The Loft & The Weather Prophets special with Pete Astor in conversation with David Eastaugh
Pete Astor was born in England, in 1960.The Loft formed in 1983, the band signing to Creation Records and releasing two singles, "Why Does the Rain" and "Up the Hill and Down the Slope". The band split at the Hammersmith Palais in 1985. Astor then formed The Weather Prophets, continuing to be managed by Creation founder, Alan McGee, and signing to his short-lived Elevation label under the auspice of WEA4 releasing the album Mayflower in 1987. Returning to Creation for Judges, Juries and Horsemen, the band split in 1989.
Astor then embarked on a solo career with the albums Submarine (1990) and Zoo (1991) on Creation. Finding success in France, Astor moved to the Danceteria label to release Paradise (1992, as Peter Astor and the Holy Road), and God and Other Stories in 1992.
After becoming disillusioned with the music business, he disappeared from view for a number of years, returning in the late 1990s with his Ellis Island Sound and The Wisdom of Harry projects, both releasing music on 7", 12" and 10" for a variety of emerging independent labels such as Static Caravan Recordings,Wurlitzer Jukebox and Astor's own label, Faux Lux. The Wisdom of Harry eventually signed to Matador Records, while Ellis Island Sound, Astor's collaboration with David Sheppard, signed with Heavenly Recordings.
In 2005, Astor released Hal's Eggs, a solo album including radical reworkings of folk standards on Static Caravan Recordings. At around the same time, Cherry Red released compilation albums featuring his work: The Weather Prophets' Blues Skies and Freerides (The Best Of, 1986–1989),Injury Time (Solo 89–93), a selection of solo work from his two Creation and Danceteria albums.
The label also re-issued The Loft's Once More Round the Fair, a collection of their Creation recordings and session tracks. As well as reforming The Loft at this time for a limited number of shows, Astor continued to write, perform and release records with Ellis Island Sound on the Peace Frog label. The solo album, Songbox was released on the Second Language label in 2011, featuring an extra disc of cover versions of the albums' songs by Let's Wrestle, The Raincoats, Darren Hayman, Comet Gain, The Proper Ornaments, Mathew Sawyer, Dollboy and Piano Magic.
He works as senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; in 2014, he published his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids' Blank Generation, as part of Bloomsbury's 33⅓ series.
At the beginning of 2015, Astor signed to Fortuna Pop, releasing the single "Mr Music", followed by an album, Spilt Milk, recorded with James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, Proper Ornaments, and Veronica Falls.