Code happened when the distinctive entertainer Clive Donaldson teamed up with producer Steve Calvert to make pure stadium rock – British style.
While 1960s-inspired, hedonistic Britpop and Indie Rock make their return to centre stage in the UK, the six Mancunians who make up The Code have released a multiracial, politically-charged debut that owes a greater debt to the funk-rock of Sly & the Family Stone, Rick James, Bootsy Collins, early Prince and Living Colour… and to the metal mightiness of prime Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Their debut album, “Live Learn and Die” meets the challenge of capturing the frenetic Code live sound, an invigorating blend of funk, punk, hard rock and urban.
“Live Learn and Die” bounces between taut, bellowing riffs that hit you like a towering wall of sound (‘The Preacher’, ‘Frustration’ and ‘Losing it Big Time’) and epic, sonically-perfect ballads (‘Low Down’, ‘End Game’ and ‘Funeral for a Friend’). Throw in the odd nod to modern culture via dashes of drum’n’bass and hip hop and then add an exquisite production job (which shapes the rawness and the energy without castrating them).
This is a humanist album, a very personal album and definitely political. And all without descending into the usual lyrical cliches or self-indulgence. Clive Donaldson and Steve Calvert have a message – and it’s a pretty clear one. While they invite listeners to think about what they are saying – they want to rock. And there’s no doubt about that! Bad assed deep bass, power drumming, superb synths and guitar rifts to make even the hardest air guitarist very, very happy.
Clive’s vocal delivery, while hard, is never overdone. A solid and versatile female backing singer line-up brings balance, versatility – and makes the whole “sound” distinctive.
Frontman Clive will always be known as an original and vibrant TV personality from a famous late 80’s / early 90’s club-based British cult music television programme. The full scope of his personality and his dancing talents hit UK television screens like a Mack truck and helped place his image in the popular British psyche. His ability to create an electric atmosphere gave the show a distinctive edge and was a distinctive element that made the show marketable to a worldwide audience. His alter-ego “Wiggie” was launched from this success.
Not long afterwards, Clive met songwriter/composer/arranger Steve Calvert. The creative chemistry was immediate. Mancunian Steve had been a talented guitarist playing with local bands. As much as he loved performing, production was to become his calling. He went on to build his own studio and began producing music. Their original brainchild was called “Barcode” and the genre they chose was commercial dance music.
Through Barcode, Wiggie and Steve found themselves traveling and performing as part of events like the Run to the Sun Festival, TFM’s Party in the Park PAs, Liverpool’s Radio City and other numerous club & festival PAs. As much as they enjoyed and learned from these experiences, modern pop music didn’t allow them the scope they needed to express themselves.
The Code was born.
“The code” 2005