The second 12" on Chopped Herring Records was Staunch Liaison. How slept on was this one!!! Brilliant rhymes from Rod Hotley, super fresh production from Jay Glaze plus masses of comedy and British social commentary. It's overflowing with flava:
Staunch Liaison introduced a dope, new addition to the Chopped Herring ranks. A super-talented artist, musician, MC and producer by the name of Joey Bananas. Joey had made a bunch of demos by that time and was only 20. He and his brother used to rap at home which was always a problem for their racist, self-loathing dad who despised any mention of black culture in the house. So they had to really keep it on the low. It was worse than the plight Fela went through!! On occasion his dad would bum rush his room and smash his Hip Hop records up in front of him. Downer!
Joey turned up for an MC audition that Chubby had set up at Hulme Community Center in Manchester. About 50 kids showed up for what was a pleasant, Hip Hop-infused afternoon in rainy Manchester. It was like an underground Hip Hop version of Pop Idol, if you can picture such a thing. Most of the kids were unfortunately pretty predictable, and it seemed like they wouldn't find the right kid for the job. At the end of the event Joey handed a CD to Chubby saying that he didn't wanna rhyme but to check his demo out. Chubby was mightily impressed. Dope breaks AND funny rhymes? He wanted Joey on the label. Joey, who's real name was Danny, laid down a couple of verses and started writing with Glaze. He appears on the EP as Sqaurehead and is now getting props under the name Chopps Derby for his own label The Gulls Trunk Records. Recently his debut award-winning short film 'Mess Hall of an Online Warrior' was accepted into the South By South West film festival in Texas and won the Coup De Coeur award at the Short Film Corner section of the Cannes Film Festival. When cats go back to search out Chopps Derby's back catalogue they will run into Staunch Liaison - one of the sickest unsung UK indy Hip Hop gems of the period.
The release was championed on XFM at the time by DJ Greenpeace who Chubby had spun with in Leeds back in 1996. But it was in NYC where this record was finding more support. Several college radio jocks were spinnin it the states and a few reviews followed,notably one by Monk One, a writer for Wax Poetics magazine. The Americans didnt understand ANY of the references (Paul Scholes? Arthur English? Duncan Norvelle??) but they were feelin the beats and the vibe. The record soon spread around the world picking up distribution in Japan, Australia and New Zealand providing a distribution network that would be utilised on the coming releases.