I was very happy to be doing The Weather Prophets after the Loft ended. I had all the songs and a very particular vision about how they should sound; and, sadly not being very good at negotiating that within The Loft, I felt I needed to start again. In my mind, I wanted something that that dreamt a little bigger. Not in terms of sales, but aesthetically, in terms of ambition, to move away from a perceived, orthodox ‘indie’ approach. It was always very important to The Weather Prophets (and The Loft) that our musical ambitions didn’t just stem from the palette provided by the Velvet Underground and the Beach Boys. So, I took pleasure in being fixated on groups like Creedence Clearwater Revival. I wanted us to aspire to something like an English version of what they did: an imagined, timeless music.
Like almost everybody on Creation at the time, we were drunk on our vision of doing it our own way; we saw ourselves as being against what we perceived as a Thatcherite pop mainstream. With so much money sloshing around the music industry at that time there were so many big, layered, inorganic sounding productions and we wanted no part of that. Everything had to happen within our very definite, almost Maoist ideas of what was and what wasn’t allowed. I’m not even sure now of what that even meant but I can still hear the quiet passion in our music, keeping it natural sounding, personal and always on a human scale. We were ambitious for our music dream – that was all that mattered – not the houses and cars we were meant to aspire to as Warner Brothers recording artistes. I didn’t want a car then and I still don’t have one now.
The Weather Prophets got on very well together; there was a chemistry between us. And like all groups, we’d developed our own set of codes and signs. For example, we could engineer a quick exit from any awkward social situation by innocently asking another bandmember if ‘Gerald’ was there, which would result in them coming up to the trapped member and announcing that there was a problem with the van (or something) and drag them away from the situation.
As we developed as a group, The Weather Prophets focussed on trying to create a kind of imaginary pop innocence, in opposition to the steroid sounding productions of much 80s music. The group that seemed to me to make perfect musical sense for me, that I fixated on, was The Lovin’ Spoonful – their version of the pop confection seemed just right as a way for us make our music, trying to reclaim that mercurial pop innocence along with words about what our lives felt like at the time.