Monster Munch Tall Stories was a music and story cassette featuring the adventures of the monster Munch monsters produced back in 1984 by Nabisco Brands Smiths Division promo and were created by the V Team, the "V" Team comprised of Simon Byrne, Andrew Howell and Roger Bechirian. Simon Byrne and Andrew Howell had varied music careers and were brought together by producer Roger Bechirian (The Undertones and Elvis Costello) Simon being the singer and lyricist and Andrew specialising in the writing of the music. The team had been working on Simon’s debut solo album Dream Crazy for Epic records in New York while Roger Bechirian formed a production company called Vinyltone. A friend of Simon was working at the advertising company, which handled the Smiths (crisps) account, and being a big fan of Dream Crazy she asked Simon if he would be interested in the Monster Munch tape. The team agreed (however they adopted the pseudonym "V" team for the project) and work began in November 1984 starting with the stories scripted by KLP. The songs were to be based on the story lines so Simon and Andrew set to work on writing the songs with Simon focusing on the lyrics and Andrew on the music. The demos were recorded at Andrew's studio in South East London and once finalised they were mastered at Ampro studios in Shepherds Bush with Roger as producer. Simon explained, “Right from the offset, we decided to make this a high quality project. Although it was mainly for children, it had to be good. We were able to approach the songs from a place of freedom and imagination without the pressure of major record label involvement and to this day remains one of the most enjoyable projects we've ever worked on. This was amplified by being asked to do the narration as well.”
The songs were influenced by the music of the day and a keen ear will detect the similarities between Purple Safari and Visage's Fade to Grey. Fun was had creating characters and effects and as Simon pointed out, “Tall Stories was no thrown together affair. Like so many creative projects, a little piece of the creators exists within it” and the entire project was completed by December.
The Monster's Bounce
Saving the day
A Song for Space
Missing on the Moon
The TV Film
Tall Stories [Theme]
Easier said than done
After the release of Tall Stories Simon and Andrew went on to write Heart and Soul for the Monkees’s 1987 reunion album Pool It! Time marched on and Andrew now lives in Somerset and Simon in Canada but two years ago they started writing together again. With regards to Tall Stories sadly the master tapes no longer exist but Simon kept all his original lyric sheets and they can be seen on his site. Digitised version of the cassette has been uploaded as a mp3s to Oneplaceproject.com and links to them can also be found on his site. They have been incredibly popular offering great nostalgia for those that remembered them the first time around much to Simon delight who said he was pleased that people continue to enjoy the songs and stories once again, as that was what they had always wanted. Once again, my sincere thanks to Andrew for his time and the additional information on this marvellous tape be sure to check out the links to his work and either relive the past or discover Monster Munch Tall Stories for the first time, you will not regret it.
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© Arfon Jones 2015. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.