<Alternative Press Vol. 38>
And Also The Trees hail from the Malvern Hills in Worcetershire, a town close to Stratford-Upon
-Avon, the original providence of William Shakespeare. Their music conjures
visions of the English
countryside, rich in culture and reflective of their surroundings. Their moody atomospheric songs have
been misconstrued as "gothic". The Trees create a contemporary
lattice that generates the grace
of English literary masters like Keats, Shelly, and Byron; not the typical
Batcave denizens the g-word
" A lot of the press in England is somewhat unintelligent," explains
Simon Huw Jones, the Trees vocalist /
lyricist. "It's obvious that they don't listen to the record and they have a preconceived idea of what
we are about. The funny thing is that if there was ever a band that was
'gothic' in the literary sense,
then we are."
Simon's guitarist brother Justin agrees: " That was something that
was written about us to our advantage.
It's been pointed out that we're not a Batcave thing but a true gothic."
And Also The Trees started in the early 80's while most of its members
were still in their early
teens.The Jones brothers, drummer Nick Havas, and bassist Steven Burrows
released their self-titled
debut album in 1984, produced by then Cure member Lol Tolhurst. Robert Smith was so enamored
of the band that he invited them to open for the Cure's 1981 UK tour. Both
brothers admit that it was
a double-edged scythe.
"It started out as great encouragement," says Simon. " If it wasn't for them we probably wouldn't have
had the desire to continue, because we weren't getting much. It turned
out to be a curse when people
were just writing us off as Cure clones which was pretty unintelligent."
" From that point of view it was understandable, " offers Justin. " At the time we were about 25 to 26
years old so we had no fucking idea what was going on in the music world.
We just had the luck of the
connection. It was weird; we'd be playing in London to several thousand
people and the next day
we'd be in school doing geography!"
And Also The Trees have only released four albums in their ten year existence
save for one live album
and a retrospective compilation. The time between records (for example,
close to two and a half years
passed between the first and second albums) gives the band the ability
to re-examine and re-charge the
" We practically have our teenage and adolescent years documented
on record because as we have
changed as people you can see it on the records, " says Simon.
"Let's face it. When you make your first record, you draw from experiences
from when you were born
to the time you make the record. We've been in a fortunate position of
being on a small label so we can
determine when we have enough material for an LP. There isn't a lot of
pressure that a big label would
demand for a follow-up immediately. That's when bands re-hash their original
ideas and create filler. "
On their latest Storm front release, FAREWELL TO THE SHADE, the Trees convey
learnings with a lush cover of Cat Stevens' "Lady D'Arbanville" and more obvious moments like
"Macbeth's Head." Onstage, Simon's dramatic presence delivering
the songs has been regarded by both
supporters and detractors as painstakingly honest.
"From my point of view as the singer, I feel like I want to give absolutely
everything that I can give
when I'm singing. I try to recreate the emotions I originally had when
I first wrote the lyrics. It's an
emotional experience that I try to reach because I feel it's honest to
the music. "
The band has finished a short American tour in support of SHADE and is
currently working on the next
album, no doubt fueled by the experiences a rural based English band might
have on their first tour of
" I think the other night summed it up for an extreme example, "
muses Justin. " Just playing in the
Limelight (a swank New York City club), which used to be a church.
There's this really slick nightclub in an old church and we're playing
on the altar. The whole idea sounds
like society turned on its head."
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