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Deia artist is secret rock and roll SvengaliMarch 7, 2016

I thought I’d long ago got used to uncovering strange and mysterious connections between Deia and the outside world. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised to discover the bizarre link between the band that just knocked Adele off the toppermost of the poppermost and the village. But I was.

Encounter with a demented fan?

I blog for myself and a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece called ‘Every year’s good for rock and roll’. I picked a year at random and listed the classic albums it spawned, among them Horses by Patti Smith, Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and Young Americans by Bowie. Sniffing around online, I was startled to discover there was a band named after the year in question. I dug deeper and came across an interview with the lead singer.

‘Aged 19, the singer was in Mallorca, and visited the villa of an artist:

‘His house was like some kind of 1960s bazaar, original Beatles records, signed Elvis stuff, a photo of him with Hendrix…

‘He gave me a whole load of beat generation stuff.

‘I found a mental page of scribblings. It was SO mad I couldn’t figure out whether it was suicidal or totally life affirming. What stuck with me was that the page was dated, “1st June. The 1975”.’

I finished my blog post with ‘That artist sound like someone I know’. I was joking. Kind of.

Enter David Templeton

David Templeton and I are both obsessive rock and roll fans and he has a collection of music ephemera that has to be seen to be believed. It was David who turned me on to The Book of Am, the astonishing cult album recorded in Deia in the late 1970s about which I blogged last year.

I’ve spent many a happy hour listening to music with David and trawling his archive of utterly strange and wonderful stuff. It would appear that Matt Healy, frontman of The 1975, also had the privilege. But how?

‘I knew Denise Welch, Matt’s mum. I met Matt when he was, I think, fourteen or fifteen. One day, a year or two later, he turned up at my house in Deia with his girlfriend and another girl. Just to say “Hi”, I guess. I made them welcome’ David told me.

‘We drank copious amounts of white wine and I showed them my work, the studios, my collage books and other stuff that I cherish. Matt was so into everything, enthusing about my work, lifestyle, my music scene and all that in a really genuine way. It was during the course of me talking about all this that he played me a couple of his songs on acoustic guitar. I think I sang a couple of Dylan songs. The usual.’

(It certainly is. I’ve sat with David while he sang all sixteen verses of Dylan’s ‘Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts’ off the Blood on the Tracks album from memory. Of course, Blood on the Tracks dates from 1975 too.)

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What’s your take on how the name come about? I asked David. ‘While showing him some ‘Beat’ material and explaining to him how this movement influenced so many musicians/writers, I think I said something like “It all came together in the 1975 feeling.” I don’t remember the exact words. We’d had a modest glass of fine wine or two. Anyway, Matt said “That’s perfect! The 1975. That’s what we are.”’

David and Matt’s versions differ slightly but Matt’s mum Denise has confirmed the story on Twitter. In any case, it’s close enough for rock and roll, as guitar players say.

I asked David if he’d heard from Matt. ‘He said he’d be back to buy collages and figurative paintings when he’d made it big. I hear he’s still planning on coming but his schedule over the next year will, I’m sure, prevent that. They’re going to be even bigger. The new album really is something special and he’s a gifted writer/performer.’

DT full pic

2016 – year of The 1975

Last week, The 1975’s I Love It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It was The Guardian’s Alex Petridis’s album of the week. He described it as ‘a collection of fantastic pop songs full of interesting, smart lyrics’.

Spending time with David, leafing through his collection and listening to his stories is one of the great pleasures of my life. It’s wonderful to discover he’s a secret inspiration behind a band with the world at their feet. All hail Deia.

Pencil drawing of Dylan/Jimmy Dean by DT. If you’d like to view David’s work, and I suggest you should, get in touch with him via davidtem@gmail.com or memoirsofadementedfan.blogspot.com. Photo of David by Lincoln Townley.

Links

Matt Healy on how the band got their name

The story of The Book of Am

My blog post at Disorder at the Border

‘Love Me’ The 1975

 

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