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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The antithesis of Factory


A further extract extract from Mick Middles' essential book, Factory: The Story of the Record Label.




The Distractions, being quite the antithesis of Factory's undeservedly greyish image, were therefore perversely suited to the label.  Joy Division enjoyed performing after them, believing the lightness of the support band to be the perfect precursor to their dark intensity.  The prevailing logic, however, was that The Distractions would only gain the pop success they craved by hopping on to a major label, and their managers, Brandon and Bernie Leon, kept a constant rhetoric with the A&R departments on the boil.  Wilson, however, displaying a desire to encourage and nurture artists that would not, ultimately, be of benefit to himself, finally and unselfishly managed to secure a deal for the band with Chrysalis.  Curiously, Brandon Leon rejected this vigorous and promising offer and instead took the band to Chris Blackwell's Island Records, a move that seemed to present them with a reasonable chance of cracking the charts.  Unfortunately, the moment The Distractions stepped away from Factory, their power began to diminish.

A couple of singles led into an album, Nobody's Perfect, which, produced by John Astley, saw a gathering of The Distractions' nugget songs almost completely drained of their innocence, their naivete, their essential edge.  When pushed through the smoothness of hi-tech production, The Distractions sounded depressingly ordinary.  How sad, perhaps, that Island Records couldn't understand that the true strength of the band actually lay within those raw edges, within that sense of naivete.  Sensationally - at least within the pages of City Fun - Perrin quit the band, to be all to hastily replaced by the talented but unsuitably Bohemian Arthur Kadmon, who had recently departed from Ludus and the rickety umbrella of New Hormones.  Inevitably, the band were dropped from the label and, simultaneously it seemed, lost their grip on the Manchester scene.  Nevertheless, before their spectacular fall - from playing to local audiences of over 1,000 to enticing just 65 people into Rafters one year later - The Distractions would play an important role in the evolution of the Manchester scene and, as the following pages will testify, would seem to be present at most of Joy Division's more intense performances.


(c) Mick Middles (2009). 
Virgin Books: London. p.168-169.

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