Released simultaneously on September 17th 1991, the arrival of Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Use Your Illusion I’ and ‘…II’ was a genuine event.
When Little Thief appeared at the Ramsgate Music Hall on a four band bill towards the end of 2019, they played to fewer than ten people. Regardless of the sparse crowd, they gave the kind of performance deserving of a packed house. With only a couple of digital singles behind them at that time, the set was a great showcase for things to come. For the few people smart enough to be there that night, memories were made watching Rhii Williams approaching the drums in a really rhythmic yet heavy fashion, while frontman Charlie Fitzgerald cranked out fuzzy riffs as if his life depended on it. There was no doubt that Little Thief were destined for future greatness.
After Carter USM called it a day in the late nineties, James “Jim Bob” Morrison and Les “Fruitbat” Carter went their separate ways. Jim formed the short-lived Jim’s Super Stereoworld before embarking on a dual career as a solo artist and writer of novels, and Fruity formed Abdoujaparov, an indie rock band with punky undertones. Having parted on amicable terms, the USM men actually shared stages together just a couple of years later with their respective new outfits, on a double header tour that pulled in the fans. Looking back, it was an interesting time for both performers looking to forge new paths. At the 2001 gigs, Jim seemed uninspired, often delivering music that sounded like a shadow of his former punning self. For Les, the opposite seemed true and opportunity to explore new musical ideas with different people seemed to invigorate him. With energetic live performances and a very matey stage presence, Abdoujaparov were definitely going to be a band that the old Carter fans would take to their hearts.
Twelve years into their career, Vega continue to fly the flag for UK melodic rock. On their seventh album, ‘Anarchy and Unity’, long serving members Nick Workman (vocals), Tom Martin (bass), Marcus Thurston (guitar) and James Martin (keys) are joined by two new faces, but fans can be assured that the fairly dramatic shift in line-up really hasn’t caused too much of a shift in their overall sound. ‘Anarchy’ includes a couple of songs that are a little heavier than expected, but by and large, the bulk of the material builds upon the melodic rock/classic rock sound that Vega have forged since their early days, with the best tracks continuing to be a fine showcase for Workman’s voice, and the whole band’s abilities to hammer home a superb chorus or six.
The label “cult hero” gets used a lot, but for Les “Fruitbat” Carter, it’s one that certainly applies. After a spell playing London pubs as a member of Jamie Wednesday, Les found fame as one half of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, a band loved and hated by the music press in equal measure. He became infamous for rugby tackling national treasure Phillip Scofield live on telly and for a time, was a regular face staring out from the pages of NME. After Carter USM split, he formed Abdoujaparov, an indie punk labour of love, which maintained his cult status. In September 2021, Les stopped by at Real Gone to talk about Abdoujaparov’s long overdue return, their new album, and more besides…