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Free Pawn
Price: $14.64
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Free Pawn on CD

The early days Paul Miro and Bart (AKA Paul Bartram) met in a rehearsal room in Leicester in 1994, both having been called upon to work on some songs for a guy neither of them knew very well. It quickly became apparent that Miro and Bart had much in common musically, so they quickly broke away from the poor guy who had inadvertently brought them together, and started working on their own project. After numerous auditions and various line-up and name changes, the band started playing gigs, which they financed by selling merchandise. It had not been their intention to pursue record deals, or, for that matter, even to employ management, but word of the band's sound began to spread and AP&S found themselves with a growing and loyal fanbase across the UK. AP&S first sprang to public attention in 1995. While still unsigned, rumours of the band's musical strengths reached Kerrang magazine and MTV, and the band suddenly found themselves garnering media attention without having signed a record deal. Hastily (rather too hastily, as they were soon to find out), AP&S signed to Music For Nations, and within eight weeks had released their first EP, Antiseptic, which was promoted via a hectic touring schedule. The band were hardly off the road for the next twelve months, touring Europe almost constantly, either supporting acts like Warrior Soul, The Wildhearts, Skid Row, Monster Magnet, or, as their profile continued growing, as a headline act. Another EP, Safety Net, was released in the summer of 95, in preparation for the launch of the band's debut album, Transfusion later in the year. You don't always get what you ask for... The critically acclaimed Transfusion topped the rock charts both in the UK and Europe, and, on the surface, it looked like AP&S were ready to start on the path to international success. But, behind the scenes, there were obvious problems: a miniscule budget, and a label that had never before handled a mainstream act meant that no singles were released from the album, so, unsurprisingly, within a period of months, the band found themselves in the ironic position of playing sellout tours and losing money. Consequently, the band were starved of finance for a year. It took another year for MFN to agree to finance the second AP&S album, Snapshot. In the interim period, internal band problems were resolved (this in itself is worthy of a six-part radio comedy series!), and new drummer Laurie Jenkins was brought into the fold, with Miro taking on the guitarist mantle. The band utilised every conceivable favour to facilitate the completion of Snapshot, but, despite rumours of a major promotional campaign, they knew that it was going to be a labour of love. Sure enough, a lacklustre marketing campaign and dazzling ineptitude was followed by a refusal to finance any further touring, essentially killing the album before it's release. Still undaunted, the Apes managed to raise independent finance for a 1998 UK tour. But, despite this being the most rewarding musical experience in AP&S history thus far, the band were deprived the means of turning it into a profitable exercise, as they did not own the rights to the album they were promoting or any merchandise they sold. So, reluctantly, AP&S were forced to concede that working together as a band would have to be put on hold until circumstances changed. From then till now... It took until the end of 2002 to resolve the heap of legal and financial problems left to the band as a legacy of the incompetence with which they had been handled. Laurie joined Heather Nova (with whom he continues to record and tour). Miro and Bart individually became involved with numerous projects, either as songwriters, producers or engineers, and also providing music for movies, the idea being that sooner or later one or the other of them would have enough money to set up their own recording studio, where they would record the next AP&S album. Of course, neither artist stopped writing, and both found outlets for their songs in various guises. Bart, for example wrote and sang with Leafeater and Miro wrote songs and fronted London hip-hop outfit Inc. Synchronicity lent a hand in 2002, by which time Bart had completed building his own studio. Film director Ian David Diaz approached Miro to write some tracks for his forthcoming movie, Dead Room. After reading the script, Miro realised that the soundtrack to this film cried out for music that was more AP&S-like than anything he'd written for a while, and was more than happy to help out. (Great Place from Transfusion features in Diaz's previous movie, Killing Zone). Bart's studio still wasn't up and running, so the original version of Dead Room had to be recorded elsewhere. But if a catalyst was needed to start work on the next AP&S album, this was it. Within weeks, Miro and Bart were working together on new AP&S material, and since October last year, work has not stopped. Not wishing to repeat past mistakes and sign away their careers on crippling contracts, the forthcoming album, Free Pawn is their new testament!

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