Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beware Of Time Bandits On An Endless Road

Time Bandits originally represented the name of an excellent Monty Python related movie project from 1981 (actually it was directed by Pythonite Terry Gilliam). But the same year that ‘Time Bandits’ the movie was released, Time Bandit’s the Dutch pop group came into being (I’m not sure if the band took their name in reference to the film).

At the heart of Time Bandit’s the group was vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Alides Hidding. Rounding out the original quartet were drummer Tommy Bachmann and bassist Peter Smid, with several session players supplementing Hidding’s talents on keyboards and a variety of other instruments. The band took the contemporary new wave synth sound and added their own pop edged radio friendly slant to it. They released their self titled album in 1982 (the album later charted in Australia-#81 during 1985).

The dance oriented track ‘Live It Up’ was released as a single and became very popular on the U.S. dance club scene, peaking at #6 on the U.S. Billboard Club Play Singles chart in late 1982. The ‘Time Bandits’ album also yielded the singles ‘I’m Specialized In You’ and ‘Sister Paradise’, both of which performed well in the Netherlands and Germany but no beyond Europe.

They quickly followed this up with the album ‘Tracks’, released in Europe late in 1983. The album featured two tracks that would later make the Time Bandit’s a hugely popular group in Australia and New Zealand during 1985/86, but for now those tracks remained hidden gems, revealed only for eager European audiences.

It took a while for the Time Bandits’ next album to surface but 1985 saw the arrival of ‘Fiction’. By this time Alides Hidding had taken on the production role as well in the studio, though one track ‘I Won’t Steal Away’ was produced by Dan Hartman (see future post). The group’s studio line-up on the album was Hidding, Dick Schulte Northolt (bass), Ake Danielson (keyboards) and Kim Haworth (drums).

For its Australian release the track listing was adjusted to include a song that had been a major hit single down under in late 1984 (originally included on 1983‘s ‘Tracks’). ‘I Am Only Shooting Love’ (released in some markets as ‘I’m Only Shooting Love’) debuted on the Australian singles chart in October ‘84 and peaked at #9 in time for the New Year (reaching #1 in New Zealand). The song also reached #2 on the U.S. Hot Dance Music chart during 1985.

The band undertook a marathon tour of Australia during 1985, during which they released ‘Listen To The Man With The Golden Voice’ (OZ#53 - also from 1983’s ‘Tracks’). The next single became Time Bandit’s biggest Australian hit. ‘Endless Road’ peaked at #5 late in 1985, and was backed by a great promo clip featuring footage from the band’s Australian tour, including driving between towns in a packed Toyoto Tarago (I think that promo clip was specially made for the single‘s Australian release). The final single to chart for Time Bandits in Australia was ‘Dancing On A String’ which debuted very late in 1985 and peaked at #76 a few weeks later. The Dan Hartman produced ‘I Won’t Steal Away’ was released as a single later in 1986 but missed the charts here in Australia.

Time Bandits released one more album with 1987’s ‘Can’t Wait For Another World’. Hidding this time was supported by bassists T.M. Stevens and Michel De Groot, drummers Preston Heyman and Jean Monsou, guitarist Hugo De Bruin and keyboardist Ake Danielson. The album yielded three singles, the title track, ‘Wildfire’ and the song that I purchased on vinyl 45 at the time ‘We’ll Be Dancing’. Neither album nor any of the singles charted in Australia. Given the relative disappointment of ‘Can’t Wait For Another World’, particularly outside Europe, Time Bandits called time on their career soon after.

Singer/writer Alides Hidding relocated from Europe to the U.S. in 1989, focusing on his song writing, providing material for the likes of Jennifer Rush and The Nylons. In 1994, he returned to Europe and formed an all new Time Bandits line-up, featuring Dave van den Dries (drums), Guus Strijbosch (bass), and Marco Ligtenberg (keyboards). The new mach Time Bandits did more than revisit the past, but hit the road in earnest, attracting a new generation of fans. Alides and his fellow 'chronological crooks', released a new album ‘As Life As’ featuring newly recorded versions of Time Bandits greatest hits, plus a new song titled ‘Sarah’. More recently they have released a new song, 'The Music Is You', reaffirming that Time Bandits presence in the present. The live touring continues, with the band a strong attraction at festivals and 80s themed parties. May this great band of the past, and present, continue strong into the future.

Many thanks to Marc van Leeuwen, the Time Bandits' manager, for the additional information on the band's recent and current activities - please view the attached comment for more.


Marc van Leeuwen / Classic Artist said...

As their manager I like to add a few things to your great recap of the Time Bandits carreer.

The last album is called "As life as".

After his return to Europe in 1994, Alides Hidding formed a new line-up of the Time Bandits with
Dave van den Dries (drums)
Guus Strijbosch (bass)
Marco Ligtenberg (keyboard)
They have been playing together ever since, with Alides calling it the best line-up ever. It lasted the longest too.

A new song has also been released: the music is you

Currently they are re-promoting themselfs as a live band for festivals and 80s parties, using a new promotor and bookings office. A live video of "I'm specialized in you" has been released to support this:

(and yes, if there would be enough venues interested, they would love to tour Australia again)

A. FlockOfSeagulls said...

Many thanks Marc for your comment and the up to date information about Alides Hidding and the latest line-up of the Time Bandits.

I hope you don't mind, that I've added those details to my original post (with credit to yourself of course).

There is quite an 80s revival/nostalgia scene in Australia, and I am certain many people would remember the Time Bandits fondly, and love to see them in concert. My fingers are crossed that the band can make it to Australia again one day.

Thanks once again.