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15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Therapy?

Think yourself a Therapy? superfan? Here are 15 obscure nuggets from the band’s history that even the most ardent devotees won’t know…

This month will see the release of So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? – The Authorised Biography, which details the epic story of the Northern Irish trio and explores the highs and lows they have experienced while navigating a three-decade-long career.

To celebrate the release of the book – written by K!‘s very own Simon Young – we’ve unearthed lesser-known facts about the band. How many of these did you know?

Andy Cairns Had Guitar Lessons From A Status Quo Fan

As a child, Andy received guitar lessons from an older teenage boy nicknamed Matilda who played guitar for a Status Quo covers band called Piledriver. I was quite slow to make chord shapes,” says Andy, but once he showed me how to do a barre chord, it was like a lightbulb went on in my head.”

Michael McKeegan's First Band Weren't Called Evil Priest To Begin With

Prior to joining Therapy?, bassist Michael McKeegan played in the NWOBHM-influenced band Evil Priest with his brothers. We were originally called The Exterminators because I’d read in Kerrang! that KISS’s Ace Frehley was in a band called that,” says Michael. It was a great name. Then we were called Blind Faith, until someone mentioned that had already been taken.”

Their Debut Single Is Tenuously Connected To The World Cup

Therapy? recorded their debut single Meat Abstract at Homestead Studio in County Antrim, with production duties being handled by Shaun Mudd’ Wallace. Something of a local legend, Wallace also produced Northern Ireland’s single Come On Northern Ireland to celebrate their 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico. 

Andy Cairns Moonlighted In Another Band During Therapy?'s Early Days

Andy fronted another band called Catweazel, featuring Paul Chapman of Strontium Dog. It was a good way to keep playing music with a musician I admired, and it was all very relaxed and easy,” explains Andy. The music itself was a mix of Misfits, Screaming Trees, Dinosaur Jr., and melodic garage-punk.” The band only played one show, supporting Quicksand at Belfast Art College.

Low-Level Crime Inspired An Instrumental On An Early Release

D.L.C., an instrumental from their 1992 mini-album Pleasure Death, was inspired by a light-fingered acquaintance of the band. It stands for Dark Lord Cometh, which was named after someone we knew who was a sponger and would help himself to your food and lager, or borrow something from your video collection that you’d never see again,” says Andy.

Who Are You? Nevermind.

When Therapy? supported Hole on several UK dates in late 1991, Michael’s brother C.J. was acting as a roadie for the trio and found his job impeded by a quiet guest of Courtney Love. We’d just played, and saw someone was sitting on our flight cases,” reveals Michael. He said, Sorry mate, I really need to get those cases,’ and was blanked. He said, Right, mate, you need to get the fuck off my cases right now.’ The guy got down and shuffled off. He only found out later that it was Kurt Cobain. C.J. has dined out on that story ever since.’ 

Their Major Label Debut Was Written In A Haunted House

The majority of their 1992 major label debut, Nurse, was written in a haunted farm house in County Carlow, Ireland. There was a very odd atmosphere there,” Andy remembers. There was one room which was like a child’s room, but the drawings on the wall looked like they would be on a Swans album cover. A few days after we moved in, we found a dead crow hanging in the barn.”

The Sound Of Screaming Children Inspired One Of Their Biggest Hits

In late 1992, Michael coined the term Screamager’ in a Nottingham hotel room while watching a screening of the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party. Hosted by Simon Mayo and New Kids On The Block’s Jordan Knight, the pop awards ceremony featured Take That performing A Million Love Songs and a cover of Barry Manilow’s Could It Be Magic in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. I said, Look at all those screamagers,’ ” remembers Michael. There was a big surge of boy bands that we hadn’t maybe seen since Bros, and the crowd were going nuts.” An untitled song, which was due to be recorded the following month for the Shortsharpshock EP, suddenly had a title.

It's A Bit Chile Out

The band are banned from performing in Chile, following their appearance at Santiago’s Teatro Monumental in September 1995. Throughout the entirety of their televised set, the band were greeted by a hail of spit. Three songs from the end, I dropped my trousers and started waving my genitals about,” says Andy. The frontman avoided arrest by catching an earlier flight to Buenos Aires, thanks to a quick-thinking tour manager.

The Trio Had A Brush With The Police In France

Following a tour of France with the Manic Street Preachers, the trio found themselves performing a cover of The Police’s Next To You with Sting on the French TV show Taratata. He had a drink with us afterwards and asked what we were up to next,” says Andy. We mentioned we had a UK tour coming up. He had a charity thing with Eric Clapton and Elton John coming up. He lives in a completely different world.”

What The Duck Is Going On?

During the tense sessions recording 1995’s Infernal Love at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, Andy and Michael let off some steam at by recording the sounds of the local wildfowl for a piece called Duck Symphony. We had to do something like that or we were going to go absolutely mad,” laughs Andy. 

Therapy

The Band Really Pushed Their New Drummer's Buttons

In 1999, former drummer Graham Hopkins broke his arm during a night out in Dublin. The untimely fracture meant that the band had to write much of the material for the album, Suicide Pact – You First, on an Alesis SR-16 drum machine, nicknamed Gringo. It was pretty grim with no drummer, to be honest,” says Michael. We did our best with [the drum machine], but it was a soul-destroying period.”

Scream For Me, Belfast!

The band were invited to perform a song with Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson in 2004 as part of his BBC 6 Music show, broadcast live from Belfast’s Mandela Hall. I’m obviously a huge Iron Maiden fan and was like, Let’s keep it straightforward, lads, we’re not going to do Alexander The Great, are we?’” laughs Michael. The day before the show, we found out he wanted to do Deep Purple’s Black Night, which I had to learn 20 minutes before soundcheck. He was a real gent to us.”

Another Drummer, Another Broken Arm

In March 2003, drummer Neil Cooper had a football-related accident just days before shooting the video for If It Kills Me, his first with the band. The ball in my shoulder socket had split in two,” explains Neil. The director filmed me from the opposite side. Watch the video and you’ll see a man who’s in absolute pieces.”

Therapy? Didn't Mess About While Recording Their Latest Album

The band’s most recent release Greatest Hits (2020 Versions) was recorded at London’s Abbey Road in less than 12 hours. We’d spent 28 years doing the pre-production, so we really couldn’t fuck up,” laughs Michael.

So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? – The Authorised Biography will be published by Jawbone Press on September 22. Pre-order your copy now.

Posted on September 21st 2020, 10:00a.m.
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