... the title of which is a band joke based on the fact that until the Mindless Optimism album we'd never gotten it together to run off something like this and had to answer absolutely every enquiry about albums and T-shirts by hand, resulting in the Legendary Toasted Heretic One-Year Delay, still spoken of fondly by grey-haired, stoop-backed teenagers from here to Bangkok.
Don't worry though, we continue to do absolutely everything ourselves, from sleeve design to licking the stamps, so it remains a distinct possibility that nothing you order will arrive in your lifetime. The parcel will come as a lovely surprise to your descendants, though. "What excellent taste Grandpapa had," they will say.
If you've just discovered the existence of Toasted Heretic, here's a quick history so you can pretend you've been into us for ages and annoy your friends. (I'll put all the sordid commercial stuff about how to buy all these albums in a separate box.)
Actually, I'm going to have to make this incredibly brief, because as I write I'm about to catch a ferry to France where we're doing a Black session for Bernard Lenoir on France Inter Radio on May 10th, I think we're playing F.N.A.C. in Paris the same day, a festival in Toulouse on the 13th, and a gig in Strasbourg the day after that ... we'll probably make a holiday of it, and I'm trying to catch up with all the mail today or it'll never get answered, so ...
Heretic: A History
Toasted Heretic began, I suppose, when Neil and Declan started writing songs together at the age of nine. Precocious brats. The band, changing its name every few months, just sort of ... grew. We recorded the first Heretic album, Songs for Swinging Celibates, in Neil's living room on a second-hand 4-track portastudio (basically a tape recorder with delusions of grandeur). It's very, very primitive, lots of hiss, and eight songs long. We didn't even have proper instruments then (we used instruments bought in toy shops on some of the songs). A lot of our friends like it because it's so fresh and young. Personally I prefer our second cassette album, also recorded in Neil's house. It's called Charm and Arrogance, which sums it up nicely. It's longer, eleven songs, and I think it's a gorgeous little album, I've never tired of it.
Then we made the mistake of signing to a record company, which was no fun. We recorded Another Day, Another Riot for Liquid Records, part of Solid Records, an Irish company. There are loads of great songs on it, but I don't think it quite works as a satisfying album. It's the only time we didn't have complete control, and it shows. We escaped from Solid and used our freedom to reactivate Bananafish and record Mindless Optimism, which I think is our masterpiece. Like the cover says, ten class "A" songs.
Sorry I don't have time to do a longer biography, with all our American adventures, the Reading festival, singles of the week, libel cases, but what the hell. Next time, eh?
You can buy all the Toasted Heretic albums mentioned above by sending cheques or postal orders to the Bananafish Postal Division, House of Heretic, 27 University Road, Galay, Ireland. Here they all are, with prices and formats. Postage is included, so don't worry about it.
The Sordid Commercial Bit
All the Bananafish albums are much cheaper to buy in the shops in Ireland, so try the shops first. We charge more for them on mail order because we're incredibly poor and incredibly lazy (and because orders tend to come from countries that require delivery by space shuttle, at vast expense to us).
- Songs For Swinging Celibates, cassette only, IRL£8 (US$15, STG£8)
- Charm and Arrogance, cassette only, IRL£8 (US$15, STG£8)
- Another Day, Another Riot, CD only, IRL£15 (US$20, STG£15)
- Mindless Optimism, cassette IRL£10 (US$15, STG£10), CD IRL£12 (US$20, STG£12)
Oh, you can also get really nice, white cotton Mindless Optimism T-shirts from us for IRL£10 (US$15, STG£10). They come in large and extra-large and have the album cover on the front and "Welcome to Heretic Country" written on the back. Very nice, I wear one myself. Remember to mention which size you want ...
O.K., got to go now, thanks a million for writing to us (or checking out the Web page), and good luck with everything.
Julian Gough (on behalf of Toasted Heretic)
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)