News Stories

The Nervous Kind

This is part one of the Nervous Kind Story 1979-82 sent in by Paul Comaskey.

The Nervous Kind came together in late 1979.

They were:  Gregg Nicholls   = lead guitar ,and backing vocals
                   Owen Comaskey= lead vocal and rhythm guitar
                    Paul Comaskey = Drums
                    Maurice Wolfe    = Bass 

Formed by Gregg Nicholls , who at the time owned the coolest cloths shop in Oasis Birmingham called Route 66, and by Owen Comaskey who was the lead singer with the short lived mod band The Townies .

It was watching The Townies gig at the Golden Eagle which prompted us all to do something better . Gregg approached Owen ,Owen invited me (Paul Comaskey) and Maurice Wolfe came on board to play bass . We were all regular “shoppers ‘ at Route 66. So the band was born . Gregg and Owen wrote most of the songs.
We played our first show at The Star Club on Essex Street supporting local band Dance. Steve Gibbons was at that show and invited us to open for him as JB’s Dudley .So the Nervous Kind were off and running .Our first demo was recorded in Erdington we have no copies of that . Our next demo was recorded with Bob Lamb 
Screaming Rita and Help from us which lead to us being offered a deal with Graduate Records , who at the time were the label UB40 were on. We recorded a single for them called Five to Monday (unreleased)It was now 1981. We played regularly at The Cedar Club and headlined many times at The Holy City Zoo. Toured with The Beat , and played with UB40 and Dexy’s . After the deal with Graduate fell through we struggled to find a label .We continued playing locally and recorded a BBC session for Kid Jensen (I think) produced by the late great Dale Griffin (Mott The Hoople)By 1982 we were floundering and Gregg left to go live in NYC. We replaced him with Paul Adams from the Hawks 
Maurice left shortly afterwards and we replaced him Simon Colley from The Hawks .By now Owen was the main songwriter. The new line up recorded a demo at Pete Kings studio and we were preparing to 
to start play out again, when Owen quit and moved to NYC to write with Gregg .

Enter Matthew Edwards…
 
Owen and Gregg lived in NYC for about 18 months returning to Birmingham late in 1984 . They had written an albums worth of songs and were ready to put The Nervous Kind back together. 
 
While they were away, Paul Comaskey,  Simon Colley and Paul Adams had joined forces with Matthew Edwards and became Sommerville. They signed to Virgin TEN where ironically their stable mate was Stephen (TinTin) Duffy that is another tale that should be told?  
 

While Sommerville were writing and recording there album, Paul Comaskey rejoined the Nervous Kind. 

The Nervous Kind (2) were now in search of a bass player, Maurice Wolfe had made the smart move to take a break from music and go teach in Montserrat!! Mick Llyod had just left Felt and he played bass for a short while .Ultimately after open auditions they recruited Bill Stair from the Bristol bands Art Objects and Blue Airplane, the new line up was set and began gigging mostly in London and recording while preparing to return to NYC.

This track England Swings was written in NYC by Gregg in 1984 recorded with the London Philharmonic a demo session for CBS. 1985.

Moving the band to NYC in 1986  turned out to be harder than any of us thought. Obtaining visa’s and a place to live and work was not easy even back then. When the dust had settled in early 87 , Gregg was in London getting married and starting a solo career. Owen Paul and Bill were living in Manhattan and had recruited two new members. Dave Houtson (a scouser) who played guitar on some early demo’s but ultimately was replaced  by Mark Spencer on lead guitar.

Mark was with us until 1990, and went on to play with The Blood Oranges, Lisa Loeb, Freddy Johnson,  SunVolt and Jay Farrar and many others. MJ Mynarski a piano player and composer joined to play keyboards also with us until 1990. He moved to LA in the mid 90’s to compose music for film and has a successful career to this day working in TV and film .

The Nervous Kind played the New York circuit for a few years with some success, and recorded with some up and coming engineers back then namely Tim Hatfield now at Cowboy Technical Services and Tony Maserati now at Mirrorball.

Towards the end of 1990 it was clear  The Nervous Kind had run it’s course. We made the tough decision to call it a day .
Bill Stair stayed in New York and became a hard working successful session player, sadly he and his darling wife Doreen died in a tragic car accident down in Oaxaca just 18 months ago and are greatly missed by us all.

 
Owen and I moved to San Francisco with our families . I stayed there for many years playing with as many different bands as possible . 
 
There are lots of albums out there with me playing drums on them . 
The Hairdressers, The Sunshine Club, Richard Buckner, and my personal favorite The Music Lovers, which reunited me with my dear friend from Birmingham Matthew Edwards.  
 

I now live in Maine I write and record at home, there are four solo albums of mine out there on Bandcamp and soundcloud. I also still write songs for film and TV with MJ Mynarski available on iTunes and youtube. 

Owen moved back to New York where he managed a club on the lower Eastside for many years called Arlene Grocery , famous for his HeavyMetal / PunkRock Karaoke. 
He developed and produced a short lived TV show for VH1 called “album covers ” which had new bands covering albums that had most influenced them a great show and idea that someone else will do again I’m sure.

 
That idea lead to Owen forming The Major Tom’s in New York . Now he is back living in Birmingham you can catch The Major Tom’s (UK) at least once or twice a year and the famous Hare and Hounds Kings Heath .
 
So there you have it an abbreviated history of The Nervous Kind the story of  four lads from Erdington Birmingham who took the world by storm . 
 
You just don’t know it ….yet .

Graduate Records

Graduate Records is mainly known for signing the Birmingham group UB40, who have become the most successful reggae band in the world.

David Virr started Graduate Records in 1969 as a record shop in Dudley which grew, at one time, to a chain of six shops around the Midlands.

In 1979 after listening to John Peel’s radio show, David decided to start his own independent label. The first few singles only scraped into the indie chart but then, UB40 were signed & in January 1980 released their first single- ‘Food for Thought’ which reached No 4 in the main chart & went gold in the UK.

Graduate Records was the first independent label to have such a big hit without a major record company being involved…

Two further UB40 singles were released in the same year & both were top ten hits. UB40’s first album ‘Signing Off’ was released on Graduate Records in August 1980 & went platinum, remaining in the UK charts for over a year & scoring a big hit worldwide. ‘Signing Off’ has since been re-issued on CD by Virgin Records. Some of the tracks Graduate Records was involved with were included on ‘ The Best of UB40 Vol 1’ & also on ‘The very Best of UB40’ on Virgin Records.

Graduate also worked with other successful artists such as The Maisonettes who had a big hit in 1983 with ‘Heartache Avenue’ on our Ready, Steady, Go! label which was a top ten hit & went silver in the UK as well as being a big hit right across Europe.

Graduate were also very fortunate to have worked with Clifford T. Ward for several years until he passed away in 2001. His 1995 album ‘Julia & Other Stories’, first released on Graduate Records is now re-issued on Cherry Red Records who have also released the albums- ‘The Anthology’ in 2002, ‘Both of Us’, ‘ Bittersweet’, ‘ Hidden Treasures’ & ‘This was our love’ in Nov. 2003.

In 2003, The Fight, a young punk group from Dudley recorded a cover of a song by The Circles called ‘(I’m running around in) Circles’ for their mini-album ‘Home is where the Hate is’. This was out in the USA & released worldwide on the Fat Wreck Chords label.

David Virr also acted as a Music Advisor to record companies & artists, including Pete Best, the original drummer in The Beatles.

Rap collective Roll Deep adapted our track ‘Heartache Avenue’ into a rap version re-named ‘The Avenue’ & released by Relentless Records, The single did very well getting to No 11 in the charts. It also featured on their hit album ‘In at the Deep End’.

http://www.graduate.valtex.co.uk

Send your content to us

We are now actively looking for content for the archive and will always add content that you send to us. The archive is a labour of love and we update it in our spare time.