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Honkies, The

How Do We Prevent The Advance Of The Desert?

Honkies, The: How Do We Prevent The Advance Of The Desert? (Music a la Coque)

From 1987-93 this bizarre UK band took Rock-In-Opposition attitudes on tour in the UK & Europe, presenting their strangely informed approach to improvised rock with a punk attitude, fueled by dual saxes from Kathy Hulme & Caroline Kraabel, trumpeter Andy Diagram, and drummer Re Harrison, as heard on this reissue of their wonderfully weird 2nd album.

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product information:

Label: Music a la Coque
Catalog ID: COQ - 011
Squidco Product Code: 24353

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Italy
Packaging: Cardboard foldover
Recorded in Manchester, England, in 1989 and 1990.


Kathy Hulme-saxophone, cello, vocals

Re Harrison-drums, washing machine, trombone, vocals

Caroline Kraabel-saxophone, vocals

Andy Diagram-trumpet, vocals

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Artist Biographies:

"Whilst studying Art at Edinburgh College of Art in the mid 80s I bought a saxophone which I attempted to play in bands with my friends in Edinburgh and then after I moved to London in 1986. I was always frustrated by my lack of skill and inability to keep up with my 'musical' friends. While attending Goldsmith's College for a Certificate in Music Workshop Skills I was introduced to solfege by the tutor, Phil Mullen. It instantly made sense to me and I started to take evening classes with David Vinden. I attended David's elementary and intermediate classes and eventually progressed to Yuko's advanced course. In 2003-4 I went to the Kodály institute in Kesckemét, Hungary where I completed the Diploma in Basic Kodály Pedagogy.

Solfege has opened the door for me to a level of musicianship that I thought was for 'talented' musicians only and I have had musical experiences that would not have been available to me without it. I enjoy teaching music to children using these ideas because I believe that by educating our children to be musicians we can create happier and more creative adults.

Through studying in this way I have developed my singing and I now perform in a duo, the C siders with Robert Storey.

I am very interested in words and song and I am a member of a poetry group which meets regularly to write and critique poetry.

I have also recently started to draw again, following my attendance on the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brian course."

-Kathy Hulme Website (

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"Caroline Kraabel (born 1961 in Torrance, California) is a London-based American composer, improviser and saxophonist. She is known for her research into the implications of electricity related to recording, synthesis and amplification.

After living in Seattle, Kraabel moved to London while in her teenage years, at the end of the punk era.[1] There she took up the saxophone and became active in London's improvised music scene, eventually developing a style based on the physicality of the instrument, extended techniques and acoustics. She has performed solo and collaborated with John Edwards, Veryan Weston,[2] Charlotte Hug, Maggie Nicols,[3] Phil Hargreaves, and the London Improvisors Orchestra[4] among others. She has also organized and conducted pieces for Mass Producers-a 20-piece, all-female saxophone/voice orchestra[5] and for Saxophone Experimentals in Space-a 55-piece group of young saxophonists, as well as with her two children during walks through the streets of London.

Recordings include Transitions with Maggie Nichols and Charlotte Hug,[6] Five Shadows with Veryan Weston, Performances for Large Saxophone Ensemble 1 and 2 and Performances for Large Saxophone Ensemble 3 and 4 with Mass Producers and a solo work Now We Are One Two.

Caroline Kraabel has been hosting a weekly radio show on London's Resonance FM[7] and is the editor for the London Musicians Collective's magazine Resonance."

-Wikipedia (

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"Andy Diagram (born 14 December 1959 in London) is a British musician and trumpet player. He has worked with the instrument in a variety bands and contexts ranging from pop and rock to experimental jazz, art rock and dance music. He is best known for his work with James (having been a member from 1989 to 1992 during the band's popular peak in the UK, and rejoining for the ongoing band reformation in 2007), with Spaceheads and with the Pere Ubu singer David Thomas.

Andy Diagram has been a unique voice on the trumpet for more than 25 years. He developed his own style over that time in a variety of very different projects. Creating large soundscapes of brass with the use of electronics, looping his trumpet in multiple echo machines, and with the ingenious use of harmonisers he builds not just luscious washes of sound but also pulsating and infectious rhythms.

Spending much of the 1980s in Manchester, England, he recorded and toured with a range of bands on the rock, pop and jazz scenes (from The Diagram Brothers, Dislocation Dance and the Pale Fountains) before joining James in 1989. Andy stayed on for two of the band's most successful albums (Gold Mother and Seven) before leaving James in 1992. (He made a special return for the band's farewell tour in 2001 at the MEN Arena.)

Moving to London in 1992 he became a founder member of The Honkies (Diagram, Richard Harrison, Caroline Kraabel and Kathy Hulme), whose high energy style, reminiscent of post-punk, was married to an experimental approach derived partly from the more adventurous American jazz such as Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and had an acknowledged kinship with such bands as The Pop Group and This Heat - which found a certain success/notoriety in the London improvised music scene of the early 1990s. He now records and tours the world with his own, much acclaimed band Spaceheads, where his unique sound and melodic sense are complemented by the emotive rhythms of drummer Richard Harrison. He has also been recording and touring with David Thomas as a regular member of Two Pale Boys for the last ten years.

Following the reunion of James in 2007, Andy returned to the band during their festival tour in the summer of that year and played on the new album Hey Ma, released on 7 April 2008. He is now a full-time member of the band again, featuring on every live performance from 2008 to 2015 (with odd occasions when only 4 or 5 members attended live appearances), and has featured prominently on their recent album, La Petite Mort, released June 2014, Girl At The End Of The World (to be released March 2016) and accompanying the band on their UK and Portugal tour in November 2014 and festival tour in 2015.

Andy performed with the Pale Fountains at their 25th anniversary reunion concerts in Liverpool and London on 2 and 3 February 2008 and is rumoured to be working with the band Shack on their next record.

Andy currently lives in London, where he is active on the jazz and improvised music scenes."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. By The Side 2:21

2. Old Men Don't Want To Die 3:00

3. Little Blessings 3:14

4. I Carried My Dancing Shoes In My Gas Mask Case 4:51

5. Zoo 2:01

6. How Do We Prevent The Advance Of The Desert? 4:04

7. The Truth About Me 1:19

8. Keep Going 0:52

9. A Spell In The Army 5:00

10. Wonkette 4:32

11. The How You Should Fight Song 2:48

12. Honk-It-Yourself Revolution 2:11

13. This Must Never Happen Again 4:11
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The Honkies were active between 1987 and 1993 touring the UK and Europe with their honking brass, wonky beats, and homemade costumes. This line up was the core of the band and was later joined in 1990 by John Edwards on Double Bass. How Do We Prevent the Advance of the Desert was their second album and was released in 1989 on a home pressing limited run of vinyl all with screen printed sleeves. Each front cover was different. The back cover with information was screened the same on each. This is the first time that record has been available on CD or digitally. The CD cover is a copy of just one of the vinyl sleeves."-Music 'A La Coque

"The name of trumpet player Andy Diagram pops up every now and then in Vital Weekly, mostly as a member of Spaceheads, a duo he has with drummer Richard Harrison, going back to Vital Weekly 137 and as recently as issue 1070, but also for instance as a collaborator with Phillipe Petit. His musical career started in the late 70s with bands as Dislocation Dance and The Diagram Brothers, he also played with Pere Ubu, David Thomas and James. I never knew of a band he was in called The Honkies, where he plays trumpet and sings, along with Caroline Kraabel on saxophone and vocals, RE Harrison on drums, washing machine, trombone and vocals and Kathy Hulme on saxophone, cello and vocals. The little press note says that How Do We Prevent The Advance Of The Desert was their first record, but Discogs lists it as their debut, and it was released in 1989 in a handmade cover, so the re-issue has just one of the vinyl sleeves reprinted. Music 'A La Coque is an Italian imprint who search the vaults for crazy obscure free music, and as such as The Honkies are a great find. This is a wild ride indeed, very much in the spirit of post-punk and without a single guitar in sight. It bursts with heavy rhythms, wild drumming on that kit, but at the same time heavy on the use of wind instruments. These blear around in the best free jazz manner, but it's perhaps the use of all these vocals, which add that post-punk flavour to it. This has all to do with the freedom of music and very little with the correct use of playing music; it is about the creation, stupid. Very much in spirit of what punk could have been, had it not been spoiled by drugs, drinks and fight. This is some forty-one minute of energy unleashed upon the listener, furious, even if it goes down in tempo a bit. The Honkies leave very little room for contemplation, allowing no Zen like hearing here. This was never before on CD, and now that void has finally been filled. Served as an introduction, like for me, or for those whose vinyl copies have been worn out."-Frans de Waard

Get additional information at Vital Weekly
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
RIO (Rock in Opposition)
Song Based Music
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Quartet Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Rock Forms

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