Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Herb Garden

The Herb Garden, Tamworth Arts Centre, July 30th, 1989.
The Herb Garden, Tamworth Arts Centre, July 30th, 1989.
Photograph courtesy: Mark Mortimer

The photograph shows The Herb Garden, Tamworth Arts Centre, July 30th, 1989. Pictured far right is Rob Cross who was previously in the Ferocious Apaches (circa 1987-1988) and later went on to be in the Liverpool-based indie chart hitting band Mister Ray's Wig World. Lead singer, Lisa Anderson.

Gigs:
25/01/90
Bash Out The Odd
Herb Garden
Graysons
Nuneaton

04/02/90
Dance Stance
Herb Garden
Lincolns

Tamworth Arts Centre – tonight (Friday)
Bash Out The Odd return to the Arts Centre with their new line-up and new set. The band, who are embarking on a series of dates at the moment, will join and alternative-based line-up which also features new local heroes Flowers in the Attic. The Flowers, who describe themselves in their festival biog as having a Bunneymen/Doors sound, will be joined by yet another flowery band in the Herb Garden. A fourth group may also be added to an impressive looking line-up and if the bands can get people out of the ‘I won’t go to a gig on a Friday’ mode, it should be a good night.

 

The Herb Garden taken at Aston, Birmingham in 1989
The Herb Garden taken at Aston, Birmingham in 1989.
Photograph: Nichola Musgrove

Tamworth Herald – 14/07/89
Musicbox – Reviews in Brief

The Herb Garden – Tamworth Arts Centre
A new band in Tamworth, but I was impressed with their original sound. The girl singer had a really nice voice although she wasn’t quite loud enough. I thought their last song was fabby! Review Mark from Kingsbury.

Tamworth Herald – 28/07/89
Musicbox – Bash on again!
BASH Out The Odd make up for their non-appearance at the Tamworth Rock Festival with a special headlining show at the Arts Centre on Sunday night.

The bash-em squad team up with two already well established altos, The Big Muff and the Herb Garden, for a triple decker which has already proven a success locally.

So, if you want to catch up with three bands that didn’t make the festival (just how many bands has this area got!) you know where to be on Sunday night. It’s the Arts Centre, its at 8pm and the more of you there, the merrier.

Tamworth Herald – 18/08/89
Musicbox – Flower Power!
Tamworth Arts Centre will stage a unique ‘Flower Pop Festival’ on Sunday night.

The gig will feature five bands described as representing the crème of Indie talent in the Midlands.

Spearheading the whole show will be Andy Lane’s new act Infinity Incorporated. This features former Birdland and Psychedelicatessen man Andy lane, another Psych export Marie Hayes, ex-Reptile Paul Aspel and Sons of Rest mad Tim Adkins.

Together the group will be making their debut under their new name although a demo they have already produced has already earned a Brum Bear review of ‘wonderously awful’.

The full line-up for this five act happening is as follows…

Big In Texas – A strong Coventry based band who have apparently earned their place in the gig because one of them ‘fancies Steven’. Don’t ask me I only write this stuff.

The Herb Garden – Described as ‘the unsung heroes of Tamworth’s Indie scene’ they feature Tim and Lisa of 14 Jackies fame and former Apache Rob Cross.

The New Puritans – Wonderful Buzzcock-guitar ripping act described by my Flowers in the Attic informant as ‘David Gedge style hurtling guitar pop music’.

Flowers in the Attic – Described by Flowers in the Attic as ‘the best indie dance band in Tamworth’ (well they would say that wouldn’t they) I can confirm that is a mighty outfit with echoes of the Echo’s amazing vocal and guitar work. Excellent gear.

Infinity Incorporated – Otherwise known as Friction, this new band promises to be quite the show stealers. Composed of a seriously experienced line-up, they promise to be an eye-opening and toe-tapping headliner.

That’s the package then, and a pretty good one it is too. The local Indie scene continues to thrive and if you want to see why, get along at 8pm PRONTO on Sunday night to find out.

The venue is the Arts Centre, the cost is a mere £1.50 and the scenario is for FUN!

Tamworth Herald – 25/08/89
Musicbox – Review Special

The Herb Garden – Tamworth Arts Centre
The band that got most of the attention and praise at Sunday’s Flower Festival night – and it was easy to see why. This was stylised and serene Anglo Indie-pop, played with verve, nerve and sensitivity. At times it was deliberately broody and downbeat, but at others it crept into commercial waters and managed to swim therein very well indeed. Excellent Sugarcubish vocals and occasionally haunting guitars combined to make a set which grew in confidence as it grew in stature. A major surprise and a major singing discovery too methinks.

Tamworth Herald – 01/09/89
Musicbox – Guitarist wanted
The Herb Garden, who were so impressive at their Arts Centre show a fortnight ago, want a guitarist to join their stylish Indie-pop band.

If you fancy ‘touring the world’ with the Gardeners then ring Lisa.

Tamworth Herald – 08/09/89
Musicbox
Tonight’s proposed Arts Centre Sonic Noise show is going ahead despite some confusion. It costs 99p, features (among others) the Herb Garden and the Ferocious Apaches and starts at 8pm. We apologise for the limited info but we were assured up to the last moment that the show was cancelled.

Tamworth Herald – 10/11/89
Musicbox – Gig Reviews
Freelance correspondent ROBERT HODDLE kindly supplied me with reviews of these two gigs last week. Our thanks to him and on with the show(s)…

The Herb Garden (Tamworth Arts Centre)
A much improved and very interesting sound. I was apprehensive as to how they would sound with new man Rob Kinson but he certainly seemed to add a new dimension creatively. One problem was their visual aspect – i.e. there isn’t any! One thing though, I strongly suspected their was a little foul play on Sunday as throughout their set the main lights were left on and when someone kindly turned them off, they were promptly switched on again. Come on!

The Herb Garden (Corvettes)
Surprised to see these again so soon. Tonight their sound was a bit off. It sounded slightly nervous, probably due to playing a different venue, though for the first time you could actually hear Lisa, the singers voice (and with their being no PA, that’s not bad!) Their songs are short and to the point, very like minimalistic music, once the point of the song has been put across, that’s it. It also stops you from becoming bored so before you know it, the set is over. The only thing I find strange is that there was no audience reaction on this packed night. Do they think that they’re not supposed to clap for the first band on?

All reviews by ROBERT HODDLE

Tamworth Herald – 10/11/89
Musicbox – News, Snips
The Herb Garden who have been very active of late (see reviews) have announced three more pre-Christmas shows. The band who joined Bash Out The Odd at the Barrell Organ on Monday, will be in action on November 30 at the Blue Posts, Burton (with Emma Gibbs and The Sherbert Trees) on December 3 at Lincolns and on December 13 at the Turfs Club, Cannock. More details of these shows as and when we get them.

Tamworth Herald – 17/11/89
Musicbox – Corvettes
MUSICBOX received this alternative freelance review of last week’s Corvettes show which we thought we would print because it was almost as snarling as a Jo Marsh review. The writer is one Michael Lewis, so take it away Mikey-baby…

A DOUR night
A had gone to Corvettes expecting some good music considering the strong line-up. I was most disappointed. First on were the Herb Garden who played in total darkness and nearly made me commit suicide. The P.A. or lack of it was the main reason for all the trouble. All the vocals were too loud.

Next up were ‘Infinity Incorporated’. I had seen them before, so I expected a lot. They played well but the vocals drowned everything out and the drums were non-existent.

The audience crammed into a matchbox sized room didn’t help. I’ve seen more life in a cemetery. After about five sings ‘Infinity’ gave up and just messed about. Come on lads, you can do better than this! But I did like the song where the lead singer rambled on about Neil Young!

‘Bash Out The Odd’ were next. I thought I was witnessing the rebirth of ‘The Teardrop Explodes’. Never mind more loud vocals and blandness. King Woderick could have saved the night, but they didn’t. They were obviously drunk and sounded like a nightmare. But as I’ve said before the audience didn’t help.

They have some decent band to see and they don’t react. Was it that bad?

Yes it probably was.

Michael Lewis
(Depressed of Mile Oak)

Tamworth Herald – 01/12/89
Great Stan’s Weekend BlowoutMusicbox – What a Blowout!
Great Stan’s Weekend Blowout

TAMWORTH will this weekend host three unique concerts to raise money for the town’s ambitious alternative-comic project.

Three shows – one concentrating on r ‘n’ b, one on alternative comedy and one on top quality local music – will combine during the course of the next three days in a unique moneyraiser.

Tonight the Old Liberal House in Amington will host ‘a stompin’, gut rockin’, hard drivin’ rootsy rhythm and blues’ session, on Saturday night the venue is the Castle Hotel for a special alternative comedy show and then on Sunday night Lakins will stage a splendid Indie rock bash bringing the likes of Bash Out The Odd and the Yogots alongside Birmingham favourites Korova Milkbar.

All the shows, plus one held at Manhattan’s last night (Thursday) are designed to bring money pouring into the coffers of Tamworth’s alternative comiczine ‘The Great Stan’s Comic’. It is hoped that the first edition packed full of silly comic strips, attacks on the local and national music and arts scene and much else will be out in January and the success of this weekend will really get it moving.

“We are all very ambitious about this,” said organiser Chris Gould. “We want to make the comic as professional as possible and we need the money to do so. Hopefully these three shows can really help us.”

So what exactly can you feats your ears on this weekend. Well, read on and find out…

R and B Special
Tonight (Friday) – Amington Liberal House
If you like to boogie woogie to foot-stomping r and b then the only place to be tonight is the Amington Liberal House in Woodhouse Lane. Our own Also Smith and Jones and the spiffing Eight Ball Joe will team up with the classy no messing style of the Pink Cadillacs and the excellent Mighty House Rockers. The Rockers are regarded as real floorshakers and they already have an album and radio work to their credit. Put together this is a night which should really get the r and b crazies going and it costs a mere £3.50 for four top class outfits. Worth it to see Dave Smith’s wincing alone but you will get even more for your money than that. Starts 7.30pm, ends 11.

Comic Show
Saturday night – The Castle Hotel
It’s smile time again as the Great Stan spearheads a four comedian (and one band) show at the Castle Hotel. Billed as The Blowout Party it features comedians Terry Cavell, Tim Lacy, Ken Bell and the Great Stan alongside Little Terry’s Blues Band. Terry Cavell is described as ‘libellous humour’, Tim Lacy is regarded as THE man to watch on the Midlands scene and Ken Bell is a fast moving and original comedian. As for Stanley he is doing his ‘best of Stan routine’ a collection of (and I quote) ‘the world’s greatest comedy routines’. Sounds are provided by r n b men the Little Terry’s Blues band and it starts at 8pm costs £2.50.

Indie Bash
Sunday night – Lakins nightclub
A unique Sunday night venue for a rather unique collection of bands. Lakins opens its doors on the night to welcome in local heroes, Bash Out The Odd, King Wodericks and the Herb Garden and fast-rising Birmingham squad Korova Milkbar. You don’t need any introductions to the three local bands except for they are all very good indeed, while Korova Milkbar are made up of ex-members of Wunderstuff stablemates The Surf Drums. Much noise is being made about the Korovas and remember it is in Tamworth where the Wunderstuff started to blossom so you could be on the groundfloor of another major success story. The whole bash costs just £2.50 so get along (and remember it is LAKINS) and have a boogie. Starts 7.30pm.

Got all that? Right, get along to as much of the above as you can and give the comic a boost. You’ll die laughing if you don’t.

Tamworth Herald – 15/12/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Herb Garden are looking for a bass player with ‘ability and new ideas’. So if you fit the bill, give Tim a ring.

Tamworth Herald – 15/12/89
Musicbox – Review
Neat Night in Night Club!
The Great Stans Indie Bash (Lakins)
LAKINS is not the most obvious place to go to see live music in Tamworth. More associated with using your ears for music and your eyes for lust instead of all your senses for pop music, it is a strange feeling to see people hit the Lakins floor for anything other than the latest Madonna single. But, Lakins does suit live music quite perfectly. The bar is in such a position that you can order your pint while still eyeballing what the guitarist is doing to his axe and there are nice comfy chairs at the back when the going gets tough and the tough get a headache.

The only drawback I found from this surprising expedition was the fact that in a bizarre Freudian twist, the groups played on the floor while the audience were raised above them on a stage of sorts. Such a swap has a therapeutic effect on those of us without the gall to hit the stage on your own merits, but does tend to mean that any musician under seven feet tall struggle to assert themselves.

Lisa, the talented singer from the Herb Garden, is certainly not seven feet tall and not only did she have to face everybody’s kneecaps before anyone else, but she was also saddled with a pretty dreadful opening number which gave no hint of the many wonderments to come. For there were certainly Herb Garden wonderments to behold, oh reader. There were one or two songs that were straightforward pop gems and one or two tunes which swayed the audience with a gentle but commanding force. Also wonderful was the guitar work of in particular Mr. Rob Kinson, Esq. A man who has clearly found his niche, found his confidence and found a skilful and original touch. With Lisa improving by the second and ending on an absolute peak, I was left feeling there were roses in bloom in this quickly blossoming Herb garden.

Equally impressive were The Yogots, a band for whom no superlative is now an over-statement. They were simply excellent again showing melodic strength and understanding, and a very keenly developed sense of audience pleasing. The keyboard work by the charismatic new key tinkler was first-class throughout bringing the inevitable Holliday adulation of being ‘Stranglerish’ while the vocals leapt out of the speakers and grabbed every available organ with venom. Truly one of the great bands of this area, and any group that can afford to leave out a classic like ‘Mind Disease’ simply must be contenders. Wickedly good.

Third up were Korova Milkbar, who were an altogether calmer experience. They had real touch of class, showing their ability to use the best ideas that new Order have created in their own brand of modern pop. The New Order cloud hung over their whole set, but the quality of their own tunes was like a ray of sunshine bursting through the plagiarism. A fine band and let’s face it, if you are going to try and copy anyone, it may as well be one of the all-time greats.

And so to the finale, the ever-popular Bash Out The Odd. It had been eons since I last saw them and by the end of the night. I wondered why it had taken me so long to lap up their bountiful wares again. The band hasn’t changed a great deal in recent months, but they have certainly improved and diversified to the point that the set is beautifully executed and includes nothing remotely like a filler track. Every precious tune and riff has to prove its worth in a Bash out song and there is no room for anything without the hallmark of pop quality. Relative oldies sit happily next to new and vital numbers and they all share the same ingredients of melody, musical power and blistering brass. Vocal king Mark Brindley continues to hypnotise as his Copeish overtones reach the parts other singers cannot reach, while Stu Blane once again proved that on his day he is in a class of his own.

Overall, this was a heady mixture of pop sensibility and soaring, searing guitars all of which combined to delight a partisan, but clearly impressed, Lakins crowd. End result? Four good bands, one good venue and one very pleasant evening indeed.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Lincolns has announced a string of shows for the next few Sundays. On Feb 4 Dance Stance are back alongside The Herb Garden, on Feb 11 it’s the Motorcycle Boy and support, on Feb 18 Rumblefish will be joined by The New Puritans and on Feb 25, Where Gardens Fall will headline. More info as and when.

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Herb Garden are looking to grow in as many out of town venues as possible. If you are planning any non-Tamworth shows and are looking for a willing support ring Tina or Lisa.

Tamworth Herald - 02/02/90
Musicbox - Dance in the Attic
Tamworth’s wildly extravagant music scene offers you, the punter, no less that THREE very differing shows this weekend.

Tonight (Friday) the Euphoria experience takes over the Arts Centre and then on Sunday night once again you are faced with a choice.

At the Tamworth Arts Centre, Bunnyboy’s Flowers In The Attic team up with The Sonics while down at the Lincolns soulsters Dance Stance will make their second appearance in recent months alongside the Herb Garden.

It leaves you once again with a puzzler about where to park yourself on Sunday but here are a few clues to what you can expect throughout the whole weekend…

Lincolns - Dance Stance/ The Herb Garden

The new Lincolns venue provides the backdrop for one of the areas best old bands and one of the best new ones. The Dance Stance - who were in action at the Empire, Leicester Square on Monday - will be bringing about their big, bold and brassy soul sound to your ears with the able backing of the sweet alternative pop of The Herb Garden. For the Stance it will be a chance to cash in on their triumphant Amington Liberal House show before Christmas while for the Herb Garden it will be a chance to show off their new line up and their fine array of original material. It lasts between 7.30 and 10.30 pm and looks to be a big fun event.

Tamworth Herald - 09/02/90
Musicbox - Herbs Grow And Dance Dance On!
Dance Stance, Herb Garden - Lincolns

Herb Garden
The first thing I discovered about Lincolns while watching this band was don't stand too far back. I thought I was in a pretty good position until I realised I couldn't see singer Lisa at all. All I could hear was her Siouxsiesque voice penetrating my ear drums but I never saw her until after the final crashing bar of the set. Still, never mind, what I did hear was more than enough to convince me that, although still far from flawless, the band are getting it together. There sound is a little better defined now, helped by a more powerful and urgent guitar sound and there are some very sweet moments amongst the occasionally sombre outpourings. At times the sound still drifts a little but there are definitely encouraging signs that this band knows what they want and where they are going. All they need now is to buy Lisa some stilts and we will ALL be happy.

Dear Sam,

I recently attended the gig at Lincolns, 4th February to watch Dance Stance/The Herb Garden. I saw you in the crowd, but I'm not at all sure you were paying attention judging by your reviews last week.

You have reviewed The Herb Garden before, and while you are always very careful not to offend, I detected an underlying opinion suggesting that this band were not really worth watching. So I went to watch, and what I saw (I must be taller than you) was a band who looked very nervous, but quite determined as they began their first number. Quite good, I thought.

Then as the next six or so tunes pumped out of the speakers, they grew in confidence and an important fact dawned on me: I was listening to a set of (all but one if I'm not mistaken) original material with a varied and melodic sound, which, even if played with fairly obvious amateurism, got to me much more than the tighter, and more professional offering from the more experienced headliners, Dance Stance.

Don't get me wrong, I have seen Dance Stance a couple of times before, and I can see that their several years experience has produced a band who rarely put a musical note wrong. But, isn't it all a tiny bit similar?

I mean, I only recognised the number they performed on Uncle Bob's T.V. show by the chorus lyrics. I'm sorry, but the tunes are too 'samey'.

Still I enjoyed the evening very much, Lincolns have a very good venue there - let's hope it continues to pull the crowds.

But, finally Sam, could you be a bit more encouraging towards Tamworth's 'young hopefuls', and remember that this is the Tamworth Herald, not the N.M.E., and the gig was a couple of unsigned bands playing Lincolns, not The Rolling Stones (Overpaid and overproduced) at the Hollywood Bowl!

Yours
Kerry McHugh
Glascote Heath

'N.M.E' Sam Holliday replies-
This is a truly remarkable letter because it flies in the face of all the criticisms that is usually thrown at me. Most people say that I am far too kind to our local bands and write too many nice things about them and yet here is a suggestion that I need to be MORE encouraging. In a sense I see that as a compliment that at last someone has spotted the devil in me! As for The Herb Garden well, there is definitely promise there but it will take more time to fully blossom and I'm sure the band realise that. I think they have got better with every gig and at this stage no one can ask for more. Your views on the Dance Stance are up to you and I know the band are not everyone's taste. But to me they represent true professionalism and real class and when they do hit upon that one killer tune which you perhaps rightly point out is still missing, I predict they will blow the charts apart. Thanks for writing anyway and I WILL try and remember that these are Tamworth venues and not the Hollywood Bowl. I don't think that will be too hard actually.

Tamworth Herald – 20/04/90
Musicbox – Local gig reviews and comments

King Woderick and The Yogots/Herb Garden/Benny Profane (Night Moves)
THE Yogots were on stage five minutes after the doors opened due to the fact that the lead vocalist had to be at the airport for 9pm, which is why they cut short their set.

Despite that, their performance wasn’t rushed, and they delivered an impressive set that received an enthusiastic response from the handful that had arrived promptly.

The Yogots certainly have the foundations of a strong pop sound and are creating a certain originality in their music. They have plenty of good tunes but they should be wary of trying to do too much at once.

Next up were the Herb Garden, although the vocalist, Lisa, has a distinctive voice and their songs make a pleasing sound, they have yet to capture that sparkle that will make them stand out from the crowd.

By the time headliners Benny Profane came on Nightmoves had a healthy crowd in attendance. Both of the previous bands could learn a lesson from a band that have been causing quite a stir.

Report by Belvedere.


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