The Daze



I Wanna Be A Star / At The Seaside

Catalogue Number - MCR 101

Label - Motor City Rhythm

Year Of Release - 1979

Quantity Pressed - 500


Philip Hickin - Guitar & Vocals John Hammond - Bass
Rob Tansley - Drums & Vocals

The producer of the record was "Stick Hickin".

The engineer of the record was "John Smith".


The Daze were a 3 piece band, consisting of Phil Hickin, guitar and vocals, Rob Tansley, drums and vocals and John Hammond, bass guitar. Based in Birmingham, they produced one single, ‘I Wanna Be A Star / At The Seaside’ in 1979, followed by two more tracks, ‘Living Music / The Alum Rock’ which were never released.


In 1973 Phil and Rob were introduced to each other helping to form a new band, Greyday, a 4 piece, with guitar, bass and drums, playing original songs and covers primarily on the pub circuit. The music was not sophisticated, but as Phil says, ‘we’ve always been a bit simple, so the music follows suit”. Songs such a ‘Mean Mixed Up Hunk Of Devil Dressed In Lace’ never found it’s way to the record stores, although the band did record at Southern Music Studios in London, nothing exists of this original work.


Greyday split in 1975, but Phil and Rob continued working together in a newly formed band named “Five Knuckle Shuffle”. “Our names must be popular”, says Phil, “because nowadays there is an American band going by that name as well as one called The Daze!”


“The music was becoming a little more mature, probably because I had moved over to bass and we had a good guitarist in the band’, Phil explains. There was still lots of original material being performed, but the style had softened and become more commercial. A song written by Phil entitled “The’ve Taken Away The Trees” caused the band some minor success, with nine major record labels interested in signing them up. In 1976, the band decided to put their faith in E.M.I. and recorded 6 demos with them at their Manchester Place studio, however two months later, E.M.I’s producer, who shall remain nameless, signed up the Sex Pistols and the punk revolution began. 


“Phil and I would have been comfortable playing this style of music; it wasn’t a million miles away from what we had been writing and performing”, says Rob, “but the other blokes in the band thought it was too simple, so we split at the beginning of 1977”. 

1977 and John Hammond came to the rescue. John, Phil’s brother in law, had played bass for a few years. They began where they left off, with original material, but had already realised that the financial rewards were pitiful playing what they enjoyed, so they called an agent and started performing covers in the many social clubs around the midlands, using the name 3 Litre. “We earned a few bob, but it sometimes did your head in, especially when we were the intermission between the bingo rounds” says John. But the money earned gave the band the means to produce some of their own work. Calling themselves The Daze, they played a few pubs around Birmingham using their own material, which went down well. 


“We recorded ‘I Wanna Be A Star’ and ‘At The Seaside’ on a 4 track machine in Motor City Rhythm's practice studio in Moseley, Birmingham” says Phil. ” We produced it completely ourselves in about 2 hours, keeping it simple.” The other 2 tracks were recorded in a proper studio in Birmingham, but none of the band can remember where! The record was distributed locally in record shops and played on local radio, but without professional promotion and distribution, sales were never going to be sensational. 


The Daze finally split in 1982, but remain close friends. In fact, Phil and Rob, although living far apart, still play together three or four times a year around the London area, central to both of them, albeit with an old bass playing friend of theirs. John still plays, but has suffered a problem to his left hand. “The music still has it’s rough edges”, says Phil, “But if you want smooth, go see some jazz.” 

As a footnote, the single had dropped to obscurity, but a charity evening in Phil’s village, inviting you to play a record of your choice gave him the opportunity to show people what they had missed! Inspired by it’s unpopularity, he put the ‘B’ side, “At The Seaside” on You Tube, where it was picked up 3 months later by a latent fan of the record. Because of it’s rarity, the vinyl has been fetching, amazingly over £500! The Daze are staying quiet on how many they may have left.   

Phil Hickin
January 2012



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