Biff! A violin bow scrapes across the strings of a guitar
Bang! The hiss of a an aerosol can releases paint on to canvas
Pow! As the violin bow pierces the canvas.
“We were supporting The Walker Brothers on a string of dates around the UK,” recalled Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips. “We had just recorded ‘Painter Man’ and were really excited about it, and wanted to make it the central focus of our live performance. We were in the van, traveling to Great Yarmouth for a show and we came up with the idea of Kenny creating some artwork in the instrumental break of the song. It was a Sunday afternoon so when we arrived in Great Yarmouth, nearly everywhere was shut, but we found some wood, and our roadie Bill Fowler started making it into a six foot by six foot frame in the car park. He found an old decorating shop open and got some wall paper to make the canvas. The band, all in their purple and black finery, were bent down and bashing nails into it. No paint shops were open so we went to a garage and they had aerosol touch up spray paints. We started extending the break. I’d be playing away and the violin bow would get wrecked, so I’d chuck it at the screen like an arrow, and it would get stuck in there. The aim was to create a visual madness to illustrate the music. Then we got smoke effect powder from a joke shop and made a smoke screen around it, and eventually Kenny started setting the canvas alight.”
The Creation were a go. With producer du jour Shel Talmy at the helm (The Who, Kinks, Easybeats, Cat Stevens, et al) the Creation went on an incredible two year tear of singles, including “Making Time,” “How Does It Feel To Feel,” “Tom Tom,” and “If I Stay Too Long.” By 1968 it was over. Eddie Phillips’ trademark guitar bowing would be nicked by Jimmy Page and Boney M would cheese-up “Painter Man.”
Over the nearly five decades since, the Creation has seen a tremendous resurgence in interest. First it was the Jam flossing “Making Time” on the inner sleeve of All Mod Cons. A few years later Alan McGee formed the band Biff Bang Pow and his Creation record label. By the turn of the century a new generation had discovered the band via a strategic placement in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore.
Presented here for the first time are the complete Creation studio recordings. All 42 tracks have been remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the band’s story and dive into their complete studio sessions. Scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying 80 page hard bound book. We’ve rounded the whole package out with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary UK band.