!
The first half of the year was reserved for the re-release of Passengers On Trains LP, first released in Japan in 1995.
This solo album provided a similar bridge between the Squire of 1980s and the Squire return at the 1999 Mods Mayday and thenceforth! In fact, apart from this year, we have actually played at every Mods Mayday event! 1979, and 1999 onwards! And next years event, the 45th Anniversary looks to being a very special occasion.
Held again at the London 229 Club on Sunday May 5th, the line up of bands is remarkable and there are already plans to commemorate the day. For instance, we have contributed two unreleased tracks to the planned 2024 Mods Mayday album! Im sure there are many more limited editions, commemorative releases and souvenirs planned!
The following day, Bank Holiday 6th May is the Cambridge Mods Mayday which gives everyone a second chance too enjoy Squire. And in case a trip to London is tricky to organise, a front row space, you get to see us close the show, and play a longer Squire set too!
You can also see us in Gillingham on February 3rd 2024 with Secret Affair, the date postponed from November, and at the end of the year in Crawley. These are the dates so far, and Im sure more to come. And a very special London headline date is being planned as we speak!
A final backwards glance through this years newsletters provides another window of the Squire year! The Passengers On Trains release was discussed in depth and gave way to the Mods Mayday video. What followed was a fascinating series of unreleased demos such as ‘Nothing You Can Do’ and ‘My Car Is Dead’ highlighting post Get Smart ideas. As the live dates emerged, so did glimpses from the stage, live clips, and also fascinating out takes from Get Smart such as the original ‘A Day In The Life’ Beatles style ending for Get Smart and Every Trick (In The Book Of Love) without the string section - pure power pop!
As we wrap up our year-end retrospective, we want to celebrate again and commend the remarkable success of our recently concluded UK tour, and remember its incredible atmosphere and exceptional warmth!
As we said at the start, our relationship with Secret Affair goes all the way back to 1979, when we were not only playing together, but they also produced and released the two key early singles, 'Kings Road' and 'Face Of Your Today', and guided us through our first steps from amateur to serious band! And it was especially enjoyable to spend time with Ian and Dave and the rest of the band on these recent dates, and share our stories! And of course it was also fantastic to meet those of you who could make it to the gigs and came to say hello, making it a truly special experience!
Without your support, none of this would be possible!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Squire!