It pleases me greatly that The Mice will be heard again, it's been so long since the songs have seen the light of day. Not that they were ever-present when they first appeared - just this "well-kept secret" that more than a few people knew about. But to me at least, they were one of the best manifestations of what seemed to be a Holy Grail at the time - a pure pop song. And The Mice had plenty of those, all very natural and sometimes shocking in their inventiveness.

Bill Fox is a sent-to-us-by-the-pharaohs songwriter, no matter what idiom he chooses, but I think he was at his best in The Mice. Here he had other forces (Ken Hall and his brother Tommy) prodding and pushing him along in one way or another, squeezing that little bit more out of him. In particular, Ken and Bill were like a married couple at times, with lots of conversations at elevated volume. But when the dust settled, it worked. And they rocked. When you listen to For Almost Ever (1986), you need to remember that they were very young - especially Tommy, who was 15 at the time we recorded it, bouncing up and down on his drum stool, arms akimbo and hair flying in all directions like Animal from The Muppets. I specifically remember them showing up to The Beat Farm for the first day of recording, and Bill unveiled his amplifier. I think it was manufactured in Sri Lanka and sold through Woolworths - all 5" of speakercranker power and six screaming watts of it: I thought we were toast. But it recorded beautifully and is still one of my favorites. And Ken was the pulse of the band, keeping it steady and moving, offering harmonies as if Bill had doubled his voice, and really fleshing it all out. I was hooked.

Nothing could have prepared me for the second sessions, when we were recording Scooter (1987). We set up and they started playing "Little Rage" as I adjusted levels. This was the kind of song every pop songwriter wished he could have done. From the seamless harmonies to the Badfinger-esque arpeggiated guitar, it was instantly amazing. And it still is. This is where they were headed before they imploded, the result of Bill's dissatisfaction with the music, the scene and life in general.

The Mice had a genuineness that appears only after a few listens. So many pop bands of the era were riding the pop bandwagon, whereas I think Bill never referenced them. Kinda like the proverbial loner in his bedroom, this was all real and, truly, came from his heart.

Chris B
London, 2004