Yeti were an English rock band, founded in 2004 by John Hassall, formerly of The Libertines. Hassall met Brendan Kersey, Andrew Deian and Mark Underwood (formerly Harmony Williams) through mutual friends, and the line-up was completed when drummer Graham Blacow responded to a classified ad. The band were based in North London, and Scandinavia.
Yeti began with Hassall as the main songwriter, but soon Underwood started writing and singing a few of his own tracks (including lead-off track on The One Eye on the Banquet EP, The Last Time You Go and fans' favourite, Insect eating man), while Deian has also penned several songs, including their latest single, Don't Go Back To The One You Love, and Jermyn Girls. The band plays acoustic driven beat pop with a psychedelic 60's flavour and strong three-part harmonies. Each band member brings his own influences into the Yeti sound: Hassall is renowned for his love for The Beatles, Underwood is well-versed in musical theater, Deian brings a touch of Western Psychedelia with his electric guitar, and Blacow provides some 70s punch in the Zeppelin mold.
Critics have compared the band's sound to "early" Beatles, The La's, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Coral, The Zombies, Love and early "pre-Rough Trade" Libertines.
Releases, press and performances
Having established their reputation via a residency at the Boogaloo in Highgate, Yeti signed to Moshi Moshi records in 2005. Their debut single, Never Lose Your Sense Of Wonder, was released in March 2005 and reached number 36 in the British charts, after reaching number 25 in the midweek charts. It was named "Single Of The Week" by The NME and The Guardian, and sold out of the limited run of 10,000 copies in 4 days. This was followed by a sold-out UK headline tour that concluded with appearances at Reading and Leeds Festivals. The band was featured in magazines such as Vogue, Arena, GQ, Spin, Dazed & Confused and Clash.
Yeti returned with a second single Keep Pushin' On was released on August 29th 2005, again under Moshi Moshi Records and reached #57. In December 2005 Yeti played "Noise and Confusion 05" - their biggest show - at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium, opening for Oasis and Foo Fighters, in front of 60,000. This was followed by a string of supporting shows on Oasis's European Tour in February 2006. The band then withdrew into semi-mythical obscurity after a lengthy legal battle with crooked management, which saw them unable to release music in the UK. Consequentially, the band only played 2 shows in a 12 month period, both in the US.
Yeti returned to action at the end of October 2006 and released a limited edition EP, One Eye on the Banquet, playing a series of small gigs within the UK throughout the final months of 2006.
New line-up, Japan and The Legend Of Yeti Gonzales
In early 2007, Kersey left the band and Hassall took over as bassist. At the time fans were given no official explanation about the change, but soon it became apparent that Kersey had joined London band, "The Early Years". Yeti played their first show as a 4 piece at the famous Proud Gallery in London on August 29, 2007. The show was the last official concert at the Proud Gallery, which was knocked down to make way for a shopping center.
Yeti released their a compilation LP Yume! in Japan on August 29th 2007, on Japanese label, Vinyl Junkie, and the band played shows in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Sapporo and Yokohama in September 2007 to promote the record. Yume! was a success and peaked at number 3 in the Japanese HMV Foreign chart.
Once free from their legal battle in the UK, the band were able to complete a 30 date UK tour with London band The Foxes to promote their debut UK LP, The Legend of Yeti Gonzales. Released on a Get Up and Go / Cargo Records, in 2008, the album is a low-budget, laid-back, lofi affair that sounds more like an original 60s release than a modern one. The album was recorded live with minimal processing, on analog tape and in 7 days. The album, despite the low level of press attention, has received favourable reviews from NME and Daily Mirror. The lead-off single off the album is Don't Go Back To The One You Love, a 5 and a half minute long psychedelic epic that is the subject of a short animated movie. This was a surprise MTV hit in Italy, prompting an Italian headline tour.
A Japanese version of "The Legend of Yeti Gonzales", featuring several previously released songs, was followed by a second Japanese tour.
2009 - present
In 2009, Yeti played a few gigs including one in Baden Baden, Switzerland, as advertised on their official website. In the same year, Yeti also posted infrequent updates on their website, including one telling fans they are "hibernating in Scandinavia, brewing up old songs [and] new songs".
Despite this, the band have been largely inactive since 2008, have not released any official material since then, and are on "permanent hiatus", according to their official website. It appears that John Hassall is using this spare time to work on new band "The April Rainers" (who are currently recording, after an initial live gig in Copenhagen) and reformed band, "The Libertines". Mark Underwood, meanwhile, is focusing on acting and writing.