Another entry from the Sound City Liverpool ’99 Festival. Hosted by John Peel and preserved for posterity by the ever-reliable BBC. This one for Peel’s show on BBC Radio 1.
Clinic formed over easter in Liverpool ’97. First single ‘IPC subeditors dictate our youth’ appeared that October, on their own Aladdin’s Cave of Golf label. As an opener it set the stall out for how their unique sound would progress; pounding rhythms, heavily distorted organ and intense vocals, a cryptic mix of surf punk with a mutant house beat. The single was top ten in John Peel’s festive fifty and ironically in both NME and Melody Maker. In an indie sense, the band had arrived (despite their ambitions lying elsewhere). After two more Aladdin’s releases (both voodoo based), Clinic signed with Domino in ’99 and set about constructing the extreme dementia and peace that would become ‘Internal Wrangler’. Their first album proper, ‘Wrangler’ easily delivered on the promise of the early singles, sounding like nothing else extant, your planet or mine. A London NME Astoria show followed, with the band in full Pearly King gear playing to an appreciative audience. A true celebration of the capital. The second long player ‘Walking With Thee’ came in 2002. A much spacier take on their sound but still containing the fuzzed organ freak out of the title track. Surreally and deservedly, the album was nominated for a grammy, through a year of growing intrigue in America. This included the genuinely disgraceful and captivating Beatlesesque appearance on the David Letterman show. Not for the faint hearted. After a spate of living dangerously in ’03/’04 ‘Winchester Cathedral’ began to take shape. A dense mass of psyche and senseless music hall, it was Clinic doing what they do best – ignoring the tenets and trends of the music industry. It was a British triumph, borne out of several joyous rural events and circus happenings. October 2006 saw the release of a new record, ‘Visitations’. ‘Funf’, a compilation of b-sides from the previous ten years was released in June 2007. The band’s most recent album ‘Do It!’ was released in April 2008, which also saw the release of the uncharacteristically mellow single “Free Not Free”, preceding their fifth album Do It!. The single was released as a free download from the band’s website. The download also contained the B-side, “Thor”. The band later released “The Witch (Made to Measure)” as the second single from the album, and “Tomorrow” as the third. After touring to promote the album, in May 2009, Clinic played the Moondog tribute concert at the Barbican in London, performing “Oboe Round”.
The band’s sixth album, Bubblegum, produced by John Congleton was released on 4 October 2010. A press release stated that the album was a marked change in direction from their trademark “hyped-up sound”. The acoustic-based lead single from the album, “I’m Aware”, was released on 20 September 2010, and a second single, the titular wah-led “Bubblegum”, came out on 31 January 2011.
The band released an EP of cover versions, Ladies Night, in support of Record Store Day, on 16 April 2011; the main track was a version of Man 2 Man’s “Male Stripper”. In March 2012, the band was invited to support The Shins at the Forum in Kentish Town. They performed the new song “Seamless Boogie Woogie Rpt BBC2 10pm”. In April 2012, the song “D.P.” from the band’s debut EP was used in a TV advertisement for Weetabix breakfast cereal.
Vocalist Adrian “Ade” Blackburn’s distinctive acidic vocals are a trademark of the band, and they are also known for wearing surgical masks and costumes while performing, as well as in promotional photos. The band are known to wear different costumes depending on the circumstances of the show: for example, an outdoors show would have them in Hawaiian shirts, while indoor shows would have them in their trademark scrubs. During an interview, Blackburn revealed the sound of the album the band are promoting while touring has an effect on their attire while performing.
Blackburn has said in an interview that Clinic wear surgical masks on stage as a homage to San Francisco bands Crime and The Residents. “…I like the way there was a visual side to what they did, but it wasn’t something too serious. It was like a tacky pun on the band name. I liked something a bit more ridiculous like that.”
And now you know – hit the play button and hear the rest.