I first met Peter Hooton and Keith Mullin in 1997. Their group The Farm were in hiatus and Peter and Keith were at 51-55 Highfield Street to discuss their new project ‘Hunkpapa’ with Mark Cowley and Steve Levy of Hug Management. I found both Peter and Keith pleasant and extremely down to Earth. Peter was polite and slightly guarded whereas Keith had a twinkle in his eye and liked to crack wise. I was handed a DAT and told to run off some cassettes of Hunkpapa’s latest demo.
The cassettes contained two songs: ‘Immortalized’ and ‘Nothing’s Perfect’. They were both brilliant. I remember thinking at the time:
“These are precisely the kind of songs that most people were hoping to hear on ‘The Second Coming” (The Stone Roses long-awaited sophomore album)
The tracks were ambitious, musically tight and had excellent lyrics. Peter sang with tenderness and conviction. Hunkpapa played only a handful of gigs (including a benefit for the Liverpool Dockers at The Royal Court) and released no music officially. The Farm reformed in 2004 and continue to perform today.
Hunkpapa have left precious little for the world to remember them by, certainly in terms of a digital footprint, at least. That being said, despite having never even released a record, the band are mentioned several times in Kevin Sampson’s novel ‘Powder’. (Sampson used to manage The Farm).
Ben Thompson writes in The Independent:
While Powder might fairly be said to be based on a lifetime’s research, it draws most heavily on the four years that Sampson spent as manager of Scouse pop demi-sensations, The Farm. Despite a cover that resembles The Farm’s most successful album, Spartacus, Powder is not a roman a clef. “A lot of the characters are composites of several different people,” Sampson admits cheerfully, “and a lot of them are completely made up. There is the odd occasion too where you get real people talking to their fictionalised equivalent, just for my own self-indulgent amusement”.