New Distractions


Mike Finney and Alex Sidebottom are joined by live band members, Joe, Chris and Jonny, in a new band: New Distractions

Following the third and final album by The Distractions (Kindly Leave The Stage, 2017) and the triumphant reissue of Nobody's Perfect, the gigging band of the last 4 years are starting a new chapter with new tracks (though classic Distractions tracks will never be far from setlists). 

New Distractions will release a charity single on Friday 19th June 2020 in support of the COVID-19 Community Response in Manchester. In the tradition of songs about girls, 'Juliet' / 'Stacey' are 2019 studio recordings by New Distractions, and will be available to download on 19th June 2020 with proceeds to the charity. Further details to follow.

Stage times for the Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign gig

These are the approximate stage times for the Pete Shelley Memorial Gig at St Joseph's Hall in Leigh on Saturday 15th February (tickets selling fast here): 

6pm - Benefit State

7pm - The Notsensibles

8pm - The Distractions

9pm - Fast Cars

10pm - The Drones

Compere - Simon Williams 

Pre-order the Nobody's Perfect 2CD & LP reissues now

Occultation Recordings are thrilled to be taking pre-orders of the Nobody's Perfect 40th anniversary double CD and LP reissue that is being released officially on 20th March 2020 in conjunction with Man In The Moon Records.

Pre-ordering now means that your order will be sent to you as soon as they are received from the manufacturers, several weeks before the official release date. As a thank you for your support (and patience), initial copies ordered from Occultation will come with extra content:

- Initial CD orders will come with an exclusive limited 5" laminated art print with a hot-foil effect.
- Initial LP orders will include the 5" print plus a poster.
- All orders come with an immediate download of the 14 tracks administered by Occultation (standalone download available at Bandcamp).

Order Nobody's Perfect from Occultation HERE. You can also pick up previous LPs and CDs in bundles that save you a fair bit.

Our friends at SuperDeluxeEdition are also offering similar, exclusive deals on this set as well as the other Distractions albums.

Track listing for the 2CD and LP versions are as follows:

CD1: "Nobody’s Perfect”, 1979-81

1. Waiting For Lorraine
2. Something for the Weekend
3. Boys cry (when no one can see them)
4. Sick and tired
5. Leave you to dream
6. Louise
7. Paracetamol Paralysis
8. (Stuck in a) Fantasy
9. Nothing
10. Wonder Girl
11. Still it doesn't ring
12. Untitled
13. Looking for a Ghost
14. Valerie
15. It doesn’t bother me
16. One Way Love
17. Something for the Weekend
18. What’s the use?
19. Twenty-Four Hours
20. Ghost of a Chance
21. Love is not for me
22. Leave me

CD2: "Ride Your Ideas Ragged”, 1978-80

1. Pillow Fight
2. Sick and tired
3. Still it doesn’t ring
4. Valerie
5. Doesn’t bother me
6. Nothing
7. Maybe it’s Love
8. Too Young
9. Time goes by so slow
10. Pillow Fight
11. It doesn’t bother me
12. One Way Love
13. Waiting For Lorraine
14. Something for the Weekend
15. Boys cry (when no one can see them)
16. Sick and tired
17. Leave you to dream
18. Louise
19. Paracetamol Paralysis
20. (Stuck in a) Fantasy
21. Nothing
22. Wonder Girl
23. Still it doesn't ring
24. Untitled
25. Looking for a Ghost
26. Valerie

LP: Nobody's Perfect 2020 remix 

The LP version features CD2 tracks 13-26, i.e. the remixed version of the album.

Back with Buzzcocks

Last weekend, on Saturday 14th December, The Distractions opened for Steve Diggle's Buzzcocks at 53 Degrees in Preston, rekindling a relationship between the two bands that goes back four decades.

 (C) Gary M Hough Photography.

In an appreciative audience, that grew throughout a short but powerful  support set, were a few expert photographers who've kindly provided some wonderful shots of the band.

(C) Gary M Hough Photography.

The set list was a mix of classics old and new. To whet your whistle for the Nobody's Perfect 2CD and LP reissue, which is less than three months away, here is the set list with the 2CD release details for each track:

1. Nothing (original EP, original LP mix and LP remixed versions)
2. Waiting For Lorraine (original and remix)
3. Juliet (new)
4. Stacey (new)
5. Time Goes By So Slow (remastered 7")
6. Time & Time Again (new)
7. Stuck in a Fantasy (original and remix)
8. It Doesn't Bother Me (original EP, original LP and remix)

 (C) Gary M Hough Photography.

Tracks 3, 4 and 6 - already live favourites slotting seamlessly amongst late '70s classics - have already been recorded and mastered in the studio and are planned to be released in 2020.

(C) Steve White.

The band mingled with fans afterwards, while email addresses were collected for the first of two competitions to win signed Nobody's Perfect 2CD sets. 

(C) Mike Glassey.

It was especially nice to meet two new fans - father and son - who stated that The Distractions were the finest support act they'd seen. Cheers chaps! 

(C) Steve White.

Then it was over to Mr Diggle who delivered a storming set; Pete Shelley would have been proud! After the show Steve and Mike found time for a chat and who knows, maybe more Buzzcocks and Distractions shows will follow, maintaining the link that goes back to September 1977? 

(C) Mike Glassey.

Don't forget that The Distractions will be playing the Pete Shelley memorial gig in Leigh on 15th February 2020. Get your tickets here.

Huge thanks to Gary M Hough Photography, Steve White, and Mike Glassey, for the photos.

The Distractions and Buzzcocks

We are delighted to announce that The Distractions will be opening for old friends Buzzcocks this Saturday 14th December at 53 Degrees in Preston. Doors are from 7pm and we will confirm stage times nearer the time.

Tickets are available from several online ticket retailers but the promoters suggest Eventim: 

This will be the last date in what's been a pretty busy year for everyone involved with all things Distractions - live shows, in the studio recording new songs, and the Nobody's Perfect reissue. The chance to support Steve Diggle and new band had to be taken, particuarly since passing of Pete Shelley last year. The Distractions will also be supporting the Pete Shelley memorial gig in Leigh next February.

"I am going to raise the mast & set the sails for the next voyage of the good ship, Buzzcocks" - Steve Diggle.

With the untimely passing of Pete Shelley in December 2018, Buzzcocks will continue to record and play live shows with founding member, Steve Diggle, taking over vocal duties to front the band. 

Steve has sung with the band from the very beginning, writing 50 songs, including hits "Promises", "Fast Cards" & "Harmony in my Head". 

He will be joined by the long term current line-up of Danny Farrent (drums) & Chris Remmington (bass) performing all the classic Buzzcock hits & more.

Power pop meets punk

A reminder of a recent local gig, as The Distractions live band gear up for more outings next month, first in York on 18th October then Salford on 25th. By then we should have more definitive news of the Nobody's  Perfect reissue which really is shaping up to be something special...

The Distractions: The Spinning Top, Stockport – live review

30 July 2017 

Spinning Top is a pub on the lower side of Wellington Road just down from the train station in Stockport town centre. Bar on the right, stage on the left and the loveliest staff you’re ever likely to meet. It’s standing room only for The Distractions who are playing in the town for the first time since 1979. Nigel Carr reports back for Louder Than War.

Support is the super talented and frankly hilarious Peter Egriega [previously known as the former Distraction, Arthur Kadmon]. He brings us a short set of what can only be described as life tales, sung in a variety of styles backed by just a hand slapped box and double bass. Songs full of heart and pathos – ‘I knew your father before he was a knob’ and the one about Dogging in Alderley Edge. He’s a rare talent with a big heart and I couldn’t help but warm to his big smile and rough-ass delivery! A very British Seasick Steve but way funnier. 

The Distractions burst on to the Manchester music scene in 1979 with their first release, the 12” ‘You’re Not Going Out Like That’ EP on TJM Records. Tony Davidson who ran the label also owned the famous rehearsal studios on Little Peter Street opposite what became The Hacienda. Joy Division, V2, Buzzcocks and many other nascent Manchester outfits used to rehearse there. There is a famous photograph of Joy Division taken in one of the rooms by Kevin Cummings, now immortalised in a ten feet high freeze at the True Faith exhibition at The Manchester Art Gallery. The Distractions went through a number of line-up changes in their short career, even signing to Island Records in 1980, before imploding in 1981. What they left behind was a stunning body of work; a vastly underrated collection of jaunty power pop meets punk ditties. Similar in vein to Buzzcocks – Pete Shelley once famously admitted to copying their la la style backing vocals. (According to the Ramones T Shirt wearing man on the door anyway!)

Original members, lead singer Mike Finney and drummer Alex Sidebottom are joined tonight by a new touring band. The perfectly crafted garage meets punk 'Something For The Weekend' gives way to lead singer’s favourite '(Stuck In A) Fantasy' and there is nothing but big smiles and appreciation around the room. It’s an older audience of course, most remember the band from the first time around. There is an increasing punk intensity as the gig progresses; highlight 'Waiting For Lorraine' ends with the line "Waiting for Lorraine to drop dead" as Finney slams his arms across his chest. He even drops into a little shimmy on down during ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’! “The single was released by Island on white 12” vinyl to coincide with the Christmas market, only the label messed up and it didn’t come out until April!”

Finney plays the perfect front man, self-deprecating and humble and these wonderful songs still ring in my ears as I leave to catch the train home. Proper memorable pop-punk with great hooks & harmonies with searing guitar licks underpinned by Sidebottom’s incredible drumming. It’s a shame that today’s younger gig goers who are clamouring for fresh post-punk don’t latch on to some of the finer bands that existed back in the day. Nearly forty years on and The Distractions are as good as ever, sounding tight, vibrant and fresh. If you get the chance go and see them – I’ll be there in Preston on November 10th – I hope you are too!


The Distractions are:

Mike Finney - Vocals
Alex Sidebottom – Drums
Joe Brehony – Bass
Jonny Poole – Guitar
Chris Dutton – Guitar

Classic punk-pop in London

Here's a fine review from The Distractions' triumphant return to London in January 2018. It appeared in issue 447 of Record Collector magazine courtesy of Paul Welsby.

27TH JANUARY, 2018

View: standing, front.

After last year’s final album, 'Kindly Leave The Stage', The Distractions’ frontman Mike Finney made the left-field decision to put together a new version of the band to revisit their late-'70s post-punk oeuvre. Joined by ‘classic’ line-up drummer Alex Sidebottom, plus new guitarists Chris Dutton and Johnny Poole, and bassist Joe Brehoney, 2017 saw the band play several gigs around hometown Manchester. 

Finney greeted London for the first time in 30-odd years with a self-deprecating “lock up your grandmas,” and it was classic punk-pop all the way. Despite critical plaudits for their new material, there was no room for it in the set, the gig leaning heavily on 1980’s 'Nobody’s Perfect'. Even sedate songs such as Leave You To Dream were given a rattling overhaul. The Distractions’ secret weapon was always Finney’s soulful voice, and the intervening years have rendered it even more potent, no more noticeable than on the sole ballad, the beautiful Looking For A Ghost. The set closed with the raucous Valerie and the Velvets’ Sweet Jane. Now that’s what I call punk. 

Reviewed by Paul Welsby

Nobody's Perfect reissue

We are pleased and excited to announce that plans are now in place for the, ahem, long-awaited reissue - on vinyl LP and its CD debut - of The Distractions' debut album, Nobody's Perfect, originally released by Island Records in May 1980. 

Whilst full details are yet to be confirmed, we can reveal that the plan is for the album to be reissued by Man In The Moon Records, the label established by former Island man, Nick 'The Captain' Stewart. It was, of course, Nick who signed The Distractions to Island from Tony Wilson's Factory Records, almost 40 years ago.

More details on tracks and timings will follow in due course, so please check in on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news on this eagerly anticipated release. We've had a couple of false stats with the Parabolically Yours and Age+Geography sets, which just couldn't work out, so here's to third time lucky...

Also, keep your eyes and ears open for even more exciting news regarding a new Distractions release from what until now has been the live band...

Live in 2019!

We are pleased to confirm some upcoming gigs in the northwest.

Friday 5th April, Spinning Top, Stockport (The Distractions + Same As It Ever Woz + The Awkwards)

Saturday 11th May, London Road Inn, Buxton (The Distractions + support)

Saturday 8th June, Peer Hat, Manchester (Jon The Postman tribute evening: The Distractions + The Sandells + Harvey's Rabbit)


Here's the second part of the piece in Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis, by Mick Middles and Lindsay Reade. The first part is here.

"Ian was always extremely open and agreeable with me," says Finney. "When we played with Joy Division he absolutely went out of his way to seek me out and talk about the two bands. It seemed natural at first, because that's how I always knew him. Then, slowly, I started to realise that perhaps he wasn't like that with everyone. I also noticed that the rest of Joy Division, while always being perfectly OK with us, were also a little way because we were very much a live band. I am not saying for one minute that we were on the same planet as them in terms of sheer talent... we weren't. We were a dance, pop soul band who liked to get up on stage and lighten up the crowd."

"He once... it could have been at Leigh... I am not sure... but he once went on on about "Time Goes By So Slow". He wanted to know when it was written. Had it been written immediately after a break up? Was it written in a state of despair, I suppose that, looking back, you could look too deeply into that. My theory is that he was just discovering that song-writing could be cathartic. I don't know if that was ever the point with Joy Division but I did sense that that was what he was thinking. I knew nothing about his private life. I don't remember meeting Deborah and, frankly, The Distractions were a sexual and emotional minefield at the time. I think Ian wanted to know how we dealt with all that. I don't know, frankly. But there was a kind of link between us."

(C) Mick Middles & Lindsay Reade.