Saturday, June 2, 2007

Derek Cornish and his various bands 1984-2004

Derek Cornish has been one of Long Island's best kept secrets for over 24 years. He started recording bedroom demos in 1984. One such should have been classic is " Hallway Of Memories " . Primitive as this recording is , it was a springboard for what would be a long , strange trip down the road to obscurity. Recording songs in your studio apartment at 18 can only get you so far , but it wasn't long before he joined his first working band in 1988......

DREAMWORLD would become a Long Island and New York City sensation with " EVERYBODY LOOKS LIKE YOU " , Which could have been a hit in 1989 if they were signed to a label. Then in 1990. The industrial band CINEBYTES. The song " IT'S THE LAW " was definitely of it's time....a Depeche Mode like political dance popper with a early 90's stomp. Definitely worth as listen. Also recorded in this session was The pseudo MINISTRY-sounding "THIS TIME IT'S REAL". This led to a derek going in a Industrial/ Techno / Ambient direction before turning his attention to DJ-ing. He was also part of an Ambient/techno project with friend and fellow DJ Slave for 1993's THE DEEP RED.
Then......nothing for 3 years.
In 1996 , at the ripe old age of 29, he joined SPIDER NICK & THE MADDOGS. This band became one of the most popular bands in the " 3rd wave " Ska revival of the late 1990's , releasing 2 CD's that received both critical acclaim and sales of over 10,000 CD's in New York alone. Not bad for a self produced and self released product. They played the hell out of Long Island, Toronto, Montreal, etc.

1997's " VOYAGE TO THE PALACE OF KALI " was the first and is considered a 3rd wave classic. Derek's songwriting and lead singing contributions were " CLUB GIRLS " , " IN OVER MY HEAD " and " MINIMUM WAGE " . Plus he co-wrote the title track and the instrumental AFRICA.

1999's second CD, FIREPIT, was not as well received, but did contain the groups biggest hit , the Martielli penned " Uncle Al " , which would actually get the band airplay on New York's legendary WLIR. Derek's "THE FOOL" , "GET OUT OF MY SIGHT" and "AS GOOD AS YOU" were also a step up in the songwriting department. This album deserves another listen.

The unreleased live track, 2000's " THE GAMBLING SONG ", shows what might have been had he stuck around for album #3. This Clash-like reggae-funk is one of Derek's best written songs. I can only hope that one day someone get's to hear this one.

The next lost SPIDER NICK & THE MADDOGS demo is a re-working of an old track actually written in a dream. Derek's first demo of this song back in 1989 sounds all JULEE CRUISE and dream-like. But a good song is a good song. Derek brought this track to the table in 2000 for SPIDER NICK & THE MADDOGS to re-work from dreamy 50's pop to Swing/ska romp."IT'S YOUR LOVE THAT MAKES ME STAY AWAY" could have become a ska classic. Perhaps someday it will.

Since he left the Maddogs in 2001, not much has been heard by him , although in 2004 he recorded another home-made song. The Depeche Mode sound-a-like " The Game Of Lies " . After a seven year break, Derek recently played 2 live shows with his old band in 2008. Then just like THAT....he was gone.... What does the future hold? I don't know......