As I’ve mentioned before-the Anti exhibition is now up and running and I thought it might be nice to publish the piece I wrote for the Therapy? section, so here goes.
“I was 13 when Therapy? first burst onto the mainstream boasting short sharp shocks for the masses. The year was 1993 and at that point in history cock rock was still very much in vogue, but these three short haired blokes from mid-Ulster bucked all conventions with glee, irrevocably snaring millions of jaded metalheads under their spell in an instant. While their peers pranced and preened during their endless guitar solos (snore), Therapy? gave us three minute slices of lunacy served up with a side order of perverted punk rock bravado. Needless to say, I was in love the first moment I heard the opening chords of ‘Opal Mantra.’
While I found the skewed guitar solos and oddly named tracks jarring at first, I knew that this was where the future of rock music lay and I wanted in on it too. So, ever the comic fanboy, I sold old copies of Thor, Captain America and others, bought a busted up bass and amp and formed a band in a bid to ape their sinister, but utterly perfect pop songs. I wasn’t the only one either. You see Therapy? gave hope to a generation of NI musicians that it can be done. You really can boot down the doors of convention and “make it” on your own terms. Best of all, the boys (Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Fyfe Ewing) actually cared about homegrown acts too and took the likes of Joyrider and Ash under their wing, giving them their first crack at fame and helped kick-start a resurgence in local music not seen since the seventies.
These days I firmly believe that without Therapy? leading the charge in the early nineties, NI’s music scene would be a very different place indeed. Perhaps what is most exciting is that they’re still continuing to kick ass and take names to this very day, making some of the best music of their career. A few years ago I got the band’s mirrored question marks from their ‘Infernal Love’ album tattooed on my arm and it’s a permanent reminder that regardless of what the cynics say-music can really change your life forever. Twenty years on and the Church of Noise’s sermons are as loud and proud as they ever were and I for one wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Edwin McFee is a music journalist and writes for NME, Hot Press and AU.