CLINIC are: Ade Blackburn (guitar, keyboards, vocals); Brian Campbell (bass, backing vocals); Hartley (guitar, clarinet, keyboards) and Carl Turney (drums)
John Peel himself has named Clinic as "One of the best bands we have have in this country," and that's no surprise. CLINIC sound like no other band. As individual as Suicide or The Monks, as self sufficient as The Residents, they describe a twilit place, the streets surrounding John Carpenters Precinct 13, the disco on the inhabited side of the moon. Its a sinisterly sexy locale, with a dark sense of humour, and its fully explored on their brilliant second album, Walking With Thee, released March 4.
"This is the first proper tour we've done since the last LP we released," explains Ade. "So it's the first one for about 18 months. If you haven't done it for a while it seems much fresher."
Clinic are famous for decking themselves out in surgeons masks and uniforms, in a similar vein to Slipknot, although less scary and more surreal.
They're like musical doctors, easing away the injuries and pain from the day through music.
So what's the worst injury Ade's had?
"We've all had quite a few in our time," says Ade. "The worst one I had was when I was seven. I was climbing over some railings and a spike went into my arm, so that's the worst one I've had."
Despite their doctor stylee get-up none of them would like to be doctors if they weren't musicians. "The hours are too long and the pay's too bad," says Ade.
Although they've achieved a lot already, having been invited by Radiohead to accompany them on their Kid A Tour and now touring themselves, there are a few dreams left to strive for.
"The Rolling Stones would be a dream collaboration for me," says Ade. "Just to see what the whole set up is and to check out their entourage, and stuff."
But for the time being, touring with Radiohead was pretty special.
"Right from the off they were quite open with us," explains Ade. "They never made us feel like we were the support band. And it was so well organised, it was almost easier to play those support gigs than smaller gigs we've done, because you just get treated with respect."
"Also because we're not very loud people, I think we were on a similar wavelength on a personal level to Radiohead themselves as they're pretty reserved too."
Clinic are very glad to have respect of DJs such as John Peel and well respected luminaries such as Radiohead, Pulp and Super Furry Animals.
"It's really flattering with those sort of people. Because you know that they listen to a hell of a lot of music!" says Ade. "As well as being involved in the music business, they're massive fans of music, so it's not just a compliment from anyone. They really listen to the music and consider what's unique about it."
So who are Ade's favourite artists?
"I like The Coral from Liverpool and I've always like the Beta Band too. And Miles Davis is in my CD player at the moment. I also like 10 Benson. They've got quite a sly sense of humour. "
But then so have Clinic with song titles like, 'IPC Sub Editors Dictate Our Youth.'
Having formed in 1997, Clinic are firm friends as well as band members. So how does Ade feel about bands who are thrown together? Does he sympathise with them?
"I like bands like the Monkees and they were the equivalent at the time of Hear'say or Westlife, or whatever," says Ade. "But I think that the way they're put together doesn't seem to aim to last longer than a year or two, and they don't seem to have the best advice or songwriters behind them, so with bands like Hear'say, it's bound to end up in arguments."
So what do each of Clinic's band members bring to the group personality wise?
"Carl (drummer) is a stabilising quite solid person within the band," says Ade. "He's quiet but always the voice of reason. Bryan (bass) is the organisational one within the band. He's business-minded and makes sure we're on time. Hartley (keyboard/guitarist) is the most artistic one and the most erratic, but in a good way, and I'd say I'm kind of the mediator between everyone else, a bit like Carl but more outspoken."
A great combination by the looks of it. Their latest offering, Walking With Thee is fantastic album, and so says the press release:
"An iced electric piano invites us into the deserted nightclub of Harmony. The haunting bleat of a melodica bids us Welcome. And if these tunes, and the chilling Come Into Our Room, describe a Hitchcockian calm, then the antic clatter of The Equaliser, the nicely negative title track, and the ferocious Pet Eunuch embrace the subsequent storm."
Ade's description of the Walking With Thee single is far more humble.
"It's a kind of warped party record. There are garagey sounds to it, and it's a simple song to throw yourself a round to. And we've tried to use different instruments and sounds throughout the album, because we like to try to use as many different things as possible."
So what's the Clinic process of making their fine and unique music?
"We start off from the rhythm of the song, and because of that you can take more liberty's with the rest of the way it's put together. We get a strong basis for that first. And that helps to get a more original sound to the song."
And does Ade have any advice for unsigned artists?
"Yeah. It's best not to jump in and record songs and push them around," advises Ade. "It's better to allow yourself time to develop. And then, as much as possible, try to do some singles on your own, like we did."
"If you can do it that way you may find record companies coming to you and getting radio play from John Peel. That puts you in a much stronger position and gives you more credibility. Record labels want to find people who are committed, so if you've done that in advance of dealing with them, it shows you're really serious and ambitious."
Something that Clinic have proved they are. To coincide with the releases, CLINIC will be performing the following dates :
Clinic Tour Dates
Fri 01 DUNDEE On Air East
Sun 03 MANCHESTER Roadhouse
Mon 04 MIDDLESBROUGH Cornerhouse
Tue 05 LEEDS Cockpit
Wed 06 BRISTOL Fleece & Firkin
Thu 07 LONDON Astoria
Wed 27 STOKE Sugarmill
Thu 28 EDINBURGH La Belle Angel
Fri 01 NOTTINGHAM Boat Club
Sat 02 LIVERPOOL Stanley Theatre
Mon 04 CARDIFF Ifor Bach
Tue 05 EXETER Cavern
Wed 06 NORTHAMPTON Roadmenders
Thu 07 OXFORD Zodiac
After their UK tour Clinic are off to America, as their last album did quite well there.
"You get such a kick from playing somewhere as far away from here as that."
And if anyone needs musical therapy courtesy of Clinic, it's the USA. Happy healing guys!