I have tried to write songs. Songs that matter to people. Songs that help people get through the day. I have not focused that much on trying to sell the records. I believed that if I wrote the right song then the rest would take care of itself. I still believe it. I still think that if a song is right it will find some way of getting out there into peoples heart and soul. On bad days though I think that maybe Im far too naive and that the only way people will hear a song is if I shout loud enough so that people listen to it. All I know is I need to sell records and I want to sell records.
Most of my time has been spent writing, recording or gigging. I have spent very little time networking with journalists or A&R people. I want to connect with people who love music. I want to connect with people who want to let people know about music.
Unfortunately music industry people seem to be under so much pressure to always come up with the lowest common denominator that they struggle to look for anyone who has talent in their own right. This is not a rant its just the way it is. Record companies dont want artists they want blank pieces of paper. When they realise that people are not buying records they will suddenly become all enlightened. I cant wait for that day. In fact I should write a song about it.
The main reason why I make music is because I love writing and singing. It is also very good for me. Its hard to explain but it helps me survive in life. It started when punk was happening.
I was in a school band called Tin Ethics and Pete Wylie (he lived just round the corner from me and he had just made "You Better Scream", a great record) came to see us play live at Kirklands in Liverpool city centre. Pete loved us. We were so excited that we took a cassette of our live gig down to London to play to the record companies.
The only problem was that it was Sunday. That didnt bother us. We played it to the security people and they liked it. That was enough for us so we came back on the same day because we didnt know anyone in London. I think that is a symbol of how aware we were of the music industry. But crucially for me, I thought, if he can do it coming from Walton in Liverpool then so can I.
At that time (I was 17) 1979 I would do gigs wrapped up in bin bags or hanging upside down or something. I was very influenced by Peter Gabriel and Ian Curtis and would perform like a screaming banshee. I have wore so many masks while singing live. I was very intense and if the truth be known I probably would have been more at ease with aliens than human beings. I dont know where my head was but it wasnt on this planet. I used to frighten people. To be honest I used to frighten myself.
After forming a band called No Trace I eventually left to form the Jass Babies
People seemed to love us when we could get gigs but unfortunately they were few and far between. People didnt know how to take it because we were so aggressive, but I would be dressed up in a red twin set, which kind of blew it. The gigs were not enough to enable us to go full time in music. That was my only concern. I was on the dole. I didnt take my place up at university in London. All my mates had gone off to university but I had stayed behind. I was desperately trying to make music full time. It was very difficult.
Peter Hammil had come into my life. I heard the end of one of his songs on John Peel. I couldnt believe it. I had never heard anyone sing so honestly and so heartfelt. He changed my world. The same way Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, David Bowie and Nick Drake had changed it. The only other time that has happened to me was when I heard Bjork sing for the first time with The Sugarcubes.
I remember being angry because people didnt know about the good music that was out there. I knew that Peter Hammil didnt sell loads of records, which was a terrible shame because I thought he made the world a better place. He sang from his heart and showed his soul like a true warrior. Even then I was very conscious of good music being totally ignored. I didnt understand it then and I still dont.
The major change for me is that I have learnt to accept it as a part of life. Music will prevail. As far as Im concerned what is important is that I do the best I possibly can. No more and no less.
The Jass Babies did a peel session that went down a storm. We just couldnt get the gigs or any records out. We didnt really fit in with anything. That didnt stop us jamming every week. Those were important days for me musically. We never practised songs. We only ever jammed and improvised new material. It forced me to come up with stuff immediately and to be honest it has been the driving force of almost everything I have ever done since. It taught me that songwriting is at its best when the people involved are channels or transmitters rather than consciously setting out to write a specific song. To write songs is to be in a state of grace. In other words, if you write songs you need to be open and receptive. If you dont like that language, tough, its the truth.
I didnt know it at the time but there are not very many musicians who can let themselves fuck up horribly and be spontaneous. Also writing songs on the spot with three or four musicians gives a song a dynamic that is not found in a lot of music. You can get amazing coincidences where you all join forces together out of the chaos and the results can be truly magical. So even though the Jass Babies were a resounding commercial disaster. For me, they were the building blocks of all my subsequent songwriting. Besides that, I still work with David Whittaker and Steve Brown (the Jass Babies) and we still find those moments of magic.
In 1982 (I was 20) the Lotus Eaters started off with me singing on a portastudio (a little 4 track home studio) in Jerrys bedroom. This was a major change for me. I was now singing in a softer way. Whats more the melody from Jerrys guitar was a real joy to sing against. We did a version of the First Picture Of You on that portastudio.
It was something like 2 months later when we did our first Peel Session. As soon as it was broadcast our lives changed overnight. The record companies were on the phone immediately. It was a big shock to us. We thought we were good but we were not used to being appreciated by others. Having said that we werent complaining.
We eventually signed our own label Sylvan Records to the Arista record company. We recorded First Picture Of You with Nigel Gray. I liked Nigel. He was very quiet and very talented. It seemed like he understood us. The only problem was that for some of the tracks like can you keep a secret the peel session sounded better. Nigel liked our melodies but was very keen to change our rhythms. It was a horrible dilemma because he did understand us but we were worried that the album would have too much of a rock rhythm. Out of the five tracks we recorded with Nigel we were only happy with the First Picture Of You.
I remember having tonsillitis at the time. Nigel used to be a doctor so he got me some antibiotics without me going to the doctors. I took one after we had been in the studio all day. We were having a meal when I suddenly crashed out because the antibiotics were so strong. It cured the tonsillitis thats for sure. Anyway the point is that I think it probably would have been better if Nigel had done the whole album. That is not to say that I didnt appreciate working with the other producers. I did and I have learnt a lot from all of them.
We chose to try several other producers, which was a shame because it makes no sense of sin less cohesive and flowing as it could have been. Whats more it also made it more difficult because we recorded No Sense Of Sin in lots of different studios.
The Lotus Eaters supported Big Country on their UK tour. The Big Country boys were really nice people. There was no bullshit there at all, which I really admire and respect them for. Having said that we were the totally wrong band to support them. They were pure unadulterated male rock and roll.
We would go on and I would sit cross legged with sandals singing about the wonders of releasing your feminine side. I was singing about quiet spaces in your soul and the boys in the audience where probably thinking when can we get to the bar and obliterate all knowledge out of our minds. As you could imagine the audience must have thought what the fuck is going on! Is this some weird parallel universe? We are born to pogo not to explore our quiet meditative spaces. Especially some messed up male perception of female space.
People probably dont see this but The Lotus Eaters were pure rebellion. It was just the kind of rebellion that people were not ready for. Not then anyhow back in 1983. Now I am hoping that people are more receptive to change and are open to music that draws you in. Music that gives you the space to get to know yourself and how you work.
One of the best gigs we ever did was at Maidstone Prison. I wanted to play as many prisons as possible but it was very difficult getting those gigs because of the security problems. Fortunately we did get that gig and the atmosphere was brilliant. I would love to do some more gigs in prison. I will never forget the experience.
The gigs in France, Italy and Spain were a lot more natural for us. We were in tune with the atmosphere of the clubs over there. We were definitely more at home abroad, which was weird but real. It felt a lot less cynical. People didnt find our sensitivity repulsive the way some people in the UK did. As soon as I set foot in Italy I felt at home.
At that time for me personally the best bit about doing music was playing live. It was the honest bit. It was that that kept me going. Playing live and the b-sides to The Lotus Eaters singles. I still think they were our most successful recordings. Everything else was totally weird. I couldnt get my head round seeing myself as a business product. All my focus was on being good at my trade. That is, singing and writing songs.
The whole period was very pressurised and focused on selling records. There was the smell of short-term panic and desperation. There was also a sense that we were seen as the enemy by fellow musicians. I remember Elvis Costello slagging "Out On Your Own" off on Radio Ones roundtable. He found it very offensive.
His comments upset me. I found it very hard to understand why he found it so offensive. I would like to meet him again and ask him some questions to find out if his opinions on music have changed over the years. Having said that I respect his opinion. It was however quite difficult being criticised by people who I for some reason thought may have been on our side. It seems not!
At the end of The Lotus Eaters the pressure had taken its toll. The very thing I worked hard to avoid had happened. The idea of building something up to just fall down felt like such a waste. I was very demoralised and down. I was totally devastated and in no state for anything. If it wasnt for Pete Davies I would have probably stayed in that state. Pete Davies was the manager for The Lotus Eaters. I didnt really feel able to be involved in planet earth never mind the music business.
In 1985 after The Lotus Eaters I started working with David Hughes who later formed a band with Thomas Lang. We recorded a whole new album of songs called First Days and started gigging. But it kind of fell apart after a year or so. This was my first music that was released under my name. I released an EP called Selfish.
Unfortunately the record was banned by most of the shops because there was a pencil drawing of a woman masturbating on the cover. Maybe if the drawing was of a woman killing or being violent there would have probably been no problem. Anyway I wrote Yours The Spirit That Soared with Gerald Quinn. I was finding new ways of writing songs. I was becoming more confident writing music as well as the words.
When I was about 25 (1987) I started working with David Whittaker and Steve Brown again. This time we worked with Steve Cummerson on guitar instead of Robert Boardman. Steve was more or less living in Hope Street at the time. We would get up and as soon as we had made a coffee we would go down into a cellar. Steve played guitar while I played the bass. Even though we were skint and socially inept with no prospects at all in music we were very focused. Even if the focus was somewhat bleak to say the least.
We recorded the Slap In The Face album and did a few Radio One sessions. It is very hard to look back clearly but I think I was beginning to truly despair in everything.
I held nothing back and let the music show how I felt about things. There was no compromise and no consideration for anything but the songs. I let all my deep black thoughts out and wrote songs about racists about politicians about moneymen about aids about organised religionsabout machismo both male and female about Chernobyl about the darkest sides of people and nature about life in Liverpool for meabout my dreadful state of mind. It shocked me when I heard the finished album. Some tracks I left off because they were too disturbing such as "Are you Happy".
When you are in a band you have to compromise to a certain extent and so it was with The Lotus Eaters. To be honest it wasnt compromising with Jerry. It was having to deal with the outside world. It was a bit of a nightmare. I remember saying things about how I believed in this ideal and that ideal to some journalist for an interview. Right beside me doing a separate interview with another journalist was the band Alphaville who had a single called Big In Japan or something.
Anyway their singer was saying exactly the same thing as me. More or less word for word. I was horrified. Not that I am accusing Alphaville of being false. It may have been real for them. In fact I am convinced it was. But the fact remains that when a person says something there is no way of knowing how deep those words go.
It meant that there was no way of people being able to recognise what is real and what is false. Here was I saying things this poor journalist had probably heard from every musician he had ever interviewed. Even though I was being sincere he probably thought it was meaningless nonsense. Not a nice thought.
A lot of people found it difficult to understand how I could be in The Lotus Eaters and write about the calmer aspects of beauty and the higher things in life coming from working class Liverpool. They were even more confused after I showed the sheer aggressive aspects of my character and thoughts by making a record about the darker side of life. The fact is people are complex and they are made up of opposing factors. The Lotus Eaters was about achieving order out of the chaos. The 'Slap in the face for Public Taste' album was about expressing the deep chaos I was feeling. I didnt know it then but I do now.
Having said that it was still voted best album of the year in the American Music Week magazine. Even so it still didnt sell. Mind you the single was called "Fascist Scum", which is hardly Radio One. The Slap In The Face album shows that I had given up on life and was struggling to have faith in anything. I felt like I was fighting for life by staring death and all forms of hate in the face. I was also releasing the more obviously rebellious nature in me. The kind of rebellion that was loud and very unforgiving. Im very proud of that music but also very glad I somehow survived all those black feelings.
Getting all that black stuff off my soul gave me the chance to have some fun. So we did. We went straight back into the studio (Pink Studios) and recorded what was meant to be a dance album. I was in love with Funkadelic and wanted to get some funk into my soul. We ended up with the Id Sacrifice Eight Orgasms With Shirley MacClaine Just To Be There album. We wore wigs and sunglasses and flares and just let the music play. It was also as the title suggests centred around sex. Most of the time anyway.
As far as my professional peers were concerned I had lost the plot entirely. What on earth was I trying to do. Sell records or have the time of my life? I definitely didnt give a fuck and driven by my depression embarked on a roller coaster ride of fun time. I hid behind the alluring faces of pleasure. It felt like the perfect way to escape. And it seemed a very effective way of achieving that escape.
It sounds weird but anyone who has been there will know what Im talking about. I hope so anyway because it is really horrible to feel like you are completely alone with no-one able to understand what the hell you are going on about.
I then started an album with a band called Treatment and released a few tracks on compilation records (Under The Fascist Thumb, Fire On Petrol ). We did a few gigs but yet again couldnt get enough of them. I realised the only way I was going to get gigs is by running my own club. So I threw myself into running clubs. If the world was not coming to me or remotely interested in the things I was doing then I would create my own world. That was the reasoning anyway. A bit scary really!
Anyway, eight orgasms was my way of starting to be a part of the dance culture. Again it was the most rebellious and revolutionary thing I could do at the time. Liverpool was a museum of stale rock values and rock music. People had not moved on and Liverpool was dying on its rock feet. It was definitely a stagnant period. Liverpool musicians seemed to be copying what had been successful before and not thinking too much about what the newer music will be like.
As usual people thought I was mad but this time I was right. With the help of the F-people who worked on the art installations and projections and the Dj-ing talents of John MacCready, the club became a haven for freaks and creatives and most importantly music. Eight orgasms was the platform for the Donny and Marie Handbag Revolution and Suicide Murder and the Sunshine sucks. The Donnies were aggressive, twisted, chaotic and highly sexualised. The Suicides were completely improvised and quite melodic.
It was now 1989 and the time for G-love. G-Love was a collaboration between Eight Productions, John Kelly, 3-Beat Records and a pure core of music lovers from here on in known as G-lovers. This club was the biggest club in the country at the time and it was just a wild free-for-all. It was anything goes. It was music, music, music. It was about what people had been hungry for. G-lovers were there at the beginning and leading the way. We all lived and breathed the new wave of dance dreams. G-lovers connected with each other. G-lovers knew one another even if they were strangers.
It is now 2001 and people still come up to me on the street and ask me about G-Love. They tell me that it was unbelievable and there has never been anything like it since and that they miss it and why did it have to end. They then start to thank me and I tell them that it was only good because the people who went were allowed to be a part of it. It was good because the G-Lovers made it that way. It was a one off and an unbelievable thing to be a part of. It was also the home of the Eight record label and studio. G-love mutated after a year or so into Deep and Devastating and Nu thing. Both of these mutated clubs never reached the legendary status of G-Love but they were still rammed pack every month with guests ranging from Bjork to Massive Attack.
I had now started writing, recording and producing for different singers. Singers like Marina van Rooy andConnie Lush. My partners in crime in Eight were Steve Cummerson, Ian Martin Wright and the ever present Pete Davies. After taking the club all round the country and gigging a few nights a week as well as making the records we were all completely exhausted. Besides the fourteen singles we released on eight records and various other labels like Deconstruction we also made the Give Love album.
By the time 1991 came around we were all total wrecks. We had played Flesh at the Hacienda, Back to Basics, Londons Rock Garden and Love Ranch. Ran the Deep and Devastating nights at the Merseyside Academy ,and Newcastle Rockshots, clubs in Brighton and Glasgow and countless others. We also played at many universities. We did so many clubs and gigs that we lost count.
My way of taking a break was to record the Coloursex album - Deep and Devastating. This was an album made with the very skilful help of Danny Griffiths and Mark Phythian. The songs were more chillout and not meant for dancing to. As an album it was never released. There were quite a few gigs that involved me wearing a wolfs mask and nothing else. It was also released as an ep on the eight label.
At the end of 1992, it was the beginnings of my extensive collaboration with Andy Stevenson. As I hinted at earlier I was completely burnt out and in no fit state to record anything really. But I went round to Andys studio and I played the piano in his front room. It was very relaxing and very much needed.
We started to just make music that was for us and not for any external DJ or club. We called the project G-metrix. We had both been heavily involved in the dance scene and both needed rehabilitation. Our time out appeared in the form of two instrumental albums. The first was called Modern Day Miracle. The second was called Kiss The Vision. Neither of them were released. They were made for our own state of mind. A labour of love.
Next up was the Clay Feet album by the Jass Babies in 1993. I had been wearing so many different masks over the last few years that I needed to find my own voice again. David Whittaker helped me do this. We recorded this in the smallest room in the world. There wasnt any room to breathe so it was a good job that we got on really well. This record was never released.
It was a personal record, and it did me the world of good. It was a real relief to get away from the relentless formulas that were thriving in dance music at the time. It was also a very spontaneous and primitive record. Most of it is improvised.
1994 brought the Pure Journey album Simple Harmonic Motion. The album was just about to be released when the record company went bankrupt which was a major blow. Nonetheless, it is a record that Andy Stevenson and I are very proud of. It features vocals from Connie Lush as well as myself. Love outside of love is a great duet between Connie and I.
1995 was my last year in Liverpool before I moved up to Edinburgh to go and study at the university there. My life was a mess I needed to get myself some space from my own history. I realised with horror that I was completely lost and burnt out. I had no answers so I needed to get some rest and some space and some direction. I needed to start again. I needed to find out if I should carry on making music.
As a human being I had made some mega wrong choices and I needed to take responsibility for that. As a human being I was not adding up to much. I needed to be a human being not just a music machine. A person who makes the world a better place.
At this time I wrote two songs that mean a lot to me. They are Hello and Face the pain. I also wrote an acoustic album with Barry Sutton, which is called Earthstate. Again this album was an important album for me. It is a very personal record. I was saying goodbye to Liverpool and possibly saying goodbye to music so it was a very emotional record.
1997 saw me writing another album with Jerry Kelly of The Lotus Eaters. It was great to be working together again and to be honest it was as if we hadnt stopped. It was very natural and easy. The songs were very us and we felt like we had developed as people and musicians. The bond was strong.
Im very happy we made Silentspace. I think it helped us both find music again. Music for musics sake. Not music to rake in the money but music to help us find the wonders of life. Another important aspect of the Silentspace record out on Vinyljapan is the fact that we got to work with Ronnie Stone. Ronnie helped me find my feet again and was always keen to encourage us. He has definitely played an instrumental role in motivating me towards taking on the trials and tribulations of making music full time.
We are now in the year 2001 and I have just finished writing and recording a new Peter Coyle album called The Mood Machine. Music can change your life. Music is my mood machine. And music and mood are important parts of everyones life, whether they recognise it or not. This album has just been released.
For this album I wrote the songs with a new-found friend in Steve-Allen Jones. Steve is a keyboard player based in Wales. We worked on the songs for the album in his studio before we took it to Ronnie Stones studio to master it. We were very lucky to also have the brilliant guitar of David Cottrell as well as the superb bass and drums from Steve Jones and Tim Whittaker.
January 2002 will finally see the Jass Babies album Open Shores finished together with the 'Earthstate'album by Peter Coyle. The Lotus Eaters are also looking to release a new album towards the end of 2002.
Music knows no boundaries or limits and I have done my utmost by staying as true to that as humanely possible in this silly world of money, glamour and fame. To put it simply I have always tried to be sincere, free, honest and original. Music that moves you with a real melody and an earthy rhythm is as beautiful as life itself. People who pride themselves on cynicism find that kind of language repulsive. I make no apologies for this.
My work has never been written for the music business in any way shape or form. My main aim is to give to people what I was given when I listened to music made by Genesis (Peter Gabriel), Yes, Peter Hammill, David Bowie, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, The Beatles, Stones, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and many unbelievable others etc. When I hear music, life is wonderful. It seems strange to say that now when computer games capture the young imaginations. For me personally there is still nothing like music to change the world from a humdrum place to a magical healing and enlightening environment. For others music may not be as central to their lives.
Since 1980 I have released many albums, 20 singles, 3 EP'S on major international and independent record labels. Add to this I have recorded 14 BBC Radio One sessions, 7 videos, numerous national and international television and radio appearances, as well as extensively touring in all sorts of guises throughout the UK and Europe. I have written for dozens of other successful artists. I founded some of the leading club dance nights in Liverpool setting the stage for Cream's phenomenal success. My main aim has been to be to stay true to the spirit of music, which for me meant being as varied and original as possible and not stay slavishly in one genre of music. An important consequence of this is that I need to like the records I have made.
Summary of most significant hits and misses
No sense of sin (Arista/B.M.G Records) 1984
The first album of the Lotus Eaters. "Some memorable songs and a ground breaking sound that was decades before it's time."
A slap in the face for public taste 1988
Independent Album of the year 1988 (US Billboard magazine)
"In a few years time this will be a landmarkCoyle insinuates and tricks into hearts made flabby by too much pop paphe has something special. That something is talent. A rare commodity in any shape or form. Here it is given expression in a set of jagged unhinged beautiful songs."
Give Love an Eight compilation 1992
"An album that captures the spirit and energy of this small label, specialising in tough dance rhythms and raw soulful vocals. A must for dj's and clubbers who want to keep up with the developments currently occurring in British dance music"
First Picture of You 1983
UK Top 20, turntable hit of the year still an enduring summer classic
UK Top 20 club chart. "Hailed as the sexiest single of the year."
All I want 1990/1996
Top 30 US album chart entry. Originally written and included on the The Lightning Seeds MCA debut album - Cloud Cuckoo Land Subsequently an international hit single when recorded by ex Bangles singer Suzanna Hoff
It Hurts 1995
Number 1 in Italy when covered by top club act.
silentspace 2000 vinyljapan
Critically acclaimed second lotus eaters album after a 17 year wait
Stay Deep in the Music 2002
Brand new solo album with a new band
stay deep in the music
music made in liverpool (mmil001)
In 1983 Peter Coyle released the single "First Picture of You" with the Lotus Eaters. Twenty years on it is still being played worldwide, reminding us of those lost summers.
In 1987, Coyle won the US Billboard Album of the Year for his critically acclaimed solo album "A Slap in the Face for Public Taste".
"Unlike many of his contemporaries who are quite happy to squeeze every last penny out of their fans by reliving past glories, Peter Coyle moves onwards and upwards".
Coyle is uncompromisingly independent. During an eclectic career at home and abroad, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Susannah Hoff, The Lightning Seeds and Connie Lush. Being a part of dance music culture when it was music, Coyle created one of Liverpool's most influential nightclubs, G-Love, collaborating this time with DJs Nick Warren, Sasha and John Kelly.
"Peter Coyle's dulcet vocals ache with profound yearning"
Coyle's music is positive, emotive and healing. It has also been described as mesmerizing, passionate and haunting. Following from last year's intensely personal "The Mood Machine", his new album, "Stay Deep in the Music", heralds a new era in Coyle's musical odyssey. Coyle has put together a new band to support the vision - music that is from the heart. Music that connects with the spirit. Music that empowers the audience.
The album "Stay Deep in the Music" (music made in liverpool) to be released in late August for the UK
The single and video "Reach for the Sun" (Know-It-All Records) to be released during weekend of July 4th for the US
The album "Mood Machine" (Know-It-All Records) to be released on September 11th for the US
A tour is planned for the US and the Far East during the summer, before returning in the autumn for UK performances.