Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elliott School of Rock

When I was at Elliott school in Putney it was an inspirationless, slightly rough dump. I remember my first day. I went to the toilets with a mate. We got cornered by a couple of older students and one of them forced my mate's mouth open and spat down it. Pleasant start.

Elliott's still not that great. But since the 90s it's become the somewhat unlikely denizen of experimental music. Kieran Hebden, founder of post-rock band Fridge and folktronica moniker Four Tet, and now performing under his own name, went there in the 90s. As did Adem Iihan – also in the band Fridge (along with fellow school mate Sam Jeffers) – and now performing under his own name too. William Bevan, aka dubstep producer Burial, is an ex-student. His 2006 self-titled LP received considerable acclaim. Hot Chip, geeky-cool electropop band, met and formed at Elliott. Their second album, The Warning (also 2006) was voted one of the albums of the year in the music press. A few members of So Solid Crew went there (though I think the numerous members went to just about every school in Wandsworth). Less well known are Emma Smith and Vincent Sipprell, members of the innovative Elysian Quartet; indie band The Maccabees, and folk outfit Screamer on the Hill. It's an impressive list of urban, electro, electronic, experimental, folk, indie and classical – which covers just about every musical genre.

Elliott's fine music pedigree isn't just a recent phenomenon. Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac and great blues guitarist of the 60s, was a student in the late 50s and early 60s. Also there in the 1960s was Re Bethe, founder of British heavy metal band Ritual; Max Middleton (keyboardist, Jeff Beck Group); Chris Miller, drummer in The Damned; Ed Spevock (another drummer) and pop band The Pirates formed there... amongst others (ex-Bond Pierce Brosnan was also there in the 60s – currently to be seen in the dreadful Mamma Mia... yes, that's my somewhat tenuous music link).

For the record, absolutely no one from the time I was at Elliott has become famous.

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