Payin' Dues: The Beatpack

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With touchstones The Pretty Things, Downliners Sect, Kinks et al, The Beatpack formed in Rye, East Sussex in 1987, issued their sole album, 1991’s Could You Walk On Water, then split in 1992. Now re-formed, they have released two 45s, I’m Walkin’ and Where The Water Runs Deep with are configured line-up. “We wail harmonicas, bruise maracas, wreak havoc, squall feedback, spill blood, break hearts, have a blast,” says singer Hugh Dellar.

Tell us about Where The Water Runs Deep. We recorded it with Mole [of 60s-styled garage band The Higher State and ex-The Mystreated] in his Hastings’ Ponswood Hit Factory, and it was cut and mixed in two days. It features myself [vocals, harmonica, maracas], Simon Harvey [lead guitar], Adrian Smith-Tuft [rhythm guitar, vocals], William Bourton Esq [bass, backing vocals] and Ian O’Sullivan on drums, although he’s since been replaced by Charlie Gurney, once of blues trash meisters Bad Karma Beckons.

We lost sight of what we were best at

**Who are your musical inspirations? **Growing up in the mid-1980s forced us to look backwards for inspiration. Obvious influences were the British beat groups like the Stones, The Kinks, The Pretty Things, along with cult heroes such as the Downliners Sect, The Fairies and The Beat Merchants. We were into the Dutch 60s sound of The Outsiders and Q65, very earthy and raw, as well as other global acts like The Missing Links, The Lyrics, The Slaves. From this, we ended up listening to the stuff those bands would’ve been reared on: John Lee Hooker, Little Water, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Slim Harpo. We also really loved what The Crawdaddys and The Tell-Tale Hearts were doing in San Diego.

**What was it like working with Billy Childish on your 1989 EP? **He was interesting to work with. This was during his drinking years, which tended to lead to messy evenings in dubious Medway watering holes as night- before warm-ups, and much bellowing and hilarity in Red Studios, where we recorded. He had a very straightforward and time-efficient approach to recording. It worked okay at the time, but we’re happier with the sound we got with Mole.

**Why did you split in 1992? **We’d grown too old and experienced to maintain the small-town gang vibe we’d had. Bizarre support slots with Manic Street Preachers did little to alleviate the situation and we lost sight of what we were best at. By 1992 the band had gone, leaving only myth and rumours.

Where The Water Runs Deep / (She’s) All Dressed In Black is out now on State Records.