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Business as usual for the genuine Dad.

GAY Dad came into the pop planet in a weird and wonderful way. Before the first single To Earth With Love had even been released, half the media had decided that Gay Dad were merely fiction, a cruel joke dreamt up by their writing colleague and alleged Gay Dad frontman Cliff Jones.

Cliff was a very successful music journalist and the rest of the media world thought this band he was talking about was nothing more than a scam.

A few months down the line it's business as usual for the now five piece Gay Dad. Their second single, Joy, is out on May 17, followed by a debut album Leisure Noise in early summer.

Keyboard player James Riseboro still can't understand what all the fuss was about.

"Baz and Cliff knew each other since they were about eight years old. They used to pick up psychedelic records at car boot sales and play in bands that they'd call The Astral Projection Society.

"My uncle had an old hammond organ and I used to play that.

I didn't meet Baz until I was at Liverpool university. I was a jazz guitarist and he used to see me jamming around the pubs and that.

"When I moved to London, it was a coincidence that I moved round the corner from Baz. At that stage Gay Dad were kind of getting together and they asked me to join."

James started off playing guitar, but switched back to keyboards when new guitarist Charley Stone arrived.

"Nigel was at medical school, but he left before he had finished the course, so it's a typically conventional band history really. I don't know why everyone makes such a big deal out of it.

"It's weird how it's been made out to be some kind of a scam. It's not like we're puppets."

Indeed, no. The rise and rise of Gay Dad has seen the group of twenty- somethings ditch successful careers to follow a pop dream.

"I was an architect," James explained. "I studied for five years in Liverpool and worked for four years in London before I gave up my job."

But was this a good idea?

"At this stage I would say... maybe. I don't know if I'm more or less confident about the band now. But at the time I was ready to leave the office I was working for. Not many people get the chance to make an album and I really couldn't say no.

"Even my mum and my gran thought it was a good idea to give the band a chance. And it's not as if I've totally abandoned architecture - I'm fully qualified so I can always go back."

It's been a busy time for Gay Dad who have just put the finishing touches to their debut album Lesiure Noise which, in typical Gay Dad style, has been produced by none other than Chris Hughes aka Merrick, former sticksman with Adam and the Ants.

"We've inked in a lot of festival work for the summer including Glastonbury, V99 and T in the Park. And I can't wait to play in Ireland.

"I've got friends who are at the Bolton Street School of Architecture in Dublin and the open air gig in Belfast should be great fun."

So far, James' favourite tracks off the new album are Black Ghost and Jesus Christ.

"They're both very different tunes. I like Jesus Christ because Cliff's vocals are heartfelt, but Black Ghost is more of the direction that Gay Dad are going in in the future.

"The sound is more linear, and we've been influenced by a lot of German experimental music from Can to Kraftwerk."

As you might have guessed, Gay Dad aren't exactly the teen kings of rock, with many 'proper jobs' in their history. But their success points to a new trend in the music scene which is no longer the predetermined domain of pimply teenagers.

"Bands are getting older," said James. "You don't often get many 17-year- olds making an impression straight out of school any more, perhaps because they don't have the experience or the maturity.

"When you think on it, the likes of Radiohead are about 30. And it can be weird because sometimes you do get this feeling that you're a children's entertainer when you look down at the audience and see these really young faces looking up at you.

"But at the end of the day, we can't do anything about our age. I suppose some might say we've done the whole thing backwards, but hopefully it was the right way to do it." Meanwhile it's back to the drawing board to think up more ways of catching the public's attention.

"The genius behind the campaign for the first single was that people didn't know what it was.

"There were posters going up with a generic symbol for a man and it could have represented any man in the world. It really worked, but the challenge now is how to keep these ideas going. We want something that people will talk about."

Since To Earth With Love was released, people have done nothing else but talk about Gay Dad, and not all of the talk has been complimentary.

This is why the band just want to get the album out and get on with the gigging.

James explained: "We're at the stage now where we've got no idea whether we're going to be successful or a complete flop because we've had so much good publicity and so much bad publicity.

"I genuinely don't know any more. There's been so much time, effort and pain put into the album that when I listen to it now, all I hear is the process.

"But I think when it does come out people will be able to decide if we're a fad or a media construct, or whether there's substance to it.

"It's just a question of whether people will like it or not."

l Gay Dad play Botanic Gardens in Belfast tonight and Dublin Castle tomorrow night with Catatonia and the Cardigans.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 2, 1999
Previous Article:Bitz of Biz.
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