Stuart Murray of The Fast Cars
Fast Cars smack dab in the center of a busy road, as photographed by Kevin Cummins.
Manchester was establishing its place in the world in the seventies; what is now a global city was then a concrete-blanketed mill town still sick with growing pains and sorely missing the womb like period of stability and rapid growth that had accompanied its heavy industry boom. The tinny sounds Mancunians heard in their daily lives, the rushing of highways, the clatter of city life- were being expressed by the hollow dynamics created in the empty urban landscapes around them- Sound’s ideal territory for reverberation. Art which was influenced by this bleak immediate environment was just one of the ways in which Manchester exerted its influence upon culture reared within it. Noise was being formulated into a unique new genre Manchester thrived in creating, post punk. It was built around experience and the ambient noises derived from local soundscapes. However, amongst the greater world’s teenage daydreams of Mark E Smith’s atonal snark and abrasive attitude existed another, less storied grouping which the post-punk revolution had helped distinguish.
Following the initial explosion of 1977 punk, two (admittedly amorphous and vague) factions had emerged within the rock-related camp; those who played primarily for their own authentic enjoyment and the entertainment of their audience, and those who believed in music as a means for experimentation - musicians who sought to challenge minds. Fast Cars, a power pop group who were part of the intricate web of musicians enriching the Manchester scene during the post punk era are a fabulous example of the former. Manchester was an environment that inspired, whether that was in the form of Joy Division’s morose sense of alienation, or the hard-edged council flat rock of Slaughter and the Dogs. Notwithstanding the reputation of 70’s Manchester as being a smoggy Northern city, the genres Manchester’s backdrop brought about which sought to entertain her citizens, and/or distract from Manchester’s blandness - ended up all but ridding the city of said lack of opportunity in the cultural regard. Following the explosion of punk and its newfound DIY ethos, bored kids saw what was exciting and accessible, and proceeded to dig their nails into it hard. Manchester was soon host to its own bumper crop of punk and new wave bands influenced by Buzzcocks and Manchester’s other first wave contributors, many amongst whom had been influenced by The Pistols when the group had spread their vision of music at the now much-mythologised gig in the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. For fear of completing the widespread school-to-factory prediction, youth picked another option and got a band together - and for a while the Manchester bands took over. For a few glorious decades London was arguably dethroned.
Fast Cars were just one of many young bands that contributed to Manchester’s thriving musical ecosystem during the late seventies, but they have been hailed as one of the most creative and paunchy power-pop bands of that decade by those familiar with the group. Despite attaining such high praise from fans across Europe and notably Japan, Fast Cars seem to have largely eluded the mainstream notoriety that many who had the privilege of witnessing the band come to fruition deem it deserving of. Sounding like a cross between the gravelly, yet melodic vocal tonality of Feargal Sharkey and the threatening insect hum emitted from the guitar of Blitz’s Nidge Miller, Fast Cars remain an accessible, tough, and danceable marriage of punk and pop. For your reading pleasure today, Fast Cars bassist Stuart Murray has graciously agreed to an interview with Death of Print magazine. He provides valuable insights and anecdotes regarding the band’s start, some of their more infamous antics, and the group’s direction as of late- Stuart doing it all with an infectiously positive demeanour.
Before Fast Cars set about establishing their first lineup Steve Murray, Stuart’s brother, was singing with a band called the Sirens. Steve had previously been in that band along with guitarist Marc Riley, (Later of the Fall), guitarist Craig Scanlon, bassist Steve Hanley, and drummer Paul Eastman. After the Sirens played roughly through their first performance, Stuart, who had already participated in a few musical efforts with Steve by that point, approached his brother, and proposed that they start a more proficient band together.
“When Steve went for his audition with The Sirens as lead singer, I was not in a band- we had finished playing several months earlier. I went to watch them at their first gig at Pips Club in Manchester, on the 11th of January 1978, and although they were OK, they were not very good musicians so I convinced him we could put a band together that would be better, in which he could do all his own songs. Eventually he agreed with me, so we placed an ad in the Manchester Evening News asking that interested musicians please contact us.”
The Manchester music scene of the late seventies was strikingly incestuous. Many of the groups active in it were interconnected and even traded members, a phenomenon which only strengthened the sense of community established by the popular local rehearsal spaces/venues and the formation of the Manchester Musician’s Collective in 1977. Much in this way, Guitarist Marc Riley of the Sirens also roadied for the Fall and following Steve’s departure from the band he joined them as a bassist.
“Marc Riley was a roadie for The Fall at the time and continued with The Sirens when Steve left. Following his departure, a woman named Julie replaced him on vocals and they played a few more gigs. He eventually left them in June that year to play Bass in The Fall, the band continued but changed their name to Staff 9. Steve and I didn’t know any of The Fall, but we did use the same rehearsal room on occasions.”
After Steve’s project with The Sirens fell through, Steve and Stuart proceeded to hold auditions at TJ Davidson’s, a disused mill which was converted into a rehearsal space located at 35 Little Peter St. in Manchester. Tony Davidson had purchased the building in 1977 and since then it had become host to many of Manchester’s most famed musicians. Unfortunately, the brothers didn't manage to find any candidates they thought were appropriate for the job during the auditions. They ultimately ended up recruiting Tony Dyson, who had played in a more classic-rock-oriented school band by the name of Piledriver with the pair. They then asked talented local rock guitarist Haydn Jones to join- a choice that helped assert the cross-genre appeal of Fast Cars.
“Steve left The Sirens to form a band with me, and after placing our ad we held auditions at Tony Davidson’s rehearsal rooms on the 5th of Feb 1978. We knew of Tony’s place as The Sirens rehearsed there (along with The Fall, Buzzcocks, Slaughter & the Dogs) and many other Manchester bands of the time. The auditions at the time were poor, we wanted better musicians than those that attended. Tony Dyson had been our drummer in our previous band, so we went and asked him to join. He was not into the music but he still wanted to play and be in a band.”
“In the area where we lived we were aware of a band that played the local pubs and clubs. Their guitarist was very good, so we found out where he lived, and asked him if he fancied playing with us. Again, he was more into rock music but he said he would give it a go- that person was Haydn Jones.”
Since the brothers had been involved in musical projects for a while, they were able to make use of their previous experience together. In fact, Stuart and Steve had been in bands together from their mid-teens. Tony Dyson had participated in their first group Piledriver, who later went by Heartbreaker. The band had played fairly typical rock, but the experience of being in prior bands meant that Steve and Stuart were more technically accomplished musicians than many of their punk counterparts. When Steve became interested in the harder-edged new wave it changed his ideas about music, as it did for so many others, and he set about trying to incorporate the sounds employed by some of his newfound favourites into his own work.
“We started Piledriver when Steve was 14 and I was 16. We had a guitarist named Nick Bold, (Steve’s best mate to this day). We played at schools, local pubs and such, doing covers like: “Satisfaction”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, (Rolling Stones), “Substitute”, (The Who) “Johnny B. Goode”, (Chuck Berry) and other similar songs, as did most bands at that time. We did that for about 12 months but then Nick wanted to play songs by bands like Led Zeppelin, so he decided to leave and formed a band called Virginia Wolf. They actually became quite successful in the 1980’s and even had Jason Bonham on drums, who was the son of a former Led Zep drummer. Another school friend who used to come watch us practice now and again and was also a very good musician was our next port of call, Craig Hilton. We changed our name to Heartbreaker, and again played a similar set for about another year. Steve was getting fed up with the music we were playing and was listening to the new wave, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, The Clash etc so we called it a day, that’s when Steve went in search of a band with the same ideas as him!”
TJ Davidson’s provided a convenient space for bands to rehearse. It was located in central Manchester, but was far removed from city occupants to disturb. Not to mention the location itself was becoming famed for the bands that made use of it. However Stuart expressed that he didn’t really spend much time chatting with the prominent bands who rehearsed in the same building. Although the Manchester scene was extremely interconnected, people sought to make a name for themselves. The industry standards still seemed to apply:
“Rehearsal places were hard to find. Most places didn’t want young noisy bands playing in their places, so rooms above pubs, church halls, scout halls etc. were often difficult to obtain. Tony’s place was perfect, no houses nearby, a railway behind it, and other run down buildings in the area!”
“Loads of bands rehearsed there, Buzzcocks were already famous so we never saw them, Slaughter were getting famous so they didn’t talk to young bands like us, Joy Division were in the next room, but once again we never spoke to them. At the time they were seen as rivals for gigs so we just didn't get on. Marc Riley would come in and watch us rehearse, and we would pass other bands like us on the staircase or in the corridors. On those occasions we would say hello, but that was as far as it ever got, everyone was working on their own shows. The building had a live-in Caretaker, we probably spoke to him the most!!”
In mid-1978 Fast Cars established a sort of weekend residency at The Butcher’s Arms in Pendlebury, which was where they played their second gig and began to establish their place in the Manchester scene. The group played this regular concert for seven months, a substantial portion of their initial existence, until they were ultimately evicted for their raucous audience who enjoyed rough dancing, which had led to some destruction of property. The Butcher’s Arms landlord’s anti-mosh crackdown served as the inspiration for the Fast Cars’ anthem “The Kids Just Wanna Dance.”
“We had rehearsed a set at Davidsons, we were still playing Substitute by The Who but we’d added White Riot, Anarchy in the UK, Sheena is a Punk Rocker, and Steve had written some songs by then. Haydn and I went out for a drink, in what happened to be the Butchers Arms Public House, and while we were there a band was playing some typical cover songs. We decided to ask the Landlord if we could play too, as we were in a band and we also played cover songs- but we didn’t tell him what kind! He gave us a Saturday night which was the 25th of March, (also my 20th Birthday). We started off with Del Shannon's “Runaway” which we played badly, no one seemed to be listening. So we thought we would play “Anarchy” and if we got kicked out, we wouldn't really care. The crowd loved it, so we played our other punk covers and some of Steve’s songs. The Landlord was pleased as his regulars loved it, and he asked us back for the next Saturday. This went on for several months and we added more and more of our own songs. I even wrote one myself and co-wrote one with Haydn!”
Steve, being a charismatic performer, had a tendency to thrash around and move about the stage. On one ill-fated evening at the Butcher’s Arms the vocalist fell through the window next to the stage only to return to and continue performing in a display of true “The show must go on” spirit. This would be the first of two window smashing incidents, however the second was to be a purposeful recreation of the first.
“Steve has always been very lively on stage, constantly jumping and dancing about. I was on the side of the stage next to the window, and I think he tripped over my microphone lead and fell through. Luckily it was on a ground floor and an alleyway ran down the side of the building. Minutes later he came running back through the front door and we carried on playing!! We had to pay for new glass, but we asked that if we were to pay again, could he do it another time? The Landlord said it was OK so Steve did it once more a few weeks later. This was good for the pub as we were making a name for ourselves, which was bringing more people in to drink their beer.”
Despite all the aforementioned shenanigans and the crazed dancing, the Butcher’s Arms held onto Fast Cars as they were making them good money- that is, until the dancing mob crashed into a table and knocked over some of the venue’s audio equipment. The landlord figured Fast Cars were no longer worth it, and to ensure that they never returned he presented them with a ban.
“As the weeks passed we became increasingly popular. On the night in question the place was packed, lots of young punks had now come in. As we were playing, people were getting more and more excited. They began pogo dancing roughly, pushing each other around- until someone crashed into a PA speaker column that had been placed on top of a table! It fell, knocking drinks all over people and the pub floor. The Landlord was not happy about this, so he decided to stop the show. He asked us to leave the premises, and chose to ban the band and the majority of the audience from returning!!”
The band that inspired people to dance so hard they got banned from a venue left a mark upon the “kids” referred to in the song that immortalized the occasion. Despite being a 77-era band, since reviving their group Fast Cars have attracted a loyal fan base among younger generations, and have revitalized interest on the part of their original fans. The band always had a close relationship with their supporters, and that has remained a constant throughout their career.
“We were playing locally about 10 years ago, and as is our custom, after we finish performing we always stay around to speak to anyone who wants to. Several older guys came up to us and congratulated us on our show. They said that they’d been at the Butchers Arms all those years ago. To some we were the first band they had ever seen. It was particularly nice to hear that, as we didn't know who they were, but yet they had remembered us, and had made the effort to come and watch us again to re-live their youth. It feels very rewarding to know we have still been remembered from 40 years ago, we must have made an impact.”
The Kids Just Wanna Dance is by far the most successful Fast Cars song, with over 45,000 streams on Spotify. The song saw multiple covers, with many fans attempting to put their own spin on the iconic track featured on multiple mod and punk compilations.
“I like the version by a Japanese band called Water Closet, but my brother likes the one by Emily’s Army, who are now SWMRS. We played with them in Manchester a few years ago, as we had been asked to be special guests on the bill. It was great to find out that it was Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day that had introduced the band to our song. His son is the drummer, and he also produced the track on their album “Lost at seventeen”. *Author's note*: TW: S*xual Abu*se. There have since been well-founded statutory rape claims advanced towards Joey of SWMRS. They allege emotional and intellectual manipulation which led to sexual coercion and the abuse of an underage person in the state of California. It is alleged that all members of the band were knowledgeable about the inappropriate relationship during the time it was taking place. We must oust abusers and discontinue supporting them, however the comments made in this interview were expressed prior to the actions of SWMRS becoming public knowledge and I believe that they were made in good conscience. I chose to put the reference of SWMRS in context as opposed to editing it out in order to ensure that interviews remain word for word save for the editing of redundant language and grammatical errors. To learn more about the allegations I’d recommend giving Pitchfork’s article about them a read.*
Fast Cars began playing more frequently at Band on the Wall as part of the Manchester Musician’s Collective following their banishment from the Butcher’s Arms. The Manchester Musician’s Collective was egalitarian and community run. Loosely modeled off of the London Musician’s Collective, it served to uplift smaller bands by having them headline with the larger bands beneath them, as well as vice-versa. The gigs operated on a rota system, ensuring that everybody had the opportunity to garner notoriety and perform. Media presence at Band on The Wall events was frequent, so it made the venue a popular place for those seeking to make a name for themselves on the scene. However, seemingly all who were there, Stuart included, maintain that the notion of music as a means to achieve some ultimate end goal of popularity wasn’t able to gain a sturdy footing in the slippery environment of anti-careerist ideologies and committed musicians. Fast Cars themselves certainly didn't seem to be so concerned with the politics of getting big; rather, they enjoyed playing because they enjoyed playing.
“Steve had heard about the Collective and went to meetings with the intention of getting us more gigs. We never really thought about what order we were playing in as long as we were performing. At the time it was just another way of being able to play, that's all that mattered to us then.”
“We were just young guys looking for gigs or a place to record. We never gave any thought to what future impact it would have on music, or how it would change the Manchester scene. We were never close
to anyone around- we were driven by our own belief in our songs and performances.”
In 1978 the Manchester Musician’s Collective opted to put together a greatest hits compilation of sorts, it was to feature the likes of I.Q Zero, Grow-Up, Picture Chords, and, unsurprisingly, Fast Cars. The record entitled “A Manchester Collection” was released in April 1979. It was the first of a variety of influential compilations featuring Musician’s Collective bands.
“During one of the collective meetings that Steve had attended the making of an album was suggested, and we knew we had to be on it. We had already been making demos at our own expense- one particular tape was recorded at Cargo Studio in Rochdale, Lancashire, in December 1978, so Steve took it along and they chose 2 of the 4 songs to put on “A Manchester Collection.” We loved working at Cargo, it was the first “real” studio we had been in, as previously the studio we’d made use of had been the basement of the owners’ house.(Smile studio in Sale, Cheshire).”
Although Fast Cars were certainly influenced by the new waves crashing down upon Manchester’s music culture, they approached being in a band from their own angle, without falling back upon particularly notable aesthetics or definitive genre tropes. The speedy guitar approach to pop Fast Cars presented their public endowed them with a certain versatility with regards to attracting fans from different musical backgrounds; despite whatever disadvantages not being easily classifiable might have created for marketing the group. I’ve seen Fast Cars classified as punk, mod-pop, power-pop, and straightforward rock, but such arbitrary distinctions don’t seem to concern Stuart terribly.
“We just wanted to play our own songs, and if the audience liked it we were happy. We played to many different crowds, rock kids, rude boys, punks- we played anywhere we could get a gig!! At the time we just wanted to play our brand of fast pop with a rock edge. We were never aiming at a particular genre, we didn’t even have an image. We just wore what we wanted and played how we wanted, maybe that didn’t help us as we couldn’t be “pigeon holed.” Our influences varied from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to The Who in the 60’s, Bowie, T Rex, Slade in the 70’s and other generally good rock musicians such as Ritchie Blackmore and the more modern bands of that time like the Clash, the Jam, and the Ramones.”
During their first crack at being a band Fast Cars supported some seminal artists of the era; having only passed the bigger Mancunian bands at TJ Davidson’s in the hallways, they did interact with some notable figures whom they were gigging with. Paul Weller had a particular impact- he had heard the group’s demos and was so impressed that he suggested Fast Cars support the Jam when they were to come and play Manchester.
“XTC stood out as to us they were good musicians and had a unique sound quite different from ours. They were also nice people. The Rezillos were a fun band to watch, the Jam were our favourites but only Paul Weller took the time to speak to us. He even stood in the wings as we played, and he was the first to congratulate us as we left the stage- you never forget things like that.”
Famed Manchester lensman Kevin Cummins- also chief NME photographer for ten years, and photographer of such mythical figures as David Bowie and Mick Jagger, took some fabulous pictures of Fast Cars in his signature stark black and white style. Amongst those pictures of the group were a variety that had been shot while the band were standing on the bridge where Kevin’s iconic Joy Division photographs were captured.
“Our manager at the time was a guy named Tim Llewellyn, he worked with the Rabid Record Label in Manchester, and Kevin was one of his friends along with journalist Mick Middles. We went along with Tim to meet Kevin in Manchester. As we were called Fast Cars he decided to take photos of us standing in the middle of a road!! He also took us to a bridge over that same road to take some photos. I remember Steve climbed over the railings and stood on the other side- quite dangerous, but he always did like showing off!”
“It was years later when we realised it was the same bridge he had taken photos of Joy Division on, but at the time the pictures were taken they were not famous. The idea of the photo shoot was to go along so we could achieve an interview with Mick Middles to be placed in one of the major music papers, but that never happened.”
In attempts to procure a record deal for Fast Cars on a large label Steve would go down to London quite regularly. Eventually, he managed to get Polydor on board to allow the band to record some demos, which the label subsequently played for Paul Weller, who then asked Fast Cars to support the Jam at the Apollo Theatre- an experience Stuart enthusiastically recounted.
“There is a whole story to this!! Steve had managed to get an appointment with Denis Monday, one of the A and R men, and one of his bands was The Jam. Dennis liked what he heard so he arranged for us to go down to Phonogram Studios in London for a few days to make demos for Polydor. Dennis played those to Paul Weller, who in turn was also impressed, and he personally rang Steve and asked us to support The Jam when they would be in Manchester on tour later in the year! The gig itself was wonderful, our local fans all came down to the front to dance, and as I’ve said, Paul was standing just to the side of me watching.”
Unfortunately, amidst an unstable line up which could not retain a drummer, Fast Cars began to slow down. Following three years of being vaguely grouped in with the 77 punk-leaning new wave bands, as the musical (and media) fixation moved on from punk and began to veer towards the new romantic vision of pop which revelled in very specific and flamboyant aesthetics- an area in which the group did not excel- Fast Cars became somewhat out of style on their London-centric label amongst all the pirate hats and Marie-Antoinette-style powdered faces.
“By the end of 1980 the music scene in the UK was changing- with bands like Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Culture Club et al being the new big things. Polydor were well aware of this and didn't want to take a chance on us as we didn't fit in with the new scene.”
Pair these continental drifts in what the record buying public wanted with the relative youth of the band, and throw in the robbery of a guitar. The result was Fast Cars considering it best to call it quits. However, unbeknownst to them, halfway across the world, Japan would welcome the group with open arms and provide them a second commercial life.
“We only had one more gig in the diary, and the drummer at the time, Peter Bates, was not really interested in continuing. We had too many drummers already; us having had 3 in just under 3 years- so we really didn't want to start auditioning again. The last gig we played was at the Portland Bars in Manchester. We had played there several times before and we had always gone down well. The venue itself was in the basement of a building, so we used the lift to take our gear up and down. After the show we were taking our gear to the lift to get it back up to the van. Craig left his guitar by the elevator along with some other equipment as we were going backwards and forwards carrying our gear. It was left unattended for minutes. In this time someone picked up the guitar case and made off. So with no more gigs, no record contract, no drummer, and Craig without a guitar, that was the final straw, and we called it a day.”
“At that time we could see no future, we were unaware that “The Kids Just Wanna dance” was being played on the radio in Europe. We thought it was the end of the world, but can you really blame us? The band’s average age was 20!!!”
In the 1990s Fast Cars reunited for a gig at the Duke of Wellington in Pendlebury. Following that show, there were a series of shows in the mid-to-late nineties before Stuart began work on http://www.thefastcars.com in 2000- his website for all things Fast Cars related. There was a subsequent Japanese tour in 2001, following a series of 90’s bootleg releases on Japanese labels featuring Fast Cars material. In a way, Fast Cars almost seem to be J-pop-esque with their speedy riffs and harmonic vocals. Perhaps those musical sensibilities, which in many ways are comparable to mainstream Japanese music trends- such sensibilities, of course existing in conjunction with the punk explosion that occurred within Japan- mean that Fast Cars had a better recipe for commercial success overseas when armed with the appeal of foreign culture. Stuart himself doesn’t seem to know the precise reason why they were so successful in the Japanese market relative to what they were able to achieve back home, however he does know that a bootleg compilation featuring Fast Cars spread them around Europe and Japan more substantially than the band themselves were able to manage.
“Fast Cars played a few special gigs during the passing years, 10th anniversary in 1990, invited to play with The Salford Jets in 1996 and 1998, we had remained friends (Tony our original drummer was back again) but still unaware of any interest anywhere else in the world until 2000. I discovered the internet as part of some work I had to to on a University course. On the downtime I searched for “The kids just wanna dance” and was amazed to find entries, one read that we had been on a compilation album released in Germany back in 1994; (Back to Front #4). I contacted the company in Berlin that had released it, and they told me it had also been bootlegged in Japan in the 1990’s.”
“We still don't know exactly why we became popular in Japan. We do know Back to Front 4 sold well there, maybe that’s where the bootleg was taken from? The Japanese do have a love for many genres of British music, many are avid record collectors, and therefore went in search of our original single on the Streets Ahead label, causing it to become very collectible.”
With the website up and running Stuart was able to further delve into lost information about the band and network for its reformed iteration. As the internet age dawned Stuart found himself collecting various little tidbits of information and compiling them into the vast and informative anthology that is www.thefastcars.com.
“So how could I get more information? I decided to start a small website. Within weeks we had an invitation from 1977 Records in Tokyo to come play a couple of gigs out there. We also got a request from Detour Records UK that was asking for all our unreleased demos so they could put them on an album they were compiling. We played 2 sold out gigs in Tokyo, and in 2001, we released our first album on Detour; “Coming ready or not!” “The Kids Just Wanna Dance” was then officially re-issued on 1977 Records Japan as a thank you for our gigs.”
Stuart’s social media presence is also impressively well developed, I had actually found his Instagram page when he commented on a blogpost I’d shared about the group. It didn't take long for him to respond, a testament to his devotion to networking for the band- an important skill to have in the modern era. What was formerly reduced to a small, yet fresh and peppy little footnote in Manchester music history has now been expanded into the catalogue that exists online of the group’s history. No longer a footnote, Stuart has managed to uncover the band’s past and expand their reach through all the work they’ve done since their reformation.
“I both created, and continue to maintain the website / Facebook / Instagram. They’re entirely my own work, and I’ve added to them throughout the years. I’ve had people discover the site and then send me dates of when they saw us. I'm always surprised by what's still out there. The reason I started it was to ensure that we were not forgotten, as we were a small part of the Manchester scene. A lot of the big players never mentioned our existence in books and such, but now we’re being mentioned more often.”
“Following these successes we re-recorded some more old demos and Steve started writing again, giving us enough material for a follow up album on Detour- “Well … you started it!”, which was released in 2008. We also gave a few tracks to 1977 Records in Japan to release another 2 singles. We went back in 2008 to play 2 gigs in Tokyo, 1 in Fukuoka, 1 in Okayama, and finally 1 in Nagoya.”
Despite still maintaining that original fanbase of Manchester kids at the Butcher’s Arms, those devotees of early UK punk who were there to live through it- the newer, international fans of Fast Cars are often far younger than the group themselves, and are not always necessarily interested in other bands from the Fast Cars’ era with more divergent musical styles. Although, there are certainly younger fans who are interested in Fast Cars as a component of the scene- Stuart expressed that many seem to have stumbled across the band when researching their own tastes, and have found similar content to what they already enjoy through the miracle of the internet.
“Our fans in Japan are a younger demographic, most were at least 25 years or more younger, we didn’t see anyone of our age group there. Even the owner of 1977 records is a lot younger than us. They wanted to see original bands from the era, and several UK bands have been out to play there. Age doesn't come into it, they like our songs, so wanted to see us. We played in London last year- again, the audience was about 20 years younger than us, and as it was London, there were people from all over the world that had come to see us. I personally spoke to guys from the USA, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and of course the UK. Our fan base is now those that have discovered our music from the internet- people who are interested in “power pop”!
Fast cars have always sought to entertain an audience, and to play because they enjoyed playing. Perhaps they were not the haughty, removed sounds and anemic performances that the artistic end of post punk favoured- and nor were they the perfect prepackaged aesthetics of Adam Ant and all his new romantic cronies. But they were, and continue to be, challenging in their own right- never wanting to follow a trend that they don't feel suits them. They continue to be Fast Cars for their own enjoyment, and the enjoyment of those who come to see them.
“I’m not sure what the future will bring. I will continue doing things like this for as long as it’s wanted. The band will play when asked, we don’t go looking for gigs, they come to us. A very recent discovery has been those original recordings we did for Polydor, Detour Records managed to retrieve them from the Polydor vaults, so we hope to get them released at some stage. There are 5 songs, one we had completely forgotten about, and four others we had rerecorded in the 2000's as we never thought the originals would surface. We brought the band back together as we were wanted, and that’s our reason to exist. :)”