On my old and now defunct geocities site I had an “Official” Eternal webpage. Eternal was Christian’s band before he was in Slowdive. I also discussed Monster Movie, which is in some ways the continuation of Eternal. What follows below is a revised version of the core content of that webpage, describing the history of Eternal and the rise of Monster Movie, complete with pictures.
Eternal were: Christian Savill (b. 6 Dec 1970) – guitar & vocals, Stuart Wilkinson – bass guitar, and Michael Warner – drums. They had various other members who helped out with live stuff and various other things, those people were: Sean Hewson – guitar, Alan Bryden – cello, and Darren Seymour – guitar and vocals. The band formed in late 1989 in Reading, England.
Sadly, they only released one 7″. It was an impressive release, however, with dreamy, fuzzed out guitars drenched in reverb gliding over memorable pop melodies. It was ahead of its time, and Slowdive even did a cover of their song “sleep”, although they never released it. The 7″ was released on Sarah records in 1990, and approximately 2000 copies were pressed. On it were three tracks recorded in February 1990, entitled “breathe”, “sleep”, and “take me down”. Being admittedly inept at recording and low on money, they had to record the single and mix it in about 5 hours. The original demos for those tracks were recorded in December 1989 at White House Studio, Weston-Super-Mare. Oddly enough, the original unreleased demos actually sound like better mixes than the released versions, but again this is most likely due to the hurried nature of the seven inch’s recording session. In addition, the cover got screwed up in the printing process and wasn’t supposed to look like the messy red and yellow collage that it turned out to be.
Two songs from the 7″ (“sleep” and “breathe”) were also released in CD format on a Sarah records compilation album called Glass Arcade.They did have other songs (one of which they ended their one and only gig with, more on that in a bit) but unfortunately never got it together to actually release an album. The band soon disbanded and everyone went their separate ways.
They played just one live show. It was sometime in 1990 (the exact date seems to escape everyone’s memory), at a now nonexistent little club called Cartoon’s in Reading, England. The capacity for this club was said to be about 50 people, and there were about 30 people at the show. It was a triple bill with Eternal, Slowdive (well, also possibly still The Pumpkin Fairies at this point), and Chapterhouse. Eternal played 4 tunes; all the songs from the 7″ and an unreleased song at the end. There was a lot of tuning up between songs, sometimes lasting several minutes. When they went to play “sleep”, it was so out of tune that after about 45 seconds in they all stopped, the crowd giggled, and Christian went back to his lengthy tuning-up process, whereupon a minute or two later they burst into “sleep” anew and this time it sounded perfect. The songs translated very well live, but one did get the impression they were a bit nervous (understandably) and perhaps not as well rehearsed as possible. This show was recorded on an analog cassette recorder. I have a copy of this tape directly from the master. I will try to put it on this site in the future, though as the tape is currently packed safely in storage in another part of the world, it might take awhile.
After Eternal disbanded, Darren soon went on to join the band Seefeel in 1992 as a bassist, and they released a bunch of great albums. He has subsequently worked with the likes of Mark Van Hoen (aka Locust) in an experimental collaborative effort under the name Aurobindo, as well as other Seefeel offshoots such as Disjecta and Scala (also with Van Hoen). He is still active in music today, in various capacities. The whereabouts of Stuart, Michael, and Alan, and what they did after Eternal is unknown to me.
Toward Monster Movie
Christian relocated to London in September 2000. Prior to that he spent the past few years working as a web designer. Christian and Sean had been doing music on and off during this time, but nothing really serious. Around December 1999 they got the idea to actually make another record, in essence an Eternal revival band. Well, not quite. Originally they wanted to call their group B-Movie, but after finding that to be the name of a pre-Soft Cell band they settled on their second choice, which was Monster Movie. Christian once wrote me about this, saying “Man, one very shitty band called ‘b-movie’ is bad enough, but two very shitty bands called ‘b-movie’ is too much, we’ll change it to ‘Monster Movie’ probably”. Some early ideas for cover art while they were still called B-movie are shown below. Christian sent these to me in 2000.
Other band names considered were Venkman and Schroeder. In April 2001, eleven years after the Eternal 7″ came out, Monster Movie released its first EP on Clairecords, an excellent 5 song record with definite traces of the Eternal sound of old. Some pictures of Christian recording early Monster Movie songs can be seen below.
Special thanks to Christian Savill and Nick Dyer for their contributions to this page.