Local Dj in the 80s at venues like The Golden Eagle and The Tincan.
Local Dj in the 80s at venues like The Golden Eagle and The Tincan.
Formed in 1979, 021’s original line up included the 16 year old Tony Simpson and fifteen year olds Simon Palmer, Ian Kemp, Mark Thomas and the even younger 14 year old Punk Ian Richards. Hailing from Shirley and Olton the band played first gigs at the nearby Langley School, with an eclectic set that matched their diverse musical interests. Any concert where you can hear Stephan Wolfs Born To Be Wild followed by the Clash’s, White Riot, with an encore of Iggy Pop’s Wanna Be Your Dog showed the mood of the time and the cross from prog rock to Punk Rock that was taking place across Birmingham.
Spurred on by the rivalry with local Band the Undertakers, the line up and look changed just after their first vinyl offering “I Don’t Wanna Be A Robot”, on the Mell Square Music EP, in 1980. The track is perhaps the worst produced track of all time, but provides a real nod to DIY punk and genuine belief in the art of the garage band. It was featured along with The Accused and Cracked actors on a John Peel BBC 1 special at the end of 1979.
The band went through a major shift in focus and line up during 1980, under the influence of Simpson and Martin Frain (The Chomsky Allstars) their lyricist and manager, there was a desire to pen and deliver ala Clash / Jam / Stiff Little Fingers, three minute pieces of power and pace. During this period the band gigged regularly in Birmingham and Solihull, with a residency at the Golden Lion Solihull, and supporting concerts at the Golden Eagle, Barrel Organ, and Kit Kat club amongst others.
Their fan base began to spread, culminating in a graffiti campaign that came to regional prominence via the Birmingham media Evening Mail, with 021 being sprayed on walls and bus’s at the time.
In 1981 the band recorded three studio sessions after which the acetate of What Ever Happened To You was released, they additionally recorded a session, borrowing the Undertakers base player Michael Hogan and recording the definitive version of Haven and Hell.
By Mid 1981, the band had finally reached its zenith with a line up of Simpson / Frain, (Viv) Elmore, and (Mike) Hancox, and (John) Croak joining from a local Birmingham based Ska Band. The band had found its own sound and was now firmly established across the Midlands Alternative music landscape, they played on the same bill as The Beat, Blurt, the Au Pairs, UB40, the Denizens as well as taking part in the famous Lark in the Park music festival at Cannon Hill Park. The band additionally spread its wings playing in London, Manchester, and Liverpool and on the South Coast.
In 1982 they released the power pop single, The Pop Song on UK pop Records supporting this with a tour across the UK that culminated with a Mary Wilson / 021 / Mod All-dayer in Essex. Thier fan base at this time also turned towards the power pop mods that had stated to surface in Birmingham, with the Mood Elevators, 021 forged a new Birmingham sound and a small but passionate following, culminating in a residency at the Barrel Organ that was ultimately terminated due to crowd disturbances.
The Pop Song meanwhile became a crowd favourite and the small press run was to sell out instantly, the band were now writing thier best work and regularly gigging in London with memorable performance at La Beat Route Club and The Cavern in Liverpool.
By 1982 Elmore was the creative engine of the band, writing ever more bitter and challenging songs, for a period the band were due to sign as stable mates with Duran Duran, and were one of the first psychedelic based bands of their era.
As The Pop Song gained Radio 1 Airplay, the band like so many, failed to deliver a follow up and slid into apathy, and disarray, leaving a memory of what might have been, 021 really were the band that never was.
021 mainstay Tony Simpson has sent some great pictures of the famed punk/power pop band. Thanks to Tony for the material. Here is a pic of 021 about to take the stage , posing on the (legendry) stairs of the Golden Eagle, all bands had to lugg gear up theses steep stairs, where the venue room was, not so bad….it was at the end of the night bringing it all down that was the real killer…anyway, great venue.
The others pics are from the other legendary venue, The Cedar Club.
Came across this great track and video on You Tube, posted by TheNeoDog of the song Birmingham Mods
The Androids were an exuberant bunch of teenagers from Birmingham inspired by the punky-ska sound and spikey political awareness of the Two Tone movement that swept the West Midlands between 1979-1980. They played a number of shows at venues such as the Golden Eagle in Hurst Street, Digbeth Civic Hall and Aston University where they played on a bill which included Duran Duran and the Bodysnatchers. The band also provided support for fellow Brummies The Beat. The Androids made two demo tapes; the first at the Dangerous Girls studio in Moseley and then at MCR Studios in the city from which these tracks were taken. The band were Nick Alatti (vocals), Nick Hart (bass), Michael Hancox (rhythm guitar), Ray Belcher (lead guitar) and John Grourke (drums). Paul Haynes, now known as Mantraman, was a former vocalist.
You can visit their Last FM page here: http://www.last.fm/music/The%2520Androidz/The%2520Androidz?ac=androidz
These posters were sent on of the Androids playing Rock Against Racism gigs in Birmingham
Nightingales are a British punk/alternative rock band formed in 1979 in Birmingham, England. The original members were Robert Lloyd on vocals, Joe Crow on guitar, Eamonn Duffy on bass and Paul Apperley on drums, all formerly of The Prefects. The band, before splitting up, played more sessions on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show than any other band excluding The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit.
The debut single, “Idiot Strength” was released in 1981 on Rough Trade Records, following which Crow and Duffy were replaced by Andy Lloyd and Nick Beales on guitars and Steve Hawkins on bass.
The band signed to Cherry Red Records and released three more singles before debut album “Pigs On Purpose” (Produced by Richard Strange) was issued in late 1982. John Nester replaced Hawkins on bass before next release, the “Urban Ospreys” single.
Pete Byrchmore replaced Beales (who went on to form Pig Bros) in time for second album, “Hysterics” (1983), Nester then departed to be replaced by Howard Jenner. The new line-up issued two singles in 1985. Further changes then ensued with Andy Lloyd and Paul Apperley leaving, to be replaced by Maria Smith and Ron Collins.
The group continued to release singles, record Peel sessions and tour northern Europe but after the third album, “In The Good Old Country Way”, the band split.
After the split, Maria and Pete formed The Capitols, later known as The Rotten Swines (Maria was also a member of Rumblefish), Ron Collins joined The Noseflutes, while Robert Lloyd formed a new band, Robert Lloyd & The New Four Seasons, who after a few releases on In Tape were signed by Virgin Records. Lloyd recorded one solo album for Virgin, “Me And My Mouth”.
Lloyd is currently active in the reformed Nightingales. Pete Byrchmore plays guitar for Goldblade, Gorgeous and the UK Subs. Eamonn Duffy plays bass for Dave Kusworth and Gorgeous. Joe Crow is currently performing solo, but in the process of getting a band together. Nick Beales is in Church Of Elvis, and Andy Lloyd is in Little Red Schoolhouse. Ron Collins is still making music in and around Birmingham.
Paul Apperley is now a firefighter. John Nester runs a successful fruit and veg business. Howard Jenner was last heard of working for Help The Aged. Maria Harvey (formerly Smith) still lives and works in Birmingham. Steve Hawkins whereabouts are unknown.
The Nightingales re-form
The band reunited in 2004 featuring mainstay/band leader Lloyd, original Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley, ex-Nightingales Byrchmore and Duffy, plus former PWEI drummer Robert “Fuzz” Townshend. This line-up released four 7-inch singles in 2004/5 before Townshend was replaced by Aaron Moore of Volcano The Bear.
Their first three albums were reissued in 2005.
Live appearances include radio sessions for Marc Riley’s Rocket Science on BBC 6 Music, John Kennedy’s XFM show, Terre T’s Cherry Blossom Clinic on WFMU (USA) and Another Nice Mess (NL) in addition to gigs around England.
The band also played American music festival South By Southwest in March 2005, alongside dates in Chicago and New York City. The band’s first American dates ever. Since then they have also played at the Klangbad festival in Germany, organised by Jochen Irmler of Faust, and undertaken a second US tour in March 2007.
After several line up changes since reforming, the group line-up settled as Robert Lloyd (vocals), Alan Apperley (guitar), ex-Pram drummer Daren Garratt, “teenage guitar sensation” Matt Wood, and Stephen ‘The Night’ Lowe (bass). For a brief July–August 2007 UK and European tour (including a return to the Klangbad Festival on August 4), Nick Blakey of the Boston, Massachusetts band The In Out substituted for Lowe on bass.
The Nightingales released their first studio album for 20 years in early October 2006; Out of True on Birmingham independent record label Iron Man Records. A new mini album, “What’s Not To Love?” was released by Caroline True Records on 30 April 2007.
In late 2007 Lowe left the band and was replaced by John Roberts.
After dates in New York and Boston in March 2008, the group traveled to Faust Studio, Scheer, Germany to record a new album for Jochen Irmler’s Klangbad label. During recording bassist John Roberts left the group. The band played dates in Germany, Switzerland and in Amsterdam, with Christy Edwards of Christy and Emily on bass. Teen Guitar Sensation Matt Wood left following these dates. As a parting gesture he created a life size chocolate replica of Robert Lloyd.
In June 2009, the Nightingales played a prestigious slot on the John Peel Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK.
The group is currently composed of Fliss Kitson on drums, Wood and Apperley on guitars, Andreas Schmid on bass and Lloyd on vocals.
Kitson’s Godfather is ‘Suggs’ of ‘Madness’ fame.
Pigs on Purpose (Cherry Red LP) 1982, CD reissue 2004
Hysterics (Ink/Red Flame LP) 1983, CD reissue (Cherry Red) 2005
In The Good Old Country Way (Vindaloo LP) 1986, CD reissue (Caroline True) 2005
Out of True (Iron Man CD) 2006
What’s Not To Love? (Caroline True CD) 2007
Insult To Injury (Klangbad CD) 2008
No Love Lost (Cooking Vinyl CD) 2012
Live In Paris (Big Print CD) 2008
And Another Thing (Big Print CD) 2010
Pillows & Prayers (Cherry Red LP) 1982-1983
Just The Job compilation (Vindaloo LP) 1984
What A Scream (1980–1986) compilation (Mau Mau/Demon CD) 1991
Pissed & Potless – The Definitive Nightingales Collection compilation (Cherry Red CD) 2001
“Idiot Strength” 1981 (Rough Trade/Vindaloo)
“Use Your Loaf” 1982 (Cherry Red)
“Paraffin Brain” 1982 (Cherry Red)
“Peel Session EP” 1982 (Cherry Red)
“Urban Osprey” 1983 (Cherry Red)
“Crafty Fag” 1983 (Ink/Red Flame)
“The Crunch EP” 1984 (Vindaloo)
“It’s a Cracker” 1985 (Vindaloo)
“What a Carry On EP” 1985 (Vindaloo)
“Peel Session EP” 1988 (Strange Fruit)
“Black Country” 2004 (Big Print)
“Workshy Wunderkind” 2004 (Big Print)
“EFL” (Sex And God Knows What)” 2004 (Big Print)
“Devil In The Detail” 2005 (Big Print)
“Let’s Think About Living” 2006 (Fake Product)
Picture is a still from the BBC Arena programme featuring The Nightingales shot at the legendary Star Club, above the Communist Party bookshop in Essex St and features the equally legendary John Peel. The poster in question is for a gig at the Golden Eagle on Hill St with Legs Akimbo and Adrian Goldberg!