“At the time it was devastating because we were so close”

The Days bass player Mark Millward talks about 'getting devastatingly close to hitting the big time' like Oasis and The Smiths

Photo by Feliciano Guimarães from Guimarães, Portugal

Manchester’s music scene in the 1980s and 1990s have been well documented over the years with the likes of the Stone Roses, Oasis and the Smiths, amongst many more all coming out of the city in the north-west.

However, what happens to the artists that don’t make a big name for themselves across the nation?

Mark Millward, the bass player of ‘The Days’, who released only one EP called Jigsville, released in 1991 but gathered a good reputation in Manchester.

The EP had six songs on it:

A Thousand ways

Time of my life

Some of kind of revolution


Lose yourself

Wake Up (This is how I feel)

Millward said: “It all started with me and my mate David Browne, playing our guitars in our bedrooms but wishing we were doing it for real and we just wanted to live that lifestyle.

“We then found our singer Nik Jackson and his mate Carl Rogers, played the drums for us and then Dave Harvey played keyboard.”

The photo on the back of the Days’ EP.
Photo by Joel Roberts

At the same time, another band from Manchester was just coming through at the time, The Verve were on the same bill as the Days, who were headlining that evening.

“Our manager knew the manager of the Verve, so he got them to support us on our little tour,” Millward said.

“They probably had much of the material as that was one their first album but it was rawer and they had quite a sonic sound.

“We would spend a lot of time just hanging around with them, like in between soundchecks, we would go for a pint with them or something. I seem to remember having a five a side football game with them at the time.”

The Verve, are now household names across the country with songs such as Bittersweet symphony being their most well-known song, but could the Days similarly be of that level if things had turned out differently?

Millward said: “They were about five or six record companies that came to one of our gigs in the prospect of signing us.

“We had a bit of a technical hitch and then either singer out of tune but it just did not sound right, so then we didn’t get a signed contract because it was such a disastrous gig.

“The Verve had a great gig and they got signed up as a result of it.

“It’s a bit of a sad story really. At the time it was devastating because we were so close, we expected to be able to give up our day jobs.

“It was such an emotional letdown, it took us about six months to build both our confidence and reputation back up to the same stage of being nearly signed but once again but then for one reason or another, we had another disastrous gig. By then you have expended so much effort you all just end up falling apart, falling out with each other.”

The Days did reform in 2013 and played two shows but since then have all gone their separate ways and have left that part of their lives behind them.

“I have no regrets,” Millward simply said.