Autoleisureland is a new project by North East musicians Dave Brewis and Paul Woods, but in the 1980s along with vocalist Martin Brammer, they were with Seaham soul trio The Kane Gang.
Originally signed to Newcastle label Kitchenware Records, they released two albums and scored UK hits in Closest Thing to Heaven, Respect Yourself and Motortown in the USA.
‘When we had London Records promo team the promotion was all over Europe and we always seemed to be going to a TV studio or Radio interview. We were once booked on the the live BBC teatime show Crackerjack with Stu Francis, other guests were Keith Harris and his duck Orville’.
‘We made a video for most singles and filmed a couple in the USA. Looking back it happened pretty fast – it was surreal at times’ said Dave Brewis.
The Kane Gang’s existence was smack bang in the middle of The Tube’s dominance of live music programming. I asked Dave how did you get the call ?
‘The Tube production team contacted Kitchenware Records to set up special filming for the four bands that were on the labels roster – The Kane Gang, Prefab Sprout, Hurrah! and the Daintees’.
‘Each band was filmed in a different location in Newcastle. We were filmed performing Smalltown Creed in the Barn restaurant at the end of Leazes Terrace and Prefab Sprout were filmed outside the Holy Jesus Hospital on the Swan House roundabout. It was broadcast in November 1983’.
What can you remember of filming your live appearance on The Tube ?
‘In April 1984 we recorded Smalltown Creed and Closest Thing To Heaven. We used live vocals over the instrumental tracks from the finished records that we had just recorded with producer Pete Wingfield’.
‘When broadcast, the balance of the microphones on Smalltown Creed was all over the place and you couldn’t really hear Paul Woods, although it sounded fine in the studio at the time. On Closest Thing To Heaven the vocal balance was fine and the sound was good’.
‘I’d seen this happen to a couple of other bands when I was in the audience in the early days, and it seemed a peril of live TV. It wasn’t unique to Tyne Tees studio’.
‘In November ‘84 we were on live, this time with our full touring band, and the crew got an excellent sound. We did Respect Yourself and Gun Law, and I remember Al Jarreau having a crack live band including Steve Gadd, and David Sanborn was there. Afterwards we may have gone to the pub next door, certainly went to the Big Market for a curry’.
Did nerves play a part in your live appearances ?
‘With the show being live and featuring so much stuff every week we just had to be ready to go whenever we were told, so until we had been on, we couldn’t really mix or relax’.
Did you meet any other musicians backstage or in the studio ?
‘I remember Grandmaster Flash & Co. being incredibly jet-lagged and half asleep on their dressing room floor, and in the corridors. But they did a dynamite performance, it looked great. Jeffrey Osborne was really good live, too’.
‘I remember talking to Roy Wood in the green room on one show. Anyone flying home on a Friday to Newcastle from Heathrow was bound to see a few bands on board’.
You can find most of The Kane Gang performances on the official YouTube channel.
For more info on Autoleisureland check the official website :
Alikivi October 2022