C86 Show - Indie Pop

Flowered up with Des Penney

December 20, 2020

Flowered up with Des Penney in conversation with David Eastaugh

The band was formed in mid-1989 by singer Liam Maher along with lifelong friend, Darren 'Des' Penney. Des would co-write lyrics and manage the band. The original line up included the late John O'brien on drums, Joe Maher, Liam's younger brother, on guitar and bass player Andrew Jackson. Simon Gannon would guest on keyboard and this line up would play the first two gigs. After a few changes in personnel, the settled line-up included keyboardist Tim Dorney and drummer John Tuvey, with dancer Barry Mooncult adding to their live shows. After releasing two singles ("It's On" and "Phobia") on Heavenly Records, both of which were minor hits, Flowered Up signed to London Records and recorded their only album, A Life With Brian, in 1991. "Take It" had lyrics from Joe Strummer. The group appeared on the covers of both Melody Maker and NME before releasing the album.

A Life With Brian contained many of their popular live songs, as well as new versions of the previously released singles. Not long afterwards, Flowered Up released the 13-minute-long single "Weekender" on Heavenly, with a video directed by W.I.Z. starring Lee Whitlock and Anna Haigh. Despite the group's - and Heavenly's - refusal to compromise on a standard-length edit for radio play (although two "radio edits" were circulated, neither really addressed the needs of radio programmers, as one was merely the full-length version but with the two instances of the phrase "fuck off" muted, while the other reduced the length of the intro, but still ran for over 12 minutes), the track went on to become their biggest hit, reaching number 20 in the UK Singles Chart. After much-publicised drug problems with some members of the band, and unproductive (and some unreleased) studio work, the band split up. Keyboardist Tim Dorney went on to form Republica.

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