This is an archive of the band profile for The Legendary Len Liggins.
Len first became known for his bizarre home-made tracks that appeared on cassette compilations that circulated underground in the early 1980s, many of which featured in the Obscurist charts of the now-defunct 'Sounds' magazine. By way of promoting himself, Len performed some solo gigs in and around West and South Yorkshire, reading laconically over homemade backing tracks that featured a very basic drum machine and a WASP synthesiser. You had to be there.
A few tracks found their way onto vinyl compilations ('No Platform for Heels', 'Giraffe in Flames', 'Saw Yourself in Half') and it wasn't long before Len recorded and released a 4-track 7" vinyl EP called 'A Remedy for Bad Nerves' which came out on his own Aaz Records label. The record received a good few plays on BBC Radio 1 by DJ John Peel and it also became an NME Single of the Week. Two further solo EPs (all 12"s) followed: 'A Headful of Ants' and 'Yuri's Hair Salon', all of which were played enthusiastically by the wonderful Mr Peel.
Len was also known on the Leeds scene as co-founder (with Tony Bonner) of an 8-track recording studio in Leeds City Centre's Aire Street, called 'Lion Studios'. Len and Tony engineered sessions by over two hundred bands/artists in the first 18 months of the studio's existence including one by New Model Army and others that included members of The Mekons, The Three Johns and Chumbawamba. Len also published 16 issues of his free fanzine, 'Roar!', from Lion Studios (1982-1984) and released two 7" records on the studio's associated label 'Tenuous Lynx Records'. These were a single by Scunthorpe's 'The Product of Reason' and an EP shared by Leeds bands 'MRA' and 'The Sleeping Figures'.
Meanwhile Len played in Leeds-based 1980s indie combo 'The Sinister Cleaners', with John Parkes (Whole Sky Monitor, Fuzzbird, Greenhouse), Andrew Middleton (Colenso Parade, The Tripping Cherubs) and Simon Smith (The Wedding Present, Cha Cha Cohen). The Sinister Cleaners released quite a few slabs of vinyl: two 7" singles (one in US only), a mini-album and two 12" EPs, all of which were collected together (with four newly-recorded songs) in 2007 as a 20 track compilation on Aaz Records called 'Shine' (AAZCD12). You'll find more info about the band at www.myspace.com/thesinistercleaners .
In a different guise, in the late '80s/early '90s, Len sang and played fiddle on The Wedding Present's 'Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peela'/'Ukrainian John Peel Sessions'/'Live 1989' albums. This led to the formation of world music/punk folk group The Ukrainians, co-founded by Len with Wedding Present guitarist Peter Solowka (see www.the-ukrainians.com and www.myspace.com/theukrainians ). The Ukrainians still release albums (the critically-acclaimed 'Diaspora' was released in 2009) and they continue to play gigs in the UK and world music and folk festivals around the world.
In 2004 Len collected his best solo tracks (including all but one of the tracks from the 3 solo EPs and four newly-recorded songs) onto a 20-track CD album called 'Songs about Love, Dreams and Domestic Appliances' (AAZCD10), which is still available on Aaz Records. If you'd like a copy of this, or The Sinister Cleaners' 'Shine' album, just send banknotes, cheques, postal orders or international money orders for 7 British Pounds (GBP)/8 Euros (EUR)/12 US dollars (USD) - per album - to Aaz Records, 66 Victoria Road, Wargrave, Berkshire, RG10 8AE..