Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Re-do the method

Another repeat, this one by request:

The Method Actors are pretty much a forgotten band now. That’s kind of surprising, the duo was part of the first wave of Athens bands after The B-52’s first got the town noticed. Pylon still gets plays out and plays occasionally, R.E.M. is still R.E.M., Love Tractor got back together a few years back, and the Method Actors have just about disappeared into obscurity.

The 1979 breakup of the Tone-tones - Athen’s second band - called led to the Vic Varney and David Gamble forming a two piece band. The drummer & guitarist didn’t want the trouble of dealing with a lot of different people so they decided to stay a duo. The Method Actors may have been the first completely self contained two-piece guitar-and-drums rock band.

The Method Actors played clubs up & down the East Coast of the United States and were reportedly a powerhouse live act. Peter Dyer of Armageddon Records saw the band play a club show in Atlanta and signed them to his label. He flew the duo over to England and put them in a studio the very next day. The record came out in late 1980 and was named ‘single of the week’ by The New Musical Express. "The Method" is my favorite Method Actors song.

The next move for the band was a terrific 10” record called RHYTHMS OF YOU released on Armageddon Records and most of the same songs came out again on a dB records EP called DANCING UNDERNEATH. All of the Method Actors records have at least one song exclusive to that release. Get ‘em all! The records were critically acclaimed in England and the usual places where independent records get noticed in the U.S.

In January of 1982, The Method Actors releases a double album called LITTLE FIGURES. It’s too long. The songs are good, there’s just too many of them to listen to at one time. I usually only play a side or two at a time. There was a single LP version available in the U.S. but I’ve never seen a copy. Vic Varney started playing more bass and less guitar on this record. The duo even brought in a third musician for one song - a steel drum player! Again the record was well received in the music press and ignored everywhere else.

By this point, the Actors were getting tired of wonderful reviews and empty clubs. David Gamble left the band and joined Boat Of... and made a record with Thomas Dolby under the name Jack Heard.

Vic Varney expanded the Method Actors to five members. This lineup recorded a live LP and a second studio album (worth getting for the great cover of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”). Unfortunately, there was finally a change to the pattern, the records stopped getting favorable reviews. Varney brought the curtain down on the Method Actors in early 1983.

Vic Varney is still playing as solo act. He gets a lot of great reviews.

8 Comments:

Blogger Sean said...

Excellent! Thanks again. Especially great to hear "Rang-A-Tang" again after 20+ years!

14/11/07 3:15 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Excellent! Our corporate firewall is blocking your links, so I can't wait to get home tonight and relive my youth.

20/11/07 10:24 AM  
Blogger evr said...

Hello, Just discovered your blog on a random search for any thing by the Method Actors. Any chance I can talk you into re-upping the tracks? I noticed this is the 2nd time you've done it but I'm late to this party. I have the single album version of Little Figures if you need it.

Thanks in advance,
Eric

21/11/07 12:01 AM  
Blogger KS said...

I'll try to repost the songs when I get some space again. The Method Actors took up quite a bit of room.

21/11/07 12:51 PM  
Blogger evr said...

Looking forward to it. Thanks again!

23/11/07 5:37 PM  
Blogger Perry said...

Hi! Here's another request for a reposting of the Method Actors UK double LP. I ordered a copy in the mail, but the seller only included the first disc. I'm making a CD of all the Method Actors 2-man era material for my Athens-band-loving nephew, and I'll be able to surprise him for Xmas if I can get those missing tracks. By the way, the versions of the 10 songs on the US LP are to the best of my knowledge the same as the ones on the UK version.

19/12/07 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
If you do get a chance to re-post.... I used to have all their vinyl but got rid of that in my big vinyl clear out - and have reggretted ever since. I found a few bits for download but I'm especially missing the UK doubee LP release and the 7" of Dancing Underneath so.......
Good to see there are still a few MA's fans out there!
Mark - UK

31/12/07 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you please re-post the Method Actors flood? These recordings are impossible to find, and all the links you were kind enough to post have long since died...

Best,

Anon

19/12/08 10:04 AM  

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