Dave Vale - Vocals  Rich Meyrick - Guitar
 Guy Wenger - Bass Ivor Claridge - Drums



Above is the double sided acetate that the band cut in the studio with the Dead Airmen tracks on the other side. This is the only copy made and is now in poor condition. However, the tracks by both bands have been restored with modern technology and will appear on the 'Bored Teenagers' volume 6 compilation.


Rich Meyrick Guy Wenger Dave Vale Ivor Claridge
(Left to right, then sitting down)
The above photo was taken at the pig farm in Uley, just outside Dursley were the band used to rehearse. The pigs were underneath and the band played in the loft above the pigs…


 Gloucester in 1979 was a bit of a dump, but for some reason had a number of excellent venues close by; Whitcombe Lodge and The Plough in nearby Cheltenham were on most good band’s touring schedule. After six months of bumping into each other at the same gigs around the area, Dave, Rich, Guy and Ivor decided to get a band together. Dave and Rich knew each other from school, and had never played or sung before, while Guy and Ivor had been playing together in a heavy rock band for a few years.

 It was the backbone of the rhythm that gave the other two freedom to figure out what they were up to – and learn on the go. Their first gig was at Whitcombe Lodge two weeks later, supporting ex-damned Guitarist, Brian James’ new band, the Brain. Playing a mix of their own stuff padded out with a couple of covers – including a breakneck version of Del Shannon’s Runaway, they went down really badly. Perhaps it was the shit name, Protein Pigs. (The band used to rehearse in a pig farm).

 A name change later, and the Vox Phantoms had dropped most of the covers, learned a few more chords and bought a decent fuzz box. There was now the semblance of a sound and they started going down pretty well at local gigs, supporting everyone from dub bands like Pressure Shocks to the UK Subs as they passed through town. They even started sharing headlines at a few shows with other local bands like Scream and Scream Again and Cheltenham’s Dead Airmen.

 The Phantoms and the Airmen often appeared together, so it was only natural when a local promoter asked them to put together a split single. With two bands and gear crowded into the back of Guy’s borrowed work transit, the bands headed to London to record at Berwick Street studio in Islington. At the desk, fresh from a session with dub maestro Prince Far I, was a young guy called Adrian Sherwood. Two takes for the Phantoms, two takes for the Airmen. That was the deal – then stick on the vocals and home.

 What could have been the breaking point for the band came when they landed the support slot on the Ruts UK tour. After just a couple of shows though, Malcolm Owen, the Rut’s singer was sacked by his band and the tour cancelled while he cleaned up. The last show was at Newport. The Ruts were at their peak, and the Phantoms were just hitting their stride.

 After that, things lost momentum. Malcolm’s death knocked the wind out of everyone and after a few more gigs, the last supporting Bad Manners in a half empty Theatre in Manchester, the band decided to call it a day. The single was mastered but never released.


Vox Phantoms photo shoot in the local graveyard.


Back stage


Backstage at 'Whitcombe Lodge'.


Rich & Dave live on stage at 'Whitcombe Lodge'.


Rich live on stage at 'Whitcombe Lodge'.


The above snippets appeared in "Sounds" on 15th September 1979.


Above is an original Gig poster for the 'Whitcombe Lodge' that featured 'The UK Subs', 'The Beat Pilots', 'Boss Pussy's', 'Medium Medium', 'The Vox Phantoms', 'The Dead Airmen', 'Black Flag' & 'Scream & Scream Again' from Saturday 15th September 1979.


Above is an original Gig poster for 'The Vox Phantoms' & 'The Dead Airmen'


Above is an original Gig poster for 'The Alternative Venue' at the 'Jamaican Sports & Social Club' in Gloucester for 'Spizz Energi', 'Essential Logic'', 'The Dead Airmen' & 'The Vox Phantoms' from Friday 16th November 1979.


Above is an original Gig poster For 'The Barn', Bishops Cleeve for 'Destroy All Monsters', The Vox Phantoms' & The Dead Airmen' from Saturday 29th September 1979.


Above is an original Gig poster 'The Slits', 'The Xtraverts', 'Creation Rebel', 'Moa Ambassa', 'The Dead Airmen' & 'The Vox Phantoms' from 'The Town Hall', High Wycombe from Wednesday 19th December 1979.

Poster supplied by Tim & Colleen Watts


Thanks to Rich Meyrick & Pete Ratcliffe



©Detour Records