The Early Years DVD

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The Tiger Lillies - The Early Years DVD
68 Minutes + Bonus Tracks. Region 0 PAL

Before the Tiger Lillies became international cabaret artists playing in concert halls around the world, before their hit shows The Tiger Lillies Circus, Mountains Of Madness, the grammy-nominated Gorey End and Olivier award-winning Shockheaded Peter, they had another career playing in bars, cafes, at fans' weddings... even beach parties! This wonderful little film captures those times perfectly.

This new film by Richard Coldman captures the band soon after it formed and follows them for 7 years. Contains live concert footage from 1990 to 1997, interviews, music videos and bonus material.

Film maker Richard Coldman writes..

"I first came across the Tiger Lillies in 1990, about a year after their formation. I was struck by the extreme variety of sentiments expressed through their repertoire. The irreverence and iconoclasm of some of the original songs was in sharp contrast to the extremely tender and lyrical nature of others.

I was fascinated by this fault-line which ran through their output. It kept the listener guessing. Nothing could be taken for granted. Heaven and the angels co-existed closely with prostitutes, murderers and mental patients. Anti-war protest was expressed with eloquence and bizarre humour. Martyn Jaques, the exquisite anti-hero, amazed me by continuing to sing unperturbed as drunken idiots stood glaring inches from his microphone stand. Was he oblivious or did he simply not care about their presence?

I became fascinated with his lyrics, and began to realise that I only vaguely understood, or thought I understood what he was singing about. It was a foolhardy project I embarked upon when I decided to try to interview him and get him to elucidate some of the thoughts and feelings expressed in his songs.

My first attempt was at his home close to the then Tate Gallery, now Tate Britain. He insisted on climbing into bed and adorning himself with every piece of available bric-a-brac, draping cloth across his face, and generally rendering himself impossible to film in any conventional way.

His answers to my questions were oblique, meandering and self-contradictory, even though a sense of what was important to him - as well as what wasn't - came across regardless. I quickly realised that the interview editing techniques I'd learned weren't going to help me in this particular case.

It occurred to me that he didn't like the questions I was asking, and I wondered what answers he would have preferred to answer. For my second attempt to shoot an interview I had what I thought was a clever idea. I asked him to ask himself some questions and filmed him talking straight into the camera. I then sat him down in front of a video monitor and asked him to answer his own questions. The result? From a documentary point of view I would say it was quite disastrous, but actually it was none the less amusing, so much so in fact that Sophie Seashell, Mary Morrison and I were struggling to stifle our laughter at times.

The most natural interview I ever managed with Martyn was probably after his brief appearance at a wedding ceremony in Wiltshire. I had been surpirsed that a couple for whom a white wedding was important would want to choose Martyn of all people to sing during the service. I can't actually remember which song it was they had in mind, but I believe it was one of the "difficult" variety, something that would most likely upset a vicar.

The most surprising thing about the whole affair was what actually happened when we got there. It took about 90 minutes to drive from London to the church in convoy. I filmed Adrian Huge's red Vauxhall Cavalier from behind as Phil Butcher gave an amusing, innuendo-strewn commentary upon his progress as he inserted his double bass into the impossible shape of the aging saloon.

I filmed more or less the entire jouney from door to door. I'm still not quite certain what it was I was afraid of missing during this uneventful journey. Once we arrived, I ran feverishly around the grounds of the church, catching every possible glimpse of the guests entering the door and Martyn's last-minute guitar-tuning.

You'll have to watch the film to find out what happened next."

A film by Richard Coldman

The Tiger Lillies are :
Martyn Jaques : Lead Vocals, Accordion, Guitar
Phil Butcher : Double Bass 1989-1995
Adrian Stout : Double Bass, Backing Vocals 1995 - Present
Adrian Hughes : Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Guest Musician : Paul Boardman Trombone
Assistant producer Mary Morrison