Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

The Cradle

The Cradle

Musical Genre/Type: Alternative Rock
Formed: 1985 Split: 1986

Band Members
Rikk Quay : Lead Vocals
[Also in: StarTrax Disco, Rikky Patrick Disco, The DHSS v1, Those Attractive Magnets, Pakistani Brothers, XPD, The DHSS v.4, Rhythm Damage]
Muz Pickett : Lead Guitar
[Also in: Sacred Oath]
Paul Keeton : Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals
[Also in: Sacred Oath, The Calling, Scream Dream]
Niz Concannon : Bass Guitar
[Also in: Sacred Oath, The Calling]
Jim Smith : Drums

Additional Info: Myself and Paul both played Lead Guitar - as we did in Sacred Oath. But it was my turn this time! Muz Pickett

The Snatch - Keeton/Quay
You - Concannon/Keeton/Quay
Poisons of Pleasure - Keeton/Smith/Quay
State of Mind - Keeton/Quay
Magdellana - Keeton/Pickett/Quay
Radio Weeps,Television Cries - Pickett/Keeton/Quay
The Arts of Innocence - Quay/The Cradle
Gadaffi A Go-Go - Pickett/Quay

Other Songs: "She Sells Sanctuary"-The Cult.

Breaking Point
The Cradle
Spirit Lake
Battle of the Bands
Tamworth Arts Centre

The Cradle
The Celtic Soil Brothers
The Rathole - Opening Night

Track List: The Snatch/You/Poisons Of Pleasure
Format: Demo Tape

Studio Memories
We went back to Expresso Bongo, where we had recorded the demo and did a remix of The Snatch. Rikk was a big fan of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, who had just had their one hit and it was basically very similar to that. Terrible, but I was outvoted!

After recently finding some Herald clippings of the time, I was shocked when I realised that we were only together for five months. It seemed twice that! After Sacred Oath/Judas Cradle, this was a step up in image, sound and performance. Getting Rikk in on vocals helped. We only played two gigs, Battle of The Bands `86 and the launch gig for The Rathole, which we headlined. The B.O.T.B was fun (we came second to Breaking Point, by a point) but the Rathole show was a riot! It was Rikk’s birthday and he just about held it together, even after falling onto the drums at least once! We had a prime position at that years Rock Festival but sadly didn’t last that long. Paul and Rikk were at loggerheads and it all blew up and came to an end in April ‘86. Paul formed The Calling, with Niz eventually joining him, Rikk went on to X.P.D and Jim joined Attica and eventually Spiral Eye. I hit the bottle!!! I remember thinking "this is the one" after Rikk joined, five months later and it was all over. Should have known, but hey, I was only 18!

Thanks to: Muz Pickett

Tamworth Herald – 24/01/86
Musicbox – Rikk Rocks a Happy Cradle

The enigmatic Rikk Quay is back in business – as singer and frontman of new-look outfit, The Cradle.The enigmatic Rikk Quay is back in business – as singer and frontman of new-look outfit, The Cradle.

Rikk, who only left The Sway a fortnight ago, was snatched up by The Cradle immediately. And the rather surprising marriage has pleased both partners.

“I am really happy,” said Rikk. “I went to see them practice and I thought they were tremendous. Now I think we can be even better.”

The Cradle is the new name of Sacred Oath, or more recently, The Judas Cradle. The band had been striving for moths to get rid of their highly inappropriate heavy metal label, and now with Rikk joining, they are hoping to bury the HM ghost forever.

“This finally proved we are not a heavy metal band,” said the always enthusiastic guitarist Paul Keeton. “Now perhaps people will see us in a different light.”

Rikk first noticed Sacred Oath as they were then, when they played a very enjoyable set at last year’s festival. Like many people, he was impressed with their growing maturity over the past 12 months and so when they approached him to join, it didn’t take them long to agree.

“At the practice, they were even better that at the festival, and I am convinced that we can go further now,” said Rikk.

Rikk will be joining The Cradle as lead singer, frontman and keyboard player. It is the first time he will have actually led a band as the main singer, but his on-stage charisma and style ensures that the band will become eminently watchable.


“If he acts anything like he did at the practice, things should be very different indeed for us,” said Paul. “We are all really happy.”

The original…The Cradle had all been going in a Cult Direction, and with the extravagant, fashion-blitzed Rikk joining their image should become much sharper all round. And with his experience and contacts, he will be able to push The Cradle much quicker.

Already he is planning trips to the studio for the band, and it was his idea to drop the ‘Judas’ from the title and thus leave the heavy metal ancestry well behind.

The former Judas Cradle singer Star Trek apparently wanted to continue to play more heavy music. The band admit he will be sadly missed…to scoop one of Tamworth’s hottest properties.

The new band should make their first appearance as the Battle of the Bands on Sunday, February 23, where they will take on the might of Terroa, Breaking Point and Spirit Lake.

Tamworth Herald – 21/02/86
Musicbox – Battle of the giants is full of promise
Breaking PointTHE most eagerly-awaited heat of the ‘Battle of the Bands’ blazes into action on Sunday night when the mighty Breaking Point take on the powerful trio of Terroa, The Cradle and Spirit Lake.

The heat has been the source of fierce debate and speculation among local rock fans for some weeks, and with all four bands confident of doing well, the atmosphere promises to be white-hot.

Breaking Point, who of course are holders of the Battle of the Bands trophy, undoubtedly start the heat as favourites – but guitarist Kevin Briggs is not as convinced as some people that their success is assured.

“I honestly think Terroa will win our heat and probably the whole contest,” said Kevin last week, “It should be a very good night.”

Whether Kevin is bluffing or displaying false modesty remains to be seen but there is no doubt that the night looks like being one of the best on the local scene for months.

Kicking off the Arts Centre package will be Terroa. After their excellent show in the MUSICBOX poll – and the recent triumphs of their first demo – things are going very well indeed for the band, and many local rock watchers have tipped them as the band to steal Breaking Point’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ crown.

Lead singer Eddie Madden admits that this puts the band under a pressure they can do without, but they have promised to go all out for victory and with the songs they have chosen to play, they could well do it.

They have also promised a unique start to the show so if you’re not there at 8pm to witness it, that is your fault!

Second up will be Spirit Lake, a band of Davids, who are quietly confident of beating the Goliaths. Built around the songwriting skills of former Spirit of Water leader Dylan, the band contains a host of respected musicians including Norman Yates and Tim Burgess and according to the normally calm Norman the sound that is being produced by the band is very good indeed.

They are the surprise package of the night and for that reason they certainly cannot be dismissed – particularly by the other three bands.

Next up will be the band that has had everybody talking recently; The Cradle. The band who have now buried their former heavy metal tag forever, have taken a walk on the wild side and discovered the likes of The Cult.

They have also discovered Rikk Quay who makes his first appearance as the band’s frontman on Sunday. Rikk (surprise, surprise) is very enthusiastic about it all and has told Terroa and Breaking Point that the game is up – the is The Cradle’s year. To put it mildly they should be very interesting indeed.

And so to Breaking Point, the last band in the whole competition and the one most people feel will become the first band. The group, who recently recorded a tantalising demo, are as determined and buoyant as ever, and they will aim to take the contest by storm.

Knowing Breaking Point I think they will, but like most people, I am not going to bet on anyone.

So a concert you simply cannot miss. It is free entertainment of the finest sort and should leave no-one disappointed. If you miss this one you will regret it for a long time.

*Sunday night’s judges will be Paul Spear, Phil Smith and The Dream Factory’s Mark Mortimer. Only one winner can go through to next Sunday’s final which already includes Burnin’ Sky, One On One and Wolfsbane.

Tamworth Herald – 28/02/86
Musicbox – Thunder, fog and buckets of hair gel…
Heat rises and the victors live up to their name

Battle of the Bands – Heat Four – Review
BREAKING POINT squeezed into the final of the ‘Battle of the Bands’ on Sunday night in another absorbing and contrasting night of local music. They won their heat by just one point in another show which was packed to the rafters with sweat-soaked, rock-hungry spectators.

Biggest disappointment of the night was that the injury to John Reeman’s hand meant the much tipped Terroa were forced to pull out. It was a blow, but in the true spirit of the local scene new band Kara agreed to step in and were sent scuttling back home to get their guitars after they had arrived for a peaceful night out.

Opening the show were Spirit Lake, who attempted, and to a large extent succeeded – to create the feel of the early 70s. Comparisons with Deep Purple and even from one judge, Jimi Hendrix, showed the direction the band were clearly trying to go and there was no doubt they worked together well as a tight professional combo.


Keyboard player Tim Burgess came in for a lot of well-deserved praise, but the highlight of the set was undoubtedly a tremendous number called ‘Armageddon’ complete with a sparkling smoke effect which embraced everybody’s lungs and made the atmosphere even thicker.

Next up were The Cradle – and what a revelation they were. When they came on the stage (leaving behind buckets of hair gel) they looked and …stamped all over it, with that man Quay racing around the stage like a headless chicken.

The opening number ‘A State Of Mind’, was quite brilliant and although the band were a little rough around the edges, they were extremely promising. I have no doubt their Cult-style sound will soon give them a cult following and it certainly was a spine-tingling show. The haircuts were pretty irresistible too.

Kara came next and turned in a very tight and powerful show which brought wide applause from the audience. Kara displayed none of the nerves you would expect from a band who had been in the competition for just two hours.

The swing

Best number of a well played set – a special credit to the male and female vocalists and the group’s new guitarist, Paul – was ‘Promises’ which had a thunderingly good chorus and a clean, likeable sound.

Closing the contest were heat winners Breaking Point. Despite having a slightly under-stated sound, they soon got into the swing of things and somebody walked past me after two minutes and said “They’ve won it – no contest!”.

Well, in the end, it didn’t quite work out that way, as the band managed just a one point victory, but there is no doubt they will take some beating tonight (Friday).

So Terroa or not Terroa (that was the sadness) with was a fine all-round show, loudly applauded and supported by the biggest audience yet. The three judges Paul Speare, Phil Smith and the Dream Factory’s Mark Mortimer, were clearly impressed with the overall standard.

Tamworth Herald – 21/03/86
Musicbox – Succeeding with talent and mouth
Bambu CurtainI HAVE recently been filing all my old MUSICBOX columns from the past three years or so and as one of those academic exercises, I decided to see just who has been the most featured band in the column over that time.

People often accuse me of bias in various directions but I think the ‘top ten’ of mentions shows that I have managed to cover the whole spectrum of local music from the ‘lightest’ to the ‘heaviest’.

This was not a scientific exercise, I merely flicked through the columns and noted the names of bands whenever I saw them. So a ‘mention’ could be just one line or a full feature. Anyway here’s the top ten from 1983.

1. The Dream Factory (60 mentions), 2. Sitting Pretty (57), 3. Breaking Point (53), 4. Wolfsbane (52), 5. BHX (51), 6. Love On Board (49), 7. One On One (37), 8. The Magnets (32), 9. Sacred Oath (25) and The Cradle (25), 10. The Royal Family (20).

Outside of this batch as a matter of interest were Terroa, Dance Stance, A5 and Caprice. At the other end of the scale there were local bands whose name were featured only once such as Alibi, The Fashionable Gents, Bambu Curtain and The Time Bandits.

Tamworth Herald – 28/03/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Rathole is hoping to open on Sunday, April 6. Originally it was hoped that Terroa would join The Cradle for the opening night but now it looks as though a new band will join Paul and the boys. The week after this looks like being a HM special and according to Rathole boss, Ian Gibbons things are looking very bright indeed.

Tamworth Herald – 04/04/86
Musicbox – Presenting a hole lot of excitement
TAMWORTH’S NEW ROCK club, The Rathole, is set to open for the first time on Sunday with an exciting triple bill. This will feature a trio of varied artists – The Cradle, Orange and the band you are going to love to love, The Celtic Soil Brothers.

In what looks like being a tradition with the new club, the first concert will be a major fund-raising event. The Rathole – and indeed ‘Manhattan’s’ where the club will be based – has pledged to do everything they can to raise money for John Hodgetts, the young Tamworth boy suffering from a rare and as yet incurable disease.

Therefore all proceeds from the opening night show will go to the fund and ‘Rathole’ mastermind Ian Gibbons is confident that local pop fans will not begrudge the £1 entry fee for such an important cause.

For those who didn’t know, ‘The Rathole’ is based upstairs at ‘Manhattan’s’ in Church Street. All the facilities and bar have been provided free of charge by Manhattan’s boss Clive Bartram who has allowed the club to meet every Sunday – if it so wishes. Next week a heavy night is planned , but Ian is hoping that music fans of all ‘persuasions’ will attend the opening evening’s entertainment.

Heading the show will be the much-vaunted Cradle. The band who made a (literally) dazzling impact on the ‘Battle of the Bands’ have touches of Bauhaus, The Cult and in Rikk Quay’s case, insanity.

The play loud, fast alternative sounds and if they don’t suffer the technical problems as they did at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ they could well take the night by storm.


Playing with The Cradle will be two bands as yet unseen by most of the Tamworth public. Orange (or Orange Blossom Special as they were at the ‘Battle of the Bands’) play pop music that easily identifies with the roots of their musical past – Love On Board and Sitting Pretty.

It is whimsical, warm pop music with broad appeal. Orange’s Battle of the Bands heat was also slightly marred by sound troubles and so they are hopeful that a cleaner sound on Sunday will produce a better record of what the band are actually like.

Completing the line-up is a band I am itching to see – The Celtic Soil Brothers. Their one excellent demo convinces me they will be a winner in Tamworth with their lighthearted country ‘bop-bop-she-bop’.

They are great fun and if they are as good live as they are on tape, Tamworth is in for a treat.

So a good concert in prospect but the night obviously means more…and starts at 8pm.

Tamworth Herald – 11/04/86
Musicbox – It’s top hole say the town’s rockin’ rats

The Celtic Soil Brothers
Caption: The Soil Brothers…yee-ha!!

Sunday evenings are normally about as much fun as a sing-a-long-a-Marillion album. But believe me, this was no normal Sunday evening.

Instead of Songs of Praise there were plenty of songs of power, excitement and immense whistle-ability. The music was great, the audience large, vocal and appreciative and The Rathole proved that it is the sort of thing Tamworth has been crying out for for years.

The man behind it all Ian ‘The Big-G’ Gibbons never stopped smiling, the audience never stopped growing and shouting and most importantly of all John Hodgetts, the boy who the Rathole hopes to send to Disneyland received a massive fund-raising boost.

In the words of that dreadful Hot Chocolate number ‘Everyone’s a winner baby’. Everyone including the bands that played. It started off with Orange who to my ears, began very well indeed but lost their way during the set.

Musically they have matured considerably since I last saw them, with Nigel Horton finally making his presence felt behind the keyboards and Glen ‘Blizzard’ Lewis using his bass well with the impressive guitars of Neil Jones and the newly cropped Julian Amos.

Best number of the set was ‘Precious Blue’ which gave Anice her best vocal and the audience their biggest cheer.

Jed Moore was next on stage with a strangely subdued poetic outburst. Apart from one brilliant number (‘Video Nasties’) he went down like a bacon sandwich at a Jewish wedding but didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Like a true professional he completed his set, ordered another Pepsi and thought about Everton going to Wembley. It was that sort of night.

The Soil Brothers were next and it was a case of yee-ha! Steve and the boys unfolded a whole host of skiffly, silly and very jolly tunes to the bemused delight of the audience.

They were fresh, sparkling and genuinely different with washboards, accordions, violins and plenty of yee-haaing to keep the toes-a-tapping.

If there was a problem it was that they went on just a little too long, but any doubts were dispelled by the excellent closing number ‘I Love My Fruit’ which tickled my funny bone almost as much as the encore song called ‘Sam Holliday Said’. With titles like that, how can they fail to get good reviews?

And then came The Cradle – who were a real eye-opener. Rikk did an Adamesque strip and the band produced and attacking set that created some wild dancing and crazy scenes. The music was alert, fast and dynamic with every member of this impressive quintet turning in above-par performances.

Once again Bauhaus spring to mind, but when The Cradle did a fine version of ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ it was obvious where their real alternative sympathies lie.

Judging by the reaction, The Cradle received, they have quickly established themselves as one of the area’s biggest bands and no wonder. They look and sound great, and not even Rikk Quay’s bare torso could put me off.


To close the whole enjoyable night, Terroa stepped up to play an out-of-retirement show. Considering they haven’t played together since the unfortunate split, the impromptu show was very impressive – and gave cause for some more ridiculous dancing.

Best number of a short, firecracking set was ‘Burning It Down’ which had all the electricity of the average sub-station.

Put together all these fine shows, a packed-to-bursting audience and an atmosphere of united commitment, and you had an opening event to remember. If The Rathole can maintain this sort of spirit, it will be the best thing to have happened to the Tamworth music scene for a very long time.

Everyone who made it possible deserves our fullest praise and to anyone who is still dubious and cynical there is only one thing to say – rats.

Tamworth Herald – 09/05/86
Musicbox – ROCK SHOCK: Cradle splits
THE CRADLE, Tamworth’s alternative shock-rockers, have split up.THE CRADLE, Tamworth’s alternative shock-rockers, have split up.

The group who had only been together for a short while, made a strong impression in their time together and built up such a following as to give them a prime position in this year’s festival.

But the internal problems which saw strong personalities pulling in different directions left The Cradle without a natural base and the group decided to split last week.

The majority of the band Niz Concannon, Murray Metallic-Pickett and Jim Pighand will now continue as The Grim Boys – aided and abetted by no less than the neo-legendary Duane.

Rikk Quay meanwhile has gone back to basics to form a band at the moment called Hang The Curtains Before… He is currently discussing working with former Terroa guitarist John Reeman in the marriage that could work a treat as they are tow of the nicest people on the ‘scene’.

Paul Keeton, meanwhile, who founded the band, that eventually ended up as The Cradle, is currently keeping his options open but has already been approached by one of Tamworth’s foremost songwriters and may join a new band.

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The Cradle

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