Words: Kevin Roberts.
Photos: Phil Medgett.
Contributors: the wop and chris baby fuller.
Consultant: Andrew Macpherson
Do you put down the NME every week and think, Christ, I could do better than that. Here's your chance.
South Kent Sound is crying
out for a lot of things, but top of the list are contributors to help
fill these columns and make next months issue bigger, brighter and better.
If you belong to any local band we'd be really pleased to hear from you so that we can put together a fully comprehensive local gig guide. If it happens we want to know.
The September issue will also
include a classified ads section, so if you've got anything to sell, or
want to buy ring the number below SOUTH KENT SOUND IS AT:
THE BAND is called Girlschool, the album is called Demolition and the girls are out to smash any remaining male preconceptions about the validity of hard rock in female hands
The fact that Demolition has shot straight into the local a1bum charts is proof that Girlschool have already gone a long way towards overcoming the cynicism which has dogged all-girl outfits in the past.
Sounds gave the album a five star rating and their scribe- in the time honoured tradition of the music press - referred to it as "clean but a little grubby, intelligent but a bit daft all the same," continuing, "It'll deliver a smart kick to the aching balls of HM poseurs everywhere
re- "Girlschool was born in '77 when vocalist/guitarist Kim McAuliffe and bassist Enid Williams formed a band called Painted Lady.
Personnel changes followed and Kelly Johnson (guitar) and drummer Denise Dufort joined in March 19.78 to complete . the present line-up.
Their first single "Take it all Away" was released on an independant label and sold over 8,000 copies.
In December they signed to Bronze and have toured with label mates Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath.
Now Folkestone has a chnce to find out about life at Girlschool.
Rox into a New Age
THE LEAS CLIFF HALL, a Shepway Council owned oasis in East Kent's rock "n" roll wasteland is coming back to life.
There was a time when almost every major rock artist had played the Leas and superbands Yes And Deep Purple were among the visitors.
Yet since the tail end of the sixties the venue has slid into almost total obscurity, with major artists becoming reluctant to travel to the South Coast outpost.
The picture was black and looking steadily grimmer until one Andrew MacPherson came into the picture. He began presenting local rock nights at the Leas, giving the bands a prestige venue and the fans somewhere to go on a Saturday night.
Since those early days MacPherson has taken over control of all rock operations at the Leas. His policy of booking major acts with local support has proved a perfect compromise between his first interest - exposure for local bands - and the need to satisfy a potentially huge rock market in the area.
Andrew's involvement in the East Kent rock scene began when he took over as manager of Expedition. When they folded he took members Robert Osborne and John Willis under his wing. His ability to organise has won him a great deal of respect from the people he deals with and a very full diary.
Having helped secure a publishing deal for Osborne and Willis he now spends a lot of time in London, returning every now and then to answer the calls that have been piling up during his absence. The success of his various organisations led to the setting up of MacPherson Associates, an artiste and management company wh1ch, to quote the initial press release, ” will continue to concentrate on the Leas Cliff hall a and its re-establishment as a major rock venue."
Ask MacPherson exactly what sort of music he likes and he takes the sort of side step, which would shame most politicians. The best you can hope for is "1 like good songs: The diverse nature of the bands he has booked for the Leas gives no more clues to his personal likes and dislikes-.
Saxon and Samson provided the best of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, The Bodysnatchers were at the venue weeks before charting with their Rock Steady single and Creation Rebel were a surprising success with their brand of "psychedelic dub".
In addition established faves The Enid paid their annual visit and Rennaissance reminded everybody of life in the fourth form. The concept of presenting a complete cross section of music was seen in action when Canterbury folkies Fiddler's Dram played to an almost empty house.
The MacPherson philosophy is simple and direct. "I believe in value for money and that's what I am trying to give at the Leas.” he said. "1 try to fix up a name band with a local support with ticket prices kept to a minimum. The bars are open and the Leas is a good place to spend a Saturday night. In the process I'm trying to give local artists a leg up by providing them with a large scale gig."
So far everything has worked according to plan. Several of the gigs have been 1,200 capacity sellouts and the future looks bright.
MacPherson's efforts are paying off. We must just hope that council penny pinching doesn’t put them at an end.
Phil Jon John Ian
THE first time I ever saw Denigh in action, they were headlining a local rock night at the Leas. That was some six months ago, at a time when even listening to - let alone liking- He ay, Heavy Metal was a sure fire way of loosing credibility.
On the night they pulled out every trick in the HM manual, which delighted most of the audience but left me a little cola. I wrote them off as clinched and unimaginative and really didn't give them a second thought.
After the release of their debut single I went along to Dover town hall to see the band for a second time. Having spoken to bassist Jon Everett in the interim I made an effort- to keep an open mind.
The atmosphere at that gig was wrecked by the arrival of the Kent Constabulary who found it necessary to send in a couple of men and turn all the lights up to arrest a couple of guys who had to much .to drink and managed to break a few glasses.
Having made two attempts to get to know Denigh and failing on both occasions I visited them at rehearsals in a tiny hall at Hougham, where the locals seem incredibly tolerant of the barrage of decibels which Denigh send through the air every Wednesday night. Inside the hall Jon, Phil Allchin (lead) , Ian Devlin (guitars and keyboards) and drummer John Regan were going through their paces, work ing- on a new number. The song, Devil's Disciple' is dedicated to a bunch of bikers at The Royal Norfolk in Sandgate where Denigh have built up a strong hard core following.
Devil's Disciple is an indication of how far Denigh have progressed in those six months. Starting with a basic, no nonsense, barrage of guitar and bass it breaks into a superb middle section which gives Ian the chance to come owt with some floating keyboard runs.
The song seemed to be causing a few problems. The band agreed that it is about the most complex, involved number they have ever attempted.
One time change in particular takes a lot of time to perfect and musical main man Phil .Allchin runs through the section time and time again until drummer John has got it off pat. Off stage, Denigh are as affable a bunch of blokes as you are ever likely to meet - a million miles away from the hell for leather RH image.
The latest batch of self-penned songs is extra evidence that the bands are breaking away from the RH stereotype.
Although it has been fashionable to knock bands, which draw on the likes - of Van Halen and UFO, Denigh are far from ashamed of their roots. They're loud and proud and their ever Increasing following throughout Kent is testament to the fact that they do what they do very well.
All the members of Denigh had played in various local MOR bands before they came together. They first really took off at Dover's Prince Regent pub, where the tiny poolroom shook to its foundations as the band drove through their set.
Since then they've spread their wings and now gig regularly in the Medway towns and North Kent. They have also had some good press coverage from Neil Hooper of Musicians- Only which has helped to put the name Denigh around a bit, and every little helps especially when it comes to breaking in to the London
pub circuit which should be the band s next move.
The single, No Way/ Running was recorded at Oakwood studios in Herne Bay with resident engineer Graeme Quinton-Jones. No Way kicks off with a squeal of feedback and from there on in it's classic Denigh. Real powerhouse stuff.
Macpherson associates (artiste and management services)
Cloud House. Downs Road. Studdal . Dover. Kent Tel: 03045-2960. Telex: 966253 Wiltex G
wish south kent sound every success
Since 1975 we have actively supported rock in the Kent area and have had the pleasure of presenting to you a variety of artistes including, GILLAN,WILKO JOHNSON, GINGER BAKER,ATOMIC ROOSTER,THE FALLM GIRL,CREATION REBEL,SAXON,THE BODYSNATCHERS,THE ENID , THE VIBRATORS,KNOX,FIDDLER'S DRAM, RENNAISSANCE HAWKWIND, TOM ROBINSON'S SECTOR 27 GIRLSCHOOL,AND ELVIS COSTELLO.
We have also been able to provide opportunities for over 30 Kent bands and numerous musicians. We welcome SOUTH KENT SOUND's involvement in local music and look forward to your continued support in our collective efforts to keep music LIVE.
and speaks to Kevin Roberts
WITH rock n' roll museum piece Paul Jones and Co hanging around the nether regions of the charts, Birmingham City back in the first division and Maggie's bunch of Hooray Henries helping to make Monday mornings an even worse prospect than usual,1980 is shaping up as the year of the (ever so mini) blues revival. Okay, so it never went away.
Perhaps the phenomenon could be given a series of instantly recognisable initials to give it some credibility. How about LNWOBB, the latest new wave of British blues-not very stylish, but perhaps it'll start a cult.
Okay, so that's totally over the top. What really need& to be said" is that blues is back in a big way in Canterbury, where an ?outfit called. the City Blues Band play a Thursday night residency at chic wine bar and late night watering hole Alberry's
The City Blues Band have the rather dubious distinction of having had their first single recorded on April Fool's day and then released on a Friday the 13th.Omen's aside, it is a good, solid debut disc which has sold half of its first pressing of 1,000 copies -300 of them in 10 days. That alone must have made it number one in the Cathedral city for at least a fortnight.
They recently supported Hawkwind at
Folkestone where they delighted the sell-out 1,200 crowd with a set of
favourites they have made their own, and original material which already
sounds like standards. That night they got one of the best receptions
ever given to a support act at the Leas, but the following Thursday it
was back to the bread and butter business of playing the dimly lit tunnel
which passes as a cellar at Alberry's. They played 20 numbers, taking
a break half way through to nip over the road for a spot of R and R and
to explain the origins of the band.
Robert Osborne and John
I first heard that tape in a battered Transit van en route for an interview with Robert Osborne and John Willis and their manager Andrew MacPherson. It contained a handful of tracks recorded at Europa studios well over six months ago.
The week after that first interview I saw Bert and John in action, playing a one-off as special guests at the Leas. The band was made up of friends and various associates who hadn't really had much chance to rehearse. The set wasn't perfect but the songs stood out as being more than just a little bit special. The reception they got that night was, at best, reserved. The audience was there to see the Bodysnatchers jump on the Two Tone bandwagon and Osborne/Willis' set was greeted with a little light applause by some and totally ignored by the rest. After all, it's not 'hip' top_ attention is it? They are only the support band after all.
They deserved so much more. All the songs on my tape were given an airing, New Age, Only Friends, West End Lovers, White Niggers etc etc. Each song is a potential single. A combination of winning melody and pacey lightweight rock that's deceptively aggressive without ever being threatening.
ROBERT OSBORNE AND JOHN WILLIS. THE STORY SO FAR............
In the eight years they have been together, the pair have fronted two bands, Expedition and the ill fated Dead Dogs. Dogs split last year, although a number of the musicians have since worked with Bert and John both live and in the studio. Since that Leas gig they've kept something of a low profile, preferring to bolster their commercial chances rather than performing at local venues, Much of the time has been spent in studios beneath Waterloo Station, laying down new tracks with a variety of established musicians including bassists Pat Collier, Steve Barnacle and drummer Tim Wa1ms1ey.
But so far so bad. The Osborne/ Willis story is much the same as that of many other talented local musician Breaking out of the South East is certainly hard to do. Back in January they signed a publishing deal with Albion, the company which handles Joe Jackson and the Stranglers, among others. Although there has been talk of recording deals, so far nothing has materialised - the sharp suited A and R men have financial hands tied during a time when the record biz, as a whole, is going through a serious recession (not entirely due to the disappearance of the well loved national institution TOTP from our screens) and most companies are hesitant aren’t signing new bands, especially when they don't fit in to some easily labeled, currently credible package.
Once again there's talk of interest from a major label- but no money on the table.
Manager Andrew MacPherson hasn't lost faith in their ability to make the break.
He's hawked tapes all round London, Radio Medway DJ Mike Brill has picked up some of the songs but while the people of Rochester and Snodland might be getting the benefit of his foresight, that can be little consolation after all the waiting, and dashed hopes of the past year or so.
While all this might sound like sour grapes from an Osborne/Willis fan well disillusioned by the mysterious workings of the commercial side of rock, there's another side of the story, which is worth considering. Although, according to MacPherson they are both anxious to get a permanent band together and get out on the road, it must be assumed they made the decision to stay in the studio while bands who have maintained constant public contact through giging have leaped over and ahead of them in the commercial stakes. When I last spoke to them they both said that they are happiest in front of an audience.
They've taken the more difficult of the two steps to the turntable and when they finally find a company smart enough to sign them they are going to have another problem - winning acceptance as a live unit. To .be fair they have _done their share of sleep1ng in the backs of vans and playing London pubs for a few pennies a night, but at least they were still playing.
If there's any justice at all in Conservative Britain Circa 1980, they will get their contract. Their singles will chart and vans will be a thing of the past. They have chosen a difficult path, but the end of the road should be in sight pretty soon.
MEET AN ORIGINAL
Following the success of his first single Ska Wars, Arthur Kay has struck back with a killer follow up in the shape of 'a double A sided disc 'Play my record /Sooty is a Rudie on RED ADMIRAL records.
The disc was released by the Folkestone based label on May 1st with national distribution being handled by Pinnacle, Rough Trade, Virgin_, Boneparte and Small Wonder.
Although the Ska sound has become a little passé just recently,
Arthur Kay is not just another hopeful, jumping on the Two Tone bandwagon. He is described as a 31year-old South London mod with the somewhat dubious musical pedigree of having a great grandfather who worked the music halls as Harry Gratty's Musical Gratos.
His musical career started with skiffle groups, moving to mod/soul reggae bands playing the London circuit. He has recorded sessions with many well-known artists, among them Rico Rodrigues one of Prince Buster's sidemen.
There are over 100 songs in the Kay catalogue and although the Originals aren't a permanent backing unit, he hopes to get a band out on the road soon. Arthur and the Originals - are at the Leas supporting the Bodysnatchers on August'30th.
Original Pic: Hattie Miles.
Pictured right are three fifths of Tarny Mynyrs a Dover band formed from the remnants of Sxat and Bastile. The present line-up comprises
Andy O'Brien (bass /vocals)
Niel Martin (drums), Chris Hogg _lead)
Tony Coleman (vocals)
Dave Pudney (Guitar).
The Bodysnatchers are back at the leas on 30 August for their second visit to Folkestone in six months. Now signed to the Two Tone label they enjoyed chart success with their first single Do Rock steady, and their latest offering is also selling well. They will be supported by Arthur Kay.
MODERN MEN MoVE ON
WHEN OVER 200 people brave a rainy Folkestone night to wedge themselves through the doors of a wine bar,you can bet that they're not just there for the house plonk.
With glasses of rose at well over half a quid a throw there has to be another reason. That reason is the Pulsators, who recently packed out the Pullman wine bar on a Sunday evening - the first time they had ever played the venue. The crowd turned up to see and hear one of the least pretentious and best bands around this part of the world at present.
The Pulsaters are in demand. They finish a superb set with their current single, Modern,Man, and encore with The Police’s So Lonely before becoming the target for a dozen or so autograph hunters. The kids want to preserve the moment for posterity. They know they are going to hear a lot more from this band.
When they supported Tom Robinson and Sector 27 at the Leas recently, they were a three piece. Now they've found a keyboard player, Bill Flannery, to add an extra dimension to their punchy, immediate pop songs.
The nucleus of The Pulsaters is formed by John Martin and Lenny Harris, long time friends who started playing in various bands around Maidstone. When John moved down to New Romney, Lenny joined him and the Pulsaters were born.
Radio One DJ Mike Reed played Pulsaters tapes on his evening rock show but despite that considerable exposure there was no sign of a record deal. The single, John's 'Modern Man' c/w Cos were Squatters was brought out on the independent Street Beat label but although it has sold well locally there is no distribution deal.
The band are not exactly ecstatic about the production on Modern Nan. "Our publisher' put up
the money for the studio and took over the production. He listened to the bass and decided that it was a disco record," John explained.The producer got it all wrong. Modern Man is pure pop - all hooks and no hiccups.
To try and label the Pulsaters is a waste of time, as well as being a bit of a slap in the face for the band. Looking for one particular influence is just as futile- there are just so many, the sound is so diverse that it's impossible to tie them down. They call it Life Music, who am I to disagree.
Problems with their management have been overcome, with John taking over the business side of the band. Now they're looking to the future and the addition of Bill's keyboards should give them the scope to explore different musical avenues. One of them could be psychedelic pop, a phrase that John tosses around a lot. Exactly what that means I can't say but The Pulsaters have enough talent to turn their hands to just about anything.
dates dates dates dates
6th: Springfield Hotel, Folkestone.
7th: The Crypt, Hastings.
9th: Moat Park, Maidstone.
10th: Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone.
15th: The Neptune, Dymchurch.
A couple of years ago the members of Stag decided to call it a day. They were going nowhere in particular and two Thanet-based members departed leaving the rest to lick their wounds and look to an uncertain future.
Now the Aylesham-based band is back with a new line-up, new material and a new determination to succeed.
Before the split they appeared to be on the verge of something big. They were about to put a demo tape together and gigs at the Leas were well supported and got good reviews in the local press.
Now bassist Kevin Wood and vocalist Gary Owen have joined the original nucleus of George Garrity, Terry Jones and Alan Campbell and Stag are back on the road.
Their attitude to the music and chances of stardom is refreshing and totally honest. They've started fitting their own material into the set but it takes its place alongside rock standards and covers of Lizzy and Whitesnake numbers. That may sound a little unambitious for a band which is hoping to re-establish its following, but Stag know exactly what they are doing.
They play to entertain, their gigs include a lot of men's clubs, that means catering for a wide variety of tastes. George Garrity explained the Stag master plan: “There are a lot of kids who can't afford to keep going up to London to watch bands, and in a way we are making up for that by playing other people s material. We really enjoy playing the clubs so our choice of songs is commercial and reflects the taste of the people who com_ to see us, they really enjoy it. Of course we are writing our own songs and they will become part of the set but it will be a gradual thing, we're in no real hurry."
Stag are amazingly self sufficient and well organised. They've got their own P.A., lights end transport, and their club dates finance the band.
Although, on stage, they are a five piece there is a sixth man who is essential. He looks after the technical side of the operation and his faith in the band is such that he has incorporated his disco to provide a complete evening's entertainment courtesy of Stag. They appear at the New Club, Aylesham (Snowdown Welfare Club) on 9 August.
Ashford rockers Halo Feud are back on the road. The band have been quiet over the past months because lead guitarist Paddy Bingham left to go to college, now that he has dropped out they are playing again despite a ban in a number of halls.
The Ashford based three piece are often wrongly labeled a heavy metal outfit because of their large
Following among bikers. But their distinctive brand of rock appeals to a wide audience and they rely
mainly on their own material with a smattering of 'classics' like Skynard’s Freebird.
In its four year history the band has changed a lot and at one time they had six members, including two drummers and a sax player. Now they are back with their original line-up with Mark Wade on bass, Mick Betts (drums) and Paddy (vocals) The band recently finished recording their second tape at Europa Sound Studios in Folkestone but lack of money has stopped them putting out a single.
They have topped the bill at Canterbury College of Technology and played many venues in and around Ashford. Their next gig is on 9 August at Appledore village hall.
Rhythm and Blues
band The Disappointers don't live up to their name.
Their particular blend of rock and the blues goes down well at Christ Church College in Canterbury where they have played regularly since they were formed two years ago.
They go down so well that they have been given top billing at a concert at the Marlowe Theatre on Sunday August 17 at 7.pm. The band narrowly missed appearing on an LP of Canterbury groups recently. But, although they have already had audiences of 600, they see the Marlowe performance as a big break. Three other- bands will appear with them.
Bass player with the band is Neil Brunton, also of the City Blues Band. The others who make up the four piece band are Tony Normal(vocals and harmonica_ Andy Wall(drums) and lead guitarist Nigel Terry.
ADMIRAL RECORDS LLP Registered Office: The Cedars, Elvington Lane, Hawkinge, Folkestone,
Kent. CT18 7AD