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Topic ClosedIT BITES - Were you bitten?

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: IT BITES - Were you bitten?
    Posted: June 08 2004 at 05:05

I was going through my old records last night and came across three albums by It Bites. I had to give 'The big lad in the Windmill' a spin for old times sake.

I went to see It Bites about 5 times in the late 80's. More times than I've seen any other band, including Rush. I had forgotten what a great guitarist Francis Dunnery was, and also how obviously influenced by Genesis they were! Which is always a bonus. For me anyway..

Does anyone else have fond memories of this little talked about band, who seemed to dissapear very quickly in 1991 (ish..)??

'You cant have two killers living on the same patch!'
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 06:34

IT BITES rocked mate. I, too, have very fond memories of them and their gigs. Stunning musicianship (Frank Dunnery, what happened to him?). They were once described by some rock-journalist as "Marillion with sex", (to which Marc Lamarr added "prefferable to sex with Marillion!")

Dunnery is so obviously inspired by Alan Holdsworth, which you can plainly hear on the ultra-prog title track of their 2nd album "Once Around The World".

Their 3rd effort was a sad and somewhat cynical attempt to appeal to the American Stadium Rock market, which is when I lost interest. Despite the Roger Dean artwork, the band seemed to have swapped the prog flavour for AOR (read: sellout. I suspect their bosses had a hand in it, greed is such an ugly thing.).



Edited by emdiar
Perception is truth, ergo opinion is fact.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 06:44
Originally posted by emdiar

"prefferable to sex with Marillion!"

LOL !

"Magma was the very first gothic rock band" (Didier Lockwood)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 07:46

Last serious and successful above-ground UK prog band? It Bites became Robert Plant's backing band, did they not? There area  couple of interviews with Dunnery in UK guitarist magazines in the late 80's where much was spoken about Allan Holdsworth's influence. Personally I heard It Bites as an exhilirating mix of Gabriel period Genesis (~40%), a touch of Holdsworth period UK (~10%) and the rest their own. Virgin Records encouraged them to go for the pop market, and there were quite a few CD singles and 12" remixes issued - these records alway had a gem or two as bonuses.

Francis Dunnery on the back of their success became a self-confessed alcoholic (listen to his stage announcements on the interesting and unplugged One Night On Sauchiehall Street) and produced a run of excellent pop/rock solo albums (Tall Blonde Helicopte" on Warners is a favourite - it has a wonderful cover of Cat Stevens' Father & Son where his vocals sound like Stevens and then Gabriel and then himself). He studied in America, and now seems to spend more time as an astrologer (yes) based on the East Coast of the USA, issuing solo album projects from time to time. He is a man of few words, as I contact him once to get him to come on the radio show and got a 10 word message saying Thanks you but no. One message he gave me: buy his and It Bites records from his website and don't give the rich retailers such as Amazon,  the profit!!!

 

It Bites have recently released independently: Live in Montreaux which sound at least as good as Thankyouandgoodnight

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 08:24

I'm glad they still have admirers. I had no idea IB ended up working with Robert Plant! I guess that meant they could still pay their mortgages!

I was introduced to them at time when I had got into Genesis, Marrilion, Rush etc, but still very much liked all out heavy metal. The first review I read of them was in Smash Hits in 1986. They had just released 'Calling all the heroes'  - I'd like to make it clear, I never brought Smash Hits! It was my much younger cousins copy - There was an interview with them, and Dunnery was talking about his love of 70's rock. Having heard 'CATH' I was sceptical to say the least. Returning to school, my ex nu-romantic friend lent me 'Big lad..' I was blown away and went to see them live at the Majestic in Reading. Such was the crush at the front I ended up sitting on the stage in front of the monitors. I was knocked out by their tight playing and brilliant live sound.

I saw them several times and was never dissapointed, even after they had changed for 'Eat me..' It showed that prog could still surface amid a sea of utter bilge. I'll never forget them.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 10:55
Originally posted by Focussed

I'm glad they still have admirers. I had no idea IB ended up working with Robert Plant! I guess that meant they could still pay their mortgages!

Beg borrow or steal Dunnery's "One Night On Sauchiehall Street" for some, em, sharp comments on Plant!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 12:13
Mm. I don't know. Big lad was quite a disappointment. Never played it that much. A couple of poppy tunes. Francis is a great musician, but I dind't like his voice that much. I bought Eat me in St. Louis. A lot of catchy tunes and uptempo rocking, but not really very progressive to my ears. Still it was one of my favourite albums for some time.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 12:42

Originally posted by Aquarius

Mm. I don't know. Big lad was quite a disappointment. Never played it that much. A couple of poppy tunes. Francis is a great musician, but I dind't like his voice that much. I bought Eat me in St. Louis. A lot of catchy tunes and uptempo rocking, but not really very progressive to my ears. Still it was one of my favourite albums for some time.

You didn't mention "Once Around The World", their best and progiest effort. Listen to the title track and tell me it's not undisputably Prog. "Eat Me.." doesn't come close and is imo the worst of the three. (volgens mij, hoor.)



Edited by emdiar
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 16:04
Originally posted by emdiar

You didn't mention "Once Around The World", their best and progiest effort. Listen to the title track and tell me it's not undisputably Prog. "Eat Me.." doesn't come close and is imo the worst of the three. (volgens mij, hoor.)

No I have only heard about Once around the world, never listened to it. Seems like I should someday. So this is their best album?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2004 at 18:27

I caught up with Mr Dunnery once again last summer at the Union Chapel in London. He performed an eneregetic solo acoustic set throughout, leaving a big surprise right at the very end. just for the encores all the other members of It Bites turned up unexpectedly. When they walked on stage, for a moment I seriously believed that the roof would cave in, such was the excitement felt around the venue. The re-union had a strong flavour of bridges being built again, prompting some to think that It Bites might do something in the future.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2004 at 03:55
Originally posted by Aquarius

Originally posted by emdiar

You didn't mention "Once Around The World", their best and progiest effort. Listen to the title track and tell me it's not undisputably Prog. "Eat Me.." doesn't come close and is imo the worst of the three. (volgens mij, hoor.)

No I have only heard about Once around the world, never listened to it. Seems like I should someday. So this is their best album?

'Once around the world' is by far the best IB album. It sounds like a different band to that playing on 'Big lad..' It was clear that having had some commercial success with 'Calling all the heroes' and 'All in red' IB felt confident enough to start turning away from pop, and start pursuing prog.

The title track and also 'Yellow Christian' are my favourites on 'OATW', but also 'Old man and the angel', 'Black December' and 'Midnight' are also classics. I personally found them far easier on the ears, and far less self indulgent than post 'Fugazi' Marillion.

'OATW' is highly reccomended.

'You cant have two killers living on the same patch!'
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