Ministry Of The Interior – Eh! Geoff Mann Band: The Definitive Edition

Buy the CD: £12.00


Recorded: 1991

Disc 1

  4. SMILE


Disc 2


Please note this is a PRE-ORDER and will not be shipping until mid-May 2024.

We are delighted to announce the forthcoming ‘Definitive Edition’ release of Ministry Of The Interior, by Eh! Geoff Mann Band.

This was the second album from the renamed Eh! Geoff Mann Band recorded in 1991 and is a full-on rock album consisting of seven tracks including the 20-minute epic ‘The Waking Dawn’. It was originally released on the Food For Thought label, part of Music For Nations,  the record company that released TN’s Live And Let Live and Art And Illusion albums a few years previously.

As with Loud Symbols the line up consisted of Geoff, guitarist John Maycraft, bassist Pual Keeble and drummer Gary Mitchell. Being more established musicians, the band presented a more accessible/mainstream rock sound, with less emphasis on the ‘wobbly music’ that characterised Geoff’s earlier works. All bar one of the songs on the album were credited to Geoff, or the whole band, with ‘This Is Your Doing?’ composed by Paul Keeble.

To complement the original seven track album this Definitive Edition will also contain live versions of all the original tracks, a number of other demos that the band recorded (that may have found their way onto a future album), alternative mixes, and a couple of bonus tracks recorded in The Netherlands on the band’s ‘Foreign Ministry Tour’ in May 1992.

Although the live recordings are generally not of studio quality, they do bring out different elements of the music, underpinned by Geoff’s unmistakeable vocals, and John Maycraft’s sparkling guitar work. Particular thanks to EGMB member Paul Keeble for his help is sourcing the material and helping to compile the album.

The artwork is being updated and expanded by our good friend Spencer Rowbotham. The booklet will contain all of Geoff (and Paul’s) fantastic lyrics, as well as some of Geoff’s artwork, photos, sleeve notes, etc.


Here are some extracts from His Love… Andrew Wild’s biography of Geoff. The opinions expressed are Andy’s.

A Geoff Mann Band’s second and last album was Ministry of the Interior. Although the band’s name was now subtly different. ‘We were given a new name somewhere between the albums,’ Paul Keeble recalls. ‘And I’m pretty sure it was agreed while we were in the pub. It’s ‘Eh’ as is the northern ‘Eh up!’.

As with Loud Symbols, Ministry of the Interior was recorded with Lol Cooper at Cavalier Sound Studios in Stockport in July 1991. ‘I remember recording Geoff’s voice with his lyrics in front of me. I was getting more and more drawn into his exceptional lyrics, and I became part of the atmosphere he was creating with his music. The raunchy driving guitar, bass and drums with that raspy rock vocal delivery taking you deeper and deeper into his world. It was a truly great experience and one which I will never forget.’

Ministry of the Interior opens with the muscular, uncompromising hard-rocking ‘Bashan Beef (Babylon Babe)’ which references the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament and is notable for the inclusion of undoubtedly for the first and only time the obscure literary word ‘gasconade’ in the lyric. The bubbling semi-rap of ‘What’s In A Name?’ began as a jam around a bass line and a tough lyric which addresses the challenge of ‘a trillion casual blasphemies’. These opening songs exhibit a tight band sound, sometimes startlingly reminiscent of Talking Heads says the author.

The anthemic and surprisingly commercial, ‘Down Here’ ebbs and flows through its seven-minute length. ‘Smile’ is sprightly and pointed, suggesting that despite the problems the world has and the mess that life can deliver, there is always joy to be had – essentially ‘Cheer up!’.  Side one ends with the undulating ‘Dayspring’, all loud drums and chiming guitars.

 ‘The Waking Dawn’ fills most of side two. ‘It evolved over several months’, says Paul Keeble. ‘Geoff had the overall direction and concept in his head and wrote the basic songs and we collaborated on the instrumental sections, arrangements and lobbing in ideas.

The song itself is one of hope, looking forward to a better future when ‘Madmen’ no longer get away with living by selfish dogmas of self-interest with destructive actions that are outlined in the song:

Mark Hughes: ‘Of course, in reality we are far from such an idealistic state, but the beauty of a song is that the writer can direct the narrative and take things where they want to and providing the perfect happy ending. And everyone loves a happy ending…’

The album closes with Paul Keeble’s song ‘This Is Your Doing’, a praise anthem with a simple chorus of satisfaction.

‘A lot of our lyrics have explicitly to do with our faith,’ Geoff told CrossRhythms in 1992. ‘The lyrics on this album are quite socially aware in a general way, but I’ve never really been an issues person. I’ve always taken the more parallel path… For me, the way I feel led to comment about things is to not so much directly refer to an issue but to set up a little drama, an alternative, parallel world where the comment. comes through, almost a mythological world… Allegory! That’s it! You can cut out all that I said before and just put allegory.’

The album’s title is one of Geoff’s more subtle gags. The cover is Geoff’s painting of an Eastern European dissident, taken from a press cutting. It shows his passport or papers as issued by the ‘Ministry of the Interior’. So, the album’s title is a play on both a government department that deals with the domestic affairs and the dual meaning of both ‘ministry’ (a vicar, attending to, service of) and ‘interior’ (things of the heart and spirit).