Page last updated on 17th January 2010
Our first instruments were of course tennis racquets. Doesn't everyone start by miming
on tennis racquets before graduating to the real thing? I'm not sure, but I think mine
was a 4-string bass racquet with gold-plated custom bridge and machine heads.
It had a great sound, especially once I'd hooked it up via some string to a 10 Kilowatt
cornflake box stack. Best of all, I never played any bum notes in those days.Pete tells
me that he had a Donnay lefthanded 'Borg' 6 string played into a special 'K' Combo...
with the top flaps open.
Our best guess for the day that the band started is August 8th 1979, which was Pete's 16th
Birthday. His Birthday present was a left handed Kay Classical guitar, identical to Iain's
right-handed version and thus a duo was formed. But what is a band without bass? No problem,
a neighbour allowed us to borrow his Gibson SG and this enabled Chris to play root notes
(occasionally the right ones) on the lower four strings. Our tennis racquets were discarded
and learning how to play commenced. First up, the ubiquitous favourite of every "Learn to
play guitar" book: House of the rising sun.
Early rehearsals took place at either Iain's or Pete's house. The neighbours must have
hated us. Still at least we didn't have a drummer. Though we did have one jamming session
with a friend who was a drummer. His name was Peter Smith and he played in a band called
Room 101. Good name for a band I thought. Now while I am on the subject of band names,
the reader may wish to learn why we are now on our third name. For a brief explanation,
. In these early days all our performances
were at our own houses and we could not only count the audience on one hand, but also name
them. There would be many such shows as we began to hone our skills in preparation for
...where we couldn't name each member of the audience finally arrived. It was at
Quainton Hall School in Harrow and there was a frenzied crowd of 40ish. We were on
our way at last. (They weren't frenzied by the way - I made that bit up). I think we
played a fairly short set of original songs including the legendary harmonic-based
'Encounters' and that all time classic (not) 'Tune with no name'; so called because we
lacked imagination. Frankly it didn't deserve a name and was best forgotton. The most
memorable moment of the gig came at the start of the second half, when one of us made
the basic error of forgetting to power up Pete's amplifier. There are those that would
argue that this was the second best way to play Tune with no name. The best way being
to power down all of our amplifiers. Still, a valuable lesson learned and a mistake not