Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Love On Board

Love On Board
Love On Board
Photograph courtesy: Tamworth Herald
The Gallery

Musical Genre/Type: Pop
Formed: 1983 Split: 1986

Band Members:
Neil Jones (Guitar and Vocals)
Nick Reed (Lead guitar and vocals)
John Twist (Drums)
Glenn Lewis (Bass)

Other Band Members:
John Clarke (Bass)

Gigs:
06/07/84
Sitting Pretty
Love On Board

Tamworth Arts Centre

11/08/84
Love On Board
Classified Ads
Mystic Hero

Tamworth Arts Centre

08/09/84
Elusive They
Love On Board

Tamworth Arts Centre

08/02/85
Edward ian Armchair
The Parade
Love On Board
Tamworth Arts Centre

24/05/85
Happy Content
Love On Board

Tamworth Arts Centre

14/01/85
Dickens
Gaf The Horse In Tears
Love On Board
Tamworth Assembly Rooms

28/06/85
Love On Board
A5
Tamworth Arts Centre

05/07/85
Love On Board
Nuneaton

12/07/85
Femme Fatale
Love On Board
Tamworth Arts Centre

15/07/85
Love On Board
Another Promise
Tamworth Arts Centre

17/07/85
A5
Love On Board
Tamworth Arts Centre

17/08/85
A5
Love On Board
Tamworth Arts Centre

27/09/85
Love On Board
Breaking Point
The Royal Family
Tamworth Arts Centre

09/12/90
The Dream Factory
Love On Board

The Rathole

Tamworth Herald Features:

Tamworth Herald – 09/09/83
Musicbox – Love on Board are going places
A NEW Tamworth band with a modern pop sound are all set to burst on to the local scene.

For Love On Board, a young quartet, are planning a tour of a host of venues in the town.

“We don’t know when or where as yet, but we think it would be the best way to introduce ourselves to the area,” said guitarist Neil Jones.

And the band’s ambition doesn’t end there. They already see the group as more than just a hobby and drummer John Twist in particular is keen to move on to bigger venues in Birmingham as soon as possible.

“We all see the group in different ways,” said Neil, “but we all want to go forward and take this very seriously.”

Love On Board – who must share the prize for the most intriguing name with the Dead Captain Speaks – were formed earlier this year and comprise Neil Jones, guitar and vocals, Nick Reed, lead guitar and vocals, John Twist, drums and John Clarke bass.

The band’s influences are Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and the cult band Friends Again.

“We have a very modern sound which we think could become very popular in the town,” said the 17-year-old Neil.

Confident

The band have already written a large quota of songs with titles like ‘The Colour of Your Eyes’ and ‘Summer Sunday’ and as well as taking their sound onto the road they also hope to get down to some recording in the near future.

And they feel confident that audiences in Tamworth – and beyond – will find there is plenty more interesting things about the band than their name…

“We hope to become one of the top bands in the area because we are playing music which has not been to well catered for up to now,” said Neil.

Tamworth Herald – 03/02/84
Musicbox – Snips
Love On Board, the highly promising new acoustic dance band who list the brilliant Aztec Camera as one of their biggest influences, have now completed their line-up and are all ready to take their sound onto the road. The new member is Glen Lewis who joins on bass. The band should be making their Tamworth debut shortly.

Tamworth Herald – 13/04/84
Musicbox – Snips
LOVE ON BOARD, the promising young outfit who recently won a local talent contest, have told their fans that they will soon be back in action. The band who had to cancel gigs when guitarist Nick Reed was involved in a serious road accident recently, say they are staying together and indeed are bursting with confidence and determination to get on stage as soon as Nick is up and about again. Musicbox would like to add a ‘get-well-soon’ message to Nick because like many others, we can hardly wait to see this exciting young outfit live on stage!

Tamworth Herald – 25/05/84
Musicbox - Curtain up on a busy weekend
Band box full of tricks…

TAMWORTH Arts Centre will be under the spotlight again over the weekend when it plays host to two of the most intriguing gigs in the town for many months.

Tonight sees the welcome return to the town stage of The Magnets who will be playing with enterprising young synth duo Select Elect. And just 24 hours later the hard working Sitting Pretty will be joined by new outfit Love On Board who will be making their first town centre appearance.

Tonight’s concert will be particularly interesting for it will be the first time the immensely popular Magnets will be playing live since reducing their line-up – and their name.

Rikk Quay has left, the words Those Attractive have been dropped from the moniker, and The Magnets are now a totally different proposition.

The once-familiar backing tracks have been dropped and the band are now going to play their new-look set totally live.

As an indication of what the listener can expect, the band have just released a new two-track demo recorded recently at Steve Adams’ studio.

Both songs reveal a new depth and commercial aspect to the Magnets’ sound and both – particularly the magnificent ‘Breath On Breath’ – show that the band has been given a whole new lease of life and should soon be chasing once again the crown as the town’s top band.

Alongside the Magnets will be kindred spirits Select Elect, a band whose confidence and enthusiasm has never faltered since their first impressive gig last November.

Good reaction

The band whose music sounds at times like early Human league, now have several more songs at their disposal and with the right mix and a good reaction from the crowd, Select Elect can do their career a power of good by turning in an entertaining set tonight.

Another band who will be keen to win over the town’s audiences are the new quartet Love On Board who are literally bursting with anticipation to play at the Arts Centre.

The group, who had to delay their debut concert when guitarist Nick Read was involved in a serious road crash earlier this year, have already won a local talent contest although they see Saturday’s gig as their first real test in Tamworth terms.

“We are hoping that Tamworth will like what we have to offer and we are very keen to see how we go down on Saturday,” said Nick.

The band who were recently strengthened by the addition of the energetic Glenn Lewis on bass, say their sound is similar in parts to modern pop outfit Orange Juice and Friends Again.

It is certainly a sound that will never have been heard in Tamworth before and for that reason alone, Love On Board are guaranteed a captive audience.

Also guaranteed an enthralled audience are Sitting Pretty. The band who are now coming under close scrutiny from the record companies, should be releasing their debut single in a couple of weeks and Tamworth fans will be able to hear the contents in their live form by popping along to see the group in action tomorrow.

The weekend’s gigs conclude four such events in the space of just three days. At one time it would have seemed impossible in a place like Tamworth and shows just how the town scene has improved over the past few months.

All it will take is two big audiences at these gigs (which both start at 8pm) to confirm that the Tamworth scene is now healthier than it has ever been.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 01/06/84
Musicbox - Winning Message for Love on Board
Love On Board/Sitting Pretty – Tamworth Arts Centre

Love On BoardWHEN Love On Board stepped out to play their first major gig in Tamworth, the apprehension on all their faces was clear to see. After being forced to delay their debut appearance for many months, the quartet were understandably nervous to play to an eager and very large Arts Centre crowd.

At first the nerves began to tell in the music but gradually, as the band’s confidence began to grow, so did the appreciation of an audience unused to the group’s original and quite refreshing sound.

Love On Board are an acoustic-based outfit who play modern pop music – with an emphasis on strong melodies and rather lush atmospheres.

They came over as a mixture of The Farmers Boys, Aztec Camera and early Orange Juice although they still create an original feel all of their own. Particularly enterprising is the acoustic bass sound of Glenn Lewis which makes for a very restive change from normal grinding bass lines.

At times, however, the combination of an acoustic bass, an acoustic guitar and a lead guitar makes for a rather cluttered sound and if the group were less determined to use all the instruments all the time it would increase the effect they are trying to achieve.

As songwriters, however, Love On Board, certainly seem one step ahead of their contemporaries as they can write simple and endearing pop tunes and place them side by side with uptempo songs with far greater depth.

Favourites on first hearing were the cheery “Holiday, Holiday” and the catchy and very memorable “Crazier Than Most.” The latter song closed the bands set and after ignoring a few cheers for an encore, the group disappeared into entirely unjustified post-gig depression.

They felt they had let people down and not played very well – but they were wrong. As a gig itself it was an enjoyable entertaining affair but as a debut performance it showed so much promise and potential to convince me that they will soon be a tour-de-force in the town.

In fact Love On Board only have to look at headliners Sitting Pretty, who show just how quickly a band can be transformed into a winning, consistent, combination.

Sitting Pretty have reached the stage now when the tight, well rehearsed sound they produce is so clinically executed as to give it an almost studio-like quality. They rattle every number off with a professionalism and enthusiasm that makes them immensely listenable -even if visually they would be the first to admit they hardly set the world alight.

The band really are crying out for a frontman and with every other aspect of their sound and set spot on, you can’t help feeling that a frontman would be the straw that would finally break the record companies’ back and get Sitting Pretty their much-craved deal.

As it was the crowd loved it (again) and after the show the band were called on to sign autographs – something that they now seem to take very much in their stride.

A few months ago Sitting Pretty were a nervous, relatively unknown outfit and now they have a large following, a single out this week and an optimism that is infectious.

There is a message there for Love On Board. I hope they are patient enough to allow their style and ability to shine through as they become more seasoned at their art.

SH

Tamworth Herald – 29/06/84
Musicbox – New peaks from three strong bands
Gig reviews – Just a quick plug for three young bands I recently saw live and thoroughly enjoyed…

LOVE ON BOARD, Nuneaton
If you fancy a good night out, DON’T go to Nuneaton – but do go to see Love On Board. For in spite of playing in an insipid town to a dreary audience. Love On Board overshadowed even their Art Centre debut with a very jolly and entertaining set. Filled with new zest and confidence, they turned in a relaxed set which never faltered once and had more peaks than many a mountain range.

Tamworth Herald – 03/08/84
Musicbox - Snips
LOVE ON BOARD, the modern pop quartet who have quickly established themselves as one of the town’s top bands, have sent out an urgent appeal for a manager. The group, whose material embraces musical influences from Velvet Underground to Aztec Camera, feel that a manager will give them just the edge they want to take them out onto the road to success. As The Dream Factory have proved, there is simply no alternative to having a non-playing member of the band taking full charge of arranging gigs and so Love On Board are keen to find someone young, keen and enthusiastic to help them.

Tamworth Herald – 10/08/84
Musicbox - Come join the bands
It’s going to be another hectic week end for gig-goers, with five of Tamworth’s top bands in action over the next two nights at the Arts Centre.

Tonight (Friday) The Elusive They will headline the first show alongside the rejuvenated Talk Back, who have promised a totally different set.

And the tomorrow night, ever active Love On Board will headline a show which will also feature the return of The Classified Ads and confident pop outfit Mystic Hero.

Tonight’s two-band show looks interesting for a number of reasons. The Elusive They, who made such an impression with the loopy Delusions of Grandeur, have a rich synthesiser based sound which has more than a touch of Soft Cell about it. Avoiding many of the normal synth band clichés, the group play an enthusiastic set of originals which are made all the more palatable by the buoyant onstage antics of the trio.

They are the sort of band who are determined to enjoy themselves no matter what anyone else thinks and it is that easy-going attitude that will probably make them a big hit tonight.

Support act Talk Back, who are probably one of Tamworth’s most consistent live acts, have promised a totally different set to what spectators may have been used to in the past. The band have spent a long time writing new material in time for the Bank Holiday Rock Festival and they are keen to test the water at the Arts Centre in advance.

The gig is set for an 8pm kick-off and tickets should be available on the door.

Twenty-four hours later on Saturday night, Love On Board will step out to headline at what is expected to be a capacity Arts Centre gig. The band, who have made the summer all their own, have a very broad-based appeal wrapping up several musical passages inside a commercial framework which guarantees a big following.

They have a sound that fits into the current wave of ‘modern pop’, an all-embracing term covering bands such as Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Friends Again and The Farmers Boys. The band have several other elements creeping into their sound, chiefly a touch of the late 60s/early 70s, Lou Reed and Velvet Underground, which helps to add even more colour to their overall panorama.

The Velvets are a band who have also recently influenced support act the Classified Ads. The Ads who have gone through several waves and changes in their past four and a half years appear to be coming through their very black period and have added a touch more commerciality to their hard-edged new wave music. The band have promised a good visual display and are hoping to improve on what they see as their disastrous last appearance at the Centre.

Opening Saturday’s show will be lively quartet Mystic Hero who are bursting with enthusiasm and seem to improve with every show. Mystic Hero can also boast a very broad appeal and have the ability to combine simplistic pop songs with more meaty numbers packed with a carefully concealed warmth.

STOP PRESS
Elusive They and Love On Board two of the town’s keenest young bands, will step out tonight to play at Tamworth Arts Centre. The gig, which starts at 8pm looks like being another enjoyable night from two of the town’s most enthusiastic outfits.

Tamworth Herald 21/09/84
Musicbox - HAPPY BAND REV UP FOR NEW ERA
Love On Board – Arts Centre
THIS is possibly the most endearing and warm band I have ever seen. As individuals they are happy-go-lucky, friendly and completely genuine and as a band they are exactly the same.

The moment they hit the stage you WANT them to play well and be successful simply because they have an innate purity that travels all the way through their music. It is a sound full of passion and style packed with modern influences such as Aztec Camera and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. What made their recent Arts Centre show all the more enjoyable was the clear musical mix which let the audience hear – almost for the first time – the stylish and very skilful lead guitar work of Nick Read.

Unfortunately for the band the PA was a little less reliable. Neil Jones seemed to have a sponge between him and the microphone.

Despite this, the whole gig was a triumph for the band and certainly one of the best performances I have seen from the group. Shortly after the gig they announced they would be changing their name and it seems Love On Board will now be know as The Austin Healeys. So it is bye bye to Love On Board, it a sad bye, bye now we must wait ands see what the Healeys have to offer.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 11/01/85
Caption: Love On Board – a place in the Rock for Ethiopia gig, but a disappointment in the demo stakes. From left: John Twist, Neil Jones, Nick Reed and Glen’ Armadillo’ Lewis.Musicbox - And more news from the line-up…

Love On Board – Demo
I AM sure everyone knows that sinking feeling when you listen to a record by a band you really admire and it just doesn’t come up to expectations.

You keep playing it again and again in the hope that it will grow on you, but more often than not your disappointment just strengthens. Sadly this is exactly how I felt listening to this, the first demo by Love On Board.

As a band – and as individuals – I have liked and respected Love On Board from the start, and so I was very optimistic that this tape would make an immediate beeline for my heart. Well it didn’t. For all the fine musicianship and production on the tape, the band are let down by the most important thing of all – the songs.

Everyone who knows them live is aware that their set is made up of a neat mixture of uptempo commercial numbers and more serious, mesmerising tunes. It is a pleasant marriage of extremes but on this tape the diversity is divorced.

All four songs seem to be stuck in the middle between fun and seriousness – and we all know what happens when you walk down the middle path.

The best track of all is the opener ‘Goldmine’. This has the ever-present Love on Board ingredients of a good tune and nice sound and although the band may not like me for saying it, the songs sound exactly like teen-idol Nick Heyward.

That may sound a strange comparison, but just listen to Mr. Heyward the next time he’s on the radio – there is more to him than fluff.

Sterling

The second track ‘Love On Board’ is another good one which features a marvellous intro and some sterling bass work by Glenn Lewis. The vocal mix, however, is far too low and you get the nagging feeling that the whole song could just be that little bit harder.

That feeling grows bigger with the third track ‘Train Across The Canyon’. Why Love On Board put this track on the tape in preference to say ‘Holiday, Holiday’, I will never know.

‘Train’ is probably the worst song I have ever heard by the band. It’s theme and lyric (canyons!) is so American that it is almost irrelevant and with a line like @With your eyes so blue, I’m in love with you’, you could be listening to a forgettable country and western number.

Soothing

Finally, we have a far superior number which I think is called ‘Listening In’. This is a subtle song which is well-written and soothing. It is 4 o’clock in the morning music and displays – as throughout the tape – some marvellous guitar mastery by Nick read who really shines on these tracks as a guitarist to be reckoned with.

So, three goodish songs and one bad song. That may not seem horrendous but the thing that is disappointing is that I – and Love On Board I’m sure – know the band can do much, much better.

They are a great band but this is not a great tape, yet I’m convinced they will bounce straight back with something bolder and better the next time they venture into the studio.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 01/02/85
Musicbox – TOWN’S OWN BAND AID PROVES SUCCESS
ALTHOUGH Musicbox has decided not to do a full scale review of last week’s Ethiopia concert, we would like to take the opportunity to praise everyone involved in the epic event.

All the organisers did a superb job but their task was made all the more easy by six bands who showed an unselfish and very co-operative desire to make the event run as smoothly as possible.

Hence the times were adhered to, the bands performed with enthusiasm and every one of the acts played well.

The Royal Family delighted everyone who saw them, Breaking Point turned in perhaps their greatest set ever (no small feat) and there were also rave reviews for all the bands with a special mention going to Love On Board who really turned on the style.

So for every person that helped to make the event such a success Musicbox can only say a sincere ‘well done’. It’s not very often we can feel so proud to live in Tamworth, but last Tuesday night we certainly could.

Tamworth Herald – 01/02/85
Caption: The original Royal Family…surely one of the favourites for the Battle of the Bands contest.Musicbox – Bands get set to do battle in gig five-nighter

TAMWORTH is to stage its first-ever ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition next month. The contest, to find Tamworth’s top group, is part of the Young People’s Arts Festival event which is held in the town every two years.

The contest will stretch over five nights at the Tamworth Arts Centre and 16 bands have been lined up to chase the first prize of a special trophy.

The way the contest is run is simple. There will be four qualifying heats with the winners of each earning themselves a guaranteed place in the final.

In addition, there will be a place for the best runner-up, to make a five-band final on Saturday February 23.

The idea for the contest has been around for a long time, following the repeated success of a similar venture in Burton. When the idea was put before Tamworth’s bands, the contest was greeted with universal enthusiasm.

The award follows hot on the heels of Musicbox’s own popular top band contest in which Dream factory took first place.

Competing

The contest gets underway on Thursday, February 14, when Dance Stance, One On One, Love On Board and The Original Royal Family will be competing for a final place.

On each of the four nights each band will be given a maximum of 25 minutes to impress the five judges, who will each give points on content, presentation and, in tru ‘New Faces’ style, star quality.

The acts will be marked out of 10 for content and five for the other two categories, enabling the five judges to award a maximum of 100 points between them.

For the overall winner in each heat, their place in the final is ensured, but for the second-placed bands there will be a nail-biting wait to see which runners-up have the highest points.

As an added incentive, all the five finalists have been guaranteed a place in the August Bank Holiday Festival.

Each of the qualifying heat concerts will cost just 50p admission, and the final, on February 23, will cost 60p. For the bands themselves it will be a unique chance to see who is the local ‘top of the pops’, but for the Tamworth public, it will mean five very good – and very cheap – concerts.

The full night by night line-up is printed below.

Thursday 14th
Dance Stance, One On One, Love On Board, Original Royal Family

Friday 15th
Child’s Play, Wolfsbane, Pulsebeat, Scarab

Saturday 16th
A5, Spirit of Water, Ideal Standard, Sitting Pretty

Friday 22nd
Breaking point, BHX, Caprice, Sacred Oath

Tamworth Herald – 08/02/85
Musicbox – Sitting in on a poet with the pits at heart
Caption: Edward ian Armchair…out of retirement to support the miners.TAMWORTH’S alternative poet Edward ian Armchair will come out of retirement tonight to join The Parade and Love On Board in the first ever miners’ benefit concert in the town.

Edward who gave up stagework in 1983, felt it was time local musicians did something positive to support the miners – and so he decided to take the initiative himself.

After gaining the support of fellow sympathisers The Parade and Love On Board, Edward booked the Arts Centre and is now set to perform tonight’s unique show.

“Although I gave up performing a while ago, I have wanted to do a miners’ benefit for several months, and so I finally made the decision to go ahead and do it,” said Edward.

He is convince that local young people support the miners’ cause, and he is confident many of them will rally round to attend the gig.

“I think is important we do concerts about issues at home because a lot of people are suffering hardship through this dispute. Even if they reach agreement there will be a lot of families in financial difficulty so we must do everything in our power to help them,” said Edward.

Politics aside, the concert will also be a chance for some people to hear Edward’s unique brand of poetry for the first time.

Rare chance

Since being a founder member of legendary punk band The Reliants, Edward has always had a high profile in the local scene. But it is with his original poetry performance that he has probably made most friends.

His poems cover a whole variety of modern issues – serious and not so serious – and give people a rare chance to hear modern live poetry.

Joining Edward tonight will be a superb trio The Parade who dedicated one of their songs at the ‘Rock for Ethiopia’ gig to the miners. The band who have an excellent three-track demo under their belts, play powerful new wave-orientated pop which combines speed with subtlety and aggression with sobriety.

Completing the official line-up is Love On Board whose recent re-appearance at the Tamworth Rocks for Ethiopia gig brought delight to many people. Their jovial modern pop sound has made them many friends and there is no doubt that their appearance will bring extra money – and people – into the event.

Tonight’s gig – which may also feature other as yet unconfirmed names – kicks off at around 8pm and Edward is banking on a good response from local people.

“The miners are fighting for the working man and we will all suffer if they lose that fight.”

Entry to the gig is £1.

Tamworth Herald – 15/02/85
Musicbox – Neil steps ashore
ONE of Tamworth’s most promising bands Love On Board, have lost the services of their lead singer.

Neil Jones announced he was quitting the band after their appearance at the Arts centre last week.

Neil said he was having to leave because of his academic commitments - he has to spend most of his time at college in Great Yarmouth.

The shock decision means the band have had to pull out of the Battle of the Bands contest – but it is definitely not the end of Love On Board.

Instead the outfit this week sent out an appeal for a new singer and rhythm guitarist. Musically the band are influenced by a host of Scottish groups including Aztec Camera and Orange Juice as well as the more psychedelic acts such as Velvet Undergound.

If you have ‘style and feel you would like to fill the vacancy – joining one of the best established local bands at the same time – the person to ring is Nick.

Tamworth Herald – 15/03/85
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX
TAMWORTH could soon find itself with a brand new rock club – which will feature local bands and alternative discos. The club, tentatively called ‘The Rathole’, is aiming to meet once a week, giving an ideal platform for local bands to show off their ‘wares’. Full details about the club, must for the moment at least, be withheld, but the omens look very good indeed that within a few short weeks, Tamworth will have its first purpose-set rock club…

Talking of firsts, rumours are currently abounding that haircut-supremo Rikk Quay’s new band, The Sway, are all set to play their first Tamworth gig. It seems they could be joining another as-yet-unheard local outfit featuring a well-known local music personality on vocals…

On the subject of new vocalists. Love On Board have just found one. He is 20-year-old John Minnion, a keen songwriter who surprisingly perhaps, hasn’t been in a band before. Like his illustrious predecessor, Mr. Jones. John is a keen Elvis Costello fan. Still on Love On Board, their excellent young drummer John Twist has just bought some new drums – something apparently which has pleased the band very much indeed.

Finally this week, songwriter, singer and impresario Mike Turner, displayed another talent on Sunday. For the Sitting Pretty vocalist Mike Turner scored a hat-trick playing for Claremont Rovers Reserves FC in an important cup battle. “Stick that in Gossipbox” he shouted after netting the third goal.

Tamworth Herald – 29/03/85
Musicbox – Gossip Box
We start this week with a curious tale. As you may remember, a couple of months ago, Love On Board lost their lead singer Neil Jones because he had “academic commitments” in Great Yarmouth. The band placed an ad in MUSICBOX for a new singer and lo and behold a gentleman named John Minnion turned up as the saviour. But the marriage didn’t last very long. John it seems didn’t understand Love On Board’s bizarre sense of humour and so he disappeared. But Love On Board didn’t panic they just found another lead singer. His name? Neil Jones, the same Neil Jones who left originally. Let’s hope the line up strikes lucky second time around.

Also striking for success are Ideal Standard who have just released their first-ever demo tape. According to sources the tape is excellent and the first batch of 25 have been sold already. Hopefully we shall be reviewing the tape next week.

Tamworth Herald – 12/04/85
Musicbox – Hey, good lookin’
Love On Board/Sitting Pretty – Tamworth Arts Centre
ON the face of it, Love On Board and Sitting Pretty are quite ‘old hat’ these days. Both bands have played dozens of concerts in the Tamworth area and you may think their faces, songs and ideals are known to everyone who could possibly care.

Yet recently both these ‘golden oldies’ have had new leases of life.

Take Sitting Pretty. They have had more ups and downs in the past 12 months than most bands have in a lifetime, yet still they battle on unperturbed.

Their durability is built mainly around Mike Turner’s admirable and unshakeable optimism, and last Thursday this showed no signs of wavering. This time it is because Mike truly believes he has found the best ever Sitting Pretty line-up – and he is right.

Excellent bassist Steve Parking is a real find for the local scene, and there is no doubt that the twinning of Julian Amos and the underrated Pete Long on guitars is a potentially explosive combination.

The songs have certainly improved too. Gone is the sometimes meandering old set and in comes a new, polished and uptempo pop collection.

For Love On Board it was the first ‘post-Minnion’ concert with returned vocalist Neil Jones. Again optimism was much in evidence, and there seemed good reason for it. Love On Board simply look RIGHT together, Although they have had internal arguments in the past, they have become like the four sides of a square. They need each other to function and when they are together in good form (like this night) they really are a live treat.

Old favourites were rattled off with an enthusiasm which was matched by that of the large, spikey-haired audience.

In fact enthusiasm is the word that bonds Sitting Pretty and Love On Board together. They both clearly love what they are doing and that really does make it a lot easier to enjoy watching as well…

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 02/05/85
Musicbox – Gossipbox
It seems something unpleasant has shot up between former partners-in-chime Love On Board and Sitting Pretty. Love On Board apparently want some money from Sitting Pretty and lo and behold, Sitting Pretty wan t some money from Love On Board. All very interesting, I’m sure…

Tamworth Herald – 24/05/85
Musicbox – Alternatively, for the spikey-haired brigade
Caption: Happy Content…don’t let the smiles fool you. ALTERNATIVE music – so sadly missing in Tamworth recently – returns to the town with a vengeance tonight (Friday), with the first local appearance of the highly rated outfit Happy Content.

The band will be joined by Love On Board in a show which promises to be a big crowd puller among the town’s ‘spikey-top’ brigade.

Happy Content, who are based at Burton, have played prestigious gigs all round Britain and will probably have a single out on Chrysallis shortly.

Their music is influenced by PIL and The Fall and according to vocalist Geoff Smith, it tends to stir passion – both for and against.

Brilliance

“Reactions have been very mixed so far. People either rant about our brilliance or think we’re insane,” he said. “But we certainly don’t bore”

One thing the band do have in their favour is recommendation from the highest possible quarter. For among their fans they boast alternative music guru John Peel. He described their bizarre demo tape as ‘wickedly brilliant’ and actually went to the trouble of writing to the band for more info.

The band are hopeful that the Arts Centre will be packed tonight and they have promised a show to remember.

Also sharing this positive outlook are Tamworth’s own Love On Board, whose modern Scottish romanticism puts them in their own niche of the wide-ranging alternative music scene.

The band have developed a new sense of confidence and ambition and according to guitarist Nick reed, they feel it is time they received the recognition they deserve.

“I try to go to see as many local bands as I can,” said Nick, “But it is very disappointing when we play a gig and few other Tamworth musicians turn up. I think we should all support each other.”

Nick is aware that one of the reasons that Love On Board are somewhat ignorant is that there is simply so little ‘alternative music’ left in the town.

Tamworth’s only true punk band The Restricted have disintegrated, The Classified Ads have gone their separate ways and older bands such as Thirty Frames A Second, The Reliants and The DHSS are now just pleasant distant memories.

Demand

New alternative bands are around – Femme Fatale look a very exciting proposition and a young Atherstone outfit Mirrors of the Soul are just finding their feet – but at the moment, Love On Board carry the alternative banner alone.

“We just hope a lot of people will come along tonight to show that there really is demand for this sort of music in Tamworth,” said Nick Reed.

The gig begins at around 8pm and entrance fee is just £1.

Tamworth Herald – 07/06/85
Musicbox – What a Dickens of a good time
Caption: One On One…taking a Chance tomorrow weekA HOST of Tamworth bands will be on show in the next few days in what promises to be the most exciting week so far this year.

The Dream Factory, Dickens, One On One, Gaf The Horse In Tears and Love On Board will all be in action in the next few days making it a week to remember.

Top ‘billing’ must go to The Dream Factory who on Saturday will step out in front of an amazing 20,000 at Castle Donington.

Major event

Then on Thursday the Dickens world tour comes to Tamworth Assembly Rooms for a three-band show which looks like being a major event in itself.

And finally tomorrow night sees One On One bringing their rich talents to the Arts Centre where they will be lining up with Birmingham outfit Chance.

For the Factory there is no doubt that their appearance at the Monsters of Soul event is a career highlight so far. The band were confirmed on to the bill two weeks ago and it means they will be playing with the burly, boisterous Bad Manners and the highly-rated Meteors. The event is seen as the scooter event of the year and there is no doubt that hundreds of local riders will travel along to cheer on their heroes.

Neo-legendary

The Factory, who looked in good form when I caught them at The Warren last week – should include the neo-legendary Dave Smith in their line-up making sure that one Royal Family – if not the other – is represented at the event.

The gig is the highlight of a spate of shows for the band and with all the expected media and spectator interest, it could really be a big break for the enthusiastic outfit.

Enthusiasm is also something which Mick Rutherford and Dickens will bring to the Assembly Rooms on Thursday. The band have many prestigious gigs lined-up all around the country but there is no doubt that there is something special about ‘coming home’. The gig, to start at around 8pm costs £1.50 and punters will also have the chance to see two exciting support acts. They will be joined by the hard-to-define but easy-to-enjoy Gaf The Horse In Tears and the happy-go-lucky but determined-to-succeed Love On Board.

Dickens will be selling copies of their excellent album ‘Standing Out’ on the night and there is a good chance music company executives will be watching. EMI, CBS and Virgin have all confirmed they will be sending A and R men to watch the band on tour and the group have also heard that they are to get a half-hour show on the Steve Williams Radio Mercia show on June 16.

On film

As well as coming out of the airwaves Dickens may also come out of the little screen shortly as two gigs at Stafford and Nuneaton are being filmed for possible television shows. A Thursday night gig not to be missed.

Less grandiose maybe, but equally important to the group, is One On One’s show at the Arts Centre tomorrow. There the band will be able to test out the numbers they are hoping to record on to new demo next week.

It will be the band’s second trip into the studio following an excellent demo early last year. One On One will be playing with Chance a band who are not unfamiliar to me! Entry to this gig is just 60p and it looks like being another enjoyable night.

So a week full of excitement. For One On One to test out new material to be recorded. For Dickens a chance to get the ‘home’ verdict on ‘Standing Out’ and for The Dream Factory a chance to go further down the road to their inevitable success. It is further proof that Tamworth’s music scene is buzzing at a wonderfully alarming rate.

Tamworth Herald – 21/06/85
Musicbox – A kaleidoscope of sounds – despite PAs!
There have been several interesting gigs in the town recently and Musicbox has been keeping tabs on most of them. Sam Holliday took a look at the Dickens/Gaf The Horse in Tears and Love On Board show; metal correspondent Kev Unwin saw Scarab’s BHX benefit and the ever-enthusiastic Martin Webster put pen to paper about The Folk Circus. Here are a few snippets of opinions on these very different gigs…

SCARAB – Opening with ‘Tonight We Take No Prisoners’ they played their usual set in a different order. After a brief moment when lead singer Paul tried to excuse the rather expensive entry price, the audience lapped it up. The flame fountain was there again as was the ‘gas mask’.

Unfortunately the power of Mick Goodby’s voice was too much for the Scarab P.A. and it blew a fuse, 20 seconds into the song.

LOVE ON BOARD – Not even an extremely and unhelpful and stubborn PA could stop Love On Board impressing me that they have improved greatly recently. The old numbers seemed insignificant next to new powerblasts like ‘Responsible For this’ which was as exciting as it was memorable. Particularly impressive was the general musicianship of Nick Reed, Neil Jones and Glen ‘Lofty’ Lewis all played skilfully but the real honours were won by drummer John twist who was simply superb and sounded better than he has ever done.

GAF THE HORSE IN TEARS – Despite the fact that Tony Cole was still wearing THOSE shorts, Gaf turned in another interesting, varied set. They have so many facts and influences in their sound, that tying them down to one musical style is like trying to climb up a wall covered in grease. You get so far towards your goal and then you slip down again. Best number was a newie with an unpronounceable German title although I still have a soft spot for the catchy ‘Machine motion’ which was given two refreshing airings.

Friendly

FOLK CIRCUS – Perhaps Folk Circus is not such an apt title for this motley crew because you will never hear ‘Greensleeves’ or ‘Wild River’ at this gathering. No, mainly it is a celebration of what is good about modern contemporary acoustic music where all styles, blues, country, rock and roll and so on are covered. It’s free, fun and friendly and yet further proof of Tamworth’s rapidly expanding kaleidoscope of modern music.

DAN (part of Folk Circus)
All the way from the wilds of Canada we have Dan who is easily the most popular performer ever to grace the Tavern in the Town stage. He sung of “Wildwood Wood” and “Two Women Blues” with an infectious good humour that touches your heart and makes your soul sing.

DICKENS – With a spirit and enthusiasm that has always been Mick’s hallmark, Dickens took to the stage. The set (I had to leave early unfortunately) was largely made up of the band’s fine album ‘Standing Out’ and was for me dominated by ‘Hit and Run’ a show stealer if ever there was one. The sound coming out of the PA speakers, however, was not nearly as sharp as the one that comes out of the speakers of your record player and some of the more delicate touches that symbolise the band’s panorama of sound were perhaps sadly lost in the vast Assembly Rooms arena. Still a very enjoyable set and let us hope it helps them to conquer the world as they begin their epic global adventure.

Tamworth Herald – 28/06/85
Musicbox – No metal on a weekend full of gigs
A5TAMWORTH ARTS CENTRE stages two impressive-looking gigs this weekend – and there isn’t a heavy band in sight. For tonight the new-look A5 team up with the ever-hardworking Love On Board and then on Sunday night we have the partnership that gave us one of the gigs of the year – Breaking Point and The Magnets.

The two interesting looking gigs should provide ample evidence that Tamworth’s non-heavy scene is alive and thriving. Recently several local music fans have been heard to moan that ‘all we get at the Arts Centre is metal bands’ but this weekend that
Theory can finally be laid to rest.

Tonight’s show is vitally important for A5 who are now a totally different outfit to the Killing Joke style group who used to carry the same name. After the group’s split, which came shortly after their bizarre show at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest, frontsman and bassist Chris Edden decided he would keep the A5 name and took the band’s drummer Steve Hayes with him.

The duo then teamed up with two local guitarists Brayn Robinson and Ruchard reeves and suddenly A5 part two was born.

As well as shifting to a new sound, the band also now consider themselves as a Tamworth groups as opposed to an Atherstone one. With three members coming from Tamworth, A5 are now likely to be oncentrated more in this area.

And the sound? Well, Bryan and Richard have brought U2 and Big Country influences to bear on the band and the overall effect now is a neatly fused new wave guitar-orientated sound displayed perfectly on A5’s entertaining new demo.

Love On Board, playing with A5 tonight, should need no introduction as they seem to have as many gigs under their belt as Elizabeth Taylor has husbands.

The group have revamped their sound of later and are now playing more intelligent Scottish pop with the triple guitar attack of Nick Reed, Glen ‘Redneck’ Lewis and Neil Jones and the enthusiastic beat of drummer John Twist.

If Love On Board need no introduction, what about Sunday’s double-act the Magnets and Breaking Point.

The former is the longest surviving band in Tamworth while the latter is an outfit so weighed down with praise and hyperbole it is a wonder they can stand up! For the Magnets the gig will be another in a spaced-out series of shows to get the band in trim for the Bank holiday rock festival.

Image

They are still basically a synth band (they will probably never shake off that image) but over the past few non-Rikk Quaysian months, they have developed their sound along more traditional pop and rock lines. It all makes for a well-rounded and entertaining set and judging by the band’s last show at the Arts Centre, a good reaction is certain.

Also, ready for a more-than-warm reception are Tamworth’s most brash and brilliant act, Breaking Point. I have given up trying to describe the awesome strength of this band and now just beseech any lovers of fast, melodic, powerful music to pay an Arts Centre visit on Sunday night.

So, two most enjoyable looking gigs are on offer this weekend and with modest entrance fees for both, there is no reason why the Arts Centre shouldn’t be packed on both nights. And if it isn’t, well it will probably show that heavy music has the monopoly on fans as well as bands in the musically buzzing town…

Tamworth Herald – 05/07/85
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX
Just a quick mention for a number of gigs this week. Tonight, Love On Board are at Nuneaton, Wolfsbane are headlining a major show at Lichfield Arts Centre and those self-same reality-rejects will be at JB’s Dudley on Tuesday. Two days after that, at Tamworth Arts Centre, a band who play ‘shock rock metal’ and base their image on a bunch of rebels who have survived a nuclear holocaust on their own planet and have come to earth to take it over (!!!) will take to the stage. They are the pleasingly eccentric feedback, who will be joined by a Greek-influence group called Eastern Beat. Hardly a conventional night out, what?

Tamworth Herald – 12/07/85
Musicbox – So-cool crowdA5/Love On Board; Tamworth Arts Centre
A5 WENT on first and went down well with the local crowd having a fair response to the half hour set they delivered.

The opening number in particular impressed me – “She Came From the Ice Age” – A5 have a lot of edge. Another enjoyable number was a slower one, a love song titled “Without A Trace”.

Love On Board, I felt, didn’t produce one of their better performances, but two numbers stood out for me in their one hour performance – “Train Across The Canyon” and “Responsible For This” which showed their potential.

The crowd didn’t go overboard, and I felt more appreciation should have been shown. There is a chance to catch both bands again on August 17.

J.C.

Tamworth Herald – 02/08/85
Musicbox – Anyone for stardom?
A NUMBER of bands have contacted MUSICBOX in the hope of recruiting new members. So if you have nothing to do and fancy a trip on the road to stardom give the numbers below a ring. After all you never know what you are missing until you try it out…

THE DREAM FACTORY want a trumpeter. The band (in case you live on the moon and don’t know) play hard-edged soul music that has earned them a local – and national reputation – for being one of the most exciting prospects on the current music scene. On the verge of recording a new single, the band want a trumpeter willing to give a lot of time and energy to the band.

LOVE ON BOARD also want someone who can play the trumpet – but they want something a bit more. They are hoping their trumpeter will also be able to do bits of percussion, keyboards and other instruments, making him an all-round utility musician to top off their lively modern pop.

BREAKING POINT are still looking for a permanent drummer to complete their line-up. They have a stand-in to help them through the transitional period but they want to find someone permanent as soon as possible.

TORTURED ARTISTS, a band from outside the Tamworth area but who would be interested to hear from someone local, have sent out an appeal for a vocalist into music which lists such varied influences as Billy Idol, U2, Sex Pistols, Dire Straits, Van Halen and Joy Division.

Tamworth Herald – 09/08/85
Musicbox – Something for everyone…
Caption: Tribal Sweatshirts…see them tonight with WolfsbaneTAMWORTH ARTS CENTRE stages two exciting-looking concerts this weekend – which bring together two of the town’s best known bands with two more who may be new to most people’s eyes.

Tonight’s double-bill sees the ever-watchable Wolfsbane team-up with a promising Birmingham –based dance outfit, Tribal Sweatshirts. It is a show that will be as contrasting as it is enticing and both groups are eagerly anticipating a packed Arts Centre audience.

Twenty four hours later Love On Board return to the Arts Centre stage after a non-existent absence, when they play alongside the Atherstone-based Dance Stance. Dance Stance last played at the Arts Centre under the name of The Crowd where they turned in a superb show as support to the Dream Factory. Tomorrow they hope to show that even if the name has changed that same spirit and excitement certainly hasn’t.

Tonight’s show, despite featuring two musically incomparable acts looks set to be linked by a common theme – energy. Wolfsbane of course are well known for their onstage exuberance and mania, which has made them a visual treat that few who witness them are likely to ever forget. Their sound is straight-for-the-throat HM packed with good tunes, memorable riffs and an overwhelming feeling of dynamism. If the Arts Centre walls don’t shake tonight they have obviously been reinforced!!

Rather more subtle, the equally enjoyable, Tribal Sweatshirts, a band who have a pedigree rarely seen in the town. The band already have a highly professional demo out, which is packed full of commercial-orientated sounds which shows the vast range of influences in their music.

“We are influenced by everything from Go-West to Rush. There are traces of punk, pop and rock in our sound and I suppose if you were looking for a label it is alternative dance rock,” said drummer Richard Deane.

As many of you may remember, Richard was a former drummer with BHX before he was snapped up by the Sweatshirts. The rest of the group – all of whom have had a lot of experience – is made up of guitarist Mark Thwaite, bassist Martin Betts, keyboard player Dave Pearson and vocalist Paul Edwards. Tonight’s Sweathshirts/Wolfsbane gig starts at around 8pm so get there early to avoid disappointment.

Tomorrow’s double-billing of Love On Board and Dance Stance also provides a neat contrast in styles. Love On Board play pop music with bittersweet feel which has put them firmly in the Lloyd Cole/Bluebells class. And Dance Stance? Well they can no longer just be summed up as the mod act which they were once considered to be.

“We are still influenced by Sixties sound and funk, but our sound is now veering more towards that of Haircut 100” said bassist Neil Sheasby, “It is hard to label the music at the moment.”

The band’s line-up has also changed since their Arts Centre debut with The Dream Factory. Exciting young drummer Phil Ford is still there, as is Neil Sheasby and highly-rated vocalist Paul Hanlon, but this trio has now been joined by Dave Delaney on lead guitar and his brother Dick on keyboards.

Dance Stance hope to produce a 40 minute set punctured with cover versions, and they see it as an ideal way to warm-up Tamworth audiences before their appearance at the Rock Festival in August.

“We think this show will be good training for the festival and we also have another show in Nuneaton in August to get us just ready,” said Neil.

Tamworth Herald – 16/08/85
Musicbox – SNIPS
Tomorrow night, two very different bands – A5 and Love On Board – will tread the Arts Centre boards. Both bands have recently come in for praise – A5 for their Arts Centre show last month and Love On Board for what was described as a lively, entertaining support slot to Dance Stance last week. Both gigs look very interesting and are both scheduled to start at 8 pm.

Tamworth Herald – 13/09/85
Musicbox – Mr. Nice Guy turns nasty
EVERYONE who has ever been involved in Tamworth’s music scene – including me knows only too well that there are a lot of people who don’t like what we are trying to do. These people can normally be categorised in to well-defined groups, but today I have to tell you we have a new and unexpected critic.

Mike Turner, the Sitting Pretty singer, has revealed his real thoughts about Tamworth, the local music scene and the people who try and organise it, in a new and exciting fanzine “Anarchy in Wonderland” (which is excellent and will be reviewed at length later).

According to Mike Turner the whole scene is appalling and all but three or four bands deserve ‘shooting’.

He cites Wolfsbane as being ‘pathetic’, Love On Board as ‘embarrassing’ and Breaking Point as ‘HM liars’. He says last year’s rock festival was a shambles – win which Sitting Pretty were light years ahead of anyone else – and he claims he doesn’t want to stay in Tamworth any more.

Nowhere

“As soon as we make it and get out of Tamworth I ain’t bothered if we ever play here again, Tamworth is a nowhere land,” he writes. Now personally I don’t care what people say about the music scene when they are outside it, but Mike Turner should realise he owes EVERYTHING to Tamworth.

Sitting Pretty are about as well known as the Chinese foreign minister outside the town, and in the past a lot of bands have worked hard with the group to help Mike Turner on route to his so called fame’.

He was given a prestigious spot in this year’s ‘shambles’ festival, and was also involved in TamAid so how he can use the town and then abuse it is beyond me. I am sure a lot of people will be very angry at what he has said.

As editor of Musicbox, I feel rather betrayed by Mike’s attitude. He reckons he never reads Musicbox anymore, yet he is without doubt the most written-about person since I took on the column – mainly because of his ability for self-publicity.

It is a real case of “Et tu Brute” and as far as I am concerned, if Sitting Pretty go on to be bigger than The Beatles I don’t want to write another word about them. After all they don’t need Tamworth and that is a fact that won’t escape their dogged fans.

*As the final irony, Sitting Pretty are tomorrow night playing a “Save The Arts Centre” concert. Mike who never reads Musicbox, remember, gave me a large press release, to promote the gig as well as free tickets and in his letter he says how important it is to keep open the Arts Centre.

The irony is that in “Anarchy In Wonderland”, Mike’s description of the Arts Centre is not quite as rosy as in his letter. He calls it a “dive”. Tomorrow’s Save The Dive Concert starts at 8pm.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 20/09/85
Musicbox – LOVE’S LABOURS ON SHOW…
Love On Board have been lined-up as one of three bands in a special labour Party benefit show at the Arts Centre next week. Love On Board have been lined-up as one of three bands in a special labour Party benefit show at the Arts Centre next week. The gig on Friday, September 27 will feature not only Love On Board (above) but also Breaking Point and The Royal Family in one of the first ever political gigs in the town. More details about this unique Arts Centre line-up in next week’s Musicbox.

Tamworth Herald – 27/09/85
Musicbox – Tuning up for Party time…
THE PARTY political conference season may be in full swing, but more unusually Tamworth hosts two party political concerts!

For the Arts Centre is staging a tremendous three-band line-up under the Rock Against The Dole banner, organised and funded by the Tamworth Borough Labour Party.

And just up the road on the same night, Femme Fatale will be joining rock and roll eccentrics Jet Morgan and the Phantoms in a St. John’s Hall show in aid of the Ecology Party.

Both concerts look like being very entertaining but according to a MUISCBOX opinion poll, Labour has a slight percentage lead over the Ecology Party. The reason is that they have Breaking Point, The Royal Family and Love On Board rocking on their behalf.

The Royal Family, who have started to make a name for themselves out of town, bring their inspired lunacy to the Arts Centre at a time when interest in the group is at a new peak. And with love On Board, bringing their bubbling cocktail of talent and enthusiasm to the show it promises to be a night for literally rocking against the blues.

Up the road at the same time, you can rock for the greens with Femme Fatale’s black melancholy sound providing the perfect foil for the rock and roll extravaganza that Jet Morgan and the Phantoms serve up.

Tamworth Herald – 15/11/85
Musicbox – Come on board, love…
LOVE On Board play an important concert at Birmingham University next Thursday – and they are hoping a lot of local people will travel to cheer them on.

The band have arranged a small coach to ferry fans to the show and anyone who would like a good night out can ring Nick.

Tamworth Herald – 22/11/85
Musicbox – Love song ends as the boys leap overboard
Caption: Love On Boatrd…at the end of the road. From left: John Twist, Neil Jones, Nick Reed and Glenn ‘hi-de-hi’ Lewis.
LOVE ON BOARD, one of Tamworth’s most original and exciting bands, have split up. The group, who have been parading their own version of pulsating pop for around two years, have finally decided to throw in the towel after a number of setbacks.

The latest came when the band had to cancel their most prestigious gig at Birmingham University last night (Thursday). Lead singer, Neil Jones, who is away at college, simply couldn’t get back for the gig, causing the band to cancel what could have been their biggest showcase to date.

The band’s decision to split came as a surprise to many of their followers – although the writing has been on the wall for a number of months. Like many groups the band had to try and struggle on while one member – Neil – was on a full-time college course, in this case at Great Yarmouth.

For a while it seemed to work, with Neil coming back on a regular basis to play weekend concerts – and other shows during holidays.

But as highly-rated guitarist Nick Reed points out, it is bad when you have to cancel midweek concerts such as the Birmingham University one.

“We couldn’t do it and it was an important show,” said Nick. “It becomes pointless if you have to miss gigs like that.”

What makes the split so sad for Tamworth is that Love On Board were genuine originals of the area. Their passionate crisp pop, which had touches of Lloyd Cole, Aztec Camera, The Bluebells and even Velvet Underground, made a refreshing change.

They were never afraid to break new ground, experimenting in acoustic guitars and other sounds and occasionally writing quite inspired numbers like the classics ‘Crazier Than Most’ and ‘Responsible For This’.

The band played the Bank Holiday festival two years running and such was their commitment and involvement in the Tamworth scene, that Nick Reed was on the festival organising committee, and both he and Neil Jones were involved in the recording of the unique TamAid tape.

They also took part in the first Rocks for Ethiopia gig.

The future of the band’s four members is uncertain. Drummer, John Twist, a man who seemed to improve with every performance and Neil Jones have not made their intentions clear, although bassist Glen Lewis and guitarist Mick Reed are unlikely to stay musically redundant for very long.

On a personal note. Love On Board’s decision to split up has caused me more than a little sadness. They formed about the same time as I took over Musicbox and I have followed their ‘career’ with particular interest.

They have given me many great concerts and have also become personal friends.

I hope that although this may be the end of the Love On Board saga, the characters who made it such an enjoyable tale will soon be back in new, equally enticing guises.

1986

Tamworth Herald 03/01/86
Musicbox – Factory floor the opposition to make a hat-trick…
Musicbox – Factory floor the opposition to make a hat-trick…THE Dream Factory have done it again! Yes, for the third year in succession, Tamworth’s favourite soul men have pipped all opposition to once again claim the top local band slot in the Musicbox poll.

They did so despite a fantastic turnout of votes for new boys Terroa, who just lost out by virtue of the masses of votes the Factory received not only for first place (which was worth three points) but also for second (two points) and third (one). Wolfsbane, Breaking Point and Royal Family fans by the score put the Factory as their second choice and as the poll entered its last frantic days, it was clear the band were going to do it again.

Landslide

TerroaBut that was not the only joy for the band. Because they have had such a big national profile all year I allowed them to be included in the Top National Band sector – and they won that with a landslide.

And the same went for the band’s tremendous ‘Wine and Roses’ single which floored all the opposition.

Just to complete the (wine and ) rosy picture, the group had four songs in the top twenty local song section, and also had Mark Mortimer and Tim Goode voted into the top five local personality section.

Dream factory take a bow – you have won it again and you have deserved to do so.

It wasn’t only The Dream Factory’s poll though. Terroa as well as scooping the runners-up slot in the top local band, also won the best local song award with the excellent ‘Thunder and Lightening’. If the views of the hundreds of people who voted (we passed the 500 vote mark with ease) are anything to go by, Terroa are the group you think are going to make it next year.

Still in the local band section, The Royal Family finished a strong third well ahead of the bands beneath them. Like The Factory they seem to have universal support from people of all musical tastes and there is no doubt their popularity is now at an all-time peak.

It should bring a smile of Steve Martin-style proportions from Dave Smith and Eddie Blunt!

Places four and five went to two bands from the Atherstone area Dance Stance and The Me, a band who seem pretty big in North Warwickshire and will be investigated further in the near future.

It was nice to see Dance Stance up there – and also the likeable Paul Hanlon in the personality section – and with Nick Reed now in their line-up, I have a sneak feeling ’86 will be very good indeed for the Atherstone band.

Elsewhere, Freight Train showed they have made considerable impact and Wolfsbane proved that their appeal goes far beyond strict heavy metal types judging from the people who voted for Jeff, Bayley, Jase and Stakk.

Breaking Point also had their best ever poll result and it was very nice to see the now defunct Love On Board still hold a special place in a lot of people’s hearts.

Delighted

Completing the top ten are Femme Fatale who will be delighted with their debut show in the poll, and then the next five or six bands all came very close indeed to one another. The Sway, Magnets and Sitting Pretty all started well but faded somewhat but overall it was nice to see that virtually every band in the whole district had some supporters.

Just missing the top twenty, for example, were Depth Charge, Banned Wagon, Scarab, Boozy Brothers and Pulsebeat.

The local songs section was pretty reflective of the local band poll but it was pleasing to see people voting for songs that were not by their favourite band, which showed there is a lot of unbiased ‘general’ listeners among local rock fans.

Perhaps the only surprise was that Breaking Point only managed a top twenty placing (and that was at 17) but you can’t have everything.

In conclusion, everyone who votes, many thanks and to all the bands who have made the year so exciting, a double-dose of thanks. Let’s now make ’86 even better.

 

Top local band
1. The Dream Factory
2. Terroa
3. The Royal Family
4. Dance Stance
5. The Me
6. Freight Train
7. Wolfsbane
8. Breaking Point
9. Love on Board
10. Femme Fatale
11. The Sway
12. Spirit of Water
13. The Parade
14. Sitting Pretty
15. Trout Meets The Cavalry
16. Dickens
17. Judas Cradle
18. The Magnets
19. Powerplay

And no here’s how I’d have voted
Just to complete the overall local music award section, here are the people, the musicians and bands that I think deserve credit in ’85:

Top Band – Breaking Point
Top Local Song – ‘Come The Day’ – Breaking Point
Guitarist – Jase The Ace/Tim Latham/Nick Reed
Drummer – Stuart Blane/Steve Quilton
Bass – Daydo/Mark Mortimer
Keyboards – Rikk Quay
Vocalists – Dave Ingham/Dave Smith/Debbie Whitty
Best Live Band – Wolfsbane
Most Improved Band – Dance Stance
Most Likely to Make it in ’86 – Dream Factory
Best Gig – Breaking Point, The Sway, The Magnets Tamworth Arts Centre
Best Demo – Wolfsbane
Best DJ – Buttercup
Best Songwriters – Kevin Briggs/Bryan Lacey/Jase The Ace/John Reeman
Best Lyricist – Bryan Lacey
Haircut – Mick Rutherford
Best Dressed Person – Jeff Hateley
Saying of the Year – “I can’t get me breath’ – Buttercup
Personalities of local music scene – Ian Gibbons, Tim Goode, Rikk Quay, Eddie Madden, Blaze Bayley, Dave Ingham, Mike Turner, Paul Speare, Phil Smith, John Reeman, John James, Mike Fleming, Sage Side Psycho, Mark Mortimer, Jeff Hateley, Kevin Briggs, Star Trek, Trevor Muglestone, Dave Smith, Mick Goodby, Buttercup and everyone else I’ve missed.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 21/03/86
Musicbox – Succeeding with talent and mouth
Bambu CurtainI HAVE recently been filing all my old MUSICBOX columns from the past three years or so and as one of those academic exercises, I decided to see just who has been the most featured band in the column over that time.

People often accuse me of bias in various directions but I think the ‘top ten’ of mentions shows that I have managed to cover the whole spectrum of local music from the ‘lightest’ to the ‘heaviest’.

This was not a scientific exercise, I merely flicked through the columns and noted the names of bands whenever I saw them. So a ‘mention’ could be just one line or a full feature. Anyway here’s the top ten from 1983.

1. The Dream Factory (60 mentions), 2. Sitting Pretty (57), 3. Breaking Point (53), 4. Wolfsbane (52), 5. BHX (51), 6. Love On Board (49), 7. One On One (37), 8. The Magnets (32), 9. Sacred Oath (25) and The Cradle (25), 10. The Royal Family (20).

Outside of this batch as a matter of interest were Terroa, Dance Stance, A5 and Caprice. At the other end of the scale there were local bands whose name were featured only once such as Alibi, The Fashionable Gents, Bambu Curtain and The Time Bandits.

Tamworth Herald – 22/08/86
Musicbox – Here’s the fabulous festival line-up
TAMWORTH’S fourth annual Bank holiday rock festival blazes into action this weekend and promises to be the biggest and best the Town has ever seen.

Eighteen bands will take to the Castle Grounds stage on Sunday and Monday offering a varied and exciting package of local talent.

And, to give the festival the best possible start, Tamworth Arts Centre will tonight (Friday) and tomorrow stage two festival party nights featuring among others Wolfsbane, Breaking Point and a one-off show from Love On Board.

All in all it looks like being a festival to remember and here in full details is what is happening where and when.

Tonight

The festival starts with an Arts Centre triple bill featuring three bands from the heavier side of life. New boys Shellshock will join up with not-so-new boys Kara and positively-old boys Wolfsbane for a sparkling three band show. As with last years, the Arts Centre pre-festival nights are designed to be party-style events and everyone petting into the spirit (and spirits) of the weekend. It starts at 8pm costs 50p and should be excellent.

Saturday

ANOTHER enticing triple bill will especially interest people of an alternative (sic) persuasion. Breaking Point, who hope to have their debut single out this week, will headline the show and in support will be two unusual acts. First is 13th Reunion featuring the immortal Gerald on bass and second is Love On Board making a special one-off comeback gig to join in the party atmosphere. It adds up to a superb bill which marks the debut show for 13th Reunion, and once again is a meagre – nay, measly! – 50p

Sunday

AND SO to the main event. Two days of exciting, varied rock music in the Castle Grounds. Once again the stage will be set up in front of the tennis courts at the far end of the Castle Grounds, and as with the past couple of years, it will cost you nothing to watch. Here is a quick one-line description of all the bands on show and their (approximate) appearance times…

Heavy

Freefall (12.20) A Coventry heavy band (that’s all I know!)

Attica (1.05) Powerful bass-driven combo who crimp their hair and slice their guitars.

Shellshock (1.40) Young lusty metal sound, who smile a lot.

Soil Brothers (2.15) Skiffle-style pop played with coconuts, cardboard and oodles of enthusiasm.

One On One (2.50) Nose-perfect rock music played by soon-to-be superstars.

Noise

Kara (3.25) loud Americanised noises played by local Anglicised noise-makers.

XPD (4.00) Stylish alternative pop music, which cab be summed up as ‘ego-shock’ rock.

Catch 23 (4.35) Pure-punk-period pop music with panache, power and passion.

The Magnets (5.10) Modern synthesised pop music played by modern synthesised pop people.

Monday

ONCE MORE the Castle Grounds plays host to nine more varied outfits who line up like this.

Burnin’ Sky (12.30) Coleshill-based r ‘n’ b band who revel in the smoky, sleazy way of life.

Beyond Elysium (1.05) Dark sombre sounds with a modern appeal and feel.

Funky

Cuddly Spiders (1.40) Laid-back harmless flares rock.

Breaking Point (2.15) Passion-packed soaring, roaring rock music.

Dance Stance (2.50) Tight, funky nouveau-pop with a burning soul.

Wolfsbane (3.25) Gentle, middle of the road folk band made up of four charmingly polite young boys. A mud afternoon break from all this rock nonsense.

Depth Charge (4.00) Cuddly rock and roll pirates bursting with good times.

Orange (4.35) Deceptively light pop music with a telling edge. Bright, breezy, orangey.

The Royal Family (5.10) regal r ‘n’ b with guaranteed dance-ability and toe-tapping tendencies.

Tamworth Herald – 05/01/90
Great Local Bands of the Eighties

Caption 1: Love On BoardAs the Eighties are now nothing more than a blur, I decided it would be nice over the next few weeks to just step back and remember some of the great local bands of that period. Thus I dug deep into my old vaults of MUSICBOX photos and discovered many gems and many great old bands who we will be spotlighting in the next few weeks. Hopefully these photos (as well as embarrassing those pictured with naff haircuts) should remind many of you older BOX readers (and inform many of you younger ones) of the roots that led to the massive current scene of ours. Week one features two very good but very, different bands – Love On Board and One On One, more memories next week hopefully…

Love On Board
Love On Board were a band who in many respects were a little ahead of their time. Coming in along the crest of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera wave, they produced absolutely quality pop music which would probably sound even more relevant today when music such as Deacon Blue is so in vogue. Not pictured here is the excellent Glenn ‘Smoke Machine’ Lewis who was also very much involved, but it is nice to see that both Huggy Jones and Nick ‘Dance Stance’ Reed are still very much with us today. A great band this, this photo was taken on 9 September, 1983.

Tamworth Herald – 07/12/90
Musicbox – Salute the Golden Oldies!
TWO of the greatest bands ever to come out of the Tamworth music scene reunite on Sunday for a nostalgic charity event.

The trail-blazing Dream Factory will team up with the sweet popsters of Love On Board to provide a musical tour-de-force which should make for a very special Rathole event indeed.

It had originally been hoped that both The Classified Ads and Sitting Pretty might be able to join them, but this isn’t possible at the moment although there are already plans for ‘Golden Oldies II’ in the New Year.

The idea for a ‘best of the 80s’ event has been circulating for some time, and now it is finally happening it looks set to capture a potentially huge audience – especially as all the profits will go to heart charities.

TWO of the greatest bands ever to come out of the Tamworth music scene reunite on Sunday for a nostalgic charity event.Topping the bill will of course be The Dream Factory. For those who don’t know, The Dream Factory can, I feel, be regarded as the most important band in the early genesis of this blooming music scene. Inspired by music-mad Mark Mortimer, they built up a huge following for their Sixties inspired Jan-style pop, releasing two singles, playing exactly 100 gigs and earning national as well as regional press acclaim. They directly inspired groups such as Dance Stance and Catch 23 and they practically made the MUSICBOX poll their own for a number of years. Over those years, the band went through a number of line-ups, a fact reflected by them having no less than ELEVEN musicians involved on the Factory stage on Sunday. They are; Mark Mortimer (Original member bass), Tim Goode (original member, vocals), Lloyd Barnett (original member , guitar and broken leg!), Dave Stevenson (guitar), ‘Batman’ (drums), Andy Codling (alto sax), Paul Scragg (tenor sax), Paul Stansfield (trombone), Neil Gledhill (alto and bass sax), Martin Cooper (trumpet) and Mark Allison (trumpet). We are promised goldies like ‘Wine and Roses’ and from the feedback I am getting we are also promised a pretty huge attendance. Many people loved The Dream Factory and I am sure many more will turn up on Sunday to see why…

Teaming up with them are one of the best pop bands ever produced – Love On Board. The group generally agreed to be YEARS ahead of their time were inspired by Orange Juice and appeared in the early 80s at a time when the national music scene was fighting to find it’s new direction in the wake of punk. Their impressive lovable pop is exactly the sort that the likes of Fetch Eddie and Emma Gibbs popularised later and individual members – Nick Reed (Dance Stance), Glen ‘Fireburner’ Lewis (Honeyjump) and Neil Jones – cannot be understated. Drumming for them on the night will be long term fan Nig Horton and all the indications are that this will be another night of nostalgic magic.

All told, a gig that can’t be recommended highly enough.

A great night and just £1.50 with all the profits going to heart research. Get to the Rathole and miss it not.

Tamworth Herald – 21/12/90
Musicbox – Nostalgic Smiles
Love On Board/The Dream Factory – The Rathole

Love On Board – The Rathole
Two great new bands on here, both with a very promising future behind them! Love On Board and The Dream Factory might as well have been playing their first gig because I had never seen them. It’s not quite that they split up before I was born but – while others remember these two acts with nostalgia – I grew up with bands like Wolfsbane, Catch 23, Emma Gibbs and DHSS as my Arts Centre favourites.

I soon realised what I could have been seeing on a Sunday night instead of doing my homework though. Love On Board are a great pop group with a great sense of fun. I don’t know if they were always this relaxed on stage but they were certainly prepared to enjoy this charity gig. Musically, they sounded very good together considering it has been so long since they played and they performed a very enjoyable set by any standards. I’m afraid I couldn’t name their best songs because I don’t know what any of them are called, but the set definitely got better as it went on.

The Dream Factory – The Rathole
Despite the changes and the new bands in the Tamworth music scene. The Dream Factory remain a legend and they’re a band I had always wanted to see. Dream factory fans are obviously a doddery old lot though and a disappointing number of them managed to venture out while there was so much snow on the ground. It was a shame there were so few people because it was a real treat to see The Dream Factory in action.

While others compare the old Dream Factory with later Mark Mortimer projects like Bash Out The Odd, I couldn’t help making the comparison the other way around. It was a bit unfair to do so because – despite the involvement of Mortimer and the brass section in both projects – the bands are quite different. The Dream factory played an impressive set though, the highlight of which was ‘Wine and Roses’. My only complaint is that their professionalism was so great that it made them take themselves a little too seriously at times on a night that I understand to be more for fun than anything else.

SEAN ATKINS


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Love On Board

Love On Board

Love On Board

Love On Board

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