MM: So, let’s go to your very first release on M&E, “Ambition” (M&E 054 – July 1992), our overall 4th best selling M&E album. My first review of it appeared in issue no.5 of The Mmattrix (Summer 1992); “I think this is one of the best tapes we’ve had in the last three months, this band are gonna spread around the underground like fire, watch them burn!” Nice to get it right once in a while, I originally rejected our second biggest selling artiste, Steve Andrews! Luckily, he was persistent! So whereabouts were Sons Of Selina, in terms of progress, at the time you first made contact, what sort of things had you been doing and how did becoming involved with M&E affect things for you?  
  When recently I decided to do a big all time count up to establish who the best selling band on Music & Elsewhere had been, there was one clear winner; Sons Of Selina. I caught up with frontman Neil Crud to give him a grilling about the good old days, his latest projects and what happened to Serious Plankton's money...

MM: Well, I suppose the obvious place to start would be to say congratulations on being Music & Elsewhere’s top selling band of all time, and by quite a considerable margin to boot. Though you never got ‘Release Of The Season’ once! How weird is that? So how does it actually feel to be stood atop the mountain, especially when you look at some of the seriously quality competition you had?


NC: I stand on that mountain, take in a breath of fresh air and bellow, ‘Look at my works ye mighty and despair!’ Wasn’t release of the season your choice and top selling band the listeners choice?!! Looking back it’s flattering, at the time it was exciting knowing that we were contributing to your 4-bed cottage in Frimley and your retirement home in Lancashire.


NC: You caught us right at the start of our ‘career’ – we had knocked out a couple of demos to the local press, just to gauge if what we were doing was any good, and the reaction was positive. We also kept our identity a secret as the 4Q / Crud brush would have tarnished many a preconception, so we wanted Sons of Selina to be judged on its own merits rather than off the back of that publicity wagon. At that ‘Ambition’ stage we were very much just a studio project, just Robin (latter 4Q member) and myself with a view of ‘We like Hawkwind, but we’d love to hear a punk Hawkwind,’ and it mutated from there.

Our debut (self-released) single Anxiety came out about the same time as ‘Ambition’ and was being frizbee’d around the corridors of Radio One. Having a release on M&E opened us up to a world of psychedelia that we would not have otherwise been exposed to. It was great to discover that another genre had its own network and ‘back in the day’ underground networking was the only way bands and fans could communicate. This enabled us to attack on three levels, through the Radio One medium, the punk network (thanks to 4Q) and your network, thanks to you!


MM: Ahem. When you first came to us, I only knew you as Neil Birchall and had absolutely no idea you already had a bit of a history as Neil Crud. First I got to know of that was when you bunged us an old 4Q tape for M&E in ’95, so I’m guessing SOS kind of evolved from all of this punk mayhem. Tell us something of your musical history in Rhyl and how Sons Of Selina came together? 


NC: Well, with 4Q, there’s more history than music as we were rubbish! And we were from Colwyn Bay, not Rhyl (although I have flitted between the two towns many a time) ! 4Q were a band I never wanted to form as I much preferred promoting local music through my fanzine, Crud, but I eventually succumbed to the pressure and agreed to form 4Q in 1987 with Paul Puke, Wayne The Bastard and Edi Filmstar. We played about 80 gigs, most of which were across that evil border in England as we were banned from just about everywhere in North Wales for our antics and our own adverse publicity. Edi only lasted 4 gigs, leaving after a very scary gig in front of all the UK’s Hells Angels Chapters in a quarry! So Cumi Pants took over on vocals. Wayne left after two years and we had Robin Reliant and Gumpsh added to the line up.


Malcolm McLaren’s punk propaganda in the Sex Pistols’ Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle film had a huge effect on my 12 year old mind and I carried out his instructions to the letter. It’s better to destroy than create, and call all hippies boring old farts and set fire to them. 4Q basically trail-blazed across the region picking up newspaper headlines, bans and police visits for 3 years until I realised it was becoming a cabaret act where people turned up to see us ‘perform’. It was this realisation that made me split the band, we played our final gig in September 1990 with U Thant (one of whom became a Super Furry Animal) and I fucked off to Greece / Europe to live / travel for a year before coming back and forming Sons of Selina after a jamming session with Robin.

The first three Music & Elsewhere releases; "Ambition", "Paradise Mile" and "The Dilemma Sessions'', all in our Top 20 Best Sellers Chart.