TWO-TONE-PINKS
Manchester

 

Live at the "Duke of Wellington", Swinton just outside Salford, Manchester 1980.

 

With a heavy heart, we would like to report the sad passing of Mark Harris, the original bass player and one of the founding members of the Two Tone Pinks who sadly died of liver failure on 19th April 2013.

Line up at the time left to right front is Mark Harris Bass, Haydn Rydings vocals, Graham Briggs guitar, at the back Phil Rathbone (Raffy) on drums to the left and Dave Moore lead guitar back and to the right.

 

Two-Tone-Pinks Band Biography

Established 1979: Two-Tone-Pinks formed in Salford in March 1979 , the original line up was Dave Moore on lead guitar, Graham Briggs rhythm guitar, Mark Harris bass guitar, Pete Bates drums and Haydn Rydings vocals. The bands name was taken from an amphetamine circulating in the late 60's which was being  taken by Mods who attended "all nighters" to help them dance all night at places like The Twisted Wheel and Wigan Casino during the late 60's. The bands name has no connection with the 2 Tone record label, the similarity is purely coincidental. Rehearsal rooms were in Hilton St, Salford where the band shared rehearsal rooms with bands like Joy Division, A Certain Ratio, Fast Cars, Urban Blitz. The first gig was in August 1979 supporting the 2 Tone band The Selector at The Russell Club (Tony Wilson’s Factory) in Hulme, Manchester. Many more gigs followed playing around the UK with many named bands of the day including The UK Subs, The Vapors, The Ruts, Salford Jets, The Killermeters, The Circles, Run 229, and Fast Cars.

Gigs and Demo Tapes: Getting gigs never seemed to be problem, it didn’t matter where or what type of venue it was, a gig was a gig, and for a live band that was important. The band would be playing a prestigious venue one night and a back street pub the next night, but it didn’t matter, all that mattered was being a member of the Two-Tone Pinks and having a good time doing it, and the TTP's always had a good time! Although getting gigs wasn’t a problem, securing a record deal was a different story. Even though the music press were giving the band some coverage and getting its fair share of write ups there was no immediate interest from any record companies despite bombarding them with  demo tapes. The first of these being “3 Depressing Tracks” and the second being “Verbal Cock Ups” both recorded at Cargo Studios in Rochdale and produced by Neil Ferguson of The Donkeys. To generate some interest the band decide to release the demos as cassette EP’s. The cassette EP's sold well and seemed to be a great success with audiences and were sold at gigs or via mail order for the princely sum of £1.25 ha!

Drummers:  As the end of 1979 drew near things seemed to be going OK within the band, gigs were being well received, the band had started to build up a small following and had written a good stock of original songs. Then early in 1980 Pete Bates (drummer) a co-founder member dropped a bombshell and told the rest of the band he was leaving. Not only was he leaving he was joining Fast Cars, the TPP's biggest rivals!  Pete Bates played his last gig with the Two-Tone-Pinks at The Zodiac club in Coventry on Jan 2nd 1980 and left. The band quickly arranged auditions to recruit a new drummer and after many auditions Phil Rathbone (Raffy) formally of The Mediators joined the band and played his first gig at The Londoner in Barnsley on Jan 25th 1980. With the band back up to full strength the TTPs  could concentrate on the business of being in a band and trying to get a record deal.

Record Companies:  During the summer of 1980 some record company interest did come from RCA subsidiary called Revolution and EMI. However as the band didn’t have a manager and didn’t really understand the business side to the record industry and were no match for the business savvy people who approached the band. Even the though the band had no business experience they weren't stupid and realised what was on offer wasn't very good so negotiations tended to be fairly brief, for instance if the record people said something the band didn’t like, the stock answer was a unanimous BOLLOCKS which resulted in record company person and the band coming away with no deal. Although “3 Depressing Tracks” didn’t exactly set the music world on fire it did generate enough money to go back in the studio and record “Verbal Cock Ups” the bands second cassette EP, which gave the band its first mini break through with a record company.

Enter VU records a small independent label from London. At this point the TTP's breathed a sigh of relief as they finally made it into the vinyl stakes with “Don’t Lecture Me” which found its way onto a compilation LP called “A Sudden Surge of Sound” released by VU Records. The band were in good company as on the LP were The UK Subs and Laura Logic of X-Ray Specs. The band also had its first radio play around this time when Mark Radcliff played “Straight Swap” on Piccadilly radio. At last it seemed as though people were starting to take notice of Two-Tone Pinks.

 

The demise of the Two-Tone-Pinks:  With a recording deal imminent and things generally looking up for the band it should have been a really optimistic and exciting time for the TTP's. However this was not the case as Dave Moore's (lead guitarist) increasingly unpredictable behaviour and Raffy's (drummer) tendency for leaving or being sacked from the band every other month began to cause problems. Dave had always been a bit of an enigma and tended to do his own thing, usually on the spur of the moment, this came to head on one occasion when Dave didn't show for a gig so the band ended up playing the gig as a 4 piece with a stand in drummer (Gary Rostock) as Raffy (regular drummer) had left again. Month after month the band would patch things up with each other and carry on gigging regardless of the growing rifts within the band. However by now the writing was on the wall as the band began to very slowly disintegrate during the autumn of 1980. Finally the Two-Tone-Pinks played their last gig (with yet another stand in drummer Nick Marshall) on Dec 21st 1980 at The Bridge Inn, Bury Lancs. There was no great fanfare or press release as the band split just the realisation that the Two-Tone-Pinks were never going live up to their early promise. Two-Tone-Pinks RIP 21st Dec 1980.

 

 

Life after Two-Tone-Pinks: Various members of the band (Haydn Rydings, Dave Moore, Mark Harris, Graham Briggs Pete Bates and Steve Murray formally of Fast Cars) went on to form The Thorns in 1981, yet another band which was blighted by frequent personnel changes, lack of commitment and band members leaving every other month. The Thorns were together for approx one year which included 5 gigs, one single release and one album recorded at Cargo in 1981, though the album was never released. Also one video was made, again this was never released into the public domain.

Band News  A copy of the Thorns video has recently been discovered along several audio masters of the Two-Tone-Pinks demo tapes. These tapes were thought to be long lost by band members who have now decided to have these tapes professionally restored for possible future releases. Please revisit for future developments.

 

 

The above snippet appeared in the London based Modzine "Maximum Speed" #7 from 1979

 

The above snippet appeared in the London based Modzine "Maximum Speed" #9 from 1979

 

 

Above is an original gig ticket from the "Assembly Hall", Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales for Saturday 22nd March 1980

 

THE TWO-TONE-PINKS AS THEY ARE TODAY

 

   Above is an original 11" x 16½ Gig Poster featuring      "The Two Tone Pinks", "The Scene" & "The Moving Targets" for the Mod Party Nite that took place at the "Oval Ball", York on Wednesday 10th October 1979.

 

The new release on the 'Detour' label that rounds up all the bands recordings from 1978/1980.

 

www.twotonepinks.com

 

 

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