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Barry Newton & The Plagues
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Barry Newton and The Plagues was one of the not-test bands of the late eighties. Always centered around Barry's twisted, often free form mind, the group rose to the heights of mediocrity and sunk to widespread obscurity. Barry has attempted a comeback countless times but the sessions always break down.
Why this name?
I was born with it.
Do you play live?
I haven't played live in over 10 years. I have offered to play a short acoustic set at this year's FOLK, YOU ALL! festival in Wisconsin as a favor to a friend.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
It kicks open the doors. When my old label went under 10 years ago, no one would pick me up. Now with the internet and all the lovely folks at Crapping Badger, my music has extended it's shelf-life for an extra year and I can further taint another generation. If they can wade through the 84 billion bands on the web now.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Band History:
In 1979 Barry Newton was the lead guitarist in British new wave band RODSLING. the group consisted of Newton, Kicker Punigan on guitar and vocals, Plex Vandenlance on Moog, Harold Trundell on Drums and Peter Wetravas on Bass. For two years they slogged it out in the harsh London club scene. Their mediocre break came in late 1981 when they had a minor club hit with "Stapled To Fate." The fast paced ballad captured the hearts of nearly 9000 Londoners and the song rocketed to the middle of the charts. But tensions within the group had already begun to tighten.

In early 1982 Barry, wanting to explore rhythm & blues, funk, folk rock and prostitutes dressed like catholic school girls, left the group amid lukewarm controversy. With Newton gone, the group dropped the R and continued on as ODSLING. Two weeks later Punigan, upset with how the group was carrying on, left. The remaining members continued touring different names including ODSLIN, ROD O'SLING, PLEX & THE SLINGS, ROUGHAGE, PLASTER DAD, THE WESSEX FIST CHOIR and, finally, THE CHUNKY DELICATES. After a month and dozens of painted bass drum heads, the group dissolved, quite literally when their touring van slammed into a tanker truck carrying hydrochloric acid. Barry, upon hearing the news, reportedly kept his
distance from tanker trucks when driving, from that day forward.

In 1986, after 4 lucrative years writing original scores for porn films, Barry Newton made the great trek across the ocean and took up residence in America. Settling just outside Chicago, Newton began touring coffee houses with his acoustic guitar. One night, after seeing Barry in his place with a guitar off and on for 6 months, one coffee house owner asked Barry if he wanted to play something. Barry agreed and he wowed the crowd with his original compositions. Barry once described the crowd that night as "a tall, lanky fellow in a turtle neck." After this performance Barry was overly encouraged and set out to get himself a record contract.

Eventually, in late 1987, Barry found himself in the studios of Unclean Records with producer [NAME REDACTED]. Barry dubbed the studio musicians he worked with The Plagues. After a week Jimmy Hoffa Makes Twinkies In Hell was complete. Barry finally built himself a full time back up band in 1988 hit the road. This road accident caused the Jimmy Hoffa tour to be cancelled as
Barry was laid up in the hospital with 3 broken ribs, a fractured larynx and a ruptured adrenal gland. [NAME REDACTED], in an attempt to keep the Plagues from quitting, rushed them back into the studio to begin writing the next album.

When Barry returned to the studio 2 months later he was hopelessly addicted to pain killers and 3/4ths of the new album was written. The resulting album, Don't Forget Glue, was Barry's big break through. The eclectic mix of rock, folk , new wave and mind altering substances proved to be Barry's high water mark of that year. Barry Newton, with Rich Kosman on Bass, Perry Ed on Guitar, and Ed Perry on drums, finally toured America.

Barry kicked the drugs while on the road, to the dismay of his band mates. He began staying on the bus, missing all the parties. During those nights Barry wrote the songs that became the basis of Lost Whales Of Navarone. On this album, Barry stripped the sound and returned to basic folk rock, a sound he was unfamiliar with. The album was a hit and Barry, weary of touring, took a long needed rest. After nearly a year and three albums, Barry found himself some peace and quiet.

The soul searching Barry did during this period caused him to sit down to write his magnum opus. Instead he gave the world For God's Sake Don't Go To Sleep, a confusing and meandering concept album in which Barry is trapped inside his own mind. The
Plagues hated it. [NAME REDACTED] hated it. Barry's fans hated it. The record company hated it. In fact only Barry liked it, but he wouldn't defend it for long without saying "Yeah. I guess it sucks." It became Barry's best selling album to that point because the people who had always hated his music bought it just to reinforce their hatred. Barry was crushed by the response. He took the
whopping great residual checks and chartered a flight home to England to see his mother.

Barry never made it.

Not far off the coast of Wales, Barry's private jet erupted into flames and slammed into the ocean.

News spread like wild fire. The world, realizing they had lost Barry, declared him a genius and wept openly. Sales of Barry's albums soared. The Plagues, convinced that it was all a hoax, quit, leaving [NAME REDACTED] in ownership of the Plagues' name.

During this period [NAME REDACTED] assembled Life At 45 R.P.M's , a retrospective collection of Barry's music. [NAME REDACTED], emotional over the loss of his friend had to shelve the project for a few months. The album didn't appear for over a year because the amazing happened.

Two months after the funeral Barry regained his memory on a Welsh farm. He had survived the plane crash but had lost his memory. He had been living as a farm hand, convinced that he was a 50 year old veteran name GRCTAKT MKDTTN (this name is only pronounceable in Welsh). When his memory returned, he was eager to get back to his life. [NAME REDACTED] informed him that the
Plagues had quit and the world had written him off. Barry didn't care. He called the media and announced his return.

The world breathed a sigh of relief and promptly returned all his albums.

During the flight home Barry met Patch Reynolds, a down on his luck guitarist and song writer. the two quickly became friends and set about recording the next Barry Newton & The Plagues album. The resulting album, The Mall, was Barry's exploration of his experience in the crash and the resulting memories that he tried so hard to recapture. It was everything that he had wanted For God's Sake to be. It was a commercial and critical home run.

Patch and Barry toured The Mall for nearly 9 months. The stage show, which included the nightly construction of a working mall food court and a 4 piece chamber orchestra, was the highlight of the 1989-1990 season. It completely eclipsed Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Elton John and the Rolling Stones who were also touring at the time. The tour ended with the famed Hyde Park concert in Barry's homeland of England. During the performance Barry was joined on stage by The Hooters, Johnny Cash (for a duet of "Bell Bottom Lady"), Marianne Faithful, Michael Caine and former band mate Kicker Punigan.

The reunion of Kicker and Barry was a long time coming. Kicker had been performing mainly in Norway and Sweden with an American poet named Ian Stupack. During a night of drinking it was agreed that the two camps should join forces and head back to the States to record a new album.

Energy was high and material was plentiful, but cracks began to appear during post production when a final cut of the album couldn't be agreed upon. Patch, disillusioned by the entire experience quit to start his own band THE PATCH REYNOLDS MELLOW EXPLOSION. Ian left to return to his first love, lacrosse. Kicker and Barry went off hoping to continue as a duo but
old tensions soon returned and the two parted company. [NAME REDACTED] was left to assemble the album.

The final product, State Of Entropy, was a huge selling album. The mix of the four talents had blended beautifully to create an album full of catchy rock numbers, tender ballads and hook laden pop songs . Critics and fans alike went nuts. But it was too late. Barry Newton and The Plagues was over. 3 years, six albums and countless live gigs had taken their toll on Barry. He left music vowing to never come back.

Barry has attempted a comeback no less than 4 times. But the recording sessions always dissolve into petty squabbles and Barry again leaves music vowing to never come back. It's been ten years since State Of Entropy. Barry now lives quietly with his wife Jill and 2 children Bance and Dimitri. He looks back fondly on his years as a rock icon but vows he'll never go back to music.

He is slated to go back into the studio next week.
Your influences?
Charlie Pride, Duran Duran, The Doors, Pure Prarie League, Planet P Project, The Temptations, Ample Pudding, Rash Bastard, Helen Reddy, Sondheim, The Archies
Favorite spot?
Soho, London UK - Sunday Night
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