Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Tamworth Bands History : 1989 : March

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Caption: Wolfsbane…back some the Sleaze Brothers!Musicbox – Wolfies launch their mega World Party!

TAMWORTH’S biggest and ugliest group, the almighty Wolfsbane launch their World Tour 1989 with an unmissable Tamworth Arts Centre concert on Sunday night.

The band, due to release their eagerly awaited album in two months, will be in action throughout Britain and Europe before heading for a seemingly endless tour across the seemingly endless expanse of America.

The whole never-ending tour will be filled with big gigs and big venues but at none of them will Wolfsbane be so warmly received as at Tamworth on Sunday night.

Spiral EyeFor here, alongside the relative wonders of Spiral Eye and Lyve, Tamworth will welcome Wolfsbane back as the all-conquering heroes. They have put the town on the map already and this will be the chance for you, the punter, to give them the best possible send off for their massive tour.

Sunday’s gig, the concluding show of the Tamworth Indoor Rock Festival will be the first of an as yet unknown amount of Wolfsbane shows. British gigs of all shapes and sizes are being added as we speak and there is also talk of Irish, French and German dates in advance of the long haul across the United States.

For it to be starting at Tamworth is wonderful news but according to bassist Jeff Hateley the group wouldn’t have it any other way…

“No matter how far we go we will always come back because we love it here,” he said. “Everyone we know is already talking about the Tamworth gig and no matter what the music is like it will be a night to remember.”

As Jeff points out, Wolfsbane plus support acts Spiral Eye and Lyve are all capable of selling out the Arts Centre on their own, so one of the largest ever Arts Centre shows is assured. Memories of Wolfsbane’s ‘sweat-pouring-down-the-walls’ Battle of Bands victory a couple of years ago are expected to be revived and the atmosphere promises to be red-hot.

LyveWolfsbane haven’t played live for several months and for that reason they are itching to get back into the frame. Their set should be a curious mixture of those their fans will know and love and some that will be totally alien to everyone outside the immediate Wolfsbane camp. Their album is littered with new material and it will be a set full of both old raves and pleasant new shocks. Any Wolfsbane fan worth his or her salt would be a complete and utter luck to miss this one. Anyone that does have better have a good excuse ready.

As if the Wolfies wasn’t enough to drag you out of your home son Sunday, both Spiral Eye and Lyve have plenty to make you get your frame moving. Lyve, who look set to lose ‘Glen Hoddle’ shortly, have adequately filled the Wolfie-gap with their driving metal music and their huge audience alone would make the Arts Centre full without the aid of the other two on the night. And Spiral Eye? Well they are just sooooooooo good that the paltry £1.50 entry fee (the cheapest you will be able to see Wolfsbane ANYWHERE) is warranted by Baz’s boys alone and I have a sneak feeling they will go down a wow with the metal-dominated audience.

The conclusion from all this is clear. Along with the Rock Festival this is probably the most eagerly awaited and exciting concert of the year. Coming in the same weekend as Tamworth FC play in one of their most important games of their history this is one hell of a weekend for the Town.

Get along to both if you can and cheer all these genuine local heroes to inevitable success.

Sunday night at Tamworth Arts Centre. Miss it and regret it.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – Knock Knock!
ATHERSTONE soul supremos Dance Stance have just booked themselves a slot on BBC’s ‘Opportunity Knocks’ programme. The band will play in front of ten million viewers on Saturday March 11 in the one-hour talent seeking special.

The delighted link between the cool Atherstonians and the slimy Bob Monkhouse came as a major surprise to the band. Their former manager Ray Sheasby who sadly passed away last year, set the band up for what he called a ‘showcase’ and they went along unknowing what they were letting themselves in for. When they were getting ready for their show someone said it was ‘Opportunity Knocks’ and they nearly left there and then…

“Andy Codling started to pack up and we all looked at each other and said ‘no-way” admitted bassist Neil Sheasby. “But we decided to go for it after having gone to the trouble and we thought we hadn’t a hope of getting through.

But despite the band apparently playing their slot in near tears of mirth – the producers of the programme were delighted with their find and lo and behold they were invited onto the programme.

What it means is the band who travel down to London on Monday and will enjoy an all-expenses paid week in the capital. As well as recording the show with Bob ‘Grease’ Monkhouse they will be kept in a classy hotel, enjoy very generous Musicians Union rates and get to record in the luxurious BBC studios. On the night they will get to play a 2.40 minute song on the show and then you, the MUSICBOX reader, will have the chance to ring and vote for them on Saturday night (March 11). If they then win they will be invited to a grand final and get more excellent tv exposure and national publicity.

The band are treating the whole experience in exactly the right way. They are only too aware that ‘Opp Nox’ is not exactly the world’s coolest show (to put it mildly) but they know that the exposure, tv coverage and financial benefits (which are considerable) mean they must grab the opportunity.

“You have to take every chance you can get,” said guitarist Nick reed. “It could lead to other things and if nothing else we are going to have a good week in London and get to record in a brilliant studio.”

Stop Press – the band have booked a very prestigious headline show at The Mean Fiddler, London on Feb 25.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
CATCH 23 will be taking five coach loads of supporters to their TSB Rockschool grand final at the end of March. If there are enough people from Tamworth a separate pick up will be made in the Town and believe me for the nominal charge involved this is one hell of a trip.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
A couple of gigs on the horizon see the Comic Relief show on March 10 at the Arts Centre, a possible Searching/Rape in Yellow gig on March 12 and a Big Noise show on April 2. The Big Noise are looking for support acts for that one.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
In case you’re wondering about the lack of Festival action, we will be back with a meeting on Sunday March 12 at Tamworth Arts Centre. Then we will look for all the bands interested to turn up and get working towards an event which is now a mere five months away.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – Gig Review
‘It’s got to be perfect’

Bash Out the Odd
Extremely slick, extremely professional and extremely well-presented debut show from this all-new line-up. The tunes were all of a very high standard, the delivery faultless and the impression is that the band is already a good 75 per cent of the way towards a massive record contract. So why I wonder did they get such a luke warm reaction from a packed Arts Centre crowd? The reason I think is that this was simply too perfect. Being note perfect and completely without fault may be a tremendous source of pride for the band, but when you go to see a group live you want to see passion and spontaneity as well as just flash, brass and well-rehearsed presentations. The audience could well have been listening to this show on record and excellent though the whole song package was there was a lack of feeling which showed the band are more interested in hitting the charts than the hearts. This band has all the ability potential and strength to go an awful long way and I am sure (and hope) they will. But I hope they don’t forget that the audience is not ALL made up of cheque-book owning record company scouts.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – Gig Review
Never Say Die
You have to feel sorry for Never Say Die. They are clearly the right kind of band who are unfortunate enough to be in the wrong kinda Town at the wrong kinda time. The problem is that Tamworth has become a very fashion-orientated musical Town where the scene is dominated by spike, leather, gel, haircuts and pseudo-late Eighties style. What this means is that a traditional guitar dominated late-Seventies style rock act will always struggle to win over the crowds. There is simply nothing wrong with this band at what they do – the Mugleston’s for example are brilliant guitarists – and if they were playing in the rock-loving areas of the Black Country they would be bigger than bonking. As it is however, they are like the nice guy (Bruno) against the new animal (Tyson). The fact that they keep battling away seeking that knockout punch is admirable and impressive and I for one hope that Never Say Die never do say die and keep battling on until the final bell. Failing that you could always try colouring your hair Trevor.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – Gig Review
Rape in Yellow
A group who have discovered the power of power. The old Yellow bellies were a rather whimsical, keyboard orientated outfit but now they have re=charged their batteries to produce a sound which is big on boldness and occasionally very gritty. A couple of newies ‘Honey’ and ‘Big Tall Man’ positively storm along with a thrash, brash sound and its clear the best days work the happy Harwoods ever did was to drag messrs. Batman and Wright into their organisation. They are still finding their feet with their new direction but they have already reached their ankles and with time they will soon include the toes as well.

Tamworth Herald – 03/03/89
Musicbox – Gig Review
King Wodericks
Short, but extremely manic set from the student Kings. Every time I see them they seem to add a new element and this time it was a strangely psychotic one whereby the vocals (and indeed the music) went occasionally loopy and bedlamic especially on ‘Don’t Shout Taxi’ which is almost as bizarre as its title. The set unfortunately had to be trimmed a bit, but there was enough in it to please the band’s massive travelling support which seems to include a plethora of adoring females. Just which one of them is the sex symbol? I want to know.

Spiral Eye
Tamworth Arts Centre

Lichfield Arts Centre

Comic Relief show
Rape in Yellow
The Fat Controller
Tamworth Arts Centre

World Intelligence Network

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – Comic Winner
Tamworth Arts Centre opens its doors this weekend to two top quality concerts – including one for the special Comic Relief campaign.

Tonight (Friday) red noses will be in abundance as World Intelligence Network make a one-off return to live action alongside Rape in Yellow and a Coventry-based alternative act called ‘The Fat Controller’.

And then on Sunday night, former Best Band in Brum finalists The Searching will take to the Arts Centre stage with the support act of a top out of town new wave act – Limited Edition from Nuneaton.

First we look at tonight’s three band Comic Relief show.

WIN/Rape in Yellow/Fat Controller – Tamworth Arts Centre, tonight (Friday)
Fat ControllerThis second successive Comic Relief concert aims to bring a smile on your face as well as put some money in the coffers. It has been arranged by Richard Cuttler from WIN who has got his old band together including former singer and new Bash Out the Odd frontsman, Mark Brindley. The band who will be keenly welcomed by their old followers (me, very much included!) will be playing a set of classics including former MUSICBOX song of the year ‘Disguises’. Those that remember WIN will remember they play superb modern guitar music with an alternative feel and a Chameleons base. I loved em and I suspect many of the more recent alternative converts in the town will enjoy them equally tonight. Joining them are the harder and hardened Rape in Yellow who have a new found love of live action and potentially are going to create an entirely new audience. Completing the comic line-up is The Fat Controller, an experienced Coventry outfit featuring a Tamworth-based chappie named Steven who has very much wanted to play at the Arts Centre for some time. As the band are already at Poly and University gigging standards, this could turn out to be a very interesting night indeed and although I wouldn’t like to put too strict a label on them, the Fats do have very much an alternative look and feel and should appeal to spikey tops and Indie listeners alike.

The Searching plus Limited Edition – Tamworth Arts Centre (Sunday)
The Searching spearhead a special show whose final composition was not known at time of going to press. The Searching will definitely be there, bringing with them their unashamedly unique sound which according to spokesman Mark Chapman has moved on somewhat in previous months.

“We have changed a bit and looked again at our sound,” said Mark “We all think it is change for the best and people who have heard the new sound have been very impressed.”

Joining The Searching will be Stranglers/SLF group from Nuneaton who trade under the banner of Limited Edition. I don’t know a great deal about them apart from that they are an enthusiastic young group with some very good musical tastes! You will have to turn up to see exactly what’s on offer. Both gigs are set for 8pm ‘kick-offs’.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – The Conquering Heroes
Wolfsbane/Spiral Eye/Kraze – Arts Centre
Tamworth Arts Centre smashed their all-time attendance record on Sunday night when hundreds of people turned up to see the Town’s favourite sons Wolfsbane.

The gritty rockers kicked off a massive tour with a hometown show which proved so popular that people were turned away from the doors in their droves. With the usual capacity of 250 passed by 8 o’clock, the doors had to be shut an hour later with 400 people crammed into the Arts Centre and literally dozens refused entry from that point on. And believe you me, all those that missed it are going to regret it because this was a magnificent concert, one which all of us will remember for a very long time.

KRAZE, for I think they are now called that again, kicked the whole thing off with one of their most enjoyable sets. It has been a long time (too long) since I have seen them and they have really tightened up, smartened up and polished up to the extent that they are now a pure and professional rock outfit. Tim Latham was quite amazing but the whole musical base seems to have improved with him and aside from excellent bass and drums, the vocals reached a new peak with Mitch Michaels confirming himself as one of the best frontmen this town has ever produced and the little old ladies in tremendous heart and voice. No less exciting were Spiral Eye whose unique, mystical and magical sound has gained a new edge to make up for the lack of Rem’s keyboard dalliances. The sound (which owed a lot to the first class p.a.) was booming and well balanced, and there was a real aura of musical mysticism pervading the set. Individually the whole band are quite magnificent but praise this time to the sizzling drumming of Jim and the brilliant bass work of Pete Wright. The latter has clean-cut, crystal bass sound and he has the most riveting four strings in Tamworth without a shadow of a doubt.

But despite the excellence of both support acts, this was Wolfsbane’s night. And oh boy did they take it. Arriving on stage like the conquering heroes they are, Wolfsbane proved they have lost nothing in their long time away from the stage. Their humour was as sharp as ever, their songs relentlessly ear-battering – and the atmosphere they created was quite unbelievable. Even previous Wolfsbane ‘fun-riots’ fell in comparison to the crazy scenes of wild enthusiasm and dancing produced by the Wolfies energetic and enthusiastic followers on the night. Bodies battered into one another like dodgem cars driven by maniacs and the sound produced by the band had the same vicious attack of musical terrorism. The old tunes – especially the wunderbar ‘Paint the Town Red’ were given a new and dynamic edge and newies like ‘Marlon Brando’ proved that the States has not altered the Wolfies main songwriting state. Best track of all was the brilliant ‘Shakin’ which I hereby nominate as the ideal single for the band to launch their album with. It was a real porking, corking track which made my toes sizzle like sausages on a bar-B-Q. Overall impression? A marvellous show and a marvellous night. Tamworth turned out in huge force to support their heroes and the chemistry produced betwixt band and fan indicated that the Wolfsbane train is rolling very much in the right world beating direction.

They were as good as the best sex you’ve ever had.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – Festival call-up!
THE Tamworth Rock Festival holds its second meeting of the year on Sunday night at the Tavern in the Town. We are looking for a nice early 7.30pm start and we want all bands who are interested to attend or be represented. We need to know at this stage exactly how many bands are on the agenda and if you’re not there on Sunday (or haven’t left a message at the Tavern) you may well force yourself out of the reckoning due to the sheer weight of expected numbers.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Watch the box and don’t forget to vote
Dance Stance will hit your TV screens tomorrow (Saturday) when the former MUSICBOX Band of the Year appear on ‘Opportunity Knocks’. The band have spent all week in London preparing for the show and they are hoping they will make an impression on someone out there in Contract-Land. It kicks off at 6.30ish (I think) on BBC1 so as well as being able to watch and cheer on our local boys you can phone in and vote for them. Miss it and you’re a dead man/woman. Fail to vote for them and I will send Buttercup round.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Fetch Eddie have announced a number of concerts for the next few weeks. The band who are deliberately stepping up their campaign to get a contract start with a big concert tomorrow (Saturday) at The Arts Centre, Golden Hillocks Road, Small Heath in a show which has been organised by Birmingham City Council as part of their ‘Arts Alive’ campaign. On Tuesday 28 March, Aaron’s army are at the Irish Centre alongside highly-raved Chapter 22 band The Fanatics and Fetch Eddie are also playing at March 18 – Lichfield Arts Centre, March 25 – Wellingborough, April 21 – Palace Theatre, Redditch and April 28 – Aston university. More dates will be added soon.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Dance Stance have been booked for a prestigious gig at the Mean Fiddler, London at the end of the month. They are looking for as much support as possible.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
A brand new band is being formed by two highly experienced and talented local musicians. The duo, a guitarist and a bassist want a fresh start and are keen to recruit any open minded musicians who want to take their music seriously and produce top quality music. More I don’t really want to say because it will be up to you to find out. But, if you want a genuine break and you can play guitar, drums, keyboards or sing…

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Burton-based T-Pau style band Dancing On Glass are on the lookout for a new singer. The group are ambitious and talented…

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – A Very Nice Letter
Dear Sam,

I have been reading your paper for some time and note that within it is your column called ‘MUSICBOX’. Every week I look forward to reading it but lately I have found that this section is far too small for all the music scene in our beloved area. How about a separate supplement to go with the papers, paid for by advertisers in the music scene such as Rebel Records and Inner Sleeve? You’d have all the room you need to print all your reviews, gig guides and so on. I for one would love to see such a supplement.

Goose, Tamworth Road, Kettlebrook.

Sam Holliday’s reply: I too would love to see a supplement but in commercial terms it probably isn’t all that viable. You may have noticed in the last couple of months that we now do have a full page for MUSICBOX instead of sharing it with the Big Brown Bear Scooper, and I now have more room to play with. Sometimes (like this week incidentally) I am absolutely jam packed with stuff and have to leave reams out but at other times it may be difficult to fill any more space. I could as most weekly pop journalists do, fill the paper with irrelevant national items you can read elsewhere but I would rather have quality than quantity. Anyway thanks for the comments, such enthusiasm keeps me going when all the missiles are thrown in my direction!

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – And Not So Nice A Letter
Dear Sam,

I was most disappointed by the non-review that you gave to Nightshade recently. Surely, it is the task of a reviewer and one so concerned about the well-being of local music to review rather than to cop out? A live performance consists of three major factors, the band’s musical ability, their stage presentation and their material. It is perfectly possible to assess technical competence on an instrument, or vocally, without having any feeling for what is being played. Equally a band’s visual presentation can be assessed. Admittedly material is more subjective but can still be analysed. Does our absence from your wide spectrum of reference mean that we are a new and totally unique band? The sound of the 90s perhaps? We’re not as heavy as some bands you review, not as dated or as monotonous as others, so surely we fall within the extremes that you do review. You do not do yourself, or us, any favours by passing the buck.

Mike Fleming (Nightshade)

Sam Holliday’s reply: Nicely put Michael and thanks for telling me how to do my job. After six years as a journalist (and the editor of more than 300 MUSICBOX columns) I clearly have a lot to learn. By not reviewing Nightshade because I couldn’t understand what you were trying to achieve, I was merely being honest to myself and you. By the way I am sure every other band would be interested to know which local groups are more outdated and monotonous than your good selves!

Fetch Eddie
Tamworth Arts Centre

Rape in Yellow
Tamworth Arts Centre

The Searching
Limited Edition
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Caption: Steve Webster, who will lead the Catch 23 charge on Wednesday.Musicbox – TV Times!

Another top local band will face the tv cameras this week following Dance Stance’s appearance on Opportunity Knocks.

This week the group facing the cameras are CATCH 23 who travel to Bradford on Wednesday for the grand final of the TSB Rockschool competition.

The contest to be filmed by Yorkshire TV, will be screened on two successive Saturdays (April 8 and 9) and the band are hoping they will be hit on and off the screen.

The contest, for those who don’t know it, is open to all the school or college bands in Britain. Hundreds take part in regional heats and then the winners of each region are invited to the final at Bradford. This is the second year that Catch 23 have won through to the final and they are hoping to do even better this time around than their admirable third at last year’s event.

The group will be given just 12 minutes or so to impress a celebrity judging panel which last year included the likes of Robert Plant, Phil Oakey and the collective brains (huh!) of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. At time of going to press the final panel was not decided but it will definitely include Big Country’s lead singer Stuart Adamson and Keith Emerson from ELP. Catch 23 will fill their allocated slot with a set comprising ‘Hangin’ On’ ‘Gotta Get Out Of Here’, ‘Catch This’ and possibly a snippet of ‘Tears of a Clown’ and they are hoping it will be enough to win over the esteemed panel. But although Catch 23 have clearly improved and matured in the last 12 months, they cannot expect an easy ride on the day. The word from the TSB Press Office is that the competition is as stiff as the average metal bar…

“From what we have seen the standard of the final will be tremendous. Catch 23 are a very good band but they will have their work cut out on the day,” said the ever-enthusiastic Cindy from the TSB offices.

Around 250 people will be travelling up from Tamworth and Atherstone to cheer Catch 23 on to their hoped-for glory and MUSICBOX will be with them once again.

To reach the final is in itself a major achievement and win, lose or draw (I’m getting confused with my soccer reporting again!) they will give their whole mind and bodies and will have a ball of a time too.

Watch this space for a Bradford special and watch the tv screens at the start of April for yet more local bands taking the tv times!

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Caption: Bash Out The Odd – Arts Centre action on SundayMusicbox – A screaming good bash

TWO of Tamworth’s biggest cult acts team up for a special double header on Sunday night.

Former Battle of the Bands winners Scream Dream will team up with the former Space Seeds, Bash Out The Odd, for a show which will almost certainly provide another bumper Arts Centre crowd.

The Scream Dreamers are continuing their policy of playing an increased amount of shows and they will look to build on their triumphant Indoor Festival gig last month. That exciting show was described in these hallowed columns as ‘aggressive, relentless and quite brilliant’ and it is clear they are now back on course in a very major way. Get set for a good ear-bashing.

Talking of ear-bashing, Sunday night provides the Tamworth public with their second chance to view Bash Out The Odd. This modern pop group (who were for a long time The Space Seeds and for a short time Shoot The Tailor) produced a very slick and professional set of sounds at their Indoor Festival debut three weeks ago and the band are hoping to impress even more this time around. They felt that the sound the first time around – wasn’t quite as hard and attacking as it should be and they aim to remedy that by cranking up the power on Sunday night.

That’s the line-up then, two top quality acts who will each be aiming to build on their shorter Indoor Festival sets last month.

It starts around 8.00pm so get along!

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – Dance stance as ten million viewers saw them
DANCE Stance made their tv debut on Saturday night when they took their soul/funk sound into the world of ‘Opportunity Knocks’.DANCE Stance made their tv debut on Saturday night when they took their soul/funk sound into the world of ‘Opportunity Knocks’.

Hanny’s heroes joined four other quite appalling acts in the first heat of the Opportunity Knocks 1989 search for a star. Dance Stance seemed to be head and shoulders over the rest of their brass-dominated sound blasted over the airwaves. In the end it was good enough to only earn them a fourth from the ‘clappometer’ but looking at the brain-dead nature of those clapping this is no surprise at all.

People were then invited to phone in and vote for their favourite act when the show had finished and although the result of that wasn’t known at the time MUSICBOX reached its deadline it may be somewhere else within the Herald pages.

Best moment of all as far as I am concerned was when the band had to stand, staring at the tv camera while their clappometer score was accumulated. They all tried to look as cool as possible but the faces eventually cracked and they all looked as if they wanted to die laughing. With Bob Monkhouse on the show that would have been the only laughter possible! Slimy Bob 0, Dance Stance 7.

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Rock Festival meeting on Sunday night produced another bumper turnout. No less than 34 bands have now expressed interest in joining the festival from the world famous (Catch 23, Dance Stance and DHSS) to the brand new (Lincoln Dirty Duncan, Eight Ball Joes and Limited Edition). The date for the festival will be Saturday July 15 and Sunday July 16 with Arts Centre preview shows on the previous weekend. More details shortly but now you know the dates, cancel your holidays.

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
High quality musicians are being sought by a fine, young band who are determined to make a headway in the near future. The group currently a duo, have already earned serious record company interest but have been frustrated by their inability to perform live. If you want to join a band with good ideas, and an intelligent musical style (and can play guitar, bass or sing)…

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Shock Culture have just split with their drummer and they are looking for a replacement. If you’re interested and you’re into Wunderstuff, The Jam and The Smiths then contact Dob or Gaz.

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
An enthusiastic bassist, who is extremely keen to join a band, has been in contact with MUSICBOX. Darren is an entirely likeable and entirely committed bass player interested in talking to any groups who may want a bass player.

Tamworth Herald – 17/03/89
Musicbox – A comic review…
The legendary George The Roadie was the MUSICBOX spy on Friday night at Tamworth’s Comic Relief show. As his review was a little ‘unusual’ I have had to summarise it thus. I hope you understand what is left, but I sometimes wonder if our lovely George is really on our lovely planet…

Fat Controllers
This was a journey to nowhere without Thomas, Terence and Bertie. The Fat Controllers, that was their name – hence Thomas. (What the hell does THAT mean! Ed)

Rape in Yellow
Fresh from their appearance at the Indoor Festival, RIY played a good set. You’ve got to give ‘em credit they were absolute nutters on the night ‘Nellie The Elephant’, ‘Micky Mouse’ and all that.

The Cheesy Helmets (WIN)
Long haired yobboes in suspenders no less. All credit to Richard’s pinky toilet, hoping to fill it we made a little donation. We should have filled it, know what I mean?

George went on to talk about a ‘scrap’, praise last week’s letter writer ‘Goose’ and describe the gig as ‘a hell of a night’.

Thanks George. Don’t give up your day job.

Scream Dream
Bash Out The Odd
Tamworth Arts Centre

Friday Night Live Cabaret
Edward ian Armchair
Mike Pinder Sextet
Expresso Bongo Orchestra
Soil Brothers

Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald – 24/03/89
Cabaret night bubbles over
Edwardian ian Armchair IT’s Friday Night Live cabaret time again at Tamworth Arts Centre this Friday, March 24, with the promoters Tamworth’s Open Arts team, aiming for their third sell-out success.

Edwardian ian Armchair is in the line-up this time while topping the bill are the Mike Pinder Sextet. Sean Percival and Nine-piece jazz band the Expresso Bongo Orchestra are also appearing as are the five-man ‘countrybilly Soil Brothers.

And inimitable compere once again with be The Great Stan.

Kick off is 8pm

Tamworth Herald – 24/03/89
Yes at last! After months of hording two million local demo tapes in my bedroom, I have finally allowed ten or so to escape to be reviewed. With the help of fellow MUSICBOX scribes Martin Warrilow and Helen Machin we have sifted our way through all the demos listed below and given your our individual guide to each.

The star rating for each is given out of five and is personal to the individual reviewer but as a guide it is…

*****…Mega, Mega
***…Quite Mega
**…Not Mega
*…Mega Crud

The Parade – At Your Convenience (*****)
The pick of the pack. Another stunning three track demo which shows the band have diversified and matured into a powerful new force. Brian and Alan have added a new range of ideas and instruments to their sound and the result is a real blockbuster. All the tracks have epic themes and sounds and the addition of brass and violins makes for a totally new departure for this most under…of acts. ‘Rose Of The North’ for example (a magnificent toon by the way) sounds like an acoustic Mission song while both ‘Now That You’ve Gone’ and ‘Simon Shaft’ are quite mesmerising. A huge step forward for the band this and with real recording company interest being registered at last let us hope this cracking tape pushes the band over the success edge at last.

Sam Holliday

Nightshade – The demo (*)
The thing about Mike Fleming is that he never stops trying. Never mind that the musical world passed him by in about 1975, he just keeps on churning out the stuff. This is a fine example, two tracks of turgid mid-seventies rock entitled ‘One night in the city’ and ‘Moonlight at Midnight’. The clichés just keep on coming. Excuse me while I yawn.

Martin Warrillow

Rape in Yellow – People and Places (****)
Surprisingly good. Do they really sound so different live? I’ve only seen them once (ages ago) and groaned when asked to listen to this demo, but I was wrong. This was brilliant. The strong vocals and that haunting music on tracks such as ‘Come Kiss Me Now’ and ‘All stood in Yellow’ reminded me very much of the Cure in their ‘Faith’ days and that’s got to be a good sign. Can I keep the tape?
Helen Machin

Fetch Eddie – Introducing (****)
Slick and classy two tracker from a band who are so close to fame now they must actually be tasting it. This beautifully produced demo includes two lovely songs – ‘No Good For Love’ and ‘Ambition’ – which prove that the band know exactly how to write simply but dazzlingly effective pop songs. ‘Ambition’ has a tremendous lyric and a powerful Undertones sound while ‘No good For Love’ is laid back, dreamy and full of quality. No god for love perhaps, but plenty good for your ears.
Sam Holliday

Eight Ball Joe – The demo (****)
Now this is much better. An entertaining mix of Priest-Lizzy influenced, disgracefully sexist(?)/biker rock, sung by someone sounding not unlike Hugh Cornwell, Best is the final one of these four tracks ‘Crash My Car’, although ‘Do The Joe’, ‘Yankee Sandwich’ (more disgusting sexism…) and ‘Grease Monkey’ all have their moments. A promising Nuneaton-based band who will probably go down a storm if they play the festival.
Martin Warrillow

The Fat Controllers – Demo (***)
I don’[t know much about these, except what I have read in Thomas the Tank Engine books, but ‘experienced’ is the word that springs to mind. Strong, catchy stuff, and it’s great to hear good female vocals for a change. I predict that the Controllers will be attracting a strong following in Tamworth – haven’t seen them yet, but I imagine they’re even better live.
Helen Machin

The Big Noise – Emergence (****)
Fine debut demo from a group who show both professionalism and maturity for a new act. In just a few months the group have identified their sound and direction in a positive and strong way and the result is a big noise which is a great noise. The vocals are always impressive, the songs are original and well-balanced and the only thing missing here is a real ‘oomph’ whereby you feel the group need perhaps an extra hard edge to make their attack hit home still harder. Best of the four tracks herewith is the splendid ‘Still I Read’ which is a real corker.
Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 24/03/89
Caption: Monkhouse pours slime on our boyzMusicbox - Dance Stance get ‘knocked off’!

Predictably perhaps our very own soul stars Dance Stance failed to win their heat of BBCs ‘Opportunity Knocks’ screened last Saturday night.

Millions of peak-time viewers saw the nine-piece band perform one of their self-penned numbers ‘Like Sister, Like Brother’ before finishing a disappointing fourth on the viewers ‘Clap-o-meter’

The band were then hopeful that tv viewers who phoned in their votes on the night would give the band an overall victory. But it wasn’t to be and one of the other acts stole the day which proves that most ‘Opp Knox’ viewers have IQ’s smaller than their shoe size.

But the band were still quite pleased especially after getting glowing praise from that slimiest of comperes Bob Monkhouse.

“It’s not really our sort of show but Bob Monkhouse wished us all the best and good luck for the future”, said Nick Reed.

Nick admitted he was ‘dead nervous’ at the thought of appearing before 14 million people but took it philosophically in the end…

“You just have to try and think bout it as if it’s just another gig, but its very difficult to look at it like that,” he admitted.

Record company talent scouts were alerted to the band’s appearance on the show and they are also expected to be out in force at a highly prestigious gig they are playing at the Mean Fiddler in London on March 28.

“That concert is very important to us and the exposure we got here as well as the Mean Fiddler show should hopefully get us some response”, said Nick.

Tamworth Herald - 24/03/89
Musicbox – DHSS to do a gig shock horror shock?
First there was the Sunday Sport story that Hitler was a woman. Then the tale that Elvis was alive and working as a taxi driver in hull. And now, more sensational than all of that is the claim that DHSS are to do a gig!!

The band, who by their own admission have played less gigs in the last couple of years than the Beatles, are rumoured to have booked a gig at the Arts Centre on April 9. The MUSICBOX phone has been red hot all week as journalists from all around the globe have rang to see if this seemingly impossible story could be true.

In an exclusive interview at the Tavern in the Town the band’s sex-change keyboard player Ridiculous Quay confirmed the amazing story.

“Yes, we are playing.” Said the suspect one. “And what is more we are gonna blow the *** of every *** that ever *** walked the *** earth,” he said.

The rumour is that *** (I can’t even bring myself to say their name) will be playing on April 9 with King Wodericks, Chemikill and The First Conspiracy.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but if it comes off you have been warned. Stay clear of the Arts Centre on that night at all costs.

Tamworth Herald – 24/03/89
Musicbox – Soiled goods…
The Soil Brothers and Edward ian Armchair join a whole host of ‘alternative’ performers tonight (Friday) at Tamworth Arts Centre.

This, the latest in a series of Friday night live shows, also features Paul Speare’s outfit and several other oddities.

Never Say Die
New Swan, Atherstone

Tamworth Herald – 31/03/89
Caption: Neil Gordon smiles as the band prepare to play their set.Musicbox – A real day to remember!

DELIGHTED CATCH 23 have just been officially chosen as the best young band in Britain.

For the band last week won the National final of the TSB Rock school contest – the ONLY major contest to find Britain’s best school and college based act.

And it was a result which has already led to some amazing developments. Radio One dj Mike Read (who adores Catch 23) is booking the band into a major £500 a day London studio to try and get a single out immediately and one of the contest judges, Aswad singer Drummy, has demanded that the band let him produce their single. TV appearances and radio shows have been guaranteed and the incredible enthusiasm shown by judges from Aswad, Big Country and ELP (not to say contest hosts Mike Read and Toyah Wilcox) implies that the musical world is preparing to welcome another young band to its ranks.

Mike Read interviews the band following their show.Nearly 400 bands from throughout Britain entered this competition but our own Catch 23 beat all of them. The judges (Stuart Adamson, Judy Tzuke, Drummy from Aswad, Keith Emerson, a music professor and TSB representative) gave the Atherstone boys the biggest winning margin EVER in the contest history and such was the enthusiasm about their show that dj Mike Read has bet a TSB official £100 that Catch 23 will now go on to have a major hit record very soon indeed.

Catch 23’s triumph at Bradford St. George’s Hall last week will have a number of very early benefits. For a start they won £2,500 in cash (as well as £1,000 worth of equipment for their Nuneaton college.) and they are guaranteed to be shown on TWO successive TSB tv programmes due to go out on Saturday April 8 at 11.30am on ITV and at the same time, same channel the following week.

As winners they will be heavily featured in national and musical press and as an indication of the press interest on the day, Steve Webster was doing interviews with the likes of Radio Bournemouth and the day after the Steve Wright radio show played one of the ban’s songs. The London demo due to be produced soon will be hyped by both Mike Read and Aswad and it is possible that the amazingly supportive TSB will give the money for a new single from the band.

Steve Webster sings to the adoring masses.So how did they manage to achieve this quite wonderful career-boost? Well, I don’t want to say it was with ease but truth compels me to say it was!! Last year Catch 23 came third in the national final and although most of us felt a little disappointed there was no denying that the eventual winners had a certain talent. This year however – and the judges agreed with this statement – no-none came remotely close to beating Catch 23. From the moment they walked on stage to a massive cheer from 250 touchingly loyal supporters, everyone in the hall knew they were looking at the winners. They played three tracks – ‘Catch This’, ‘Hangin’ On’ and the unbeatable ‘Gotta Get Out Of Here’ – and they played each with a style and excellence which had the audience breathless. ‘Gotta’ was performed and played with a touch of craft and magnificence and the broad smile on the face of Aswad man Drummy said it all. He later described the band as the best young group he had ever seen and there was even talk about possible support slots with the reggae superstars. All the other judges were equally riveted and you knew from their faces alone what their marks would be. Rumour has it that it was only a sense of balance that prevented Catch 23 sweeping the honours board for other prizes (i.e. best song and best singer) and the moment they left the stage there was a sense of jubilation from all of us connected with the group.

Steve Webster sings to the adoring masses.They had been on in fourth position (of eight) and so there were four more bands to watch and an amazing length of time before Mike Read announced the results. The nerves we all felt at this point cannot be described but the sheer joy that followed the announcement was even more overwhelming. The band’s ‘biggest’ supporter, the normally hard-as-nails-and-twice-as-ugly Alan Webster broke into tears and looking round the faces of fans, relatives and well-wishers he wasn’t the only one. This was a day for pride for five men in particular, for two splendid co-managers Alan Webster and Richard Clenshaw and for every single person who had took the time and trouble to travel all the way up to sunless Bradford to cheer Catch 23 to their glory.

Following the announcement (and the tears) the band were invited back to do one song to their fans alone. They chose the anthemic ‘Catch This’ which brought cheers and smiles to everyone concerned and ended the afternoon in fine style.

Following the band’s departure from the stage to be besieged by press types and celebs aplenty, 250 cock-a-hoop Atherstone, Nuneaton and Tamworth people headed home happy to have been part of a very major step forward for one of ‘our’ bands.

What happens now is anybody’s guess, TSB (whose brilliant sponsorship shouldn’t go unnoticed) are keen to help Catch 23 as much as they can as is Mike Read, Drummy from Aswad, Toyah and more. In addition they have the 100 per cent commitment of Rockschool’s tireless and awe-inspiring boss Roger Davies, his assistant Cindy and a stack of TSB officials who see in Catch 23 the perfect band with which to end their nine year sponsorship of Rockschool. With that kind of backing (and remember other pop stars like Robert Plant and Roy Wood have also tipped them for the top Catch 23 should now be able to go a very long way indeed. A new single is imminent and as of September the band are hoping to turn professional in a bold but entirely commendable move.

To help that the TSB Rockschool context has given them should not (and cannot( be understated. As well as giving them five big gigs in front of a combined tally of 8,000 people, they have put them on the tv screens three times, and have made them a much talked about band throughout the industry. The names of their supported and backers carry enormous influence and with £2,500 in the kitty the financial support provided by winning this contest should go a very long way indeed. You can see for yourself on tv next weekend (April 8, 11.30am remember and then a week later) and you can see just how good this much likeable of bands really have become. I regard Catch 23 as a real local music scene success story, a group who have never, ever let Tamworth or Atherstone down and here there is tremendous respect for the area that has given them a platform to reach this first major step on the ladder. Personally, I was as proud as punch of the boys and even I went weak at the knees when the announcement was made of their success.

Remember though, this in only the FIRST step. What happens now is just too exciting to even contemplate. Winning this contest will put them in a wonderful national spotlight and if they play their cards right they should never leave it. Boys – we’re all proud of you.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 31/03/89
Musicbox – An ‘open’ Musicbox letter…

I was surprised to read a couple of times recently that Sam Holliday has found it necessary to defend himself and the local music scene. If he feels this way, then the record should be put straight.

Before I do, what are my qualifications for making any comment at all? I have been involved with Wolfsbane from the beginning, am acquainted with many people in the local music scene, but mostly have been an observer, rather than being directly involved. I have also spoken to a lot of Wolfsbane fans from many parts of the country. Some are ‘just’ fans, a number are also members of bands mostly at the starting-up stage.

My conclusions from this experience is that the fans, bands and band members in and around Tamworth are probably the luckiest in Britain. Why?

There are three main reasons, which are (in no particular order of importance) – The Arts Centre where unknown bands can play – The Tamworth Herald, which gives fair space to the local music coverage, and Sam Holliday, who is enthusiastic (to say the least) and is the driving force behind the two major local events, the indoor and outdoor festivals.

Where else in Britain can three unknown bands put on a gig in a major local venue, only needing to borrow a vocal PA and persuading 15 friends each to come to break even? Not only this, but the gig will be promoted and reviewed by the local paper. If you persuade an established local band to headline for you, you can even afford a professional PA. If you think I’m exaggerating, go elsewhere and try it!

Another point that I think is valid in this: Which would we really prefer – the positive attictude of Sam’s reviews (which encourage bands to keep going and improve) or the shafting they would get from virtually any other music journalist? Even worse to be ignored completely.

Without Sam, the Herald and the Arts Centre (not in order of importance!) we would be in the same sad state as most other areas. How many bands have we got? How many different styles can we hear and see live? How many of ‘our’ bands are getting national exposure and chasing hard for that break?

Never let it be said that I suggested that Sam is perfect, but he is trying, you have to give him that!

Oh yes, my suggestions for improvements – Arts Centre? If you have ever been on the door trying to keep track of them as they rush in and out like a fiddlers elbow, you’d stock a beer they like. The Herald? Go on, give us the rest of the page Sam? No, it’s taken long enough to write this much!

Brian – Slave
Howling Mad Mansions
(aka Brian Edwards, Wolfsbane management)

Tamworth Herald – 31/03/89
Musicbox – Big noises at the Arts Centre
Tamworth Arts Centre opens its doors for another fine night of entertainment on Sunday when three relatively new acts hit the boards.

The stylish guitar-act Big Noise lead the charge with the able support of MUSICBOX poll favourites Flowers in the Attic and new Smithites Shock Culture.

The gig described as an ‘April Fools Binge’ (but it’s April 2nd boys!!!) has been organised by Big Noise and it is possible they will add a fourth act before the big day.

This very interesting looking new band showcase will cost just one pound of you hard earned cash and that should bring a big and noisy crowd into the Arts Centre. Sunday’s the day!

Tamworth Herald – 31/03/89
Musicbox - SNIPS
Never Say Die will be in action at a favourite haunt of theirs on March 30 when they play the New Swan, Atherstone.

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