The Passage

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The Passage were a breathtakingly brilliant band from Manchester who were active between 1980 and 1983. Leader Dick Witts was formerly a percussionist in the Halle Orchestra, and the Passage combined a range of synth textures with layered percussion, bells, whispered/spoken/half-sung vocals and the occasional thrashed guitar to create something fantastic and unique. By their third album, Degenerates (Cherry Red,1982) they'd developed their sound extended it with a slightly more electronic feel on the their next and last one, Enflame (1983). Everything is long-deleted, except for a fairly unrepresentative, but not-bad CD retrospective compilation "Seedy".

Having recently re-listened to them a fair bit for the first time for 5 years or so, I'm just staggered by how brilliantly up-to-date they sound.

Does anyone else remember them and have any thoughts/opinions?

Dr. C, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I remember he wrote an angry letter to the NME back in their 'political' period, and the editorial answer consisted of lame jokes based on his name. It was a long time ago, I may not remember correctly.

dave q, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I like the Passage's Cherry Red material a lot. My favourite moment probably XOYO, which I guess is predictable because I generally love the Big Pop Hit (even if it wasn't a hit). I also really like Freckles. Their habit of following all the speaky / whispery stuff with a whacking great big CHORUS was a winner.

I never heard their earlier stuff (on Object Music?) though... some people I knew swore by it and said it was their best material. Were they right, or were they pulling some labyrinthine music snob trick on me?

Tim, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Breathtakingly brilliant is a little pushing it...

Finest moment, the 1978 EP 'New Love Songs', especially the first song 'Love Song' - 'I love you/cos I need a cunt/I love you/To use you back and front' - an early, possibly misguided, attempt at shock via the incest motif, that works cos it's so damn nasty. Didn't go down very well, though. Don't think folk understood its subtleties (and yes, there were some).

The rest of the single is as good an early Fall pastiche mixed in with rudimentary electronica as even the Fall were achieving back then. It's spiteful, vicious, short and far punkier than virtually anything else around. The misogyny on 'Slit Machine' works scarily well. (I'm listening to it right now.)

By the time of their first album, they'd turned into Eyeless In Gaza surely (no, I don't mean literally)? XOYO is OK in its own spirited way, but it's a (spit) pop single - and the Passage were once far, far better than that.

Their other Object single 'About Time' is also damn fine.

Thanks for making me listen to them again. It's always periodically very refreshing, like hearing an early Scars single or indeed 'Witch Trials'.

Jerry, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The Passage! One of the greatest, yet least known of 80s groups. I bought their fantastic debut album, 'Pindrop', on Object Records, in, I think, 1980 after hearing one track on Peel. The album (slightly murkier, more introverted and mysterious sounding than later releases) was like nothing else being made at the time. Totally electronic, spooky, intelligent, political, passionate as hell, like Laurie Anderson crossed with The Fall.

'Degenerates' and 'Enflame' are also great records, Brechtian politics melded to angular, caustic lyrics. The Passage were very unEnglish in their willingness to write about sex and politics. Check out songs like 'Angleland' and 'Wave'.

Witts started as tympanist for the Halle Orchestra, and now writes books (he published a critical survey of the history of tbe Arts Council a couple of years ago). I've met him a couple of times. I saw The Passage live in Edinburgh. Witts performed in a blood-spattered white T shirt. There were about fifteen people in the audience.

In fact, since Cherry Red have their back catalogue and I have a label with Cherry Red, I should really get some re-releases going through Analog Baroque. Hmmm...

Momus, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

i have never heard of them, but they sound interesting. i would be a re-issue i think

gareth, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link


gareth, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I could re-issue you too, Gareth, if you're analogue and not digital and originate before 1984!

Momus, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

i originate from before 1984 but am digital unfortunately. rumours about my bionic arm are unfounded

gareth, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I just remembered that I was singing another excellent Passage song to myself while walking down the street about two days ago: @th Day (pronounced Eighth Day). 'A very fair rake-off to buy me a fence... Respect my stand, hands off my helping hand...'

Some of their best work was for Peel sessions. Around the time of the second album they did a session with a girl singing instead of Dick Witts. The songs took on this melancholy, poignant atmosphere: 'This time, and then tomorrow, liberty!'

I think you'd have to see them as libertarians in a peculiarly Protestant mode, like Quakers or Methodist radicals or something. Witts was obsessed with Manchester police chief James Anderton to an unhealthy degree.

Momus, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I never did manage to track down that debut album. Roll on the reissues....

Jerry, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Whoo! Lots of opinions! Side 2 of "Degenerates" is my fave. Will put some more detailed thoughts down later.

I saw them once at Slough College, and the support band (local punx) poured beer in Andy Wilson's synth which blew it up. So he sort of skulked at the back playing out-of-tune thrash guitar whilst Dick Witts lead them through a venomous, very pissed off set. Anyone remember the song "Drugface"? Starts off with the vocal line "The drug fits the face, the drug fits the face, the drug..." repeated for ages before a squelching sequencer barges in. Fantastic.

The Eyeless in Gaza thing, Jerry. No! they shared a label that's all. Passage - as Momus says - angular, vitriolic. EIG - wet, weak, gloomy.

Dr. C, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

But I'm into weak, wet and gloomy. All right, I admit it, I'm into Eyeless in Gaza and like always I CARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

I remember hearing about the Passage thanks to Momus mentions here and there, so I'm actually glad for this thread. Reissue, repackage, repackage...

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

So how about more on this soppy Eyeless in Gaza stuff? I was tempted to drop $10 on a used compilation of theirs, but decided against it.

For what it's worth, SpinArt (in the US) has reissued the Tracey Thorn solo album, as well as the Marine Girls retrospective. Ah, very nice. They might've reissued more as well - not entirely sure.

And how about some Monochrome Set recommendations? This 2CD retrospective is a bit grating @ times.

David Raposa, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Eyeless In Gaza were like the Smashing Pumpkins of their day - right Ned?

Jerry, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

debut alb = the best one; i have it on faded tape

witts = witts = witts: a knobhed, but in a good way...

mark s, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

On a related note/ same era, does anyone know anything from a band called Fashion, as Cherry Red are about to reissue this:


The Height Of Fashion


Cherry Red Records are proud to announce the very overdue reissue of this cult album by the highly original and innovative technological funksters, Fashion. The band moved the musical boundaries with their unique blend of synths, bass lines and infectious pop in the early 1980's. The CD features all their best loved tracks from their 'heyday' with the cult singles "Streetplayer- Mechanik", "Move On", "Love Shadow" and "Something In Your Picture" included. Other essential Fashion tracks on the CD are "Do You Wanna Make Love", "White Stuff" and "Love Shadow Smokey Dialogue". Fashion still enjoy a strong reputation for their pioneering recordings that paved the way for many other artists in the 80's. They together with cult German record producer, Zeus B Held made recordings that influenced many recording giants including Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Trevor Horn, Depeche Mode and many more. Their music still sounds fresh today and will appeal to a whole new audience.

1/ Move On 2/ Love Shadow 3/ Streetplayer Mechanik 4/ Dressed To Kill 5/ You Only Left Your Picture 6/ Something In Your Picture 7/ It’s Alright 8/ White Stuff (Short Cut) 9/ Do You Wanna Make Love? 10/ Slow Blue 11/ Mutant Love 12/ Love Shadow Smokey Dialogue 13/ Street Mechanik 14/ Do You Wanna Make Love (At 5.00am?) 15/ You Only Left Your Picture (Reggae Reprise)

DJ Martian, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Eyeless In Gaza were like the Smashing Pumpkins of their day - right Ned?

Ha! Touche. But did Martyn Bates ever shave his head and go into ten- minute-rants at festival shows about 'how yer CHURCHES abandon you and your TEACHERS abandon you...'? ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Fashion were briefly a medium sized noise at the fag end of the New Romantic era 81-82. I think they were a Birmingham funk band who appropriated the trappings of new romanticism i.e synths, eye liner, staring out of windows moodily etc.

They had one fairly big Lp Fabrique #12 Uk charts and a handful of singles which scraped the top 50. Love shadow is well worth seeking out esp on 12", featuring Gina B (?) who sounds a lot like Christina (ah, what happened to her??), I can't vouch for the rest though I suspect it would sound quite dated. After that they went on a more funk rock route and vanished into obscurity (I think).

Billy Dods, Saturday, 25 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Fashion were awful. I still have their first three singles somewhere, held onto in the forlorn hope someone might give me money for them. The offer is still open.

Jerry, Saturday, 25 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Fashion - ponytailed, frilly collared new-rom fools IIRC.

Billy - are you referring to Gina X? There's a fantastic Gina X track "Nice Mover" (1979) Andrew Weatherall compilation, 9 o'clock Drop, which I've bleated about enough on these pages already.

Mark S - even the vinyl version of the debut album, Pindrop, sounds like it's on a faded tape! Not particularly well recorded or mastered or pressed or ... something. Good opening track, Fear ("Tell us who owns this place...")

More on EIG? I'd spend the $10 on the comp if I were you, David G, unless it's your last $10. Worth hearing as a snapshot of a sort of early 80's rustic synth-folk innocence. The first couple of albums aren't bad ("Photographs as Memories" and "Caught In Flux") IIRC, but later, slight more bland albums like "Rust Red September" aren't up to much. Martyn Bates's voice will eventually drive you nuts, too! For some reason I seemed to see this bunch live about 6 times in the early/mid 80's, with bands like The Nightingales, PAssage, Microdisney, Felt.

This is a momentous thread as I somehow like something that Momus likes! Wow! Totally agree on the stuff with the girl singer, some of which was on "For All And None", - good contrast with hissing Dick and Andy Wilson's lugubrious drone. If you have any influence at Cherry Red, get 'em to put out "Degenerates" and " Enflame" ! They seem to release plenty of Oi and football-related rubbish, so surely the Passage deserve to be re-released. If they could get the rights to "Pindrop" and "For All and None" too, I would be ecstatic. These two need remixing though. In fact, you could remix them, Momus!

Anyway, enough of this flight of fancy. Seriously if anyone knows of mint vinyl copies if "Pindrop", "Enflame" and especially "For All and None" I would be keen to buy at a good price!

Dr. C, Saturday, 25 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Dr C it is indeed Gina X, my grasp of the alphabet is a bit slim, at least I knew it wasn't Gina G.
She also did a version of drive my car in which she reveals the German dominatrix subtext which is missing in the original.

Billy Dods, Sunday, 26 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

two months pass...

WILL WOODS, Sunday, 25 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Well I finally managed to re-buy Enflame and For All and None. (Why did I ever let them go in the first place?) Wierder than I remembered and totally unique, surely the Passage's albums are due for proper re- issues.

Dr. C, Monday, 26 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

three months pass...
"Seedy - The best of the Passage" is out this month via Cherry Red Records.

Mic, Wednesday, 13 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

It's been out for a few years! Unless a 'new' version of it has popped up.

Dr. C, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

It is being repromoted by Cherry Red. Probably due to increase interest in post-punk era. Therefore "this repromotion" will encourage independent record stores and the music chain stores - to order it in.

DJ Martian, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

one month passes...
Does anyone have any of the Peel Sessions recorded? I've been looking diligently but so far all I've found is one song, which shares some lyrics with @th Day but musically is a much different piece.

Scott Gibbons, Friday, 3 May 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I know someone who might still have the peel session they did between 'Degenerates' and 'Enflame' I'll ask. There is also at least one Kid Jensen session, 1983 IIRC, - they did Dogstar and Angleland + one other.

Dr. C, Friday, 3 May 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

saw the passage once at ULU.supported by the three johns..great band.I know Dick Witts lives in Brighton now as I lived near him. Cherry Red...Reissue those CDS pronto..For All and None was my fav. can anyone mp3 em for me??

DarrenS, Sunday, 5 May 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I seem to remember a song title"Form and void"???? Imay be wrong though.or 'First to Last" quite a long intro (peel-live in concert) anybody come across this get in touch, the intro has been in my head for years de de de de,de de de de de,do do do do do,de de de de de de de de and so on. some body get a sight going i've got some contributions. Honest.

will/woulds, Tuesday, 7 May 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

i'll happily put up a new passage site but i need info and pics..i may find some in my collection of sounds/nme/mms from way back...heres hoping..any contributions? pleases send em in and I'll start work..does anyone know what was on the old passage fan page??

DarrenS, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Anybody know anything about a 1995 album called Stuntman?

, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

This Lp is NOT by the same group.

dagga36, Wednesday, 5 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Pls. anyone recall the album with Passage song goes like this: "it's 3 in the morning/ it's always 3 in the morning / shave your head/ make despair an event/ take it out on your friends / shave your head" etc. been looking for years & can't find it. thankx

Uncle Ho, Thursday, 13 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

It's 'Shave Your Head' off 'For All and None' (Night and Day, 1981).

Dr. C, Friday, 14 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I didn't think anyone remembered the Passage! I first heard the song 'Fear' on the John Peel show in late 1980. I was blown away by it. There really was nothing like it at the time (and still isn't, really); the tribal drums, spacey string synth. After that, I had to own everything they put out. Unfortunately, I never did acquire the original Object singles, but I have just about everything after that. I too received a few letters from Dick Witts back in the early 80's. Great sense of humour, and I really appreciated him taking the time to write to me. My favourite LP's are Pindrop & For All & None. I suppose the only thing marring them slightly is the production - Pindrop was recorded in a 4 track studio in 3 days! The later records were still very good, but the first two have something very special about them.

Thanks Dr. C for starting this thread.

Ian, Thursday, 4 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

A Passage Thread! - Fuckin BRILLIANT !

Got one of their early singles, but don't remember liking it much - 'Pindrop' and all the subsequent work, though, I found absolutely stunning. I always envied DW's ability to somehow find a working balance between Critical Sharpness & Cynicism and Interested Wonder - he used to crop up on BBC2 in 'The Oxford Road Show' at some point, I remember him doing a 'rap performance' to review a fanzine called 'VoodooVoodoo', playing some percussion over a drum machine! And it's true, the music itself is a very odd mix of elements and complexities, almost impossible to describe/imagine (but that's a good crack at it earlier). I think they don't sound dated because they were quite unlike anything else around at the time - and I've never heard anything like them since, either (though somebody please tell me if there is). I loved the fact that Witts was able to re-work the same bass line across different songs, like some baroque composer exploring the same 'theme' in a series of pieces.... I don't think I've ever heard work anywhere else that is oozing with such a potent mixture of threatening darkness, thin-lipped vitriol, angular intelligence, sparkling wit, textural complexity & variety, tightly controlled nervous energy, and archly-self-aware downright cleverness & humour... (you can tell I like them, right?)

Great lyrics too, really encapsulating and impressionistic - 'I don't need love - I don't need sex - I'll walk the floor when nothing's left...'

PLEASE SOMEBODY CD re-issue the albums, and add the singles on as extra tracks! (And DON'T change the cover designs - even they were brilliant, with the constant use of Black/White/Red theme throughout.)

My copy of 'Pindrop' is also on fading tape (aaarrrgghh), 'For All And None' & 'Degenerates' on vinyl, Enflame on pre-rec cassette (with 'Degenerates' minus one track on the other side), and also a few singles on vinyl (Devil's & Angels, Wave 12", Taboos 12"). A flexi-disc with a version of 'Born Every Minute' on one side (and Blancmange's 'Living on the Ceiling' on the other!) was actually given away with some pop music paper in 81/82(?) as well...'Record Mirror' ?

I thought that 'Seedy' comp was lacking in some of their best tracks (it would be though, wouldn't it) - but at least it had 'Sharp Tongue' & 'Carnal' on it.

I DO have that J.Peel session they did (in '80/'81?) with the female singer on cassette somewhere - think I missed a bit of one of the songs though, fuckit. As far as I can recall they did 'Devils & Angels' + 'Shave Your Head' + AnotherTrackFromAll&NoneWhoseNameICan'tRecall + .....aaarghh i can't remember. So I'm sure I've got it (or most of it) - what now?

Ray Manston, Wednesday, 10 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

OK - I've dug the old C90 out - the JP session with female singer - tracks were:

'Dark Times' + 'Devils & Angels' + 'Shave Your Head' + 'Watching You Dance' and it was this last one that I missed the first 1/3 of grrrrrrr

Ray M, Thursday, 11 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

would you be able to mp3s these tracks and up them to the kazaa network?? i have all of the seedy cd in mp3 plus most of the last three lps to share

dagga36, Thursday, 11 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I like the way this old thread keeps popping up - it proves my theory that there are still dozens of Passage obsessives holed up around the place.

Apparently Cherry Red doesn't have the rights to For All and None so don't expect a re-release from them. In fact Seedy is all we're likely to get on CD.

Whilst the *sound* of The Passage is pretty unique (question : was Witts ever a prog-rocker pre-Passage?)his modus operandi reminds me of Roy Wood and Paddy MacAloon. The combination of dense layers of ideas bashing into each other, unexpected melodic twists and (most importantly) a sense of a *big picture* is something these three share. In Wood's case the bubbling layers are pop hooks, in MacAloon's a mix of pop icons/imagary and stylised romance, whilst Witts fires volleys of *information* from the dark side of sex/love/politics. Just a thought.

Dr. C, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

How weird is this?Thought we'd disappeared into the bottomless pit of early 80's never-made-its , but yes...we were rather special if you say so.I'm living in Ibiza, present a radio show - balearia on Cadena 100 (Spanish commercial network) www.clubibizaradio (embarassing home page nowt to do wi' me)mon-fri 2200-2300 CET- and still live and breath music and clubs.Not heard from Dick Witts for years, bastard sold my guitar for smack and owes me money...he wrote a book about Nico which I never read.Sadly it all got very messy, I was only 16 when I joined and was out of my depth with Dick's personality problems, but we did make some great music, most of which I still have somewhere...sounded pretty dated last time I checked tho' .. the old memory's not in good shape these days, living through the 80's in Manchester wasn't great for the health, -Dark Times and all that - but I live to tell the tales, if only I could remember them... Should've known Momus 'd keep the flag flying - came up to me in the street in Brixton once and asked me to make music with him, but I never followed through.Good on yer Nick. I'm touched and dare I say proud to know people still listen and enjoy- thanks!

andy wilson, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Wow - great to hear from you Andy! Sorry about describing yr singing as a 'lugubrious drone'!!

(More proof of the power of ILM when it comes down to hunting down Lucan-esque members of yr favourite band. Especially if they're from Manchester - Mike Finney has been in touch after I posted about The Distractions).

Dr. C, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

“Taboos” and “Taboo Dub” stands out with its medieval drum terror and dark turrets and feel of naked flames. Also recall that Peel broadcast a live piece by them – say 4/5 songs. I have it somewhere in a plastic bag in my parents’ house along with The Farmer’s Boys live on the other side. The free flexi-disc I well recall as I do DW’s appearances on a yoof culture prog on BBC2 in which he did a type of rap about new youth mags/fanszines on the desperately appropriated cherubic culture spectrum at the time. Backstage in Dublin at Trinity College in 1983, Morrissey told me that DW was “horrible” and that he (Morrissey) liked Microdisney. Back to The Passage I also liked “LonDon” immensely. Other than that, the lead pencil tones of the “Taboos” 12 inch single with its red border are sketchily deeply on my appreciative memory.

John Fleming, Thursday, 18 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ahhh! the Passage.what a band!..good to here you are still doing it of Britains finest unsung bands..first heard the band on Peel and through a desire to find out more on this intriging character on ORS by the name of DW..finest moment without doubt was "for all and none"..but others were up there too..who can forget "the half of it..twats/cissies"..both twisted tales of hatred and deviancey (sp?)..never got on with "pindrop" due to its wilful obscure mix. what we wanted was to read DW's "texts".. saw them live and was shocked by the fact that DW's main keyboards were the time asssociated with home keyboards but in retro- spect perfect for the "natural sounds that the songs needed... (strings,piano,horns,etc..)get those reissues sorted ASAP.all classic LPs (and include the texts..I had to send off for those back in the 80s and well worth a read! I also remember going to my first job in 1982 wearing a home made passage t-shirt..a stencil I made from the siluoetttes on the lyricsheet from "for all & none" featuring Andys magnificent "oakey" fringe!!! hope you guys still get something out of the cherry red deal,tho' I doubt it..Seedy had a bad choice of tunes, i think..where was "The Great Refusal" fer christs sake!!:-). finally last time I saw DW was in a fetish club in Brighton..(1993) (shades of the Taboos cover..)where he had since written some books, was now Richard,sporting a fetching grey "tintin" haircut and his "partner" for the night was an mid change transexual!!! although I didn't have the front to ask him about the Passage..I felt this just summed up the pent up angst and sexually politics that the passage ALWAYS used in their material.... Good work Andy,Dick and Joey!!! Andy,if you can remember and/or want to elaborate..I'd love to hear what happened in those "Dark Times!;-) seeya! JA

james anderton, Sunday, 21 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Dr. C - we never got to the bottom of that 'A Certain Way To Go' = ACR issue?

Ray Manston, Friday, 26 July 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Does anyone have a cassette/Mp3 file of "All or nothing"That i could beg/steal/borrow. Fave Passage gig"The Beach Club"1981 with the girl singer.Brilliant Gig!

Iain, Saturday, 10 August 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

"For All and None"I meant. The "Joey Holts" has kicked in

IAIN., Saturday, 10 August 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

two months pass...
If anyone's still listening, go here:

Keith Nuttall, Thursday, 24 October 2002 07:22 (twenty-one years ago) link

I'm there! Waiting for the rest.

Rezmole, Thursday, 24 October 2002 10:41 (twenty-one years ago) link

i also just heard the peel sessions (with female vcls) for the first time, and am surprised at how much darker the dickwitts vers are. what were they doing? why did they stop?

gaz (gaz), Friday, 29 August 2003 10:08 (twenty years ago) link

ned! help!

*cough cough* Can I assist?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 29 August 2003 12:16 (twenty years ago) link

ned is omnipresent! even at this time of morning!

btw do you know why they ditched the girl singer?

gaz (gaz), Friday, 29 August 2003 12:31 (twenty years ago) link

All I heard was (at the time and I think it's mentioned in the sleevenotes) that *she wasn't really into it*. A bit lame I know.

Ned - have you heard of this :

Obscuro trax from the Wild Swans. It's very good.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Friday, 29 August 2003 12:58 (twenty years ago) link

btw dr.c, osbourne has told me i must take umbridge with your inability to appreciate the monochrome set. but then i am a middle aged middle class git. so bear me no mind. except i like them.

gaz (gaz), Friday, 29 August 2003 13:08 (twenty years ago) link

Spiff, Dr. C. I will investigate.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 29 August 2003 13:31 (twenty years ago) link

That Wild Swans LP is very fine, although my feeling is that 2CDs is overegging the pudding slightly.

I was very pleased to read in the sleevenotes that a very limited (like 200 copies) white label 7" of "Revolutionary Spirit" was pressed before the Zoo release. I had always thought that my copy was some sort of bootleg.

Tim (Tim), Monday, 1 September 2003 11:14 (twenty years ago) link

one month passes...
I want to hear this band.

David. (Cozen), Saturday, 25 October 2003 19:17 (twenty years ago) link

ah i see people have spotted the wild swans cd, is that my life i see passing before me.
i'm on the live tracks recorded by serge ant and i certainly didn't expect they'd ever be released. well welly well.
next up in 04 is my old band 'benny profane'. it's all happening.

joe mckechnie, Thursday, 30 October 2003 11:49 (twenty years ago) link


Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 30 October 2003 17:45 (twenty years ago) link

Still waiting for D.Witts to post!

Dr. C (Dr. C), Friday, 31 October 2003 13:30 (twenty years ago) link

one month passes...
An appreciative feature on The Passage by writer Nicholas Royle in the December issue of UK music mag The Wire,

Marten, Thursday, 4 December 2003 12:16 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
there's some passage live tracks to be had.
this will be ongoing with contributions of course being welcome.

mckechnie, Monday, 16 February 2004 18:57 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh neat! *bookmarks same*

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 16 February 2004 19:03 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Really amazing to find all this stuff on The Passage after all this time. I was the girl singer in 1980 who appeared on the first Peel sessions and the single Devils and Angels with the far superior B side Watching You Dance...if only if only, Dick had released the B side as the A side. I see here contributions from Joe and Andy, would love to get in touch and see how things are turning out. Also from Dick (but see nothing from him here). I left the band because I was young and Dick could be hard going, with the benifit of hindsight and maturity I wish I had been advised to hang on in there because we created some good music and Dick was a clever man and my voice developed with my confidence as I continued singing until fairly recently...and no doubt will again (when the right things come up). I moved around a lot (lived in Australia for a few years) and lost touch. Will get in touch again. How goes it Joe?? I am having a happy life on the whole. Love Lizzy xxxx

Lizzy Johnson, Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:13 (nineteen years ago) link

FUCKING HELL! LIZZY!! Lizzy - your stuff with the Passage was mighty!

This is amazing. Wilson, McKechnie, and now LIZZY JOHNSON!

Where are you Dick Witts?

Ha! I was going to post to this thread today - I was listening to the Yellow Magic Orchestra's 'Technodelic' reissue and track 3 'Stairs' *is* The Passage!

I love ILM! I love the Passage!!

Dr. C (Dr. C), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:19 (nineteen years ago) link

Am I right in saying that a young Damien Mahoney drummed for The Passage before joining Hurrah!? I understand that after Hurrah! he joined the Police (not The Police, the real actual Police). But am I getting muddled?

Tim (Tim), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:26 (nineteen years ago) link

Wow, this is cool indeed. :-) Rah for Lizzy, who did great! I think the Passage moment that comes to my mind most is that sung/whispered "LIBERTY!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:30 (nineteen years ago) link

Wow, this is awesome!

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:32 (nineteen years ago) link

Yes, Tim - exactly right. He was 'Paul' Mahoney whilst in the Passage.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 16:35 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm sold! So with which album should a Passage novice start? At the beginning? With the Peel Sessions?

paul c (paul c), Tuesday, 23 March 2004 19:19 (nineteen years ago) link

Pindrop or Degenerates probably, but anywhere is good!

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 24 March 2004 11:07 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
nother new track at yammer site - lon don

manley belch, Saturday, 29 May 2004 13:33 (nineteen years ago) link


Dr. C (Dr. C), Saturday, 29 May 2004 18:51 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I think this thread can't be revived enough, it's great to see how everything just sorta evolves. (This is also a shameless plea to ask Mr. McKechnie if he knows anything about a Modern Eon rerelease -- somewhere -- anytime...)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 25 July 2004 13:26 (nineteen years ago) link

>So with which album should a Passage novice start? At the beginning? >With the Peel Sessions?

Most accessible ? Probably Degenerates.

Seedy is a good, if jagged and uneven compilation.

Ric Euteneuer, Wednesday, 28 July 2004 15:38 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
My own John Peel homage today -- listening to the Peel Session disc.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 16:02 (nineteen years ago) link

Getting into the car to drive home from work last Wednesday, I heard the sad news about John Peel. Arriving home 20 minutes later, I find the BBC sessions have been (very kindly) sent to me by James Nice. So I hear this fantastic Passage music and my own contribution which I have not heard in .... 24 years for the first time on the very day John Peel died. Kind of a strange coincidence. Will miss his Radio One and Radio Four shows badly.

elizabeth johnson, Sunday, 31 October 2004 14:16 (nineteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Okay. great. thanks a lot you guys. cuzza this thread I picked up nice shiny vinyl copies of For All And None and Degenerates and now I want them all! Please don't tell me about anything else great for a while cuz i am running out of money. I really dig this stuff. It's right up my alley. (while i was at it i picked up a copy of Blue Orchids' Agent Of Change e.p. digging that one too.)

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 25 November 2004 16:11 (nineteen years ago) link


Dr. C (Dr. C), Friday, 26 November 2004 08:18 (nineteen years ago) link

agents of change is great!

bulbs (bulbs), Friday, 26 November 2004 09:00 (nineteen years ago) link

six months pass...
Just thought I'd pop in again to say hello.

Sorry I've not done much with the Yammer site for a while. Lots of irons in the fire etc. Still got a pile of press cuttings from James Nice to scan for the site (I gave up transcribing them).

Was supposed to get something from Momus for the site, but it never happened. I think I upset him when I mentioned that I heard his single on the Steve Wright Show in the late 80s. I bought one of his albums though, so I can't have been taking the piss.

Been getting live stuff to put on the web site, but I have to be careful not to exceed my bandwidth or the site will rapidly disappear. Otherwise no new news to add - although I see something about Wild Swans and Benny Profance, which certainly seems noteworthy.

BTW I saw Benny Profane in some Liverpool pub in the 80s (can't remember the name but it did regular lock-ins, only I couldn't stay late because my friend was being sick). Used to see the singer (Dave?) around a lot - must have lived near me. Joe started the set off on drums and then played guitar for the rest of it IIRC - not quite what I expected.

Nice to see Lizzy here too. She contacted me and kindly sent me some scans for the site.

Actually, I'm hoping you good folks have something to add to the site. Maybe you have more detail to add to the biography or discography. Maybe you have press cuttings or photographs. Maybe you've got a naughty live bootleg you'd like to share. Please get in touch, I'm ready to do more site stuff :-)

Keith Nuttall, Friday, 10 June 2005 18:14 (eighteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Let me revive this again because I don't know if anyone noticed Keith's post in June! (I didn't!)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 15 August 2005 03:55 (eighteen years ago) link

It's surprising and awesome that this thread has so many replies.

Patrick South (Patrick South), Monday, 15 August 2005 04:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Fabulous band!
Degenerates is such a fabulous album. First heard of them on Cherry red sampler Pillows and Prayers. Ran out to by Degenerates! Go to seed must be my fave album track.
Thought Enflame was fab too if not boardering on techno!

Antzman, Saturday, 20 August 2005 13:36 (eighteen years ago) link


dafox, Sunday, 21 August 2005 17:56 (eighteen years ago) link

one month passes...

I'm listening to Pindrop for the 1st time right now, it took a few songs for me to get into it, but I'm really liking this now. Is there a recommended order for me to check out their other albums?

Colonel Poo (Colonel Poo), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:00 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
Well, The Passage is probably one of the most underrated bands from the 80's. Their 2nd album is an absolute masterpiece. I was in UK at that time, and was so impressed by their music that I put an advert in Sounds, to find musicians influenced by their unique sound.
They still are one of my all times favourites. Genius. Pure genius.

dc shell, Monday, 9 January 2006 12:55 (seventeen years ago) link

afternoon grappling fans,
i've set up a site ahead of the reissue on boutique/ltm of the 2 benny profane lps [on one cd]
find out more here -
you have to sign up and stuff but thought some of you might be interested.

mckechnie (joe profane), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 18:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Cripes, I totally missed this thread's revival! Off to myspace I go...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 14 January 2006 07:10 (seventeen years ago) link

new passage live tracks on yammer site - fear [from 1/1/81 ica, with lizzy on vocals] & the beginning the dawn [from rca supporting this heat].

mckechnie (joe profane), Tuesday, 24 January 2006 15:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Nice! :-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 24 January 2006 15:40 (seventeen years ago) link

two months pass...
I saw The Passage at the (then) Thames Poly in Woolwich, London, in Febuary 1982 (the 10th if I remember correctly). I was 14 and it was my first gig. I went with my older brother. I subseqently bought every release apart from the first EP, which i never found. And subsequently sold them all when I moved to CD! Pity, since only a compilation exists as far as I know. I thought they were unique and got me thinking about politics and religion and relationships etc. They were as important to me as Joy Division, and that is saying something!

andrew f, Saturday, 1 April 2006 12:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Pity, since only a compilation exists as far as I know.

Read upthread, my friend -- everything's been rereleased on CD. :-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 1 April 2006 13:50 (seventeen years ago) link

seven months pass...
can't remember if i mentioned this already but i've set up a passage page on myspace.
from there, if you so desire, you can find pages for benny profane and buffalo recordings.
be interesting to see if people still look at this here page.


mckechnie (joe profane), Sunday, 12 November 2006 16:59 (seventeen years ago) link

They do indeed!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 12 November 2006 17:15 (seventeen years ago) link

apart from you ned! you look at everything.

mckechnie (joe profane), Wednesday, 15 November 2006 13:03 (seventeen years ago) link


Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 15 November 2006 13:08 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...

Because they're on Facebook don't you know

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 15:30 (fourteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

just picked up old vinyl copies of Enflame and Degenerates, and my first impression was: marc almond without any songs.
lots of enthusiasm on circa-2001 ILM, so i'll give them another shot.

i've set up a passage page on myspace.

huh, this still exists.

enochroot, Saturday, 18 January 2020 15:00 (three years ago) link

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