I must admit, I never heard APB's first record,(although I would like to) and for the most part the whole funk thing really doesn't do anything for me. But, I always thought Talk To Me was a great track. At times when I'm listening to it I can hear bands like the Buzzcocks and the Cigarette's shining loudly through. If you go to their site, if it's still available, they have a new cd re released 20th anniversary edition of 'Something to believe in' with a 2nd disc of previously unreleased live tracks and studio recordings. In March 2006 Young American also released the complete BBC sessions cd, which features all the John Peel sessions fron the early 80s.
Having reformed in 2006 and following their return to the New York metro area apb now release 'three' a new 14 track cd on their own Red River Records. APB formed in 1979 in the small rural town of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Ignoring their remote location the band took inspiration from the punk do it yourself ethic of the burgeoning independent music scene. With a hard-working approach to writing, rehearsing and performing, George Cheyne (drums), Glenn Roberts (guitar) and Iain Slater (bass, vocals) became an exciting young band.
Meanwhile in Aberdeen, a small independent record company called Oily had started to release records and they were impressed enough by the band's live shows to finance a single in 1981.
The song was "Chain Reaction", which had long been a crowd-pleaser at gigs. It was basically a two and a half minute punk/pop song with fuzzy distorted guitar and Scottish inflected vocals, but already the band was evolving with a sparser and more rhythmical sound. The directness and power of Gang of Four, the funk and grooves of George Clinton, the inspiration of the Clash and the simple pop melodies of Buzzcocks, were all filtered through three teenagers from Aberdeenshire and came out as an infectious, rhythm-driven assault on ears and feet.
The change in sound first became evident with their second single for Oily, "I'd Like To Shoot You Down"
The track was well received at the time and gradually sold out its initial first pressing, with some copies finding their way to New York City. Some of NYC's hippest club DJ's rated the track and soon it became a firm favourite on the dance floor. Unaware of the poplularity of "Shoot" in the USA the band and Oily were busy pushing their third seven-inch release "Palace Filled With Love" (1982).
With its rhythm track holding a stronger funk groove and tuneful lyrics drenched in irony, the song attracted numerous plays on the legendary John Peel radio show. Soon after the band travelled to London to record their first BBC session for Peel. He was full of enthusiasm for the band and gave their next single "Rainy Day" (1982) a lot of airtime.
BBC Maidavale recording session for John Peel show.
In the summer of '82, the band invited friend Nick Jones to join as percussionist to add an extra dimension to the sound and as a four piece they recorded a second session for Peel.
In the autumn of the same year Mark Beaven of AAM, New York City made contact with Oily to enquire about the availability of APB to fill in as late replacements on a small tour of the East Coast of America, for a band that had cancelled due to illness. The band and Oily were taken aback at first but obviously jumped at the chance. When they arrived in New York they were amazed to hear their tracks played on college radio and in hip clubs such as Danceteria, Berlin and the Mudd Club. The tour went well and with the backing of Mark Beaven would turn out to be the first of 12 visits over the next 7 years.
Nick Jones, Glenn Roberts, George Cheyne and Iain Slater at the Mudd Club, Manhattan
APB's fifth release "One day" (1983) was recorded at Plaza Sound in Radio City and would be their final release on Oily. London independent label Albion were now interested in the band. For their first release they decided on an EP comprising "Danceability Parts I & 2", the Peel session track "Crazy Grey" and the hard to find singles "Palace Filled With Love" and "Rainy Day".
By the time the record was released Nick Jones decided to leave and pursue a different path. As a direct replacement Aberdeen clubland icon Mikey Craighead was drafted in. The band's sixth single "What Kind of Girl" (1984) came out on Albion in the UK and "Sleeping Bag Records" in theUSA. It was recorded at Unique in Manhattan, home of the electro/hip-hop hit-makers Arthur Baker and John Robie. The track became a firm live favourite and received lots of radio play, especially on WLIR/WDRE on Long Island. By now US tours were becoming more extensive and audiences were increasing with the Ritz in Manhattan being a regular headlining spot.
APB's seventh release was "Summer Love" (1985) on their own Red River Label, quickly followed by the classic "Something to Believe In" (1985). By now, the band had released eight singles, many of which were hard to find and were only available on import in the USA. At this point Link records of Manhattan released the much sought after compilation of the singles as a first LP release simply called "Something to Believe In" (1985).
Having already employed the use of keyboards in their previous three singles, the band decided to add a permanent keyboard player to the line-up, in the form of Neil Innes, making his debut on the ninth single "Open Your Eyes" (1986). This track came from a month-long session at Planet Studio in Edinburgh for a first UK LP "Cure For the Blues" (1986), to be released later in the year on Link in the US. Meanwhile the "Something to Believe In" LP came out on Red River in the UK, finally making all the elusive early singles available on one delicious slice of vinyl.
Soon after this Neil Innes left the band and Bruce Clark was invited to play bass guitar. This line up performed two tours in the USA and released two singles recorded at Quantum Studios, Jersey City, the billboard dancefloor chart hit "When I Feel This Way" (1988) and "Funk Invective" (1988) both produced by Andy Wallace.
There were to be no further releases for the band. A final tour of the USA was undertaken in winter 1989, with the band reverting to its original three-piece formation of George, Glenn and Iain.
More than 20 years later, songs such as "Shoot You Down", "Rainy Day", "What Kind Of Girl", "Summer Love" and "Something to Believe In" still retain a freshness, honesty and vitality. They are classic 80's tracks from one of the few bands to successfully marry punk with funk and come out not sounding contrived or manufactured.
REFERENCES - APB'S OFFICIAL WEBSITE http://apbtheband.com/ APB'S MYSPACE http://www.myspace.com/apbtheband
OILY RECORDS 1981
1. SHOOT YOU DOWN
2. TALK TO ME