Rochdale / Oldham
Adolf Hitler / Mercy
Catalogue Number - Sing 1 / Sing 2
Label - Private Pressing
Year Of Release - 1978
Quantity Pressed - 100 (confirmed)
|Neal Drennan (aka Captain Dreadnought) - Vocals||Gerard Towey (aka Towzer) - Guitar|
|Mark Grabowski (aka Grabbie) - Bass||Paul Taylor (aka The Vicar) - Drums|
The full story will be coming soon... but this band hailed from the Rochdale / Oldham area and released this one and only long lost Punk classic in 1978 in a pressing of ONLY just 100 copies. Recorded at the legendary Cargo studio in 1978 and the band claim to fame that they were all regulars at the Manchester Punk Clubs like 'Pips', 'Rafters', 'The Ranch' which was owned by Millionaire drag Queen Frank Lammar etc and got to support 'Siouxsie & The Banshees' at 'Rafters' on Thursday 13th April 1978 with the Frantic Elevators losing the flip of the coin and had to go on first!.
The band used to change their name fairly regularly due to the fact that after they played certain gigs, the venue wouldn't re-book them due to the fact of the style of music and stage antics.... One of the names they went under were THE WRECKS.
Ged Towey recalls....
Thursday 13th April 1978 Rafters Oxford Road Manchester Siouxsie and The Banshees.
We were so excited to have got this gig especially so as Siouxsie was in the pop charts. Phil our road manager (Hard as nails and built like a brick shithouse) had managed to borrow a Suzuki Van with sliding doors which made getting our gear in and out a piece of piss.
Rafters was in the downstairs of 'Fagin's Nightclub', which used to showcase big names. We dragged all our gear through the hall and were told to place it in front of the stage.
We were the first ones there and quickly spotted a bar on our arrival, and asked if it was open.... "just a minute lads I'll go and get get the keys". A few minutes later, Six pints of cold lager in hand and a coke for The Vicar (who warned us all not to get pissed).
We headed to the back of the hall where there was a little room and a pool table.... Whilst playing pool this figure appeared in a full length olive green military style raincoat.... oh my God it was Siouxsie Sioux we were all star struck!
Siouxsie asked "Who are you then?" "We are The Singles".... she then went to say... "Like the look of you lads and your clothes" (Cream coloured Old Codger Bowling jackets and black jeans) and told us that she's not so sure of the other band. We all looked at each other and thought news to us....and said "You will have to use The Banshees P.A. system to mike you all up to our mixing desk as we've been messed about too much from other bands ruining all the settings and making us sound shite". We had been firmly put in our place she was The Boss!
Siouxsie then went onto to say "Does anybody fancy a smoke?" She then went into her pocket and produced a block of something the size of a Mars bar wrapped in cling film.... Yikes!!!
We then met the other band setting up on the stage who were very frosty and unfriendly to us, they were marching round like spoilt brats in their black leather expensive motorbike jackets. Why were they being such nasty pasties? What had we done wrong?
We had finished setting up and had completed our sound check, The Banshees Team were great and took the task professionally, our instruments and voices had never sounded as good WOW.... we all realised that you have to invest in the proper gear to get it right!
The Banshees team got The Frantic Elevators and The Singles together for a meeting and then said "Have you decided whose on first lads?" This over confident Ginger haired lad said "They are"....."What its not been decided yet we replied" Ginger said "Listen here you are" The Banshees team said "Look we'll toss a coin" Gingers team LOST, they were on first ha! good result.
Rafters started filling up, the place was buzzing we went for a drink at the bar and The Vicar again said "I'm watching you lot, don't get pissed !" Our road team (Phil, Pat Towey and John Butt) were at the other end of the bar and waved us down, we went down to them they were talking to the T.V. presenter 'Tony Wilson' from Granada and 'Fred Gee' the barman from The Rovers Coronation Street, we shook their hands and said how much we loved them (What Creeps we were) mind you we had, had a few Lagers.
The Elevators went on stage we thought "Wow they are Brave!" the place was rammed almost 1000 people, ah well can't complain we had just met FRED GEE top barman, wow we are so lucky. Road Manager Phil swung another round in to be on the safe side, and said remember you are on next! It dawned on us it was not about being 'Star Struck' it was about going on that stage in twenty minutes...... 'Hail Mary full of Grace ...... etc! Lets get a grip Now Lads!!!
We made our way through the crowd heading for the stage, it was packed. The Vicar was waiting for us, oh no "Where the bloody hell have you been? how much have you had to drink?" ....."Just a couple Paul" not a good idea lying to a Vicar, anyhow we were back. The Vicar said "The Elevators are off in five minutes, then a ten minute interlude and were on". Alright we got the message, hard to take him seriously in black tights and a Cricket Box!
The Frantic Elevators came off the stage with faces like a 'slapped arse'. Ginger was blazing and threw his expensive guitar to the floor, "What was up?"'. We tried to calm the boys down ........"Go away and just leave us alone!" Ah well we tried.... The Vicar looked traumatised as he looked at the guitar on the floor and then he casually adjusted his tights and cricket box.......nice.......NOT.
We all got in a corner..... it was 'Talc Time! We opened the Asda bag and pulled out the four small bottles of Baby Talc and covered our hair in talc being careful not to get it all over the place..... good old Grabbie, he remembered to pack the mirror (We did this every time we went on stage, so that when you moved your head it looked like your head was smoking!)
One of The Banshee Crew came to see us and advised us we were on after the next record finishes and asked if we were ok? Staring at our freshly talced heads. Captain Dreadnought left the back of the stage and walked back into the Audience! What the hell was he playing at? Had he bottled it? Was he going to The Bar, Toilet?
The Vicar looked
ghastly with a Smoking Head slightly yellow paler
and his drum sticks tucked into the back of his
tights, we felt sorry for him and remembered he was
'Stone Cold Sober'.... poor lad.
One of the Banshees team said, "Ok lads you are on after this record finishes ok?" Ok we thought? ...'Where is Dreadnought?'
The Vicar was shaking and Grabbie and Towzer thought now is the time 'Hug that VICAR now!' We hugged him, and saw a different side to him when he returned a warm smile, adjusted his box and said THANK- YOU BOYZ !
The Voice said.......
"Welcome on to stage tonight.... The Singles!" Like Gladiators to the slaughter we climbed the steps to the STAGE!
A Sea of faces..... sorry an Ocean .... did a quick one two, one two, TESTES TESTES, one two Sound Check, as we all checked our two veg ! (We always did this it was our funny and made us laugh ) not tonight though.... 'Where the Bloody Hell is Dreadnought, The Lead Singer?"
Gotcha..... there he is thirty foot away in the centre of the audience waving at us, I turned round to The Vicar and gave him and Grabbie the thumbs up... "Ok lads 1, 2, 3 and broke into the intro of 'Gloria'. Dreadnought made his way through the crowd with a large sneer on his face, clambered on stage with the help of two kind members of the audience and grabbed his microphone and sang .... "Like to tell you 'bout my baby, you know she comes around, just 'bout five feet four ....... ".
We then played, "Why do you do?" followed by "Be Alright on the Night" and then did "F*cking Stiff !"
The Singles were up for it ..... The Vicar was in his element almost making sparks with his cymbals...... (the long rehearsals in the Air Raid Shelter were paying off). We then covered 'The Passenger' ..... Captain Dreadnought was in some sort of trance..... did his let me lie down on the stage routine.... roll all over the place and encouraged Towzer and Grabbie to kick him in the Crown Jewels ... The crowd loved it, Dreanought got to his feet, then finished the song....We launched into "Mercy" and finished our set with "Adolf Hitler!".
"The Voice said... "Thank-You... The Singles and now we will have a twenty minute Interlude and then we have Siouxsie and The Banshees".
Down the steps to the side of the stage the road team... Phil, Pat and John had got the drinks in.. The Vicar celebrated with a pint of bitter shandy, phew time to relax and have a well earned drink.... how thoughtful the road team had been or was it down to the fact they had drank a bucket full of strong lager each?
No one will ever know .....We had some visitors several Ladies were in the wings drinking and laughing with the road team......'Eh up this looks alright'..... Pat and John said, "We met them at the bar whilst you were on stage".....can't be bad.....'Are these fans?' The Ladies looked happy and relaxed.... a tall one, with a long fringe approached Towzer and kissed him...... he got a grip! .... then quickly left to go into the Audience / Bar...'What had happened?'
Phil followed him to the Bar, a laughing Towzer said "That was a Bloke!".... "How do you know?"..... "Never mind, another scoop Phil?"..... "Yes please"
It was thirsty work at the bar.....The voice said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, can we give a warm Manchester welcome to ...'Siouxsie and The Banshees' the crowd went wild... Siouxsie said, "Hello Manchester this is our version of The Beatles...' Helter Skelter'..... "When I get to the bottom I go back to the top.....".
They were good, very good and sent the crowd into some sort of hypnosis (like Kaa .. the snake from 'The Jungle Book' "Trus-ss-st in me!") with their delivery and unusual beat. They did another eight songs left the stage and returned to do 'Hong Kong Garden' as their 'Encore'. Amazing....
Rafters started to empty like bath water....... The Vicar shouted across the hall "Are you two going to help pack the gear away? Please!" He reminded me of a 'Sister R.', a strict Form Teacher Nun, from Middle School....... who was very much in charge, with an underlying fairness about everything....'Oh jolly hockey sticks' lets leave the bar and go and help.
The stage was crowded, but thanks to 'The Banshees Road Team' all the Bands gear was in three neat heaps..... The Frantic Elevators were first to leave and we wished them all the best, but they gave us the same frosty treatment... OK we got the message ..... 'Ginge and Gang didn't like us, 'they disappeared down the long hall into the night......The Vicar got us all together and said, "Look Boys ...we can nail this in two trips to the van ok!". Road Team Phil, Pat and John were unbelievable dodging traffic on the busy Oxford Road with drums, guitars and amps.... looking like they had just 'Robbed a Music Shop'.... They were like 'Matadors in the ring, as they missed Taxis and the odd Coach.... impressive, considering they had a couple of gallons each under their belt and their trusty Suzuki van gladly accepted the cargo.
Safely back into Rafters, for the remaining gear.....The Vicar's on stage having words with the Bass Player from The Banshees...What's this all about? The Vicar wouldn't harm a flea?
The Singles all went up to check it out, the bass player kept saying "Come on £25 for the use of our P.A., we have bills to pay its not fair lads!"..... Gulp this was never mentioned.....(£25 in today's money is equal to £115) ....."Sorry we haven't got it pal, honest we are skint"...."Come on lads go through your pockets... come on!".... Siouxsie appeared on stage and said "Come on lads cough up". How embarrassing? Our hero making us look like cheap skates?...."Honestly Siouxsie, we don't have enough for even a bag of chips.. We didn't know we had to pay! honest .....honest" ..."Ok boys I can't argue with you now, if you haven't got it you haven't got it... We have bills to pay and have a long drive home.. leave it now, thanks.... see you lads" ...We felt like shit warmed up!!!
The Management of Rafters shouted down the hall... "Have you got no home to go to ....come on I want me bed". We managed to get all the gear in the van and very sensibly The Vicar took the keys off Phil and said "I'am driving", good job too because we had difficulty finding the bloody thing. We headed in a Northerly direction and soon heard a loud siren, accompanied with flashing blue lights...we all started giggling with the one exception...The Vicar wailed "Oh No...No!". Two burly Officers left the flashing Meat Wagon and headed towards our Suzuki and tapped on the window. They shone a torch into the van and said to The Vicar..."What's going on here?". Paul was magnificent and explained everything and they believed he had only had a pint of Shandy, even though the van smelt like a brewery!. ".... Ok Lads drive safely "... We travelled seven miles home to Castleton Rochdale Zzzzzzzzzz.
Thanks to Susan Janet Ballion [Siouxsie Sioux] & Steven Severin [Bass Guitarist The Banshees]
'Ginge' The Frantic Elevators [Mick Hucknall Simply Red]
Tony Wilson Granada T.V. [Anthony Wilson Factory Records R.I.P]
Fred Gee Coronation St. [Fred Feast R.I.P.]
Van Morrison [Gloria 1964 Them]
Iggy Pop and Ricky Gardiner [The Passenger 1977]
On another occasion we were at The Roxy Club and it was suggested that it was 'BORING because we hadn't "trapped off" meaning 'pulled a bird' so we decided next week we'll try THE RANCH but was warned to wear a black bin liner and nappy pins. We arrived a week later wearing bin bag T shirts under our Sally Army Jackets off dead men (Its cold up North) and a few token brand new nappy bins from Boots. Back streets Piccadilly, Manchester back door Ranch Millionaire 'Frank Lammar' [DRAG QUEEN FOO FOO LAMMAR R.I.P.] opened the door on hearing the bell weighed us up we GOT IN WHEY HEY!! It was a dark dingy smelly HOLE and very sticky with beer all over the floor and black plastic everywhere and nappy pins. We felt home sick for the Roxy club and the classy puss. About 3 weeks later a young punk died after Pogoing there after hitting his head on a beam.... no more RANCH !!!!
Why was Ged called Towzer well his name is TOWEY which means Ten Orrible Women Every Year and basically he treats girls like 'one of the lads' but girls like the Romance and would be annoyed with him (not all of them) so the band used to say "She's been Towzered" ....when they poured a pint of beer over his head!
Paul Taylor recalls....
The Boundary, Oldham - BANNED FOR LIFE after second set, and threatened with Police if we did not stop playing!
De La Salle College Campus, Rochdale - BANNED after first set (Can't remember why we were banned from here, but I suspect it was probably for throwing beer or something in the crowd)
Since all this I have had to tell my wife i used to go on stage in a dog collar ballet tights and a jock strap, thatís gone down really well!!!
|Neal Drennan||Paul Taylor||Gerard Towey||Mark Grabowski|
|The band heading into their rehearsal room which was in fact an old air raid shelter that was left over from the Second World War and was situation in the back garden of 'Ged Towey's parents house.|
|Gerard Towey||Neal Drennan|
|Gerard Towey||Joey||Patrick Towey||Neal Drennan|
|Enjoying a well earned Holiday to (you've got it) BENIDORM. We were paying homage to Mr Savin wine at 50p per bottle and could only afford to Camp as Punks.|
Patrick Towey, John Butt & Phil Kiddi were the trusty Road Crew.
Thanks to Ged Towey, Neal Drennan, Mark Grabowski, Paul Taylor, Chris Connelly & Chris Hewitt.
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