Havana Affair

hh logo
Pod – vocals
Johnny – bass
Duncan Todhunter – drums
Chris – rhythm guitar/vocals
Trotsky – lead guitar

The group “Havana Affair” came from the group “Nightmares in a Damaged Brain”, I am not sure when the name changed or who chose it, but there is a definite shift in influence from the two. “Nightmares” was the creation of Dung and when he left it kept the name for a while until Johnny and Chris possibly changed the name to Havana Affair, as they were big “Ramones” fans’? Where I came into all this is still a point of discussion… I was not in Nightmares when it started, I joined Dung’s band when he wanted to concentrate on singing and I took over from him playing guitar. I started introducing my material into Nightmares and certainly into Havana Affair before Chris joined, and new material was introduced during Chris’s involvement. Basically, we were the same band as Nightmares, but with a name change and a few extra songs added.

Jam Sessions & Stars and Stripes
The main venue for Havana Affair was the nightclub Stars and Stripes, down Botchergate/Carlisle. We did a lot of performing at the jam sessions on a Wednesday night. Anyone could get up and do 4-5 songs. The mixing via the desk was suspect, you could sound like anything! Often the levels would change half way through a song or you would lose the sound through the speakers all together. But it is where we ‘cut our teeth’ so to speak, we played often and tried things out. Also there were a lot of concerts at Stars and Stripes and we supported a few bands coming from outside of Cumbria.

After Chris joined the band a change in our music took place very quickly. I was not against this change but there was not much discussion about it. We added different songs, dropped a few others.

This jam session was this one recorded on the 6th March 1985, were we played 4 songs. I am not in the mix at all, either my guitar was not going into the mixing desk or they had not bothered to record me, the guitar you will hear is from Chris’s rhythm guitar, not mine (maybe I was not there at all, who knows?), another Stars and Stripes botch-up!

The tracks are:
Blitzkrieg Bop – words and music by The Ramones
Ghost Train – words and music by Chris
Real Mean Time – words and music by Chris
Carbona Not Glue – words and music by The Ramones

This Jam Session was recorded on the 13th March 1985. I am playing on this recording! The style of Havana Affair had changed a lot since the day of Nighmares, we were sounding a lot like Chris´s Combo Zombo everyday.

The tracks are:
Pipeline – an instrumental by The Chantays, 1963
Real Mean Time – words and music by Chris
A Slow One – words and music by me
Mutant Suit – words and music by Chris
She’s My Girl – words and music by Chris

The Demo
We went into the studio at Stars and Stripes, to record a Demo of our songs. I do not think anyone was pleased with the results. I was away abroad for the final mix and I was not happy with it when I returned. We were advised by the producers to lay the tracks down “clean” without any effects (like distortion) and these were to be added later in the final mix…it never happened. The solo was done by one of the producers… so it was not our sound. In my opinion a waste of time and money.

The tracks are:
A Day in a million – words/music by me
She’s My Girl – words/music by Chris
A Slow One – words/music by me
Playing With fire – words by Pod, music by me

Concerts
This is a recording of a concert at Stars and Stripes, I am not sure who we were supporting…if anyone? But the mixing again is terrible, I am there but sometimes I am not heard, the levels are all over the place. All I can say is that I do not think it sounded like that live, it was only in the mixing desk. The track “Smash It Up” by The Damned gets cut off towards the end. I am not sure of the dates either but it was recorded in 1985.
Oct20275
The tracks are:
Pipeline – instrumental by The Chantays, 1963
Real Mean Time – words/music by Chris
Kidding Yourself – words/music by me
Blitzkrieg Bop – words/music by The Ramones
A Slow One – words/music by me
She’s My Girl – words/music by Chris
Fools Gold – words by Dunno, music by me
Carbona Not Glue – words and music by The Ramones
Ghost Train – words/music by Chris
Smash It Up – words/music by The Damned
A Day in a million – words/music by me

This concert took place on the 3rd of June 1985. Again a bad recording through the mixing desk. The first track “Hell Exists” was written by Dung who is singing on this recording. He was the founding member of Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (the band preceding Havana Affair)

The tracks are:
Hell Exists – Dung on vocals, words and music written by Dung
A Slow One – words and music by me
She’s My Girl – words and music by Chris
I Gona Change the World – words and music by The Animals
A Day in a Million – words/music by me
Safe European Home – words/music by The Clash
Smash It Up . words/music by The Damned

Havana Affair Supporting The Membranes at Stars and Stripes (07.06.85)
A newspaper cutting from the Evening News, Friday 7th June 1985, showing the bands that were playing at the nightclub Stars and Stripes. Havana Affair were playing on Friday supporting The Membranes
Aug31288This is the recording from the Stars and Stripes gig on the 7th June, before The Membranes came on. The sound was patched through to the mixing desk and a recording was taken from that. I can’t say if it was our sound, as who knows what mixing and fiddling about was done in the recording. Often the best recordings were done with a simple cassette player in front of the speakers…at least it was a representation of our sound.
ss 7.6.85The set list shows a couple of songs before the recording starts…maybe they will turn up one day!

The tracks are:
Real Mean Time – words/music by Chris
Hell Exists – words and music written by Dung
A Slow One – words and music by me
Blitzkrieg Bop – words/music by The Ramones
She’s My Girl – words/music by Chris
I Gona Change the World – words and music by The Animals
A Day in a Million – words/music by me
Smash It Up – words/music by The Damned

This recording was done at Stars and Stripes sometime in 1985, the first track has been recorded late, as the first song “A Day in a million” is only audible towards the end of the song, then it is followed by She’s My Girl.hh concert 1985

The tracks are:
A Day in a Million – words/music by me
She’s My Girl – words/music by Chris
Blitzkrieg Bop – words/music by The Ramones
Fools Gold – words by Dunno, music by me
Carbona Not Glue – words and music by The Ramones
Kidding Yourself – words/music by me
A Slow One – words and music by me
Ghost Train – words/music by Chris
Real Mean Time – words/music by Chris
I Gona Change the World – words and music by The Animals

The Last Ride of the Wild Bunch Recording
wild bunch gigWe had just been informed (by Johnny) that the band was to split, we had a gig booked at Stars and Stripes so this was to be out final performance. The video was recorded by Smoo on the night.
The sound quality is not good as the camera was beside the speakers, but you can get an idea.
I think it is a true representation of what we were like on stage. But there is an element of play due to it being the last concert.

New Rose (The Damned)

Playing With Fire

Kidding Yourself

Hell Exists

Blitzkrieg Bop

She’s My Girl

Real Mean Time

I Wanna Change the World

Smash It UP

The audio-tacks done via the sound desk are:
A Day in a Million – words/music by me
New Rose – words/music by The Damned
Playing With fire – words by Pod, music by me
Kidding Yourself – words/music by me
Hell Exists – words and music written by Dung
Blitzkrieg Bop – words/music by The Ramones
She’s My Girl – words/music by Chris
Real Mean Time – words/music by Chris
I Wanna Change the World – words and music by The Animals
Smash It Up – words/music by The Damned

Rehearsal
(This section is dedicated to the drummer, Duncan Todhunter, who passed away on 18/01/16, R.I.P.)

We used to practice in John´s flat just off London Road. It had a back room where we could rehearse. Armed with Chris’s camera Pug filmed a typical rehearsal before the gig at The Pagoda.

Sean Todhunter (Duncan’s Brother) writes “Taken from Kevin Tilbury’s fantastic new blog Carlisle Punk Bands’ Havana Affair page, thanks to Kev for these ultra rare videos and recordings.. and for dedicating it to my Duncan. My Brother Duncan Todhunter would have been about 16 at the time, this is taken from a rehearsal before the infamous Pagoda gig (aye, The Pag). HA had a real garage punk sound listening back to them with a few hints of early post punk thrown in.. with Pod Pearson and Trevor Wall. Filmed by Trev”

Smash it UP

Playing With Fire

Blitzkrieg Bop

Ghost Train

A Day in a Million

There has been some quotes on FB I felt I should included from certain people who were there:
Pod: Handsome…
Sean: Too right !
Pod: This Was The Famous..Spit Your Teeth out Duncan rehearsal..and he obliged..Top Bloke..
Sean: The gig footage is even crazier.. I haven’t seen this for over twenty years or so… we had such a great time looking back smile
Pod: yes I remember I ended up shirtless and the mic got busted and I got blamed.. it was not me..honest..I hoping to get al this footage put onto dvd.
Sean: I’ve just posted ‘Smash It Up’.. its absolute chaos, high octane Punk rock. I’d like to get a DVD copies of that footage if you ever get a copy
Trotsky: I edited the rehearsal video. I wish I had not now, as there are some footage of the banter and “teeth coming out”. But I thought to keep it clean! I will try and upload the whole thing if I can sometime soon.
Sean: That would be ace Kev !

I put together the “out takes” from the rehearsal video, the bits that were between the songs. The video is edited, I have taken out the songs just leaving the chat, fooling around.

The Pagoda Concert
The rehearsal was followed by the gig at The Pagoda Nightclub, in Carlisle. Smoo was handling the video. The Pagoda was not known for its punk gigs, it was a trendy/pop/disco sort of a place. The evening was a private party with 2 bands playing. The set list for the night was as follows:
pagoda set listSean Writes “Live Punk at the pagoda. The Pagoda was normally a straight up Disco, all Malibu n pineapple, George Benson, dancing round handbags, Carlisle geezers doing the two step chat up shuffle and Miami Vice fashions .. that was until, it was hired under the guise of a private party and chaos ensued. The Havana Affair would end every set with the Damned’s ‘Smash It Up’ and this video captures the sheer chaotic wildness, and exhilarating energy and joy of the Carlisle Punk scene of the time with Duncan, Pod, Kevin, Trevor, Mark Beaty, Nigel”

A Day in a Million
We started off our set with this song most times. A strong phaser effect was on the guitar for the intro.

She´s My Girl
Chris wrote the lyrics and music to this one, and sang it!

Mentor
My song/words about the cruelties of people against people, just because they are mentally ill, physically deformed etc. It was inspired after watching the film “The Elephant Man“. The previous song was to end and we were to go straight into Mentor without stopping…I remembered!

Fool´s Gold
This words were written by Dunno, I wrote the music. I am not sure why the lyrics were included here or what is the relation to Dunno and the group? The music was written by me, there is a Middle 8 section which is influenced by Pete Townsend and the Rock Opera “Tommy” by using sus4 chords, minors and 7ths. I later used my own lyrics to the music in the song “Cleaning Up the Streets” (see Business Controlled section)

A Slow One
My song/music about the frustrations of writing music and not been able to produce the music that was in my head.

Ghost Train
A Song/music by Chris Robson (rhythm guitar). I do not know anything about this track, it sounds like a Combo Zombo track to me. A nice reggae rhythm, I am not sure if that was part of the original idea or if i changed it as I used to like a bit of reggae in my songs.

Escape from Reality
I composed this song/music after watching too many films in the afternoons on TV. The idea of the film taking you away from life and letting your imagination take you to far off places. some nice dancing from Pug and Pod. I was a bit of a statue but I do not want to get in the way!

Hell Exists
A song/music written by Dung. About leaving his one time girl friend Susan, while he was in York. It became well-known around Carlisle, with Nightmares in a Damaged Brain covering it, as well as Dung´s bands doing it. I know Dung was not happy with the backing vocals and in retrospect I agree. The chords were Dung´s but I picked a lot of it especially in the instrumental.

Blitzkrieg Bop
The Ramones’s song…no explanation needed

Real Mean time
This song/music was written by Chris, musically it is rock´n´roll, 12 bar blues style.

I Wanna Change the World
The video is a cover version of The Animals track “I wanna Change the World” a tongue-in-cheek version indicating there is no way we can change anything in the world

Smash It Up
The Damned´s “Smash It Up” always ended the set list of our gigs.

There is an audio recording of the gig at The Pagoda…

A photos showing Pod at The Pagodapod
Photographs and Posters

This is one big poster (I could not fit it on the scanner so I had to copy it in 2 half’s) it tells of the knock on effect of the London Live Aid gig in aid of the Ethiopian famine relief on July 23rd 1985. All over the country bands and venues did the same thing, playing music to raise money for food. We got little mention, but lots of bands raised money for the charityjoined poster

Set Lists
Pod had kept the sets lists of some of the jam sessions and concerts. I have matched what I could up to the recordings but not everything.set list

 

 

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