Trotsky – rhythm guitar/vocals
Roso – bass
Brains – lead guitar
Dung – drums
Pete/Lauty – lead vocals
When I think of Frenzy it seemed to last for years, but looking at my diary it lasted about 1 year! But it went through many connotations and forms, the only thing which was consistent was the music and songs. When other people had multiple relationships with boys/girls in a short space of time, I had just as many musical collaborations with other band members with in that year. The term “musical prostitutes” come to mind to describe the chopping and changing that went on to form a band and to break up a band. Reading through those diaries I never know when one carnation of Frenzy started and when it ended.
If “Business Controlled” was a solo project “Frenzy” was a group using the same material between 1978 and 1984. It was my band (to myself) as I wrote nearly all the material and had a majority say in how it ran. We used to practise in the “big room” at my parents house and for the years, just after leaving school, it was the thing that occupied my mind, I put a lot of time and energy into it: writing songs, looking for gigs, rehearsing etc. it all came to nothing except I got a lot of experience, a lot of frustration, and a few gigs. I played in Frenzy the same time I was playing in Porcelain Dolls (and a few other bands too without names). But there was a lot of frustration of cancelled rehearsals due to others members working, or having girlfriend trouble, or members deciding to move away looking for work, or commitments of being at 6th form school etc.
I had already put an advertisement in the same shop to meet other musicians and I had a reply from Philip Bailey who lived at the Metal Bridge Inn just outside of Carlisle, he had a friend called “Jaws” who was going to play guitar, but he went off to fight in the Falklands Conflict in April of 1982. I met them at Philip’s home, but we did not play much music that day, but talked a lot. Philip played bass and had a small practice amp which I ended up keeping, I used to have it in my bedroom to practice on (it was 9 watt amp and the speaker had seen better days but it gave off a quiet but great distortion, so I kept it for this reason, I later did a gig with it in The Enterprise Pub on St. Annes with The Nightmares, but it was too quiet as the P.A. did not work too well).
There were different line ups with people coming and going but the core members were me and Dung. I found Dung from an advertisement in “The Pink Panther” record shop in The Globe Lane (where the Sands shopping centre now stands). I read an advertisement “Drummer wanting to start a band, influences The Clash, The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols etc.” Drummers were like gold in those days, there was not too many around.
Philip and I went to see Dung on Hebbden Avenue, in Morton. He took us into his bedroom and played along to the Clash’s 1st album. I did not really care what he played or if he could play (he could) I wanted/needed a drummer and as far as I was concerned he was in. Philip disappeared after that, he did not continue with any more rehearsals, but I visited Dung regularly and for the next few years (5 in total) we collaborated a lot on music.
Dung introduced me to new people from Morton, unknown to me at the time who later became involved with bands.
Philip introduced me to Gill and Lynn who we later asked to come on stage and dance, but nothing happened about that. (around Carlisle female bands/members were virtually non-existent and after a Frenzy band meeting, with Lauty, Rosso and Dung, I asked for females to be included in the band). Nancy and Julie came up for a practice, but nothing happened with that, and later Susan and Kate came up and they and I formed a new band after Frenzy had split.
I went to Trinity school and it was a mixed bag of people from different areas of Carlisle, but mainly from Stanwix and Lowry Hill and St. Annes (across the river). Dung introduced me to his Morton school friends: P.H., Cumbo, Banksy, and from them I met others: Roso, Lauty, Kate, Susan, Grebo and from them I met others etc, nearly all connected with music, mostly from that area of town. In time the people I mixed with the most were from Morton and not from Trinity School, But Porcelain Dolls were from across the river in Lowry Hill, so I had 1 foot in both camps!
Dung and I rehearsed but we could not do much with 2 members, although we worked on a lot of songs, the early days we practised regularly, these practices ended up with us diving into my parents drink cabinet and making the “mixture”, a cocktail of spirits washed down with home-brew, we recorded a practice after drinking this concoction and the results were like listening to a sing record at half speed!We needed more people in the band, so we sort others. Rosso was interested in playing bass guitar, he knew Dung by being in the same school. He had a small, scaled down bass guitar with very thick strings, he joined and we rehearsed at “Crofton Hall”, not the mansion but a wooden hut on the hill. I asked Pete to join as singer, he was from Trinity School and I had been with him in Caldewgate school too, he lived in Rickergate; he joined us on vocals. I considered myself a rhythm guitarist so we looked for a lead guitarist and Rosso’s friend, called “Brains”, came for the first practice in March 1982.We played around Carlisle, at “Micks 1” and “Victorias” night club, also we played at a punk festival in Penrith on the 20th March 1982. On the night of the Festival, I remember saying through the P.A. “is there any National Front cunts in the audience…?” then launching ourselves into Dung’s “War Criminals”. At the same time a line of Skin Heads stood up at the back of the hall and looked aggressive, but one person started to dance to it, any ways we got out a live. Pete left the stage after the 1st 3 songs as he was knackered and I took over singing. The sound must have been not so good as I wrote in the diary “drums good, bass too loud, lead guitarist too soft, me too soft and vocals not good, my guitar kept on falling off the strap, covered in sweat, we got a lift back and dad got stopped by the police for going through a red light!”. Pete left the band on the 4th April to move down to Warwickshire to look for work and he sold his guitar to Brains for 90 pounds.
The set list for a typical Frenzy gig was:
Fools or Heroes?
Britain for All
War Criminals (Dungs song)
Some cover songs included The Clash’s “Tommy Gun”
I bought an “H&H” 200 watt speaker cabinet for 130 pounds on HP so I could get rid of the home-made speakers from David (Porcelain Dolls).
I used a 60 watt, Laney Klipp amp, a valved amp with a built-in fuzz/distortion box, it sounded lovely, heavy and sat nicely on my 4×4 speakers, it looked something like this:
We played at “Creeps” nightclub on the 28th April and it was a great night! I wrote in my diary “We did the set list of:
1. Pravda (great)
2. Black Pigs (great)
3. CND (I needed help on the vocals)
4. Life (it was OK)
5. Fools or Heroes (getting knackered)
6. War Criminals (I forgot the words)
7. Bristol (too slow, a reggae song)
8. User (it was OK)
9. I.B.S. “Independent British State” (it was OK)”
The diary says “We jumped around the stage had a great time, Roso broke a bass string (no easy feat as they were like cables), Dung was not used to the drum kit he borrowed, and Brains did not play much so I had to play lead guitar”. In fact Brains was not playing at all, but miming. When my guitar fell away from the strap he had to quickly turn his guitar on and fill while I connected it again.
We also played at the TEC College on Strand Road, but I have no info about that.
Here are 3 songs recorded during a rehearsal at my house. Roso is on bass, I am singing and on guitar and Dung is on drums. The tracks are:
I Dont Want To be Like You (Trots)
I Said No (Trots)
I was the singer for a few gigs, but I could not sing very well, so after a band meeting we got Roso’s friend, Lauty to sing. He was more into Oi music, and there was a few disagreements between me and the rest of the band on which way the style music should be going. I think after a while Frenzy fizzled out and the same members formed a group called “Abuse”, with the focus being on Oi music.
Frenzy broke up on the 7/6/82, as Dung left the band to form his own (Every Smile is a Lie), which made me a solo performer again! Although I played with Dung in Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and a few other musical collaborations (see Musical Chairs page) it was very different from this embryonic manifestation of “Frenzy”.
Years later, I did a YouTube video of one of the songs with a lot of photos; it is like a collection of images to the backdrop of music. I performed the song “Pravda” with the group Frenzy, but this recording I did by myself on my 4 track Marintz Recorder so it is really a Business Controlled recording. I am playing all instruments, except the drum machine! There is a rhythm guitar and a lead guitar, bass and vocals. “Pravda” is a Russian word meaning “truth”. I had been studying Russian language at school by myself for myself and I used the word for the title. It is one of the first songs I ever wrote (I wrote it while at school), and it was inspired by the Sex Pistols’s “Anarchy in the UK” but the music is using original chords and ideas.