Mice (Julianne Regan) In Session – 1996 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Mice in session to end the working week. This one, their debut and (I think) their only session for Mark Riley, recorded on June 3, 1996 for BBC Radio 1.
Mice (in case you didn’t know) featured lead singer Juliane Regan who had departed company from All About Eve. The initial creative core consisted of Coventry-born Julianne Regan (vocals), Huddersfield-born Tim Bricheno (guitar) and Andy Cousin (bass guitar), with other members changing over the years. Their highest-charting UK single was “Martha’s Harbour” (1988). The band was active from 1984 to 1993, then 1999 to 2004, achieving four UK Top-50 albums. The band had been recognized for their “unique, folk-rock-influenced take” on the gothic rock style, and Regan has been described as “certainly one of the more talented singers” of the scene in the late 1980s.
Regan and the rest of the band parted company during the recording of what would have been All About Eve’s fifth album. Cousin, Price and Willson-Piper completed it without her, and it eventually saw the light of day under the group name and title of Seeing Stars. Under the group name The Harmony Ambulance, Regan did release one single very soon after the All About Eve split for Geoff Travis’ Rough Trade label. The double A-side, “Nature’s Way” and “All This And Heaven”, was something of a departure from the All About Eve style, and possibly for this reason, Regan turned down an offer to work full-time with that band. She also recorded vocals for the Schaft track “Broken English”.
Regan also occasionally performed live with Fairport Convention, singing some of the lead vocals on “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”, “Blackwaterside”, and “After Halloween”. Some of these tracks can be found on the albums Circle Dance – The Hokey Pokey Charity Compilation, Fairport Convention: 25th Anniversary Concert, and Cropredy Capers – 25 Years of the Festival.
Regan then dropped off the public radar. Rumors of a collaboration with Suede’s Bernard Butler fluttered briefly and then died out. It later transpired that the rumors were true, but that during the recording session, she and Butler had fallen out in a spectacular fashion. “I don’t really know why it exploded the way it did, but it did. It was a small thing that turned into a big thing, that turned into an enormous thing” was Regan’s later analysis of these events.
Revolving around a central core of Regan, Tim McTighe, former Levitation member Christian Hayes (aka ‘Bic’) and original All About Eve drummer Mark Price, Mice released their first single, “Mat’s Prozac”, in November 1995, which charted in the UK. This was followed by a second UK charting EP single “The Milkman” released in April 1996 with the Lynsey De Paul song Martian Man. Countrywide touring followed as did an album Because I Can recorded for indie label Permanent Records. Many collaborators took part in this band, including both Marty Willson-Piper and Andy Cousin which led to people questioning why this band was not launched as another incarnation of All About Eve. Regan said that this was deliberate in that she had wanted the new band to be just that. Musically, it did indeed sound somewhat harsher than All About Eve and Regan would later say of it, “It showed that I could be pre-raphaelitic but I still had to get on the bus and go to Tesco’s.” With Because I Can making the Indie Top Ten, the future began to look fairly positive for Mice, but Permanent Records went out of business in 1997, owing Regan (and others) a lot of money and leaving the album and the three singles “Mat’s Prozac”, “The Milkman” and “Dear Sir” hanging in the shops without promotion or replacement.
Mice were only together a little under two years – so if you missed any of their live gigs, this Mark Riley session from BBC Radio 1 should at least get you familiar with the band.
It’s suggested you crank this one up.