Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Interview with PART 1 singer Jake Baker!

Part 1 is just the sort of band that No Doves Fly Here was started to play: Great, overlooked dark postpunk and deathrock. Call us hopelessly romantic champions of the underdog, but Part 1 to this day have never been given their day in the sun, mainly existing in Rudimentary Peni's shadow and generally referred to only in the context of the better-known "sister" band. Although Ian Glasper's The Day the Country Died devoted a whole chapter to interviewing Part 1, the band is still sort of the ultimate cult dark British postpunk band.

This is an interview with Jake Baker, the singer on all of Part 1's official releases.

NO DOVES FLY HERE: Jake, what years were were you in Part 1? How did you come to join the band or meet the other members of Part 1?

JAKE BAKER: I was fortunate enough to be in the band from its conception in 1980 until the the end of 83. We met at school and got together shortly after leaving and after a few garage bands and line up changes we created PART 1.

NDFH: What does the name Part 1 mean? Who chose it and why?

JB: To me the name represented a new beginning which we found ourselves at after the garage bands had burnt out and kind of stamped the direction in which the music was now moving. I think it may have been Mark (Ferrelli, founder, guitarist, and later singer) & Chris (Pascoe, bass) who came up with the name?

NDFH: My understanding is Part 1 became a three-piece with Mark Ferelli taking over vocals during the last year of the band? You're all talking and on good terms again, but what caused you to leave the band back in the day?

JB: Yes, indeed, Mark had taken over the vocals after I left, which didn't surprise me at all... Although I never officially left the band i kind of lost the plot with it, and ran!

NDFH:  What bands at the time (late 70s or early 80s) were your favorite bands, and what punk (or non-punk) singers do you think had the biggest influence on your vocal style?

JB:  We came from similar backgrounds but each had different tastes in music... In the early days for me bands I loved UK Subs / Angelic Upstarts and then Discharge came along and blew me away... quite literally, me and Mark were lucky enough to see them in Stevenage and my ears bled!

NDFH: What were the best shows you played with Part 1? What was playing with Rudimentary Peni like?

JB: For me the best shows were at the Autonomy Centre in Wapping. (A venue founded with monies and benefits by Crass, Poison Girls, and others. -- Oliver) The few photos that appear on various websites are from those shows. It was a regular Sunday outing and you never knew who would turn up and play! Peni were so good live as were many others at the time: The Apostles, Blood & Roses, and Enigma to name but a few!

NDFH: Were you into HP Lovecraft, the occult, and/or the gothic imagery and aesthetic associated with Part 1 at the time?

JB: Not really. I liked the Gothic imagery and still do. I have a mate who collects unusual stuff and old prints, some of them are just incredible. Mark Ferrelli was a huge Lovecraft fan, and I once stole a book from the local library that he wanted!

NDFH: What about anarchist beliefs associated with many of the Crass groups? Did you ever subscribe to those beliefs, and what are your political leanings today? If your beliefs have changed, why?

JB: My beliefs haven't really changed much since then... .

NDFH: Have you gotten any weird correspondence over the years regarding Part 1? (Besides me, that is.) Creepy occult letters or anything? When did you start hearing from people about Part 1 in the modern, post-internet era? I imagine it's been growing.

JB: I used know a guy called Jon from Bromley who I met at the Anarchy Centre. He would write to me often and send the most bizarre things in the post. He was involved in a few bands at the time,:What is Oil, Hagar the Womb, I think? And I remember getting the letter from Jello Biafra who sent us $2 for the Funeral Parade EP! 

NDFH:  Did you ever talk with Pushead, who put your material out on his PusMort label in the 80s? Do you ever keep in touch still? What about with any of the members of Rudimentary Peni?

JB: I personally have had no contact with Pushead then or now! I believe Mark F. may have when the Pictures of Pain LP was released but you would have to ask him? The same goes for Rudimentary Peni. Mark & Nick Blinko got on well, though!

NDFH: So, I've heard you're back in the studio with original Part 1 members. Are you making new material? If so, can you give us any song titles...?

JB: Yes, we got together last year for a bash about and to see if it would work. In fact, it was fucking amazing! Since then we try and make it as regular as possible. You can imagine how difficult it has been trying to remember all those songs from nearly 30 years ago, but we are getting there! Who knows some new material may come out of it?

NDFH: What future, if any, Part 1 plans are there? Any live dates? Reissues? What happened to the BPP Records stuff?

JB:  The plan is to re-record the songs (we have around a dozen ready) and we have talked about putting another EP out -- but don't hold your breath! As for live dates, I would like to think we could do something and soon. We have offers from all over but not quite ready yet! What did happen to the BBP stuff?

A self-portrait by Jake Baker!

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