(Re)Collection #22: John Peel
Updated: Apr 1
Number One Cup was a fortunate band. One day in summer of 1994, I was over at my girlfriend's house in the Edgewater neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. We had been out running errands or something and trudged back up to that hot, third floor apartment she shared with her friend Brenda from college.
Earlier that summer, we had spent a few days assembling, gluing and stuffing Number One Cup's first single in that apartment. Jane, now my wife, had gone over to the auto parts store across the street from that apartment on 1515 West Hollywood and collected old boxes. She then cut them up into squares just a little larger than the 7" and made shipping packages for the singles.
It was a DIY process that many bands and labels are familiar with. She made many trips to the post office with these handmade bundles and shipped them all over the U.S., Canada and Europe as review copies. Fanzines, college radio stations, magazines, commercial stations. We circulated them far and wide.
So when we arrived home and she checked her answering machine, we were very shocked to hear an English voice coming out of it.
Lightning had struck. We didn't believe it and listened to it over and over. Then I played it for Seth and Pat. They couldn't believe it.
We sent him every release after that and he played them on BBC Radio One on his show. We did 2 Peel Sessions in 1997 and 1998. One at Maida Vale Studio 4 and the other up at the Manchester BBC 3 station. I will share songs from those sessions soon.
John Peel's passing was as much of a shock to me as Joe Strummer's. I thought they were eternal figures. Without John Peel, the story of Number One Cup and my life would be pretty different. RIP John Peel.