In 1999 a group of us decided we would form a record / management company. We did it out of curiosity and for our city. All that was needed was a band to release / manage, which could have been a problem. Then! as if by magic, (as it had been with The Housemartins 15 yrs earlier at the beginning of The Adelphi) an amazing new band popped out of the woodwork in East Hull. The band were Fonda 500, and The Village would go on to release their first 4 magnificent recordings in the shape of 2 singles and 2 albums.
Having first seen them live, (they were great) I went on to build a relationship with the 2 main songwriting collaborators, Simon and Nick, who were both at Art school. Though there were mixed opinions amongst the Village team I was thrilled to hear the early demos of debut album “8 Track Sound System.” To me the material fulfilled pretty much all of my pretty exacting criteria for a great band. I guess you could say I was won over. I won’t list the criteria here.
For a debut release by an unknown band on a new, tiny, independent DIY label, the critical media response to each of the 4 Village releases of Fonda was both phenomenal and pretty much unprecedented. Numerous albums of the week / month sat alongside singles of the week and a host of 8’s 9’s and 10’s out of 10. The Sunday Times did a feature on the band, and distribution / releases were secured in Europe, America, Australia & Japan. Mutesong came in on publishing as did Truck Records: a bigger and better label. The Village had done it’s job & for the first couple of years after the millennium the band called Fonda 500 were the talk of the London underground. I shall never forget the sellout / packed out shows in the coolest venues. The band lived up to everything that was thrown at them. I can remember, and was particularly impressed by, the fact that any reporter who had the misfortune to interview Simon would routinely finish up rolling about on the floor in hysterics. All of those standards were maintained throughout the 24 year career of a band that has made the world a better place.
I don’t know where Fonda 500 stand on the roll of honour of great Hull bands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they never even get a mention. What I do know with certainty, is that, at their best, Fonda 500 have been right
up there among the great bands on this planet, in an industry that rewards mediocrity. For me their music will never die, and will still sound as fun, fresh and fabulous in 20 years as it did on release.
Much of the Fonda back catalogue of 8 albums is still available through the website or at the band merch store in December. I would strongly recommend the early stuff though much of the later material is also great.
Adiós a los Sonidos Mágicos
After 24 years, Hull’s Fonda 500 are calling it a day with one final performance.
It will be fun. It will be magical. It will be the end.
Fonda 500 and Special Friends – All Dayer
Saturday 9th December 2023 from 1pm.
The New Adelphi Club.
£10 Advance. Tickets go on sale Saturday 26th August at 10am.