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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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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Do you want to record for Factory?

This is the second half of the wonderful April article by our good friends at Fishrider Records. While part 1 focussed on the new album, this takes us back to Manchester, late '70s...
Dunedin, New Zealand

The Distractions - “Kindly Leave the Stage”

Steve Perrin of The Distractions, recording 'Kindly Leave The Stage' in Exeter, September 2015

Steve Perrin on the Manchester post-punk scene in the late 1970s…
“It was a much more diverse scene to start with than people seem to give it credit for in retrospect. In retrospect everyone’s got a leather jacket and spikey hair, whereas if you’d taken photographs of the initial line up of Buzzcocks, The Fall, us, Warsaw or whatever we all looked pretty different and we all played pretty different kind of stuff but we just happened to be friends. We knew each other and played on the same bill and people didn’t have a problem with that. People didn’t seem to think it was odd that us, who were basically a pop band, sang love songs, were supporting The Fall who were a different proposition altogether. That didn’t seem strange.”
…and on how The Distractions were signed to Factory Records in 1979
“Tony Wilson rang my Mum, and I was not around, so I got home and she said “Peter from The Buzzcocks and that Tony Wilson off the telly have been on the phone”. She just got used to that sort of thing. Tony was very good with people’s Mums. He could be very charming.
Then I spoke to him and he said “we’re really interested in doing something and you’re going to be single of the week in the NME.” I thought he was a bit mixed up, because what had actually happened was there was a review in the NME by John Cooper-Clarke [of their first EP on TJM Records], which was a very short, positive, short review, so I thought maybe he’s had a drink or something. And what had happened is he’d spoken to Paul Morley who had told him that he was not happy with the John Cooper-Clarke review and he was going to review it again next week and make it single of the week that week. So that was that. And he said “Do you want to record for Factory?” and we went “Yes, we do”.”
“Time Goes By So Slow” was released in September 1978, catalogue number FAC12. FAC 13 the following month was “Transmission” by Joy Division.
Mike Finney, The Distractions, NME

Monday, June 12, 2017

A special album

Here's the first part of an article from April by our good friends at Fishrider Records:

Dunedin, New Zealand

The Distractions - “Kindly Leave the Stage”

Fishrider Records is proud to co-release the third and apparently final album by Manchester post-punk legends The Distractions with our UK partners Occultation Recordings. The Distractions songwriter Steve Perrin now lives in New Zealand and the drummer on this album is Fishrider Records & The Puddle’s Ian Henderson, so the album has a strong local NZ and Dunedin connection.

“Kindly Leave The Stage”, is released less than 5 years after the critically-acclaimed “The End of the Pier”. That second album took over 30 years to appear following their 1980 Island Records debut “Nobody’s Perfect”, which came out a year after their Factory Records single “Time Goes By So Slow” in 1979 – the single immediately preceding Joy Division’s “Transmission” single.

7″ Singles by The Distractions 1979 – 1981

Fast forward to 2017 and time no longer goes by so slow for founding members guitarist and songwriter Steve Perrin and vocalist Mike Finney. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say ‘goodbye’, both to the fans and to each other.” Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.” The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow.

Ian responded to a distress call when regular Distractions drummer Mike Kellie was unable to make the “Kindly Leave the Stage” sessions due to ill health. Sadly Mike passed away earlier this year. The album is dedicated to his memory. He was very much part of these sessions in spirit, such was the impact he made on the other Distractions in their time together in the studio and on stage. Mike was a larger-than-life legend, with a drumming career starting in the late 1960s with Spooky Tooth, then playing with post-punk band The Only Ones between 1979 and 1982 (and again when they reformed in 2007).

This is a special album for a lot of reasons. The international rescue mission by a spare drummer from the Dunedin label that has worked closely with Occultation Recordings (appearing in human form here as the Distractions other guitarist Nick Halliwell) was also a fitting way for Fishrider to repay the generosity shown by Occultation Recordings over the years in helping our artists’ releases find a foothold in the UK and Europe, and to celebrate 5 years of a label arrangement spanning the whole wide world.

“Kindly Leave the Stage” is available on LP and CD and as a download. It also comes in a very limited edition package with an additional 6-song 10″ mini-album of unreleased songs, poster and other items. It is available in NZ/ Australia/ Oceania from Fishrider Records and in the UK/ Europe and US from Occultation Recordings.

Part 2 coming soon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

National treasures

With another fine review of The Distractions' remarkable third and final album, here's Paul Pledger at Flipside Reviews.




I don't know. You wait 32 years for one Distractions album to come along and then blow me, they deliver a second in a fifth of the time. This, their third full-length set comes in numerous format combinations, the most essential of which is the deluxe vinyl edition, complete with the 10" EP Go Dark, the vinyl and CD versions of Kindly Leave The Stage, a poster and artwork. A slap on the back is due to Occultation for compiling another collectable package.

And further slaps on backs are due to the band members themselves (including label honcho Nick Halliwell who, because, despite bearing a title that might suggest a desperate live recording, this is prime studio material recorded in the label's hometown of Exeter barely five years after the last LP, suggesting the Manchester outfit have legs yet.

Sadly though, Kindly Leave the Stage is chiefly about goodbyes - it's a swansong, a final curtain and the poignancy starts right at the beginning with A Few Miles More. When Mike Finney trills "There's no virtue in survival / not if you constantly repeat the same mistakes...", you already sense that this is not just a chapter ending, it's the whole book, cover and all. It is also one of The Distractions' most accomplished songs, alongside their Factory one-off Time Goes By So Slow, the singles It Doesn't Bother Me and Lost and the preceding album's Girl Of The Year. It's an emotional start.

The theme of departure and unrequited love continues on Last To Leave and the glorious Wake Up and Kiss Me Goodbye, both nods to an era when heartache and heartbreak steered '60s pop songwriters towards million-sellers and screaming fans. The Distractions have courted only a limited audience since debuting in 1979 with the frenetic EP You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, without so much as a sniff of a hit since. Island Records failed to convert the record-buying public, yet Occultation (tiny in comparison) have probably achieved far more in keeping The Distractions firmly ensconced as national treasures.

On every Distractions release comes fully fitted with a lip-trembler and this one is no exception. Head to The Connection's Dropped Again for the beginning of a trio of introspective little vignettes designed to unlock the tearducts and keep the lachrymosity flowing. It's the blurry lock-in after last orders, the last drops of single malt, the shutters are down, the hall is empty and it's time for bed. Or in this case, the last dance at The End Of The Pier.

The deluxe bonus has a 10" EP has the fabulous Nothing Lasts and Skin, both worthy of being singles in a parallel universe, as well as a string of alternate versions of various album tracks - well worth purchasing from Occultation direct.


Posted 16th April by Paul Pledger

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Age + Geography

The long-awaited Distractions book set...

The Distractions

age + geography

More news soon, so keep an eye on here, at HiddenMasters, on Facebook and on Twitter...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unfinished business

The official release date of 12th May is still a month away, but 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (order direct from Occultation here) has already been garnering some lovely press. Here's a piece at Flight of Pegasus - Full Metal Radio:


    New album "Kindly Leave The Stage" out on May 12th!

    After achieving some sort of world record by leaving a 32-year gap between the release of their first and second albums – 1980’s 'Nobody’s Perfect' and 2012’s 'The End Of The Pier' – The Distractions have sped things up and now, after a gap of less than five years, release their third (and final) album, 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    The story of The Distractions – from Manchester punk era legends to critically-rated pop geniuses to a quarter century of silence, and then a more-than-slight return with a 21st century album of grown-up, wise, elegiac guitar music – is also the story of Mike Finney, one of the great blue-eyed soul voices, and Steve Perrin, a guitarist whose sense of melody and lightness is the perfect counterfoil to Finney’s emotional grit. Mike and Steve have been the core of The Distractions for 40 years, from the thrash of 'It Doesn’t Bother Me' and the Factory Records classic 'Time Goes By So Slow' to the maturity of 'The End Of The Pier' and, now, the superb 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    It’s been a long, strange trip. Not every band gets a third act. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say 'goodbye', both to the fans and to each other.”

    Mike agrees. “It’s a fond farewell to each other, which had me in tears a few times. I hope it isn’t a deathbed confession, I’ve gotta whole lotta livin’ to do yet.”

    With the assistance of new(ish) Distraction Nick Halliwell, the band’s sound may be more introspective and stripped-down, but The Distractions are still The Distractions. “The Distractions have always been an unalloyed delight,” says Nick, and that sense of a band who are also a group of friends shines through here. From the Buzzcocks-via-Scott Walker wistfulness of 'Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye' to the gorgeous, Ray Davies-y 'The End Of The Pier', this is a record which mixes thoughtfulness with throwaway brilliance and melancholy with melody.

    “Nick asked me what the key word for the album was,” says Steve, “And I said 'resignation', in both senses. Although there's a real sadness in saying 'goodbye' to something that has been a hugely significant part of our lives I don't think it's all doom and gloom.”

    Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.”

    The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow. Time to appreciate what they were and what they are.

    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Heartaches will eventually pass

    Here's a lovely early review of 'Kindly Leave The Stage' from RareBird in the US:

    The Distractions - 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (2017)

    March 15, 2017

    The Distractions were an unjustly overlooked band from Manchester, England, who recorded only one full-length album, 1980's 'Nobody's Perfect', during their original run. They broke up in 1981 after failing to achieve commercial success, but there have been a number of Distractions reunions in recent years, featuring original singer Mike Finney and original guitarist Steve Perrin. A new lineup released a second Distractions album, titled 'The End Of The Pier', in 2012 -- 32 years after the debut album. And now, the Distractions are about to issue their third -- and, they say, final -- album, titled 'Kindly Leave The Stage', on May 12, 2017.

    Although the album’s official release date is two months away, the album can be pre-ordered from the Occultation Recordings website. Some of the packages offered also include a 10-inch vinyl EP called 'Go Dark', which is limited to 250 copies. There might still be time to obtain one!

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' was recorded over the course of three days in September of 2015. It was produced by Nick Halliwell, the head of Occultation Recordings, who also played guitar. The rhythm section consisted of Arash Torabi from Granite Shore on bass, and Ian Henderson from The Puddle on drums.

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' lies in the same basic mellow pop vein as 'The End Of The Pier', but is even more laid back, suggesting that Finney and Perrin had mellowed even further with age during the few years in between. The first two tracks (A Few Miles More and Last To Leave) have just a minimum of adult-alternative vigor. The rest of the tracks have a mostly understated tone, a middle ground between American country music and indie pop. The instrumentation moves at a relaxed and deliberate pace for most of the album. Aside from one striking side trip into baroque pop territory (Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye), most of the songs are of a melancholy nature, which has always been The Distractions' forte. But where vocalist Mike Finney once came across like a heartbroken young man, he now seems to sing from the point of view of an older man who has lived and learned, and who now realizes that heartaches will eventually pass. On songs such as The Fire and Nowhere, Finney sounds calmly accepting of the fact that passion fades away over time. The latter song possibly alludes to one of the early Distractions singles, with the lyrics: “I know we used to think that time went by too slow, Now there’s nothing left to do and there’s nowhere left to go”. Finney comes on like a moody Johnny Cash on The Connection’s Dropped Again, whose title sounds like a modern variation on Still It Doesn’t Ring. The overall tone of the album does support the claim that it is meant to be The Distractions' swan song, but it is not an overly emotional goodbye. Rather, it is painted as a sad but expected part of life. When the opening track contains a line like “I haven’t felt like this since Elvis Presley died”, it would suggest that Finney and Perrin certainly do hate to see The Distractions come to its final end, but they seem grateful to have been given the opportunity to issue a proper farewell. True to its title, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' serves as a quiet and graceful exit.

    Friday, March 24, 2017


    Here's the beautiful deluxe 'Kindly Leave The Stage' and 'Go Dark' package in all its glory:

    Top: 'Kindly Leave The Stage' outer sleeve,  'Kindly Leave The Stage' LP, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' outer and inner CD sleeve, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' poster, 'Go Dark' sleeve.

    Bottom: 'Go Dark' insert with sleeve notes from Steve Perrin,  'Kindly Leave The Stage' outer sleeve, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' CD, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' postcard, 'Go Dark' 10" mini-LP.

    Order quickly, as this is a very limited edition:

    'Kindly Leave The Stage':

    'The Distractions Go Dark':

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