Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Tamworth Bands History : 1990 : January

Luckily the evening was saved by the brilliant Also Smith and Jones - a blues band with a great sense of fun and a fanatical love of their own music.Tamworth Herald – 05/01/90
Musicbox – Not so silent!
Silent Night Gig – The Castle Hotel
If you ever thought that all the best live music in Tamworth was at the Arts Centre and the only comedy involves a couple of sick Rikk Quay jokes during computer breakdowns, then you really should have been at the ‘Silent Night’ show at the Castle Hotel.

The evening kicked off with an extended set by True Grit who were forced to fill in for the delayed lorry-load of comedians. Nobody was complaining though and if the band were having to fill out their set with weaker material I certainly didn’t notice. It’s difficult to pigeon-hole True Grit but they are best described as good…and they have the great quality of not taking themselves too seriously.

Then came Norman, a strange loony with a raincoat and shopping bag. Shaun Percival was much more of an alternative comedian except the he refreshingly left politics out of his set and concentrated on some side-splitting toilet jokes.

Compere for the evening was Jed Moore whose poems were fairly well received and added to the variety of entertainment on show.

But Norman and Shaun were just the starters – the main course was Frank Skinner who was worth the huge admission fee on his own. It is a great achievement to attract comedians of Saturday Live calibre such as Frank Skinner and one which deserves support. And Mr Skinner obviously found the intellectual level of his audience and played to it with a well-received routine about Scoobie Doo cartoons.

I’d like to say how well this performance rounded off a perfect night of comedy – I’d like to say that but unfortunately Terry Cavelle appeared. He was an appallingly bad comedian who insulted everyone, made jokes in poor taste and was generally about as funny as a bus timetable.

Luckily the evening was saved by the brilliant Also Smith and Jones - a blues band with a great sense of fun and a fanatical love of their own music. They had people dancing on the tables and yelling for encores. Like everyone else appearing that night, they were new to me. And it was impressive that such quality acts are playing Tamworth venues, so don’t spend all your time at the Arts Centre – you might miss something good.

Review by Sean Atkins

Tamworth Herald – 05/01/90
Musicbox – The search is on
ONE of the more surprising bits of news over the Yuletide period was that The Searching have split forces with singer Pete Williams.

The band, who are currently earning serious record company interest say the split has been entirely amicable and has been tinged with sadness.

The band are now looking to re-complete their line-up and an announcement is expected soon on who will replace the impressive Pete…

Watch this space for more info.

Tamworth Herald – 05/01/90
Letterbox - Big Moans from the Big Noise Man

Caption 1: In the Blue Corner- Martin from Musicbox Hello Sam/Martin,
This might be a long letter but please bear with me because I am quite annoyed.

Firstly, our gig with The Yogots and Sherbert Trees. Mr Martin Warrillow, who reviewed it seemed to think it was ‘dodgy’, ‘shambolic’, ‘sacrilege’ and not ‘sensible’. What we tried to do (my idea originally) was to do something ‘different’, but as I have learned in 1989, a band can’t do ‘different’ things, even in Tamworth because of people like Mr. Warrillow.

‘Whatever happened to conventional gigs?’ he says. I may be wrong, but I thought it would be boring to see The Big Noise and The New Puritans yet again, so we tried to enjoy ourselves, in an original way- something Mr. Warrillow obviously has no perception of at all.

Caption 2: In the Red Corner- Carl from Big Noise ‘Better audience reaction than Catch 23 last week.’ He said. It’s so difficult for Martin to understand, it’s a week before Christmas, the last gig of the year for most people, balloons, a Christmas tree, a vicar, a monk, a nun, etc…on stage, everyone just wanted to party, which they did, I’ve never seen so many people dancing at the Arts Centre.

Admittedly, we played not very well, but live gigs are not about musical ability: the Musicbox poll would be very different if this was the case. (Editor’s Note: You came fifth, remember!).

Obviously, Mr Warrillow would enjoy himself more at a ‘Bash Out The Odd’ gig, where they play their instruments properly, note perfect and technically good.

I know what you’re thinking, if you’ve read this far- it was Mr. Warrillow’s personal opinion, yes, and this was mine!

Secondly, this Arts Centre business. The band was playing for the paying of the lights and the stage. Well, perhaps I’m being very cheeky, but I think it’s a disgrace. New bands often make a loss on gigs there, £40 for an acoustically awful room, and a bar (which they must make money on). It doesn’t open until after 5 o’clock, so you have to rush to get the gear in, set up the PA and sound-check four bands (expected by Tamworth for some reason). Fortunately, the new bar staff are very helpful. The best thing that could be done is for the money ‘raised’ to be spent on polystyrene tiles or old carpet for the walls, to get rid of the dreadful reverb of the room.

I know that all this bitching is not your scene at all, but too many people just accept everything as they are. I don’t want to sound like a ******* but I am!

As for Mr. Warrillow, I don’t want him to come to any more of our gigs, because he will definitely be appearing in future handouts.

Carl (The Big Noise)
(P.S. This is all my view only, not The Big Noise or the New Puritans.)

Sam Holliday replies…

- In defence of Martin Warrillow – I thought this review was quite fun and conveyed to those who missed the gig that it wasn’t your average Arts Centre bash. I thought his tongue was in his cheek and his comments were fair, and I’m amazed you took so much offence. Perhaps, bands in Tamworth are so used to getting ‘nice’, ‘positive’ reviews from me that when someone even slightly criticises, they can’t cope. Sad really.

- In defence of the Arts Centre – The debate around the Arts Centre has not fallen on deaf ears, and I have been impressed by the genuine desire to improve matters shown by manager Dave Fortune. Many groups, Catch 23, Kraze, Fetch Eddie, etc. – have rallied around since the last public attack and I for one feel that the criticism is a little unfair while they are trying to change things. Ask yourself this Carl, where would The Big Noise (or for that matter any local band) be without the place? Not fifth in the poll, that’s for certain!

Love, Sam, XX

Caption 1: Love On BoardTamworth Herald – 05/01/90
Great Local Bands of the Eighties

As the Eighties are now nothing more than a blur, I decided it would be nice over the next few weeks to just step back and remember some of the great local bands of that period. Thus I dug deep into my old vaults of MUSICBOX photos and discovered many gems and many great old bands who we will be spotlighting in the next few weeks. Hopefully these photos (as well as embarrassing those pictured with naff haircuts) should remind many of you older BOX readers (and inform many of you younger ones) of the roots that led to the massive current scene of ours. Week one features two very good but very, different bands – Love On Board and One On One, more memories next week hopefully…

Love On Board
Love On Board were a band who in many respects were a little ahead of their time. Coming in along the crest of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera wave, they produced absolutely quality pop music which would probably sound even more relevant today when music such as Deacon Blue is so in vogue. Not pictured here is the excellent Glenn ‘Smoke Machine’ Lewis who was also very much involved, but it is nice to see that both Huggy Jones and Nick ‘Dance Stance’ Reed are still very much with us today. A great band this, this photo was taken on 9 September, 1983.

Caption 2: One On One

One On One
Former winners of the Battle of the Bands contest and a band who had soul king Edwin Starr absolutely spellbound. Formed out of the embers of Omen, One On One played distinctive, intelligent AOR and had several line-ups and several musical changes. The line up above features Stu Pickett (as was), Ralph Sandland, Tim Latham and the wonderful singer Dave Ingham. The pic was taken on Dec 1, 1984.

Tamworth Herald – 12/01/90
Caption: Rape In Yellow 1990 as photographed by Arthur Goodby. Musicbox - Hello Yellow
Rape in Yellow return to the live scene this weekend with a special concert at the home of the old Rathole. The venue, the upper room of Lincolns in Church Street, is increasing its musical profile and is looking to put bands on regularly. In addition they are now holding an Indie night every Thursday and frequently hold rock discos with popular DJ Colin Wall.

Sunday’s show at Lincolns will feature Rape in Yellow, The Big Noise and a full disco. It costs just £1 for admission and lasts between 7.30pm and 10.30.

The Big Noise will be aiming to start 1990 as they ended 1989 - in full flowing live action - and spearheading the gig will be Rape In Yellow who have spent the last six months since the festival reconstructing the band and writing a lot of new material.

They have been featured on radio stations in London and Birmingham lately and will have been encouraged by a useful result in the 1989 MUSICBOX poll.

Don’t forget then, the venue is Lincolns and the time is between 7.30-10.30.


Tamworth Herald - 12/01/90
Musicbox - DHSS Split - Ed Explains Why
Dear Sam,

Caption: Pictured on one of their last ventures, the Buttercup video I write with somewhat depressing news concerning THE DHSS, but it is with great sadness that I have decided there is no point whatsoever in continuing THE DHSS in its present format.

As it is at the moment as I am sure you will agree, THE DHSS is an irrelevance, we have only performed live three times in 1989 and only ten times in all, which, is frankly embarrassing. Recently it has become obvious that the situation is not about to change and never will. John Reeman yet again found a reason to cancel a gig, namely the December 15th Arts Centre Show, and has not contacted me since: in all honesty I cannot see him wanting to perform live on a regular basis in 1990 and beyond.

In my opinion, a band can only achieve success and acclaim by performing live, regularly, and to different audiences. I made this clear when I reformed THE DHSS in 1987 and throughout our time together. This was always met by a negative, apathetic attitude by both John Reeman and Rikk Quay, and I feel that this attitude will persist with John Reeman, ad infinitum.

My intention from day one of forming THE DHSS was to achieve ultimate success, I feel for a short time we had the most original, exciting and innovative music; not only locally but on a much wider scale. Songs such as ‘Pennies From Heaven’ and ‘Until The Love Bites Fade’ proved that the high standard could still be achieved, but what is the point in having a dozen songs of excellent quality when they can only be heard in John Reeman’s bedroom? I feel we have wasted a wonderful opportunity to do very well in the music business and it would be such a shame, not only for THE DHSS but for many fans we have amassed if these songs would be lost forever. I have therefore decided to move on with THE DHSS, by finding new members, i.e. a guitarist, bass player, drummer and backing vocalist. These people will have a positive attitude towards performing, practising and song writing and will want to achieve something of significance with THE DHSS.

Although it will obviously be very difficult to find four people with such attitudes, I’m sure it is preferable to sitting around doing nothing. There are many young people around and about who would love to be part of THE DHSS and the exciting project that it once was. I intend to perform many of the same songs, as I said, it would be such a shame if they were never heard again. It will be interesting to see how they sound with ‘real’ instruments.

Yours sincerely,
Edward Ian Armchair

Tamworth Herald – 12/01/90
Musicbox - Great Local Bands of the 1980’s - week number two

The Dream Factory were one of the most exciting bands ever to come out of this area.Dream Factory
The Dream Factory were one of the most exciting bands ever to come out of this area and one who inspired the likes of Catch 23 and Dance Stance to pick up their guitars and play. A group who had an amazing following locally and nationally they earned massive press coverage and played several huge concerts in a hectic three year period. They ended up having dozens of members but it all came to a sad end when the key men started drifting away from one another. Their place in local music history is assured however because to many people they were the first real stars of the 80s. A great live act who were responsible for a killer single in ‘Wine And Roses’. A memorable outfit.

Breaking Point were a band who as older readers of MUSICBOX will remember could do no wrong in my books.Breaking Point

Breaking Point were a band who as older readers of MUSICBOX will remember could do no wrong in my books. From the first time I them I fell in love with Kevin Briggs’ brilliant sense of melody, Daydo’s wicked bass and a set full of classic power rock tunes. They kept getting better and better earning more and more respect as they did so but they ended up being victims of the Drummer Virus. Try as they might, they couldn’t find that vital permanent sticksman link and in the end it killed them stone dead. Sad though, because when they were bad they were good and when they were good they were BRILLIANT.

Tamworth Herald - 12/01/90
Musicbox - The Wonder of Wolfies
Poll Response Letter

Hi Sam!

Well done for doing another successful and what seems to me, well organised poll. It was good of you to write the following…

Wolfsbane are mainly responsible for putting a smile back on the face of Tamworth’s music scene and I for one love ‘em for it.’

Well I bloody love ‘em too. I’ve followed the guys since January 1987, buying tapes, T-Shirts, etc. and going to gig upon gig, full of raw energy and power, leaving each one with a feeling of satisfaction in my heart, the feeling of a beer or ten inside me and the feeling of drying sweat in my hair. Pure British metal!

I am worried that, now the guys are getting the exposure they’ve worked damned hard for, people will start saying things like: ‘They’ve sold out now.’ Or ‘They’ve gone and forgotten their roots’.

If people are saying this then they can disappear up their ***** ‘cause I for one don’t need them around. I don’t want them at gigs either.

Once again, well done for doing the poll and congratulations to Wolfsbane, Catch 23, etc, for doing well in the poll.

And to those who didn’t do well,


Geoff - from Baddesley

Rape in Yellow
Big Noise

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Big Noise Letter (No.2!)
Dear Sam,

After reading Carl’s ‘big moan’ in last week’s Herald. I would like to voice my opinion on these matters as, if I was not a member of the band, the article would have given ,e the distinct impression that The BIG NOISE are a bunch of mardy, ungrateful, selfish wazzocks. (My word – Ed!)

Martin is obviously entitled to his opinion and I thought he was fairly accurate in fact, if a little short of Christmas spirit. The whole point of gigs is surely to entertain people and all I can say is if the audience enjoyed every gig as much as this one I for one would be very happy. As for the Arts Centre – it has helped us get off the ground and it is understandable in these times that raising money is necessary when funds are so short for the venue. I personally think that $40 is fair – but that’s just my opinion. Finally thanks to all those that saw the gig on the 17th – it was above all a great night.

See you soon
Ben Machin (The Big Noise)

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Arts Centre stages fundraising gigs – and discusses new hire charges for bands
TAMWORTH Arts Centre will host a trio of fund-raising concerts next weekend – at a time when it is considering new charges for local concerts.

The centre came under fire recently for the state of its stage and it responded by putting a brand new one in with some extra lights. The costs however were quite expensive, so without being asked, metal kings Kraze came forward and offered to set up shows to raise money to pay for the developments. Since then the likes of Catch 23 and Fetch Eddie have also pledged to play and with a Euphoria gig also taking place on Friday it will make for a weekend of fundraising for Tamworth’s most famous venue.


We hope to have more details in next week’s paper of who will be playing and when, but in the meantime bands may like to know that the Centre sis considering drastic changes to its hire fees. Dave Fortune is toying with the idea of installing an in-house P.A., abolishing the hire fee and then taking a bigger percentage of the door. This would certainly aid new bands who may not be able to guarantee a large crowd and would not have to worry about actually losing money. This is the practise in most venues throughout the country and Dave now wants to know YOUR views on the idea. Contact him directly at the Centre – or via MUSICBOX – to let us know what you think about the possible change.

Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox - Art for Arts sake!
Tamworth- Arts Centre this weekend stages three cracking fund-raising concerts with some of the biggest names on the local scene.

Catch 23, Kraze, Fetch Eddie, Spiral Eye and a ‘Euphoria’ rave are just a few of the delightful events planned to raise money for the centre this week and it promises to have all the feel and fun of a festival.

All three shows are designated to help finance the various improvements at the Arts Centre in recent months and all the bands have offered their services free of charge.

Six great bands will be playing over Saturday and Sunday- Spiral Eye, The First Conspiracy, Kraze, Fetch Eddie, The Big Noise and Catch 23 - but the whole thing kicks off tonight (Friday) with a Euphoria rave. Here is what is happening when, starting with a preview of the Euphoria gig by Ms. Jo Marsh…

Tonight (Friday) Euphoria Dance Event
‘Euphoria’ does its humble bit for stage salvation tonight by holding the second of many happenings. The previous December event was considered an astonishing success by the organisers, if only for the realised vision of a strobe flickering Arts Centre jammed solid with sweat-soaked dancers. The very few murmurings of discontent received on the night have been accounted for and thus the musical cross section covered will be broader than before, catering for the more discerning (i.e. whinging) ‘Indie Fan’, although dance is still the key word of the night. The message is clear: ‘do the magic boogie till we all black out.’ The rave is on! (7.45-Midnight, cost £1.50)

Saturday Night - Spiral Eye/ Fetch Eddie/ Big Noise
In real ‘Festival’ style, a very diverse trio indeed. The Spiral Eye boys are currently on a major national tour, picking up friends as they go with their rambling psychedelic rockslog and they will no doubt receive a big welcome from their hometown crowd. Fetch Eddie have also been away from these shores for a some time and will also be welcomed back with open arms by their Tamworth followers while The Big Noise make a bravely early return to the Arts Centre considering recent events! All told however it makes for a cracking three band line up and one which is likely to bring in a big Saturday night crowd.

Sunday Night - Catch 23/ Kraze/The First Conspiracy
Another splendid and highly varied line up comprising everything from pure metal to pure pop. At the metal end of the spectrum we have Kraze who deserve enormous credit for putting this whole Arts Centre fundraising event together. Kraze will continue to pull the crowds in with great regularity as do Catch 23 of course who will be looking for a celebratory concert for winning the MUSICBOX Band Of The Year accolade. Completing another spiffing line up are The First Conspiracy, a group who will use this important show as a major comeback gig after a recent line up change. They have been much missed and their re-appearance is just one more reason why you shouldn’t miss Sunday’s bash.

So there you have it, three good nights with, I am certain you will agree, something for just about everyone. All the funds raised will go towards the Arts Centre and as all the bands have volunteered to help and shown their concern for the place, surely YOU can do the same by getting along on one, two or three of the nights. It costs £1.50 on each occasion and starts 7.45-8 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend starts (and ends) at the Tamworth Arts Centre. Are you ready for it?

Tamworth Herald-19/01/90
Musicbox - Carl Gets ‘em going.
The recent letter from Carl of the Big Noise slamming the Arts Centre and a review of his band at the venue brought a big response. Several top bands contacted me to say they thought he was ‘out-of-order’ (some said a bit stronger than that!) but he wasn’t entirely without support. Here are two conflicting views of Carl’s letter - one in support, one very much not…

Dear Carl,
Congratulations on your letter (January 5), your usual waste of time and space, only this time a non-musical venture?

From you’re loathing the Arts Centre (‘dreadful reverb’ etc) – take it you won’t be performing there again?

Don’t worry, I’m not as optimistic as you are moronic.

Oh! But you really fancy yourself as the tortured artists don’t you? How dare Martin Warrillow ‘slag’ ‘Your baby’ (‘my idea originally’).

Oooh, Careful! You do seem to have difficulty grasping the concept of irony/sarcasm didn’t you?

Above your head? Something simpler?

You want clarity?

“Stop whinging you soft *******”
Glascote Heath

Dear Sir,
First letter of the New Year from me, and it’s in a theme I tried to get some support on four or five years ago – the Arts Centre. Many months ago, the bands were forced downstairs by Nick Ewbank after consideration – to be exact, he talked to Wolfsbane (who loved it downstairs) and not to Breaking Point, One On One or Caprice to name but three who hated it.

The room is poor in terms of being able to see a band (hence everyone standing on stairs in the back of the room) and acoustically poor - anyone setting up a PA has great difficulty overcoming feedback problems. Funnily enough, on the same page as you’ve printed ‘Big Noise’ Carl’s letter, you have a photo of One On One. Dave Ingham, Tim Latham, and I (and I think some others) went to see Nick Ewbank after the ‘No more auditorium’ decision, and were basically totally disregarded. When I raised the matter (was it in the Herald?) shortly afterwards, the response varied from apathetic to hostile.

Carl, I’m 100% behind you in your displeasure with the Arts Centre. Dave Fortune has expressed himself as willing to help - perhaps he could use his position on the Arts Advisory Council to head some cash into the downstairs room of the Arts Centre, rather than having bands play to raise money for essential facilities? Perhaps, also, Tamworth bands should pay more attention to what is happening around them, and consider what long-term effect there will be on them of the actions of Arts Centre management, pub and club management etc. A New Years resolution for you all - ‘I shall not be apathetic!’
All the best for 1990 to my fellow Tamworth musos, and the Musicbox staff.

Mike Fleming

Donna Williams
Alan Seaman
The Mighty House Rockers

The Castle Hotel

Tamworth Herald – 19/01/90
Ladies Night At The Castle
A top alternative comedy duo - who have already appeared on the James Whale show and Opportunity Knocks – will be the ‘starlets’ tonight when Tamworth stages another of those fabby Great Stan’s Cabaret evenings.

The duo – The Dickiebards – are regarded as the UK’s fastest rising female comedy duo and their appearance here in Tamworth promises to be a real treat for those who take laughing seriously.

As well as The Dickiebards, tonight’s Castle Hotel audience can lap up the most inconsiderable delight DJ Tavern humour king Bouey, compere Alan Seaman, Australian wit queen Donna Williams and on the musical front the powerful Brummie trio The Mighty House Rockers.

So what exactly have this little lot got to offer? My man on the scene is young Chris Gould who takes up ‘the case’ and describes each act…

The Dickiebards- ‘The UK’s fastest rising female comedy duo famous for their characters Sharon and Tracy. They have already appeared on the fabulous Opportunity Knocks, the equally awesome James Whale Show and have toured with Phil Cool. It all started in true Hollywood showbiz fashion with an Enterprise Allowance grant just one short year ago. YES in Britain every girl can grow up to be Prime Minister’.

Alan Seaman- ‘The compere of the Monkey Club, Alan does a great line in observation comedy and smiles when he tells jokes’.

Donna Williams- ‘She shows why the Australian film comedy industry is like it is with a harrowing tale of her childhood. She had such a hard time the tears will start rolling down your cheeks.’

Amazing Bouey - ‘He will be making his first appearance on the alternative comedy stage. We have no idea what Bouey is going to do but on past performances it will probably be insane. This man is DYNAMITE.’

The Mighty House Rockers- ‘Quite simply one of the best r and b bands in the Universe. From Birmingham, this three piece are of the old school - sharp, hard and fast.’

The whole excellent packages cosy £3 and starts at 8pm. Be there!

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
Bash out-bash on
Bash Out The Odd are kicking off 1990 with a series of dates. The hand who have had considerable interest, are hoping to play several key university shows in the next few months and in the meantime they are trying to play as many provincial shows as possible. Next week they are in action at Graysons, Nuneaton on Friday Jan 25 (avec le Herb Garden) and then on Sunday Jan 28 they are playing at Lincolns alongside The Fat Controllers and The Muff Heads. They follow that on Feb 7 with a show with Jos Cope’s new band Something Pretty Beautiful at The Falcon, London.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
Lincolns is now intending to run concerts every Sunday and they are looking to bands to come forward and take advantage of the venue. The gigs are set for a Sunday night and if you want to get involved why not ring Neil.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
The lovable Chemikill – who took part in a five band bill at Sudbury last week – are looking for a second guitarist for their wham-bam-thank-you-mam group. If you play to their speed (!) ring Ant.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
The Ed Armchair version of DHSS have now completed their brand new line-up – at least they will have done when one of YOU comes forward to drum for them. Ed has recruited Adam Cukrowski (guitar), Andy Stokes (ex-Parade on bass) and Jessica Pitcher on vocals. All they now need is a drummer and if you can help out why not ring Ed. He is very excited at this new start for the band and rumours abound that they could make their debut at an April 1 Arts Centre bash being organised by a new promotion firm, Angus Promotions.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
Spiral Eye have a major London concert on Tuesday – and they are taking a coachload of supporters with them. There is still time (just) to reserve your seat on the bus so if you are interested why not ring Roger.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
If you fancy ‘life on the road’ then Reverb PA could be looking for you. They are after a roadie to help them with several gig concerts in the next few months and more info is available from Den Byfield.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
Breaking Point – as featured in last week’s Best band of the 80s feature – are releasing their last demo ‘Guilty’ which we hope to look at shortly. In the meantime it is likely to be on sale at Rebel Records or from band members as of now.

Also Smith and Jones
Little Terry’s Blues Band

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Snips
ALSO Smith and Jones, fresh from a series of triumphant shows, are due in action at Lincolns on Sunday night.

The band, now with the legendary Eddie Blunt back in action, will be at the venue on Sunday with some as yet unconfirmed support acts.

More details from Also Smith and Jones and/or Lincolns itself.

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – DHSS – the arguments still rage on
The ‘Why The DHSS Split’ letter written by Edward ian Armchair in last week’s Herald has somewhat enraged fellow/former members John Reeman, Anice Byfield and Rikk Quay. John and Anice insist that THEY are the real DHSS and will continue to be so and Rikk has been angered by suggestions he was ‘apathetic’ to live performances. Both have written letters to MUSICBOX and to keep a sense of balance both will be printed next week.

Stay tuned to this BOX!!!

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox – Great bands of the 80s – Week 3

Sitting Pretty
Tamworth’s first teenybop stars Sitting Pretty were a group who filled more Arts Centres than Buttercup filled jumpers.Tamworth’s first teenybop stars Sitting Pretty were a group who filled more Arts Centres than Buttercup filled jumpers.

Originally a three piece featuring Julian Amos, Pete Long and Mike Turner (whoever HE is) they quickly built up a large following and an equally large band with a host of musicians such as Clarke Stewart and Anice Byfield joining the Pretty squad. Serious record company interest followed as did a single, a video, a fan club and a headline spot at the inaugural two-day Tamworth Festival. Eventually they split up, ironically at a time where I thought they were writing their best and most original music. The various members of this once very well-known band are still around and about with Mike Turner now writing his column in our very own EXTRA and now using his vocal chords mainly to scream abuse at referees at Tamworth Football Club.

Spiral Eye
Fetch Eddie
Big Noise
Tamworth Arts Centre

Catch 23
First Conspiracy
Tamworth Arts Centre

Bash Out The Odd
Herb Garden

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox - L.O To Two Bashes
Caption: Bash Out men Mark Mortimer and Mark Brindley. They will be in action on Sunday night. Tamworth has another ‘double’ on Sunday when both the Arts Centre and Lincolns stages gigs.

At the Arts Centre, metal takes over in the shape of LO Girls and Jagged Heart while down the road at Lincolns, popsters Bash Out The Odd team up with the Fat Controllers and Ramone-bashers The Muff Eds.

Although the two gigs couldn’t be more different, local gig-goers had better get ready for this Sunday night choice because it looks like being the case for many weeks to come.

If metal is your palate then the Arts Centre will no doubt get your vote as L.O Girls return with new Birmingham act Jagged Heart. The LO troupe have already built up quite a loyal Tamworth following and their influence and status is spreading fast. Last week Kerrang touted them as a possible ‘British Version of Guns n Roses’ and they have now started to attract serious interest from national companies and rock press alike. They are always worth an hour or two of your time as should be Jagged Heart who claim to be ‘Clever metal’ influenced by the likes of It Bites, Queensryche, Bon Jovi and Rush.

If more poppier or alternative sounds are your bag, then get yourself along to Lincolns on Sunday. Bash Out The Odd spearhead a three band show which also features The Fat Controllers (who we have seen in these parts before) and The Muff Eds (who we definitely haven’t) These are a new punkified act complete with Ramones covers, great influences and considerable enthusiasm. Topped off with the multi-faceted joys of Bash Out this promises to be a big heap of fun.

That’s your choice then, two very different gigs and music to cover a fair percentage of the taste buds out there.

Take your pick, then trot along…

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox - Sunday View
The Arts Centre Fundraising Gig - Tamworth Arts Centre

The First Conspiracy
Back with a refreshing bang. Absence has certainly made the band’s beat go stronger because they returned to the stage with a renewed sense of urgency and enthusiasm. The relatively long lay off (by the band’s standards) seems to have worked wonders and they played with all the desire to please of a band embarking on their first ever gig. Power-drummer John Higgins has certainly added a new dimension while Lisa’s vocals have acquired a new depth of feeling and strength which means she can cope with even the most tantalising of Conspiracy songs. The overall effect was of a band very much alive and kicking and full of a renewed spirit to succeed. They went down an astonishing storm on the night which convinced me once again that if marketed right, they could attain a huge following. Welcome back chaps (and chappess!)

Catch 23
Pops new young dream. A classic show by a classic pop band who seem to improve with every performance. They have developed a faultless stage sound and a polished stage performance and those song writing skills of Curls Clenshaw show no sign of weakening. Musically they were as tight as ever with each of the fivesome producing excellent shows with individual honours this time being taken by the impeccable Mr. Notman and the inventive and highly listenable Mr. Smith. Of the songs, ‘Stand Back’ was magic, a pretty pop song with a thumping sting-in-the-tail of a chorus while the seriously reggaefied ‘Gotta Get Outta Here’ and the best ever version of ‘Catch This’ also got my knees trembling. Best of all (again) was the sheer pleasure of ‘I Wanted To’, a pop song so lovable it could have been a hit in the 60s, 70s OR 80s and almost certainly will be in the 90s. Although the band are clearly moving away from the traditional arts centre audiences, their ability to attract a huger audience elsewhere in this pop planet remains absolute. The next Wet Wet Wet.

Comprising a night of all-round pleasure was a band who like the acts that had preceded them, seem to be improving all the time. It was my first viewing of the group since their change of line up and older fans shouldn’t worry, they have lost some of their charisma and style but have probably gained more of an edge. Their sound and their look remains as colourful and as bright as ever but they seemed to be acquiring an improved strength of melodic strengths with one new song, ‘One Mile High’ an absolute gem. It had a cracking tune and a simple beat effective construction which shows that Kraze know how to make difficult, well-written songs sound delightfully simple. A great show.

Due to circumstances beyond EVERYBODY’S control, Saturday nights Arts Centre bash didn’t go ahead. There was an uncertainty about the line-up and the confusion meant that none of the listed bands could make it. Spiral Eye sent out their public apologies to their fans with a firm ‘it wasn’t our fault’ cry while Fetch Eddie certainly have the best excuse as their guitarist Aaron became a Daddy on the previous day and was in some what of a tizzy as a result. Nice one Aaron!

Tamworth Herald – 26/01/90
Musicbox – DHSS - The Row Rages On - DHSS Letter Special

Edward Ian Armchair’s recent letter about what he saw as the reason for the original split of the DHSS provoked a furious response.

Here are three letters which show the other side of the coin. The end result appears to be that there are now TWO DHSS’s which must be twice as good for the rest of us…

Following your recent publication of a somewhat misinformed letter from Edward Ian Armchair, the remaining and continuing members of the DHSS would like to straighten the warped record.

Edward Ian Armchair may have left but the band continues to rock ‘n’ roll on. We have been, and will always be a socially aware and democratic band, albeit with a mean capitalistic streak. Two-thirds of the band remain and will continue to pursue the same unique musical excellence with what we consider to be a constructive change of vocal style.

Edward Ian Armchair did not solely form the DHSS in 1987, Rikk Quay, John Reeman and Edward Ian Armchair originally got together to produce a studio project, Anice was brought in to complete the team. Originally there was no intention to perform live. To say that Rikk Quay or ourselves were apathetic to live performances has as much truth as Armchair has hair. Not only did we develop a unique (if temperamental) dual computer system to perform live, songs that were not originally written or arranged with that in mind, but during 1989 we spent nearly £5,000 upgrading our equipment to make live performances a more reliable and practical proposition.

Our plans for 1990 start with a studio outing to record ‘Pennies From Heaven’, ‘Until The Love Bites Fade’, ‘Body On A Slab’ and ‘Man-in-and-about The House’. We hope that Edward Ian Armchair will join us in this project as he is still a vocalist we admire, respect and regard as a close personal friend. We will then perform live promoting this recording.

We the DHSS continue. The ‘Saint Edward Ian Armchair Real Instrument Band’ may play our songs but like ‘Coca Cola’ nothing beats the real thing.

Anice and John
(The DHSS)

P.S. ‘Headed Notepaper’ doesn’t have a band. Music and people do.

Dear Sam,

I’m writing to you concerning the letter that appeared in the recent Music Box about the DHSS. I’m not bothered whether you mention this letter on your page or not. I just wanted to talk to you. At the moment, it seems very one sided. I’m waiting to hear the other points of view.

They do say you are innocent until proven guilty. I just hope that the other people involved get as much of your time as Edward Ian Armchair. There may be some very good reasons for things that have happened. I just hope Mr Armchair can see that is so, before he writes any more disturbing letters. Thanks for reading this.


Dear Sam,

I’m so apathetic I can’t be bothered to replay to the Ed Armchair DHSS letter.

Yours negatively,
Rikk ‘Yawn Yawn’ Quay

P.S. OK, OK, I lied. I will admit that just lately I haven’t been attending DHSS practices or doing gigs, but it may have escaped Ed’s attention that I left the band seven months ago. I have since joined up with Chris and John to form Rhythm Damage who are currently recording a 12in EP and I am very happy with it. So Ed, isn’t it time you ‘grew up’, stopped bitching and got on with ‘your’ band. Let me get on with mine and stop being pathetic - you are a big boy now!

Finally, three questions-
(1) What are ‘real instruments’?
(2) Who reformed the DHSS in 1987?
And most importantly…(3) WHO CARES?!!

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – What a swell party!
IT’s not very often you go to an engagement party and end up watching two bands and a comedian.

But then again this WAS Gibbo’s do. Yep, I was happy last week to be at the engagement of Ian Gibbons and his fiancée Tina where we were treated to a great ‘gig’. Smiffy and Martin Johnson served up some admirably laid back blues gear, the Great Stan and the Great Glen treated us to some wickedly funny sicko-slices and then the Expresso Bongo Orchestra produced an all powerful all-smiling blast which beat the hell out of the usual engagement party birdie songs.

Best of luck for the future Ian and Tina and a neat way to launch the union methinks.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – Nice letter – shame about the Poem!
Dear Sam,
I would like to say well done to Catch 23 for doing so well in the Musicbox Poll. They really deserve it.

I would like to say that Alan (‘Big Al’) is great and has done lots for the band.

Let’s hope we see a number one in the charts soon from them.

They were brilliant at Wilnecote High School. Pity more people didn’t see the sense to go and see them play.

Well done!
From Diane (A Catchette)


CATCH 23 are here to stay.
CATCH 23 are gonna be BIG.
At Wembley Arena I hope they’ll play.
I’m sure this would make their day.
Steve, Nick, Neil, Jase and Ray.
To see them play I’m willing to pay.
Not one penny.
But quite a bit more.
Than just one pound.
CATCH 23 are quite good.
In fact they’re rather brill.
Big Al’s done wonders for them all!

(Di the Fly)

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Emma Gibbs have been voted near the top in a national music poll! But, all is not as it seems for Emma Gibbs Loves BADGERS (note the spelling mistake!) have been votes as having one of the silliest names in the business according to the musicians magazine Making Music. This odd item was spotted by Mike Fleming who never mentioned whether his former cohorts Ruffian on the Stairs also got mentioned.

Lincolns has announced a string of shows for the next few Sundays. On Feb 4 Dance Stance are back alongside The Herb GardenTamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Lincolns has announced a string of shows for the next few Sundays. On Feb 4 Dance Stance are back alongside The Herb Garden, on Feb 11 it’s the Motorcycle Boy and support, on Feb 18 Rumblefish will be joined by The New Puritans and on Feb 25, Where Gardens Fall will headline. More info as and when.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Herb Garden are looking to grow in as many out of town venues as possible. If you are planning any non-Tamworth shows and are looking for a willing support ring Tina or Lisa.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Rape in Yellow are in action this weekend at the Black Horse pub in Birmingham and are looking to do as many concerts as possible in the next few weeks.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
The mighty Flowers in the Attic, fresh from their impressive performance at my New Years party, are back in action again on Feb 4 at the Arts Centre with Sonic Gauge. That is followed by a trip to the Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath on Feb 20. A new demo is also in the offing.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane’s new single ‘I Like It Hot’ has been delayed until their new tour is finalised. It was due out on January 15 but it now looks like being in mid-February/early March. According to hunky bassist Jeff Hateley the band are currently trying to write material for their second album. Have they really been around THAT long!!!

Ark are in action at the Old Liberal House, Amington next weekend. They will be playing on Friday night and tickets are now available from Richard Deane at the Tamworth Indoor Sports Centre.Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Ark are in action at the Old Liberal House, Amington next weekend. They will be playing on Friday night and tickets are now available from Richard Deane at the Tamworth Indoor Sports Centre.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Lichfield recording studios Reptile House is to release its first ever single on its new label Reptile Records soon. In addition they now have extra rehearsal rooms available, if you want to get in then ring them as soon as possible.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Shock Culture are playing in the Bradford Battle of the Bands on Feb 2 at Rios Nightclub. If you want to travel with them ring Dob any time after Neighbours.

Old Liberal House

Rape in Yellow
Black Horse

Bash Out The Odd
Fat Controllers
Muff Heads


LO Girls
Jagged Heart

Tamworth Arts Centre

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