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Airbus

I started playing in this band when I was 15 because it offered a fun alternative to being educated. Over 15 years, the band wrote around 200 songs, releasing far too few of them in my humble opinion. We played gigs all over the planet and were fortunate enough to be signed to BMG Music Publishing and Spira Records. Living in LA for a couple of years, we were lucky enough to work with some big-name producers which made recording more fun than I thought possible.

Airbus music rock band on Harbour Road Portishead, pre development in the early 90's

During my years as an unemployed rock star, the band spent an unhealthy amount of time in Transit vans, driving up and down the M4. When four men spend that much time together, they find themselves coming up with stupid, boredom-induced nicknames for each other. Some of them stick. This is why I’m also known as Topher Icecry.

Airbus Band Space Helmet

Airbus Reconstruction of Portishead's Sourtimes

The most well known recording Airbus did was a B-side of Portishead’s Sourtimes, entitled the ‘Airbus Reconstruction’. We went to Gordano school with Geoff Barrow. He’d been signed to Go Beat and recorded Dummy. It hadn’t been released and, at that time, no one had heard of Portishead. He gave us a cassette (oh dear, showing my age) with a click-track and Beth’s vocal on it. We spent a day in State of Art recording studio in Easton, Bristol, recording the music (to the click-track as it had to marry up with Beth’s vocal - she overdubbed the howling on the end section after the music was recorded).

Airbus Reconstruction - Portishead Sourtimes - Nobody Loves Me

It wasn’t until the song was completed that Geoff played us the original. I remember us saying, ‘Sorry,’ or something similar, as it was so different from the original and much heavier. But that’s what makes it work. We performed it live twice with Beth, if my memory serves correctly; once at Moles Club in Bath and once at the Ashton Court Music Festival in Bristol. Below you can see a version I found on Youtube.

Ghosts

Ghosts was recorded by the band in a basement recording studio in Bristol on ancient (and often unreliable) analogue equipment. No computers, no wav files - this was all done on a 1 inch Souncraft tape machine and a 2 inch Studer which gave the recordings a warmth and depth of which I'm proud. If you would like a copy of Ghosts please contact me.

Airbus Ghosts LP Album Cover, Grosvenor Hotel in Bristol

The building on the CD cover is the Grosvenor Hotel which is located in the heart of Bristol, near Temple Meads train station.

Below is a live recording of a song from the Ghosts album (released in 2000) called All My Wishes. The video was shot at UCLA, CA in 2001.

Airbus on HTV's First Cut

First cut was a television programme filmed over two days during May 1993 at the Lloyds Amphitheatre in Bristol, UK. The programme was a 'battle of the bands' which I'm pleased to say we won. Below are videos of some of the songs we performed on the show. The daytime videos are of songs performed during one the of the heats, and the night-time videos were performed during the final.

Ethnicus (the drum song)

This is one of the most popular songs we performed live, and was often referred to as 'the drum song' by people who didn't know its real name (Ethnicus). This is the best version we have, as studio recordings never worked as well as when the song was played live. The video encompasses two performances, the first from the heat, the second from the final, which played out under the show's credits.

Later That Same Evening

Another popular live song, sometimes called 'the mandolin song' (you can see a pattern developing here...). Again, this is the best version we have recorded.

Inertia

We released this track as a 7" single (pictured below in the discography) in 1993, just after First Cut was filmed. The single did very well, selling out in local record stores.

El Spira

This is an old song that we wrote in 1989 and recorded and released on Apple Trees in 1990. We played it live for many years as it was a favourite with our audience.

Airbus on Wire TV

In 1993 we appeared on Wire TV, a cable television programme filmed in The Galleries shopping centre in Bristol UK. Unfortunately the recording quality isn't brilliant, but the video has Ross in the background, a friend from school who very sadly died in the early nineties. I thought it would be nice to have a memory of him on my website.

Don't Be Afraid

...is a song we wrote in the late 80's. It was one of the first demos we recorded and helped us get our foot in the door with a lot of gig venues. At the beginning of the video, you'll notice the presenter having a professional 'moment' and swearing, thinking her microphone is turned off. Ross is sitting at the front on the right of the group of people directly behind me (I'm on drums).

Airbus Website

Prior to releasing Ghosts, we used a lot of imagery from the album cover photoshoot on our website, which was built around 1995. Although airbusmusic.com is long gone, the site is still used by Bluetree (the webdesign firm who built it) as an example of past works. See the Airbus website.

Airbus Band Bristol UK

Airbus discography

Inertia (1993)

Airbus Inertia 1993 single cover artwork

Gravity (1997)

Airbus Gravity EP 1997 CD cover artwork

Ghosts (2000)

Airbus Ghosts LP 2000 cover artwork

No (2001)

Airbus No EP 2001 cover artwork

Spitfire (1988 no picture available)

Apple Trees (1990 no picture available)

Bug and the Big Fish (1991 no picture available)

Reviews

Below are some reviews that appeared in local and national press when the Ghosts album Gravity EP were released.

Airbus Ashton Court Festival Write Up

Ashton Court Festival programme write-up, Bristol

Airbus Ghosts Album Review

Ghosts EP album teaser review

Airbus Gravity EP Review

Gravity EP review

Gig Flyers

Below are a few of the eclectic designs used on our gig flyers. These are mainly from gigs we did in the USA.

Airbus Band Flyer Viper Room Los Angeles CA

Viper Room Flyer, Los Angeles

Airbus Band The 56 Flyer Los Angeles

The 56 Flyer, Los Angeles

Airbus Band Space Flyer

Space Flyer, Los Angeles

Airbus Band Mint gig Flyer

The Mint Flyer, Los Angeles

Airbus Band Fleece & Firkin Flyer Bristol

Fleece & Firkin Flyer, Bristol

Airbus Band The Cube Flyer

The Cube Flyer Artwork, Bristol

Line-up

Nick Davidge - guitar and vocals

James Childs - guitar and vocals

Chris Fielden - drums

Simon Hedges - bass (1987 - 1999)

Airbus rock band, Portishead Swimming Pool, Battery Point

From left to right: Simon Hedges, Nick Davidge, James Childs, Chris Fielden

Oliver Morris - bass (2000)

Airbus with bassist Oliver Morris, Los Angeles

From left to right: Nick Davidge, James Childs, Chris Fielden, Oliver Morris

Sargon Dooman - bass (2000 - 2002)

Airbus with Sargon Dooman, Los Angeles, CA in 2001

From left to right: Sargon Dooman, Nick Davidge, Olive, James Childs, Chris Fielden

Airbus Band Pictures & Photos

And here are some old, older and very old pictures of the band, dating right back to 1987 when we had our first rehearsal in the music block at Gordano School in Portishead. I remember smuggling beer in. How naughty.

Airbus Los Angleles 2002

Airbus, Los Angeles, 2002

Airbus in Bristol

Airbus in Bristol, around 1995 / 1996

Airbus Band Mixing Gravity EP at Grange Studio

Airbus Mixing at the Grange Studio

Airbus Band Bristol

Airbus in Bristol

Airbus Band Rehearsal

Airbus band rehearsal at Portishead Youth Club

Airbus Band Portishead Carnival 1994

Airbus at Portishead Carnival 1994

Airbus Gig Bogiez Cardiff

Airbus after a gig at Bogiez in Cardiff

Airbus Band in Portishead

Very old pic from late 80's when we used to take things seriously, Valley Road, Portishead

Airbus Band Gordano School

Airbus's 1st rehearsal in Gordano School, Portishead, 1987

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Jonathan P
Gonna sound a bit weird this, but my wife acquired a horse few months back. Horse's stable name was Airbus The Rock Phenomenon. So I Googled "Airbus rock band" and found your website. Liked your version of Sour Times, BTW :)

Chris Fielden
No way!! Where was that?

Jonathan P
It was from a riding school in Shipham - I think the connection is that the mother of one of your ex-bandmates runs it.

Chris Fielden
Ah yes, it's his father I think - that makes sense now :-)

Bob E
Chris, I added Airbus to this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bands_from_Bristol. I hope that's OK.

Chris Fielden
Great, thanks very much Bob!