Adorable – Our favourite fallen idols

Following the news this week that Adorable are reforming for some gigs this autumn, let’s take a look back at their first time around in their own words.

The Candy Thieves

Before Adorable, three of the band were in The Candy Thieves

Wil: “I formed Bubblegum Flesh (their first band) as an English student at the University of Warwick back in 1988, I think. I sang and played guitar, Pete played bass. Pete then went on to form the Candy Thieves without me, this time with him on guitar and vocals. When they sacked their bassist shortly after, I was drafted in.” 1

Pete: “The Candy Thieves, which I had formed in 1988 with my friend Wayne Peters on guitar, when we were on a Film Studies course together at Warwick University.” 1

Wil: “We wrote a number of songs during this period, which went on to appear on Adorable singles including Homeboy and I’ll Be Your Saint. Candy Thieves became Adorable and Robert became guitarist.” 2

Their first and only single released on a flexi-disc was a version of Homeboy later recorded as Adorable.

Pete: “I can still remember the day we wrote it. Wil started playing the bass line, and Kevin joined in on the floor tom. I sang a whole load of lines culled from other discarded songs, Wayne picked some notes, and then when it felt right I stepped on my distortion pedal to make it start feeding back, Kevin sensed it was time to move onto the snare and we all crashed in – it was beautiful.” 2

Becoming Adorable

Will: “I remember agreeing to let Robert join the band the moment Pete told me that not only did Robert have a car, but also a rehearsal room in his parents house.” 3

Robert: “The first time we played after I joined was at my parents’ house. We wrote ‘Sunshine Smile’ and ‘Breathless’ back to back. It sounded as if it was working and I knew then that we were onto something.” 3

Rare Groove Pirate

Adorable first recorded a white label with Pat Collier on his Money to Burn label. This was issued as an EP featuring ‘Sunshine Smile’, ‘I’ll Be Your Saint’ and ‘Breathless’.

Pete: “Adorable first came to wider attention back in late summer of 1991 when a white label we had pressed up got picked up and got a rave write up in the NME from Simon Williams which led to us coming tantalisingly close to signing with Rough Trade.” 2

“We recorded it as a 3 track EP with some free studio time Pat Collier gave us, and he pressed it up onto 12″ but never released it, because we started to get record company interest so we decided to hold it back.” 4

Rare Groove Pirate white label EP from 1991

The big break

Pete: “In January 1992 we got invited by NME to be part of their ‘NME On For 92’ showcase gig at The Venue in New Cross, London which brought unsigned or very new bands to the attention as ‘ones to watch’ – it was I suppose what the BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ is these days, often these showcase nights would feature bands who would go on to be huge, so the public and industry alike would come to see the next big thing. There were 8 bands over the 2 nights – we played with Suede on our night, both of us unsigned at that point, PJ Harvey was headlining the following evening. We went on stage knowing this was a pivotal moment, our one big chance, and we played a blinder of a show. I recall coming off and saying to others, “if we don’t get signed after that, we never will”. 4

Pete: “Every gig we’d played was to 30 or 40 people at most We realised that if we didn’t get a deal at [the Venue] gig, then that was probably it. So we all just went a bit mad onstage. In some ways it was almost like the first real Adorable gig!” 5

McGee phoned their manager, Eddie Connelly, the former bass Meat Whiplash. Using his links with SBK as part of his pitch to persuade them to choose Creation ahead of two other interested labels, McGee signed Adorable for £60,000 and began to talk up Fijalkowski as a future superstar. 5

Pete: “The next morning our manager Ed Connelly was struggling to keep up with all the offers coming in, he kept ringing us back every couple of hours with updates (“Cherry Red have made an offer, and RCA have left a message, and Chrysalis want a meeting tomorrow”) – we had probably a dozen offers, including several major labels, but Creation Records was the one that mattered (though we flirted with the idea of signing to Blur’s Food Records as well).” 4

Signing to Creation

Pete: “Within two pints of Adorable meeting Alan McGee for the first time in a pub in the centre of Coventry in January 1992, the conversation got quite heated when we asked him about the dropping of My Bloody Valentine from the label. McGee likened his relationship with MBV as that of a girlfriend and boyfriend, but said that he couldn’t tell Kevin Shields face to face that his services were no longer required at Creation. I made McGee promise that if and when he came to drop Adorable from Creation he would have the guts to do so to my face.” 6

Sunshine Smile

Pete: “Things started promisingly enough, our first single ‘Sunshine Smile’ got NME single of the week, lots of evening session play on Radio One, number one in the indie charts and three weeks in the national top 100 charts, but had we had the advantage of a crystal ball we would have seen that this was to be our UK high point, and that it would be downhill all the way from thereon.” 6

Kevin: “I still remember opening a copy of the NME the week after we released this and seeing we were #1 in the indie singles chart and thinking “this is it.” At that moment anything was possible – not being huge hadn’t crossed our minds.” 3

Robert: “It did get to No 1 of the Independent chart, (knocking Ride’s Twisterella into the No 2 slot), although we did hope for a high chart placing.” 1

The music press

David Cavanagh in his book describes Adorable as “a second-wave shoe-gazing band with a twist. In place of the usual mouselike front-line of mop-top haircuts, they had an unmistakable focal point in singer Piotr Fijalkowski.” 5

Pete: “Will and myself did the interviews, and our attempts to distance ourselves from the attitude-light shoegazing movement, and align ourselves more to our outspoken heroes such as Morrissey, Julian Cope & Ian McCulloch, pushed us too far in the eyes of the press the other way, and we were considered pretentious arty know it alls (although there was more than a grain of truth in that!), and seen as egotistical and arrogant. That we had managed to achieve this image in two interviews that ran in total for just over a page means we made quite an impression, but sadly for us the wrong one, and we never got interviewed again in either the Melody Maker or the NME for our entire career after our debut single.” 4

NME interview with Simon Williams – February 1992
Melody Maker interview March 14th 1992

Wil: “I remember Alan McGee meeting with Pete and I after our first round of interviews to express his anger at how disastrous they’d been. Peter and I were shocked – we thought we’d done well. History was to prove McGee right – we had alienated the press and they never really wanted to speak to us again!” 1

NME interview April 1992

Robert: “At the time we weren’t tagged as Shoegaze as that was kind of 1991 and we were 1992 and Shoegaze was off the description chart by then.” 7

Pete: “Adorable appeared at a time when outspokenness was not in vogue. With the benefit of hindsight maybe we should have approached the press differently, but at the time we wanted to distance ourselves from the “shoegazing” scene of low-attitude.” 8

Pete: “Generally we were seen as being something else (NME, who were ever keen on coming up with labels, briefly tried to create a scene called ‘New Glam’ incorporating  Adorable, The Verve & Suede) but as the years have gone on we seem to have been lumped in with the Shoegazers.” 7

Rob: “It was actually about not being approachable and trying to have some distance between the band and the people in the audience.” 7

Pete: “I was really confident, but I should have kept my mouth shut. Alan McGee thought we were the new Sex Pistols and he wanted us to be what is now Oasis. We weren’t. We were just the snotty Bunnymen.” 9

Pete: “I think the image of the band overtook any discussion of the music, but hey – that’s pop music.” 10

I’ll Be Your Saint

Pete: “It totally cemented us as arrogant cocks basically because of its title. I kinda quite like the sentiments of it but – unfortunately at the time we didn’t have ‘Homeboy’ recorded. If we had had it recorded at that point I think that would have been really big.” 11

Wil: “Alan McGee stepped in and persuaded us to record and release ‘I’ll Be Your Saint’ instead of ‘Glorious’ – we naturally assumed because he thought it was a better song. He admitted later that his sole motivation was amusement at theidea of one of his bands relesing a single with the title ‘I’ll Be Your Saint’.” 3

Pete: “We did a video for “I’ll Be Your Saint”; the idea was a dark brooding, church-like atmosphere. “We’ve got a disused church for the shoot” says the director on the phone. Great. We turn up on the day and it turns out the church doesn’t have a roof! Hmmmm….not much chance of that dark, candle lit vibe we were going for. ” 8


Pete: “It’s one of my favourites. ‘Homeboy’ was our worst ever performing single. It just completely died and we couldn’t understand it at all cos we thought it was – it was the single – we thought it was …” 6

“‘Homeboy’ didn’t even get reviewed in the NME, despite the fact that our first two singles were hanging around the top end of the indie charts.” 4

Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Pete: “‘Sistine Chapel Ceiling’ got us on the road back with another NME single of the week and a high Indie chart placing, in turn helping our debut LP ‘Against Perfection’ to a Top 75 spot in April 1993.” 6

Sistine Chapel Ceiling press advert

The debut album – Against Perfection

Pete: “Our debut album ‘Against Perfection’ came out in March 1993 and the review in the NME described it as “a flawed classic” which I rather liked, though the 6/10 score seemed to go against the largely positive write up. We were later told by the reviewer that he had given it a higher score, but the reviews editor who didn’t like us had marked his score down, and it was at that point I realised that the stakes were stacked too high against us and it would be a miracle to turn this ship around.” 4

The UK chart placing for Against Perfection

Pete: “Both “Crash sight” and “Glorious” were in the running to be singles at some stage. “Glorious” was recorded as a second single alongside “Saint”, but we weren’t happy with the recording, whilst “Crash Sight” was recorded in the “Homeboy” session with Alan Moulder, but again it didn’t sound quite right. I always thought that “Crash Sight” sounded like a massive single, but went off the idea as things got on. I like “Fallen Idol” as a single because it was a bit different from the other 45′s. Creation wanted to release “Cut #2″ instead of “Idol” but we talked them out of it. For all the downsides of being on Creation, we must give them credit for often allowing us to do what we wanted.” 8

Favourite Fallen Idol

Pete: “I had loved Ian McCulloch, but felt in the early 90’s his output and demeanor was fading fast, and Wil had similar views about his hero Morrissey. This song was an acknowledgement that our heroes ultimately let us down, and there was an awareness that there was no reason to believe that we would be any different.” 2

Favourite Fallen Idol press advert

The world tour

Pete: “I remember when we came to the USA we were excited, because we felt it was a time when we could start anew. It had all gone wrong press-wise in the UK, and this was our chance to come somewhere with a fresh slate or so we thought – when we arrived we discovered to our horror that the label had decided to run a campaign dubbing us as “the band you love to hate”. Cue heavy sighs as we spent half an hour each show tearing down posters with this slogan that had been painstakingly put up at each venue by SBK employees.” 10

Kev: “Washing the dishes in my kitchen in Coventry two weeks after Glastonbury, I was listening to Radio 1 and thought “this sounds familiar”. They played extracts from our festival set. I always used to love being modest about having our music played on the radio but secretly loved every moment of it.” 3

Pete: “We had other great times in Australia, Japan and across Europe, but on returning from promoting ‘Against Perfection’ we were a bit down, feeling that we had made as good an album as we could that we were really proud of, but that seemingly wasn’t enough.” 6

Kangaroo Court

Pete: “‘Kangaroo Court’ was very much written about my attitude, about how I felt that I’d been treated. I felt very frustrated about that in Adorable.” 11

Pete: “I knew we were in serious trouble when in a small written 1/8th page Q&A piece in the NME to coincide with the album, they substituted my written answer to a question with a quote from a previous interview taken out of context and deliberately chosen to paint me as an arrogant tosser. I was advised by my press officer not to complain but I was furious that something so clearly black and white as a written answer to a questionnaire could be ignored and so openly manipulated, and how a persona was being created for me by the press over which I had no right to reply apart from the wingey “woe is me” single ‘Kangaroo Court’.” 4


Pete: “We were very tired, we had done loads of touring. We had toured all over the world and came back knackered. It suddenly felt like we had just a few months to write songs when up to that point we’d had years to write the first album. When we came back we’d have a few months off in between touring and we didn’t particularly want to go into the studio and write stuff. We just wanted to catch up with our lives but there was a realisation we needed some songs – then there was a realisation that we didn’t have enough strong songs so we sort of had a second round of songwriting. Some of the strongest songs came in at the end like ‘Vendetta’.” 11

Fake – the second album

Pete: ““Road Movie” was originally going to be a single in between the two LPs, but was pulled at the last moment. I wish we could have released “Submarine” as a single. My least favourite of all the Adorable singles was “Kangaroo Court”. It was released because Creation were on at us to release something with more of our live sound to it, so we released a single with a sound more in mind than the actual song. Mistake.” 8

Fake press advert

Kevin: “I used to love our stays in London while recording. The studio we used to record this (Maison Rouge) was in Fulham and the day we arrived, Blur were doing the final mixes for ‘Parklife’ and invited us to join them for some champagne. The next time we met them was in Belgium then a few weeks later in Japan. It was quite a strange feeling, I think I was still quite in awe of not just the other band but how small the Western world can feel when you are in a group and playing gigs all over the place.” 3

Pete: “By the time our second album ‘Fake’ came out in the autumn of 1994 we were on the ropes. The NME review finished us off mercilessly, complaining the album was “drenching us with tawdry non-songs and dashed promises that are anodyne and limp-wristed” with a 5/10 score. Battered and bruised we called it a day realising that without support of our label (who had been distant from us from the word go), or the most important player in the music business at the time we were pretty much sunk.” 4

The Fake fanzine sent to mailing list subscribers

Pete: “I didn‘t notice until some time later that there’s a sadness & frailty on our second album tracks. Whereas a lot of our early recordings are very celebratory and bursting with youthful confidence the second album is far more insular and introspective.” 3

Leaving Creation

Pete: “We were dropped by Creation for the simple financial reason that our second LP (Fake) didn’t sell enough copies, and following the Sony takeover there was an added pressure on Creation to get their acts making money.” 8

Wil: “Adorable did not leave Creation, they were dropped rather unceremoniously because they would not agree to their second album ‘Fake’ being remixed by some idiot who did the early Oasis stuff. See, Creation thought Adorable were the new Sex Pistols and Adorable thought different. End of contract. Alan McGee, the only Creation person who ever liked Adorable was busy having a nervous breakdown in Glasgow so he never stopped Sony from perpetrating their evil crimes against music…” 12

Pete: “The ‘Dear John’ phone call came through to us in the glamorous setting of Colchester as we loaded in for a gig in late 1994. As poetic luck would have it our support band that day were The 60 Foot Dolls who had just that afternoon signed a lucrative publishing deal, and came into the venue clutching bottles of champagne, as we moped around in the suitably mournful setting of the converted church that is Colchester Arts Centre. Needless to say the call to say we were dropped didn’t come from Alan McGee, or anyone from the label, but our long-suffering manager Eddie.” 6

The last gig

Pete: “The Brussels gig was quite emotional, I was absolutely gutted every time we started up a song, in the knowledge that it would be the last time we would ever play it. The last song we ever did was our favourite “Homeboy”. The evening following the concert was brilliant though, we went out for a massive drink session and chatted about all the highs and lows. It was one of my fondest memories of Adorable. We didn’t get back to the hotel till 6.30am in the morning.” 8

Pete: “Perhaps Adorable just existed at the wrong time; about 2-3 years before, and we would have been in with the likes of The House of Love and the whole shoegazing malarkey. 3 years later and maybe we would have been on the coat-tails of Britpop.” 6

“I am surprised by the following Adorable still commands — we always said that we were aware that we might not become popular until after our artistic death, and it would appear that this may still happen.” 8



2 /20-years-of-adorables-against-perfection/

3 Footnotes 1992 – 1994 sleeve notes (Cherry Red 2008)


5 My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize by Davd Cavanagh (2000)

6 /interviews/adorable/






12 Ajay’s Adorable site (no link available)