The ascent of Village Green Machine continues with airplay on the Mark Lamarr's God's Jukebox, and an invitation to do a session for the show at Maida Vale studio. Offers for live work have begun to arrive, incase you were wondering Village Green Machine is Mark Lemon, with others. In the same way that the Divine comedy is Neil Hannon, with others. So, there is a live band, and Mark will also be doing live solo shows, under the Village Green Machine banner, which will be promoted as 'Village Green Machine'- Mark Lemon solo show. So there you have it.

Mark Lemon records once a week in a church hall in England, using vintage equipment. He refuses to compromise anything, and has been described as a literate, intelligent writer of unlimited potential by a local newspaper. His music is what he calls 'retroexperimental'. He is retro and futuristic at the same time. Experimentation can never be retro, but Lemon is an unusual artist. His songs are real, his lyrics on par with Morrissey or Ray Davies. He believes in melody and that great songs are about brilliant well structured melodies, with lyrics of integrity and good hooks. Also, you can dance to any record by Village Green Machine. The instrument sounds are very 1960s, with influences drawn from good 60's pop rather than the (post Hendrix) heavy stuff. Mark is an outsider who will soon be a rock & roll star.

But life has not been easy for him. He is recovering from a long term addiction to sleeping tablets. He says:

''Where are my fags. Right thats better. I was addicted to a popular sleeping tablet for a long time, for years. I struggled for ages to get off them. I'd cut back but I couldn't sleep, surprise surprise. And the withdrawl effects were vile. You cannot suddenly stop something like that. In the end, I realised I was starting losing my memory, this does happen after a long time on them. If you have known or loved someone with dementia, and you find you are losing your own memory because of a pill addiction, it is extremely frightening. Because you see memory loss happening to you, and the worst thing was, I thought it could be an escalating loss of memory. Frankly, that scared the **** out of me. So, it was fear in the end which made me decide to quit, to cut down, a really little bit at a time. The trick was to do it so slowly my mind and body wouldn't notice the withdrawl. I had a few relapses, but this technique did work. For a while, I still felt a bit strange as reality kicked in. But I am over it now. ''

Mark is a regular on the UK mod scene. He has written One For The Mods to tell the world that the mod scene is really happening again- He says:

'Heaven is letting go on the dancefloor to Baby Hit and Run' by the Contours. If you go out on the scene, you can find an escape from the rows of suburban houses. Thats why I go, anyway.'

Check out the scene in your area on Modculture or New Untouchables.

Mark has strong mod leanings, but says he 'digs' other stuff which is 60s. Mark again-

''Village Green Machine is influenced by really, really great stuff, like some of Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd and the living legend Ray Davies. The thing which really turned me on to the 60s was seeing a picture of Syd's Pink Floyd. It really was the most brilliant thing I'd ever seen. That shot with them in psychedelic clothes, with Syd in a plain shirt, with the liquid lights shining on them. Google 'images' and find that picture and take a look, and tell me that doesn't look brilliant.
Now, understand this. Syd Barrett was an experimental artist. Ultimately I have been inspired by Syd's experimentalism, that is his legacy as expressed in my work. I feel more in common with a band like the Horrors, my favourite current band, than with some purely retro musicians. Because its all about experimenting from a brilliant set of past sources, in order to create a great new scene which people will dig. I mean, the Horrors are a really outstanding new group, who aren't scared of the great unknown artistically. We all have to take chances, or stay with what we know works, as musicians, and that is the route to stagnation and boredom.''

Village Green Machine is a part of England. Mark-

''My father was an army officer, who still wears a monacle. I come from what can only describe as a somewhat eccentric background. And one which is ruthlessly individualistic. My mother has always slept all day, she is an artist and poet. She works very hard at night. I create my own world in which to live, without worrying about the twitching net curtains here in English suburbia. I collect tea pots. I own 27 clocks. And 6 Dansette record players. I wear original 1960s socks, and am awoken every day by a 1950s teasmade. I dig tea in a major way, especially top of the range breakfast tea, the really strong stuff. My favourite comedy is On The Buses (Reg RIP) and ofcourse I like the Carry Ons.''

Lemon mixes serious heartfelt serious and sometimes deep lyrics with sometimes trashy pop influences:

''I like Andy Warhol's trash angle. It means I opened my eyes to popular art and music, its anti snobbery, in a way. When the Beatles and Phil Spector happened it shook the traditional art world because suddenly this supposedly low form of culture was artistically challenging what was hanging in the galleries and shrieking in the opera houses. It signified peoples art being on a level with high culture, perhaps even superseding it in terms of artistic merit. I don't suppose this went down too well with the snobs in their ivory towers, who were proud of their cultures perceived superiority. Anyway there was no flak in Bacharach's melodies, whereas have you heard some of the junk which is still paraded on classical music radio stations?''

Mark's final word:

The 1960s era will come through in a great new crop of bands, since it was such a great time for music. Some people will say it already has, and indeed it has in bands like the Roses and Oasis. But, there are hundreds of great sources in 60s music waiting to be used as influences by creative experimental musicians, sounds which are overlooked or obscure. See my Myspace for a list of some. You need valves, and old technology in the recording chain.''

''England's Dreaming Spires is my first, my second is on the way. It is my life to aim to make great music and always will be''.


Reading Village Green Machine's ezine. White Plastic Moccasins
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