In 1976 singer Robert Lloyd, with guitarist/drummer brothers Alan and Paul Apperley formed after an advert was placed by the Apperley brothers in the Birmingham Evening Mail. Unsuccessful applicants included Nikki Sudden and Frank Skinner. Lloyd also brought his friend and colleague from the band Church of England, Graham Blunt, into the band. They were Birmingham’s first punk group, and played their first gig on 12 March 1977 at a private party which ended in a police raid. At their first gig at a recognized venue (Rebecca’s in Birmingham) later that month they were bottled off stage after premiering their new song, “Birmingham’s a Shithole”.
The band were part of The Clash’s ‘White Riot Tour’ (playing on the bill of four shows), supported Buzzcocks, played with The Slits, The Fall, The Damned and many others. Paul Apperley left the band in February 1978, to be replaced briefly by Stephanie (of Manchester band Manicured Noise) and then Adrian Moran. Joe Crow also joined the band around this time. They recorded two sessions for the John Peel radio show in 1978 and 1979. The band acquired legendary status in the UK, partly because no records were released until the band had split up, and then, only one posthumous single (“Motions”/”Things”) on Rough Trade, which the band agreed to on the condition that Rough Trade record Lloyd’s new band The Nightingales. The band reformed for a few gigs in 2001, but only briefly. In November 2004 (following a semi-official retrospective, The Sound of Tomorrow on Rush Release) a retrospective compilation Amateur Wankers was released by New York City label Acute Records which, twenty five years after the group’s demise, garnered praise all over, from webzines to Rolling Stone. The interest was such that a Live in 1978 CD was also released on British label Caroline True in 2005. Their seven-second opus “I’ve Got V.D.” remained a favourite with John Peel.
“Motions” (1979) Rough Trade/Vindaloo
Peel Session EP (2001) Strange Fruit
The Prefects are Amateur Wankers (2004) Acute
Live 1978 – The Co-op Suite Birmingham (2006) Caroline True
John Peel Radio 1 sessions
Things In General
The Bristol Road Leads to Dachau
Going Through the Motions
David Hirst has sent this great photo into the archive:
Taken at Eric’s Club in Liverpool supporting The Fall. I think it was taken sometime winter 1977/78. I was at Teacher Training College at the time and had cadged a lift up to Liverpool with them to see a mate. I didn’t go to the gig. The photo was taken by a guy called Brendan. Photo from left to right Paul Apperley, Robert Lloyd & Joe Crow.