MUSIC INTERVIEW: Anne-Marie Hurst, Ghost Dance, Skeletal Family

It's just over a year since Yorkshire's very own queen of goth, Anne-Marie Hurst, made her stage comeback, fronting a band that included her old friends Stan Greenwood and Roger 'Trotwood' Nowell.

After two decades away from singing in rock venues, her ambitions were understandably modest, with a set embracing her two old bands, Skeletal Family and Ghost Dance, and a couple of new numbers tenatively thrown in.

Fifteen months on the Keighley singer has clearly got her taste back for performing live, cheerfully recalling her recent UK tour: 'It was not as wild as it used to be, we've tamed it a wee bit, but it was really nice.'

There was also a festival date in Belgium. 'It was a strange gig. There were a lot of goth techno bands. When we went on they thought, "My goodness, it's a rock band", but it went down really well. The reviews we got were fantastic.'

In September Anne-Marie and her four-piece band travelled down to Paul Weller's Surrey studio, Black Barn, to work on a new album.

'Trotwood works with him (as a guitar technician],' she explains. 'On the Wednesday he needed the studio himself but then he said, "To make up for the time you've lost I will play on the album". He's done two songs with us. He played piano and Hammond. It added a completely different dimension to the sound.

'Instead of being the Modfather,' Anne-Marie adds with a laugh, 'he started calling himself the Gothfather. He's a lovely man – it was great working with him.'

One of the tracks was Your Eyes, a song very close to Anne-Marie's heart. 'It was written about my brother (Patrick] who committed suicide. It's a passionate song which Paul played on.'

In the past, Anne-Marie freely admits, she 'used to hate going into the studio, it used to bore me', now she is converted. 'We were all together (as a band]; we stayed down there. It was not like when we were younger, recording in Driffield. We would do two days and come home. This time we did a full week. We were writing new tracks.

'We would finish work at 12.30pm then get up the next morning and do the songs we had written. We wrote 15 when we were down there. We've got another album now – but we need to mix this one first!'

The new album is scheduled for release in April. 'We will put it out ourselves,' says Anne-Marie. 'We will pay for the mixing and the masters then put it out on licence. There's a company in this country interested and we've also had interest from Ireland.'

Snippets of several of the tracks have been posed on Anne-Marie's MySpace page. From the handful of concerts she has so far played, she is confident that demand is there for new material.

'There was a giddiness in the first couple of months doing gigs when people wanted to hear the old songs. Now we have done six or seven gigs throughout the year people are interested in hearing new songs.

'We don't want to be a nostalgia band. Trotwood has worked with Paul Weller and Oasis and Culture Club, Stan has been in various bands. There are new dimensions coming in.'

For the first time, Anne-Marie's 12 and 15-year-old sons have been able to see their mum perform. '(Last year] we did a Christmas gig in Keighley,' she says. 'That was really bizarre.

'My two boys had never seen me (on stage] before. I've never seen two boys so quiet in my life. For an hour-and-a-half their jaws were down to the floor.

'I've got two new musicians now. One likes rap, the other likes Morrissey and The Cramps – that one's following in my direction.'

Anne-Marie and her band will be playing another festive date this year – in Bradford – with Keighley band Operator Six.

Further dates likely to follow in the springtime.

'We will be setting up a tour,' Anne-Marie confirms. 'We will be introducing new songs...and slotting the old classics in as well.

'When we get together we have got that catalogue. There were 80s songs that the two bands (Skeletal Family and Ghost Dance] wrote – and now there are new songs too.'

Dec 27, 1 in 12 Club, Albion Street, Bradford, 7.30pm, 7 or 5 for members. Tel: 01274 734160.

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