❉ Therapy?’s adoring fans will lap The Authorised Biography up, writes Rob Fairclough.
‘Therapy?’s is a good story, and Young leaves no stone unturned. With access to the band’s archives, his research is meticulous, and original band members Andy Cairns and Michael McKeegan (among others) supply commentary on every phase and incident in the band’s career..…’
It’s not surprising that Therapy?, purveyors of dark, uncompromising alt rock since 1989, should have found themselves as special guests of The Stranglers on their 2018 tour. Both groups have never fitted into any particular genre and have gone through several line up changes, while retaining a hardcore of original members. They’ve both also never called it a day, weathering musical trends to emerge in the latter part of their careers as classic outsider bands, loved and venerated by many.
In Therapy?’s thirtieth year, it’s no surprise that the time was appropriate for a retrospective look at their career. That task fell to Kerrang journalist Simon Young, who knows the band well. The result of his dedicated research is the new book So Much for the Thirty Year Plan: Therapy? The Authorised Biography.
There aren’t many bands who’ve kept going since their inception, and Young’s book develops into a sobering look at what happens when the magazine covers and million selling records are long gone. The narrative also follows Therapy? through a changing musical landscape, where revenue from live performances has replaced the big royalties from record and CD sales. Therapy? (like The Stranglers) have always been a ‘live’ band, and a combination of prudent management, together with well-organised tours and festival appearances, has been the engine that’s kept them both thriving.
Therapy?’s is a good story, and Young leaves no stone unturned. With access to the band’s archives, his research is meticulous, and original band members Andy Cairns (guitar, vocals) and Michael McKeegan (bass) supply commentary on every phase and incident in the band’s career. There’s well-chosen supplementary input from manager Gerry Harford, producer Chris Sheldon and subsequent band members Graham Hopkins, Martin McCarrick and current drummer Neil Hopkins, among others.
What’s less fortunate is that there’s no interview with original drummer Fyfe Ewing, who abruptly left the band in 1996. Some biographies of this type acknowledge that a contentious person was approached for an interview but declined; there’s no mention of that here and, to be fair, Ewing might not have been polite enough to turn down an interview request. However, Cairns and McKeegan’s presentation of their original drummer – distant, unreliable and unpredictable – seems a bit one sided given that he has no right of reply here.
The big plus for Therapy? fans, though, is the chance to read Cairns’ comments on every single album the band have recorded, from Babyteeth (1989), through commercial high points Troublegum (1994) and Infernal Love (1995), right up to date with Cleave (2018). His observations are refreshingly honest, and, as befits someone who’s clearly a perfectionist, sometimes very critical. They make for compulsive reading.
So Much for the Thirty Year Plan: Therapy? The Authorised Biography is a worthwhile tribute to a great band who, as Young succinctly puts it, “show no signs of slowing down.” I’m sure fans ans will lap it up!
❉ ‘So Much For The 30 Year Plan’ by Simon Young Published by Jawbone Press, September 22 2020 • 296pp softcover with 24pp photo insert. RRP £14.95 UK / $22.95 US / $29.95 CAN • ISBN 978-1-911036-63-0.
❉ For more on Therapy?, visit www.therapyquestionmark.co.uk
❉ News source: Ben Pester PR.
❉ We Are Cult is not responsible for the content of this news release.