But, in actual fact, they’re fairly cheerful. They’re drawn to each other, like relatives to a funeral. They enjoy the misery and the ecstasy of english pop. Since releasing their debut album ‘(we are) Performance’ in 2007, the band have been elsewhere.
Joe Stretch is an internationally published novelist. He published his debut novel ‘Friction’ (Vintage/Random House) in 2008 and his second, ‘Wildlife’ (Vintage/Random House), in 2009. He is currently working on his third, provisionally titled, ‘One Hit Wonder’. Joe Cross and Laura Marsden, meanwhile, founded the band Kiss in Cities and are working towards the completion of a debut album.
Joe Cross has been working as a producer/songwriter, helping to develop, among others, Hurts (Sony). Over the past two years they have convened periodically to write and record the second Performance album, ‘Red Brick Heart’. The process was, as ever, a little dramatic. But the results were decent and, having secured a record deal, Performance are exiting their unfortunate lives in order to tweak the nose of the mainstream, after which, no doubt, they will auto-annihilate gleefully and return to their downbeat lives in the suburbs and centre of Manchester.
They would have been back sooner had they agreed to change their name, as a number of major labels stipulated. ‘I’m not going to change my name for a man who looks like polished fruit,’ remarked Joe Stretch. ‘They told us that it’s cool to seem new. I’m not sure about that.
Aren’t many new bands enchantingly crap? Plus, changing your name makes you a phoney, Rich, perhaps. But a phoney.’ The album’s producer, Cliff Jones, commented that, ‘I’ve honestly never met a more sombre bunch of people in my life. It’s unclear to me why they make pop music.’ Of Performance’s 2010 return, singer, Joe Stretch, said, ‘Well, it’s not like we’re ABBA. People don’t necessarily clamour for our return.
It’s just the odd email, in fact. But we’re a fuck sight better than half the rubbish that gets on television.’ Guitarist, Laura Marsden, remarked that, ‘Performance releasing a second record is mildly inconvenient for me. I’ve got quite a lucrative cottage industry pinching raspberries from the sides of dual carriageways and making jam. Hanging around Joe Stretch will be annoying.
He thinks he’s Salman Rushdie. But I love pop music. I love the band. I try to write a pop song everyday.’ Joe Cross said, ‘I feel the same about Performance as I do about death.
I know I have to die. I know I have to be in Performance. We actually make optimistic, upbeat music. But then Stretch moans over it.
He tries to make it depressing. He thinks that’s clever, perhaps.’ The band will be returning minus their long-serving keyboard player Hilary “Bill” Marsden, who has decided to pursue other interests. Performance would like to thank her sincerely for her service. Performance are a pop band.
They’re returning in 2010. They dislike phonyism. They struggle with depression. Expect blood, love and an amount of dancing.
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