ist are a three-piece independent band with intimacy issues, currently campaigning, globally, on behalf of Quality Music, Film and TV. Like Elvis Costello locked in wet, sloppy kiss with Tom Waits, they've come to wake your brain, moisten your pants and make off with your wallet.


The history of ist : by Kenton Hall

I have been asked by the powers-that-be, that is to say, our drummer 'Flash' to write what he terms as a 'sensible' history (which is a liberty coming from a man whose favourite word is 'wibble') of the band of which I (as rhythm guitarist/vocalist) form a slightly out-of-shape and emotionally imbalanced quarter. At the time of writing, we are in smack in the middle of promoting our debut album, "Freudian Corduroy" - our first assault on the world's collective unconsciousness, which last I looked has yet to hit number one but has produced some glowing notices ('one of the best albums you'll get this year' - Unpeeled Magazine), a top 40 placing on an independent web-cast radio station based in New Jersey ( and is responsible, in part, for the fact that I have no toenail on the big toe of my right foot (don't ask) So, for posterity's sake, and writing under my own name for the first time in living memory, here is a potted history of how we got this far:

In February 2000, at the ripe old age of 23, I left my wife, my friends and an unhappy former life surrounded by irate and psychopathic Jehovah's Witnesses and set about becoming what I had always imagined myself to be - a songwriter in the mould of Elvis Costello. I was ill-prepared for the sea change of the real world and despite the support of my new girlfriend I managed to have a startlingly complete nervous breakdown - peaking with a naked bout of breaking and entering near York. During the same period, our soon-to-be bass player Mark 'Detroit' Robbins had been playing in a number of bands that disappointed his highly-developed sense of what prevented him from vomiting, drummer Flash had take some time off from years of gigging and nearly succeeding with various outfits to own Porsches and be bald and lead guitarist/vocalist Jack Bomb After a mental wobble of his very own, he was back in the UK, recovering from a year in Australia with a young, mentally unstable woman with more dead grandmothers than most people have hot dinners.

A year later, Detroit and I met - he was self-loathingly on the verge of joining a U2 tribute band for the cash - and formed a duo (acoustic guitar and bass) - performing songs I had written - in acoustic clubs around Derbyshire where we both lived. I had recorded a five-track demo the previous year - intended for release by independent label, Pink Box Records, on 12" vinyl - but the musicians I intended to use as a band never clicked, nor made themselves simultaneously available for rehearsals more than once a millennium and my mental state left me unable to concentrate for long periods of time. The demo was still going to be released, however, entitled 'The Adult Tree' and performed by 'ist' - a name chosen due to the freedom it leant me to think up high-minded explanations for it (We eventually settled on 'lack of prejudice' as its official meaning) - and the decision was made between myself, Detroit and Pink Box's Chris Garland to put a touring band together. It didn't quite work out that way. One night in The Musician, an acoustic club in our eventual home of Leicester, led Detroit and myself to Jack Bomb, performing his own songs (notably 'Dragonfly') in wayward, yet intriguing style on the same open-mic bill as ourselves. My performance of 'Moment of Release' equally impressed the Bomb, and we exchanged numbers. The following week, an advertisement in the toilets of the same club led the three of us to Flash, who arrived 20 minutes later to discuss rehearsals and drink lager in his own inimitable fashion.

The first rehearsals very nearly never happened. The original Adult Tree demo was ramshackle to say the least, offending Flash and Jack's sense of musicality, though they took a leap of faith on one) the strength of the songs and two) the fact that they had nothing better to do that day. Within two rehearsals, the idea of a backing band for me was done away with and the songwriting democracy that exists today decided upon. The Adult Tree was re-recorded with the new band and pressed on a charming 12" picture disc that featured a naked woman up a tree, festooned with unravelled condoms.

We got a lot of gigs off that naked woman's back (so to speak) including a run of highly enjoyable dates at The Cavern Club, Liverpool. The first gig, however - pay attention, trivia buffs - was at The Railway Inn, Belper, Derbyshire. It is best forgotten. Detroit and I moved to Leicester to join Flash and Jack and work began in earnest, rehearsing, writing, recording, touring and raising money to make the album we had in our heads. Now, two-and-a-half years later with 200 gigs and Freudian Corduroy under our belts, we have become ist, bodies and souls. It has become our reason for existing. We've been cheered, we've been booed, we've been near-naked and often wildly inebriated on stage. It has been, without a doubt, a ride. We've made some friends and a lot more enemi


Similarly Inclined

Written By: ist

Don't walk in here, looking all guilt-ridden
There's people on their death beds keep their secrets better hidden
I felt the bump and I can smell the grind
But I don't care because I'm similarly inclined

So don't bother me with all the lies that you've been telling
I've seen through all of them, I'm only questioning your spelling
And so he's handsome, smart and kind
Then I approve because I'm similarly inclined

I can't judge a single thing you do
Given half a chance, I'd do the same things too

Don't break down, no, don't beg me to forgive you
That's it, hold back the tears, cause I've had worse than this to live through
I've got my own betrayals firm in mind
I'm still judging my moment but I'm similarly inclined

Maybe I shouldn't tell you this
Dilute the thrill of that second-hand kiss
Perhaps I ought to give you hell
To show you that I really care
But ah well…
I can't judge a single thing you do
Given half a chance, I'd do the same things too

Don't start thinking that you've hurt me beyond reason
I only started drinking cause the wine came into season
Now I am quite alright, I think you'll find
We'll just pretend it never happened cause I'm similarly inclined

Music & lyrics by ist are subject to copyright

This is Where We Came in...

Written By: ist

This is where we came in...
Inflagrante delicto, six inch deep in sin
There's a man in a mac, in a taxi out back
And he's loaded his film and he's ready to snap
You and me, in our indelicacies

Cause I'm too tired to fight it
Too tired to even sit down and write about it
I'm too tired to let you down

This is where we came in…

Two fallen angels cavorting on the head of a pin
Well, we've screwed ourselves loose
I'm well hung in your noose
And if the eyes at the keyhole are Yahweh and Zeus
Let 'em through, we'll show the gods something new

Cause I'm too tired to fight it
Too tired to even sit down and write about it
I'm too tired to let you down

Let's get one thing clear right now
This is no rose-tinted movie romance
These are the days of our lives
The squalid and sordid afternoons spent in the pursuit of carnal oblivion
Oh, you know what I mean, baby
It's time to do the dance of love, the horizontal mambo
It's time to throw off the shackles of outmoded morality
And pass me those fur-lined handcuffs and that jar of gherkins
But wait! Is that a knock I hear upon the door?
A creak upon the dilapidated floorboard?
Isn't this where we came in?

Cause I'm too tired to fight it
Too tired to even sit down and write about it
I'm too tired to let you down
This is where we came in…
This is where we came in…

Music & lyrics by ist are subject to copyright.

Moment of Release

Written By: ist

Knock on the door, with fingernails instead of fists
You count the condoms and the bullets in your purse
You're going to take me out, take him out for better or for worse

Your mother called again tonight to disapprove of you
Said you ought to find a husband, settle down
And suddenly you knew the shade of red
That you would have to paint this town

Hope the morning finds you in one piece
Pack the wolf away beneath the fleece
Wipe away the sweat and the chip pan grease
Hope you find your moment of release

You let your dress drop and you slide the guilt over to him
Though it's his barriers that your passion overcame
It's not your fault your back is arched and you are screaming out his name

You weren't born great and you haven't achieved greatness yet
So once again you're lying back and waiting for the thrust
And though you're wide awake and widely spread
It's more insomnia than lust


You match the speed, with which they exhaust their need
Until it's hard to tell if you exist
For all the white noise that proves to you you've been enjoyed
There's never any trace left of a kiss

You close the door and swallow hard to keep the liquour down
You wipe your hands down something that you haven't paid for yet
You tell yourself you let him live and hope it's not the last chance that you get


The Adult Tree EP (2002)
Freudian Corduroy LP (2004)
Similarly Inclined/Tonto (single) 7" (2004)

Set List

Death and the Songwriter
This is Where We Came in
The Station
Throw Me A Bone
Similarly Inclined
Let's to Bed
Pay For This
Don't Look At Me That Way
This Sin
Moment of Release
The Silence
Break the Dawn
Selfish Terrors
Fag Break
Don't Wake Me
St. Francis' Cross

all songs written and arranged by ist except closer:
Psycho (written by Leon Payne) (arranged by ist)