Little Barrie are a rock/R&B group from Nottingham, England. The lineup consisted of Barrie Cadogan (vocals, guitar), Lewis Wharton (bass, vocals) and Virgil Howe (drums, vocals). Their sound has drawn from a mixture of influences including freakbeat, garage rock, UK R&B, neo-psychedelia, Surf music, krautrock, funk and R&R. The band released Death Express in 2017. On September 12, 2017, Virgil Howe's unexpected death was announced by Yes, of which Virgil Howe's father Steve is a member.
Originally started as a solo project, the first Little Barrie single 'Shrug Off Love'/'Reply Me (It Don't Deny Me)' released on Stark Reality in summer 2000 was a demo recorded in 1999 by Cadogan with friends Chris Lee on drums and Miles Newbold engineering the sessions and also playing organ on B side 'Reply Me'. Shortly after Cadogan met drummer Wayne Fullwood and they began writing together as a duo. The pair played a handful of gigs without a permanent full lineup before relocating to London in September 2000 where they met bassist Lewis Wharton. The trio began playing around London clubs in late 2000 and cut two further singles for Stark Reality, 'Don't Call It The Truth'/'Give Me A Microphone' in 2001 and 'Memories Well'/'Didn't Mean A Thing' in 2002 both produced by Mike Burnham. The early sound of the band was heavily influenced by the rhythms of early soul, funk and R&B.
Through friend Andy Hackett of The Rockingbirds the band met Edwyn Collins and his engineer Seb Lewsley. On hearing some of of their Stark Reality recordings Collins offered to produce a new Little Barrie single at his West Heath Yard studio in London. The sessions went well and as a result Collins offered to continue recording and producing more tracks towards a full album despite the band having no record deal at the time. The sessions that followed became the debut album 'We Are Little Barrie'. In summer 2004 Cadogan also played ten gigs as a session guitarist for Morrissey.
'We are Little Barrie' was released on Genuine in 2005. Following the albums release the band toured in Europe, Japan, Australia and the US before returning in late summer 2005 to begin writing their second album 'Stand Your Ground' which was initially produced by Dan the Automator. Wayne Fullwood left the band during the writing period. Russell Simins from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion played drums on the first sessions which were engineered by Scott Harding at his studio in Brooklyn, New york in December that year. Whilst in New York Cadogan and Wharton played two gigs with Simins, once opening for blues legend Hubert Sumlin. On returning to London Billy Skinner joined the band on drums and they continued work on the album with Mike 'Prince Fatty' Pelanconi as producer. During this time in March 2006 Cadogan also joined Primal Scream as a session guitarist. Alongside the bands R&B and funk inspirations 'Stand Your Ground' featured hints of Rockabilly. It was released in 2007 on Genuine and featured guest appearances from Martin Duffy of Primal Scream on keys and Bill Denton on harmonica.
Following further tours across Europe, Japan and Australia in 2007 the band backed Paul Weller on the title track of his album '22 Dreams'. In late 2007 Virgil Howe, son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe, replaced Skinner on drums. The first recordings featuring the new lineup were in March 2008, when alongside Martin Duffy on keys the trio backed French Polynesian artist Mareva Galanter on her album 'Happy Fiu'. Later that year the band began work on the songs that would become part of their third album 'King Of The Waves'.
Throughout 2009 the band toured and continued work writing 'KIng Of the Waves', demoing the album at Pipe Dream Studios in north London and road testing new tracks whilst on tour. In 2010 the band returned to working with mentors Edwyn Collins and Seb Lewsley to record the album at West Heath Yard which was still their favourite place to work. Due to his own commitments, Collins was unable to mix the full album. The six remaining songs were mixed by Shawn Lee at Transyank Studios. 'King Of The Waves' was released in Japan in December 2010 and in the UK and US in summer 2011. The album is harder edged than previous recordings, leaning more towards Surf and Garage sounds with a greater use of overdriven guitars, feedback and tougher bass and drums from Wharton and Howe. The album's opening track 'Surf Hell' became popular through it's use on the game 'Rocksmith' and several synchs on television. The song 'Money In Paper' featured a backing vocal from Edwyn Collins.
Following the release of 'King Of The Waves' they hit the road again in Japan and across Europe. In November 2011 the band opened for rising New York soul singer Charles Bradley and his band The Extroadinaires for two shows in Spain. The two groups struck up a mutual appreciation and friendship, which led to Little Barrie being the opening band on Charles Bradley's US tour on the east coast in February - March 2012. Two more US tours followed that year, spanning the east and west coasts as well as performing in Texas and the mid west.
During 2012 work began on writing new songs for the bands fourth album 'Shadow'. Demos were recorded between touring schedules and outside commitments. In 2013 the band continued tour, including a return to the US for shows in Texas and also opening for Dinosaur Jr and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion before supporting The Stone Roses at La Cigalle in Paris in June. The group then performed in Vietnam and Japan before returning to rehearse tracks for the new album to be recorded that summer. Once again working with long time collaborators Edwyn Collins and Seb Lewsley, 'Shadow' was recorded, mixed and mastered in West Heath Yard in 17 days, with the exception of the title track, which reunited the band with Miles Newbold, who recorded and mixed the song at The Chicken Shack in Nottingham. Whilst capturing the bands live energy, 'Shadow' has a much darker feel than 'King Of The Waves', with more reverb and fuzz effects and influences of Psychedelia, Freakbeat and Krautrock. The track 'Fuzzbomb' features Shawn Lee on backing vocals. The band also recorded a version of the song 'Only You' originally written and sung by guitarist Danny Kirwan during his time with Fleetwood Mac. A limited edition 7" single of 'Fuzzbomb'/'Only You' was released as part of Record Store Day 2014. 'Shadow' was released on 26th May 2014.
Other Projects And Associated Acts
As well as performing with Morrissey in 2004 and Primal Scream from 2006-present Barrie Cadogan has also played live with Edwyn Collins, Paul Weller, Pete Molinari, BP Fallon and Saint Etienne.
He has also played on studio sessions with Primal Scream, Edwyn Collins, Paul Weller, Spiritualized, Scott Asheton, Pete Molinari, Andrew Weatherall, Zook, The Chemical Bros, Aspects, The Greg Foat Group, Bent, Paul Butler of The Bees, Patti Palladin, Brendan Lynch and The Proclaimers and also worked as a producer with Gil De Ray.
Prior to the formation of Little Barrie, Cadogan played in Nottingham instrumental outfit Polska with Paul Isherwood, Adam Cann and Dorian Conway who later formed The Soundcarriers.
Virgil also plays drums with The Dirty Feel and The Killer Meters and has recorded solo material. He has also previously toured with Shawn Lee, Amorphous Androgynous and Bryan Ferry.
Lewis Wharton also works as a designer and illustrator and has his first Exhibition at the Bolt motorcycle shop and gallery in Hackney, London in June 2014.