Former Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce has talked exclusively to NME about his new band. He and The Smiths‘ bassist Andy Rourke have joined forces with Ian Brown‘s guitarist Aziz Ibrahim and played their first gig at a charity fashion show in Manchester.
Ibrahim, who is currently on tour in Japan with Brown, sings and plays guitar in the band, which Joyce confirmed would probably go by the name Aziz.
The fashion show, in aid of the Stephen Lawrence Trust, was held at Bar Berlin in Manchester on March 18 and attended by the Lawrence family, as well as members of Happy Mondays and Cleopatra. On the night, Aziz said that they had only decided to play the gig for the cause.
He said: “It is too important a cause to pass by really. There has been a huge injustice done and the more we can promote that and stop it happening again the better.”
The band played three of their own songs entitled ‘Living A Lie’, ‘Morassi’ and ‘Feeling Better’, the last of these sung partly in Punjabi by Ibrahim. They finished with ‘My Star’, which featured on Brown‘s solo album ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’ but was co-written by Ibrahim.
One eyewitness told NME: “Some people were saying it sounded a little Ian Brownish but it was really good. I was blown away.”
Joyce explained that the band formed when Andy Rourke started working with Ibrahim.
“Andy said ‘check out some of this stuff’ because Aziz wanted me and Andy to do some tracks in the studio. It was meant to be just a session but it felt like a band and it sounded really good.”
He added: “The thing that’s really good about Aziz is he’s just been known as a guitarist and a session player, but now he’s coming out in his own right. And I don’t think he realises just how good he is! He’s incredibly versatile and that’s what reminds me a little bit of The Smiths. One track can be quite funky, the next can be quite rocky and the next can be quite spacey. “
Though only their debut gig, the band are already reported to have been offered five record deals and a possible festival appearance. They have also begun work on their first album in Wales, which includes guest appearances from Paul Weller and Mani and may feature vocals from Ian Brown.
Meanwhile, a source in Japan informed NME that Ian Brown concluded his gig at Osaka’s Nagoya Club Quatro on March 23 with an encore of The Stone Roses‘ track ‘Sally Cinnamon’.
Brown had previously sworn never to play the song again.