Peppermint Iguana interview with Andy Jones & Clint Iguana (November 2006)
Thirteen years ago Plasma Rock Band Omnia Opera disappeared off the face of the earth, before the Iguana crew managed to experience them live. The two awesome CDs they released were lovingly stored on the ‘wicked bands that we missed out on’ shelf. When news that the space bastards were coming back into orbit around planet earth reached us, we were determined to rectify the situation. To mark the 20th year since the inception of the band, they returned to the live circuit with a gig in hometown Malvern. Not knowing where Malvern is, never mind where the venue was, we headed off to the town that up until then we always associated with spring water. Luckily, the venue was not hard to find, so we landed early enough to sit down and have a chat with singer/guitarist Andy Jones over a glass or two of Malvern Gold cider, a liquid far more noteworthy than the local water.

Andy, despite being psychedelic, turns out to be pretty down to earth. But does the Earth need a band like this in the 21 st century; is there still an audience for this sort of psychedelic space rock? “Oh yes, I think it has always been there, it has never really gone away. In the 80s and 90s it did get a bit commercialised, it has died off now and is not so much in the public eye, but it is still there”. Going by the crowd that turned out later that evening there is still in demand for it in Malvern, if you look at the line up for the festivals of this summer, the rest of the country is still up for a bit of wigged out spaceyness and it wont just be the old heads. “Judging by the contact we have had from the website there definitely seems to be a lot of old heads coming from out of the woodwork, there will be people from Malvern and Worcester at tonight’s gig, but some of them will be travelling long distances; some that saw us loads of times, some that never got to see us and are looking forward to it”. The show that followed that night proved they were able to win over many that would have still been in potty training when they last transmitted, evidence that the world is still keen to provide asylum for intergalactic refugees.

This is not the first time the band have reformed, after getting together in 1986 the band split in 1989 due to frustration at a lack of progress, but were persuaded to get back together in 1992 by Richard Allen of Delirium records who, after hearing one of the bands demo tapes, wanted to get them onto disc. What has prompted them to get back together this time though? “I was talking to Rob, the guitarist and said ‘do you realise it is twenty years since out first gig?’ so we decided we should have a party, no band or anything, then we started talking to Neil the drummer about it and he said maybe we should play a couple of tunes. So about six months ago we got together to have a rehearsal just to see what it was like and it all came flooding back. It was a bit rough around the edges and we struggled to play one or two songs, but on the whole we remembered the whole set. So then it started to grow”.


Its not quite the original line up though, “We went to visit everybody, had a chat with them all”, but not everybody was up for it. “It was a shame Ade did not want to come on board cos he was so good, but he just didn’t really want to go back there really. We brought in Alf, who used to play with Tubulah Dog and Dave Brock’s Agents of Chaos.. he’s got his fingers in all sorts of pies. Then we got in two friends of mine as backing singers, the original Clone Drones are young mothers now, so they can’t put the time in”. .. which is slightly more polite than the website claim that ‘The replacement of the “Clone Drones” the two “female hermaphrodite singers” has also been necessary the old models were in a shocking state of disrepair and unable to function their diodes having burnt out long ago in the soft moss’. In addition a new position of Second guitar for this line up has been deemed necessary to bring the full scope of the Omnia Opera sound into the light of day. So Mr Steve Price (The Om band, THC) joins the ranks on Rhythm guitar.

The return of the band has been less of a shock to the system to some than others. “We all went off and fiddled with other things. Neil has probably been the busiest, he has been doing a lot of drumming and he also has a DJ career, he goes out under the name of Sir Real, doing psychedelic twisted techno stuff, not a million miles away from what we do. I asked him why he liked that sort of thing so much and he said it was just the most psychedelic thing he had ever heard. He has been in a couple of bands as well. Pod, Sand and a few others. Rod the guitarist has been fiddling around with local bands. I have not really done a lot. Its like that whole part of my life has disappeared, people would come up and say “are you doing any music?” and I would just say no. You sort of get embarrassed from people asking and having to say no, so when this came back along it was great”. Hopefully he wont be embarrassed for a while now, the plan is for the band to stay together and there are quite few festival dates lined up already.


For many lunar cycles now there has been talk of the old cassette only releases being issued on CD for the first time. “Ha ha, its an on going saga. It is starting to look like a reality now though; Richard from delirium has said there are a few loose ends he wants to tie up. He wound his record empire up a few years back and sold all his stock off, he is intending to re-launch it but I am not sure when and how he is going to do that. We often get things together for the release and sort the artwork and then it suddenly falls flat. It will be the two classic demo tapes from 1986 –87 Beyond the Tenth and Celebrate for Change, plus a live recording and an album Rob and Ade recorded under the name of Omniasphere. After this gig I am going to make that one of my major priorities”. Hopefully this will happen while the band are still together, the second proper CD album Red Shift sat on the shelf until 1997 before being released, some four years after the band had split.

Old classics available on CD for the first time, great news, but what about new adventures in the plasmasphere? “Not had a chance, since we got back together all we have been doing is rehearsing the old stuff. We have had a couple of jams, its nothing special at the moment but it is a relief to be released from the past, its also handy for our new keyboard player, he does not have to try to remember all the old stuff so he can just do what he wants. We are gonna get through this gig and see how we feel, but we definitely want to some new stuff, more gigs and more recording”. They did indeed get through the gig alive, although terrible damage was done to the sanity of some of the audience and many retinas were scorched by the plasmatronic light show. The CDs have now been moved onto the ‘brilliant live bands we aim see again’ shelf, with a gap left for new arrivals, and when we think of Malvern the famous water has now been relegated to the third thing we think of (Malvern Gold Cider being the second)

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