|DUNJASHA ROWLAND - LEAD VOCALS||RICHARD LOWE - GUITAR & VOCALS|
|LSD - DRUMS||JOHN PYROYLANNOS - BASS|
I was a member of Here Today, I can give you a run down on our history and what happened to the band which you may (or may not!) find interesting.
The band was formed late 78 early 79 by Richard (Guitarist / songwriter) who’d just come down from Newcastle and Dunja (vocals) who were both students at Hornsey College Of Art. They recruited myself on bass and LSD (will explain later) on drums via the classifieds in the back of Melody Maker. We were all into bands like The Who and the Motown sound in general, so, as the article (from Maximum Speed Magazine if I remember rightly) says, we combined some covers (Can’t Explain, Here Comes The Nice, Substitute, Do I love You, Friday On My Mind) with original material with a heavy 60’s influence into our live set. We were based in North London, Richard lived in a hovel around the back of Kings Cross Station and we’d rehearse either there or, more interestingly, at LSD’s place – Lawrence (LSD were his initials!) is the son of the late great comedian Billy Dainty. I’ve got some great memories of Billy Dainty strolling into our rehearsals and doing a silly dance and generally taking the pee out of us, he was a very nice man. Our band “head office” was a fish and chip shop in Green Lanes Harringay, on the corner of Endymion road, we’d spend hours in there, plotting, planning and arguing a lot.
I’ll never forget our first gig, I don’t think we’d prepared well enough for it as we went down like the proverbial lead balloon, half the small audience vanished with fingers in ears no sooner had our set started. It was at the Green Man in Plumstead. We all met up in Camden Town in the pissing rain and piled our drums and guitars and stuff onto a 53 bus…. in the rush hour. We hired some amps and other gear in especially, and that was all waiting for us when we arrived at the pub, but it was equipment that was more suitable to an arena gig than a small venue like the Green Man, we must have been horrendously loud.
The band had a bit of a “trendy” tag on the London scene at the time, and Dunja was well into fashion and would dictate what we wore, she’d always look good on stage in her Mary Quant style black and white outfits and big hoop earrings. We did quite a few decent gigs around London, places like the Moonlight, Greyhound, and of course, lots of College and University gigs. We ran into trouble too, Richard got into smashing things up on stage, and, what that article about us playing the Moonlight club doesn’t mention is, we really went potty that particular night and not only smashed up a lot of our own gear but also some rented microphones and the support bands backline too – that sort of thing didn’t make us any more popular!.
We never got a record deal, Jerry Floyd the legendary DJ at The Marquee Club got involved and wanted to manage us at one point but the band was moving in a new direction…..
Richard was definitely the driving force behind the band and was getting into modern dance music and synths, bands like Kraftwerk, and I was listening to a lot of funk and disco so, we got a synth player and a percussionist and a new band name – Zeitung Da!, sounds silly now but it was cool circa 1980, anything Germanic sounding was. We did a lot of big gigs over the next couple of years, I remember we opened for Depeche Mode regularly, The Thompson Twins, Bow Wow Wow and Bauhaus amongst others but, again, even though Pete Waterman had signed us to a production deal by then, we didn’t get a record deal – a bit of a mystery looking back. After the band split in around late 82, Richard soon formed another band, After This, and he was lead singer in that line up with myself joining on bass. He signed to a Belgium label called Operation Afterglow and had an airplay hit in 1986 called Fields (hear it on Youtube) – it was the Mike Read record of the week on the breakfast show on Radio 1 - but distribution problems meant it didn’t sell as it should have and the band fell apart not long after, a pity.
Richard was interested in the business side of things and went off to work for a record company (Rough Trade if I remember) and eventually went into management, last time I saw him he was managing Cerys Matthews and Catatonia so he did well, not sure what he or the others are doing now though, have lost touch.
My one regret about those early bands is that we didn’t record much, so consequently there isn’t a lot to remember us by. Think we could have been contenders with a few quid and a decent producer and manager behind us but, I suppose everyone says that. I’m sure though that the songs Richard wrote deserved a wider audience and could have done well – they’re still bouncing around in my head after all this time. Over 20 years after Here Today, I found myself in Chris Braide’s band for a while, around the time he signed for Polydor. Now, Chris isn’t a household name but he’s been hugely successful in terms of the music he’s written for other acts and the amount of records he’s sold both here and in The US and right around the world. Working with Chris gave me a memory jolt and transported me back to 1979, his creativity levels were so high and he was so enthusiastic, just like Richard and the rest of us back in the day. Got to say, Chris was no more talented than Richard was at the same age – that’s why I’m still a bit mystified as to how things don’t really work out sometimes, there isn’t a lot of logic to it.
The above article appeared in the Modzine "Maximum Speed #9
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