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for all and none


February 2024

We all (should) know about Joe McKechnie's artist alter-egos, and his continuing musical output, but... get this... Joe has just released a musical collaboration with none other than Andy Wilson. I'll hand the mic over to Drifting for the details:

Song of Peckham Rye

"Andy and I (along with singer Lizzy Johnson) first met back in 1980, when we joined Manchester-based group The Passage. The last time Andy and I recorded music together was in 1983, with Enflame, the final Passage LP. We've remained friends ever since. Family man Andy lives in Ibiza. Along with his weekly radio show on Ibiza Sonica, he can regularly be found DJing in all kinds of exotic clubs, beach bars and night spots around the world. Andy Wilson presents Balearia, Tuesday afternoons on Ibiza Sonica"

listen to (and buy) the new single Song of Peckham Rye. it's really rather good. and it sounds like a Passage song might, 40 year later


Martine Hilton, who played bass with The Passage in 1979–80, and sister of The Passage keyboardist Lorraine Hilton, recently shared a couple of photos on social media, reproduced here with permission:

Martine Hilton
MArtine Hilton, circa 1980

The Passage sisters: Lorraine and Martine Hilton at the RNCM in Manchester for the play New Dawn Fades, 2023 (check out the poster behind Martine)

…also and…

several press clippings have been added to the compilations section of the discography

February 2023

Added an interview with Dick in Record Collector. Updated the band history. added old record reviews, photos, flyers and clippings. more clippings to come

march 2021

Dick Witts contributed to a new book called Great Gig Memories, compiled by Niall McGurk and Michael Murphy, Dublin (Hope Publications, 2020)
Cherry Red has acquired a tape of the inaugural meeting of the Manchester Musicians' Collective, featuring a performance by The Fall, with Tony Friel on bass guitar
long overdue: added lots of press cuttings to the live and press sections

July 2020

LTM Recordings has reissued Pindrop and Degenerates as a double CD, complete with non-album singles and sessions, and a 16 page illustrated booklet
Buy direct from LTM

October 2019

added some more clippings of flyers and reviews (of 2 newly-discovered gigs) to the gigography, as well as a backstage snap to the photos section

august 2019

added a few clippings to the discography, gigography and press sections. thanks, joe

september 2018

better late than never. added a magazine article and degenerates review from dutch magazine vinyl. thanks, simon

august 2017

dimitris antonopoulos has sent me a link to an interview he did with dick for the rockzone programme on radio ΚΑΝΑΛΙ 1 90.4 (greece)

march 2017

eyewear publishing released a book of passage lyrics by dick witts called "the passage: post-punk poets". dick was at the book launch in bloomsbury, lon don. This is a limited run of 500 hardback copies at £20. here's mine…

Post-Punk Poets by Dick Witts

besides the texts, there is a preface by editor Todd Swift, an introduction by uberfan Graham Duff, historical illustrations from notable photographers, and an afterword by Dick

april 2016

scoop! for a limited time, hear kickback, a demo recorded by the passage back in the day
joe: “kickback is a song we demoed just before pressing the stop button on the passage back in 1984. digitally transferred from my cassette copy a few years back & then tidied-up just recently, it is heard here for the first time. the studio tapes are long gone. this ‘from cassette’ version is all we have. enjoy”

in other news:
Close to the Noise Floor: Formative UK electronica, 1975-1984
cherry red releases a monster 61-track 4-cd box-set of british electronica, complete with 9000 words of artist-penned sleeve notes, archive photos and extracts from dave henderson's legendary wild planet. it's called close to the noise floor and includes drugface from enflame.
more on cherry red's website

...and finally: removed the downloads page and re-worked the discography section


old news

february 2016

added lyrics to time delay and taboos

october 2015

added a zig zag interview with dick to the features page, and a few more nuggets to the gigography (thanks, nick)

august 2015

added some flyers and adverts to the gigography page (thanks again, simon)
now you can pretend you were there

july 2015

updated the links page. please let me know if you know any more good ones

june 2015

a tone death fanzine interview with dick witts and a beat the drum interview with dick witts were unearthed, thanks to simon dell

may 2015

minor updates to the gigography, thanks to nick blakey and david marty

february 2015

very little new content, but i have rewritten the website, so that it's more readable on mobile devices. you're welcome

february 2012

i have removed the empty words forum. please visit the passage page on facebook for your fix of passage chat

november 2011

again, thanks to simon dell, we have updates to the gigography, and a rewritten biography, using information from the aforementioned printed noises article

august 2011

added fanzine printed noises from 1979 to the press features page, thanks to simon dell

february 2011

began adding selected archive print articles to the website - many thanks to simon dell, lizzy johnston and joe mckechnie for their contribution

july 2010

transcribed nick blakey's gigography of the passage live

october 2009

shamed by a comment in a recent interview with respected music photographer kevin cummins, i have attempted to give credit (where known) for purlioned artwork and photography

september 2009

greek radio station kanali ena's dimitris antonopoulos did a feature on the passage on his rock zone programme, with interviews from joe mckechnie and dick witts
find the interviews on youtube

january 2009

added information on paul o'mahoney and a link to his new band contrawave

november 2007

finally got round to adding a bbs/forum, called empty words, for fans to chat about all things passage

september 2007

added several new pictures to the photographs section. many thanks to tony friel

november 2006

after the announcement that smartgroups was to close down its service, the chat group was moved to jiglu

january 2006

hear the passage playing live in lon don 25 years ago. another track from new year's day 1981 at the ica: fear (1.0mb mp3); and later in april at the rca: the beginning the dawn (1.8mb mp3). mp3s donated by the passage and reproduced with permission

joe's old band benny profane are to get a new lease of life when their trapdoor swing / dumb luck charm reissue is released by lovable ltm in february. visit the benny profane showcase

november 2003

british monthly music magazine the wire has a back-page soliloquy about the lasting effect of the passage on writer nicholas royle

march 2003

ltm publishing, a specialist in 80s manchester bands, re-issued all of the passage's albums, augmented in the following ways:

ltm also released bbc sessions, compiling 3 peel sessions from 1980–82 and 3 demos from 1983, and includes 3 unreleased songs