listen to a lost 1981 recording from the pre-morrissey smiths

Drummer Si Wolstencroft recently found the cassette in his cellar while moving house.

by Hannah Ongley
Oct 24 2016, 3:46pm

Manchester Evening News

Just prior to when The Smiths formed in 1982, the band's future members were recording demos as experimental funk outfit Freak Party. The pre-Morrissey band consisted of The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke, plus drummer Simon Wolstencroft — who made the rather poor decision not to join The Smiths, spent the better half of the last three decades regretting it, and recently stumbled across Freak Party's old demos in his cellar while moving house. The lost cassette features two tracks — "Firefly" and "Don't Push Your Luck" — which won't sound exceptionally familiar to Smiths fans. According to Manchester Evening News, Freak Party's early sound (and its name) was inspired by Parliament and Funkadelic.

Wolstencroft is now releasing the demo as Kraak Therapy on his own record label Funky Si Records. 500 vinyl-only copies will be available in London record stores today ahead of a digital release on November 26. Speaking of his decision not to split from the band that went on to influence artists from James Franco to T-Pain, the drummer suggests that Morrissey's penchant for lyrics inspired by extremely violent child killings was partly to blame. "I said, 'Thanks, but no thanks, Johnny'," he says. "The music wasn't funk any more, it was songs about the Moors murderers, and that wasn't for me."

Hear a snippet of "Firefly" below, featuring vocals from Angie Brown and additional guitar from "the fifth Smith" Craig Gannon.


Text Hannah Ongley