British singer-guitarist Tom Cullinan, former frontman of Th’ Faith Healers, is his own worst critic. He thinks his new band, the trippy quintet Quickspace, can do better than what it has offered on its self-titled debut album, released in November on Slash/London.
To be honest, Cullinan’s not too attached to the album.
“It went astray and kind of annoyed me,” he said recently from his home in London. “It took ages to do and cost shitloads of money and I think the result doesn’t really justify that.
“First off, we bought all our own recording equipment and we overran on time and had to move places and our machines broke down. We had to move three times, and by the end of it, we were up in (singer) Nina (Pascale’s) attic mixing it, and it was really … ow.”
Cullinan’s refreshing honesty makes Quickspace’s debut all that more appealing. He’s a little hard on himself; an atmospheric track like “Rise,” punctuated by Pascale’s beguiling voice, should feel right at home at college radio.
That doesn’t matter much to Cullinan. He’s too busy working on the next Quickspace album, tentatively due in May.
“It’s part of the distant past,” he said of the debut LP. “I haven’t heard it much either. I haven’t gotten around to sitting down and playing it.
“I’m over here, I don’t know how it’s doing over there (in America), I don’t know what’s happening with it. I hear that there’s a problem with distribution, but I’ve been told it’s gone down quite well at college radio.”
Don’t get him wrong, Cullinan is committed to Quickspace. It’s just that he has faced several major roadblocks along the way.
It began in 1995 when Cullinan left Th’ Faith Healers and started his own label, Kitty Kitty. He recorded the single, “Quickspace Happy Song No. 1,” by himself and later added bassist Sean Newsham and other members to the group. A few singles later, the others departed, leaving Cullinan and Newsham in the lurch on the eve of an important gig opening for The Grifters.
Did Cullinan have doubts?
“I had doubts before it happened,” he said, laughing. “People who leave bands normally have good reasons. I just had to act quickly and carry on.”
Undaunted, Cullinan put new pieces to his hypnotic-groove puzzle literally overnight. He recruited Pascale, who was dating a member of fellow Kitty Kitty act Penthouse, and then added keyboardist Paul Shilton and drummer Chin, both of whom played for the first time at the gig.
Positive reactions to the singles “Friends” and “Rise” led to a hasty recording session for Quickspace’s full-length debut album.
“We just wanted to get it out, get it out of the way and do the next one, really,” Cullinan said. “We rush-released it over here, before last Christmas (1996).”
Quickspace didn’t waste any time. It went right back into the studio and, Cullinan said, they have enough material for a double album.
“It will probably be released as a single album, really edited down,” he said. “We’re getting into doing songs in different ways. If you come up with a melody for a song, you can either leave it there or explore it, which is what we’re going to do.
“Our sound won’t change drastically. It’s really hard, though, when you’re in the thick of it, surrounded by all of it, it’s hard to have an objective view, but I think we’re on the right track.”
BWF (before we forget): Fans can go into Quickspace on the Web @ www.quickspace.com.
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