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Interview with The Antilles

Read the interview with The Antilles about their amazing 'I've Got To Have You'. Recorded in 1982 and released on Creole records in the United Kingdom and also on Polydor in France. Definately the best track on their equally hard to find album and a collectors item in it's own right. was given the rare opportunity to interview the members of the british band The Antilles, almost 25 years after they recorded 'I've Got To Have You'. Welcome guys, how are you doing now?

The Antilles:

We're OK, older but not necessarily wiser :)

I understood that your band was also known as 'Antilles Brass Section' and 'All Night Horns'. Were you using different names for the same band? Who were The Antillles?

The Antilles:

The Antilles was the name of the band. The "All Night Horns" was a name triggered for the brass section on having to work long, late hours recording the Antilles album in April 1982. The name just stuck! The Antilles were:

Lead Vocals - John Andrews
Guitars - Simon Baisley
Keyboards - John Girvan
Bass - Vince Kluckers
Drums - Greg Wilby
Percussion/Vocals - Patrick Charles (Charlie)

Brass Section (All Night Horns):

Tenor Sax - Neil Cover
Alto Sax - Cliff Matthew
Trumpet, Flugel & Valve Trombone - Simon Hughes

The nucleus of the Antilles were 6 like minded school mates that learnt to play their instruments at school and played in various school bands and orchestras. Being such good mates it was a natural progression to form a band to play the kind of music that they really liked.

What kind of music were you listening to at that time and how did that impact your musical style?

The Antilles:

This was the Jazz/Funk "Big Band" era so it was EW&F, etc especially anybody with a horn section like Brainstorm, Crown Heights Affair, Chicago, Tower of Power, Players Association, so much great music about. Simon Hughes:But I also love the jazz scene and (for me anyway) listening to various artists including Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davies, Tom Browne, Breckers etc. Neil Cover: I listened to everything from EW&F, Parliament, Heatwave, Weather Report, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Chic to the late Grover Washington Jnr and went to see who ever was touring. It was a great era for music, everything seemed so fresh. We put a lot into our stage show and also enjoyed watching like-minded acts.

As far as i know The Antilles recorded two 12 inch singles being 'I've Got To Have You' and 'Let's Shake b/w 'Simon's Melody'. 'I'v'e Got To Have You' is considered an essential rare-groove masterpiece. Who wrote it and what is the story behind that song?

The Antilles:

'I've Got To Have You' is the only song on the album that we did not write. Our manager Alpine Grant (brother of Eddie Grant) suggested that we write a backing track to go with a great melody and record it, which we did. We feel that we put our stamp on it.

The Antilles promo picture

There exist two releases of 'I've Got To Have You', a french Polydor issue from 1982 and the Creole release from 1983. Did you know that the song was also released in France?

The Antilles:

We were really very naïve and left the business side to our manager and concentrated on making music. We really have no idea of the sequence of what was released outside of the United Kingdom

Your album was also released in 2 countries: the United Kingdom and in former Yugoslavia on Yugodisc Records. I always wondered why your LP was released in Yugoslavia, i mean, it's not a country where you would expect soul and funk records to be coming out. The U.K. edition was on Eddie Grant's ICE label. Can you tell me how your band got signed to his label?

The Antilles:

We were approached by Ice records, following a gig we did "Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts" and the rest is history. Simon Hughes: I couldn't sign the contract at the time although I still have a copy of the original contract, so in the end, I was employed as a permanent session man. The making of the album took place during April 1982 at Livingston Studios in Wood Green North London. As I said earlier the event triggered the name All Night Horns I remember having laid down two brass section layers with Neil and Cliff then I had to put down two trombone, and an additional high trumpet layer. Eddie Grant's backing vocalists came in after the brass to assist on the backing vocals (thanks folks).

Given the rareness of your records, i cannot imagine you had huge succes with the single and LP releases. What did the records do in the charts and how were they acclaimed by the public and the critics?.

The Antilles:

We had minor success in the U.K. with our first single 'Let's Shake' and no success with 'I've Got To Have You' as we did not have a distribution deal. This was a major blow to the band and the lack of success following the release of I've Got To Have You' played a part in the band not working again.

The Antilles 'Let's Shake', their first release

You toured a lot and opened up for acts like Kool & The Gang. To which counties did your band travel and did you meet other great bands while touring?

The Antilles:

We toured both in the U.K. and France and did some TV and radio work in France also. We played a lot of concerts in our own right in the U.K. and also supported/opened for Kool and the Gang and The Chi Lites. Friends of ours that were trying to make their way at the same time we were, included: Courtney Pine, Frank Tonto, Phil Fearon and Galaxy and ofcourse Baby Dee. We also met lots of people on our “ride” including: Eddie Grant, David Bowie, David Grant, Imagination and others. The Band also met some great DJ’s too. The late Steve Walsh was a diamond. He was an amazing DJ in front of the Nightclub crowd and his Saturday night show “Soul Night Out” for Radio London influenced many in the London soul scene. It was a sad loss at such a young age.

The Antilles during a live concert

What was the most hilarious or crazy thing you experienced in your days as The Antilles? Simon told me he still has a diary of the years 1982 and 1983 when The Antilles toured, it surely should have some funny anecdotes in there.

The Antilles:

Haha..on one occasion we were all set to go on stage for a gig in France. All our equipment was set up on stage. Of all people, Captain Sensible was on before us. He thought the equipment on stage was just a set and proceeded to trash the equipment during his last number! It was not funny at the time but we do look back and smile about it now. Simon Hughes: There are far too many to record here, but one really sticks in my mind to this day. In France we did a gig near “l’Orange” at a place run by a well known Italian “Family”. We were told that the gig was going out live on French Radio. Now this venue was a long narrow hall with the toilets at the far end, behind the band. Every time anybody needed to “go” they had to move the trumpet stand out of the way to get through hahahaha..
I had visions of what was going out on the radio:

.....'I’ve got to have you'.....Excuse moi..Ou est le toilette?
.....'I really need you'.....Merci Beaucoup
.....'I really want you'.....

And so it went on with the occasional toilet flush for good measure!! We finished the gig, packed up our gear, got on the coach and went and, knowing who ran the place, never, ever said a word!!

Haha that's funny indeed. Some french must have that on tape, i will ask around :) Unfortunately, to everything comes an end. When did you guys break up and what was the reason for that?

The Antilles:

We were all physically tired from touring and frustrated at the lack of success. Simon Hughes: I remember coming back from France on the Hovercraft at the end of January 1983 and looking at the guys thinking how tired we all looked. I felt then that things were changing. We were either playing or rehearsing sometimes 5-6 nights a week. Something had to give.

Simon told me that you guys are still good friends but lost contact with some of the other bandmembers. Who are they?

The Antilles:

Simon Hughes: My initial enquiry to your site was to try and find the drummer Greg, and Charlie. The guys in the band are some of the finest people I have ever met (Neil was best man at my wedding).

What do you do for a living nowadays? Are you still in the music business?

The Antilles:

Not professionally but some of us still doing gigs and tours. Simon Baisley is currently on tour. Simon Hughes:I still play most nights of the week for local big bands, concertbands, brass bands, anybody that will put up with me!! Neil Cover: I am not in the music business in fact I only play for my own enjoyment now when time permits as I am very busy working in Information Technology.

What do you feel when you see your great 12' and LP fetch hundreds of dollars on the Bay?

The Antilles:

Simon Hughes: It was a trumpet playing friend outside of the band that advised me about the records. I was amazed, but as a session player, at the time, that went with the territory. I do feel a bit "gutted" for the rest of the band though. Neil Cover: It could all have been so different. The rest of the band agrees.

Thanks for your time and words. I feel honored to have you featured on my site. Please dedicate some words to your fans if you like.

The Antilles:

We're flattered and surprised that anyone remembers us to be honest, but for those that do, thanks for listening and supporting us. We sure had some laughs along the way we hope they enjoyed it too.

The Antilles.

September, 2006

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