Steve Parry - Guitars, Piano, Synth, Effects, Devices - Neu Electrikk
In 1976, Steve Parry at the age of 18 moved from Harrogate, Yorkshire to London in search of new music horizons. Parry had played in a succession of local bands, none of whom seemed to possess any real ambition. Parry had been accepted onto a journalism/photography course but would have to wait for another year before taking up the placement. During this time Parry worked for the civil service in the Ministry of Defence. Spending the days bored and frustrated working in a dead end job, in an office full of old army types who spoke of nothing but the war and the anarchism of today’s youth proved the catalyst for change.
Relocating to London, Parry answered a musician’s wanted advert placed by Derek Morris in the Melody Maker. At the same time Parry answered an advert by Matt Johnson in the NME for musicians into The Velvet Underground/Syd Barrett. Contacting Matt he discovered that there had been a somewhat negative response to the advert. Parry enquired with Matt what instruments he played and equipment he used - it included a guitar/amp setup from Woolworths, a Crumer Electronic Keyboard and what appeared an assortment of musical instruments left in the basement of his father Eddies’ pub.
Johnson sent Parry a copy of his cassette demo ‘See without Being Seen’ that had been recorded in the cellar of his parents pub. The music Parry found interesting, Matt had written all the music and played all instruments himself. The cassette came in a cover designed by Matt copied on a Xerox machine. Parry thought ‘See without Being Seen’ an ambitious, impressive work for a 15-16 yr old. Although Parry considered Matt a solo act and found it difficult to imagine them being a band. Matt Johnson and Parry kept in touch informing each other of each other’s activities. Letters to each other would contain the names and addresses of key contacts, people who could presumably help their cause. In the meantime, Parry had been in contact with Derek Morris and Steve Sherlock and they had decided to form a band.
Matt contacted Parry when he discovered Keith Laws, appearing keen for them all to get together to introduce Laws to him. Parry remembers having Keith around seemed to give Matt greater self-confidence. Together they would formulate ideas, take to the stage and perform as a live act, as a duo they would both develop the idea of what was to become The The. At the time Matt was working at De-Wolfe music studios in Soho and this gave him the opportunity to record backing tracks to which he and Laws would later improvise. Parry was present at all of The The’s early performances. The The first gig was at the Africa Centre, nr London’s Covent Garden, the event being memorable for having an African/Caribbean evening taking place at the same time in the basement. As The The played upstairs, the throb of African music permeated up through the floor. Parry liked the abstract, experimental sound of early The The, the music being a stimulating hybrid of electronic drum beats, effected guitar, a wasp synthesizer, slabs of noise and distorted vocals. Parry did join The The on stage and played guitar on just the one occasion – The Anarchist Ball – Metropolitan Warehouse. This event followed a frustrating day spent in the company of an uncooperative engineer at SGS studios in south London recording the track that was to become ‘Untitled’, as featured on ‘The Some Bizzare Album’.
Neu Electrikk and The The shared management/record-label, gigs and personnel. Following the demise of Neu Electrikk Steve Sherlock effectively went on to join The The and with Johnson they both became members of Marc and the Mambas.
Photocopied Gig Poster given to Steve Parry by Matt Johnson for early The The gig