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Spearmint

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London, United Kingdom (1995 – present)

Spearmint is a London-based band, founded in 1995 from the ashes of a project called ‘Laverne and Shirlie’. Their sound can be said to be classic British , with some influences.

The founding members were Shirley Lee (lead vocals, guitar), Simon Calnan (vocals, keyboards), Martin Talbot (bass) and Ronan Larvor (drums). Talbot left soon afterward, to be replaced by James Parsons. Richard ‘Dickon’ Edwards later ended up joining as second guitarist, though leaving in 2000 to form Fosca. Parsons then took over second guitar duties, with Andy Lewis joining on bass.

Spearmint have released eight albums and many singles, all on their own label, hitBack, having a minor success with 1997’s Sweeping The Nation and A Trip Into Space, both of which grazed the UK Top 75. We’re Going Out received some airplay on BBC Radio 1 and was remixed by long-time Pet Shop Boys prodcuer Stephen Hague.

Their most recent studio album, Paris In A Bottle, was released in the summer of 2006.

During the initial few months of gigs around the homes of the band members in south-east London, Spearmint put out a run of 500 white label 7” singles featuring “Somebody” and an early version of “I Can’t Sleep” on their own hitBack label. The song featured an unauthorised The Beatles sample, which should have made them infamous at the very least. It was not to be, but it was fiery enough to get a manager on board.

The original bass player left later that year, so the band advertised in Melody Maker for a new bass player and met James. He’d just parted ways with previous band Supersaurus and was really looking to play guitar, but they persuaded him to play bass with promises of records, glamour and riches, and he joined.

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