THE MOURNING AFTER : "Captain Sensible’s parting gesture to us was (...) gobbing on the windscreen of our van."

We promised you this when their album was released on the excellent Toulouse label Rogue Records! Well, at Les Monstres Sacrés, we keep our word. So here's the Mourning After interview !

First of all, could you introduce yourselves?

Hi I’m Chris Blackburn & I’m the guitarist/singer/songwriter in The Mourning After.

Have you played in other bands before?

I was the bass player in The Tenants which were formed at our high school when we were 15 years old.
We were all huge fans of The Beatles after the BBC aired their films at Christmas 1978.
From then on we all started listening to other 60’s beat band’s such as The Kinks, Pretty Things, Yardbirds to name a few and covered many of their tunes as well as penning our own.

first Line Up

What brought you to the music you play together?

The Tenant’s disbanded when the members went off to University but we all remained good friends and stayed in contact.
By this time we’d spread our musical wings into the realms of 60’s garage which we listened to every night.
The Tenant’s drummer Richie Kitson was at university in Newcastle and along with another high school friend, Scott Cardwell, we used to visit him and hang out in the local bar’s.
That’s where we met Kev Teasdale.
It was on one of these pub crawls we decided to form a garage band out of the blue.
Richie was too busy at university so we hooked with Tenants rhythm guitarist Chris Casson and after deciding who was playing which instrument we had the first Mourning After line up.

Chris Blackburn - Guitar/Vocals

Scott Cardwell - Bass/Vocals

Kev Teasdale - Organ/Vocals

Chris Casson - Drums

Where does your name come from and what does it mean?

I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of so many other beat/RnB band’s from the 60’s and find a name from a song, The Pretty Things etc.

After a while I picked up a Count Five LP and looking at the sleeve notes came across The Morning After. One of my fave tunes at the time was “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by The Mourning Reign so in true garage tradition we added the “U” to give the name a different meaning.

What are your main influences?

Most of the beat/RnB bands from the 60’s, the 60’s garage bands plus the revival bands from the 80’s.
It was a conscious decision when we started to not sound like an authentic garage band but use their influences with a harder edge.

Just as The Miracle Workers, Cynic’s and Pandoras did.

You released your first album in 1991 why did you wait so long to come up with a new vinyl production?

We actually went back in the studio 3 years later to record our second LP (to be titled “What’s Goin’ Down”)
Unfortunately the producer for that one had no idea of the sound we were after and wasted many hours bouncing drum tracks down stairwells as well as completely wiping one track from the tape.
We hurriedly took over and mixed what we had but by the time we finished our session we only had 10 tunes in the can not 14 as we had set out to record.
For that reason we decided to put out 5 singles rather than an LP with 10 tracks.

Darren Merinuk designed the cover of Tall, Dark & Gruesome, what drew you to work with him and how did you work with this artist?

We originally worked with someone else on the sleeve that Ritchie from Screaming Apple had put us in touch with.
Ritchie wasn’t totally happy with the result so brought in Darren (who’s work we were familiar with) and he came up with the new design.

Tom J Newell is also an artist who designed one of your album covers, and he comes from the same town as you. Could you tell us a bit about him?

Again it was the record company’s idea to bring in Tom.
Do It Thissen Record’s work with local bands and artists from Sheffield and the surrounding area’s.
They introduced us to Tom’s work as an idea and we let him run with it.

First Line-Up

Tell us about your collaboration with
Stéphane Robert and the Rennes-based label Dig! Records in Rennes. What's the difference between working with this French label and Rogue Records?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the French garage bands since we came over and played with The Tripmakers from Le Havre in 1990.

I kept my eyes on the French scene and came across The Bogeymen and Groovy Eyes fanzine which led us to Stephane.
He’s a great guy who we enjoyed working with. He was even planning to rerelease our first LP a couple of years ago.

Jean-Marc from Rogue has a real attention to detail.
He knows what he wants and the sleeves have to be just right!
I’ve known him since before the start of Rogue as he was in touch regarding buying some of our other records.
We love the ethos of a label that just releases top quality 45’s with killer sleeves.

First Line-Up

Could you tell us about the five greatest moments of Mourning After?

Our first gig at The Hallamshire Hotel, Sheffield, 1987. When we decided to form the band we didn’t think we’d be able to play well enough to play a gig so this was a massive event for us, especially at such an iconic venue.

Being asked by Captain Sensible after seeing us live in London to sign to his Deltic Record label. (Followed by the disappointment of the record label going bankrupt.

The release of our first LP after spending so long trying to get the master tape back (again followed by the disappointment of the record being withdrawn).

Being asked to reform and tour France 8 years after splitting. It was great to be hanging out and playing together again.

Selling out our hometown Annual Shindig every year since 2014. It’s got to the point where we know nearly every face that comes to the show and consider them to be friends. It’s always one of the highlights of the year.

Second Line-Up 1992 -1999

Did the band no longer exist between 1999 and 2008 and why didn't you release any more records?

Yeah we called it a day in 1999.

We didn’t fall out or anything but the rules changed on gigs in the UK.
Instead of booking a room, the band charging what they wanted on the door and the venue keeping the drinks money the venue’s started using promoters.
They would sell band’s tickets for the gig and it was then down to the band to sell on these tickets.
Basically if you didn’t sell the tickets you were paying to play and the promoters couldn’t lose.
It took the fun out of it.

You're one of the few bands who continued to release records during the pandemic. How did you manage this?

We were just lucky that we’d been working on and recording new tunes before the pandemic hit.
We tend to record 6 or 8 tunes at a time and we’d just finished a few of them.
It actually gave me something to do during lockdown, contacting record companies etc.

Second Line-Up 1992 -1999
You're from the UK, can you tell us how the garage scene is doing there? What are your current favorite English bands ?

It’s never been a thriving scene over here to be honest.

There was definitely a north, south divide in the 80’s/90’s and in there were small pockets of bands. So there was the Edinburgh scene, the London scene and we were pretty much on our own in the middle.

A good mix of rock n roll has also taken onboard by a lot of garage bands these days.
Los Coyote Men, The Ravaged (both outta Newcastle) & Galloping Dick are probably my fave at the moment.

You started playing in 1987, so you've been playing for a long time. How do you see the musical evolution of the last 4 decades?

I don’t think it’s changed that much.

There are still some great bands that come along every couple of years or so, get everyone excited and set the scene on fire. And just like back then they release an LP or a couple of singles and disappear.
It would be great if they stuck around to release 3 or 4 albums and we could all see the direction they were heading.

Then there’s the stalwarts like ourselves who have reformed and are having a new lease of life.

How did you meet Captain Sensible, who was one of the producers of your self-titled 2022 album? How does he work? It's hard to imagine him working seriously!

He somehow picked up one of our audio cassettes in Cannes at the music festival and when he returned to England looked us up.
As luck would have it we were playing The White Horse In London and he came down for the show.
Straight after he pulled us to one side and asked us to sign to his label and record an LP.
He was great and fun to be around in the studio (we all were drinking and having a little too much fun). Luckily we also had Steve Broughton (RIP) outta The Edgar Broughton Band in the studio with us otherwise it could have got messy and we’d have got very little done.

Sensible’s parting gesture to us was telling us to “fxxk off!!!” and gobbing on the windscreen of our van.

Second Line-Up 1992 -1999

Do you think of yourselves as a retro or revival band? If someone says you are, what do you say?

Definitely a garage punk band and revival not retro.

We said from the start we didn’t want to sound like our fave bands, The Kinks, Sonics, Pretty Things etc but just take on some of their influences.

What are your next projects?

We have 2 singles already recorded and planned for release in the first half of 2024.

Plus I’ve recorded the guide guitar’s and vocals for another 12 tunes that we’re working on at the moment.
Hopefully this should complete our next LP.

Thank you a lot Chris !