Long, long ago in in the deep forgotten past, three musicians came together in an ancient landscape and made music that drifted away, seemingly lost for all time.
This was in Wiltshire around 1992, to be more precise.
The band was TC Lethbridge. It contained Doggen and Kev Bales from Spiritualized/Brain Donor and the artist Flinton Chalk. The band did not last long – they imploded before they had even played their first gig. But something happened to these musicians as they practiced, wrote and recorded in the Neolithic village of Avebury in the early nineties. They were marked by the experience.
The album they were recording as they fell apart was a project that always required closure. Two decades needed to pass before the politics and damaged relationships created by the band’s collapse could allow this to happen. In 2014 that album, 2000TC by TC Lethbridge, was finally mixed by the band from the original tapes and released on Iron Man Records.
One of those fascinated by the legend of this lost album was the author John Higgs. The Quietus has said that Higgs’ last book The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds “might well be the best music book of the 2010s”. In The Guardian Dorian Lynskey described it as “like Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon”, and Alexis Petridis called it “a thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius.” Alan Moore has said that Higgs’ next book Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, to be published in August 2015, is “an illuminating work of massive insight, I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly.”
Such was the lure of the TC Lethbridge story that Higgs set about writing another book, 2000TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, “in order to understand the drive, integrity and ambition of the young musicians in that Avebury hall”. This makes TC Lethbridge the only band to have a biography written about them before they had even gigged. In keeping with the unobtainable, mythic nature of the band, Higgs published this book in a limited run of only 111 copies. It is not for sale and there are no plans to make it available in any other format.
The book was published to mark an event that was for a long time considered unthinkable: TC Lethbridge played their first gig over the night on November 22-23rd 2014, at the Robert Anton Wilson festival and Cosmic Trigger play in Liverpool, hours after being presented with copies of this book.
This, then, is the story of TC Lethbridge up until that point. They are now an active live band whose three albums – the once-lost 2000TC, their first album Moon Equipped and their instrumental CD Mina – have all been made digitally available.
If this is their past, then what is their future? Perhaps that is a myth that has yet to be written.