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Jubilee

Jubilee were: Lee Severin – Singer/Songwriter Ross Baxter – Guitars Garron Frith – Bass Chris Holditch – Drums Jubilee were a mixed bunch of 2 Mancs, a Londoner and a Scot. They formed in 1994 and were very popular on the Manchester live scene, packing out venues all across town on a regular basis. Managed by ex-Hacienda/ex-Stone Roses manager Howard Jones, Jubilee were local superstars who were championed by the music press as Manchester’s answer to the Brit-Pop of Blur, Supergrass etc. Drawing on influences such as The Small Faces, The Sex Pistols, early Pink Floyd, Jubilee’s punk/psychedelic sound found much favour with the Manchester student fraternity; gigs often an electric affair with the phlegmatic Severin inciting the crowd. The band were a frenetic stage act and this was reflected in the boisterous crowds who followed them. Jubilee were signed to Sivertone Records in 1995 following a support to Menswear at Manchester Academy 2 and their first release on the subsidiary Mono Records was ‘So Sad About Us/ Isle of Wight Sands/Song to the One’. ‘So Sad About Us’ borrowed a riff from Sham 69 and married it to a dynamic, dance shuffle that harked back to the not so distant Madchester sound of the Happy Mondays/Stone Roses. The single scraped the top 50, and received much airplay both in their home city of Manchester and nationally. Management conflicts soon emerged with the band becoming disillusioned with Howard Jones after he’d pressed for Andy Couzens (his business partner and an ex-Stone Rose) to produce the first single; the band being disappointed with the final recordings and the fact that Jones had allowed an untried, first-time producer to work on the record. Their second single on Silvertone was the anthemic ‘Shake and Shiver’, a salutary tale of a playboy lifestyle gone wrong. The all out, fun rock and roll of the song is at odds with the lyrics which tell the story of the fateful meeting of the upper and lower classes in the form of a jet setter and a street prostitute. The song was included in the Sam Rockwell movie Lawn Dogs where the band sit alongside such musical luminaries as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen et al. Jubilee began to lose faith in Silvertone when, having sacked Jones on advice from the record company they were then embroiled in a lengthy court case which prevented them from recording. On settlement, the band decided to resist providing Silvertone with any more commercial recordings, feeling that the record company weren’t fulfilling their contractual obligations, and that there had been insufficient promotion of ‘Shake and Shiver’, which, once again had only managed to touch the top 50. Jubilee and Silvertone parted company in 1997, the band playing on for a year before Severin finally quit to pursue other ventures . Though no longer playing as Jubilee, the three remaining members continued in various line-ups to record, with Baxter now taking over as the main songwriter from the departed Severin. After a brief relocation to London, the remaining members returned to Manchester, only for Frith to decide that he no longer wished to play bass (moving instead to guitar and becoming a singer-songwriter in his own right). Frith, true to his intention carved out a solo career for himself and played, and continues to play in and around Manchester and in support slots to major artists countrywide. Severin, on leaving Jubilee put together Peppered which featured Andy Couzens (ex-Stone Roses) on guitars, Victor Freeman (ex- Happy Mondays) on bass and Eamonn (ex-Inspiral Carpets) on drums. Peppered were courted by many of the London record companies and demoed extensively. The band were on the verge of signing to London Records when Severin became disillusioned with the whole London-centric nature of the music industry, and decided to focus instead on visual media, studying Television and Video Production at Manchester University. Chris Holditch emigrated to Australia in 2007 while Ross Baxter runs a studio on the Lancs/Yorks border. Baxter and Severin have recently recorded some new material with the two other original members of Jubilee, but at time of writing there are no plans to perform or release the material. (Submitted 04.10.07)