FM to WEB - Tony Wilson by Jez Kerr

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Tony Wlson changed the music ... Do I need to say anything else? Mythical figure and certainly a man who was always full of new ideas. Unfortunately, he left too early, but his unique work will be with us till eternity.

Today Jez Kerr from the legendary A CERTAIN RATIO (and of course it's our honour) writes exclusively for the column. Martin Hannett (at 4-5 leading producers of all time), Factory Records, Tony Wilson and youthful dreams drew souls forever ...



My memories of Tony and Factory Records are all fond memories. A Certain Ratio had played several gigs at Band on the wall, which were organized by 'The Musicians Collective'. Many Manchester bands started in this way - Joy Division, Vini Reilly,The Fall, Manicured Noise, The Distractions,The Passage. At this point ACR didn't have a drummer, the band consisted of Simon Topping and Peter Terrell the 2 original founders, and myself and Martin Moscrop.
Rob Gretton (Joy Divisions manager) saw us play there and asked us to play at the new 'Factory' night at the Russell club in Hulme, so thatTony could see us play. We played, and that night Tony asked us to do a single with the newly formed 'Factory Records'.

After 6 months or so as a 4 piece, and after the single "All night Party/ The thin boys" We wanted a drummer,and it was Tony that found Donald Johnson (the funkiest drummer).
This was now the line-up and Tony, along with Alan Erasmus, were managing the band.

The albums, 'The Graveyard graveyard and the ballroom', 'To Each...', 'Sextet', 'I'd like to see you again', and 'Force' were all recorded for Factory.

I remember the excitement of recording our first single,(All night Party) produced by the gifted and talented Martin Hannet,and recorded at Cargo studios in Rochdale.Martin made the two guitarist play their parts over and over and when they asked why he replied, " i want you to play it faster, but slower." Also great memories of the Factory offices at 86 Palatine road, where the musicians on factory physically made and put together the first 'Factory Sampler'

It was Tony who really believed in the band, he used money which his mum had left him to finance our first trip to New York and the recording of our first Studio Album "To Each" in East Orange, New Jersey. Martin Hannet was producing the album and also doing our live sound at the gigs. It was Tony who found the loft apartement in Tribeca, on Hudson street, through a friend of Robert de Niros,Chuck( who played Mori in 'Goodfellas) We stayed on the first floor for a month, (De Niros place was on the top floor) while we recorded the album and did various gigs.



There is a film of our time there called Tribeca, made by Michael Shamberg. While we were filming and playing percussion in the loft, Harvey Keitel knocked on the door and told us to keep the noise down. It was in New York that we saw our first Samba bands and were heavily influenced by the power of percussion.

Tony really helped us as a band, without his influence we would have had a much less interesting early career. He is sadly missed.
jez






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