THE MOLESTERS
Brighton

 

Stella Anscombe - Vocals** Leonie Nicol - Vocals**
John Ellis - Vocals* Paul Hayward - Guitar
Mark Gresty - Bass Wayne Calcutt - Drums
*Not the same John Ellis of The Vibrators
** Replaced by Carole Brooks & Tracy Spencer sometime in 1978

 

Right to Work Gig, Brighton 1978

 

One of the less celebrated bands to appear on Walthamstow’s Small Wonder imprint.

“Molesters started when I met John Ellis (not the one from the Vibrators) in a pub in Brighton,” Paul Hayward told me. “He said: ‘I've never sung in my life before but I've written these lyrics and I really would like to have a crack getting them put to music and singing.’ I liked the political and social messages in his songs and so that was it, we worked for a few weeks, John the lyrics and me the music, and ended up with about eight tracks. I was squatting at the time in a big house in Lansdowne Place with a mate of mine, Andy Parks, who was a pretty able bass player, and Derek 'Bunf' a drummer. They started to play with us, and then we were four. After playing a couple of gigs as four-piece we came across a couple of crazy girls from Coventry, Lesley and Blimp, who like John had no previous singing experience but wanted to get involved. They added lots of visuals to the line-up, now we are six.”

 The Molesters were featured in a Southern Television documentary on punk in Brighton, which featured them auditioning female singers. There was footage of the band rehearsing in the gents’ toilet by the Clock Tower in Brighton, and living in their communal squat. As Paul Martin of Fan Club, and a later Molesters members, recalls: “Both The Molesters and [Fan Club singer] Dave McDonald appeared in the Clock Tower loos footage. I remember the filming for some of that programme. The UK Subs were playing at the Buccaneer which the TV crew wanted to film, but being a 'real' punk band, the audience went along knowing the film crew would be there and were resolved to shower them in as much 'gob' as possible! The crew whilst filming on the tiny stage were all wearing full length Macintoshes and Souwester hats to protect themselves!! They knew what to expect!”

 Paul Hayward: “Within a few months, John and I had decided we wanted to get serious about the band and sought the same commitment from the other guys. As a result Andy, Bunf and the girls went their own way. We replaced Andy and Bunf with Mark [Grestly; bass] and Wayne [Calcutt; drums] whose musical abilities and commitment gave us the jump-start we needed. Leonie [Nichol] and Stella [Anscombe] also gave us some real backing vocals.” The Molesters went on to appear as support act to artists including the Cure, the Ants, the Damned, Here and Now, UK Subs and ATV.

 The first John Peel session in October 1978, which featured all four of the songs released on Small Wonder, followed a show at the Marquee where the band supported Annie Lennox’s Tourists. “Bob Sergeant was checking them out for a session, but didn’t like them, so he came into the dressing room after and offered us the session. We got on with with Peel (Uncle John) who invited us to play at a number of his road shows. He even stayed overnight with us in the famous Sillwood Terrace band house.”

 There was an offer to work with John Cale’s Spy Records. “It was completely one-sided and at the same time, Small Wonder offered us a couple of singles. It was a done deal.” The result was ‘Disco Love’ and ‘End Of Civilisation’, the latter featuring a fetching Crucifixion painting. By the time of the second Peel session, in February 1979, Anscombe and Nichol had been replaced by Carole Brooks, Ellis’s then girlfriend, and Tracy Spencer. The latter would later marry Paul Hayward “in Brighton’s first punk wedding, which made the front page of the Argus,” according to Grant Boult of the Vitamins. “Her real name was Tracy Preston and her dad Dennis was a big name in the music business and owned Landsdowne Studios, where the Pistols did some early recordings.” Vocalist Tom Maltby and ex-Fan Club and Siren bass player Paul Martin also appeared with the band in its later stages, before Martin was replaced by ‘Francois’, another intern of Paul Hayward’s ‘famous band house’. The latter bolthole was famous because of the number of bands that congregated there, rather than any ‘famous bands’ per se. Paul Martin: “Interestingly, after I left them, singer Tom Maltby only did one more gig with them (in Salisbury, I think). The gig after this was at the Buccaneer, which I was at to watch. Tom Maltby did the sound check, and John Ellis, who was also there, called from the floor to Paul Hayward something like, 'What's happening with this gig then Paul, am I doing it or not?' Evidently he did, as although Tom did the soundcheck, John did the actual gig! The quickest singer turnaround ever perhaps! That was the final line up of the Molesters as far as I know.” The changes were symptomatic of the band’s decline. Hayward: “Soon after differences appeared about the future direction of the band and that was the beginning of the end.”

The above text taken from the interview with '
Paul Hayward' with 'Alex Ogg'.

The above Gig dates for "Foxes", Brighton appeared in "Sounds" on 24th December 1977.

 

The above single review appeared in "Chainsaw" #8 fanzine from July 1979.

 

 

The above single review appeared in "Ripped & Torn" #17 fanzine from March 1979.

 

 

 

Thanks goes to Allen Adams of 'The Blanks' for the above photograph.

 

 

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