December 7, 2020
Mike Garcia, Co-Editor in Chief
When Creedence Clearwater Revival toured without John Fogerty, the world was shocked. When Mike Love called a band “The Beach Boys” without involving Brian Wilson, the world was saddened. And when Styx recorded an album without Dennis DeYoung, the world was… fine with it, actually. Dennis DeYoung kind of sucked.
But nothing compares to the newest musical drama. After a five-year-hiatus, ICBINF Co-Editor Mike Garcia farted himself awake last weekend, did a quick Google search for Catherine Wheel drummer Neil Sims, and uncovered a scandal to rival them all. Sims has formed a new band… without any of the other original band members!
This inexplicable move comes on the heels of a reunion between former (The) Catherine Wheel bassist David Hawes, guitarist Brian Futter, and, uh, Great British Bake-Off contestant Marc Elliott in November 2019.
Hopes of a full-band reunion sprang anew at this event, but little seemed to come out of it. Based on the evidence, however, Sims used the event as cover to launch his own version of the band.
Possibly to avoid legal disputes, Sims has been been quite enigmatic in his references to the new project, using obscure metaphorical language and wordplay to describe it. Still, we have managed to learn the following.
- The current code word for the band is “Expro,” a suitably cryptic name for a stealth project.
- Sims describes his role as “Vice President and Product Line Director,” a decidedly pretentious title for a mere drummer (though, to be fair, the Scorpions’ Herman Rarebell used the exact same title in the 1980s).
- The musical style of the band is difficult to determine from the information we’ve covered so far. Though the original band focused on guitar-oriented rock, Sims insists on using terms such as “synergy,” “deliverables,” “portfolio offerings,” and “multi-objective optimalisation” to describe his work, none of which appear to be widely used in the fields of music engineering or studio recording. One can only assume that these are intentionally opaque terms meant to deter the members of original band from intruding on Sims’ intellectual property.
- The extent to which Sims will exploit the original band’s catalog is unclear, though, in this article, he does refer to “Pain” and “Willingness to Change” (clearly a mistaken reference to “Capacity to Change”).
- An album appears to be forthcoming. Photos from the recording studio hint at possible celebrity cameos. Song titles include “Entrepreneurship in the Oil & Gas Industry,” “We Are At a Turning Point in This Industry,” and “The Supply Chain Hub.”
The last of these songs is apparently Sims’ choice for the first single. We have not yet found lyrics, but in an interview with trade publication Oil & Gas UK, Sims described the song as follows:
So, “The Supply Chain Hub” is really there to give [people] tools and signposts for different things that could be a benefit for them as they come through what has been difficult times. It was really quite nice to see Oil & Gas UK pull a broad spectrum of … stakeholders together to shine a light on some of those specific tools.
While this is certainly a laudable goal, fans of the original Catherine Wheel will likely be dismayed at Sims’ attempt to capitalize on his former band’s success (by the way, we were unable to determine who we was referring to with the word “tools”).
We have contacted former band members Rob Dickinson, Brian Futter, David Hawes, and Benjamin Ellis, as well as former manager Merck Mercuriadis, for a response but have received none at press time.
Of course, this treachery only further endangers any hope of a proper follow-up to (The) Catherine Wheel’s critical and commercial apex Wishville, which was released a mere WTF 20 YEARS AGO HOLY JUMPIN SHITBALLS