“Musical Chairs”

Musical Chairs is not a band. It is a term I use to describe the shifting of musicians/friends from one band to another in a short space of time. Often these formations lasted a few days, weeks or months, then the band broke up or the members changed, or the band remained but the members changed/remained. It was constantly in flux, social movement within a city, mostly a re-positioning of friends amongst friends. Bands within bands, bands came and went as relationships came and went. But mostly bands came and went and people came and went. It was like falling in/out of love in a short space of time. No wonder “youth burns itself out” how many divorces can you take in a short space of time?
dunno kate

Below is a short extract from diaries in wrote in 1982, it briefly states the date and the people and bands that I played with. The extract is from 28th March 1982 until 24th June 1984 (just before Nightmares in a Damaged Brain started to play). You can see the different people coming and going, the bands happening at the same time, the chance meeting on stage, the groups that were around at the time. All happening simultaneously.

The busiest period for this “Musical Chairs” was 1982, I was 16-17 years old.
1983 seems a little bit more stable as music and musicians…a steady relationship must have been going on!
1984 was chaos again.

Dung formed group with PH (28/5/82)
30/5/82 played with Lauty and Tony, Brains – formed an Oi band, we played at Weatheral, a Border Harriers gig, supporting “Tree” (Herries?)
7/6/82 Frenzy disbanded, as Dung left to play with Susan
A collaboration with Herries, collaborations with Nigel (10/6/82)
15/6/82 a young drummer comes from Weatheral, he’s from Londoner, name Alexie – he left for Newcastle in 8/7/82, we played together a few times
Roso playing with Herries, me and Potts

Roso – bass
Lauty – vocals
Dung – drums
Trotsky – guitar

Band meeting (Dung, Roso, Lauty), we noticed there were no black musician or girls in punk bands (locally or nationally). We decided to ask Nancy to come and join us, our new group was to be called “Abuse” (26/6/82)
Abuse, practised in Crofton Hall (27/5/82)

30.6.82 A gig was cancelled in Trinity School with me, Jonsey, Herries and Rosso
17.7.82 Nancy and Julie came to an Abuse practice
2.8.82 Abuse had a practice at Weatheral
7.8.82 CND meeting in Carlisle town centre, 2 punk groups were to play live, police “pulled the leads” stopped the gig. Later, I missed bus to see “The Violators” in Annan
Thike and I practice at St. Peters Church hall.
Regal Zone – Scog (26.8.82) and “The G-men” played at Carlisle’s Great Fair on the open stage, I got up and I sang The Clash’s “Stay Free” on stage
Talked music with Blues guitarist Roy.
Roso wants the music faster in Abuse

9.10.82 I was asked to join “Societies Victims” (Kevin, Martin Hewitt, Scog – See Societies Victims page)
10.10.82 Abuse played St. Aiden’s Church hall
11.10.82 I joined Societies Victims, and I left Roso’s band Abuse by doing so.

28.10.82 A Porcelain Doll‘s gig St Peters church hall/Lowry Hill, Jonsey’s amp quit out, so me, Dung and Mansol entertained the crowd!
31.10.82 Started arguing with Societies Victims, different musical wave length, arguments over: they want hard core punk, I want a variation.
10.11.82 I played at The Wheel, (Business Controlled)
12.11.82 Morley Street church hall, Dentonholm, a Societies Victims gig.
26.11.82 We (?) tried to support Poisoned Girls,
3.12.82 Societies Victims broke up, Scog left, he didn’t like the material.
17.12.82 another gig at Morley St Church Hall with Societies Victims, we had no drummer, but Scog played in the end
21.12.82 “Susan, Me and Kate‘s” 1st practice at Crofton

Kate, Susan and Me
Another collaboration involved two women I barely knew at the time. I was introduced to Kate and Susan via Roso, they both went to Morton School at the time. I was looking to start a band with women playing, and Roso introduced me.

Trots – guitar/vocals
Kate – bass
Susan – drums

This band perhaps did not have a name? I can not remember, it was a 3 piece that never performed anywhere, but which quickly transformed itself into other things. I have a cassette recording I will have to hunt out where there is a rehearsal, so I can get the titles of the songs. I remember doing my song “War Child” using a phaser in the chorus. There was also a song called “Youth Explosion”.

kate ph me(from L-R: me, Ph, Kate)
Kate was learning bass using Roso’s small bass guitar, she had never played in a band before, and I think it is fair to say it took a while for a bass line to be remembered, but she tried and it is more than what most do.

Susan was a good all round performer, she had an excellent voice, played guitar and she played drums using a style that was very different to what I was used to. She used the toms and bass side drum a lot, not much on the high hat or cymbals, which was refreshing. She met Dung and started playing music with him that led into “Nightmares in a Damaged Brain”. Susan and I also played as an acoustic duo doing cover songs (Clash, Beatles etc.) in a wine bar down Devonshire Street which was frequented by the rugby players…great nights, and we got paid!

Kate eventually gave the bass up, and met Johnny (bass player in the Nightmares/Havana Affair) but Susan went on to be in other bands and finally a successful solo career in London, where she tours and records. It is nice to think she started her career in my living room…all the best Sue.

11.1.83 still practising at Lowry Hill with Porcelain Dolls
3.2.83 recorded The Strangler’s “Sometimes” with the Porcelain Dolls (Simon, Jonsey, me)
Social Scum (band), trashed “Societies Victims” equipment. 5.2.83 (I had left by then)
Business Controlled, played The Wheel, (acoustic guitar and harmonica), played “Genocide”
Started to play in a band with Dung and Susan
A gig at Carrow House with Dung and Susan – it was ok, played to “men in suites”.

22.1.84 I went to see The Toy Dolls play, there was trouble with D.O.S and the bouncers, D.O.S. played only 2.5 songs only.
6.2.84 Business Controlled played The Wheel
20.2.84 I got offered to play the wine bar, on Devonshire Street. I asked Susan to sing.
24.2.84 Business Controlled played at The Wheel
26.8.84 I played the wine bar with Susan
1.3.84 Susan/Dung and I played The Wheel
Susan and I played at the wine bar
7.3.84 Business controlled played The Wheel
11.3.84 Susan and I played the wine bar
14.3.84 Business Controlled played The Wheel
25.3.84 Business Controlled got 5 songs recorded in Currock. Then we played the wine bar
30.3.84 The wine bar gigs ended, and I left Sue and Dung’s band
8.4.84 I went to see Peter and the Test Tube Babies in Newcastle with PH
16.4.84 I asked Pod to join me and Susan to form a band, Susan asked me to form a new band together months ago
17.4.84 The practice didn’t happen, Susan didn’t turn up with new drummer (Spike)? Pod turned up alone
24.4.84 I started playing with Pod and Nigel.
2.5.84 Business Controlled playing solo at The Wheel
3.5.84 I went to see Crass at Cleator Moor with PH
11.5.84 I started playing with PH, and Duncan Todhunter (Band’s name was Autonomy, then changed to The Afterbirths)
6.6.84 my 1st practice with Duncan and PH (The Afterbirths)
24.6.84 Business Controlled/me played “Mick’s 1” solo


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