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RACE AGAINST TIME - Time Waits For No Man (12" Gatefold LP)

United Kingdom | NWOBHM
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Along with Radium, Paralex and Hell, Race Against Time were members of the 'East Midlands Band Co-Operative', a loose association of bands helping out each other during the turbulent period of the New Wave Of Brit'sh Heavy Metal. Radium, Paralex and Hell all issued their own vinyl singles. Not'so Race Against Time, who during their lifespan between 1978 and 1983 only managed to place their superb 'Bedtime' number on the ?New Electric Warriors? compilation. Bassist Al Short explains: 'We had a deal to release 'Bedtime' as a single on a three-track EP but we were let down quite badly at the last moment. To make up for the ill-fated single release we issued a three-track cassette demo, which featured the alternative arrangement of 'Bedtime' that we include on ?Time Waits For No One?, and also 'Harbinger Of Death' and 'Bleed You Dry'. The other songs on the album were either older sessions (a couple I think for Trevor Dann's BBC Radio Nottingham Rock Show) or songs that we were considering as follow-ups to the EP (i.e. 'Nothing To Fear'). The two instrumentals on the album were pretty much jammed live at the end of one of the sessions ? to use up our studio time!'
Race Against Time was formed in Chesterfield/Matlock from the remnants of two club bands, namely Captain Hippo and Heavy Water. Al Short played in both of those bands whilst he was still at'school, from the age of about 15. The singer in Race Against time was David Halliday, who later went on to form Hell. This is how the band actually evolved: 'I came across an ad that Dave had placed in a music store window ? he was looking for a band after his own band, Skint, had folded, and at that time I was looking for a more ambitious band capable of writing original material. Dave and I formed a four-piece band at first, with a drummer I had played with previously and trying out various vocalists, but we soon realised that three would be better ? Dave was already singing lead on the new songs we were writing by then. Each member of a three-piece has to be pretty exceptional though, and it wasn't until we met drummer Geoff Green that we felt we could hack it with just three. Geoff had the technique, energy and ability to make it work.'
'We were a relentless gigging band and we played anywhere and everywhere we could get a gig,' continues the bassist. 'We'd have played at a bus stop if they'd had power sockets. On average we'd gig once or twice a week but as we built a stronger following we would string together concentrated tours of gigs, with a few weeks break to work on new songs and new elements for the show. And then we did it all again!'
As mentioned earlier, before forming Hell, David Halliday was the frontman for Race Against Time. He committed suicide in 1987 and is sadly missed. Al Short remembers: 'Dave actually didn't like to be thought the band leader ? he was very democratic! He would've been the first to tell you that we shared all duties, from songwriting to band management. Even now, our songwriting credits name all three of us on every song we ever did, because that's how we felt it'should be ? we each contributed our part and more besides. Dave was such a striking frontman but he was a great believer in stuff like, for example, me doing all the talking between songs, and drums and bass-driven instrumentals and solos in our show to reiterate the equality angle. Both of those examples were Dave's idea. I think Hell was a natural progression for Dave as he went on to explore his darker side but, within Race Against Time, our musical sensibilities seemed to compliment each other nicely, and that translated into something which was very ambitious musically ? possibly even a little ahead of it's time. The ?Time Waits For No One? album is dedicated to Dave's memory, certainly, but it's actually a tribute to the fans, and to some extent, the era ? we think Dave would've liked that.'
In Race Against Time bassist Al Short wrote most of the lyrics to songs such as 'Nothing To Fear', 'Bedtime' or 'Bleed You Dry' on his own. He elaborat's: 'Looking back it was probably because I was more prolific in my writing, not because my lyrics were better than anyone else's! Songwriting duties were split amongst the three of us though. Dave did write lyrics, but he would focus more on the riffs and arrangements. He had a great vision for which of our strange and disparate ideas would sit well together. 'Bedtime' was a bit of fun, a joke against ourselves as shallow young men. It'started out as a warm-up song for rehearsals ? we didn't put it in the set for years! 'Nothing To Fear' is about instinctive human fears ? no matter how we rationalise them, we will never be rid of them. 'Bleed You Dry' is often mistaken as a rant against punk, but actually it was a dig at'some musician friends of ours who jumped on the punk bandwagon purely to make money. Good musicians who began playing badly and singing in fake 'Cock-er-neee Lahndan' accents ? when they were Derbyshire-born like us! We lost a little professional respect for them, as you may have gathered!'
As for influences when originally forming Race Against Time, Al cit's a very broad spectrum: 'We loved Rush! When I first met Dave he had more blues-rock influences than I did ? he was a total Led Zep fan but also introduced us to bluesy rockers such as ZZ Top, Stevie Marriott, Montrose, MC 5 etc. I was all about'sabbath at that time, the heavier the better, and I also avidly went to see gigging bands on the live circuit'such as Strife, Snafu, The Heavy Metal Kids et al. Strife in particular were amazing live. Geoff had the most eclectic t'ste of the three of us and listened to everything from Jethro Tull through Zappa and Weather Report to the most obscure jazz you could find. Seventies hard rock in general was a big influence, definitely ? from Slade and T. Rex to Alex Harvey, Free, Dr. Feelgood ? so many great talents. I liked a lot of what came out of the punk era too, especially Elvis Costello ? I still do ? but none of us were impressed by the trend of taking pride in poor musicianship. That never sat well with us, and was a pretty short-lived ideal within punk itself actually ? you can't hold a good musician's ego down.'
Matthias Mader

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