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Why PO! is a terrible name for a band

Back in 1987, PO! was a great name for a band: This was the exact moment when we decided to call the band PO! - outside a white-tiled cinema in Leicester ................... and look at my Walkman on the ground! PO! was short, so that you could print it in font size 300 to be easily seen on a poster. It was trendy to have an exclamation mark back then. I chose the word PO! because it meant lots of different things in different languages; it was a common word around the world  but a bit intriguing for the English.  In 1987, there were no other bands called anything like PO! as far as I know.  This photo session was done while we were talking about possible names. The original band members were me - Ruth Miller, bass player Julian Glover and Drummer Marc Fuccio. If only we had thought a bit harder about possible future inventions that might impact on us.... In 2019, PO! is about the worst possible name for a band.  Internet protocol means that an unknown ban
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Guitar for PO!

When I started PO! I had some thoughts that could have been principles but I never stuck to them. 1. It's important that females play instruments in bands and girls shouldn't just be the singer. 2. Girl guitarists are particularly cool when they can play interestingly well. 3. Don't form a band with someone you're in a relationship with. 4. Don't have a relationship with anyone in the band. 5. Don't get in a more competent male player to cover up any female lack of ability. These ideas came from punk, from bands like The Raincoats and The Au Pairs which I liked when I was younger. It has proven hard to stick with them and I'm not even sure that they're right. The original version of PO! (Ruth, Julian Marc) and the second version of PO! (Ruth, Jan, Mary) hit my targets, only to be disrupted by the much more tuneful, jangly and downright competent sound when Terri Lowe joined the band, countering principles 4 and 5. From Ducks and Dr

Ruth's Refrigerator 1990 -1992

Songs, albums, European tours all happened with the band Ruth's Refrigerator. I don't quite know how it all came together but it provided an excellent side project during a time when there were no other members of PO! to play gigs or plan anything significant. Ruth's Refrigerator l-r Terri Lowe, Ruth Miller, Blodwyn P. Teabag, Alan Jenkins, Robyn Gibson Main man, Alan Jenkins was in cult 80's band The Deep Freeze Mice and he put out records by various obscure artists. He wrote a letter to me after hearing the flexi on John Peel and invited me to his flat in Leicester to talk about him putting my song 'Appleseed Alley' on a compilation. Then he invited me to sing on some recordings and a band was formed. Before long we were writing songs and drinking lots of very strong coffee. Alan Jenkins was always intriguing and fun to work with. We had a connection without talking much or touching or anything like that. One of the best aspects of playing music with o

What is indiepop? Is it a world of girls?

At an indiepop festival, a friend asked me,  'Is that the theme? Do all indiepop bands have to have females in them?' My answer? 'No, you don't have to have females for a band to be indiepop; it often just seems to happen like that.' Getting to basics, indiepop has three core elements: The punk ethic that anyone can form a band and be listened to. A joy and wonder in the world reflected in tuneful, often simple songs. Small-scale media publicity via word of mouth, fanzines, blogs, podcasts and mixtapes. The toy industry's idea of an 'indie-girl' Being male or female has nothing to do with these; it's just that indiepop doesn't set itself up as a boy's club. Women and girls may feel more willing to have a go within this genre, feeling that their ideas are welcomed. I guess that the child-like joy and wonder thing often correlates with middle-class decency and romanticism, which is why so many indiepop bands look like a bunch o

Is there a female guitar style?

This is a ridiculous question. How could there be a female guitar style? People are people. There's no female way of eating, or sleeping, or going to the toilet.... hang on a minute. The proportion of female to male guitarists is tiny; there are very few females whose playing is considered noteworthy. I think there's two issues going on. 1. Confidence 2. Lack of ownership I'll start with lack of ownership. Modern guitarring is usually about churning out lightning-speed blues runs. It needs a lot of practice and a strong wrist. Boys are often more dedicated to putting in the time with this kind of activity. The hobby/collector/trainspotter mentality runs through guitarring, too. The memorising of names that could be lorries or amplifiers ACs and JCs, the discussions about the merits of digital, analogue, diesel. I find that my memory doesn't tend to hold these numbers and letters easily. BUT I DO KNOW WHAT I LIKE. I won't even mention the guitar as penis

Making 'Little Stones' PO!'s first album

My blogging history of PO! got stuck around 1989. That's when 'Little Stones' was made. I'm hoping to re-release it soon, so here's a little information about it.  PO!'s first album, Little Stones, was recorded by Terri Lowe of The Originals on his  Tascam 1/4" reel to reel 4-track machine at a cost of £20. Members of The Originals played the backing tracks, recorded at Leicester's Chatham Street basement. This was because the former members of PO! had left me with with no musicians. The vocals, extra guitars and other instruments were recorded at the Originals' house on Aylestone Road (on the corner of Rutland Avenue) over a number of weekends when there were no Leicester City home matches. (Terri Lowe went to the home games).  I had written most of the songs over a period of a few months. Usually I composed on acoustic guitar with a pad and pen to write down chords and vocal melodies down before evolving the lyrics. I can remember livin

So who are PO! and will I like them?

This post is written for anyone attending Indietracks festival this weekend 29-31st July 2016. It always seems a shame when there's so much choice of what to go and see and you might miss something good if you haven't got your schedule totally organised. But then again, there's the serendipity of discovering something worthwhile - and hopefully that will happen for me.  Back in 1986, the must-read music paper of the day, the NME, printed a number of editions with free cassette compilations. The start of the indie-pop movement is often attributed to C86, which was one of these cassettes.  The following year, I formed the band PO! My motivations were largely feminist anger at a harsh world, but there was no Riot Grrrl then and I was probably too nice. I also did like singable tunes and wordsmithery so indie-pop was the genre that fitted best of all. If you didn't listen to the lyrics, you might be cheered by the soaring and jangly tunes, but the words are often mo