The G-Men

Nic Scott – drums
Steve Harkins – guitar / vocals
Micky Skinner – bass / vocals

I have found very little info on-line about this Carlisle band. It is a pity, as I really liked them and their music. They were playing around Carlisle about 1983 or 84 if I remember correctly, it was before Nightmares or Havana Affair anyways. I used to go to a few of their rehearsals near to St. Nicholas Bridge on a Saturday afternoon and marvel at the guitar skills of the guitarist.

At the time I was really into The Clash, The Jam and The Who and The G-Men used to do covers of those bands. I mean not just covers (like I used to do, a loose interpretation of the song) but they sounded like the records, note for note, riff for riff. I used to study the guitarist’s chords and instrumentals, he used chord inversions that I never knew about and I used to go home and look them up in my chord books. It was a Master class. I do not mind admitting it, I was in awe of his musicianship, I wanted to be as good as him! Anyone who could mimic Townsend’s guitar style was ok by me! Anyone who had a guitar sound like Weller’s was sounding good to me.

I made a fool of myself one night at Micks 1, blind drunk I went back stage and told him how I admired his playing and thought he was a great guitarist. He kindly gave me a talking too, but still I think he was what I had said. Why not give praise when praise is due? A local roll-model for a young lad learning to play guitar, a roll-model not taken from the national newspapers, TV or magazines but someone the boy can have a chat with face-to-face, and discus what he was interested in.

A lot of the bands in Carlisle passed me by, but I tried to go and see The G-Men when they played. They played Carlisle’s Great Fair Stage late afternoon on a Saturday. For those who are not from Carlisle, this was when the city center became a medieval market for a week, where stalls and events reconstructed the historical markets of Carlisle’s history.
I am not sure how punk groups played a part in a medieval market? But one saturday afternoon about 5pm The G-Men played along with a few other bands. I requested The Clash’s song “Stay Free” which I knew they did a really good copy of, they agreed only if I get up and sing it! Up I jumped on stage and warbled my way through Mick Jones’s lyrics. It probably sounded bloody awful, but for me it was heaven, singing one of my favorite songs with a band I admired, and singing to Carlisle, not bad for a youngster.

I am not sure what happened to them, at one rehearsal I knew there was problems with the bass player, as he would not play! I am not sure how they split up either… maybe Nick Scott could give a write-up one day?

Many thanks to Nick for sending me this photo, if you look behind the Marshal amp at the back of the stage you will see a young lad, sitting down next to the drummer, who was in awe of the guitarist, sitting behind the scenes admiring the music of the G-Men!

scog gmen

some additional info came via FB:
David Carruthers
Yes the g men .they used the same hall we used to rehearse micky skinner and steve harkins

Kevin Tilbury
Dave, do you remember where the hall was?

David Carruthers
Just by St Nicholas Bridge

Milbourne Arms FootballClub
Is that Ste and Skinner?

Kevin Tilbury
Is Ste the guitarist? Skinner the bassist?

Milbourne Arms FootballClub
Yeah I’m seeing Ste at 3pm I will show him the pic.
Think they were called the G-men

David Carruthers
Yes the g men .they used the same hall we used to rehearse micky skinner and steve harkins

Jamie Scott
That gig was at st aidens chuch hall 83 84 and scog on the drums

Milbourne Arms FootballClub
All details correct. Steve now plays in the “Ogres Of Go Go” with John Smoz Moses

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