for part one
I got the
nity to talk
to the trim,
brown-haired Englishman before Loop's show this past May at the Backstage.
For a fellow who doesn't use a last name, in the vein of pop stars Dion and Madonna, I found the musician surprisingly down-to-earth. And in light of the fact that his work frequently inspires epithets such as as "arty" and "pretentious"—which aren't comp-
letely off the mark—that was a refreshing discovery. He was also quite forthcoming, though a record company rep specifically re-
quested that I not ask anything about the Spacemen 3 or drugs.
It's unfortunate that Robert doesn't field questions about the
band to which Loop bears the greatest resemblance, since such
comparisons aren't necessarily unflattering, but I guess he's tired
of talking about this similar-styled, but unrelated outfit over and
over again. As for narcotics, they shouldn't be an issue at all. Slight
fatigue aside, he was definitely coherent and clear-minded when
we spoke. The only apparent mood-enhancing agent: nicotine.
"Collision" (Fade Out, 1989)
Instead, I asked about the oft-used "guitar band" tag and what
he thought when listeners applied it to his combo. It makes per-
fect sense, really, since his powerful playing dominates every
Loop performance. "We are a guitar band," he admitted, "but
we try to make 'un-guitar' sounds. It's okay being described like
that, but it's when we're called a 'rock' band or something—I do-
n't really appreciate that. Yeah, it's slightly rock, but that's not
the sort of tradition we come out of." (Though Loop does rock.)
Their concert that night was good, but not quite the mind-ex-
panding experience I had been expecting. I wouldn't blame the
band entirely as they had no soundcheck. Although they arriv-
ed in town only two hours later than planned, their equipment
didn't follow suit until six hours later—in time for them to set
things up, but too late to play a single note as the opening act,
Love Battery, was scheduled to launch their set momentarily.
Once Loop started playing, they
sounded fine. What marred the gig
was the inordinate amount of time
Robert spent tuning and complaining
about the sound between every selec-
tion. (It sounded all right to me.) Still,
he has a reputation, deserved or not,
for being a bit of a diva once he takes
the stage, even though he seems like
a pleasant enough guy in person.
All things considered, I enjoyed the show. I especially
appreciated the fact that his vocals register more dis-
tinctly live than on wax where they tend to get lost in
the mix. He has a nice voice; I was never sure before.
As far as the difference between recording and playing live, he
noted, "There's a lot more room in the studio. Instead of playing
the whole guitar, we always play little bits at a time and join them
all together later, so they make a continuous whole...and obvious-
ly, if we did that live, we'd need eight guitarists!" Loop features
two; Robert on lead and Scott [Dawson] on rhythm guitar.
Click here for part three
Endnote: Slightly revised from the original
text. Images from TheSirensSound and Discogs.