Truckin’ with Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

red lorry yellow lorry

If there is music playing as the dammed enter the Gates of Hell it just might be Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’s “Sayonara” with it’s numbing guitar drone and throbbing drums.

Formed in 1981 by guitarist/songwriter Chris Reed (ex- Radio Id) and vocalist Mark Sweeney (ex-Knife Edge), along with bassist Steve Smith and drummer Mick Brown Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (RLYL)

“were initially branded as worshipful Joy Division acolytes”

and although “their foundation always remained icy, droning post-punk, replete with sludgy, murky guitars and mumbled Ian Curtis-style vocals”

over the course of time they moved away their main influence by introducing

“elements of industrial dance, early rave music, and spaghetti Western soundtracks, as well as liberal doses of inventive, acid-tinged guitar work.”

Late in 1981 Mark Sweeney left the band, with Chris Reed assuming vocal duties and Martin Fagan joining as a second guitarist. With Reed’s cavernous vocal tones, the numbing guitar drone and throbbing drums the group found itself quickly lumped in with the then burgeoning Goth music scene.

In 1982 the group signed with independent Red Rhino Records on the strength of a demo tape submitted by the group’s manager Dave Hall. “Beating My Head”, the group’s first single was released unchanged from that demo tape and

“made a strong appearance on the influential New Musical Express (NME) independent record chart.”

Fagan and Smith left the band to be replaced by Dave Wolfenden on guitar and Paul Southern on bass. Other personnel changes would occur over the course of the band’s history but Wolfenden would become a mainstay and a frequent songwriting partner of Reed’s.

1983 and 1984 saw the release of several singles, notably “He’s Read” and “Monkeys On Juice” (#9 on the NME indie chart). The band also recorded two radio sessions for influential BBC dj John Peel in March and November of 1983.

The band’s debut album, Talk about the Weather, was released in 1985 and proved a hit on the indie charts (#3 on the NME indie rock albums chart), on the strength of the single “Hollow Eyes.” Considered by many of the group’s fans to be the band’s best work; follow-up non-LP singles “Chance”; with its distorted organ drone and rushed tempo, and “Spinning Round” also had decent sales.

Paint Your Wagon , the band’s second LP, which drew on imagery of the old American West was released in 1986, and was recorded with a new rhythm section of bassist Leon Phillips and drummer Chris Oldroyd. That album’s single, “Walking on Your Hands” would also prove to be a hit. The band would release one more non-LP single that year, “Cut Down,” then temporarily change it’s name to Lorries. The band would issue one single, 1987’s “Crawling Mantra,” before reverting to it’s original name.

In 1987 the group signed a major-label deal with Situation Two, a subsidiary of RCA affiliate Beggars Banquet. Their major label debut, 1988’s Nothing Wrong, would spin off the single “Only Dreaming (Wide Awake).” The musical press panned Nothing Wrong, criticizing the album for its

track after numbing track of quasi-industrial post-punk…

and the relentless guitar and vocal drones create a claustrophobic feel, and Chris Reed’s constant mumbling is among the most incoherent in all of rock.

but it appears that those very failings have helped the album to become a bit of a fan favorite. So much for critics.

Their sophomore major-label release, 1989’s Blow, found the group flirting with

“the sound and visual style of England’s emerging rave culture”

By staying away from the “old monochromatic wall of noise” and adding more keyboards and background vocals Blow is the group’s clearest, most spacious production to date. Prior to albums recording Mark Chillington replaced drummer Chris Oldroyd, afterwards bassist Leon Phillips would depart prior to the supporting tour, his spot being permanently filled by Gary Weight. During the tour Chillington left and was replaced by George Schulz.

Both Nothing Wrong or Blow failed to chart so the band was dropped by their label. In 1991 the group released their fifth LP, Blasting Off on the small Sparkhead label. “Talking Back”, released as a single prior to the albums release generated some buzz, but the album was considered a major disappointment by fans and sold poorly. The album wouldn’t appear in States for another three years when it was picked by Relapse Records, but by then Reed, faced with diminishing returns, had already dissolved the group.

Since the break-up several retrospectives of the group’s work have been released. 1994’s The Singles: 1982 -87, released by Cherry Red, chronologically compiles the ten A-sides (and their B-sides) which were released while the group was still with Red Rhino.

Following a decade of silence Reed revived the Red Lorry Yellow Lorry the name in 2003 and released four new songs in 2004, only available as internet downloads from the band’s website. In 2003 the reformed band played Leeds Cockpit, Whitby Goth Festival, Italy’s Metamatik festival, the Mera Luna Festival in Germany and the London Underworld Camden, but didn’t release any new material. Thunder in the Black Cave, a live DVD recorded in Belgium during their 2004 European tour was released in 2005, and in 2006 Reed, recording under the name Chris Reed Unit released an acoustic album, “Minimal Animal.”

So far in 2008 the group has played Lincoln, London Islington Academy, and Leeds Cockpit; and is currently scheduled to play the M’era Luna Festival, Hildesheim Germany, on Saturday August 9th.


Singles, EPs and Full-Length

“Beating My Head”/”I’m Still Waiting” (7″) (Red Rhino) 1982
“Take It All” (7″) (Red Rhino) 1983
“He’s Read” (7″) (Red Rhino) 1983
“Monkeys On Juice” (12″, Maxi) (Red Rhino) 1984
“Hollow Eyes” (7″, 12″, Maxi) (Red Rhino) 1984
“This Today” (12″) (Red Rhino) 1984
Talk About The Weather (LP) (Red Rhino) 1985
“Chance” / “Generation” (12″) (Red Rhino) 1985
“Spinning Round” (12″) (Red Rhino) 1985
“Cut Down” (12″) (Red Rhino) 1986
Paint Your Wagon (7″,LP, Cass) (Red Rhino) 1986
“Walking On Your Hands” (7″, 12″) (Red Rhino) 1986
“Crawling Mantra” (12″, 2×7″) (Red Rhino) 1987
“Open Up” (7″, 12″, Maxi) (Situation Two) 1987
Paint Your Wagon (CD) (Red Rhino) 1987
Smashed Hits (LP, CD) (Red Rhino) 1987
“Only Dreaming (Wide Awake)” (7″, 12″) (Situation Two) 1988
Nothing Wrong (7″, LP, CD, Cass) (RCA / Beggar’s Banquet) 1988
Temptation (LP) (Situation) 1989
Blow (LP, CD) (Beggar’s Banquet) 1989
Blasting Off (CD) (Release) 1991
Talking Back (CD, Maxi, 12″, Maxi) (Deathwish Office) 1991
Blasting Off (Cass) (Red Distribution) 1994
The Singles: 1982-1987 (CD) (Cherry Red UK) 1994
Generation: The Best of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (CD) (Cleopatra) 1994
Talk About the Weather/Paint Your Wagon (CD) (Cherry Red UK) 1994
Smashed Hits (CD) (Dojo) 1995
Nothing Wrong (CD) (Situation 2) 1999
The Very Best of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (CD) (Cherry Red UK) 2000
Generation: Best of (CD) (Cleopatra) 2000
Nothing Wrong / Blow (CD, RE) (Anagram Records) 2001
Talk About the Weather (LP, CD) (Anagram Gothic) 2005

Tracks Appear On:

“This Today” 4 Your Ears Only (12″) (Play It Again Sam) 1983
“Walking On Your Hands” Suck (A Multinational) (VHS, PAL, Com) (Independent Video) 1986
“Open Up” Indie Top 20 Volume III – War Of Independents (2xLP, 2xCass) (Beechwood Music, Melody Maker) 1988
“This Is Energy” Ragazzi Bizarre (CD) (Ultrapop) 1991
“Heaven” This Is Modern Rock: The Experience Continues… (CD) (Beggars Banquet) 1991
“Silence” In Goth Daze (CD) (Cleopatra) 1994
“Monkeys On Juice” Gothic Rock 2 (3xLP) (Jungle Records) 1995
“Monkeys On Juice” Gothic Rock 2 – 80’s Into 90’s (2xCD) (Jungle Records, Cleopatra) 1995
“Talk About The Weather” Gothik: Music From The Dark Side (2xCD) (Cleopatra) 1995
“In My Mind” Release Your Mind (CD) (Release Entertainment) 1995
“Hollow Eyes” Songs For A Black Planet (CD, Album) (Nectar Masters) 1995
“He’s Read” 98 New Wave Club Class•X Traxx!!! (Box + 7xCD) (Play It Again Sam) 1996
“Beating My Head” Flesh, Fangs & Filigree (3xCD, Comp) (Dressed To Kill) 1996
“Hollow Eyes” Flesheaters The Return Of The Undead (3xCD+Box) (Dressed To Kill) 1996
“Hand On Heart” Goth Box (4xCD) (Cleopatra) 1996
“Spinning Around” Goth Box (VHS) (Cleopatra) 1996
“He’s Read” New Wave Club Class•X 7 (CD) (Antler-Subway) 1996
“Beating My Head”, “Crawling Mantra” Gothic Erotica (6xCD) (Dressed To Kill) 1998
“Walking On Your Hands” Gothic Rock 3 – Black On Black – Best Of 80’s Collection (2xCD) (Jungle Records, Cleopatra) 1998
“Talk About The Weather” Nocturnal (2xCD, Album) (Procreate) 1998
“Monkey’s On Juice” Sanctuary: 26 Gothic Anthems (2xCD) (Universal Records) 1998
“Jipp” The Black Bible (4xCD) (Cleopatra) 1998
“Monkey’s On Juice” Dressed In Black 2 (2xCD) (Universal TV) 1999
“Temptation?” Undead A Gothic Masterpiece (3xCD+Box) (Dressed To Kill) 1999
“Beating My Head” Dressed In Black 3 (2xCD) (Universal Music Netherlands) 2001
“Spinning Round” Goth – The Ultimate Collection (2xDVD) Music Video Distributors, Cleopatra) 2002
“Spinning Round” Goth Box (DVD) (Music Video Distributors) 2002
“Hollow Eyes” Gothika (2xCD) (Cleopatra) 2004
“Walking On Your Hands” Essential New Wave – Volume 1 (CD) (EMI Music Belgium) 2005
“Walking On Your Hands” A Life Less Lived – The Gothic Box (3xCD + DVD) (Rhino Entertainment Company) 2006
“Temptation”, “Beating My Head” The Goth Anthology (3xCD + Box) (Metro Triples) 2006
“Paint Your Wagon” D-I-Y Do It Yourself (CD) (Soul Jazz Records) 2007

Unofficial Releases:

Dark Truck Live Gear (CD) (Tutti Frutti)
“Hold Yourself Down” New Wave Mix Vol. 10 (CDr, Ltd) (Not On Label)
“Talk About The Weather” New Wave Mix Vol. 7 (CDr, Ltd) (Not On Label)

Nothing Wrong

Playing Time: 39 minutes 36 seconds

nothing wrong

1. Nothing Wrong (2:40)
2. Open Up (3:28)
3. Hands Off Me (2:34)
4. Big Stick (2:39)
5. She Said (2:51)
6. Sayonara (3:34)
7. World Around (2:20)
8. Hard-Away (2:42)
9. The Rise (2:50)
10. Only Dreaming (wide awake) (4:27)
11. Do You Understand? (2:21)
12. Never Know (3:27)
13. Pushing On (2:49)
14. Time Is Tight (0:54)

Buy Nothing Wrong from

The Singles 1982 -87

Playing Time: 1 hour 18 minutes 32 seconds

the singles 1982 -87

1. Beating My Head (3:16)
2. I’m Still Waiting (3:58)
3.Take It All Away (2:50)
4. Happy (3:40)
5. He’s Read (2:59)
6. See The Fire (2:31)
7. Monkey’s Juice (3:13)
8. Push (3:04)
9. Silence (2:30)
10. Hollow Eyes (3:03)
11. Feel A Piece (2:39)
12. Chance (5:20)
13. Generation (3:07)
14. Spinning Round (2:51)
15. Hold Yourself Down (2:54)
16. Regenerate (2:24)
17. Walking On Your Hands (2:40)
18. Which Side (2:06)
19. Jipp (Instrumental Mix) (2:58)
20. Cut Down (3:47)
21. Burning Fever (2:28)
22. Pushed Me (2:18)
23. Crawling Mantra (2:41)
24. Hang Man (3:15)
25. All The Same (2:55)
26. Shout At The Sky (3:05)

Buy The Singles 1982 -87 from

The Singles 1982 -87 (Part 1)

The Singles 1982 -87 (Part 2 )


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