THE CRIMEA

Interviews

3395806251There’s a few interviews with band members out there, but I’ll start with a great one with Andy by the Lake District’s News & Star paper. Random band member fact: Andy has a daughter. Who knew. Just hit more to read it in full.


End of the road for rock band The Crimea

It’s not often that a record is released as a memorial, a tribute, a tombstone. But more than a decade after getting together, The Crimea have called it a day with their third and final offering, a 22-track double album called Square Moon.

Promo Shot 2013
The Crimea, from left, Andy Stafford, Owen Hopkin, Davey MacManus and Joe Udwin

The end is sad, but inevitable, according to keyboardist Andy Stafford.

“It is sad, it is sad,” says the lad from Cockermouth. “But we have been getting on with our own thing for the past few years. It was just the right time to call it a day.”

The London-based foursome won a dedicated following and critical praise with their cleverly-crafted songs.

They flirted with mainstream success, but never quite broke out of their cult status.

They were a favourite band of legendary DJ John Peel, their debut album, Tragedy Rocks, was released in 2005 and the first single from the album, Lottery Winners On Acid made it to 31 in the singles charts.

They appeared on Top of the Pops a year later playing White Russian Galaxy, but despite critical praise, that failed to dent the charts as well.

They toured with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins in America, supported Kings Of Leon on their first UK tour and also backed Travis, Primal Scream, Stereophonics and Ash.

In December 2006 they supported Snow Patrol on their UK arena tour ending at Wembley Arena.

“We’ve had a brilliant run. It would have been great to have got to that level,” says Andy.

Lack of radio airplay is part of the reason they never quite made the breakthrough.

“The music scene is so fast-moving now. It is a case of being in the right place at the right time with a particular type of music.

“We’ve never really been that zeitgeist type of band.”

The decision to split was made by Andy, Joe Udwin and Owen Hopkin when singer-songwriter Davey MacManus announced he was off to South Africa to start an orphanage.

“Davey has been spending some time in South Africa, training to be a nurse. He’s qualified now and wants to go back and raise money for an orphanage in Soweto.

“He is the lynchpin for the band, he writes all the lyrics and most of the songs, he is The Crimea really.”

Andy says it was never the plan to release the new album then split.

“Our last album was out in 2007 so it has been six years, but we’re really proud of the new album. It’s very classy,” he says.

He’s not the only one who thinks so. Q Magazine has awarded it four out of five stars.

Secrets Of The Witching Hour was their second album and was offered as a free download in 2007 in a pioneering move.

Since then, the four have remained friends, but have got on with their own projects.

Andy has teamed up with Joe to record some music and they have written music for Muller yoghurt TV adverts. He is also part of the marketing team for the Firebox online retail site.

“I would like to say that since 2008 I’ve gone off the rails or travelled the world, but I’m married with a baby girl now!” he laughs.

Despite the band break-up, Andy hasn’t completely closed the door on music. He still writes with Joe and has some plans of recording more music.

In the meantime, the 36-year-old has fond memories to recall, such as playing an outdoor gig in Fort Lauderdale, then touring America with Billy Corgan – and a thundering set at the Square Orange in Keswick and another gig at his old school.

“Yes, the Square Orange was brilliant!” he remembers. “It was packed, there were people outside. We were doing quite well and getting played on the radio and we have quite a few fans there.

“Then, six years ago, we played at the sixth form party at my old school in Cockermouth. It was good, I felt very old though and all my teachers were still there.

“When you are young, you have this idea what it is like to be in a band. Looking back on the times we have had, it is one hell of an experience, but it comes down to working really hard.

“People think it is all about the fame game and that side is attractive, but you want to make music and make music you are proud of. We were always a musical band and we’re proud of what we’ve done.”

Square Moon is available on double vinyl, double CD or digital from Alcopop Records. Go to www.thecrimea.net for more information.

Review from the News & Star, 9th August 2013.

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One Response to “Interviews”

  1. Saba says:

    It was fantastic

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