The Bears


First Line Up

Mick North : Vocals George Gill : Guitar
Kris Kershaw : Saxophone Ron West : Bass
Cally Cameron : Drums


Second Line Up

John Entrails : Vocals George Gill : Guitar
Kris Kershaw : Saxophone Ron West : Bass
Cally Cameron : Drums


Third Line Up

John Entrails : Vocals George Gill : Guitar
Kris Kershaw : Saxophone Tim  Brockett : Bass
Cally Cameron : Drums


Fourth Line Up

John Entrails : Vocals George Gill : Guitar
Bob Brimson : Bass Phil Howstan  : Drums


The Bears were formed in Watford in 1976, after founding member and guitarist George Gill had ‘left’ an early incarnation of Wire – by all accounts for having too strong an affinity for blues-based music and not enough for the emerging ‘learn 3 chords and form a band’ mentality of the new wave.  Originally called Smarter and the Average Bears, they wrote and played songs generally far-removed from their contemporaries.  I caught a very early gig of theirs at Hemel Hempstead town hall Cellar Club in summer ’77, just before singer and songwriter Mick North was tragically killed in a road accident ( along with Pete Perspex from fellow punksters the Paper Dollies in September ’77)

The band re-emerged with vocalist John Entrails (also from the Paper Dollies) and released a fabulous single –‘on me’ - on Waldo’s Jazz Club label, in a variety of coloured sleeves.  The flip-side was an extended jam of another stage favourite – ‘what’s up mate?’ – featuring the short-lived member Kris Kershaw on saxophone.  Again – I saw this line-up at Hemel Hempstead Arts’ Centre (supported by Johnny Curious and the strangers) towards the end of ‘77

‘On me’ was recorded in glorious stereo ‘live’ at Waldo’s in Watford – that is to say without an audience and generally no overdubs (although the single release of ‘On me’ does have a guitar overdub).  The rest of the takes from that session came out on an impossible-to-find album – in the mid-80s, on Tigerbeat records and remains the only other recorded product by the Bears, other than the second single – ‘Insane’ - and the outstanding track on the ‘farewell to the Roxy’ album –‘fun, fun, fun’. 

‘Insane’, was an excellent single – although departing from the Bears’ usual wacky and fun subject matter.  Feedback, wailing guitars and a generally gothic approach, did suitable justice to one of Mick North’s finest songs – although this version of the band did not feature Ron West (bass) and I believe was cut in Northern Ireland on Good Vibrations records and coupled with ‘Decisions’ which was credited to a surname outside of the band’s past and present line-ups.

The band folded in late ’80 – sadly and to the new wave’s detriment.  They were fun, generally out to enjoy themselves and have the audience sing along to songs about scouting, spies and dodgem rides. They never tried to be aggressive or snarling and they were a better band for it.
Original Roxy Gig Advert from Weds 3rd August 1977



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David Gomm
January 2011



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