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the official distractions website

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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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcoming The Distractions

From the new Distractions page on the Occultation Recordings website:

Occultation Recordings take great pleasure in welcoming The Distractions to the label.

The first release will be the Black Velvet EP, due in September 2010. This will be a digital download release but we will also have a limited number of promo CDs available for purchase.

It will be followed not too long afterwards by the band's first new single for almost 30 years, featuring three tracks recorded in Liverpool in June 2010 and featuring original members Mike Finney (vocals) and Steve Perrin (guitar, vocals), plus another former Distraction Nick Garside (bass), joined by Nick Halliwell from The Granite Shore (guitar, vocals), Stuart Mann (drums) and Richard Turvey of The Wild Swans (keyboards).

More to follow soon...

In the meantime, here's a tiny taster - the catalogue number for the Black Velvet promo CD, YMIR7DA007CD:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mass Distraction

We just can't keep The Distractions out of the press these days. This from the September 2010 issue of Uncut (p.10):

Uncut, September 2010. (c) www.uncut.co.uk/magazine.


I was delighted at the inclusion of The Distractions' Nobody's Perfect on Island in your readers' list of Great Lost Albums. I saw The Distractions live in Cork in the Arcadia around the time the album was released, when it was regularly featured on our national Dave Fanning rock show. They played a short but brilliant set, on the same night Dexys were playing the City Hall in Cork. I drove down from Limerick with a bunch of pals, some went to Dexys. But I and others opted for the pop thrill of The Distractions. Like all great albums I don't believe it has dated, but it's very rarely mentioned and was an unusual release for Island at the time and had little promotion. I think they disbanded very soon after. We have two copies of the vinyl in our house - mine and the one my wife purchased in Advance Records in Dublin way back when. I'm just about to give it a spin.

John Dundon, Limerick, Ireland

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Shadowplayers

The reprieved (hurrah) 6Music had a 'Shadowplayers' afternoon recently, dredging up plenty of Factory tracks. Sadly, The Distractions didn't feature although a few days later the recent Distraction, Nick Halliwell, and his Granite Shore, did, with the single Flood of Fortune receiving its first national airtime on Mark Riley's show (listen again here (12:50), should be on for a few days yet). Here's another couple of Distractions snippets from James Nice's essential read, Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records.


[After Linder had decided not to record for Factory…] Factory also missed out on Manicured Noise, now shifting from avant-garde abstraction towards a more accessible sound, and who seem to have considered Wilson's untried label too provincial. Wilson was also fond of The Distractions, a more traditional guitar pop quartet, who chose instead to release You're Not Going Out Like That through TJM in February (1979), earning them single of the week in NME.

- - -

Factory contributed six groups to the bill [of the Leigh Rock and Music Festival, 27 August 1979]: Joy Division, A Certain Ratio, Orchestral Manoeuvres and X-O-Dus, as well as reserved guitar pop quartet The Distractions and a bizarre trio from Tyneside called Crawling Chaos. Neither seemed a typical choice for Factory, and both betrayed Wilson's marked disinclination towards orthodox A&R. Talented but unglamorous, The Distractions had already issued a pleasing EP through TJM, and in lining up Time Goes By So Slow as FAC 12 hoped to emulate the success of OMD, with all concerned regarding the single merely as a stepping stone to a major deal.

(c) James Nice, 2010.


Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records, James Nice (2010). (c) Amazon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minor palpitations

Nice review of the The Distractions' appearance in Scream City 5, the Cerysmatic Factory Records fanzine here at Never Enough Notes:

Scream City is a rare revelation that is keeping the dream alive. Number 5 in the ongoing series, is curated as always by the owner of Cerysmatic, a website predominantly devoted with the legacy of Factory Records and associated labels..."

"...featuring legendary pop-band The Distractions, who released just one Factory 7” (“Time Goes By So Slow”) that causes minor palpitations amongst indie-fans and bands to this day."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Tube

Waiting For Lorraine video. Illustration (c) MrPanchaos at youtube.

It might be merely coincidence but it's nice to think that the deserved publicity that The Distractions have been getting this year - on here, Facebook and in Scream City 5 - may have played a part in these videos recently appearing on You Tube, posted by, as yet, unknown fans:

1. Time Goes By So Slow posted by fredlsd77.
2. Time Goes By So Slow posted by vaughanography.
3. Pillow Fight posted by vaughanography.
4. Waiting For Lorraine posted by MrPanchaos (cut short but nicely illustrated, above).
5. Something For The Weekend posted by LakesideBistro.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Uncut, August 2010. (c) www.uncut.co.uk/magazine.

August's Uncut arrived yesterday and during a quick glance over breakfast I noticed another "Great Lost Albums" feature. As I half-heartedly thumbed to page 34 something immediately caught the eye.
Nobody’s Perfect,
ISLAND, 1980
This lost Manchester band, who also released a single on Factory, was picked up by quite a few Uncut readers. “A great punk/pop record released in 1980,” remembers Mark Johnson, “mixing punk energy with ‘60s pop songcraft. I ‘downloaded’ it in ’82 by borrowing the vinyl album from a library and copying it onto a C90 cassette. I played the tape to destruction."

p.s. Also a mention of The Distractions' Occultation label mates, The Wild Swans in An Audience With... Courtney Love on page 26: "...But that time in Toxteth [Liverpool] was great. We lived in a lovely squat on Devonshire Road with Pete de Frietas, Paul Simpson from The Wild Swans and Julian [Cope]."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Distracting photos

Nick Garside is producer and bassist on the forthcoming Black Velvet EP (which Occultation plan to release in early September), which, in typical Distractions fashion, was recorded in Manchester in 1995 and produced and mastered in California, just the 15 years later. Nick was also on bass last month as original Distractions Steve Perrin and Mike Finney linked up with Nicks Halliwell and Garside, Stuart Mann (drums) and Richard Turvey (piano, organ) to record the new single, out later this year.

Nick also took some superb photos of the two days recording, 16-17 June 2010, a selection of which we're delighted to share with you:

Steve, Nick Halliwell and Mike, Parr Street Studios, Liverpool.



Mike, Steve and Nick Halliwell in action.

Thanks again to Nick for these photos, of which there'll be to come as we look forward to the new single's release...

Nick Garside.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Alex Sidebottom, as on the reverse of the 'You're Not Going Out...' sleeve, 1978.

Amidst the recent excitement of Steve Perrin and Mike Finney being back in the studio together, it should be remembered that there's been a Distraction in the music business for longer than most. Alec (Alex) Sidebottom was drummer for the Purple Gang in the very late '60s where he was apparently known as 'Haystack' [1]!

Alex Sidebottom, possibly at Electric Ballroom gig supporting Joy Division, 1979.

An ever-present throughout The Distractions' time on Factory, Island and beyond, Alex also drummed for, amongst others, the Renegades, Dr Filth and First Circle, before forming the Republic of Swing in 2004. In a real departure from traditional rock drumming, Republic of Swing are a Bateria percussion group, better known to most as Brazilian Samba. The group are in high demand at festivals up and down the country and beyond, with Alex as Director, who also plays for renowned London-based Samba school, Paraiso [2].

Alex Sidebottom in Republic of Swing, 2010. From Facebook page.

Alex Sidebottom in a Distractions publicity shot, 1981.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Here's a snippet from James Nice's magnificent and mighty tome, Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records:


Wisely returning to the vinyl fray, Factory issued The Distractions' single in September, on 7-inch only. Like the rest of their crafted pop repertoire, both Time Goes By So Slow and flipside Pillow Fight dealt with the vexed subject of love ("ranging from disappointed to hatred"), earning excellent reviews from Paul Morley ("great pop - a modern masterpiece") and John Savage, who discerned "the world's most perfect youth club band". A fine single, FAC 12 was also an atypical Factory record, wrapped in a decidedly average sleeve and untouched by Martin Hannett. Within weeks of its release the group signed to Island, quickly recording an album, Nobody's Perfect, but failing to find mainstream success.

Despite having directed The Distractions to Island A&R scout Nick Stewart, Wilson soon chose to re-cast their departure as a watershed. "That's when my ideas about Factory as a catalyst for getting bands signed to majors changed. I felt quite sad when The Distractions signed to Island. I think a Distractions album brought out on Factory would have made them about three times the first year advance they've got. But I guess they weren't prepared to wait."

In fact this was praxis gone mad. Wilson had encouraged the band to leave Factory, yet declined to manage them, and had contemplated their violent demise in a film [more on that later, maybe!].

(c) James Nice, 2010.


There's more on The Distractions in the book, which, when it weighs in at 500+ hardback pages, is just one tiny reason why this is an essential purchase for any UK music fan, never mind Manc or Factory heads.

Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records, James Nice (2010). (c) Amazon.

First new CD release since... ever

Scream City 5 compilation CD sleeve.

As below, the superb Scream City 5 Factory Records fanzine from cerysmatic comes with a limited edition CD featuring, amongst others, The Distractions. Believe it or not, this is the first ever new Distractions release on CD. Time Goes By So Slow and Doesn't Bother Me are on various compilations, but Steve Perrin's (I Thought You Were Dead) Josephine is a new release. Recorded in 1995 during the brief reunion in Nick Garside's Out Of The Blue studio, it was mixed by Nick this year in Los Angeles. It will feature on Nothing, released later this year on Occultation:

Scream City 5 compilation CD sleeve notes.

Also featured are various Factory legends such as Section 25, The Wake and the Durutti Column. It's a brilliant compilation of new and remixed material but as it's limited to just 160 copies, move soon to get hold of it from eBay.

Scream City 5 compilation CD sleeve notes.

Scream City 5 compilation CD.

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