Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane
Wolfsbane
Photograph courtesy: Tamworth Herald
The Gallery

Musical Genre/Type: Heavy Metal
Formed: 1984

Band Members v.1 (1984-1985):
Jase the Ace - Guitar
Jeff Hateley - Bass Guitar
Bayley Cooke - Vocals
Poo-Poos - Drums

Band Members v.2 (1985-1986):
Jase the Ace - Guitar
Jeff Hateley - Bass Guitar
Bayley Cooke - Vocals
Stakk Smasher - Drums

Band Members v.1 (1986- ):
Jase the Ace - Guitar
Jeff Hateley - Bass Guitar
Bayley Cooke - Vocals
Steve 'Ellett' Danger - Drums

Gigs:
28/07/84
Wolfsbane
Child’s Play

Tamworth Arts Centre

14/09/84
BHX
Wolfsbane

Tamworth Arts Centre

30/11/84
Wolfsbane
BHX

Tamworth Arts Centre

22/12/84
Wolfsbane
One On One

Tamworth Arts Centre

16/03/85
Wolfsbane
Lichfield Arts Centre

03/05/85
Wolfsbane
Tamworth Arts Centre

05/07/85
Wolfsbane
Lichfield Arts Centre

09/07/85
Wolfsbane
JB’s Dudley

21/07/85
Wolfsbane
Coach and Horses, West Bromwich

09/08/85
Wolfsbane
Tribal Sweatshirts
Tamworth Arts Centre

24/02/86
Wolfsbane
Terroa
Bubbles Hinckley

28/02/86
Burnin’ Sky
Breaking Point
Wolfsbane
One On One
Battle of the Bands Final
Tamworth Arts Centre

26/04/86
Wolfsbane
Lichfield Most Promising Band Contest

16/06/86
Wolfsbane
The Dome

13/07/86
Beki Bondage
Wolfsbane
The Rathole

01/08/86
Wolfsbane
Crown Inn, Nuneaton

22/08/86
Tamworth Rock Festival Party
Wolfsbane
Shellshock
Ivory
Tamworth Arts Centre

14/09/86
Wolfsbane
Ranc Elsen
The Rathole

03/10/86
Wolfsbane Single Launch Party
Wolfsbane
Kara
The Rathole

02/11/87
Wolfsbane
Catch 23
The Conspiracy

27/02/87
Battle of the Bands
Wolfsbane
Cheesy Helmets
The Calling
Tamworth Arts Centre

20/03/87
Lichfield Battle of the Bands
Wolfsbane
Shellshock
Storm
Roma
Earthquake
Cerebus
Enots

10/05/87
Tiger Tiger
Wolfsbane
The Marquee, London

10/04/88
Kraze
The DHSS
Wolfsbane
Tamworth Arts Centre

08/07/88
Wolfsbane
The Marquee
London

16/07/88
Tamworth Rock Festival
Torn in Two
Shellshock
The Searching
DHSS
Wolfsbane
The Conspiracy
Never Say Die
Kubla Khan
Castle Grounds
Admission free 11am-7pm

30/07/88
Wolfsbane
Catch 23
Fetch Eddie
Tamworth Arts Centre

31/07/88
Wolfsbane
DHSS
Scream Dream
Tamworth Arts Centre

04/03/90
Wolfsbane
Tamworth Arts Centre

14/07/90
Magnum
Wolfsbane

Open Air Festival

02/08/90
Wolfsbane
Vindaloo Breakfast
Rhythm Damage

The Rathole

14/09/90
Wolfsbane
Roma
Gates of Purity

Lichfield Arts Centre

10/10/90
Iron Maiden
Wolfsbane

Derby Assembly Rooms

16/10/90
Iron Maiden
Wolfsbane

Hanley Victoria Hall

18/10/90
Iron Maiden
Wolfsbane

Hammersmith Odeon
London

27/12/90
Wolfsbane
Suicide Blonde
Harlan the Jester

The Rathole


Tamworth Herald Previews and Reviews:

1984

Tamworth Herald – 30/03/84
Musicbox
Another young and ambitious heavy metal band is all set to launch itself on the unsuspecting Tamworth public. ‘Wolfsbane’, who have the unique distinction of a female drummer, have been rehearsing hard for a while, but before they go any further they have decided they need a vocalist to complete their line-up. The suitable applicant should like hard heavy music and should be prepared to work hard with the other three members of the group, all of whom are keen to start gigging soon. If this sounds like your kind of band the person to contact is Jeff.

Tamworth Herald – 27/07/84
Musicbox – Presenting…the curse of Wolfsbane
You are awful but we might like you!

HEAVY METAL will return to Tamworth with a vengeance tomorrow night when one of the most bizarre young bands the town has ever seen will step out to try and win over the crowds at the Arts Centre.

Wolfsbane, who claim to hail from Transylvania, say they are totally different in sound, look and attitude to anything Tamworth has ever seen before – and they are looking forward to blitzing the town with a barrage of colour and noise.

Although the group refuse to name any influences, they clearly fit into the glam rock heavy image currently undergoing something of a revival in both metal and extreme punk circles.

They believe in hitting all the senses of their listeners and claim that they are not the sort of band anyone is likely to forget in a hurry.

“We are not trying to be clever – we are just trying to be heavy metal,” enthuses youthful guitarist Jase The Ace.

The band, who in just three active months have built up a strong 45-minute set, boasts sings such as ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ and ‘Clutching At Straws’ and believe in keeping much of what they have to offer firmly under wraps.

“We are trying to maintain some sort of mystique so people who want to see what we are all about will have to come and see us,” said Jase The Ace.

Jase, who is still very much a teenager, is joined in the line-up by hyper-enthusiastic bassist Jeff Hateley and the extraordinary frontsman Bayley Cook (Cooke - Ed.). Bayley is certainly not a man for the squeamish – preferring to hand out ‘Wolfsbane’ curses to pleasant good mornings – and like the rest of the band, believe in looking the part.

Completing the line-up on drums is the curiously named Poo-Poos. Although she prefers to remain anonymous, let us just say that she is the only rock drummer I know whi is the current Pearl Queen.

If Wolsfbane are as over-the-top on stage as they are off, tomorrow night’s shindig at the Arts Centre should prove eye-opening to say the least. Another reason why it looks like being a good night is that the band will be joined by more seasoned outfit Child’s Play.

Child’s Play, who burst onto the scene earlier this year, play heavy music which allows a touch of modern U2 sounds creeping in. They are definitely a band to keep your eye on and they are sure to bring an enthusiastic response from tomorrow’s heavy dominated audience.

Tomorrow’s gig kicks off at around 7pm.

Tamworth Herald – 03/08/84
Musicbox – May the curse be with you
Wolfsbane/Child’s Play – Tamworth Arts Centre

“WE ARE WOLFSBANE and the curse be with you!” With this menacing cry the curtains of the Arts Centre opened to reveal Tamworth’s newest and most outlandish act – the delightfully eccentric Wolfsbane.

Dressed like renegade extras from the ‘Mad Max’ films the group hit the audience with the effect of a thunderbolt – demolishing most of the spectators eardrums’ in the process.

Without inhibitions or worries they tore into a set packed full of well-written and for the most part very original numbers which at the close brought the audience to their feet – a rare sight indeed Tamworth.

It was hard to believe as you surveyed the packed, enthralled audience that this was the band’s first ever gig in Tamworth and even more surprising was the complete and utter absence of nerves on behalf of the quartet handing out the onslaught.

Bayley Cooke, who for all his acrobatic posing, still managed a superb vocal performance teased, tormented and tantalised the audience with a show of gritty self-confidence. On his left, Jeff Hateley (who gets my award for the coolest looking person on the night) turned in an enthusiastic performance and he was helped in the rhythm section by the solid drumming work of ‘Poo Poos’ who had also clearly left her nerves at home.

But for me Wolfsbane’s start of the night was the self-effacing guitarist Jase The Ace.

For his tender age, Jase really has awesome talent and one particularly memorable break in ‘Clutching at Straws. Brought an unnatural silence from an otherwise boisterous audience. He brought delicacy where delicacy was needed and fire where fire was required. Given time Jase could easily become one of the best guitarists in the town and I for one will be keen to see his progress over the next few months.

So closed a unique and wholly enjoyable set. As a gig, it was excellent but as a debut it was outstanding.

Following such an eye-opening act as Wolfsbane should have been if not impossible, at least very difficult. But Child’s Play took it all in their stride. Bassist Norman Yates delighted everyone with his off-the-cuff chatter which perfectly complemented the band’s relaxed and very confident performance.

I a similar manner to Wolfsbane they broke down barriers by giving all the varied people in the crowd at least something to cheer about. Their nicely-balanced set sped up and slowed down and with the addition of a number of popular cover versions they soon won over the crowd who gave them support right until the end.

The me the band’s greatest asset was their musical ability – particularly timing which was faultless. Graham Phelps was particularly impressive on guitar playing a number of always interesting breaks throughout the set.

By the time they had finished, everyone – band and crowd – was smiling and as the people began to file out of the Centre with the contrasting styles of Wolfsbane and Child’s Play firmly engraved on their mind. It seemed as of rock had finally returned to Tamworth.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald 14/09/84
Musicbox – Rock favourites take their corners
BATTLE OF THE HEAVIES

WolfsbaneTAMWORTH’S top two rock bands will tonight stage a unique battle to try and see who is the heaviest group in the town.

For seasoned favourites BHX have accepted the gauntlet from Wolfsbane to have a public musical battle at the Arts Centre to see just who is the raunchiest, heaviest and loudest rock outfit in Tamworth.

The battle which begins at 8pm is certain to be lapped up by the town’s swarm of rock fans and a capacity ring-side audience is expected as he bell goes off signalling the title fight to begin.

In the red corner will be BHX, still proud of the fact that they were the highest placed heavy band in last year’s Musicbox poll. BHX have gone through many ups and downs in recent times, but lately the band seem to have had a succession of ups.

A gig at the Tavern several weeks ago brought them five encores and universal praise and last week they released their dynamic new cassette which proved a culture shock to many people – myself included – who thought BHX were made of lighter stuff.

Trying to describe them is very difficult because they have achieved that much-sought heavy distinction – originality. At times they show periods of mood and Rushesque inventiveness and the next moment they will be back to ear-slaying mayhem

Their vast experience and wide range is sure to give them a lot of punching power tonight and Wolfsbane will have their work cut-out to take the heavy title.

Wolfsbane – in the very blue corner – have several obvious weapons lined-up for their challenge.

Their first weapon is their musical might. They try and hit their audience on every front but they know that if you don’t get them in the ears, the rest is academic.

Their music is again hard to define as it ranges from the Van Hale style ‘Love Doctor’ to the slow, tortuous delights of ‘Clutching at Straws’.

Like BHX they are great believers in the maxim that variety is the spice of life and their set is packed with songs of all shades, styles and speeds.

Another vital piece of equipment in the Wolfsbane armoury is their image. The band spend so long making sure they look the part as they do trying to sound it, and they are determined to out-pose their audience if all else fails.

So there you have it, the two battlers out to win the heaviest band in Tamworth title. They both look good, sound good and play well and there is no reason why tonight should not be one of the most exciting nights the local music scene has had in a long, long time.

I will go along tonight and act as official referee and next week I will give my own personal decision on who has grabbed the title.

Come along yourself and make your own mind up. Ringside tickets are still available.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald 21/09/84
Musicbox – Sharp Rock Flies in the battle of equals
BHX/Wolfsbane – Tamworth Arts Centre
THERE was a time, not so very long ago, when I would have thought it impossible that I could go to a heavy rock concert and thoroughly enjoy myself.

Personally I have always thought that heavy metal was the musical equivalent of watching someone being whipped – obnoxious to the eye, obnoxious to the ear and painful for all concerned.

But then came the BHX and Wolfsbane enigma. Suddenly there were two acts that I actually enjoyed seeing, bands who realised that rock is all about fun and fun is all about rock.

A packed-to-overflowing Arts Centre witnessed this ‘Battle of the Bands’ and few, I feel, will disagree with my assessment that the battle ended in an honourable draw.

At the start it seemed as if Wolfsbane would slay their opponents straight away. They hit the stage to an ecstatic reception (the sort I have only ever seen once before locally – for The Dream factory) and played a dynamic set in which they never put a note wrong.

The magnificent guitar work of Jase The Ace was again the highlight for me, but like most of the audience I just couldn’t help being transfixed by lead singer Baylet Cooke’s writhing and posturing which left nothing to the imagination. What amazes me is that this bloke can actually sing – superbly – at the same time as he enacts the motions of a man possessed by something deliciously sinister.

Wolfsbane played a tight entertaining set which embraced all the influences from traditional heavy music right through to the gritty rock and roll of Johnny Thunders and the New York Dolls.

As Wolfsbane left the stage to a standing ovation (yes at the Arts Centre) it seemed BHX were on a hiding to nothing but it wasn’t to be. The moment they hit the stage, you knew they meant business. They all looked the part with Rob Rea doing the seemingly impossible of looking better and cooler than all of Wolfsbane and guitarist Keith even added by wearing a live snake as a necklace.

Musically they played it straight, hard and heavy and won an equally enthusiastic response from their own contingent of die hard followers. Best song of all – inevitable – was the superlative ‘Superstar’ which is still my favourite BHX number and was rightly given two airings.

When I left, BHX were still playing encores which for me summed up the whole night. The bands had loved it, the fans had loved it and it had been the only battle I have ever attended where EVERYONE won.

S.H.

Tamworth Herald 26/10/84
Musicbox – Sleaze, murk…and lots more Hallowe’en treats!
HALLOWE’EN is just around the corner and for two of Tamworth’s most atmosphere conscious bands, the occasion will be celebrated in style.

For in Sunday night the dynamic Wolfsbane will be joined by fellow ‘ghostbusters’ The Classified Ads for a night that promises to be a visual and musical extravaganza.

The bands both of whom enjoy creating dark, sinister images, are expecting a packed Arts Centre to join in the low-down spirit of the night and there is likely to be a prize for the most bizarre looking person on view.

The Hallowe’en Party will kick off at around 8pm on Sunday night when the leather, bleach and whips of The Classified Ads will hit the stage. The Ads, who are now nearly fiver years old, believed their rambling post-punk sleaze with traditional Wolfsbanians who share a similar murky outlook.

The Ads who may have a big surprise up their sleeves, will be playing a set combining older numbers with more recent creations, such as “The Wonderful World”, “Anger Can Be Power” and “Derek Don’t Wear Hats”.

There is even a possibility that the old favourite “Black IS The Night” may be resurrected to fit into the atmosphere of the band’s set.

Shortly after the Ads’ set Wolfsbane will hit the stage hoping to continue their run of successful gigs which stretches back to their opening show just a few months agao.

The band have gone from strength to strength, filling out everywhere they play and almost bringing the house down at The Tavern recently.

Their set boasts ultra-powerful numbers like “Save Our Souls” (an anthem for a generation if I ever heard one) and more mellow bursts such as “Clutching At Straws”.

They have an effect of having a perfect excuse to dress up – they will no doubt go even further over the top than usual.

The bands are hoping to create a good on stage show and they are expecting a full Arts Centre to relish both the unique atmosphere of the hallowe’en gig and the unusual pleasure of a Sunday night gig.

The doors open at 7.30pm and judging by recent attendances at Wolfsbane gigs, the message is – get their early.

Tamworth Herald 30/11/84
Musicbox – Glam rockers are blasting in
TAMWORTH’S two most powerful rock bands will tonight join forces to bring a glam-orientated wall of sound to the Arts Centre.

After their last performance together, Wolfsbane and BHX decided to drop the idea of a battle of the bands and tonight are just intent on giving the audience a concert to remember.

For both outfits, tonight will be an unusual one. For headliners BHX it will be the first Arts Centre performance for new drummer, Rob Baxter, Rob who used to be with popular Lichfield rockers, Bashful Alley, made his BHX debut last night (Thursday)  but tonight in front of a packed Arts Centre he looks set for his first major test.

“He is a good drummer and he fits in well with our look and sound so we are quite happy at the moment,” said BHX vocalist Mick Goodby.

BHX have added a couple more songs to their repertoire and are aiming to go straight for the audience’s throats. And – they will be armed with their best ever sound.

“We have got ourselves a good sound system which we think will give us the best sound we have ever had in Tamworth. People might even be able to hear the vocals,” said Mick.

For Wolfsbane, who came into the gig as late replacements for Spirit of Water, mystery surrounds who will be their drummer tonight. Rumours that original drummer Poo-Poos has had to leave due to other commitments have been flying around for the past few weeks and there is a very strong possibility that tonight may well see a Wolfsbane debut for former Childs Play drummer, Jasper.

Whoever is behind the ‘skins’ there is no doubt that Wolfsbane will take full advantage of the powerful sound system on offer to try and blast their way into the ears of all their fanatical supporters.

The gig, which is almost certain to be a sell-out starts at 8pm, and it promises to be a very noisy way to blow away the winter blues.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald 21/12/84
Musicbox – Big bands set for seasonal sound-off
MUSICBOX is having a seasonal break this week in preparation for a bumper full page special next week which will give you all the details of who has won what in out record breaking poll.

The polls have been piling in since Day One and we have now passed the magical figure of 500 votes – including those for 20 different local bands.

Everything will be revealed next week but in the meantime there are three good gigs to put I your diary over the Christmas period.

‘Rock’ ranks

Tonight (Friday), rock hits the Arts Centre in the shape of two of the areas biggest and boldest outfits – BHX and Scarab.

And then tomorrow, the outrageously wonderful Wolfsbane will join up with the equally wonderful One On One for a Christmas special that promises a lot. Wolfsbane who were delighted to be banned from The Railway tavern for being too outrageous – have promised their normal high spirits, and with One On One’s consistent style, the Arts Centre looks like being packed to the rafters.

Better late…

And finally The Dream Factory will be playing a belated Christmas show on December 27 at Grendon Working Men’s Club. The Factory are expecting hordes of people to turn up to a gig that will be the culmination of a year that the band are unlikely to forget.

It just remains for me to wish all Tamworth’s musicians and music fans and MUSICBOX contributors a very happy Christmas packed full of your favourite Yuletide spirit.

SAM HOLLIDAY

1985

Tamworth Herald – 01/02/85
Musicbox – SNIPS
TAMWORTH’S most watchable band Wolfsbane are on the lookout for a new drummer. The group who have recently lost their second sticks person say they want a drummer with image, style and a certain amount of lunacy. If you can drum, pose and want to play with a band with a very bright and seedy future, the person to contact is Jeff.

Tamworth Herald – 15/02/85
Musicbox – Gossipbox
THIS week Musicbox is proud to unveil a new feature – Gossipbox. This irregular spot will aim to keep you in touch with all the rumours, whispers and gossip that is circulating about Tamworth’s bands and musicians.

Hopefully it will provide a quick reference guide to what is happening and with whom and if you know any juicy bits of gossip please let us know.

Let’s start with our old favourites Wolfsbane…it seems that this popular glam quartet are planning a big and sinister publicity stunt to get them back into the headlines.

…Meanwhile fellow rockers Sacred Oath unveiled their new drummer Josef Pighand at the Arts Centre last week, and by all accounts the man was very good indeed.

…On the folk circuit it seems Tamworth’s brightest outfit Ruffins Well have been offered a potentially lucrative TV appearance…a man also to be seen on the box rather a lot is Bob Geldof and it seems he got on like a house on fire with our very own Royal Family singer Dave Smith when the duo met up recently…

…Finally this week the happy news that Tamworth’s rock musicians are going to meet up later this year to record a special Band Aid-style song to raise funds for Ethiopia. For more info on this and other topics keep your eye on Musicbox – and of course Gossipbox.

Tamworth Herald – 22/02/85
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX
THIS column’s debut was very well received last week and so we hope to make it a regular feature. If you have news about local bands or musicians be sure to let us know so the truth can be told!

Well we start this week with a happy rumour that Talk Back have been linked with no less a label than EMI. According to my reliable informant, the label are very interested in the ambitious quartet and are considering sending someone up to watch them in action.

On the subject of live action. Sacred Oath are apparently planning to ask Wolfsbane to another ‘Battle of the Bands’ at the Arts Centre. Although Wolfsbane did a similar highly successful thing with BHX last year, the indications are that they won’t pick up the gauntlet. Sacred Oath however, claim that this would be an automatic victory for their outfit.

Sitting Pretty it seems are now ‘back on course’ according to lead singer Mike Turner. They have recruited former Breaking Point drummer Clark Stewart and experienced bass play Steve Parkin to the line-up and although it is the latest in a series of changes, there is a general feeling that this one is going to stick.

Talking of Sitting Pretty, what have their guitarist, Julian Amos, One On One drummer Stuart Blaine and Caprice singer Mike Fleming all got in common?

Well, strange as it may seem, they have all been members of heavy band BHX at one stage. This was just one of the fascinating facts I picked up when researching BHX’s history for their forthcoming national tour programme. The tour has already started to blossom with venues as glamorous as Dudley, Blackburn and Stoke-on-Trent on the itinerary. More info later.

And finally this week, news that former Classified Ads members Derek Goodwin and Paul Clements have formed a new ‘sexdeath’ combo on Manchester. The duo’s first manic performance was described as a ‘hideous noise’ which apparently pleased both members very much indeed. It’s all a far cry from the Classified Ads playing ‘Telephone’ but then again who remembers the band anyway?

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 01/03/85
Musicbox - What’s in a name
GLAM merchants, Wolfsbane, will be returning to live action in two week’s time – and Musicbox has two sets of tickets to their gig – to be won in a simple competition.

The band will be one of six groups lined up in another Tetley Promotion in Lichfield and the group has offered two sets of VIP guest tickets for the first correct answers to the following questions:

1) What does Wolfsbane mean?
2) Why do Wolfsbane meet outside a house with a red light every week?

The questions have been set by the band themselves so if you send in the correct answers I will be grateful as well! Please return to Sam Holliday.

TAMWORTH’s Queen Elizbeth Mercian School will play host to another of the successful ‘Youth for Christ’ gigs tonight.

The Tamworth ‘Youth for Christ’ group have put on many successful gigs in recent months and tonight’s visit by the popular Phil and John looks like being another success. Joining them tonight will be Gary Gibbs.

Tamworth Herald – 15/03/85
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane will tomorrow (Friday) step out too play an important gig at Lichfield Arts Centre. The concert, organised by Tetley Promotions, features five top Lichfield names and gives Wolfsbane a chance to build on their already strong following in the city. Winners of the Musicbox contest which offered tickets for the gig were Gary Hale from Hockley and Helen Bull from Fazeley, who both answered the question “Why do Wolfsbane meet under a red light? In suitably graphic detail.

Tamworth Herald – 19/04/85
Musicbox – Grabbed…by gutsy rock
Breaking PointI CAN STILL remember the first time I heard Breaking Point’s debut demo. It had me recharged with belief and hope for Tamworth’s music scene and I felt the whole town should go and buy the tape. And I feel exactly the same about this demo.

Quite simply, it is magnificent and is so full of potential that you can just sense the imminent arrival of something very big indeed. What makes it so good is the sheer tour-de-force of the music.

Jealous cynics often dismiss Wolfsbane as tarted-up rock parodies but on this tape all you get is the sheer guts of their rock and roll which is spellbinding.

It leaps out of the cassette deck and grabs you by the neck and rubs your nose in the splendid power of their sound.

Take ‘G.S.B’ a catchy chorus, a Hanoi Rocks guitar line, a thumping melody and a wonderful middle section – just four reasons why ‘G.S.B.’ means great stuff boys to my ears.

Entertaining

“Manhunt” and “The Followers” are also powerful, dynamic and entertaining but the best of all is the rousing “Clutching at Straws”. Here vocalist Blaze Bayley sings with an emotion most ‘rock’ singers would be too embarrassed to attempt.

Throw in another catchy tune (a Wolfsbane hallmark) and best of all a tear-jerking Jase the Ace guitar solo and you have a masterpiece to be put alongside “Ode to Nicholas Romanov”, “Wine and Roses”, “A Kind of Loving” and “Silent World” is the best ever vocal song section.

The excitement I feel about this tape is boundless. Wolfsbane have the live presence, the image and the charisma to go a long way. Now they have the tape to set them off. Put me on the guest list for the Birmingham Odeon lads!

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 26/04/85
Caption: Wolfsbane…lock up your daughters, sons, aunties, uncles and grand-dads.Musicbox – CURSES, HERE COME THE ROCK HORRORS
“If you think we are too outrageous, you’re too old!”

MIGHTY WOLFSBANE will hit the Arts Centre stage next week with the avowed intention to ‘kill and curse anyone and everything’.

The band, who proudly describe themselves as ‘uninhibited, sick young boys’ will be dishing out their own blood-curling version of rock and roll to an audience made up of fun seekers.

In a statement to Musicbox this week, Wolfsbane point out that some people are terrified to go to one of their group’s concerts.

“There are a lot of people around who are scared to come to our shows. They are stiffs,” said the group.

As well as being ‘stiffs’, no-Wolfsbanians are also ‘old’ according to the group.

“If you think we are too outrageous, you’re too old. If you think that we are too fast, then you have got one foot in the grave,” they said.

The sight of Wolfsbane in Tamworth next Thursday comes after a long absence. After a spate of local gigs, the band thought they may be going a little stale and the effect would start to wear off. So they disappeared and only surfaced occasionally in Lichfield.

“That’s because somewhere along the rock and roll path we lost our way,” say the quartet. “Our vision was clouded with over confidence.”

That vision has been severely sharpened by the acquisition of Stakk Smasher on drums. Stakk has all the vital ingredients to be a card-carrying member of Wolfsbane – he looks, acts and thinks like a lunatic and believes that music can only be valid if it is fast enough to cause physical pain.

Wolfsbane, who only last week released their marvellous first demo tape will be playing a set littered with oldies and goldies and other numbers that may be less well-know to people.

They will almost certainly receive the sort of adulation reserved for just a handful of groups in the town – but they want their audience to be as uninhibited as they are.

“Don’t come to a Wolfsbane show if you haven’t got a sense of humour,” they warn.

That sense of humour was displayed perfectly this week when the band marched into the Herald offices for a photo-session dressed like a City-gent’s nightmare. They then paraded around the town – bringing the place to a halt by all accounts – and thereby proving that if you want to get noticed you have to get NOTICED!

Chicken out

Wolfsbane’s guests next week will be a ‘very heavy rock band’ called Feedback. The outfit apparently have all the traits of a Sutton version of Kiss, probably meaning that Wolfsbane won’t be the only outfit to raise an incredulous eyebrow on Thursday.

Next week’s show (for that is what it will be) comes 24 hours after Wolfsbane invade the Birmingham Railway in Curzon Street.

On both nights the message, the sound and the impact will be exactly the same. But if you go along – or even chicken out – Wolfsbane have a message for you.

“The curse is upon you all.”

Seems fair enough. Now where are my platform heels.

Tamworth Herald – 10/05/85
Musicbox – Wolfish thrills in the dark
If the idea of being a critic is to go along to a gig, let the band buy you drinks and then massacre them in print – as some people seem to think – that I’d better give up…

How can you massacre anyone when the bands are as good as the last couple I have seen? Breaking Point had me flying higher than the average Space Shuttle and now THIS.

Wolfsbane, were bold, brazen, broody and brilliant. In a dark, seedy, sweaty atmosphere Wolfsbane towered above the gloom to turn in a show that could have left less-inspired bands in the audience ready to split up on the spot out of sheer despondency.

Thrilling

They had everything. And more. At one stage all the lights packed in and yet they turned a power failure into an exciting new song as Blaze Bayley led the excited crowd in a series of arm-punching chants, which Marilyn Monroe look-a-like J.F. Bombshell would up as many people as he possibly could.

I mean nobody but nobody should be able to make a power cut thrilling but then again Wolfsbane aren’t nobodies. In fact I think I enjoyed Wolfsbane’s power cut more than I enjoy most people’s sets.

And when the lights came back up – belters like ‘G.S.B.’ the tumultuous “Sold Our Songs” and a terrific smash-and-crash song where Bayley declared he was an axe-wielding maniac hit the audience with the effect of a tidal wave of power.

The crowd loved every second of it. Thos of us who thought we were too cool to act stupid felt secretly jealous of the dozens that did and it was clear where Wolfsbane’s affections lay. Anyone that dared not sing along, jump in the air or get excited was put down in some of the crudest terms outside a Manchester United terrace.

Insulted

It was all quite Sex Pistolian actually. Sweating like madmen, the band insulted theor audience, made them feel excited to the point of mild hysteria and refused to let up the sheer venom of their sound.

I had to leave as the encores began because I simply couldn’t handle it anymore. It was just so good, so powerful and so completely entertaining that I just had to get out before I lost my cherished cynicism forever.

All I can say is, I feel sorry for the next band I have to review. After crying out ,y left eye for Breaking Point and out of my right eye for Wolfsbane, I have no tears left and I am all set for a savage anti-reaction next time.

Finally let me say thank you Wolfsbane. You gave me – and scores of others – a night which we are unlikely to forget for a very long time. Long may you continue to slay, destroy and massacre everyone that dares to watch you.#

SAM HOLLIDAY

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 – 02/08/85
Musicbox – Wolfsbane/Power Play : Birmingham, Railway
WHEN Blaze Bayley stood at the front of an expectant Railway audience and began to sing a solo rock and roll version of “To Be A Pilgrim”, I knew this was to be no ordinary gig.

Of course, nothing Wolfsbane ever do is merely “ordinary” but tonight with a host of supporters in tow from Tamworth they were even more outstanding than usual.

They were fast, loud, raunchy and exciting and as they delivered fave-rave after fave-rave, their loyal supporters became as eccentrically uninhibited as the band. Musically – if it is possible – they seemed to my ears to be getting even faster, but what is really remarkable about Wolfsbane at the moment is they hardly seem to make a mistake.

It doesn’t matter how high Mike Monroe look-alike J.F. Bombshell jumps, his fingers still seem to land on the right note and the same goes for Jase the Ace who now looks, leaps and bounds better than ever. With Stakk Smasher handing out venomous treatment to his drumkit and Blaze combining blood curdling taunts at the audience (including a particularly vicious assault on my character I might add!) with powerful vocals. Wolfsbane simply couldn’t lose. They get just better with every listening and they have reached the point now where every gig is a wonderful experience.

Also deserving a lot of credit are Power Play who opened the show and received almost as enthusiastic a reaction as their now infamous partners. Once again it was Power Play’s musical ability that really made them stand out, with Graham Phelps showing he has lost none of his sparkling guitar form and the lead vocalist producing a show that was every bit as good as any of their contemporaries. Musically they veer very much towards American rock, but still throw a touch of good-old-fashioned British aggression to give them a unique feel. Best songs on my first hearing were “Stop Crying” and the commercial and entertaining “Caught Out in Love” which has Van Halen stamped all over it. A fine set in all, which when combined with the wonderful moments of Wolfsbane made for a show that was worth every penny of the £2 we paid for our coach and ticket.

Sam Holliday

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 – 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 – 27/09/85
Musicbox – TamAid’s genial chief pops up
Midnight guy still smiling
WOULD YOU buy a second-hand demo fro the pictured-above gypsy? No? Well think again, for the gentleman above is none other than Paul Speare, the man who produced TAMAID and also added the sax on the tracks.

Paul is pictured from the inner-sleeve of the last Dexy’s album “Too-Ry-Aye” where our resident Rosie Lee performed on such mega hits as ‘Come On Eileen’ and ‘Jackie Wilson Said’.

The question is how can anyone who has spent hour after hour with that difficult genius Kevin Rowland still be smiling? Questions on a postcard to Expresso Bongo Studios, Lichfield Street, Tamworth.

Warning

A slightly less famous band than Dexys are Gaf The Horse In Tears who have decided to split up. The band, who have made quite an impact in their short career, have decided to change their name, line-up and sound. Ted, Stuart and Robin are staying together and now they are seeking new musicians to build a fresh group altogether.

Bass players and keyboard players are especially welcome…

Also changing are Depth Charge who appear to have recruited the ever-loveable Mick Goodby as lead vocalist. A wise move indeed lads, but just a warning – Mick’s dog is a killer. In a word, AVOID!

Certainly not to avoid are Breaking Point who have completed their line-up by acquiring a new drummer, Jason Farrow. The ex-Wolfsbane, Childs Play amd Lost Johnny drummer has delighted bassist Daydo, who even had a shave by way of a celebration.

“He seems to fit in really well and we are delighted he has joined us,” he said.

Still on joining things, Ian “When does he find time to sleep?” Gibbons has been appointed as the first ever rock representative on the Arts Advisory Council which overseas the Arts Centre. Ian has more devilish tricks to unveil and all will be revealed in the near future.

And finally, a sad farewell this week to Femme Fatale bassist ‘Jean-Jacques’ Higgs who is leaving the area at the weekend to go to college.

According to the handsome man-in-black bassist, he will still be returning occasionally to keep the Femme Fatale ball rolling.

The real question is how will he ever be able to drag himself away from the beautiful, picturesque and completely unviolent (!) City of Coventry?

Tamworth Herald – 11/10/85
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX
Speaking of the Factory, they have recruited a mad-keen Wolfsbane supporter as their new trombonist! Paul Stansfield, 17, is more used to ‘Clutching At Straws’ than ‘Wine and Roses’ but according to the band he has already fitted in well. The group are still looking for trumpeters – Sacred Oath, Femme Fatale or Magnets fans this time?

Tamworth Herald – 11/10/85
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX
On the subject of Wolfsbane, this week should finally see the confrontation to upstage Ali v Frazier, Thatcher v Kinnock or Sarah Keays v Cecil Parkinson. Yes, Bayley Cooke is going to the police station! He is handing over a £50 cheque from the rock festival to the police’s SPACE scheme.

Rumours that the police have brought in a water cannon to protect themselves from Bayley remain unconfirmed…

Tamworth Herald – 25/10/85
Musicbox - Space Age Bayley!
Caption: Blaze Bayley (left of course!) hands over the £50 donation to Superintendent Don Robinson.BLAZE BAYLEY, the eccentric lead singer of Wolfsbane put on his smartest attire last week for a trip to Tamworth Police station.

But Bayley was not heading for the cells, instead he went to meet Superintendent Don Robinson who gratefully received a £50 donation for the police’s summer SPACE scheme.

The money had all been raised by the Tamworth Rock Festival which as Bayley explained to the clearly impressed Superintendent, was a classic example of what Tamworth’s young people can do if they are given the chance.

”There is so much apathy in Tamworth that we are having to fight against,” said Bayley. “But when we are able to raise money for charity like this, it shows how successful the event is.”

During this short visit to the station, Bayley was shown photographs of the SPACE scheme, which annually keeps hundreds of young Tamworth people busy during the long summer holidays.

The obvious thread is that the SPACE scheme is trying to do exactly what the Rock festival is doing – only for different age groups. Both events are set up to try and encourage people to take part in enjoyable and varied fun right on theor own doorsteps. And both are proving very successful.

“It is hard to try and get people interested, but every year more people take part which is very encouraging,” said Inspector Bob Langley, one of the most active officers in the SPACE scheme.

The police were so pleased with their donation that they have agreed to put the Rock Festival on next year’s agenda of SPACE events, in the hope of attracting many more young pop fans to the two-day rock bonanza.

A special meeting of all bands in Tamworth is to be held at the Tavern in the Town on Sunday, November 3. The subject of the meeting is the future of the rock festival plus a possible new Battle of the Bands contest. All musicians and festival committee members are urged to attend.

Tamworth Herald – 08/11/85
Musicbox – A night to remember
Caption: Ian Gibbons…working flat-out to make the event a great success. THE final details about Tamworth’s exciting 12-hour musical marathon for Ethiopia have just been released.

The show on Saturday December 21, will feature among others, The Dream Factory, Wolfsbane, Breaking Point, The Royal Family, The Sway and Femme Fatale.

It will also include the first – and probably the last – live appearance pf ‘TamAid’ and as a whole it promises to be a night which musicians and spectators alike will not forget.

“This is our way of saying thank-you to Bob Geldof, all the artists involved in Band Aid and relief agencies all round the world who are trying their best to stamp out poverty,” said crusading organiser Ian Gibbons.

As many of you may know, the show which can virtually be seen as a festival, is the centre of a nationwide ‘Live Aid’ bonanza which promises to raise thousands of pounds.

On the same night as the Tamworth show, there will be similar gigs all round Britain with around 30 or 40 other towns expected to take part. As an example Leatherhead this week sold out ALL of its 2,000 £8.50 tickets showing just how the idea has caught on nationally.

“Everything is going very well but we must make sure Tamworth which started the whole thing off, id the best of all,” enthused Ian. “It is going to be a brilliant night.”

The show has been given the full support of Band Aid – who have said they will try and fix a rock VIP to visit the town on the day to give the campaign a boost.

Also on the same day, the Ethiopian Committee are calling on all nightclubs, working men’s clubs and a multitude of other organisations to join in a day of action for Ethiopia. Whatever happens it is going to be a night where a lot of money is going to be made for famine victims, and a night when Tamworth can hold its head up high.”

“I am sure we will sell all our tickets in Tamworth, and as it is just £2 for the whole twelve hour show I am sure people will take part in raffles and put money in buckets,” said Ian.

For that meagre £2, people can enjoy the spectacle of not only six brilliant rock bands but also the more diverse sounds of The Banned Wagon and The Trout Brothers. In addition there will be lots of good disco courtesy of Beuwey and the much-loved Buttercup and raffles, speeches and numerous other sidelines.

The doors open on the event at 11.30am and musically it gets off to the most powerful start with Wolfsbane at 1pm. The Banned Wagon appear an hour later, Femme Fatale are set for 3.30pm and then The Trout Brothers hit the stage at 5pm. At 6.30 Breaking point step out to do their passionate parade, and an hour later Rikk Quay and the boys are up on stage. The Dream Factory are due on at around 8.45 and then The Royal Family get into the swing of things at about 10.15, ‘Tam Aid’ are expected to hit the stage after 11.30 to round off a day that already looks exhausting just thinking about it!

Tickets should be available soon from Tamworth Ethiopia Committee members or members of the individual groups. They are expected to sell out quickly so be warned. It is a night which you simply cannot date to miss.

Tamworth Herald – 15/11/85
Musicbox – Metal maniacs set to turn up the ouch factor
Caption: Wolfsbane…another instalment in their horror storyThe shocking, garish and uncivilized Wolfsbane hits Tamworth Arts Centre on Sunday night, in what promises to be one of the shows of the year. For the maniacal metal merchants are playing downstairs at the Centre – the scene several months ago of perhaps their greatest show ever.

Down in the murky depths of the Arts Centre, there are no seats, no places to hide, just a small, sweaty dancing area where all senses of decorum and order go flying out of the window.

Last time Wolfsbane played in the room, the effect was dazzling. People bounced about like they had baby kangaroos in their socks, and the band unsurprisingly revelled in the freedom to go even further beyond their normal barrier-breaking borders.

Massacre

It was a night to remember and the band have spent months persuading Centre administrator, Nick Ewbank to let them use the room again. Now he has yielded and the band are lining up their artillery to try and massacre their audience once again.

Just to add extra spice to the night there is a chance that Depth Charge – with new lead singer Mick Goodby – may make their Arts Centre debut with their new line-up.

It promises to be a night of unrefined, ear-battering delight and to be sure you don’t miss it, fans are urged to get to the Arts Centre about eight o’clock. But just a warning.

Even though this is Sunday, the tunes are going to be a touch harder than those ‘Songs of Praise’. So leave your granny in front of the fire and come along and revel in sheer, unadulterated FUN.

Tamworth Herald – 22/11/85
Musicbox – Shattered…by the shocking showmen!
Wolfsbane/Depth Charge – Tamworth Arts Centre
SUNDAY is supposed to be a day of silent meditation, rest and pure tranquillity. But, when Wolfsbane enter the fray, you can forget all that. This wasn’t a nice pleasant Sunday night concert, this was a MASSACRE.

Punks, poseurs, plebs and pop-pickers were shattered, splattered, shell-shocked and slayed by the sheer might of Wolfsbane, in a concert that was even worth missing Fawlty Towers for,

The group were simply magnificent, producing one of their finest sets to date and leaving the audience well and truly drained.

In fact the night as a whole was a great success. Sunday concerts are a rarity and the novelty proved such a draw that around 150 punters decided to sample a night of unashamed power.

The even was kicked off by Depth Charge making their fiirst Tamworth show with new lead singer Mick Goodby.

Mick seems really at home with his new bedpartners (in the nicest possible sense of course) and his voice has lost none of it’s range and strength.

Musically the band are still dominated by the magnet-like sound of Trevor Mugglestone’s guitar but that I no tot take anything away from Darren Milner, Tony Lakin and Garry Dobson.

The main feature could be ‘Confessions Of A Sex Metal Outfit.” For Lead Singer Blaze was as determined to give the audience a lesson in sex education as he was to slay them with music.

But Wolfsbane are not about individuals. Blaze Bayley may be the greatest showman around, but The Slut, Stakk Smasher and Jase the Ace don’t come very far behind. They leap about, scream and gyrate as if they are possessed with a frantic fear that if they stand still they will disintegrate.

To look at, they are tremendous – to listen to, even better. What pleased me most was that they are now writing new material which is as strong as the old.

To my ears they still sound like an old 1977 punk band. I love the music, love the band and would also like to thank Bayley for the sex education lesson. It’s not quite the way I heard it at school, but then Wolfsbane aren’t quite like anything I have ever seen before. Especially on a Sunday!

Tamworth Herald – 20/12/85
MUSICBOX – Big hearts fine sounds unite
Tonight we have the excellent Terroa lining up with alternative poet Joolz at the Arts Centre and then tomorrow night at the Assembly Rooms, we have probably the greatest local gig ever seen in Tamworth.

The Dream Factory, Royal Family, Breaking Point, Wolfsbane, The Sway and many more will present a 12-hour Christmas present for the town’s rock fans and the silent millions such concerts are designed to help.

The doors open at 11.30am and after a nice session with that most impressive of DJs Buttercup, it is straight onto Wolfsbane at 1pm.

After the marvellous slice of ear-bashing, there is more disco and then it is the turn of the Banned Wagon to do their bit for charity and musical culture.

Femme Fatale hit the stage at 3.30pm to be followed by the DJ with impeccable taste Beuwey and then it is time for Trout Brothers. By now it will be time for Breaking Point…The Sway…The Dream Factory…The Royal Family.

During the day there is the possibility of a few star guests, new bands, raffles, competitions and fun by the literal bucketful.

Tickets for the event are a mere £2 and that entitles you to come and go as you please – although it would be better if you stayed of course!

It looks like being the best day of the year for the areas music scene, and one which will show that for thousands of people up and down the country the Ethiopia tragedy is still very much on our minds.

On a personal note. I would like to express a vote of thanks to everyone – especially Ian – who has helped to arrange this marvellous weekend.


 

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 – 17/01/86
Musicbox – Bands tune up for five nights
TAMWORTH’S second annual Battle of the Bands contest looks set to be a great success with 16 groups – some completely new to the scene – taking part. The event has been stretched over five nights, with four heats and a final which will possibly be judged by a celebrity.

And as well as winning the accolade of Tamworth’s best band, and a Young People’s Arts Festival trophy, the successful band will also win £50 worth of recording time at the Expresso Bongo studios.

The whole event will get underway two weeks on Sunday at Tamworth Arts Centre.

Sunday February 2Caprice and Femme Fatale take on the unknown quantities of Coleshill’s Burnin’ Sky and new Anice Byfield group Precious Toys.

Sunday February 9 – The Australians, One On One, Dance Stance and another new one, Drowning Pool.

Sunday, February 16Depth Charge, Wolfsbane, The Me and The Parade.

Sunday, February 23Terroa, Spirit Lake, Judas Cradle and Breaking Point.

Friday February 28 – The Final.

Tamworth Herald – 17/01/86
Musicbox – Moving down…
THE Arts Centre is planning a new move which will turn the downstairs room into a venue where bands can perform.

Up until recently all bands played upstairs in the theatre but because of the reaction to recent downstairs gigs, by Wolfsbane in particular, Arts Centre administrator, Nick Ewbank has decided to make the downstairs area the main rock arena.

Tamworth Herald – 21/02/86
Musicbox – Sparkling Wolf in winners’ clothing
WolfsbaneBATTLE REVIEW
Battle of the Bands – Tamworth Arts Centre

POWERFUL Wolfsbane scraped through to the final of the Battle of the Bands on Sunday night, in another close-fought encounter.

Wolfsbane won their heat by just one point, to conclude a night that was once again a triumph for the local scene.

First up were Depth Charge, who turned out to be, perhaps, the biggest surprise of all. A new mood of confidence and aggression has hit the band, and the resulting sound is one that won them many friends among the packed Arts Centre crowd.

The opening two numbers, ‘Running Away’ and ‘In My Car’ were two of the best I have heard in the whole contest, and they were both sparkling and very well played. The tight power of the band was quite inspiring and to many ears – mine included – it seemed hard to see how they could be beaten.

Wolfsbane, perhaps because they were carrying around their necks the unwelcome albatross of being the red-hot favourites, started their set off uncharacteristically uncertain. Slowly, however, things began to ‘click’ and it was clear that whatever Bayley, Jase, Stakk and The Slut have been up to these past couple of months, it has been worthwhile.

‘I’m Not A Baby No More’ was particularly dynamic, but the award for best song of the set – and the night – certainly went to ‘Clutching At Straws’ which is a track to get your rock and roll hankies out to.

As Spirit Lake singer Dylan said afterwards, the song is a real classic, and as Dance Stance guitarist Nick Reed also said afterwards, Wolfsbane were tremendous.

By way of a contrast, The Me were next to show. The Me are a likeable r ‘n’ b combo with a cheerfully spaced-out sound that is very soothing. Lead singer Andy Meakin was especially good, coming across as a sort of erstwhile Lou Reed character. He gave the sort of impression all r ‘n’ b singers should aim for – a kind of alcoholic nonchalance.

Exciting demos

Finally, came The Parade, who turned in a show made up largely of their exciting two demos. It was direct, powerful and impressive and even when Bryan Lacey’s guitar cut out, the group’s on-stage enthusiasm couldn’t be denied. The three judges on the night, Paul Speare, Phil Smith and Graham Phelps, were all agreed on one thing – with the right handling, The Parade could go a long way.

In the end, however, there could be only one winner and although two bands were almost neck and neck in the judges’ view, Wolfsbane were given the nod to take part in next Friday’s final.

Tamworth Herald – 21/02/86
Musicbox – Sounds out of town
FIVE of Tamworth’s top bands have just lined up out of town concerts – and they are all planning coaches to ferry supporters to the shows.

First on the agenda is a terrific double bill on Monday night, featuring the varied dynamics of Wolfsbane and Terroa. The show is at Bubbles in Hinckley, and it promises to be a very enjoyable night out. Tickets – costing £2 – are available from any band member of the two groups or by contacting Brian Edwards.

Then, on Thursday night (February 27), kindred spirits Femme Fatale and The Parade have been lined up for a winebar concert in Coventry. Once again, the two bands are hoping to generate enough support to be able to run a coach to the gig.

Finally the very tasty One On One are lining up another show at Bubbles at Hinckley – this one is on March 1.

Tamworth Herald – 28/02/86
Musicbox – Here comes clash for battle honours
LOCAL ROCK fans are expected to swarm to Tamworth Arts Centre tonight to watch the exciting finals to the hugely-successful “Battle of the Bands” competition.

The contest has been a marvellous celebration of the local rock scene with packed houses every night and good performances all round.

And to cap the whole event off, one of the four heat winners – Burnin’ Sky, Breaking Point, Wolfsbane and One On One will tonight be crowned as local rock champions.

Another full house is expected for the intriguing four-way battle and although it wasn’t confirmed at time of going to press, it was hoped that world-famous soul favourite Edwin Starr will chair the judging panel.

The draw for the final positions was held during Sunday’s heat and it will mean that last year’s winners Breaking Point will open the event.

Breaking Point just secured their place in the final on Sunday night, and there is no doubt that they would like to hold onto the Battle of the Bands crown at all costs.

The trio will once again produce a set mixing their old material with the new, and they will literally set the contest alight and leave the other three bands following with a mighty hurdle to clear for victory.

Second up on the night will be Coleshill’s finest Burnin’ Sky. The group emerged as surprise victors of heat one and they will be hoping to increase the support they found in the Tamworth audience on the night.

The sound they produce is a light, progressive rock and although on paper Burnin’ Sky are probably the outsiders if President Marcos can claim victory in the Phillipines, anything is possible.

Third band on the night will be One On One – who scored the highest marks in the heats. The band have undergone something of a radical transformation of late, and their new brand of rock shocked many people who saw them defeat Catch 22, The Australians and The First in perhaps the best heat of the whole contest.

They should prove a hard act to beat and although One On One are wisely trying to play it down, there is a grounds’ well of opinion that tonight will be their night.

Finally Wolfsbane will hit the stage and will aim straight for the jugular. The band only just scraped into the final with a slightly below-par show two weeks ago and they will be determined to cast that performance aside and turn on some of the acknowledged Wolfsbane magic tonight.

So, four bands all with a good chance of victory. Sandwiched between Burnin’ Sky and One On One there will also be the sardonic and rabid humour of Tamworth’s answer to John Cooper Clarke – Jed Moore.

All in all it makes for a night when no self-respecting rock fan should be seen on the streets. Entry to the gig will be just 75p and the winner will be crowned as the 1986 Tamworth Young People’s Arts Festival Band of the Year. They are all at the starting post, the bets have been placed, now watch them go.

Tamworth Herald – 07/03/86
Musicbox – Starry tribute to superlative finale

Caption: Edwin Starr with One On One – the 1986 Battle of the Bands winners. Edwin and Andy Malkin are pictured with the £50 free recording time cheque presented by Expresso Bongo.
Caption: Edwin Starr with One On One – the 1986 Battle of the Bands winners. Edwin and Andy Malkin are pictured with the £50 free recording time cheque presented by Expresso Bongo.

DELIGHTED ONE ON ONE emerged as the new champions of the Tamworth rock scene on Friday night when they won the 1986 Battle of the Bands contest.

Hundreds of spectators enjoyed a night packed from start to finish with frenzied, powerful music which was a tribute to the whole local scene.

Among them were international soul singer Edwin Starr and his multi-talented musician brother Angelo. The duo’s appearance was a boost to all the bands involved and the enthusiasm they showed surprised everyone.

“I came here expecting to be disappointed but I have been shocked at the real talent on show,” Edwin Starr told the mass ranks of spectators. “I don’t care where I am or what I am supposed to be doing at the time, when you have your festival, I will be there because these local bands deserve every success.”

Edwin and Angelo’s enthusiastic support for the result of a four-band show that was every…Breaking Point, Burnin’ Sky, One On One and Wolfsbane, all played better than they did in the heat stages and the high marks all round reflected this.

Breaking Point opened the proceedings with – in my opinion one of the greatest sets they have ever produced. I have lost track of the amount of times I have seen this, my favourite band, but watching them on Friday was like watching them for the first time all over again. They were direct, powerful and dynamic with Kevin, Jason and Daydo sounding as confident and clear-sighted as ever.

“Brotherhood of Israel” was the set-stealer but there was a loud cheer for that old nostalgic classic “My Love Lies Bleeding”. A set to remember.

Burnin’ Sky followed and their show was far better than the one that won them the first heat of the competition. They played with a relaxed air that belied their relative inexperience. Their original r ‘n’ b rock was one with a potential cult appeal that is perhaps only just being hinted at.

And so to the victors – One On One. The moment they hit the stage you knew they meant business. Dave Ingham was supposed to have had a cold, yet he showed all the usual confident and vocal ability that has made him the undisputed king of singers in Tamworth.

All the other members of the band weighed in with their normal faultless musical performances with guitarist Tim Latham being described afterwards by Edwin Starr as “like a young Eric Clapton”. Praise indeed for Eric Clapton.

Best number of an electric set was “Different Drums” which fused together all the bands assets into one mesmerising number.

The night was concluded by Wolfsbane whose power-blasting set put their show in the heats in the shade. They were fast, furious and great fun in the true Wolfsbane tradition with several numbers, notably “I’m Not A Baby” and the 800 mph “Manhunt” splitting heads in two.

Wolfsbane were clearly pleased with their show, the audience loved it and the night ended on the highest possible note.

Pleasure

In the middle of the concert the audience also had the dubious pleasure of a 15-minute tirade by tasteless poet Jed Moore who risked life and limb and prosecution with a set brimming with nastiness. (As for the attack on me, well there’s nothing wrong with Sigue Sigue Sputnik anyway Jed, and they have got more chance of being number one than Everton!)

The whole event closed with the speeches, presentations and congratulations. The atmosphere at this stage was a festival-style friendliness and genuine mutual appreciation, that was truly heartening to witness.

Dave Ingham summed it all up for me by saying “The Tamworth music scene is brilliant and so are every band who’ve been involved”.

Amen to that one David.

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 – 04/04/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
Former Wolfsbane drummer Amanda Hemmings is itching to bring her considerable talents back to the local music scene. She wants to return to being a sticks person with a band in the Wolfsbane mould – i.e. influenced by Bon Jovi, Wrathchild and Kiss.

Tamworth Herald – 25/04/86
Musicbox – GOSSIPBOX - Set for a deal with Wakeman
QUITE an epic amount of gossip this week involving singles, national tours and even support slots to Rick Wakeman! Don’t believe it? Well read on.

The single news is that despite trying to keep it quiet, Wolfsbane have just recorded their first single – ‘Clutching at Straws’ – which should be out in a month.

It has been put together and sponsored by their manager Phil Ball, and an excellent choice for a single it is to.

On the tour front, Freight Train (who will be playing at The Rathole on Monday May 5) have won an excellent support slot to The Woodentops which will give them their biggest spotlight yet. Hopefully we will have more details next week.

Also, joining Freight Train on May 5 will be Duel – the band featuring Alan Watkins of old Talk Back fame – and these are the chaps who have got a Rick Wakeman support slot later this year.

The band have been working secretly like slaves and are now ready to emerge from the darkness and into the light. We shall be charting their progress with keen eyes. And finally just a word about last week’s highly successful ‘alternative’ disco show at The Rathole.

The place was packed to the rafters and I am sure everyone who went enjoyed it as much as I did. It shows that the call for music like this is stronger than ever and to hear the sounds of The Stranglers, Clash, Generation X, Ramones, Boys, Damned et al coming out of a disco unit in Tamworth brought nostalgic tears to my eyes.

As Richard Burton once said to Liz Taylor – “Let’s do it again!”

Tamworth Herald – 25/04/86
Musicbox – Wolfsbane kick-off
MUSICBOX STOP PRESS

WOLFSBANE have been drawn to play the first night of the Lichfield Most Promising Band contest this Saturday.

Tamworth Herald – 16/05/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane have found their way into yet another excellent concert line-up which should have the rest of the local bands green with envy again. They will be playing the Portland Club in Birmingham on Saturday August 23 as part of an all-day charity concert for Amnesty International they will join – among others – The Burning and Finis Code and there should also be cameo visits by top pop stars throughout the day.

Tamworth Herald – 30/05/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane have pointed out for their fans they will be able to attend their special Dome concert on June 16 with only a few dress restrictions. The band were worried that the Dome would refuse entry to your average Wolfsbane but it seems that as long as you don’t wear jeans, trainers and t-shirts you’ll be OK!

Tamworth Herald – 13/06/86
Musicbox – Sleaze kings in bid for top Marx
SLEAZE-KINGS Wolfsbane will this weekend go to war – by taking part in two separate ‘Battle of the Bands’ events. The quartet will take their own breed of musical violence to Lichfield Enots tonight and then the more glamorous setting of ‘The Dome’ on Monday night in an attempt to win new fans – and big prizes.

Tonight’s Enots show is the semi-final of Tetley’s ‘Most Promising Band’ award which has dominated the Lichfield scene over the past few weeks. Unlike our own ‘Battle of the Bands’ where judges choose the winner, in this event it is up to the fans on the night to vote for their favourites.

Obviously the more Tamworthians we can get over there to do a little hyping the better! It starts at 7.30, tickets are £1.50 and taking on Woilfsbane will be Earthquake, Virgil Spirit and Ivory.

Then on Monday night Bayley and the bots will tae on the audience at the Dome – which modestly describes itself as the ‘best nightclub in Europe’. Under the glittering lights Wolfsbane’s Marx-brothers-with-guitars effect should prove a winner and they will be all out to make a name for themselves in the ‘SOS’ organised event.

WolfsbaneTravelling fans should watch what they wear and Wolfsbane should probably watch how they swear, but nevertheless it should be a very jolly night indeed. Go forth to war Wolfsbane!

Tamworth Herald – 27/06/86
Musicbox – Wolfish double
TAKE A good look at these two snapshots. Look familiar? Well one of them is our very own JK Bombshell – alias Jeff Hateley – from Wolfsbane. The other we will leave you to work out. One is a gentleman named Bryan Whale, a guitarist in a Nuneaton group called ‘Dressed to Kill’.

Tamworth Herald – 11/07/86
Musicbox – Filth rules as Beki greets the Wolf men
TWO OUTRAGEOUS acts come stud-to-stud on Sunday night when glam queen Beki Bondage teams up with Tamworth’s own Wolfsbane for a fine Rathole double-header.TWO OUTRAGEOUS acts come stud-to-stud on Sunday night when glam queen Beki Bondage teams up with Tamworth’s own Wolfsbane for a fine Rathole double-header.

The teaming of the wild and wacky Wolfsbane with the bizarre and barbaric Beki is sure to pack the venue out in what could be one of the finest nights yet.

Supporting the vide queen will be Tamworth’s own fishmongering metal-men Wolfsbane. The band haven’t played in Tamworth for some months and they are keenly looking forward to this prestigious homecoming.

“We didn’t want to miss this one and as we haven’t played in Tamworth for a while it should be really good,” said bassist Jeff Hateley.

Beki BondageWolfsbane also have a date on Saturday night at Lichfield (where they are almost as big as they are here) and it means a busy weekend for the quartet. And what about that mysterious single?

“It should be about in time for the rock festival with a bit of luck,” said Jeff. Sunday night’s show starts at around 8pm and should have something for everyone. Like The Redbeards from Texas, Beki Bondage (and indeed Wolfsbane) has a show that appeals to more people than just music fans and anyone who goes along is guaranteed a very good night out indeed.

Tamworth Herald – 25/07/86
Musicbox - Blood, sweat and filthy rich…
FOLLOWING Their stirring and unbelievably sweaty performance in front of a packed-out Rathole at the recent Beki Bondage show, Tamworth’s finest filth-merchants, Wolfsbane, found out that all the hard work had been well worthwhile.

Our heroes so impressed the Bombshells’ management that they were immediately booked as support for the remainder of a national tour, and have been displaying their undoubted talents to audiences across the country, on a tour which included a sate at the semi-legendary Marquee Club in London. Doesn’t beat playing at the Rathole though does it lads?

This Sunday night’s concert at the Rathole featuring Depth Charge will be an important one as the proceeds will go towards providing a stage at the August rock festival.

Everyone involved will be giving their services free, so make sure you’re there to swell the total!

Tamworth Herald – 01/08/86
Musicbox – Not so giggly
WOLFSBANE are NOT touring with Beki Bondage – despite what was said in Musicbox last week. What actually happened was that a member of Beki Bondage’s back-up band told Wolfsbane they were so good they should try and get themselves on the remaining few dates on the tour. So the group dutifully rang all the remaining venues and found that none of them could take Wolfsbane as support. They were understandably very disappointed.

“I was prepared to give up the holiday I was about to start to do these gigs, but it wasn’t to be,” said guitarist Jase The Ace.

Still Wolfsbane were very pleased with their sell-out Rathole show and tomorrow night (Saturday) they are back in action again, at the Crown Inn, Nuneaton. A coach is running (cost £2 all inclusive), and it will pick up at Hamlets at 7.45pm and then at Fazeley traffic lights at 7.55pm.

It may not be the Marquee, but a gig is a gig so go along and enjoy yourselves.

Tamworth Herald – 08/08/86
Musicbox – Stop being so good
Wolfsbane – Crown Inn, Nuneaton
I AM getting sick of writing nice things about Wolfsbane. Every time I go to see them a little bit of me secretly hopes they will really mess up, and I will be able to hit them with the sort of cynical nasty phrases that I normally only reserve for Marillion.

But it never happens. Every time I see them I end up smiling from start to finish and come out of venue thinking I have seen something really special. In fact here comes the real compliment, Wolfsbane remind me of the Stranglers – they have NEVER disappointed me live. And this Nuneaton show was one of the best yet.

It wasn’t to be fair, without its problems but even those were all turned into advantages by the band. First Blaze Bayley (sporting new sideburns that reminded me of Reggie Perrin when he visited Pekham’s Piggery) nearly electrocuted himself on Jase the Ace’s guitar and then Blaze almost single-handedly destroyed the Grown Inn stage. But that’s all part of a Wolfsbane show and the bands fanatical following just kept singing, chanting and generously having a rock and roll ball.

Musically the band were as tight as ever, but something that I did notice was how much faster they have become. They have always been speed merchants but now they seem to have acquired bionic fingers and played at a truly electric pace. Best numbers of a very crisp, enjoyable set were ‘Love On Hold’ and the splendid ‘Get Up’ which is tremendously catchy.

Star of the show on the night was certainly Blaze who was in terrific humour. He carried off his act with sheer style and reminded me of a mixture of Frank ‘N’ Furter and a lecherous old uncle. Have no illusions, this guy is a star.

So another show which left my critical mind redundant. Wolfsbane were quite wonderful and I cannot see how anyone can dislike them. I will go even further – if you don’t like Wolfsbane you’re dead already.

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 – 29/08/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
THE WOLFSBANE and Breaking Point singles are both on the immediate horizon. Wolfsbane have had the first test-pressings of ‘Clutching at Straws’ sent back to them and they are apparently delighted. It should be launched in the next couple of weeks.

Tamworth Herald – 12/09/86
Musicbox – Get on your mettle for a night of glam
HEAVY Metal returns to the Rathole on Sunday night when spinetinglers Wolfsbane team up with Welsh Metallic heroes Ranc Elsen.

The partnering of the two poseurs-and-proud-of-it acts should ensure another sweaty, packed Rathole night which will delight the town’s glam fans.

Headliners Ranc Elsen are described as a Welsh Motley Crew (God forbid!) and already have a power-packed album under their belts. They are supposed to look very flash and glammy and play music that is in the modern metallic vein.

For people who like that sort of thing, they have found their way into the hallowed pages of Kerrang and are a band very much on the up and up.

If that’s not enough to get you away from the Monocled Mutineer on Sunday night (and I know that’s difficult) I am sure Wolfsbane tip the balance. Their last Rathole show at the festival was simply spellbinding and there is no doubt that with their single due out soon (already assured a number one slot in the national charts) local fans should go out and see them whenever they can.

I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by trying to describe Wolfsbane because if you’re reading this and don’t know the chances are you are reading the wrong page.

It starts at about 8.30 and a glam-bam-thank-you-mam night is promised for everyone.

Tamworth Herald – 19/09/86
Musicbox – Wolf Whistles for a superb first single
Wolfsbane – Clutching At Straws/5 a.m. (Bad Moon Records)Wolfsbane – Clutching At Straws/5 a.m. (Bad Moon Records) - Cover Art
SO AFTER all the waiting, planning and dreaming. I’ve finally got it – the debut single from Wolfsbane.

The record, which is not on sale for at least two weeks, now sits proudly at the front of my singles box as a testament to just how good local bands can be.

Like the Dream Factory’s superlative ‘Wine and Roses’ it is a record that should stand out in anybody’s collection, a single which lives up to all expectations and shows clearly that if luck is on their side, Wolfsbane are going to be very big indeed. To put it mildly, I like it…Lots.

The ‘A’ side is, of course the classic sing that still dominates Wolfsbane’s set. Like Tom Robinson’s ‘2468 Motorway’, ‘Clutching At Straws’ is a song which Wolfsbane have to play whether they like it or not, because I have yet to find one person who doesn’t enjoy it.

The recorded version is virtually the same as the live version, although it boasts an extra long Jase the Ace intro. It combines the shimmering melody of the verse with the powerful dynamism of that now famous chorus and has the sort of impact that makes people stop, stand and listen. If this is typical heavy metal Ronald Reagan is Russian.

Lyrically the song concerns relationships that have ended, even though they are still outwardly carrying on and shows a sensitivity within Bayley’s writing that is sometimes ignored next to Wolfsbane’s more direct set anthems.

It is a faultless, lovable song given life and power by Messrs’ Speare and Smith at Expresso Bongo. No Wolfsbane fan – or any Tamworth music fan for that matter – should be disappointed.

The ‘B; side ‘5AM’ (known to most of you as ‘Bad Boy’) is more typical Wolfsbane and as much more likely to appeal to their hardcore fans. It is hard, fast and powerful, with a thumping chorus and a strange guitar break in the middle by Jase, who shows that despite his tender years (a mere 17, would you believe), he is still hard to beat locally.

Personally, I would have preferred to see ‘GSB’ as the ‘B’ side – but you can’t have everything!

So there it is, the first of what we hope will be many Wolfsbane records. It will be officially launched at the start of October, and I would urge everyone with the remotest interest in the local scene to buy it. I have long said that when one of ‘our’ bands make it, the floodgates will be opened to let many more bands through.

Wolfsbane may well prise open the door with this record, so get ready for the long-awaited deluge.

The record will be on sale at, Wolfsbane’s party night and at W.H. Smith and Tamworth Music Centre (Tamworth), W.H Smith and Record Centre (Nuneaton), The Gramophone Shop (Lichfield), Shooting Stars (Hinckley), HMV, Virgin, Cyclops and Rockers records (Birmingham) and several other shops still being sorted out. They are also looking for outlets in Atherstone, Coleshill, Burton, Walsall and Coventry, so any ideas can be passed on to me or the band.

Tamworth Herald – 26/09/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
WOLFSBANE have lost their drummer, Stakk Smasher – otherwise known as Jon Buckingham – has decided to quit in what has been described as very friendly circumstances. The band say Stakk (who they rate as the best drummer in the world by several miles) is leaving because he wants to be a fan again, and is getting sick of looking at the group’s bottoms from behind his kit! He will still play in next Friday’s Wolfsbane party, but now the band are looking for a brilliant, exciting, metallic replacement. Contact Brian or Jase.

Tamworth Herald – 03/10/86
Musicbox – Party time as Wolfish single hits the road
METALLIC kings Wolfsbane will tonight (Friday) officially launch their debut single with a free party night concert at The Rathole.

The show is being billed as the musical event of the year with Wolfsbane promising a glittering party atmosphere as well as some straight to the throat metallics.

The reason for the party is that Wolfsbane’s excellent single ‘Clutching at Straws’ will finally be released to a waiting world. The single backed with ‘5 am’ will be on sale tonight at a reduced rate and will then be on sale throughout Tamworth and other neighbouring towns from tomorrow.

“This is going to be a very big event and we are really looking forward to it all,” said guitarist Jase the Ace.

The basic format of the night is a free concert featuring both Wolfsbane and support act Kara. The only catch is that to get in you have to be there before 10 o’clock – anyone who isn’t will have to stand outside and curse.

As well as two dynamic metal sets, the band have promised a lively disco and a host of party tricks which are being kept under wraps. Balloon, cakes and OTT costumes are expected to be the order of the night, which could well carry on into the early hours of Saturday morning.

The band have already had considerable interest shown in their single and they are hoping to get the sales off to a good start tonight with fans queuing up to buy the record at the first possible opportunity.

As the entry fee is not going to break anyone (!) there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t buy the 45 tonight and help it on its inevitable journey to the top of the charts.

It’s going to be one of the very best nights Tamworth music scene has experienced in centuries. Get there (early) and don’t miss a thing. If everything goes to plan, Wolfsbane may seen get so incredibly mega, that you may never get the chance to see them free again. So let the party begin.

Tamworth Herald – 10/10/86
Musicbox – Deaf and glory
Live Review : WOLFSBANE – Single Party (Rathole)
Have you ever been to a gig in a sauna before? Well if not, this was a novel first for all of us. It was absolutely burning inside the Rathole and the part of the anatomy that burned the most was the ears as Wolfsbane broke every decibel record ever made.

Still, I can forgive these lovely chaps anything. Wit balloons, cakes and kissagrams thrown in for good measure. It was a tremendous party concert with every ear-battering tune sounding louder, faster and gorier than ever. One of the best parties I’ve been to in AGES.

Tamworth Herald – 17/10/86
Musicbox – Gossipbox
The Launch
THE new Wolfsbane drummer has now been unveiled to the world. He is Steve Ellett a local Wolfsbane fan….More than 60 were sold on the launch night itself which considering it was impossible to move towards the sales desk, is not bad going at all…

Tamworth Herald – 21/11/86
Musicbox – Wolfsbane catch the camel train to shock the Gulf
DELIGHTED Wolfsbane have just been rewarded an amazing two-month contract to perform in the Middle East state of Dubai.
DELIGHTED Wolfsbane have just been rewarded an amazing two-month contract to perform in the Middle East state of Dubai.

The band will be travelling out to The Gulf in the next fortnight and will be expected to play up to four concerts a week to oil workers from America and the U.K.

The group have earned the right to enjoy two months of fun, sand and camels after winning a special ‘Showcase’ event in London.

They were asked to take part in the contest after they were spotted playing at ‘The Dome’ earlier this year. And, although the band said they didn’t sound at their best in the showcase, their bizarre look was more than enough to secure victory

“We sounded awful to be honest,” admitted Jase the Ace, “We had to put everything through the mixing desk which lost our filthy guitar sound, but we looked amazing and that is what won it for us.”

The organisers of the event were looking for an outrageous, entertaining outfit to keep the oil workers happy. And if Wolfsbane can’t fit the bill, water isn’t wet!

“They told us then it was 98 per cent certain we would get it but we waited until the final phone call before telling anyone,” said bassist Jeff ‘JF Bombshell’ Hateley. “Now everything is a real whirl because we have to go on November 28.”

The band have spent this week sorting out passports, equipment and practising. There was a problem with Jase The Ace’s passport as he is only 17, but it seems that will be ironed out by Blaze Bayley acting as his guardian (God forbid!).

The band also had to take that ultimate decision to pack in their jobs – but they know it will be worth it.

“All our accommodation, food and travel costs will be met and we anticipate making wnough money to be able to come back and make a record and a video. On the top of that we are going to have a lot of fun,” said Jase.

The band will be going to an area where they WILL be able to drink if they so desire, so don’t expect to see their pretty faces on TV after they caused an international incident!

All told, it looks like being an adventure that Wolfsbane will remember for the rest of their lives. They have promised to keep sending MUSICBOX postcards so we can tell you exactly how they get on, but in the meantime boys a word of advice – don’t tough those camels!


 

1987

Tamworth Herald – 09/01/87
Musicbox – HOT NEWS FROM DUBAI’S WILD SIDE
WOLFSBANE have communicated to the outside world at last! Tamworth’s wildest, wackiest outfit seem to becoming Tamworth’s most sunburnt and happy outfit as well. This postcard landed on my desk the other day and I have since heard from Jase The Ace’s brother Bruno Edwards (he of Shellshock fame) that things are going very well in Wolfsbaneland.

Musicbox – HOT NEWS FROM DUBAI’S WILD SIDE“They have got sickeningly good tans apparently and are having a lot of fun. They are allowed to do almost anything as there are few restrictions on the white sector of Dubai.” He said. Bruno went on to say that the group are having to play a fair few cover versions and their audience are a bit older than they anticipated.

Still, I bet every single Tamworth musician would swap places with them. A certain local reporter wouldn’t mind either…

Tamworth Herald – 16/01/87
Musicbox – BARMY NIGHTS AND WOLFISH GRINS
Musicbox – HOT NEWS FROM DUBAI’S WILD SIDEThey’re back: Boys from the Hotstuff
SUNBURNT WOLFSBANE have just returned from a ‘four week party’ in the Middle East port of Dubai. The band had originally been booked to play for ‘up to two months’ but their contract was cut short when a second band was brought in to vary the overall tour.

But despite the sudden termination of their contract, the band was still left full of admiration and immediate nostalgia for their first ever ‘World Tour’.

“It was wonderful,” enthused guitarist Jase The Ace, “If I knew in advance what was coming up I would still want to do it 100 times over.”

The whole experience has brought Wolfsbane closer to one another and more aware of just how different they really are. Unsurprisingly, there was no-one who looked remotely like them in the whole of Dubai, they say, and as such they were treated as real mini-pop stars.

“Everywhere we went people were coming up to us and asking about the band. All the nightclubs and discos let us in despite our clothes and we made some really good friends,” said the sickeningly brown Jeff Hateley.

The typical Wolfsbane day started with a considerable lie-in in bed followed by a considerable lie-in in front of the pool. By about four in the afternoon the band were getting ready for a soundcheck and then later they played a concert at one of two classy venues.

After the gig, the band would hit the English/American nightclubs until four or five in the morning where (unsurprisingly again) they became the focus of attention.

“The clubs were always happy to see us despite our clothes which is very unlike Britain. We would also be allowed to go crazy to things like David Lee Roth and we always used to take over the dancefloor,” said Jace The Ace.

On the music side, Wolfsbane were required to play a fair few rock cover versions alongside their own material. Among these new covers was what sounds like an intriguing version of the wonderful classic ‘Born To Run’.

“You should hear my voice on that one, “ promised Blaze Bayley. “The whole song sounds great,” The audience Wolfsbane were playing to consisted of American and British oil workers and nationals, , most of whom were considerably older than Jeff, Jase, Blaze and Steve.

“Those who did like us seemed to love us and they were dancing all over the tables at some concerts,” said Jeff. “On the last night we just turned everything up and went barmy and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

As an example of the sort of hotel Wolfsbane were playing at, the New Years Eve show – which included our fave metal men in the line-up – cost a staggering £50 a ticket. “Imagine that, £50 to see Wolfsbane,” smirked Jeff. “You struggle to get people to pay 50p around here!”

Wolfsbane did manage to mix the enviable cocktail of sun, sand, sex and rock and roll with a little sightseeing. They were quite impressed with what they saw although they did miss a lot of things about their home country.

“I missed the grass” said Jase. “Everything is so white and barren over there.” Jeff also missed something you wouldn’t expect to miss very much – hedgerows! But apart from that there was little difference between the international side of Dubai and the international side of Tamworth.

“It’s funny – everyone slams England and Tamworth but you can get to miss it,” admitted Jeff. “Christmas was a bit strange being away from home.”

Wolfsbane were also keen to find out what had been happening in the local music scene – and were disappointed it was not a lot.

“What have you done to the music scene, while we have been away?”, enquired new drummer Steve. The band are particularly disappointed that the temporary closure of The Rathole robs, the town of a decent regular venue – especially as they are itching to show off their new found live power and enthusiasm. They are also bursting to show off Kingsbury-based drummer Steve, who is described modestly as a ‘god’ who fits into a Wolfsbane versus the world very well indeed.

“He really is great and we all got on so well it was amazing,” said Jase. So, a small step for Wolfsbane but a big one for Tamworth’s rock kind. The band strongly recommend that any other local outfit that gets a mere sniff of a tour like this ought to grab it immediately. They had an amazing time and know that even if they split up tomorrow (which they won’t) they will have a marvellous memory of what being a pop star really is all about.

Tamworth Herald – 20/02/87
Musicbox – Metal me ready for needle match
Battle of the Bands
THE final heat of the ‘Battle of the Bands’ takes place tomorrow night (Saturday) with the wild, wacky and wonderful Wolfsbane red-hot favourites to beat the alternative-based acts The Calling and The Cheesy Helmets.

It is Wolfsbane’s first Tamworth appearance since they disappeared to Dubai before Christmas and Steve, Jeff, Bayley and Jase have been keenly awaiting the chance to slay their ‘home’ audience with a new bristling act.

Faced against such titanic opposition, The Calling and The Cheesy Helmets will have to be at their very best but Wolfsbane will be only too aware that, as Breaking Point found out in the first heat, neutrals do not like favourites. Wolfsbane could find they have to work very hard indeed to claim the heat, ensuring a tremendous night of rock and roll excitement at the Arts Centre.

Wolfsbane actually open the proceedings at around 8.30. The boys have promised a set littered with newies, some of which were created and perfected literally thousands of miles away.

The band regard their show as a belated coming-home party and they are itching to show off their enthusiastic, bountiful sound. It is metal packed with mirth and much gyrating of bodies and brains is expected.

Going on first isn’t the easiest place to start, but if anyone can pull it off, Wolfsbane can.

Second up will be a band making perhaps their final appearance – The Calling. The band have played Tamworth only once before as support to the not-so-mighty Mighty Mighty. Then their black alternative sounds met with a mixed response but they have battled on regardless and will be looking to go out in a blaze of glory. The band are made up of ex-Cradlites, ex-Green Swingians et al, and are visually very powerful.

Their musical heritage owes much to the likes of Sisters of Mercy and their sound should appeal to most people who walk on the blacker side o life. If this is their last show – as I am reliably informed – it could prove an interesting night for musicians and audience alike.

Third up will be The Cheesy Helmets a Chameleons-style outfit who have already traded under the names The Gargoyle Brothers and Spartan Cruise. At the last count the band were somewhat drummerless, but they promised to carry on unperturbed and their original and entertaining end product could well make them the successful dark horses of the whole competition.

Combined

In addition, on the night, there is a chance that the neo-legendary Emma Gibbs Loves Badges may well play a short acoustic-based set to add an extra dimension to an already exciting night.

Judging the three groups tomorrow will be local fanzine editor Rob Cross, ‘Rathole’ organiser Pam Patton and chairman Martin Warrilow. Just one band will be chosen to go through to the final on Friday, February 27 where they meet the combined power of Breaking Point and Catch 23.

The final already looks noisy and intriguing, so if you want to see who joins Breaking Point and Catch 23, make your way to the Arts Centre tomorrow night at around 8.15pm and bop ‘til you drop! It costs just £1.

Tamworth Herald – 27/02/87
Musicbox – BATTLE ROYALE!
TAMWORTH Arts Centre will tonight host one of the most exciting concerts of the year – the grand final of the ‘Battle of the Bands’.

Four varied and enjoyable acts – Catch 23, Wolfsbane, The Cheesy Helmets and Breaking Point – will battle for the crown which was won last year by One On One.

The success of the whole ‘Battle of the Bands’ event has been staggering. Already all the overheads have been covered meaning every penny raised tonight will go towards the ‘TAMAID’ charity.

Tonight’s final promises to be the most wide-open in the three year history of the tourney. Two years ago when Breaking point won it, they went into the final as favourites, last year’s winners One On One were widely tipped to take the title, but tonight looks like ‘anybody’s game’.

Because there are four bands, the concert will start at 8.30pm instead of 9pm – and opening up the proceedings (a draw was made after last week’s heat) will be the Cheesy Helmets. These are certainly the dark horses in the contest, but the way they won over last week’s judges implies they could yet pull off an overall victory. Musically it is powerful post-punk new wave which has a modern and absorbing atmosphere and is fiery, frantic and frenzied. With the temporary help of outstanding drummer Richard Deane the overall effect is an earburning experience of pure power. Get there on time, because you should not miss this band…

Following the Helmets, will be the youngest band ever to appear in a ‘Battle’ final – Catch 23. Despite their tender age the Atherstone outfit have matured beyond belief in recent months, and are now at the stage where their confidence matches their considerable musical talent. The five piece were simply magnificent when they took their heat with their aggressive, commercial, pop which won friends of all musical persuasions. Many people think they will win tonight’s final – including both Jeff and Steve from Wolfsbane – but whatever the outcome the group intend to enjoy the night to the fullest. The audience will do the same if Catch 23 are even half as good as they were in the heat.

Following Catch 23 will be those mayhem-merchants of metal (good alliteration, huh?), Wolfsbane. The quartet, who seem to be following the old maxim every day in every way we’re getting better and better’ thoroughly enjoyed last week’s heat and are keenly awaiting taking the audience to pieces tonight. Particularly looking forward to it is drummer Steve Ellett whose exhilarating performance and appallingly ‘cheeky’ trousers last week showed that he is a true bonafide Wolfsbanian fruitcake. Wolfsbane are a lot of fun and on their night they are simply unbeatable. Is tonight that night.

Completing tonight’s line-up are Breaking Point – an ambitious trio who thankfully seem now way near their own breaking point. Kevin, Daydo and Jason will enjoy the large, noisy audience the night will certainly produce and their modern guitar-orientated power-rock should find favour with followers of all the other bands on the night. They will enjoy going on last and should put the perfect, pulsating end to a fine night.

So four great bands to make one great final. The judges will be Stu Blane (One On One), Mark Mortimer (Great Express), Mick Goodby (Depth Charge), Denis Byfield (Reverb PA) and Martin Webster who has helped throughout the contest. Entry is just £1 – and remember all of that is charity-bound. The winners will pick up £50, individual ‘Battle of the Bands’ trophies and maybe the odd surprise gift. Ina sense all four bands have won already by getting to the final, but the battle is still not over.

By about 11.15 tonight one band will be crowned Tamworth young Peoples’ Arts Festival Band of the Year. Will it be the Cheesy Helmets, Wolfsbane, Catch 23 or Breaking Point. Make sure you are there to find out – and don’t forget get there early because we are expecting an Arts Centre sell out!

Tamworth Herald – 27/02/87
Musicbox – All square…that’s fair!
Battle of the Bands
A MASSIVE crowd piled into the Arts Centre on Saturday night to witness a Battle of the Bands sensation – a dead heat. Two of the three groups – Wolfsbane and The Cheesy Helmets – tied for the top slot and after some deliberation between the judges it was decided to invite both to take part in tonight’s (Friday) final. And this is how it went…

WOLFSBANEWOLFSBANE
Exactly the sort of Dubain homecoming Wolfsbane wanted. There was aloud, lusty and very biased audience, a big, meaty and even louder sound and an exciting, vibrant powerful set.

Wolfsbane, I have decided, never ever play a bad set, and this was an example of one of their most murderous, metallic peaks. ‘Get Up’ was pricelessly excellent, ‘Dane To My Tune’ was stylish musical barbarism and ‘Manhunt’ was as good and as fast as I have ever heard it. Another superb crowd-pleasing set and a special word is in order for Jeff Hateley. Brian Edwards had told me to look out for his bass playing and so I did. And you’re right Brian. He’s as good with his bass strings as he is with his G-strings.

CHEESY HELMETS
Now THIS is my type of music. This was a quite brilliant set packed with feeling, power and musical charisma. Watching – and dancing – I could spot The Chameleons, The Psychedelic Furs, New Order and several other bits and bobs that combined to make a mighty, strong dynamic 30 minutes. Songs such as ‘Steamroller’, and ‘Memories’ are songs of real quality and I wasn’t alone in thinking that here is a band with a potentially huge cult appeal. Great music, great show. I wonder what the name means though?

THE CALLING
Playing their first set in their present guise, The Calling battled on surprisingly well against a drum machine that seemed to be working for the other two contestants! Their set was littered with early Sisters of Mercy numbers, which they did with considerable success but the most interesting aspect of the band’s set was the improved and impressive guitar work of Paul Keeton which complimented and boosted the whole Calling sound.

THE JUDGES VERDICT
For the first time in the Battle of the Band’s three year history the judges – Martin Warrilow, Pam Patton and Rob Cross – gave exactly the same marks plunging both Wolfsbane and the Helmets into an exciting final.

MY VERDICT
When we realised there was a dead heat, I had the option to give a casting vote – but decided not to take it. Both Wolfsbane and The Cheesy Helmets in their own contrasting ways impressed me enormously and for either of them to lose would have been a great injustice. Both oozed style and potential.

Tamworth Herald – 06/03/87
Musicbox – Crowning glory for the kings of rock
SUPER WOLFSBANE turned in the performance of their rock and roll lives on Friday night to deservedly scoop the ‘Battle of the Bands’ title for the first time.SUPER WOLFSBANE turned in the performance of their rock and roll lives on Friday night to deservedly scoop the ‘Battle of the Bands’ title for the first time.

Wolfsane were simply outstanding and even their rivals on the night knew they had come up against a rock and roll tidal wave. Catch 23’s guitarist Ray Clenshaw summed it up perfectly “If you’re going to lose, you might as well lose to the best,” he said.

But talk of victors and vanquished must be held for a few minutes, because the real winner of this whole contest was the Tamworth music scene itself. All four finalists turned in superb performances in front of the biggest crowd ever seen at an Arts Centre concert.

Equally pleasing was that the continued support of the area’s music fans means that somewhere between £300-£350 was raised for the local pop charity ‘TAMAID’.

This will be held until the TAMAID demo is available in the next few weeks, and then a cheque will be presented to the Quince Tree Special School at Amington as a token of the goodwill and good spirits of the local rock scene.

Everyone should be proud of their efforts over the past four weeks and none more so than the four finalists themselves who helped to give the judges – Messrs. Stuart Blaine, Denis Byfield, Mark Mortimer, John Reeman and Martin Webster all manner of headaches.

Opening up the proceedings were The Cheesy Helmets who turned in a shorter- than-allowed but still very strong set. It was loud, brash and adventurous and once again Richard Cuttler and Mark Brindley bounced around the stage as if they had just discovered the ancient art of the pogo. Guitarist Andy was also very impressive, slicing away at his machine with devilish delight and with Richard and John adding power and subtlety respectively, it was a fine mesmerising set.

Next up were Catch 23 who were greeted with the sort of roar that showed they have carved a very big niche in a lot of people’s hearts. Once again the group showed enthusiasm, spirit and inspiring confidence and although their set didn’t match the one they produced in the heat (how could it?) it still showed that there is so much this outfit have to offer.

Best of all was the final crucial number ‘Twisted Mind’ where the band displayed a touch of amateur dramatics to complement a staggeringly tuneful number. It was my song of the night.

And then came what can only be described as 30 minutes of pure joy – Wolfsbane. The group were in tremendous mood and this reflected in the way they played, slayed and drained the hungry, sweating crowd.

Everyone of their numbers was played to musical perfection and their look and stage presence would be the envy of many national heavy metal bands.

All the songs “Get Up”, “Dance To My Tune” and the rejuvenated “Clutching At Straws”, brought applause the like of which the Arts Centre has never seen, and by the end of their set you would have to be devoid of all five senses not to realise that here is an almighty force. I loved ‘em to bits.

New Song

Finally up were Breaking Point who had the unenviable task of following Wolfsbane. Well, Breaking Point are as professional as amateurs can be and their style won over many new friends. One new song in particular “Hitman” was quite outstanding, and the most exciting thing about this most exciting band is they seem to be writing newer and better material all the time.

They have about as much chance of drying up as the River Tame and I for one found all my hopes for Breaking Point rekindled after their strong and increasingly passionate set.

So to the finale. All four bands were called up on stage, given a bottle of champagne and the result was announced – Wolfsbane were the Tamworth Young People’s Arts Festival band of the year. They picked up individual prizes (plus a deserved one for Brian Edwards), a £75 prize and the knowledge that no-one begrudged them their victory after such a sparkling set.

It brought to an end four great weeks on the local music scene. Weeks that proved that the enthusiasm of both bands and followers show there are signs of life.

Tamworth Herald – 13/03/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Lichfield Battle of the Bands will be running throughout May and bands from the Tamworth and Atherstone areas are being sought to take part. Tetley’s contest offers a £300 prize for the winners so there really is nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you are interested contact Tetley…

In the meantime our own Battle of the bands winner, Wolfsbane, will join Shellshock and three Lichfield bands in a special Enots show on Friday, March 20. More details nearer the time…

Tamworth Herald – 20/03/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
WOLFSBANE, who have just released a tremendous new demo, will join Shellshock and four other bands in a special ‘Groupflood’ event at Lichfield Enots Social Club tonight (Friday). Wolfsbane will headline over Storm, Roma, Earthquake, Cerebus and our own Shellshock. A good night is promised for all and for just £1.50 a head everyone’s a winner…Wolfsbane also play The Kaleidoscope again on Monday night.

Tamworth Herald – 27/03/87
Musicbox – Of wolfs and other animals
IT WAS NICE to see Wolfsbane get their ugly mugs into the best selling HM magazine Kerrang! Last week. The only problem was that the photo didn’t exactly mix with the information beneath it, and Wolfsbane were completely confused with another set of HM hopefuls! Still the band have already been on the phone and yet more coverage is promised in the future…

Also pleasing to see was that Polesworth’s biggest star (!) Edwin Starr has contributed his powerful voice to the special Ferry Aid single “Let It Be”. Edwin joined the likes of Paul McCartney, Boy George and Tony Hadley on the record which is due for release this week. Buy the record because it is for a very good cause, but as a piece of advice I wouldn’t recommend playing it because it is HORRIBLE.

One of Tamworth’s oldest and best known bands A5 have reformed. The group have just released another demo containing four songs (one entitled ‘Sex baby’) which the group feel very happy about indeed. They have got rid of what they saw as their over-produced sound, and refound their basics and their enthusiasm as the same time. The band are in action at the Crown in Nuneaton on Saturday night.

The Alley Cats who were delighted with their debut show at Kettlebrook recently, are on the lookout for a vocalist to complete their rockabilly outfit. The band who play music influenced by Fifties rock and roll and the stray Cats want good, strong singers to contact them.

Attica return to live action at Knights in Lichfield on April 15.

Tamworth Herald – 10/04/87
Musicbox – Famous four stun with a new quartet
Wolfsbane – Demo
WOLFSBANE no longer play concerts. They don’t make tapes any more and the don’t release singles. Because everything that comes out of the Wolfsbane stable these days is an EVENT.

Every gig is eagerly looked forward to, eagerly devoured and massively enjoyed, and every piece of recorded material sends a buzz around their followers that is as infectious as it is frenzied. So it was with considerable pleasure that I finally got my hands on this the latest Wolfsbane event – the new and very tasty four-song demo.

Wolfsbane spent virtually every remaining penny in their metallic kitty to get this sounding just right and on the evidence of my 8,432,547 hearings, it was money very well spent. This tape is obviously designed not only to get the band a plethora of gigs, but also to make record companies climb over each other’s egos to sign the band up.

First up is the majestic ‘Get Up’ , the song we were all left singing at the end of that unforgettable ‘Battle of the Bands’ final. To me this sounds more like r ‘n’ b that h ‘n’ m and has The Blues Brothers imprint planted all over it.

It has a sleazy, slinky sound, a delicious chorus and the sort of impact that makes me feel it could trigger off a terrific video. You can’t hep tapping your tow throughout the number and I for one think this would make an ideal second single.

As it does sound so r ‘n’ b-ish I would love to hear The Royal Family have a bash at covering this one!

Next up is ‘Hot Shoe’ which sounds rather colder (i.e. slower) that I remembered it live but it is no worse for that. It is more standard Wolfsbane metal music but it is still a notch above most of their exciting set because of yet another catchy, dynamic chorus.

‘Good Girl’ follows and is a song I didn’t really know well before hearing this tape. But in classic Wolfsbane tradition it takes just a few seconds and you are hooked. What really pleased me about this tune was that it really sounded ‘live’. Wolfsbane have always been known – and always will be – as a marvellous live act first and foremost and you can actually visualise the band on stage as this fast-paced rocker burns its way out of the speakers.

It has a touch of organised chaos and a touch of real power, which I think makes it one of the most outstanding new songs in the all-new Wolfsbanian set.

Finally up we have, “Dance My Tune”, another song boasting a killer tune and once which features some of Jase’s finest recorded guitar work. The song is simple, straightforward and powerful and with the help of that happy hook, it is one which I am sure will also soon become a well-loved Wolfsbane standard.

So four new songs, four new ideas and four boys still inching their way to that inevitable glory, If Wolfsbane don’t make it within the next few years/months, I will believe the oft quoted maxim that justice and rock and roll are complete opposites. But as the eternal optimist I refuse to accept that. Wolfsbane are four of the nicest people I know and they create one of the nicest sounds my music-battered ears have ever heard. Now, go get some fame boys!

Tamworth Herald – 24/04/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfs won over by some sleaze
GOOD news on the record company front. Wolfsbane spent a very profitable week in London last week meeting record company people of all shapes and sizes. There were come very encouraging comments, particularly from CBS so let’s keep our fingers crossed. Incidentally, the band spent the week with the Stranglers-loving friend of mine, Joanne Caulkin who attempted to get Wolfsbane interested in the Meninblack. She only succeeded when she played a video of ‘Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’ whichjust happened to feature a whole host of strippers. Typical heavy metal sexist louts blah-blah-blah…Also on the record company front, Dance Stance held a very successful promotional night at Nuneaton last week which was attended by several of the leading record companies. According to Eric Reed, the band’s sex symbol guitarist, the group cam in for some high praise and the future looks good. Could this be the start of something big?

Tamworth Herald – 01/05/87
Musicbox – Wolves on the loose
Wolfsbane have just set out on an impressive on an impressive tour which takes them to places such as the Kaleidoscope in Birmingham and Mardi Gras in Nottingham. But the real ‘biggie’ comes in Sunday, May 10, when Wolfsbane line up with Tiger Tiger at The Marquee in London. Wolfsbane are delighted to be playing at the world-famous venue and they have arranged a special coach to get supporters along. It costs £8.75 including entry and coach fare and more details are available by contacting…

Tamworth Herald – 15/05/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Metal men hit Marquee
WOLFSBANE’S debut London gig at the Marquee was a huge massive, metallic success. According to MUSICBOX’S London ‘ambassador’ Ms. Joanne Caulkin. Wolfsbane were (get ready for it) brilliant!! The best new band I have seen in years.

Apparently blaze, Jeff, Steve and Jase slayed their audience (which included a fair few Tamworthians) and made a big impact of many of the people that matter. A member of the Babysitters spent the whole night raving about the group.

“The Marquee is THE place for a new rock band to play and for Wolfsbane to get a support slot when they have no record label and son on, is amazing. It proves that someone in the agents business likes them.

Wolfsbane turned up with Tiger Tiger who faded into insignificance to Bayley and the Boys and Tamworth’s finest exponents of legalised anarchy, received superb reaction.

Wolfsbane had another London show at the Studs on Tuesday night and if they were able to repeat their undoubted Marquee triumph the inevitable path from Fazeley to Fame is around the corner.

Tamworth Herald – 05/06/87
Musicbox – Metal monsters pile on the noise
Trio launch some Rathole mayhem
HEAVY METAL returns to Tamworth with a bang tonight when Wolfsbane, Shellshock and Vengeance launch a ballistic music-missile on an unsuspecting Arts Centre audience.

The metal-mayhem looks set to produce another jam-packed Arts Centre attendance to watch three bands of contrasting but determined metallic style.

Heading the bill of course are the four-headed monsters known as Wolfsbane. The group have been playing a massive amount of gigs lately to ever-increasing acclaim and last week’s birthday boy Blaze Bayley keeps hinting that something very big indeed is on the horizon.

After tonight’s undoubtedly wonderful set, Wolfsbane travel to General Wolf (Coventry) tomorrow and then on to Edwards Number Eight (Birmingham) on Sunday. The latter gig is free as is the Birmingham outdoor rock festival in July which is to be headlined by Wolfsbane.

Teaming up with Tamworth’s titans are Shellshock, a band who have developed into something very impressive indeed. Their music begins at straight pop/rock crossover and travels all the way along the metal line ending up as frantic and furious. It is exciting both to watch and to listen to and if they hit top form tonight, Tamworth is in for a treat.

Completing tonight’s metal triple bill are Vengeance a Nottingham-based bands who come with the Wolfsbane seal of metallic approval. It adds up to a metal night to match any of the town’s rock fans have seen on a long time, so if you want to be deaf on Saturday morning the Arts Centre is the only place to be tonight. Get out the crimpers, get out the leathers and GET ALONG

Tamworth Herald – 12/06/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane – who played a return show at the Marquee last night (Thursday) – have recently made a video. They did it at the Embassy with the help of Action Video a Tamworth-based company interested in working with local bands. If you want to join the video age, Action Video can be contacted via Mick Scarsbrook.

Tamworth Herald – 19/06/87
Musicbox – Festivals, fun, gigs galore
SNIPS
The line-up for the Zeebrugge Rock Festival which takes place at the Assembly Rooms now seems complete. The concert in July will feature rock bands as well as other attractions and among the bands involved are Wolfsbane, World Intelligence Network, The Jim Crows Blues Company and more. Buttercup will act as DJ.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Wolfsbane have announced one or two smart looking concerts for the future. Jeff Wilson, Blaze Wilson, Steve Wilson and Jase Wilson will be at the Marquee supporting Tiger Tails on July 23, at Edwards No.8 on July 30, at Reids, Southend on August 4 and at Cascades on August 16. They will of course also be headlining Tamworth’s Rock Festival.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane were at the Marquee again last night (Thursday) along with top rock outfit Tigers Tailz. MUSICBOX was hoping to travel down with the Wilson-boys, so expect a capital review next week.

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox – Metal monsters for the kill
Wolfsbane – The Marquee
IF SOMEONE had told me a few years ago that one day I would travel 200 miles in a day to see a heavy metal concert, I would have smiled sweetly and then smeared their faces with something indescribably nasty.

But there I was, bones creaking from a mini-bus marathon standing patiently to see four long-haired boys in ripped t-shirts attempt the ritual demolition of my eardrums which is the core of metal music.

The prospect should have filled me with dread bordering on terror but instead I settled down among the long-haired leather glam-boys and glam-girls and enjoyed every single sexists second.

Wolfsbane, you see, are unlike any other band I know. They can make you forget what you are supposed to like, challenges what you are supposed to think, destabilise your musical idealism and ensnare you in their own web of rock and revolt.

They stride on stage so full of purpose, energy and almost unbelievable charisma, that whether it’s a youth club stage or this most famous of venues, they tower above the audience and make you putty in their metallic grasp.

I haven’t yet reached the stage of joining in with every word – there is enough here in London to do that already – bit for the first time, I can actually understand the impulse of those who choose to so do, to get that little bit closer to a feeling that is all-encompassing and dramatically bewitching.

The band’s set itself was virtually new material – a very big surprise indeed that, and all those fresh tunes were as infectious and steamy as the old, proving that Wolfsbane have a great songwriting quality that most of their peers couldn’t hope to attain.

By the end of their set – their fourth no less at this famous old venue – the atmosphere around the place seemed to echo my own optimistic thoughts.

The Marquee has spawned many world-beaters in its time and it may well have spawned another. Wolfsbane have style, durability and the vital winning charm.

Throw in ‘the look’, ‘the sound’ and ‘the purity’ and you have a band we call all be proud of, metal fans or not. If they aren’t a name, national band in 12 months from now, I will eat a Stranglers album.

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
A new rival of the immortal ‘Frankie Says’ T-shirts have just arrived – Wolfsbane shirts. The band have just produced a rather silly ‘official’ T-shirt which appears to be selling like proverbial hot cakes. The sizes come in everything up to ‘Extra Large’ and they cost just £5 a piece from band members.

Tamworth Herald – 21/08/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane’s imminent world-domination became even closer last week when they were ecstatically reviewed in Sounds. The magazine’s key metal scribe Paul Elliott handed out the sort of adjectives Wolfsbane are now being permanently labelled with, and indicated that he would follow the review with a major interview. With more big concerts on the horizon and more major press coverage promised, the Wolfsbane bandwagon seems to be running at an unstoppable speed towards inevitable glory. Yippee!!

Tamworth Herald – 18/09/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane have arranged their biggest concert yet – a headlining show at the Marquee in November. After doing their apprenticeship in numerous support slots, the venue’s management offered the band their own night, and they regard it as perhaps their biggest date yet. Special coaches will be travelling down for the event and the band want as many people as possible to travel with them to make it a real rock and roll party night. We will give more details of this in future issues but in the meantime keep your eyes on ‘Sounds’ magazine where the band are due to be featured shortly.

Tamworth Herald – 02/10/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane found their ugly mugs in Sounds last week when they were asked about the five times they came closest to death! They will be following this with a soon-come interview and a big piece in metal bible ‘Kerrang’. Get up and smile.

Tamworth Herald – 16/10/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
STILL with out of town successes Wolfsbane played an ‘outrageously amazing gig’ (Bayley Cooke’s words!) on Friday when they were the undoubted shining light of three metal bands at Edwards No. 8 in Birmingham. The band went down superbly and sold more than £100 worth of merchandise on the night alone. Record company interest is also starting to grow and MUSICBOX is now taking bets on the date the band finally get signed up and on the glory trail. What a band!

Tamworth Herald – 30/10/87
Musicbox – The boys are back in Town!
TAMWORTH’S music scene will explode into life again on Sunday night when all-conquering Wolfsbane headline an exciting show with two first-class support acts – Catch 23 and The Conspiracy.

The three band line-up promises to be a tremendous concert and a real celebration of the amazing strength of the local scene.

For Wolfsbane – who have literally been ‘slaying ‘em’ wherever they go – the gig will be a keenly-awaited and very exciting homecoming. Wolfsbane have gone from strength to strength on a national basis, but have never forgotten their Tamworth roots and they regard Sunday’s Art Centre show as one of the most important of their current batch of prestigious gigs. The Town’s most outrageously loveable quartet are almost certain to be snapped up by a record company very shortly, and they have reached the stage where virtually every gig they do is received somewhere with the sort of review which makes my ecstatic MUSICBOX comments on the band seem positively hostile!

Their set, their look, their appeal and their strength seem to be growing and maturing by the minute, and even the band seem a little taken aback at the mass adulation that has been apparent at all their shows of recent months. Tamworth has every reason to be very proud of these hell-raising, heavy metal heroes and there is no better way of demonstrating that pride than y packing the Arts Centre to the rafters and giving these boys the sort of reaction that will be heard in the ivory towers of EMI, CBS and the rest.

Wolfsbane (however far they go) will never forget Tamworth – on Sunday we can show that Tamworth will never forget them.

Joining Bouncing Bayley and his Bad Boys on Sunday will be two other groups who have that ability to make you tingle in places you didn’t tell your grandmother about. Catch 23 are of course about as essential to the scheme of things as breathing, and their high-powered, high-energy sound shows no sign of diluting even as the boys reach their relative old age of the mid-late teens. Catch 23 are a tremendous bunch of people who also harbour a tremendous sense of purpose. Their purpose on Sunday will be simple – to entertain the hordes who have given them the incentive to carry on. It is an ambition they will find easy to realise.

Completing a tremendous line-up are Tamworth’s newest cult band The Conspiracy. The band - who have only been with us a matter of months – have already become established as one of Tamworth’s brightest new hopes and have given the Town’s alternative and punk fans a new spark of life after a somewhat barren time. Their sound – a kind of Siouxsie and the Banshees meets The Cult affair – is till just being formulated but it has already shown enough ingredients to make me feel it could be as vital and strong as Mike Tyson.

With Wolfsbane’s power, Catch 23’s energy and The Conspiracy’s style, the show on Sunday night looks set to be one of the highlights of this hectic rock and roll year. If you want to see how good this area is musically get yourselves along to the Arts Centre on Sunday and let those wonderful bands do the rest.

Classic entertainment this way cometh.

Tamworth Herald – 30/10/87
Musicbox
Wolfsbane will be selling tickets for their epic Marquee show on Friday November 13 at this weekend’s show. It cannot be stressed highly enough just how important this top class London headliner really is and the boys need as much local support as possible to impress the expected mass ranks of press men and record company promoters who will be at the gig. Tickets – including coach and entry are a very reasonable £7.50 and if you go to no other non-local show this year then get to this one. Brian Edwards will give you more info on Sunday night.

Wolfsbane are all set to appear in both ‘Sounds’ and ‘Kerrang’ on Wednesday. Both should feature full page interviews so place your orders now.

Tamworth Herald – 06/11/87
Musicbox – Snap, crackle, crunch
Wolfsbane/Catch 23/The Conspiracy
AS my love of all three bands here is hardly a state secret, I will keep this review brief and to the point. So without much ado about nothing here is my view of a very hot evening…

THE CONSPIRACY
Any view I could give here is surely prejudiced by the fact that I only managed to see about three numbers and one of them – yuk, yuk, - was a Cult cover. Still the little bit my ears caught sounded very fine indeed and judging by the enthusiastic comments of virtually everyone afterwards, it seems Roger’s Rockers have carved an ever-lasting niche on the local scene. Music to bop to, music to make you smile.

CATCH 23
An all-together harder and more direct set from a band who were in energetic, enthusiastic form. Their pop sensibility was replaced with a more raw and angrier attack with Steve Webster in dynamic form and bassist Jason Notman producing some excellent power-bass playing which once again reminded me of the Grandmaster JJ Burnel.

Highlight of the tracks was the priceless ‘No More Lights’ which is a modern-day new wave classic if ever I heard one.

WOLFSBANE
Heavy man. All together more ear-crunching set from a band whose talent knows no bounds. In comparison to recent Wolfsbane shows, it was heavier, sweatier, punchier, gaudier, smellier, noisier, nastier, naughtier, haughtier, angrier, sexier and more gauche.

Anyone who leaves a Wolfsbane concert and doesn’t feel as though they have swallowed a Bunsen-burner simply isn’t playing attention.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 13/11/87
Musicbox – Wolfsbane glee at Marquee top slot
All eyes on capital trip
TAMWORTH METAL kings Wolfsbane tonight (Friday) play perhaps their most important-ever concert. The group will travel down to London to play a special headlining show at the world-famous Marquee.

The group have already made several appearances at the venue in a support capacity, but they rightfully regard the headlining slot with considerable pride.

What makes the show so important for Blaze, Jeff, Steve and Jase is that it is certain to be watched by more than just an always-enthusiastic crowd.

The last time Wolfsbane played at the Marquee in a support slot, the entire staff of metal mag ‘Kerrang’ were in attendance as well as scribes from ‘Sounds’. And you can bet you last leather jacket that the metallic music press will be there in abundance again tonight.

Also of course the show will come under the closest possible scrutiny from those most powerful of people – the record companies. These devils-without-horns have the power to make or break a band’s career but the latest indications is that they want to make Wolfsbane’s – and tonight could be the start of that process.

Wolfsbane will be cheered on tonight by a coachload of ecstatic local supporters who will be justifiably proud to see their heroes on that most historic of rock stages.

It should be a night for every member of Wolfsbane, their army of supporters and their backers to savour. It could be a turning point in the band’s short but successful career and on behalf of everyone who has a minute interest in the local scene let me say – give ’em hell boys.

As expected Wolfsbane enjoyed a full page colour article in ‘Kerrang’ last week which came over very well indeed. The band were all pleased with it and now eagerly await the mysterious missing ‘Sounds’ piece.

Tamworth Herald – 27/11/87
Musicbox – Trio of Tasty Morsels
MUSICBOX always welcomes reviews sent in by you, the readers. It helps us to comment on the concerts we missed and also gives you the chance to show your journalistic talents. Here we have three reviews by Musicbox readers of concerts in the last couple of weeks.

If you ever want to send in local – or occasionally national – reviews, please keep them as brief as possible and please be patient as we have masses of material to get into the column and can’t always guarantee immediate publication.

The following reviews are all snippets of their original length, which we hop gives an indication of the respective band’s merits…

Wolfsbane – The Marquee
They kicked off with ‘Killer’ and ran through their best numbers to make an excellent set. The band showed why they are now getting such enthusiastic reviews with Blaze Bayley enjoying several good-humoured exchanges with the packed-out audience. All in all Wolfsbane proved they are the best export the Lichfield and Tamworth area has had in years.

Janice Greaves

Tamworth Herald – 27/11/87
Musicbox – Danger-ous questions
SNIPS
TAMWORTH’S Favourite jazz/funk/disco combo Wolfsbane are offering a unique prize for their local fans in a special Musicbox contest. The group are offering one of their dynamic new demon (much loved by all at ‘Sounds’ and ‘Kerrang’), a suitable tasteless t-shirt and one or two other goodies to the person who writes to Musicbox with the best description of what makes Steve Danger a man (!) and what shape a rocket it. It’s an odd contest although Bayley’s original idea was far cruder than that! So get entries in for this unique and splendiferous contest right now. Still with the Wolfies, their Marquee gig was a sell-out success with an amazing £1,500 being taken on the door alone. Stacks of fellow ‘smaller’ popstars like Girlschool and Balaam and the Angel were in the audience and such was the band…team up with King Diamond at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon. Where will it all end boys, where will it all end?

Tamworth Herald – 04/12/87
Musicbox – ‘All mouth and groin’
YOU JUST can’t keep a good band down can you? Wolfsbane - remember them – were reviewed in lat week’s ‘Sounds’ magazine for their show at the Marquee. The review was absolutely OTT and to my mind summed the band up perfectly. It referred to Bayley as ‘all mouth and groin’ and gave totally justified praise to the loveable Jase The Ace whose relative youth we all tend to forget at times.

The closing line of the whole review, however, was the classic killer punch. It declared that only The Cult came close to Wolfsbane in the race for best heavy metal band in Britain. And as those of us with discerning taste know that The Cult are frankly appalling, that means that ‘Sounds’ agree with me – Wolfsbane are THE best British heavy metal band!


 

1988

Tamworth Herald - 01/01/88
Musicbox – The heart and soulmen take the honours

Slick Dance Stance have been votes as your favourite local band for the second year running. The wonderful soul combo – who have had an incredible year – have retained their Musicbox top band award after another hugely successful poll which saw hundred of you put pen to paper.

Dance Stance earned their top billing despite a very exciting fight with fellow Atherstonians Catch 23. The lead swapped hands on several occasions during the poll at the end of the day Dance Stance just nicked the highly-prized top slot.

They have won the award in recognition of the year that has seen them – like third-placed Wolfsbane – pass out of the local band scene and onto a national platform. Every gig they have done – from supporting the legendary Geno Washington to headlining in front of 1,400 university students – has been warmly received and fantastically praised.

Their live show has become an example of class professionalism and their sound on tape, record and yes even CD, proves they have quality built to last. They are a truly superb band and they have thoroughly deserved their impressive position in nearly all aspects of this year’s poll.

As well as winning the best band they have also won best local song, had five entries in the top personality section, four in the top concert section and a second-place in the top single.

Tremendous

It has been another year of tremendous progress for the group and one which should be a springboard to a major record company contract next year. They go for that goal with your fullest support – and that should fill them with a lot of hope.

Also with every right to feel delighted are Catch 23 who have easily has their best poll result. They were a strong second on the top local band and made up for the minor disappointment of not taking the top slot by winning the best single of the year; the top personality (in singer Steve Webster) and by having three songs in the top local songs section.

It is a morale-boosting performance from a band who can do no wrong in my books and have achieved their superb success by combining a love for music with a basic positive humanity I personally find very inspiring. I am delighted to have seen them do so well.

Magnificent

In third place in the poll was Wolfsbane, a group who will never, ever forget 1987. They have clearly made a permanent mark on the local scene and the way they picked up votes from all sorts of local music fans proved conclusively that they have a stranglehold on the whole area and not just on people with long hair, plastic guitars and sex obsessions.
Elsewhere in the top local bands section, it is good to see wide-ranging support for the rejuvenated A5 and Shellshock, while Mark Mortimer will take great comfort from the success of The Great Express – easily the most popular new band this year.

Looking further down the best local bands list it is interesting to see Breaking Point are still held in affection despite their sad final Arts Centre show, and it also seems that Atherstone is looking musically stronger than ever before.

Still with local bands, the final tally of outfits voted for was an amazing 52 (including the likes of Christ in Shades and even the defunct Dream Factory and Orange) and the ‘next ten’ after the top twenty were Kraze, The Witness, Hamilton Hammond, DHSS, Jabberwockie, Emma Gibbs, Soil Brothers, Jim Crows and Stranger Than life. All in all, however, it seems the scene is getting more and more diverse and more and more groups are being formed locally. Both facts augur very well indeed for the future.

Tamworth Herald - 15/01/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Early indications are that Wolfsbane’s second headlining show at the Marquee on Saturday was another marvellous success. Musicbox spy Steady Eddie Armchair informed me that the venue was packed to the rafters once again and everyone was going balmy! Apparently people were bouncing up and down like the floor was lined with hot coals and the Tamworth quartet had a ball of a time. Did we expect anything else?

Tamworth Herald - 12/02/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane on air and scum has a ball
MUSICBOX has been inundated recently by a whole host of demo tapes. It seems everyone is hitting the studios at the moment and an ever-growing pile of tapes is appearing in my bedraggled bedroom. We hope to review all of them in one major special soon, so to A5, Steve Adams, The Witness, Racer, Sa Sa (soon come), Catch 23, The Searching and Wolfsbane, I say hold on – those reviews are coming soon.

Wolfsbane are to make their Radio One debut on February 19. The Sexmetalists travelled down to London on Friday to record a four-track session for the popular Tommy Vance Friday Rockshow. It will be broadcast a week on Friday so get you radios working and get set to hear some rock to remember. And if you can’t wait that long, don’t forget the boys are in action at Enots tomorrow (Saturday). That is the first date of the tour that will take them to Glasgow, Newcastle, Carlisle, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Bristol and London in the next four weeks or so.

Tamworth Herald - 28/02/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Musicbox would like to add it’s voice of congratulations to well-known Wolfsbane fan Linzi Hateley who is currently wowing them on stage in the part of ‘Carrie’ at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Linzi was rarely missing from early Wolfsbane shows which may have something to do with the fact that her charming brother Jeffrey plays the bass guitar in the said combo. The whole and amazingly likeable Hateley family are understandably delighted by Linzi’s success but personally I feel in the interest of rock stardom she should give up the role and offer it to Wolfsbane’s singer Bayley Cooke. I mean it’s a lovely big stage at Stratford and I’m sure Bayley would go down a STORM.

Tamworth Herald  - 04/03/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane have been chosen to headline Birmingham’ biggest rock festival of 1988. The event – the Birmingham Indoor Rock Festival – will last for 12 hours at Goldwyns nightclub in the city centre and will also feature groups such as Starfighters, Marsha Law, Slowburner, Rebel and Ark. It will go ahead on Easter Bank Holiday Monday (April 4) and one of the organisers describes it as the most important event in Midlands rock. For the wonderful Wolfsbane to have the top billing for such a show proves what I said last week that this area is becoming THE centre of Midlands music. Tickets for the festival cost £3.00.

Tamworth Herald – 08/04/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
MORE bits of news for your Wolfsbane filofaxes. First did you know that Bayley in his former acting days had walk on parts in ‘Nanny’, ‘Angels’ and ‘To Serve Them All Our Days’. Such is the stuff of legends. And also last week Jeff Hateley passed the psychologically-destroying age of 21. I told this to one of his rather young fans on the Catch 23 bus last week, and she sadly thought that made him too old for her. Age is very depressing isn’t it Jeffrey?

Tamworth Herald – 08/04/88
Musicbox – Metal mixed with machines!
DHSS, Wolfsbane, Kraze in action
TAMWORTH Arts Centre opens its doors on Sunday night for one of the undoubted gigs of thee year.

Metal favourites Wolfsbane and Kraze will for an unlikely partnership with computer whiz-kids DHSS for what promises to be a barrel of rock and roll laughs.

The unlikely trio should prove an irresistible attraction for people who like everything from hi-energy metal to high-tech computerised punk rock.

For Wolfsbane of course it will be their first Tamworth appearance for far, far too long and a chance for local punters to see exactly what they have been missing over the past few months. For fellow metal merchants Kraze there is the opportunity to further impress the masses following their successful ‘Battle of the Bands’ appearances, and to cap it all off we have the debut show from DHSS.

As you will remember DHSS emerged at the end of ’87 promising to be the major hype of 1988. technical problems (yes, I know it’s a cliché) have prevented them playing until now but finally the world is going to witness the arrival of a potential phenomena.

“The legend has returned,” enthused the evergreen (or is that everdrunk?) Rikk Quay. “DHSS are back and they mean business.”

The group will certainly be very different to not only their fellow acts on the night but just about everything else you will have seen. For a start our Mr. Quay will be playing computers instead of anything normal like bass and drums and only John Reeman will be holding a recognisable instrument in the shape of a guitar. The picture is completed by vocalists Eddie Armchair (making his first live singing appearance since the 13th Century) and Anice Byfield. The set will be about 20 minutes worth of sizzling wham-bam punk played with style and panache and curiously, it will probably be lapped up by metal fans who like their music fast, loud and bursting with personality. After all it was Edward who said it was those most metal of metal men Wolfsbane, who inspired him to return to action. He said that he intended to be ‘Bayley Cooke with long words.’ We shall just have to wait and see if he can accomplish this ideal…

If you prefer your Bayley Cooke with short words well Sunday night is still going to please you. Wolfsbane have been conquering Planet Earth over the past few months and have deprived their Tamworth fans of a chance to see just how excellent they have become. They intend to make a real splash this time and they are all looking forward to Sunday’s concert.

“It should be a lot of fun,” said bassist Jeff Hateley, “It’s a good line-up of bands.”

I won’t insult your intelligence by attempting to describe Wolfsbane because of you don’t know them yet you wouldn’t be reading this page anyway and the chances are you got lost searching for the Scooper column.

Kraze, the final piece of a hugely-enjoyable jigsaw, who are a metal band who one or two people feel could go right to Wolfsbane’s national heights and beyond. Their music is more commercially orientated glam metal played with distinctive and instinctive quality by musicians who know what they want and how they are going to get it. Undoubtedly one of Tamworth’s finest homes as they look set to win over Sunday’s audience and complete a fabulous trio.

So that’s it – a real corker of a concert. Get out for the metallic energy of the Wolfies and Kraze, the powerful potential of DHSS and the chance for us all to get to the Arts Centre again and get smiling. Be there or be shot.

Tamworth Herald - 15/04/88
Musicbox – Spellbound…by HM’s trio of wonders
Oh what a night as the mad heroes return
DHSS/Kraze/Wolfsbane – Tamworth Arts Centre
BEFORE this concert on Sunday night, I had suffered a real bummer of a weekend. A series of unbelievable things had fallen on my head leading me to think that the world and his Uncle Reg were united in opposition to my happiness.

But lo, on Sunday night, glorious rock and roll arrived like Manna from Heaven to drag me out of the cesspit of doom. Quite simply this was one of the finest concerts I have ever witnessed, a show which was packed from start to finish with power, quality, humour, nerve and tantalising excitement. It was Tamworth rock at its very best and it just about saved me from the increasingly tempting prospect of hari-kari.

The first thing you had to notice was the size of the crowd. It was enormous, as big as any I have ever seen at the Arts Centre showing once and for all that people in Tamworth will turn out in massive numbers to the product is right.

First up were DHSS, who I knew I would love anyway, and yet who still managed to surpass my expectations. They combined electronic mayhem with an onstage humour and wit whch had the majority metal audience eating out of their alternative hands. Musically it sounded to me like a mish-mash of The Fall, Sique-Sigue Sputnik and Adam Ant (yes, I know that’s an odd cocktail) but there were so many little older touches in there to make the band very distinctive.

Singer Eddie Armchair gave away the fact he listens to an awful lot of Morrissey with his ingenious lyrics and it is clear he is going to be a wordsmith of major note. My best memories of a hugely enjoyable set were the lovely guitar sounds in ‘Vicar’s Hand’, the two-way and good-humoured abuse, the vicious ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and the band’s electric and positive approach to their music. A great show and a perfect appetiser for the night.

Next up were Kraze who gave a spellbinding performance – easily the best I have seen them in their short career. They came over as a real powerhouse off a band, a group with an articulate and original voice to add to the metal legions, and with a host of crushingly good songs. Best numbers to my ears were ‘Too Cute’, the immortal ‘Dance ‘Til Dawn’ and the sizzling ‘Take The Money and Run’ which simply had to be a masterpiece because it is the title of a film by my ultimate hero Woody Allen. Kraze’s set seemed to be over all too quickly but by the end of it I was convinced of one thing. Metal fans take note – in Wolfsbane, Kraze and Shellshock you have the best three HM bands this area has ever produced.

Triumphant

And so to the masters – Wolfsbane. For them it was a triumphant homecoming, a return of the all-conquering heroes who were clearly delighted to see so many people from their hometown still cared so much about them. And did they deliver! Wolfsbane’s set ranks as one of their wildest yet, a sheer mindnumber of a performance which forced people to sweat and demanded participation.

Tracks like ‘Paint the Town red’ (that’s a wonderful Stranglers bass intro Jeff!) ‘All or Nothing’ and the legendary ‘Get Up’ were totally magnificent and the audience reaction was almost beyond belief.

Bayley, a man with more chairman than the entire American Senate, dominated and dazzled the stage and he could make a manic depressive smile. His trio of musicians continues to improve and impress and by the end of an exhilarating night I was left feeling I had witnessed a phenomenon, a group who went beyond superlatives and into a class all of their own.

With Wolfsbane’s final encored blitz they left the stage and a tremendous night drew to a close. The amount of smiles evident in the Arts Centre afterwards (not to say the amount of clinging, sticky sweat) provided ample proof that this had been a night to remember.

It was, all told, one hell of a gig.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald - 20/05/88
Musicbox – Rock Kings Crowned
Captions: The good old days THE dream has come true – the almighty Wolfsbane have finally broken into the big time.

For last week the Town’s top rockers became the first genuinely local outfit to announce a major record contract.

The band have been snapped up by Def Jam Records, the home of the Beastie Boys, for an eight album deal which will finally make them the international rock sensation we always dreamed they would be.

The band’s deal will mean they will fly off to America shortly after the Rock festival to record their first-ever album. It will be released on Def-Jam Records in America and under a different name in Britain and by the end of the year you can expect to see a Wolfsbane album in your local record shop.

Understandably the band are absolutely delighted.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” admitted guitarist Jase The Ace, “I think we will only start to believe it when we are sitting on the plane on the way to LA.”

The rumours about Wolfsbane being signed up have been circulating for some time but it was officially confirmed until last week. After already turning down two Indie deals (one of which was for £50,000) the group were snapped up by rock legend Rick Rubin. He is the man responsible for the Beastie Boys, Slayer and latter-day Cult albums and was the one man Wolfsbane wanted as a producer. Lo and behold, Rick rang up the band from his American home, said he had heard the ‘Wasted but Dangerous’ demo and wanted the band fro his Def Jam label.

No hope!

“We couldn’t believe it when Rick rang,” said drummer Steve Danger. “When we told someone that we wanted him as producer, they told us we hadn’t got a hope. But there he was on the phone, taking contracts!”

Rik Rubin told the band he wanted them in LA by the end of July/start of August to record the first album. A house and car was to be bought for them in America and Wolfsbane were told that money was no object when it came to buying new equipment.

“It’s all a dream really,” said Jase The Ace. “I can hardly wait to start working with Rick because he is a brilliant producer and I am sure he will bring the best out of us.”

The first instalment in what should be a very long recording career happens next month when the outfit’s ‘Wasted but Dangerous’ tape is transferred to vinyl to be the group’s first Def Jam single. Last week Wolfsbane went to London to have a photo session for the single sleeve and, as an indication of the size of their new commitments, the photo session cost more than the recording of the songs!

“Hopefully the single will be out in a matter of weeks which we are delighted about because we love that demo,” said Jase The Ace. “After that we will go to America and hopefully the debut album will be out by the end of the year.”

Before they go, Wolfsbane will play what will be a triumphant final Rock Festival show and are hoping to do a ‘goodbye to Tamworth’ party bash at the Tavern in the Town. That would indeed be apt because it is the enthusiasm of their genuine supporters in Tamworth that has kept Wolfsbane alive and kicking and they intedn to fully honour that loyal commitment.

Turning point

Captions: The good old daysThe band began in Tamworth around four years ago. Of the current members only Jeff and Jase remain and probably the turning point in the band’s history came when they discovered singer Blaze Bayley. When they found him they…really good!. Blaze’s arrival turned Wolfsbane into a major force and with the added attraction of then drummer beauty queen Amanda Hemming, the band made everyone sit up and take notice.

They made their live debut at the Arts Centre at the end of July 1984 and according to my review of the time they hit the audience with the effect of a thunderbolt…which at the close brought the audience to their feet. I concluded that ‘rock has finally returned to Tamworth’ and oh boy, was that an understatement.

Over the next four years the band played countless concerts many of which were simply breathtaking. Their performance to with the Battle of the Bands in 1987 remains one of the greatest I have ever seen by a band local or otherwise and they have definitely been THE band of the Tamworth Rock Festivals. In their time they have had four drummers but unlike Spinal Tap they have now found one who will be a permanent and vital part of the band.

Real heroes

They have won over critics both national and otherwise and have built up a very large local following which has expanded throughout the country. In London for example they regularly sell-out The Marquee and they are treated as heroes by ‘Sounds’ and ‘Kerrang’ magazines who had a party when they heard Wolfsbane had been signed. They are the epitome of the nice-guys-who-have-made-it and their success should show everyone out there if you believe in yourself and work hard you CAN make your dreams come true. And as for the pathetic Wolfsbane bashers who have appeared over the months well, they can crawl back into the cesspit from whence they came and leave Wolfsbane to soak up the LA sun.

“The whole thing is still totally unreal and that is why we can’t get too excited at this stage,” said Jase. “I suppose it will hit us soon and personally I just can’t wait to get writing songs and start recording because that’s what I love above all.”

Jase says that the band will probably record 30 or so songs from which ten will be picked for the first album. The rest then belongs to the record buying public. Wolfsbane could become a small cult group with a loyal following or they could go on to become massive superstars as Iron maiden or Def Leppard stature. Bayley may too well be picked out as THE face of HM in the 90s, it’s just all too early to say.

What it isn’t too early to say however, is that we should all be thoroughly proud of Wolfsbane. Tamworth has given them a superb platform to launch their career and a lot of people out there can regard this as a real ‘victory’. Wolfsbane are on the way to a potential world-beating size and for them, for Tamworth and for rock and roll justice this is the best news ever to come out of this amazingly successful local scene.

Tamworth Herald - 27/05/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Bayley ‘Def-Jam’ Cooke was due to be on the front cover of ‘Kerrang’ this week so go out and buy 2,000 copies now. Incidentally one or two local Wolfsbane dates for your diaries – June 21, Derby Rockhouse; June 23, Birmingham Edwards Number Eight; June 25, Nottingham Mardi Gras; July 1, Lichfield Enots and of course Saturday July 16, Tamworth Rock Festival. The boys will also be playing dates at venues all over Britain (including London, Edinburgh, Bradford, Glasgow and Leeds) before disappearing in the summer to the home of Ronald Reagan, Donald Duck and Terrible game shows.

Tamworth Herald - 17/06/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Wolfsbane hope to release their debut Def-Jam single very soon. It will be their tasty ‘Wasted But Dangerous’ demo translated to vinyl and should be available pre-festival. The band are currently putting the final touches to their last Tamworth shows at the Arts Centre. Already one or two groups including Fetch Eddie and Catch 23 have been approached to appear in what could be some of the best gigs Tamworth has ever seen. And guess which appalled Musicbox Editor has realised he is on holiday when the gigs are being staged. Yes, you guessed right!

Tamworth Herald  - 01/07/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
IN THE past, many people have accused me of writing OTT reviews particularly about Wolfsbane. Well, last week ‘Sounds’ featured Wolfsbane on their front cover as well as devoting all the centre pages to them, and declaring they would go on to make the best British HM album of the DECADE. On the same day Kerrang printed two letters from Wolfsbane fans (one of which declared Bayley to be the sexiest man in the world) as well as a near-ecstatic review which said they were unfailing live performers. Crickey, perhaps MUSICBOX has been understating the case after all.

Tamworth Herald  - 01/07/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane will be running a coach to the Marquee on Friday, July 8. It leaves Fazeley 4.15pm.

Tamworth Herald  - 29/07/88
Musicbox – The Wolfies say Bye-Bye

Caption: Wolfsbane – their last Tamworth shows for a very long time. Can you dare to miss them?

The wild and wonderful Wolfsbane will this weekend say a sad and emotional farewell to their Tamworth audiences.

For the band are playing two mega Tamworth Arts Centre concerts on Saturday and Sunday – their last major shows before they set off to America to record their first album for Def-Jam records.

It is the first time any Tamworth band have attempted to play on two consecutive nights but with classic support acts such as Catch 23, DHSS, Fetch Eddie and Scream Dream the centre is set to be packed out on both nights.

Wolfsbane are treating the shows very seriously indeed. They are well aware of the debt they owe to the local people who have believed in them from the start and they are determined to go out with the biggest bang possible. Coming just two weeks after the magnificent Tamworth Rock Festival these two gigs promise to keep local pop fans buzzing for the rest of the summer.

It starts on Saturday night at the Arts Centre (around 8pm) when the Wolfies line-up with Catch 23 and Fetch Eddie. Both groups, although one million miles away from Wolfsbane in terms of sound are admired by Bayley and the boys and the mutual respect between the outfits should make for a real festival atmosphere. Catch 23 and Fetch Eddie have both stormed back into local affections over the past few weeks with killer sets and both will be combining their old favourites with some newer, equally exciting tracks.

As for Wolfsbane, on the night and on the Sunday, their set will be a real mixture of new classics and one or two oldies from the days when they were kings of Tamworth but unheard of anywhere else. Bassist Jeff Hateley insisted at the Festival that any track is possible over the two nights so get set for some blasts from the past.

Caption: Wolfsbane – their last Tamworth shows for a very long time. Can you dare to miss them?

Sunday night will follow a similar format. Wolfsbane’s two special guests on this occasion are DHSS and Scream Dream both of whom would seem odd choices for a metal show but both of whom should go down a storm. They both gave tremendous shows at the Festival and if they repeat them should warm the crowd up very nicely thank-you for the main (Wolfsbane) event. Once again Wolfsbane fans old and new should find lots to cheer about on the night and as it will probably be the group’s last Tamworth appearance for a very, very long time get set for an emotional and exciting finale.

If all goes to plan, Wolfsbane will head for the States in a couple of weeks time ready to begin recording the first of their eight albums for Def-Jam records. It may be a while until they are seen again in Britain and the chances are that the next time you see your friendly neighbourhood Wolfies walking around Town again they will have released a scorching debut album.

For all those that believe in Tamworth’s rock scene and believe in Wolfsbane these two shows are totally unmissable. Wolfsbane’s success is the ultimate statement to those who sneer at the local scene and I hold this band up to anyone who has ever said ‘Tamworth bands haven’t got what it takes’. Those chaps will be eating humble pie while Wolfsbane eat pumpkin pie.

On  a purely personal level I will sadly be some 3,000 miles away at the weekend but my mind will still be with those four tatty boys on stage. I saw them at their first ever gig and have seen them scores of times since and I have never stopped believing that they had what it takes to break into the big time.

Well they’ve done it and I for one send them a fond farewell on the way to a future, which even if not paved with gold, will certainly be a riot.

I can use the medium of this column to express my feelings – YOU can use your feet to express yours by packing the Arts Centre out for the next two nights and saying a loud and triumphant ta-ta to Tamworth’s most notable rock and roll sons.

G.S.B. Wolfsbane!

Tamworth Herald - 05/08/88
Musicbox – Sad farewell – and the best is yet to come
Musicbox – Sad farewell – and the best is yet to comeWOLFSBANE Tamworth Arts Centre, Saturday and Sunday, with Fetch Eddie, Catch 23, Scream Dream and DHSS.

And so the end is nigh…The end of four wonderful years in which Wolfsbane moved from being just another young metal band into potentially one of the biggest bands in Britain, and certainly Tamworth’s biggest ever offering to the national music scene.

Their mega-bucks deal with US giants, Def-Jam Records means Bayley, Jase, Steve and Jeff jet off to Los Angeles later this month to record their first album and hopefully hit the road to stardom.

It means we won’t see them in this country again for a very long time, and who knows when, if ever, they will play in Tamworth again.

Indeed the odds of seeing Wolfsbane in a venue the size of Tamworth Arts Centre again are about the same as Tamworth signing Tony Cottee.

So their final farewell gigs, the first-ever two-night stand at the Arts Centre pulled a packed audience out of Tamworth’s finest musos and the varied assortment of crazies from all over the country who travel to see the Wolfies these days. MUSICBOX writers and Martin Warrilow and Ray Clenshaw (who also starred in Catch 23 on the Saturday night) were there to record the proceedings, on two very different but brilliant events.

SATURDAY…The punters were arriving in Tamworth at about midday for this, and the Arts Centre was white-hot by the time openers Fetch Eddie hit the stage.

You could tell it was going to be a great weekend as Aaron and the boys turned in a sparkling set of quality pop that stood out as a diamond in the dirt that stands for music these days. From the opening strains of ‘Mean Tin O’ Beans’ through a selection of Fetch Eddie faves, and a newie entitled ‘One Two Feet’ they sounded considerably better than their outdoor festival set and won a fine reception from the Wolfsbane-supporting audience. Quite simply, with a little more refinement in the presentation there is nothing to stop these boys from becoming the next big Tamworth band and making the wonderful Phyllis James the happiest woman in Britain. Marvellous.

Old faves

Catch 23 caught the mood superbly with a blasting set of their old faves and some classic covers “Tears of a Clown”, “Fever”, “Heatwave”, were all churned out with style along with “This Day and Age” and “Twisted Mind” dedicated as usual to George who as usual, loved it. Steve Webster in a Howling Mad t-shirt was in fine form and proved that he might well be Tamworth’s next star front-man. I happen to know they thought they were awful. I thought they were brilliant.

I wish I could say the same for Wolfsbane. Although they got considerably better for Sunday’s show, which tragically I missed. I have to say that Saturday’s set was ragged, untidy, overlong and rambling. The band is all about power, excitement, drive and catchy tunes. All that disappeared in a morass of wordy between-song raps from an over-emotional Bayley and some unnecessary clowning. When they finally got down to music they were spectacular, but there just wasn’t enough of it to keep the crowd interested. I’ve never been bored in almost three years of watching Wolfsbane. I was nearly bored by this. Oh, how I wish I had been able to see Sunday’s set. As it is, I’ll just remember them wowing the crowds at the Festival. Until that is, we all rush down to our local record store to buy the album. The end of an era.

MARTIN WARRILOW

SUNDAY…Well what a farewell for Wolfsbane. The show opened with the DHSS who produced their special helping of sadistic pleasures with a frenzy of synthesisers, the best example of which was “Vicar’s Hand” showing up Edward ian Armchair for the sick man he undoubtedly is. Crazed but fun.

Great blast

Next up were Scream Dream, a truly nice bunch of lad who produce a great blast of noise on stage. “Dreams” was once again the best tune of an exciting set although “Obsession” came a close second.

Then came Wolfsbane for their last-ever Tamworth Arts Centre show. This was a sleazy bonfire of metal madness of the very best sort. I’ve watched them since they started and this was the dirtiest and most anarchic set I’ve ever seen from them. They have now reached a peak of rage, and this was far more than four guys just getting on a stage and playing songs. This was a testament to Tamworth and its musicians. Wolfsbane have reached new heights, have progressed beyond their past and gelled into a big loud sleazy ball of power. In the limited range of heavy metal they just get better and better. I have never heard them produce such gut-busting metal power before and an emotional ‘Clutching at Straws’ was the highlight of a white hot set. And then they were gone, leaving us with a sense of past successes and anticipation of the future. Because undoubtedly the best is yet to come.

RAY CLENSHAW

Tamworth Herald - 05/08/88
Musicbox – Snips and pieces
AND FINALLY…Wolfsbane had their celebrations tarnished when one of their hardworking roadcrew had his leather jacket snatched from the Arts Centre on Sunday. Some prized personal possessions also disappeared so if anyone knows of the whereabouts of this item, can they return it to the band, no questions asked. The Musicbox honesty award will be presented to the returnee. Thank You and goodnight.

Tamworth Herald - 19/08/88
Musicbox – Back with anger
Wolfsbane Finale – Kettlebrook
Tamworth’s worst kept secret – the official parting shot to the boys in leather. Originally intended as a gig, this soon degenerated into an orgy of sound and nostalgia as leading local musos queued up to say their sad farewells to Tamworth’s best export since Reliant. Catch 23, Scream Dream, Spiral Eye, DHSS, The Conspiracy, The Space Seeds, Girls On Tour, Shellshock and many more were represented as were the Technicolour Yawns who filled the back garden (think about it…). A fun, fun, fun farewell where the beers and the tears combined to give the Wolfies the best possible bye-bye. My cat didn’t like it too much though.

Tamworth Herald - 19/08/88
Musicbox – Well, they’ve gone…
WOLFSBANE finally departed for America this week to begin their quest for international rock glory.

You will see elsewhere in this week’s paper, a special report on the band, but MUSICBOX couldn’t pass without publicly waving its’ tear-stained handkerchief to the departing heroes.

Basically it looks as though the band will be away from us for around three to four months and by the time they return their first album for Def-Jam will be ‘in the can’. It will then be released simultaneously in both America and Britain and will be followed by tours of both countries. The Wolfies are hoping for a major stadium support slot in the US and they even turned down joining forces with the mighty Metallica.

As I say, there is more info on another page but MUSICBOX will now wipe away the nostalgic fears and get set to receive the stars-in-waiting in the near future. The Wolfies have promised to send me postcards about their progress so if they are not TOO rude we will print them to keep you up to date with their world-domination.

Good luck Wolfsbane and I hope you enjoyed the party!

Tamworth Herald - 02/09/88
Musicbox – Snips
“Send me a skipping rope now!”
WOLFSBANE have hit America in a big way. They arrived in the US of A and after spending hours trying to convince customs men of who they were and what they were doing they then proceeded to get through three different cars in as many days. They are now firmly settled in a plush apartment block complete with swimming pool, sauna and gym and they have already had their first face-to-face meeting with their label boss Rick Rubin. He has already modified Wolfsbane’s favourite ‘Manhunt’, altering the drumming and turning in into (in Bayley’s words) a real song. Meanwhile the band have been in touch with ‘base’ with one or two odd requests. The most intriguing was by Bayley who asked for a skipping rope to eb sent over the Atlantic, Jase The Ace’s mother the woefully unsuspecting Barbara Edwards, believes Bayley wants to get fitter but Sleazebox is more suspicious. It’s AMAZING what you can do with a skipping rope…

Tamworth Herald - 16/09/88
Musicbox – Creatures of the night
Caption: Wolfsbane…homesick but having a ball!The debut album from Wolfsbane looks set to his the shops at the start of 1989.

The was the opinion of the band’s home-sick bassist Jeff Hateley, who last week dragged himself out of the Californian sun to ring Musicbox with an update on the band’s activities.

Jeff, who admitted he was missing ‘loads of things’ from home, said that the band were now settled in their new and somewhat strange lifestyle. For a start, the night is no longer for sleeping…

“Rick Rubin, our producer is a vampire, a real nocturnal animal,” said Jeff. “We have to work throughout the night, which we don’t mind because the days are so hot.”

The band are currently in ‘pre-production’ for their first album which has the working title of, (wait for it…) ‘Wolfsbane’. Pre-production means getting all the songs sounding as they want them to BEFORE they go to the studio, to save time and inevitably cost.

“This is certainly the best way of doing it because studio time costs a fortune,” said Jeff.

“The studio we are recording at is excellent, it is the Sound City at LA.”

The band expect to record 15 songs in all, ten of which will be selected for the album which could be in the shops by February.”

In the meantime the bands ‘Wasted But Dangerous’ demo should be released as their first official single this week. This was recorded before the band’s Def-Jam involvement and is seen as a useful way of keeping Wolfie fans on their toes while the band are away.

And, talking of away, what do the group think of America?

“The rest of them seem to be getting well into it, but I’m a real traditional Englishman and I’m not so sure,” admitted Jeff.

“We are all puzzled as to how we will go down though because audiences, and bands over here seem so tame and laid back and most of the groups are awful.”

The band are hoping to be back in the UK sometime before Christmas, but their plans are wide open at the moment.

“We are not sure exactly what we are going to do in the near future, but we can hardly wait to play live again. We are particularly keen to play in America because we think the crowds are going to be amazed,” said Jeff.

The bassist ‘Bombshell’ concluded the interview asking all about the local scene and saying he was looking forward to coming back as soon as it was feasible.

In the meantime he would have to suffer 80 degree temperatures, girls from another planet, recording with one of the world’s greatest producers and living the life of a pampered rockstar.

Rock and roll! Who needs it?

Interview by Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald - 07/10/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
This week’s Wolfsbane update – their debut single ‘Loco’ will be out at the end of October on London Records. FAR more important, Jeff sent me a postcard last week to say that he has found a pub in America that sells Newcastle Brown Ale and all his problems are now over!

Tamworth Herald - 14/10/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfie Sell-out shockWolfie Sell-out shock
The debut Wolfsbane single is now out – and it’s already a sell-out success. The first batches of the ‘Loco’ EP appeared in two Tamworth record shops on Saturday morning and promptly sold out within a couple of hours leaving a lot of people frustrated and single-less. New batches were due to arrive this week and hopefully we will give all the fax next week. Incidentally Jeff’s dad Ray rang to say that the single is already being played three times a day on American radio and all the indications are that it is creating quite a buzz across the Atlantic.

Tamworth Herald - 21/10/88
Musicbox – Single of the Week
Wolfsbane – Wasted But Dangerous
Yes, here it is. After weeks, months and years of waiting here is the first vinyl proof that one of our bands has arrived in the BIG TIME. This yummy four track e.p. is full of metallic joys and shows that the Wolfies have made the leap into the vinyl world with complete comfort and ease. Big Wolfie fans will already have this collection in cassette form but the superb production and excellent packaging make it an essential buy for everybody who lives within this rock and roll borough. Best of the four is the tremendous live favourite ‘Limo’ which contains all those sleaze and power ingredients that has made it a metal classic. Elsewhere ‘Loco’ (the sort of A side which is getting all the American airplay) is a punch-driven slice of mayhem with some wicked Jase The Ace guitar playing and to complete the picture we have ‘Dance Dirty’ and the sizzling ‘Killer’ both of which burn the stylus. This is designed as a appetite whetter before the Rick Rubin produced stuff comes out in February but I think it will be seen as far more than that coz it is WELL groovy. Buy it now or forever bury your head in the sand schmucks.

Review Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald - 28/10/88
Musicbox – ‘When you go will you send me, a letter from America’
I promised readers that when I got Wolfie postcards I would print them and here is the third such postcard which arrived last week. It was backed with a picture of Hollywood and in case you are struggling to read it it includes such instructions as buy 100 copies of the EP. The previous two cards from Jeff included such tantalising details as Bayley apparently being sent to Mexico and the like, but this is the most newsy one so I have decided to print it to keep all you Wolfsbanians content…

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Hopes are high that Wolfsbane will be back for a few days over Christmas. Steve Mad Dog Danger rang me up last week to say that the band were hoping to get back for a few days and they were hoping to play Birmingham Goldwyns on December 27. So far all the group have managed to lay down in the studio is the drum tracks (and that’s taken weeks)but they all sounded extremely excited about the overall sound and direction that Rick Rubin is taking them in. Worst bit of the whole call was when Steve complained that they had only had TWO days of rain the six months they had been there. Los Angeles 1 Fazeley 0 methinks.

Tamworth Herald - 16/12/88
Musicbox - Wolfies return?
American superstar rock band Wolfsbane are due to return to Tamworth on Tuesday.

Although it was not confirmed at time of going to press the band were hoping to be back for a few days as of December 20 and already the police have been informed to keep the hordes of screaming girls back at Heathrow Airport.

According to Mad Dog Danger, who range again last week, the band’s first act will be to go into the Tavern in the Town and cleanse everyone of their sins now that the Wolfies have experienced tv evangelism in the States.

With statements like that the question is – do we really want them back?


 

1989

Tamworth Herald – 13/01/89
Musicbox – SNIPS, SNIPS, SNIPS
Tamworth ponce-rockers Wolfsbane earned some amazing press coverage last week. The group were featured in a four page, colour interview in ‘Kerrang’ and in the same edition of that mag nearly every single one of the paper’s writers named Wolfsbane as the band to watch next year. One chap said they would go on to destroy both the USA and the UK, another said they would be the biggest metal band of 89 and so on. Also in ‘Sounds’ last week the Wolfies were chosen as one of the bands to break in 89 and it all adds up to a massive vote of confidence from the nation’s metal scribes. I find it all most cheering but not nearly as funny as all the local people who are suddenly claiming that they ALWAYS knew Wolfsbane would make it and they ALWAYS liked them. At my recent New years Even musicians party at least two old Wolfie-baters came out with all this ‘what a great band’ nonsense and I could hardly hide my smile. Amazing what a bit of fame does to people’s memories.

Tamworth Herald – 13/01/89
Musicbox – Letters to Musicbox
Dear partygoers,
I HOPE you all enjoyed my fab New Year’s Eve Wolfsbane welcome-home party. I did, to an enormous extent, and the only thing that marred proceedings for me was that someone out there in Rock and Rollville ‘borrowed’ my video of the wonderful ‘Casablanca’ film with Humphrey Bogart. As I am sure you have now had time to watch it, perhaps you would be so nice as to let me have it back, with no-questions asked? Just drop it in at The Herald and you are forgiven forever!

Love
Sam Holliday (no relation)

Tamworth Herald – 20/01/89
Musicbox – A Fab Feb ahead!
TAMWORTH’s rock fans are in for a real treat throughout February when the Arts Centre hosts a sparkling indoor festival.

Three top quality concerts will be on offer featuring the best of the area’s older acts and some brand new local talent.

And to top off the whole indoor extravaganza it is hoped that Wolfsbane will kick off their major UK national tour by concluding the festival on Sunday March 5.

Plans for the indoor festival were sorted out on Sunday night when Tamworth’s main outdoor festival for 1989 was launched. Once again a huge crop of bands registered interest in the 89 outdoor festival and at least 14 of these will be involved in the indoor festival in February/March.

At the moment the line-ups are strictly provisional but here they are as they stand at time of going to press. Please note the line-ups could change dramatically and you will have to keep reading this column to find out exactly who is playing and when. Assuming everything does go according to plan here are the line-ups for Tamworth’s 1989 Indoor Rock Festival.

Sunday February12
CATCH 23 will headline with the support of one ‘oldie’ Emma Gibbs Loves Badges and two ‘newies’ Big Noise and Shock Culture.

Sunday February 19
SCREAM DREAM will headline with Mike Fleming’s act Nightshade and two relatively new acts – The New Puritans and Double Vision.

Sunday February 26
DHSS will top-off a line-up featuring The Space Seeds, Never Say Die and King Woderick.

Spiral EyeSunday March 5
WOLFSBANE (contract permitting) will kick off their UK/USA tour by headlining alongside Spiral Eye and Kraze. If the Wolfies can’t make it Spiral Eye and Kraze with team up with A.N. Other band.

As you can see from the above, many new bands have already emerged for this year’s festival and in addition to those listed look out for several other new groups who have set their sites on the Castle Grounds for July.

In the meantime, pencil the above dates in your diary now. With the first three shows all the money raised will go towards the outdoor festival so they are vital fundraisers as well as tremendous concerts.

All the line-ups will be finalised in the next few days/weeks so keep your eyes peeled on this column. This indoor festival will prove a very exciting sampler for what you can expect this summer so get set for a Fab Feb and hopefully a marvellous start to March.

Tamworth Herald – 20/01/89
Musicbox – Snips
Hot-news, mega-snippet lovely-gossip bit here. It seems Wolfsbane are being lined up as possible support for the forthcoming major tour by The Cult. Knowing the enormity of the Cult’s following this could mean Bayley’s Bad Boys playing the likes of the NEC and Wembley. It’s only a rumour at the moment but if it comes off remember where you saw it first. If it doesn’t forget where you saw it first okay!

Tamworth Herald – 10/02/89
Musicbox – News, Snips
Wolfie set for Irish dates
Wolfsbane are currently planning a major tour which will see them in action in both Northern and Southern Ireland. The tour, in advance of their April-released debut album, will take them all over Britain and could end up with a string of shows in France. It is likely to be followed by a massive tour across the whole of America which should finally put the band firmly on the rock map. At the moment the band are rehearsing once again and sorting out their final mixes for the debut album. As yet it is still untitled but according to Steve 'Mad Dog' Danger it sound like being very exciting indeed.

“The latest mixes we have heard sound wonderful,” said Steve. “We are all looking forward to the album coming out and getting back on the road as soon as possible.”

Tamworth Herald – 24/02/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane have announced the first dates of their ‘rolling’ national tour. The band intend to keep adding gigs right up until their debut album is released and the first shows to be officially announced are…

Sunday March 6 – Tamworth Arts Centre (hooray!) with Spiral Eye and Lyve. Friday March 10 – Lichfield Arts Centre with A5, March 13 Riverside, Newcastle, March 21 Locarno, Sheffield, March 24, royal Standard, Wathamstowe, March 27, Goldwyns, Birmingham, March 30, Ritzy, Aberdeen, March 31 Pavilion, Ayr, April 1 Venue, Edinburgh and Sun April 2 Rooftops, Glasgow.

“We will keep adding more as we go along so it will be a virtual non-stop tour,” said singer Bayley, “We are playing all our old favourite venues to prove to people that we may have been away but we haven’t changed as people.”

Bayley admits that he and the band are keenly awaiting the live dates and he is delighted to start off the whole 1989 World Attack at little ol’ Tamworth.

“It should be a good night and we are all looking forward to the Arts Centre bash,” said Tamworth’s most famous stud-warrior.

Tamworth Herald – 10/03/89
Musicbox – The Conquering Heroes
Wolfsbane/Spiral Eye/Kraze – Arts Centre
Tamworth Arts Centre smashed their all-time attendance record on Sunday night when hundreds of people turned up to see the Town’s favourite sons Wolfsbane.

The gritty rockers kicked off a massive tour with a hometown show which proved so popular that people were turned away from the doors in their droves. With the usual capacity of 250 passed by 8 o’clock, the doors had to be shut an hour later with 400 people crammed into the Arts Centre and literally dozens refused entry from that point on. And believe you me, all those that missed it are going to regret it because this was a magnificent concert, one which all of us will remember for a very long time.

KRAZE, for I think they are now called that again, kicked the whole thing off with one of their most enjoyable sets. It has been a long time (too long) since I have seen them and they have really tightened up, smartened up and polished up to the extent that they are now a pure and professional rock outfit. Tim Latham was quite amazing but the whole musical base seems to have improved with him and aside from excellent bass and drums, the vocals reached a new peak with Mitch Michaels confirming himself as one of the best frontmen this town has ever produced and the little old ladies in tremendous heart and voice. No less exciting were Spiral Eye whose unique, mystical and magical sound has gained a new edge to make up for the lack of Rem’s keyboard dalliances. The sound (which owed a lot to the first class p.a.) was booming and well balanced, and there was a real aura of musical mysticism pervading the set. Individually the whole band are quite magnificent but praise this time to the sizzling drumming of Jim and the brilliant bass work of Pete Wright. The latter has clean-cut, crystal bass sound and he has the most riveting four strings in Tamworth without a shadow of a doubt.

But despite the excellence of both support acts, this was Wolfsbane’s night. And oh boy did they take it. Arriving on stage like the conquering heroes they are, Wolfsbane proved they have lost nothing in their long time away from the stage. Their humour was as sharp as ever, their songs relentlessly ear-battering – and the atmosphere they created was quite unbelievable. Even previous Wolfsbane ‘fun-riots’ fell in comparison to the crazy scenes of wild enthusiasm and dancing produced by the Wolfies energetic and enthusiastic followers on the night. Bodies battered into one another like dodgem cars driven by maniacs and the sound produced by the band had the same vicious attack of musical terrorism. The old tunes – especially the wunderbar ‘Paint the Town Red’ were given a new and dynamic edge and newies like ‘Marlon Brando’ proved that the States has not altered the Wolfies main songwriting state. Best track of all was the brilliant ‘Shakin’ which I hereby nominate as the ideal single for the band to launch their album with. It was a real porking, corking track which made my toes sizzle like sausages on a bar-B-Q. Overall impression? A marvellous show and a marvellous night. Tamworth turned out in huge force to support their heroes and the chemistry produced betwixt band and fan indicated that the Wolfsbane train is rolling very much in the right world beating direction.

They were as good as the best sex you’ve ever had.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 31/03/89
Musicbox – An ‘open’ Musicbox letter…

I was surprised to read a couple of times recently that Sam Holliday has found it necessary to defend himself and the local music scene. If he feels this way, then the record should be put straight.

Before I do, what are my qualifications for making any comment at all? I have been involved with Wolfsbane from the beginning, am acquainted with many people in the local music scene, but mostly have been an observer, rather than being directly involved. I have also spoken to a lot of Wolfsbane fans from many parts of the country. Some are ‘just’ fans, a number are also members of bands mostly at the starting-up stage.

My conclusions from this experience is that the fans, bands and band members in and around Tamworth are probably the luckiest in Britain. Why?

There are three main reasons, which are (in no particular order of importance) – The Arts Centre where unknown bands can play – The Tamworth Herald, which gives fair space to the local music coverage, and Sam Holliday, who is enthusiastic (to say the least) and is the driving force behind the two major local events, the indoor and outdoor festivals.

Where else in Britain can three unknown bands put on a gig in a major local venue, only needing to borrow a vocal PA and persuading 15 friends each to come to break even? Not only this, but the gig will be promoted and reviewed by the local paper. If you persuade an established local band to headline for you, you can even afford a professional PA. If you think I’m exaggerating, go elsewhere and try it!

Another point that I think is valid in this: Which would we really prefer – the positive attictude of Sam’s reviews (which encourage bands to keep going and improve) or the shafting they would get from virtually any other music journalist? Even worse to be ignored completely.

Without Sam, the Herald and the Arts Centre (not in order of importance!) we would be in the same sad state as most other areas. How many bands have we got? How many different styles can we hear and see live? How many of ‘our’ bands are getting national exposure and chasing hard for that break?

Never let it be said that I suggested that Sam is perfect, but he is trying, you have to give him that!

Oh yes, my suggestions for improvements – Arts Centre? If you have ever been on the door trying to keep track of them as they rush in and out like a fiddlers elbow, you’d stock a beer they like. The Herald? Go on, give us the rest of the page Sam? No, it’s taken long enough to write this much!

Brian – Slave
Howling Mad Mansions
(aka Brian Edwards, Wolfsbane management)

Tamworth Herald – 14/04/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfies go European!
WOLFSBANE make their first major excursion into Europe later this month when they open proceedings at the prestigious Aardschok festival in Arnhem, Holland.

The Wolfies will be one of seven bands, headlined by US rockers Queensryche, performing to a packed crowd of Euro headbangers at one of the continents biggest and best all-day rock festivals, on April 29.

The engagement marks a major career step for the band, who have not yet ventured into Europe, despite rave reviews in Britain and the US.

“This is their first European date and it’s the perfect opportunity for the band,” said band club spokeslady Barbara Edwards. “The idea is that because no one’s heard of them out there, it’s a good showcase for them and hopefully there should be loads of promoters coming to see what all the fuss is about.

Wolfsbane will open up the show at 1.15 to be followed by Vengeance, Crimson Glory, House of Lords, Flotsam and Jetsam and Queensryche.

“It’s the Queen of Holland’s birthday which is treated like a Bank Holiday so it should be a tremendous occasion,” said Barbara.

Quite what the confused and crazy continentals will make of a band featuring a vocalist described on one music paper this week as a cross between Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and Bill Oddie is anyone’s guess.

The Wolfsbane HMS Fanclub is organising a monster weekend trip for the festival, leaving Birmingham on Friday afternoon and returning late on Sunday.

The trek described as “for serious and committed lunatic fans only” will cost £55 including coach, ferry and entrance to the show (£60 for non-fan club members) and is being organised following phenomenal fan demand.

“We’ve had loads of people asking us how they can get there, so we planned this as a really good weekend”, said Barbara.

Anyone interested should contact Brian or Barbara Edwards at Wolfsbane HQ.

Tamworth Herald – 18/05/89
Musicbox – Some like it hot!
Wolfsbane have just made their first ever video.

The group produced the £50,000 video last week at the world famous Shepperton Studios to accompany what will be their first official British and American single.

As we can exclusively reveal this week, the single will be ‘I Like It Hot’ a relative Wolfsbane newie which will be released in advance of the album in America and just after it here in England.

The video was made with the same crew that recently produced Def Leppard’s videos and according to guitarist Jase The Ace the whole thing was MOST exciting.

“It was great fun making the video and we learned a lot from it,” he said. “We spent a day on a massive stage at Shepperton with all the big lights pouring down on us and the video will be supplemented with various shots of us around London.”

The band don’t expect to see the final video for many weeks and the actual date of the album is still a mystery.

“ know what I used to think when bands delayed their albums and we are now finding out what it is like at first hand. There is so much to do before you can get the record out but obviously the sooner it comes out the better as far as we are concerned.”

Although they will almost certainly be Stateside at the time of the Tamworth rock Festival, Wolfsbane have promised to play the event if they are in Britain. In the meantime keep your eyes out for the ‘hottest’ video in town…

Tamworth Herald – 25/05/89
Musicbox – Wolfs live fast, but not just yetMusicbox – Wolfs live fast, but not just yet
Wolfsbane with their 'younger fans'
Tamworth’s biggest band Wolfsbane are back in Town again at the moment taking a well-earned break before a summer of musical madness.

For at the start of July the band’s debut album entitled ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ will hit the streets in album, cassettes and CD format and will be followed by a major tour both here in Britain and abroad.

Excited record company chiefs believe the album will be a smash success in the UK and state-side and Def American’s key personnel have promised to make a visit to Tamworth if the album achieves the hoped for platinum (i.e. one million sales ) status.

The idea of Wolfsbane selling a million albums is really quite breath-taking but the band are just taking everything as it comes.

“Its all good fun at the moment and we are delighted with how the album has turned out,” said drummer Steve Danger. “The sound is pretty amazing.”

The record looks set to feature six tracks per side and will include the new single “I Like It Hot”, several other new tracks and one or two golden oldies like ‘Manhunt’.

The band are currently on pretty much of a high after a tour of Britain which has just been concluded. Several big shows stood out, but it was the unique atmosphere of Belfast which the Danger-man will remember most.

“The Belfast gig was excellent. It had a really strange atmosphere yet once the people at the gig got in to what we were doing they went crazy. I don’t I’d want to live there but it is certainly the sort of place everyone should visit,” said the Wolfie sticksman.

The band’s future plans include a lot of drinking in the Tavern in the Town followed by serious rehearsal (see separate story) in advance of their biggest ever tour to promote the album.

It all adds up to an amazing time but what makes it so exciting is that things can only get better when we finally get our grubby hands on the first ever Wolfsbane album.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 25/05/89
Musicbox – SNIPS

WANTED – a rehearsal room now!
WOLFSBANE are desperately searching for a new rehearsal room where they can base their Tamworth operations. The band want a good sized room where they will be able to practice regularly and lock their stuff away when they are not around.

Tamworth Herald – 02/06/89
Musicbox – Snips, Snips, Snips

Latest news from the Wolfie camp is that they now look unlikely to be able to join us for our lark in the park (ie the festival). It seems that the band are being lined up for a major tour which starts the weeks before the festival and they have something pencilled in for the fest-days. If it changes (and this isn’t a final bulletin) we will let you know. Still with the festival, the three indoor Arts Centre showcases will take place on Friday July 7, Saturday July 8 and Friday July 14. Line ups for these will be announced in a couple of weeks.

Tamworth Herald – 09/06/89
Musicbox – Wolfish rumour
RUMOURS abound in Musicbox HQ that Wolfsbane are set to sneak back into live action at the Moon Club, at Knights in Lichfield next Monday (June 12).

The boys are said to be playing under the name of their infamous alter ego “The Wilsons” following hard on the heels of another ‘secret’ gig by Balaam and the Angel at the same venue last Monday.

Sources close to the band (well actually Steve Danger told me) denied that they were playing “It’s news to me, we haven’t played for ages and anyway Bayley’s not back yet,” said the Wolfies drummer whose marvellous 'Danger Diaries’ wowed readers to music mag Metal Hammer recently. But we thought we’d tell you anyway.

Talking of Blaze Bayley, the lovable lad was due to judge the Lichfield Battle of the Bands last Tuesday along with DHSS’s Rikky Quay. Nice to know Lichfield knows where to come to find connoisseurs of fine musical talent.

Tamworth Herald – 23/06/89
Caption: Wolfsbane pictured at Festival ’88. See them at Festival ’89 too.Musicbox – Wolfie delight
THE TAMWORTH Rock Festival – now just three weeks away – has been given the best possible boost with news that metal stars Wolfsbane WILL be able to play.

The band confirmed at the end of last week that they would be able to headline the first day of the outdoor festival on Saturday July 15 and their appearance is certain to swell the expected crowds.

Caption: Festival vice-chairman Rikk Quay, pictured showing his delight that Wolfsbane would play the event (NB This is a genuine if somewhat old pic of the genuine but somewhat old Rikkety Quay.)“This is great news for the festival because Wolfsbane are an integral part of the Tamworth music scene,” said one of the festival organisers Edward ian Armchair “I am sure everyone will be excited by the news.”

The news that Wolfsbane – who have been involved in all the festivals to date – will be able to appear comes on the eve of a major meeting for all the groups involved in this year’s event.

As you will see from the full line-up printed on the right, more bands than ever have been confirmed for the festival this year and this final tally and line-up will be confirmed on Sunday night.

The meeting at the Tavern in the Town will also be the one where all the bands involved in the outdoor event must ‘pay their dues’. As regular MUSICBOX readers will know the festival is unique in that the majority of the finance is provided by the participating musicians themselves and they will all have to cough up their contributions (£6 per member) on Sunday to assure that they will step out on the Castle Grounds stage over the mid-July weekend.

Interest in the festival continues to surprise the organisers and bands from all round the country are ringing with increasing and surprising regularity to seek a place in the event.

They may not be able to do so but YOU the punter certainly can. For the outdoor festival is free to everyone on the weekend of Saturday July 15 and Sunday July 16 and we want to see as many people there as possible to enjoy the wide variety of music on offer as well as show that all the hard work involved in the event has been worthwhile.

And with Wolfsbane now confirmed it all looks like being the best festival ever!

Tamworth Herald – 30/06/89
Musicbox – Wolfsbane album – it’s out on July 24!
The eagerly-awaited debut album by Wolfsbane will be released by Phonogram Records on July 24.

The album, which will include two tracks lined-up as potential singles – “I Like It Hot” and ‘”Shakin’” will be the band’s first release on their new UK label.

The mighty Phonogram label will be the distributors for all Wolfie products in the British Isles after an agreement with Def Jam records and band bassist Jeff Hateley is delighted with the set up.

“They are a good label with a fine track record with heavy metal acts,” said Jeff. “It is a good deal for us and Phonogram are clearly going to be able to give us a lot of support.”

The album, released simultaneously on Def Jam in America, is titled “Live Fast Die Fast” and includes a mass of Wolfie favourites. Age-old stage classics like ‘Manhunt’, ‘Money to Burn’ and the anthemic ‘All or Nothing’ are joined by relative newies like ‘Greasy’, ‘Killing Machine’ and a startling new ballad ‘Tears Of A Fool’.

After hearing a sneak preview of the album I can confirm even at this stage that it is going to be as hot as the current heatwave. After a couple of waxings I can tantalise your tastebuds by saying that ‘I Like It Hot’ is as good as ANYTHING the band has ever done before and tracks like ‘All Or Nothing’ and the aforementioned ‘Tears Of A Fool’ could blow holes through the charts.

When the album is officially released we will give it a massive amount of coverage but in the meantime get your advance orders in now. After all you don’t want to be the schmuck who walks into your friendly neighbourhood record shop on Monday July 24 to learn that it’s already a sell-out do you?

*Don’t forget you can get your FIRST chance to hear the tracks on ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ when Wolfsbane headline the opening day for the Tamworth Rock Festival on Saturday July 15.

Tamworth Herald – 30/06/89
Musicbox – SNIPS and NEWS and SNIPS and…
Wolfsbane were featured on a special 30 minute BRMB show last week with a history of the band’s recent success plus a track off the forthcoming album. The group are also set to be extensively covered in the music press over the next few weeks so keep ‘em peeled.

Tamworth Herald – 14/07/89
Musicbox – Reviews in Brief
The Wilsons – Festival Party (Sunday)
A totally wonderful Wolfsbane show which must rank as one of the greatest they have ever produced in their native venue. As tight as a duck’s proverbial but far more pleasant to delve into. Absolutely so complaints whatsoever just magic from start to finish. After all that I want to be sedated too. Review by Sam Holliday.

Tamworth Herald – 28/07/89
Musicbox – Wonder-Wolfies!
Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast
Phonogram/Def American LP/Tape/CD
Musicbox rating: ******

Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die FastYES it’s out! YES it’s brilliant! And YES if you haven’t got it yet you are a total schmuck!

The Wolfsbane album officially hit the streets on Monday and the reaction from people so far has been ecstatic. ‘Sounds’ said it was ‘manic, brilliant…the best UK metal release in ten years,’ and ‘Kerrang’ wrote so many nice things it made one of my reviews look like a slag off. At the unofficial launch party for the record at Kettlebrook on Saturday (good fun hey!) there was collective ecstasy as the album regularly hit the decks and the general impression from everyone was that this was a KILLER record.

Anyone who cares about the Tamworth music scene will love this record but anyone who doesn’t and just wants to hear the power of real music is going to love it too. It is a cracking record, a remarkably intelligent debut and a credit to all those involved in its creation. One playing and you’re hooked, two more and you’re living in rock and roll fantasy land. It’s the biz. Track by track details are as follows…

Side One

Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast1. Manhunt
Classic opener which has always been one of THE Wolfsbane stage favourites. With added ‘oomph’ on vinyl, it really sets things off to a powerful, pulsating start. The chorus is clean and catchy and the song provides the perfect appetiser for what is to come.
2. Shakin’
The official first (British) single and one which the Wolfies are particularly fond of themselves. It is a more driving rock number where Bayley growls out the chorus line to the accompaniment of some excellent Jase The Ace guitar work. A track that grows with every playing and has a tremendous last couple of minutes.
3. Killing Machine
One of my favourite tracks on the whole album, this is a solid and gritty rock number with another of those killing choruses and the crucial ability to grow with every waxing. It’s catchy, fast and musically stunning.
4. Fell Out Of Heaven
Know to plebs like me as ‘Legs’ this perfectly compliments ‘Killing Machine’ and runs right out of its dying embers. One of the catchiest tracks in the Wolfie set it has a totally irresistible hook and a seductive Blaze vocal line. I particularly like the hummable bass line in the middle of this one and I defy anyone not to be singing the chorus after the first playing.
5. Money To Burn
Another ‘Manhunt’ style stage favourite with its famous book-line and excellent construction. Golden oldies like this (which we all know like old friends) prove that Wolfsbane have not been Americanised at all and Rick Rubin’s brilliant production has only enhanced the real glory of the band’s sound. They went to LA with a set of no compromise classic metal tunes and they have now produced an album full of exactly the same.

Side Two
1. Greasy
Possibly the most downbeat track on the album and one that contains the bitterest lyric. The lyrics throughout the record are a mixture of tongue in cheek sexuality and more serious insights and this is definitely in the latter category. To a slower, haunting melody, Bayley hits out in anger against an enemy who I find hard to define. See what you think.
2. I Like It Hot
I LOVE it hot. This is easily the most accessible new track on the album and it is a natural single which will be released here (eventually) and in America almost immediately. The ‘ooh-aahs’ in the chorus will surprise you all and they add to the most whistle-able track on the album. The nearest to pop that Wolfsbane have ever got, and a classic Bon Jovish slice of metal for the masses. I love this track and expect to be a big hit when it finds its way into the muckheap that is the charts…
3. All Or Nothing
Another example of how Wolfsbane have been allowed to copy their live sound exactly and not had anything watered down or ironed out. Always a Sam Holliday favourite this one, and it is the track I seem to put on more than any because it is so sharp and stylish. Short, simple but dazzingly effective. Another neat lyric too, one that will be understood by all the local musos out there.
4. Tears of a Fool
The one that will shock many of you and one which you will probably never hear live. Those many of you who remember ‘Clutching At Straws’ won’t be too surprised at how well the band handle a rock ballad like this and its sheer extravagant style give it a magic all of its own. Jase The Ace – who I must say is brilliant throughout this album – produces a delicious Brian May style guitar piece and Bayley’s emotional vocal adds a weighty strength to the tune. Intelligent and classy gear.
5. Pretty Baby
Superb ending to a superb album. When I first heard it I wasn’t totally convinced but the more you hear it the more you realise how much is going on within the grooves. The basic formulae of the song is typically classical Wolfsbane but where this track leaps above the rest is the amazing last couple of minutes. That bit begins with the crunching Steve Danger producing a hypnotic drum intro which reminded me perversely of Adam and the Ants. It ends with Jase the Ace producing his best piece of guitar work of the whole record which certainly didn’t remind me of Adam and the Ants! General impression of the song – another masterpiece and one which does what all last-track-of-side-twos should do in making you flip straight over and start the whole rollercoaster ride again.

That’s it then, the Wolfsbane debut album. Favourite tracks overall? Well the beauty of this album is that there are so many goodies on it my favourite seems to change all the time. It started as ‘I Like It Hot’ moved on to ‘All or Nothing’ and has probably ended up as ‘Killing Machine’. I dunno, maybe when this is actually printed it will be ‘Fell Out Of Heaven’ or ‘Pretty Baby’? The point is oh loyal reader that EVERYTHING on this record has real quality and there are no blotts on the landscape at all. Perhaps one or two of your own favourites are missing but I guarantee newies like ‘Hot’, ‘Tears of a Clown’ and ‘Shakin’ will more than make up for that. It’s an album to treasure and one which is beautifully packaged and includes (in classic Wolfsbane style) thank-you to virtually everyone in Tamworth for their support in making this dream come true.

This album is a success story for Tamworth and a massive success story for Wolfsbane. They have come through the ranks and never once departed from them and they have now reached the exalted status where the music industry comes to them instead of the other way round.

The fact that this album has arrived at all makes me feel very proud indeed and if you’re going to go deaf to any record in the world, go deaf to this one.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll is fun again.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 04/08/89
Caption: ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ – Selling Fast…Wolfsbane’s album has gone straight into the charts.Band rocks straight into record charts – Wolfsbane’s first album sells 15,000 in a week

A TAMWORH rock band has shot straight into the national charts with its first album – selling 15,000 copies after just one week on sale. ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ which was recorded by Wolfsbane in Los Angeles, has entered the official Gallup-compiled charts at 48…a success which neither the group nor the record company had anticipated.

Local record shops sold out on the day of release, with a high proportion of advance orders making up the figures as the band’s Tamworth fans snapped up hundreds of copies as soon as they came on sale.

Wolfsbane, whose four members, Jason Edwards, Jeff Hateley, Steve Ellett and Bayley Cooke still live in Tamworth are currently staging their largest ever tour of Britain to further promote the album.

“We are flabbergasted at the chart position of the album, and hopefully it will really take off when people see it is in the charts,” said Wolfsbane’s drummer Steve Ellett.

“The record company were predicting a position of around 68 and we were amazed at that, but when we heard it had gone into the charts 20 places higher we could not believe it.”

The band recorded the album on the Def American label with producer, Rick Rubin, who has worked with The Cult and The Beastie Boys. It is being distributed in Britain by Phonogram, who are delighted with the success.

“The record has had some excellent sales for a debut album and has sold around 15,000 nationwide,” said Phonogram press officer, Paul Bursche.

“Wolfsbane are still not that well known yet, even by hard rock fans, so we have expectation of many more sales.

“The fact that it has made such a high entry into the charts will help because the majority of the record buying public do not recognise a record until it has charted.”

The largest record retail group in the country, Our Price, put ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ at 33 in their album charts which reflect sales at their 300 stores around the country.

Wolfsbane visited the Tamworth branch of ‘Our Price’ last Thursday to autograph copies of the album, boosting sales even further. A batch of signed copies were also sent to the Our Price store in Banbury where the band’s recent concert in the town had increased demand.

Inner Sleeve, of Victoria Road also reported good sales through advance orders and a rush of buyers from the day of release.

Further afield, What Records which has stores in Nuneaton, Bedworth, Hinckley and Coalville said they had sold well over 100 copies in the first week.

“We sold out in the first week and it is clear that Wolfsbane have a number of fans in the area outside Tamworth,” said Neil Sheasby, Bedworth branch manager.

The big Virgin Megastore in Birmingham also sold out of its original stock of the album which was well promoted by posters on display at the store.

Tamworth Herald – 04/08/89
Musicbox – Spiralbane
Tamworthians aplenty will be travelling to the Birmingham Irish Centre on Monday night (Aug 7) when Wolfsbane will continue their current tour with a show with special guests Spiral Eye. Wolfsbane’s support for local bands remains excellent and this promises to be a major break for Spiral Eye. Still with Wolfsbane, a coach has been arranged for their triumphant return to the Marquee on Friday August 18. This show looks set to be one of the highlights of the current tour so get along and PARTY.

Tamworth Herald – 04/08/89
Musicbox – NO, THIS IS NOT Spinal Tap!Musicbox – NO, THIS IS NOT Spinal Tap!
Anyone who has seen the brilliant ‘Spinal Tap’ movie (and for everyone interested in the music business it is a must) will remember one classic scene.

It occurs when Spinal Tap, a fading metal outfit, are invited to an album signing session at a record store in America. For hours they sit tapping their feet as not a single person comes forward wanting to have the band’s monickers written all over an album. A bizarre press agent then goes running around the shop shouting ‘its all my fault, someone please kick my ass!” to make for an hilarious scene that would put any band off doing an in-store signing session.

Not so our own Wolfsbane. For last week the boys had a special record store signing at Our Price in Ankerside and a major success it was too. When the band first arrived there were a pile of fans there waiting to have their goodies signed and the shop reported a mass more sales to add to an incredible Wolfie album purchase throughout the week.

By the time We arrived most of the throng had departed however and that’s why the Laurel and Hardy of the Tamworth music scene – Rip Van Quay and Buttercup stole into our picture. Rikk you will note, has a copy of a Ken Dodd record for signing. Why did he do this? ‘Tax reasons’ he said.

Tamworth Herald – 18/08/89
Musicbox – Reasons to be cheerful 1-2-3!
Wolfsbane – Birmingham Irish Centre
A few days ago, I chanced on an old MUSICBOX column where I reviewed Wolfsbane at one of their first out of town dates. It was August 1986 and I marvelled at the sheer power and presence of the band saying: “Wolfsbane remind me of the Stranglers – they have never EVER disappointed me live’. I went on to add that I could not see how anyone could possibly dislike them and I also pointed out ‘make no mistake, Blaze Bayley is a STAR’. Now almost exactly three years on, my vision and understanding of the Wolfsbane enigma has not altered one jot. What has though of course is that now we are talking about a STAR band. This impressively sized venue was pretty well packed, tour t-shirts were being flogged for eight quid a piece and every Wolfsbane song, be it a newie, an oldie or a cover version was greeted with a roar and a shared joy that made you realise just how big this monster has become. Of course Brum is as much the band’s backyard as Tamworth and the Birmingham Batallions are clearly proud as punch of Wolfsbane’s success. Bayley knows this and gets away with even more murder than usual, taunting the crowd and skilfully goading them into an ever increasing volume of response. Bayley of course still dominates the set and his energy never ceases to amaze an unfit couch potato like me. The way he bops around the stage with elasticity and eccentricity makes him seem like the result of an elaborate camera trick. You simply cannot understand how one man can be in so many places at the same time and you wonder where on earth he gets the zest left to sing as brilliantly as he does. The music? Well, the Wolfies have always had their toonability sussed and here their attack, attack, attack works on every possible level. Classic song tumbles after classic song and you find your butt bopping of it’s own music accord. The whole set was note perfect rambling rock and roll quality and never once did the firepower cease. I loved every minute and was left feeling exactly the same as I did when I gorged myself on their meaty might almost three years ago to the day. Then I concluded my review by saying ‘If you don’t like Wolfsbane, you’re dead already’. Never has that statement been truer, but now more people than ever are beginning to realise just what Wolfsbane are and what they can become.

Scary monsters need not be super creeps.

SAM HOLLIDAY

Tamworth Herald – 25/08/89
Musicbox – A Wolfie Sell-Out!
HUNDREDS of disappointed fans were turned away from the Marquee on Friday night when the band’s premier London show was a major sell-out success.

Playing for the first time at the new look Marquee – which as doubled its capacity to just under a thousand – Wolfsbane were delighted not only to fill the venue but to sell it out with ease.

As a coachload of Tamworth travellers arrived at the venue at 8.30pm they were greeted by stacks of metalmen walking in the opposite direction saying ‘you’ve all got no chance – its sold out’.

Lo and behold outside the venue there was a mass of leather clad Wolfie fans looking disgruntled as only those bearing tickets were let into the hall.

“It was amazing to see the amount that turned up,” admitted bassist Jeff Hateley. “It made me feel very nervous but it turned out to be a great gig.”

Such was the massive success of the show that Wolfsbane – who sold out the Marquee when Bros had failed to do so the night before – may be playing there TWICE later in the tour. They have already booked for a cracking show with Spiral Eye on Thursday, September 14, but they may now add Friday the 15th as well.

“The whole of the current ‘Booze, Birds and Bad Language’ tour has been a massive success to date. Wolfsbane have been packing them in nearly everywhere they go, including through their Scottish gigs and reactions to the shows have been ecstatic.

“It’s been great everywhere we go but tonight was the best of the lot,” beamed Jase The Ace shortly after Friday’s triumphant event.”

*A review of the Marquee show appears in the middle of the ‘Review Special# on the left of this page.

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

Wolfsbane – The Marquee
More magic from the global warriors who were afforded possibly their greatest reception to date. Faced with a thousand screaming Wolfmen and women, the boys proceeded to dazzle and delight at every turn to make for an audio/visual spectacular of the highest order. The brilliant guitar work of Jase the Ace (so aptly described in a recent review as looking like a guy who ‘can’t believe his luck’) was the shining glory of the set with his ‘extro’ to the stunning ‘Pretty Baby’ being the highlight of the night. Elsewhere the cover of ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’, the majesty of ‘I Like It Hot’ (which featured about one million stage invasions) and the raw grit of ‘Manhunt’ were the ones that got the toes bopping but the best was still saved until last with a splendid version of the anthemic ‘Paint the Town Red’. That, the closing track of the second encore, closed a set that led to the most rapturous reception I have ever seen awarded to any band loosely termed local. In film parlance there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Utterly, utterly, utterly UTTER!

Tamworth Herald – 08/09/89
Musicbox
Don’t forget Wolfsbane and Spiral Eye team up at Lichfield Arts Centre on Sunday. The same duo are in Marquee action on Thursday.

Tamworth Herald – 22/09/89
Musicbox – Wolfsbane, Wolfsbane, EVERYWHEREMusicbox – Wolfsbane, Wolfsbane, EVERYWHERE
Aren’t you just SICK of Wolfsbane? I mean it was all very well when they were turning up in Musicbox, the Lichfield Mercury and ever-so occasionally Kerrang but now it seems they are being adulated and written about in every publication in the world except ‘Practical Caravanning’.

I thought I would be on safe ground however with my tried and tested NME. After all here is a self-respecting metal-hating magazine, that thinks Morrissey is God and Metal is Evil. They gave the Wolfies album one out of ten, called them something unprintable in this column and made it clear that Wolfsbane and NME would never be friends. But then a couple of weeks ago NME did a joint review of the Wolfies live and Bon Jovi live and much preferred our heroes. And then last week NME did a spiffing crawling interview where the once vicious Steve Seething Wells hailed ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ as ‘brilliant’ and exalted the band’s musical prowess. I dunno with all this and reviews seemingly every week in Sounds, Kerrang, Melody Maker, Metal Hammer etc, etc. Wolfsbane just have to be THE most hyped band in the world. It’s disgusting, unfair, unwarranted and down right sickening.

And oh yes, it’s rather wonderful too!
Sam ‘As if I’d Hype Or Praise Wolfsbane’ Holliday

My Wolfsbane quote of the week incidentally is jointly shared by one in Brum Beat and one in the NME. Steve speaking to Brum Beat (who once laughed at the band and who now deserve laughing at in return) said ‘”We’re the first REAL band from Tamworth. You can’t count Julian Cope – he defected.”

And on a rather more sleazy note my heart broke for the boys when either Bayley or Steve (it wasn’t clear which) told the NME…”I wish I could sleep with the same woman three nights in a row.” Jeez Boys, it must be HELL.

Tamworth Herald – 20/10/89
Musicbox – Guns and Roses Joy for Little Ol’ Wolfsbane
WOLFSBANE were all set to play their most prestigious ever show – as support to the world’s hottest heavy metal band – Guns and Roses.

Ringing up from Hollywood, the band’s bassist Jeff Hateley explained in a very excited state that they had been invited into a top class showcase spearheaded by the almighty G ‘n’ R and also featuring Faster pussycat.

“We are refusing to believe it until it actually happens,” Jeff said last week. “They are definitely listed as the headliners but I’m not getting too excited because I don’t want to look a pratt if they don’t turn up!!”

The show – a party for RIP magazine (the US version of Kerrang), looks set to be Wolfsbane’s first show in America. They are also lined up to play in New York this week and are to be interviewed on American MTV, which is widely regarded as being the most important medium in the US pop world.

The band at the moment expect to stay in America until December when they will hopefully return for a triumphant Christmas tour. The album ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ has started to sell across the Atlantic and has broken into the metal charts although as Jeff explains it is a HUGE market to conquer.

“We’ve been getting quite a bit of radio play in Los Angeles, New York and a few other places but it is going to take time,” he said.

One thing that has delighted young Jeffrey is that the US Wolfie album comes complete with one of those stickers bearing the legend ‘this album contains offensive language.”

As regards singles, the first 45 off their album ‘Shakin’ has been delayed both here and in America. It was due out a couple of weeks ago but it now looks more likely to hit the shops at the end of this month or the start of next. The single is then likely to be followed in January by the anthemic ‘I Like It Hot’.

Jeff is due to get on the Hollywood phone line again this week so we will try and let you know if the Guns and Roses thing was a ‘goer’ or not next week. Jeff didn’t want to get too excited in case it made him look a pratt but I was happy to get excited and splash it over six columns because I am completely used to looking a pratt.

Read the Prattbox verdict next week!

Sam Holliday (from the Paradise City)

Tamworth Herald – 27/10/89
Musicbox – Yes, Wolfies got the gig!
MUSICBOX’s wild speculation last week that Wolfsbane were due to support the biggest HM band in the Universe, Guns and Roses turned out to be absolutely right!!

The band supported the ‘Appetite for Destruction’ team in LA and even went one better than I predicted by taking the second headlining slot ahead of such metal notables as Faster Pussycat.

According to Barbara Edwards (one of the band’s groupies!) Wolfsbane went down very well indeed and they are following it this week with three gigs in New York and another in LA. It is all a whirl and very exciting indeed for a band who just a few short months ago were paying US for the right to appear at the Tamworth Rock Festival.

All you cynics out there take note – it can be done. It IS being done.

Tamworth Herald – 03/11/89
Musicbox – Shakin’ to the top?
Wolfsbane – Shakin’ (Def American Single)Wolfsbane – Shakin’ (Def American Single)
IN which brothers Wolf release their debut single from the fabbo ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ album.

The single, which came out on Monday in both seven inch and 12 inch formats sees the boys in their more rocky mood, deliberately steering clear of their pop-orientated tracks to try and show metal watchers that they are a serious, credible force.

As such ‘Shakin’ is not as immediate as say ‘I Like It Hot’, ‘All Or Nothing’ or ‘Fell Out Of Heaven’ and in that sense is probably less representative of the album that a first single off it should be. It begins slowly with a languid guitar piece before gradually building up to a powerful hook-line where Bayley’s vocals are tested to their fullest and he passes the test with flying colours. The last couple of minutes are magical and even though I must confess this is not one of my top Wolfie faves I am sure it will be lapped up by people who understand metal far better than I do. On the flip side of the seven inch we find the live favourite ‘Brando’ which has been given a new fresh lease of life in vinyl and for 12 inch purchasers there is the added delight of the splendin ‘Angel’ a commercial little ditty which takes Wolfsbane into even more poppy waters.

The MUSICBOX Juke Box Jury votes this a HIT with the proviso that ‘I Like It Hot’ will be a much bigger HIT still. Watch out for this one on the TV (Chart Show rockslot perhaps!) and see if you can’t stop shakin’ as well.

Sam ‘I Like It Hotter’ Holliday

*STOP PRESS – Wolfsbane are due back in Britain on December 10 and several big dates will follow.

Tamworth Herald – 10/11/89
That lovely fellow Jeffrey Hateley was on the Hollywood Hotline again this week with full details of Wolfsbane’s first three triumphant US shows.Musicbox – Single? What Single?
That lovely fellow Jeffrey Hateley was on the Hollywood Hotline again this week with full details of Wolfsbane’s first three triumphant US shows.

The Wolfie bass maniac explained that in the course of one hectic week in New York they played at a sado-masochist club, a top quality nightspot in Brooklyn and an amazing sleaze pit which came complete with transvestite dancers on the tables. Typical Wolfie fare – and they had a great time.

“The gigs went great and we got some really encouraging reactions,” said Jeff. “The sado-masochist club was amazing, there were all chains hanging down from the walls and this huge metal wheel which people could nail each other to. Real fun.”

The band, who are currently making a video for ‘Money To Burn’ were somewhat surprised to find out that they had released a single over here. When I told Jeff that ‘Shakin’ had hit the shops he was quite amazed and wanted to know what the cover looked like and what was on the b-side. I should have told him to go and buy one the big meanie.

The Shakin’ single is also being released on CD.

Tamworth Herald – 01/12/89
Musicbox If this is Friday it must be Cleveland
WOLFSBANE are now in the midst of a 20-date American tour which is taking them to all the greatest cities in the country.

Tonight (Friday) the Wolfmen are in Cleveland, tomorrow it’s Cincinatti and on Sunday while most of us will be at Lakins, Tamworth the Fazeley crew will be in Grand Rapids, USA.

The tour which will see Wolfsbane playing alongside thrash men Overkill, was somewhat dropped on the Tamworth boys out of the blue. They were told about it just a couple of days before it was due to start and they then had to find a way of getting two and a half thousand miles across country to the first show – in Indianapolis.

“We haven’t a clue what sort of venues we will be playing,” said Jeff last week. “Knowing how it has been so far in America we will be playing in strip joints and the like.”

Among the dates Wolfsbane have already played as you read this are Chicago, Milwaukee and Roseville while in the next couple of weeks they will be visiting Disneyland (Orlando), J.R. Ewing (Dallas) and Civilwarsville (St. Petersburg).

The whole bash is due to end in New York on December 23 before the band rush back to little ol’ England for Christmas.

“It’s all very hectic but it should be fun,” said Jeff.

The band’s ‘Shakin’ single which has done well in metal charts – has so far peaked at 105 in the national one. As Jeff says ‘we are pleased with how its done. It was never meant to be a big hit – that can wait until the big commercial pop sell out of ‘I Like It Hot’.

Tamworth Herald – 08/12/89
Musicbox – Wolfies can be better than Iron Maiden
Wolfsbane are used to getting amazing coverage in England but just feast your eyes on the comments printed below. The come from THE American metal mag RIP Magazine, a national paper that is hugely influential. Their scribe says that Wolfsbane can be the biggest thing from Britain since Iron Maiden and could indeed eclipse them. It is unbelievably positive stuff so we are printing it as it is. Cop-a-load of THIS:

“WOLFSBANE are four brash, bad to the bone, scruff dawgs, baring teeth and drooling to tear up stages anywhere. Their gigs in England are legendary and only getting better with age.

But then gritty vocalist Blaze Bailey is the stuff legends are made of. His penchant for off-stage debauchery is what books are written about. More importantly though, onstage Blaze owns the place. His voice has the charisma of David Lee Roth’s, but blaze’s range is wider and mucho more powerful. The Ace hiding up Wolfsbane’s sleeve is their axeslinger, ironically dubbed Jase ‘The Ace’ Edwards. Jase tears into the fretboards like few can and while the Van Halen comparison is inevitable, Jase is as exciting as Eddie once was. The backbeat of bassist Jeff Hateley and drummer Steve ‘Mad Dog’ Danger is solid, steady and earthshaking.

Their debut, Live Fast, Die Fast is two solid sides of decadent heavy metal played the way it was made to be played – loud.

Songs like ‘Shakin’, ‘Man Hunt’, ‘Greasy’ and ‘Tears of a Fool’ show a rabid dog on heat ready to attack.

England’s heavy metal throne has been sat on proudly for far too many years by Iron Maiden. Tamworth natives Wolfsbane are the first serious competitors out of the UK since. Wolfsbane could possibly make Maiden an old hag. This is not hype, or for that matter’s case of crying Wolf. Wolfsbane have the bite needed to back up their loud bark. It’s time to Live Fast.

RIP Magazine, US, December

Tamworth Herald – 22/12/89
Musicbox – Eye, eye off they go!
SPIRAL Eye are launching a major national tour in the New Year.

The band, fresh from a series of triumphant shows with Wolfsbane, have set up concerts in places as diverse as Huddersfield and Newport.

The Spirallers, who have just released their ‘Uncertainty’ demo, kick off their tour with a show at the Opera On The Green, London on January 9 and they follow it with

Jan 11…Pisces, Telford
Jan 30…The Plough, London
Feb 1…TBA Newport, Gwent
Feb 11…Tamworth Arts Centre
Feb 12…Barrel Organ, Birmingham
Feb 13…Angel, Bradford
Feb 15…Huddersfield
Feb 17…Railway, Coalville
Feb 19…New Arms, Retford
Feb 21…Wombwell, Main
Feb 22…Newcastle Under Lyme
Feb 23…York Tavern, Bridgend

More dates are expected to be announced and for more details on these, plus news of a coach to the London gig in Jan 30 – watch this space.

Tamworth Herald – 29/12/89
Caption: Album of the Year, Single of the Year, National band of the Year and runners up in Local Band. Musicbox – Catch that Wolf!

ALL Hail Catch 23 and Wolfsbane!
That was the loud message that emerged from your votes in the 1989 MUSICBOX poll which once again caused hundreds of you local music fans to put pen to paper.

Catch 23 absolutely massacred all comers for the title of Top Local band 1989 but Wolfsbane deservedly share top billing for once again winning the Top National Band award and adding the LP of the Year title and the Single of 89 to their haul!

It was a poll which we at MUSICBOX feel truly reflected the state of the game here in December 1989. Wolfsbane and Catch 23 have been the busiest and best bands from the area this year and both have in their own way conquered great territories. The Wolfies of course have played live throughout the world and earned mass acclaim from rock journos and rock fans alike. They have released a cracking debut album and will (in my opinion) have their first big hit single in January when the adorable ‘I Like It Hot’ is released as a new single. Wolfsbane have been mainly responsible for putting a smile back on the face of Tamworth’s music scene and I for one love them for it.

Catch 23 meanwhile, highly deserved winners of the Local Band title, have been impressing all and sundry since they had their TV triumph in the final of the TSB. They regularly sell out venues throughout the country and (I can exclusively reveal and they will kill me for doing so) they have in the past month or so had very serious talks with TWO major record companies who have expressed a real interest in signing them. If they don’t get a contract in 1990 then I’m a banana.

1989 was not just the year of Bayley Cooke and Steve Webster however. New bands The New Puritans have made a deserved and dramatic impression on the poll as have Machin’s Marvels The Big Noise and it is refreshing to see the high levels of support for the likes of Dance Stance, Fetch Eddie, King Wods and the gorgeous Bros look-a-likes of Spiral Eye. The Dance Stance vote was particularly impressive and as a lot of it came from the Catch 23 camp. It proved again that this duo of North Warwickshire pop kings must think about working together soon because there is clearly a lot of mutual ground (and support) to share.

Elsewhere DHSS showed that (despite months of inactivity) they still clearly have a place in your hearts and one can only wonder how Scream Dream may have improved their already impressive vote had they stayed together. Beyond that top 20 there were a host of other local favourites voted for (in all 46 Tamworth or Atherstone groups got a vote) and it was refreshing to see votes for old friends like Breaking Point and WIN who are clearly out of sight but not out of mind.

Songwise, Catch 23’s fans couldn’t decide which track they liked the very best so they ended up cleaning up the whole Top 20, but it was good to see a sizeable vote for bands like Shock Culture and Rape in Yellow who both clearly have a hardcore of followers.

Away from the local stuff, your national choices continue to adze and amuse us. Duran Duran were your clear favourites as the band of the decade which is something we at the office here can understand as history has shown them in a better light than they seemed at one point. The Cure did amazingly well throughout the poll as did The Wunderstuff which will be particularly pleasing to messrs. Ian Gibbons and Chippy who introduced the band to little old Tamworth on many occasions when they put them on at ‘The Rathole’. One perhaps surprising thing is that in the Band of 1989 award there wasn’t a single vote for either Morrissey, the Cult or New Order. A major shock for Tamworth when you consider that Bros made the top 10 and groups like Milli Vanilli and Brother Beyond also got votes. Another interesting feature is that Birdland got a few national AND local votes which prove that even if the band are rather silent about their Kingsbury base they are still in receipt of local pride.

Anyway that’s enough summing up, you can read for yourself who did (or didn’t do what) and draw your own conclusions. For my part I will only conclude that with a brilliant Tamworth festival, a brilliant Wolfsbane album and brilliant national TV coverage for Dance Stance and of course Catch 23 their year has been, well, brilliant.

The Eighties has ended with a very loud bang. I for one predict the noise from the Nineties will be even louder so stick around pop-pickers because the best is yet to come!!!

SAM HOLLIDAY
(Child of the 60s, in love with the 70s, proud of the 80s and optimistic for the 90s!!)

LOCAL BAND OF 89
1. CATCH 23
2. Wolfsbane
3. New Puritans
4. Dance Stance
5. The Big Noise
6. Fetch Eddie
7. Spiral Eye
8. King Wodericks
9. Rape in Yellow
10. Shock Culture
11. Sherbert Trees
12. Bash Out The Odd
13. Emma Gibbs
14. Scream Dream
15. Herb Garden
16. DHSS
17. Kraze
18. First Conspiracy
19. Stench
20. Smith and Jones

NATIONAL BAND 89
1. WOLFSBANE
2. Wunderstuff
3. Erasure
4. Soul to Soul
5. The Cure
6. Stone Roses
7. Blow Monkeys
8. New Model Army
9. Beautiful South
10. Bros
11. Wedding Present
12. Fine Young Cannibals
13. Simple Minds
14. Depeche Mode
15. Inspiral carpets
16. REM
17. Eurythmix
18. U2
19. Guns and Roses
20. Happy Mondays

TOP LOCAL SONG 89
1. What You Want…Catch 23
2. No Such Chance…New Puritans
3. Hangin’ On…Catch 23
4. Million Years…Catch 23
5. Six Ways To Your Heart…Shock Culture
6. Push Comes To Shove…Dance Stance
7. Like Sister, like Brother…Dance Stance
8. Tearing Me Apart…Catch 23
9. She’s Gone…King Wodericks
10. Gotta Get out…Catch 23
11. Can’t Help Myself…Big Noise
12. Fell Outta Heaven…Wolfsbane
13. No Good For Love…Fetch Eddie
14. Uncertainty…Spiral Eye
15. I Like It Hot…Wolfsbane
16. Reggie…Rape In Yellow
17. Catch This…Catch 23
18. Chapel Street…King Wodericks
19. Tamworth Boys…DHSS/Tamworth FC
20. Saturn in Her yes…Bash Out The Odd

YOUR BAND OF THE DECADE
1. DURAN DURAN
2. The Cure
3. The Smiths
4. Catch 23
5. U2
6. Dance Stance
7. Erasure
8. New Model Army
9. Wonderstuff
10. Depeche Mode
11. The Stranglers (hooray!)
12. Housemartins
13. Pet Shop Boys
14. Jesus and Mary Chain
15. Soft Cell
16. Japan
17. Prince
18. That petrol Emotion
19. REM
20. Echo and the Bunnymen

SINGLE OF 89
1. Shakin’…Wolfsbane
2. Don’t Let Me Down…Wunderstuff
3. Keep On Movin’…Soul To Soul
4. Personal Jesus…Depeche mode
5. Lullaby…The Cure
6. Eye Know…De La Soul
7. Right On Time…Adeva
8. Love Song…The Cure
9. You keep It All In…Beautiful South
10. Orange Crush…REM

ALBUM OF 89
1. Live Fast Die Fast…Wolfsbane
2. Hup!…Wunderstuff
3. Thunder and Consolation…New Model Army
4. Decade…Duran Duran
5. The Stone Roses…The Stone Roses
6. Wild…Erasure
7. Disintegration…The Cure
8. Raw and the Cooked…Fine Young Cannibals
9. Dolittle…The Pixies
10. Neither Fish Nor Flesh…Terrence Trent Darby

1990

Tamworth Herald - 12/01/90
Musicbox - The Wonder of Wolfies
Poll Response Letter

Hi Sam!

Well done for doing another successful and what seems to me, well organised poll. It was good of you to write the following…

Wolfsbane are mainly responsible for putting a smile back on the face of Tamworth’s music scene and I for one love ‘em for it.’

Well I bloody love ‘em too. I’ve followed the guys since January 1987, buying tapes, T-Shirts, etc. and going to gig upon gig, full of raw energy and power, leaving each one with a feeling of satisfaction in my heart, the feeling of a beer or ten inside me and the feeling of drying sweat in my hair. Pure British metal!

I am worried that, now the guys are getting the exposure they’ve worked damned hard for, people will start saying things like: ‘They’ve sold out now.’ Or ‘They’ve gone and forgotten their roots’.

If people are saying this then they can disappear up their ***** ‘cause I for one don’t need them around. I don’t want them at gigs either.

Once again, well done for doing the poll and congratulations to Wolfsbane, Catch 23, etc, for doing well in the poll.

And to those who didn’t do well,

DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP - ONLY COWARDS GIVE UP.

C-YA
Geoff - from Baddesley

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane’s new single ‘I Like It Hot’ has been delayed until their new tour is finalised. It was due out on January 15 but it now looks like being in mid-February/early March. According to hunky bassist Jeff Hateley the band are currently trying to write material for their second album. Have they really been around THAT long!!!

Tamworth Herald - 09/02/90
Musicbox – NEWS – SNIPS
Wolfsbane will be kicking off their ‘I Like It Hot’ tour at Tamworth. The gig, a low key event which will only be advertised in this little old column, will be the start of March and already looks like being a world beater. Miss it at your peril.

Tamworth Herald- 16/02/90
Musicbox - Win An Original Wolfsbane U.S. Jacket!
Musicbox is this week delighted to offer our readers a very special Wolfsbane prize indeed. For band bassist Jeff Hateley has kindly donated a special brand new denim jacket emblazoned with a huge colourful Wolfsbane design for a special contest.

The jacket, one of only four in Britain, was sent to Jeff and the other three members of the group direct from America, Jeff, who admits he is far too modest to wear anything promoting the band so blatantly ('and anyway, it's too big for me' he said.) is happy to offer the garment to the MUSICBOX reader who can come up with the best reason for wanting it.

It is basically a traditional dark blue denim coat which is made unique by having a large Wolfsbane logo and pic elegantly embroidered on the back. No fan should be without one!!!

If you fancy getting your chest into this crucial item all you have to do is write to me, Sam Holliday, and explain why on earth you want it. That's all, just send in your reason for wanting this item and then you could be the coolest fan in Town. Entries please to Sam Holliday. Give Me The Wolfsbane Jacket Or Else Contest, Tamworth Herald, 10, Aldergate, Tamworth, Staffs.

*The date for the mega Wolfsbane Tamworth Arts Centre show will be on Sunday 4 March. You won't see that date in any of the national music press previews because the gig is intended to be just for YOU the loyal local punters. More info nearer the time but just in case you've got your diary's ready other dates for the band locally include Walsall Junction (March 17), Birmingham Irish Centre (March 20) and Milton Keynes Woughton Centre (March 23.) Elsewhere the band will be playing at places as wide apart as Glasgow and Cambridge if you fancy a wander.

Tamworth Herald - 02/03/90
WolfsbaneMusicbox - The Nightmare Returns!
Sunday night heralds the Nightmare On Church Street as once again the wild and wacky Wolfsbane return to their Tamworth Arts Centre 'home' for the first time in eons.

Wolfsbane, the MUSICBOX readers choice as the best national band for the past two years, will be playing the Arts Centre as a launch for their latest tour and as a way of repaying the amazing loyalty of their local followers. The gig has not been advertised outside these columns and so the people at the show will be exactly those the band want - their hardcore fans who have been their followers for many years.

Sunday night's gig will feature an as yet unannounced support act and Wolfsbane will be on relatively early. The reason for this is because Bayley says he wants to have lots of time to drink with his compatriots and it ensures a short, sharp shock of a show.

The last time Wolfsbane played at the Arts Centre the queue began at 5.30 pm and ended up stretching past the cinema.

You have been warned - get to the Arts Centre on Sunday night and get there very early or face the consequences.

Fear not, this will be one of THE key gigs of 1990, miss it and forever be a lemon.

*The band were voted as the fourth best new band in HM bible 'Kerrang'. On the negative side the band's 'Live Fast Die Fast' collection was voted just outside the top ten worst HM albums of the year.

Tamworth Herald- 02/03/90
Musicbox - It's True, You Just 'Lurvv' Wolfsbane!
Our recent contest to win a unique Wolfsbane jacket direct from America, provoked a very good response. The quality of some of the entries (a few of which are printed below) showed us that the ugly Wolfies are pretty popular with you chaps and chapesses out there. Here are some of those we liked including one from a very young girl. As for the winner, well the band are going to choose that and announce it (or tell me if that's too embarrassing!) on Sunday night at the Arts Centre gig. Here's the goodies, see which one you like...

Dear Sam
(This is from a young girl)..

I think I should have the Wolfsbane jacket because...

'Into their magazine my dad did go, invited him to America but sadly said no.

I think their music is so brill, it cheered me up when I was ill.

Their trendy jacket a lot it's worth, is going to make me the Hip Hop trendiest person on the earth.

Linda Kershaw
Belvoir, Dosthill

Dear Sam

My reason for wanting the Wolfsbane jacket that looks as if it 'Fell out of Heaven.'? I will instantly look like a 'Killing Machine', and many a 'Pretty Baby' will follow me.

At the moment I am 'Shakin' in this cold weather, but 'I like it Hot' - and that is what I will be in the new jacket.

It will also save me buying a new jacket. So I'll have 'Money to Burn'.

There will probably be a few 'Tears from a Fool' who don't win. But I want it 'All or Nothing'.

Ian Houseman
Birchmoor, Tamworth

Dear Sam

If I won the jacket, to wear it would show my support for Wolfsbane, because here they are four lads from my home town, who play heavy metal just as good as some of the well established heavy metal bands, and I think they're doing a brilliant job and will go on to even greater things than they have already.

Now Tamworth has something to be proud of musicwise, because these lads have at last put us on the heavy metal map, and I think the more support the lads get, the better it will become for them.

Yours faithfully,
T.Fleming
Tamworth Road, Amington, Tamworth

Dear Sam

I would love to win Jeff's jacket because I think the record company must be Loco with Money to Burn, and I will turn into a Killing Machine if the jacket gets Greasy even in the back of a Limousine.

I will go on a Manhunt as I Like it Hot and I can Paint the Town Red, and Dance Dirty. I want All or Nothing and this Pretty Baby won't stop Shakin' and crying Tears from a Fool if I win. It will be like a gift that Fell out of Heaven.

Yours
Frances Gee
Brooke Avenue, Wolfsbane

Dear Sam

Give me the Wolfsbane jacket or else! I'll kill myself. That's not a joke. If I had a Wolfsbane jacket worn by Jeff I'd be one lucky cow. I love everything about them. When I hear their name mentioned I shake. I'd walk through fire just to get that jacket. I'd do any mortal thing just to get that jacket. I'd fight to the death with a savage pack of wolves. Be beaten till death. I need this jacket to survive. Since I first heard them it has changed my whole life. Please, please, please save me from torture Sam. Please give me the jacket before I go mad. Otherwise up until now you've Lived Fast and you will Die Fast.

Thanks alot.

Mel Burns,
Polesworth, nr. Tamworth

Tamworth Herald – 09/03/90
Musicbox – SNIPS
The whole Tamworth music scene was put firmly under the microscope in the national music press last week. For in a huge two-page article in Melody Maker, writing duo The Stud Brothers went on a tour-de-Tamworth as part of a Wolfsbane article. The end result was an article all about Tamworth and a little bit about the Wolfies whic h made for fascinating and hilarious reading. Rikk Quay was mentioned nearly every paragraph while the immensely immense Buttercup went one step further by having his face splattered all over the page. In addition Emma Gibbs were given a plug as were Kraze and the whole article gave a massive thumbs up to the lovely watering hole known as The Tavern in the Town. The Stud Brothers clearly caught the spirit of Tamworth in their amazing article and their perceptions that everyone in the town seems to be in a band and everyone in the Tavern swears at one another shows a deep sense of understanding about just what this area is all about. Great stuff and proof positive that Buttercup is a major star of this parish.

Tamworth Herald – 09/03/90
Musicbox – Two of the greatest bands in the world
Wolfsbane – Tamworth Arts Centre
Wolfsbane – Tamworth Arts CentreBACK at the Wolf’s Lair and back with sheer arrogant quality. This gig was always destined to be a major event and that is exactly how it turned out to be. Wolfsbane looked relaxed and happy, the crowd went into varying stages of delirium and the sound, courtesy of Reverb Sounds was a big and as strong as any I have heard at the Arts Centre before. Put the elements of a great band, a great crowd and a great sound together and the end result is inevitable – WIPEOUT!!

For fully 90 minutes, Bayley, Jeff, Jase and Mad Dog enthralled the sweaty hundreds with a set that proved that all that hard work in the rehearsal room was not wasted. Bayley had told me before the gig that the band were determined this tour to get the ‘Live fast, Die Fast’ songs as good on stage as they were on vinyl and oh boy did they live up to that hope. The expected triumphs were all there – ‘Manhunt’, ‘Fell outa Heaven’ and ‘Killing Machine’ – but even more pleasing was how one or tow other tracks have found a renewed life. The new single ‘I Like It Hot’ received its best ever live airing and had the whole crowd singing along, ‘Shakin’ made a mockery of its vinyl equivalent with a full and filthy sound while best of all was the sparkling rendition of the languid ‘Tears of a Fool’, which was a major pleasing surprise. Of the couple of newies, the stylish and intricate ‘After Midnight’ stood out like Edward Ian Armchair at a midgets convention and with the added slice of classic Wolfsbanian moments like ‘Paint The Town Red’ and ‘Loco’ it made for a hugely satisfying set which can have disappointed no-one. Musically the band were tighter than a pair of rubber underpants. Bayley’s personality dominated like never before and I was also most impressed with the powerhouse effect of Steve’s drumming which sounded bolder and brassier than ever before.

I know my terms of reference are very limited but I can honestly say that Wolfsbane are now my favourite metal band in the world. They excite, amuse, dazzle and delight and there are few places I would rather be on this planet that at a hot and smelly Arts Centre when the hot and smelly Wolfsbane are on stage. The sooner they storm the Paradise City the better.

Love em.
Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 16/03/90
Musicbox – Single of the Week
Wolfsbane – I Like It Hot (Phonogram)
Top of the Pops watchout!
That’s the only thing you can say about this corking little 45 which everybody in the knows feels is going to be the one that will really break the charts and as a result, the band and the album.

Always the most accessible track on the ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ collection, this is rock music for the masses, combining a hard driving guitar slog with a cute-as-sugar-candy chorus. The moment I heard this track I fell in love with it and it is precisely the immediacy that makes me feel it will make a dramatic beeline for the charts.

The single which is accompanied by a brilliant high-budget video, is backed by a live version of ‘Limo’ on the 7 inch and then ‘Loco’ on the 12-inch and should prove a winner with the Wolfie fan and the Wolfie-curious alike. It’s a far better choice for a single than ‘Shakin’ and it’s a far better record. Letus now hope it has a far better chart placing because I for one am determined to blag my way into the Top of the pops studio and try and kill a DJ or two.

Tamworth Herald – 23/03/90
Musicbox – Snips
The latest copy of the excellent Wolfsbane fanzine HMS is now out and is once again a hefty 40 big pages and packed with news, comments, pictures and articles. The HMC covers everything from an American tour diary to Jeff’s fave albums and Wolfie penpals.

Tamworth Herald – 30/03/90
Musicbox – Snips, news and more
Wolfsbane’s ‘I Like It Hot’ entered the national charts at number 88 last week. We are hoping that by the time you have read this it will have climbed still further. Latest news from the band’s tour is that everything is going along very indeed and I am assured that their Birmingham Irish Centre gig was an absolute CORKER!

Irish eyes are smiling for Wolfsbane fan

Dear Sam,

Just a quick note to say I went to see Wolfsbane at the Irish Centre, Birmingham and I agree they were brilliant! I can’t wait till the next album and tour.

From a Wolfsbane fan with a very sore neck!
Jane, Atherstone

Tamworth Herald – 15/06/90
Musicbox – Win Wolfie gear – or buy Wolfie gear!
WOLFSBANE fans – and local musicians – have a chance to get their hands on some of the band’s prized possessions.

For the band are selling some of their older equipment – while at the same time they are running a competition to raise money for a local charity.

First the competition. The band have kindly donated a Wolfsbane CD, a t-shirt and a baseball hat (all autographed) in order to raise money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind appeal run by the Pip Club which Jeff’s family in particular are very supportive of. To win these autographed, unique items jut pop into the Pip Club (that’s the Drayton Manor Cricket and Social Club, Fallow Road, Fazeley) or ring them and make a bid. The highest bid for the whole package wins it and all the money goes to charity. Get bidding!

As for the equipment for sale, well, the band are selling some high quality bass and drum gear which was used right up until their recent tour. Jeff describes the bass gear he is selling a ‘huge’ while the drum kit is a full powerful double-bass kit.

“It is good quality equipment which has played on some very famous stages. It is in perfect nick and should be ideal for local bands,” said Jeff.

Interested in the bass stuff? Interested in the drums?

Tamworth Herald – 27/07/90
Musicbox – Wolfsbane Party Night with Vindaloo Breakfast and Rhythm Damage
Caption: Wolfsbane – their best show ever.The Rathole, Thursday
Every so often you see a gig which makes you realise that music at its best is the most exciting thing you can do with your trousers on. This was such a gig. It was not widely publicised, it was not widely hyped and yet it attracted a big audience who were served up with what I can only describe as several hours of pure magic. Take note o’regular Musicbox readers – this gig was one of the classics of all time Tamworth shows and proved once and for all that Wolfsbane now have no peers. If Iron Maiden had seen this gig they would have thrown Wolfsbane off the support slot of their forthcoming tour for genuine fear of being blown to smithereens.

The facts…

Vindaloo Breakfast
Sadly I had to miss this show by my latest raves because I was trying on my best-man’s garb for the wedding of Musicbox deputy editor Martin Warrillow. However, I asked three people I respect to sum up the Brekkies and their view was unanimous: ‘They were excellent’ (Ed Armchair), ‘they played brilliantly’ (Rikk Quay) and ‘it was a wonderful set’ (Neil Marklew). All three seasoned voices in enthusiastic support proves what I have suspected for some time, that Vindaloo Breakfast are seriously happening. Catch them before its too late.

Rhythm Damage
Buoyed on by receiving the first copy of their debut single on the same day, Rhythm Damage coolly and stylishly slipped into playing their best set to date. It was fresh, alive and very noisy as a result of a sound system which ranks among the best I have ever heard. Facing hundreds of Howling mad Wolfheads (I think that’s what they call them!!!) the Vulgar Squad joined in a mutually abusing session and went on to show that they have finally got exactly the sound they want. ‘Energise’ was great, the boys looked great and even one or two Damage-doubters had to admit to being impressed afterwards. Luvverly.

Wolfsbane
OK, mark these words – this was the best set I have EVER seen a ‘local’ band play. I have seen many great Wolfie shows over the years, as well as spinetinglers by Catch 23, Dance Stance, Dream Factory, Spiral Eye, Breaking Point, Terroah, DHSS and more but nothing came anywhere near watching this magnificent 75 minutes or so. Wolfsbane were just out of this world, playing as if their lives depended upon it and [roving that as showmen and entertainers they have no equals at all. If there is a singer in rock n rollsville who is as sleazy, as funny AND as talented as Bayley well I have yet to hear him and Jeff, Steve and Jase are now so good with their weapons (ooh-err sounds a bit rude) that you would have to be deaf, stupid or brain dead not to disintegrate with pleasure at the sound. As well as being in a riotous and deliberately playful mood the band also managed not to put a single note wrong and sounded like it would be a physical impossibility to get any tighter. And the songs? Well the ‘oldies’ (all of 12 months some of them!) were as good as ever with my favourites this time being a dramatic version of ‘Shakin’ and a stunning rendition of ‘Pretty baby’ which brought tears to my eyes but the ‘newies’ were of equal power. If there had been any doubt about the Wolfmen it was that they wouldn’t be able to keep up their incredibly high standard of songwriting but this show blew that theory apart. ‘Tough As Steel’ could become an absolute rock-standard classic, ‘Totally nude’ is Totally Infectious, ‘Hey Babe’ is as cute as it’s title, ‘Cathy Wilson’ is amazing and the list just goes on. Throw in the usual Bayley stagemanshp, the brilliant relationship between band and loyal fan and the united spirited betwixt those four musicians and you have a stageshow par excellence. It was so good that I felt immensely proud to even come from the same Town as these boys, let alone to regard them as mates, and I just left the gig on such a high that the Wolfies jumped into my list of long-standing heroes along with Woody Allen, Brian Clough, Marlon Brando and The Meninblack. They possess Allen’s class, Clough’s arrogance, Brando’s style and the Stranglers dedication and they can count on my loyalty forever.

If you missed this show I’m sorry for you. If you witnessed it you will know that not one word I have said is over the top. Wolfsbane can be as big as Wolfsbane want to be. And when I say big, I mean BIG!!!

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 24/08/90
Musicbox – Wolfies Joy at LP
WOLFSBANE have emerged from a week’s hectic recording in London absolutely delighted with the end product – a new six-track mini-album.WOLFSBANE have emerged from a week’s hectic recording in London absolutely delighted with the end product – a new six-track mini-album.

Both Bayley and Jeff said they believe that it was the best thing the band have ever recorded and it leaves the ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ album several miles behind.

“This sounds like Wolfsbane should sound,” enthused Jeff, “It is far superior to the album because it is the sound WE wanted.”

The album, officially set for release on October 1, will be titled ‘All Hell’s Let Loose At Cathy Wilson’s Place’ and will feature a mixture of old and new Wolfie classics.

WOLFSBANE have emerged from a week’s hectic recording in London absolutely delighted with the end product – a new six-track mini-album.Of the new, ‘Steel’ is the first lead-in track and it is joined by the gorgeous ‘Totally Nude’, the elaborate title track and new smoothies ‘Hey Babe’. Of the old, get set for a revamped ‘Loco’ and a thrill-a-minute version of ultimate Tamworth Wolfie-fave ‘Paint The Town Red’.

The six tracker will be released as an album and will thus quality for the LP charts even though it is only six tracks long. A single may be released from it in the future but in the meantime Wolfsbane are happier than they have ever been with the vinyl they are about to inflict on the rock and roll world.

“I was all for recording four more tracks and making this the new full album,” said Jeff. “We all feel great about the record and we think our real fans are going to love it.”

The album is set for release at the start of October but it may be brought forward to tie in with Wolfsbane’s sellout tour with Iron Maiden in September.

Tamworth Herald – 14/09/90
Musicbox – Gigs Galore
We have no less than five fine local concerts for you to think about this week featuring top local faves like Wolfsbane, Catch 23 and Sherbert Trees as well as classy out of Towners like Walk on Fire, The Prudes and more.

The gigs – three in Tamworth and one each in Lichfield and Bedworth – offer local punters a chance to enjoy a whole array of talents so without further ado here is gig-list followed by a more detailed breakdown.

Tonight (Friday)
Tamworth Arts Centre: Litany of Fear/Sherbert Trees
Lichfield Arts Centre: Wolfsbane/Roma/Gates of Purity

Sunday:
The Rathole: Walk on Fire/The Wilsonz

Thursday:
The Rathole: The Prudes plus support
Bedworth Civic Hall: Catch 23

And a little more detail? Well tonight, Friday you can make the short journey to Tamworth Arts Centre to enjoy the double talents of Litany of Fear and The Sherbert Trees. The duo, both of whom walk on the wilder side of life, offer an interesting mixture of gothic enterprise and modern experimentation and the gig costs just £1.50 on the door and runs from 8pm onwards. Meanwhile up the road at Lichfield Arts Centre, Wolfsbane play one of their final warm-up shows before the Iron Maiden Tour when they join forces with Roma and Gates of Purity. Lichfield fans – and a fair sprinkling of Tamworth travellers – are sure to lap this one up and it costs just £3.50 with a £1 reduction for the unemployed.

Sunday night has only one show on offer – the pairing of Walk On Fire and The Wilsonz. Headliners Walk On Fire are a rock inspired act whose big lists of names of the calibre of Bryan Adams, Alex Harvey, Frankie Miller among influences and they offer ‘strong’ songs, memorable melodies and most of all ‘a voice’. Having recently recorded with a man who has worked with Big Country and The Cars they look a different kind of band for Tamworth and could go down well. Support is provided by The Wilsonz, a band who have been compared in the past to Wolfsbane and have the same kind of ‘live fast, die fast’ style material. MUSICBOX has heard good things about this band. Nuff said.

And so on to Thursday night where Atherstone heroes Catch 23 make a welcome return to live action with a concert at Bedworth Civic HALL. We don’t know a great deal about this one.

Meanwhile nearer to home. The Rathole hosts the highly-rated Prudes. This is a band of serious note who have made regular incursions into the Indie and Alternative charts and boast a mixture of good guitars, Smiths-appreciation and a bevy of adoring press critics in their pockets. Big band, big night and big (as yet unknown) support act which admirably rounds off a BIG week of gigs.

Tamworth Herald – 14/09/90
Musicbox – News, Snips
Wolfsbane’s HMS Fan club is now standing 700 strong. A splendid tally considering only a handful of those come from Tamworth and there are members on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tamworth Herald – 21/09/90
Musicbox – Snips
Wolfsbane began their national sell-out UK tour with Iron Maiden this week.

The band will be traversing across the country over the next couple of weeks playing to packed audiences wherever they go and undoubtedly earning yet more press acclaim. In the midst of the tour their new six-track mini-LP should be available so keep your eyes and ears peeled as Wolfiemania finally hits Britain.

Tamworth Herald – 21/09/90
Musicbox – Reviews, reviews and yet more reviews
Wolfsbane/Patriot/Babyface – The Rathole
BEFORE we start, let’s have a brief cheer for Babyface and Patriot, two bands of not inconsiderable talent, who may very well be on the first steps of the long ladder to the top.

Babyface need a bit more variation in their set, Patriot (who even managed to win over Mr. Holliday) need very little, apart from a new name and a big break.

And then one day, they might be Wolfsbane – with singles played on Radio One, support slots with Britain’s biggest metal heroes, and a justified reputation as one of the best live bands around.

Put quite simply, when Wolfsbane decide they want to shake the rafters, rattle the ceiling and blow the speakers. I can’t believe there is a better band in Britain.

The start here was awesome, with ‘Steel’ proving itself the best of the new stuff on the forthcoming EP/LP/mega-sized triple single or whatever it is, and ‘Killing Machine’ sounding better than it ever had
s.

From then on, they careered through classic after classic in a manner that really ought to have the Iron Maiden fans forsaking the delights of the bar for the delights of pure musical talent.

Although it took an understandably low-key Bayley half the set to really get into the wild frontman routine, eventually clambering over scaffolding and speakers while belting out the terrific ‘Totally Nude’, and although this wasn’t the liveliest most exciting Wolfsbane set I’ve ever seen – they were sill immensely watchable throughout.

The band loves playing and it shows enthusiasm and energy pours out of every sweat gland in a manner that just means you can’t take your eyes off the stage.

At one point (I think, through the haze, it was ‘Fell Out Of Heaven’) I even found myself getting out the old imaginary air guitar, something this relatively aging rocker hasn’t done for years.

For an hour-and-a-half they blew away my problems, and that after all, is what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, isn’t it?

Yes, Wolfsbane are as good as ever, and getting even better.

If you’ve got a ticket for the tour, you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t (and every single date is sold out by the way) camp out on the pavement outside the venue and try and get one.

You know it makes sense.
Martin Warrillow

Tamworth Herald – 28/09/90
Musicbox – Life on the road with a wolf!
Caption: Not a man to mess with…especially with a drumstick in his hand.ON THE eve of WOLFSBANE’s nationwide trek around the UK supporting IRON MAIDEN and the imminent release of their new EP “All Hell Breaks Loose At Cathy Wilson’s Place”, Wolfies drummer STEVE DANGER talks to MIKE TURNER about his hopes for the tour, the band’s new EP, and how he’s solve the Gulf Crisis.

“Well for a start, Saddam Hussein’s definitely on our guest list,” says Steve during a phone-in interview session from the record company’s London offices.

“Hussein’s a nutter isn’t he? He’s got to go hasn’t he?

Do I sense just a hint of patriotism there?
“Yeh, I’m very patriotic. I am and why not? In America when there’s a crisis everyone pulls together and supports the leader as he tries to sort things out. Here, they refuse to conduct at the Proms!”

Enough of mundane things like a potential global war, tell us about the UK tour with Iron Maiden.
“Well, apparently, we were one of about six other bands in with a chance of getting the support slot. We’re with the same agency as Iron Maiden so that helped I think, but Steve Harris liked us and we got it. He’d heard our stuff and liked it. I don’t know if there was any ‘buy-on’ deal done as well.”

How involved are you with the business side of things? Are you pressured at all by the record company?
“No, not at all really. We know that sooner or later we’re gonna have to have a hit and make some money or we’ll get dropped. But there’s no immediate pressure. We’re aware that the money doesn’t come from a bottomless pit, but we’re OK at the moment, we just get on with things.”

The band are also well aware that the attention Iron Maiden will attract from the media during the tour could well have a positive knock-on effect for Wolfsbane, particularly with their ‘Holy Smoke’ single slamming into the charts at number three last week.

“Yeah I guess so. It’ll be even better if our record goes in a number one though won’t it? Hopefully we’ll do well out of it, that’s the idea isn’t it? But it’s not as if we haven’t done any groundwork to deserve it. We’ve toured all over the place for four years. We’ve paid our dues. The only difference is we’ll be playing to full venues this time.”

Which shows are you particularly looking forward to?
”It’ll be great doing places like the Hammersmith Odeon. It’s just a pity there’s no really local dates for us. There’s gigs in Derby and Leicester, but it would’ve been nice to do the NEC with them. Then again, if it all goes well they might just add us on the bill with Anthrax for the second leg of the tour, you never know.”

How long are you being allowed to play for each night?
“Forty-five minutes each show. In fact the set we played at the Rathole last week was exactly what we’ll be doing, so you saw it first in Tamworth.”

You obviously still have a high regard for Tamworth and it’s local scene.
“Yeah, well we still live locally don’t we. We’re aware of what’s happening. During the tour we’ll still be heading back home after some of the shows near the Midlands. For the others it’s the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in the hotels.”

What about after the tour?
“Well, hopefully, the record will do well and then anything can happen. Maybe we’ll tour Europe and then possibly America.”

And the follow-up to ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’?
“Soon, hopefully. We’ve had plenty of time during this last year to write new stuff but we’ve hardly done anything. When we found out we’d got the tour then obviously it was sensible to have something on sale to coincide with things so we decided on the EP to bridge the gap. We didn’t quite have enough time to do an album so this was the next best thing.”

And the recording of the EP see all of the band in agreement for once.
“Yeah, we had a real good time making it. Without a doubt it’s the best thing we’ve recorded yet. Everyone in the band’s happy with the way it’s turned out which is pretty unusual for us. Normally everybody’s got different ideas about how we should sound and there’s usually lots of arguments about sessions. So for us to all feel the same is pretty rare.

STOP PRESS
Musicbox’s South Coast sources report that Wolfsbane got a hero’s reception from the 2,000 strong crowd in Southampton on Tuesday night.

Tamworth Herald – 05/10/90
Musicbox – All hell breaks loose!
Wolfsbane – All Hell Breaks loose at Kathy Wilson’s Place (Def American Records mini-album)
This, quite simply, is the album Wolfsbane should have made.

While I would deny the quality of the songs on their still entertaining ‘Live Fast, Die fast’ debut LP last year, and I’m not about to leap on the bandwagon which says that that historic piece of Tamworth-originated vinyl wasn’t up to standard, there were and are certain facts that have to be faced about it.

Namely, Rick Rubin’s production made Steve Danger’s drums sound as if they were being recorded in a bathroom, the wrong song was chosen as a single, and certain absolutely crucial Wolfsbane stage faves were not present.

But now, just over a year later, it’s all been put right.

As Tamworth’s finest start their triumphant tour around the country with Iron Maiden, they have hit the record-buying public with a six-track collection that steams and crackles and fizzes and explodes just like Wolfsbane should on vinyl and do on stage.

With their stage show likely to endear Bayley and Co. to even more fans, and boost the interest in them to even higher levels, this mini-album with proper handling by Def American, could be the breakthrough the band needs to make the step into the First Division of rock ‘n’ roll stardom.

Take for instance ‘Pain The Town red’.

Criminally missing from the ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ collection, despite having been a Wolfsbane classic for years, the version that appears here is the sort of singalong Bayley chant-led romp that radio One could play, without embarrassment, and yet metalheads could still slam to with wild abandon.

The other oldie that failed to put in an appearance on ‘Live Fast…’ and does here is ‘Loco’.

Always tasty, and at its best on the ‘Wasted But Dangerous’ demo that got them where they are, it sounds even better here.

With Jase pulling out his finest Eddie Van Halen impression throughout, this again boasts the sort of singalong chorus Wolfsbane do so well, with the sort of meaty production values (courtesy of the excellent Brendan O’Brien) that the band need to show them at their best.

Elsewhere, it’s all totally new and ‘Totally Nude’ which went straight to the top of my Wolfsbane playlist as soon as it was aired at the Tamworth Rock Festival, is the best of the lot.

A riotous condemnation of the sort of tasteless ‘entertainment’ the boys endured (?) on their American jaunt last year ‘Totally Nude’ boasts another classic hook and the sort of chorus that just MAKES heavy metal bands.

‘Tough As Steel’ the new set opener is a tale of life on the road in the back of a grotty van, before finally making it to the top, while ‘Hey Babe’ is the obligatory ballad.

Although I have firm views on HM bands ‘turning it down a little’ namely that most rock ballads should be shot at birth, I’m not about to slag this one.

It’s Bayley’s personal view of the end of a relationship, and if you can’t write about something like that, then what’s the point of being a songwriter?

Finally and incredibly, there’s ‘All Hell…’ itself, the wild and wacky title track, wherein Wolfsbane go sci-fi and arty, and hi-tech.

Wolfsbane trying to write anything more technical than a heavy metal anthem may sound horrendous (and if that sounds like a huge insult, it’s not meant to be), but amazingly, it works.

Bizarre sound effects abound throughout, Jase’s guitar does a fine impression of a laser gun slicing through all the mayhem and madness and although I didn’t think so at first, there’s even a singalong bit.

It all adds up to the sort of marvellous package that will endear Wolfsbane to everyone.

Metal heads will love it, and even the new Mrs Warrillow, whose only interest in our heroes lies in counting the hairs on Bayley’s chest, was left in awe by the version of ‘Pain The Town Red’ that surfaced at the Embassy two weeks back.

Release that as a single, give this the professional backing it deserves and Wolfsbane’s climb to the top can truly be kick-started into action.

Quite, quite wonderful.
Martin Warrillow

Tamworth Herald – 05/10/90
Musicbox – Gig Guide
Saturday – THE EXPRESSO BONGO ORCHESTRA – The Embassy Suite, Admission £4 (before 10pm) £4.50 (after 10pm). No admission after 11pm. No jeans.

Sunday – THE WICKED THINGS (+ support), The Rathole, 7..30pm-10.30pm, Admission £2.

Sunday – FLY ON THE WALL, SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEYS, SATELLITE SPY, Tamworth Arts Centre, 8pm, Admission £1.50.
Wednesday – VESUVIUS – The Riftswood, 8pm, Admission free.
Thursday – BANNED IN YELLOW/THE SLOW CLUB (+ support), The Rathole, 8pm-1am, Admission £2
IRON MAIDEN/WOLFSBANE – Derby Assembly rooms. SOLD OUT

THE EXPRESSO BONGO ORCHESTRA should liven things up at The Embassy Suite on Saturday evening, while top Brummie funksters WICKED THINGS, hope to make their mark on Tamworth on Sunday night when they play The Rathole as part of a mini-UK tour. The bands last single ‘Goodby to Her’ although failing to make the top 40, won them a Radio One session and their first national TV appearance. A brand new single ‘Wicked Things’ will be released to coincide with the tour that also includes a date at Birmingham poly on October 26.

Also on Sunday, Phoenix Productions make their debut, with a three-band bill designed to highlight up and coming Tamworth bands.

On Wednesday, VESUVIUS, a band created through adverts place din MUSICBOX, play at The Riftswood. The band consists of former PLAN-B vocalist Rob Bell, Phil Smith, ex-Kubla Khan, Jon Fogan and Steve Claymore.

At The Rathole, the following night are BANNED IN YELLOW and The SLOW CLUB. While WOLFSBANE play Derby Assembly Rooms as part of their Iron Maiden tour.

Tamworth Herald – 05/10/90
Musicbox – LIVE REVIEW
…and our man loved ‘em live!
WOLFSBANE/IRON MAIDEN – Southampton Mayflower Theatre
This was the first night of a nationwide tour supporting Britain’s biggest heavy metal band and you could have forgiven Wolfsbane for being a little over-awed by their surroundings, at what surely must have been one of their most important gigs ever.

But if they were at all daunted by the prospect of taking on a packed theatre full of Iron Maiden fans, then they certainly didn’t show it.

In fact most of the crowd seemed to know most of the songs and those that didn’t were won over as the set went on.

The sound quality wasn’t brilliant – when is it ever for a support act? But the quality of Wolfsbane shone through clearly.

They ran through a selection of the best of the tracks from ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ and the new ‘All Hells Breaking loose At Kathy Wilson’s Place’ mini album (see above), and produced a very powerful collection of their very best material.

Highlights were new songs ‘Totally Nude’ and ‘Kathy Wilson’ and old faves ‘Manhunt’ and ‘Loco’ but it really is difficult to pick out the highlights of a performance which was difficult to fault.

And the hordes of Metal fans shared this appreciation. Their reaction to Tamworth’s finest was unbelievable throughout the show and it reached a peak with the final, mighty magnificent ‘Paint The Town Red’ which had the entire theatre clapping along.

This was Iron Maiden’s concert and Iron Maiden’s audience, but, just for a while, Wolfsbane made it their own.

Although Wolfsbane were brilliant, Iron Maiden put the whole performance into perspective.

They’ve been going for more than ten years, but the Southampton concert proved that they can still turn out powerful exciting music, and haven’t deteriorated over the years into the sort of cliché-ridden Spinal Tap act that (for example) Whitesnake have become.

Most memorable moments were current top-ten single ‘Holy Smoke’ and the appearance of the mighty Eddie – a 20ft tall version of the Frankenstein style creation which features on so many Iron Maiden album covers.

Iron Maiden have nothing to prove.

The fans knew what to expect and they enjoyed every minute.

And Wolfsbane, if they have anything left to learn, couldn’t be doing it in better company.

SEAN ATKINS

Tamworth Herald – 12/10/90
Musicbox – Snips
WOLFSBANE’S nationwide tour supporting IRON MAIDEN comes to a close this week with dates in Manchester, Torbay, Poole, Hanley and finally ay London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Their mini-album ‘All Hell Breaks Loose At Kathy Wilson’s Place’ was officially released last Monday, October 8 on Def American Records.

Tamworth Herald – 12/10/90
Musicbox – Gig Guide
Tuesday
Wolfsbane support Iron Maiden – Hanley Victoria Hall, Tickets £12. SOLD OUT

Thursday
Wolfsbane support Iron Maiden Hammersmith Odeon London. Tickets £12. SOLD OUT.

Tamworth Herald – 23/11/90
Musicbox – Snips
Wolfsbane have announced that they will play a unique Christmas show at the Rathole on December 27. This, the ultimate Tamworth Christmas Party, will be a special night for many reasons not least because the band will preview EXCLUSIVELY new material from their forthcoming third album. The gig will be strictly all ticket and they are available nowish from Wolfsbane, The Rathole, Inner Sleeve or Feedback Music. Support will be from Suicide Blonde and Harlan The Jester. An unmissable Christmas Treat!

Tamworth Herald – 07/12/90
Musicbox – Jingle Bells for Wolfsbane
I caught up with a couple of the Wolfies last week in the Tavern in the Town (I was the only one in there preaching against the evils of alcohol of course) and they informed me that they were in the middle of writing a jingle for the Steve Wright show on Radio One.

As Box readers will remember, Steve Wright took the band to his heart and allowed them to be the only heavy metal band ever to play live on the Radio One Roadshow. He also asked them to record a jingle and lo and behold that is what they were up to in the Expresso Bongo studio last week. On a more serious note, material from the new album is apparently sounding pretty fab. Don’t forget you can hear exclusive previews of some of that material at the Wolfsbane Christmas Party on December 27 at the Rathole. Tickets available now.

Tamworth Herald – 21/12/90
Musicbox – Christmas Joy


Wolfsbane

WOLFSBANE and Spiral Eye, two of the most important bands in the proud history of the Tamworth music scene, play their special parties this week writes Sam Holliday.

Spiral fans can catch their heroes at the Arts Centre tonight while Wolfsbane fans have only until Thursday night to wait before their favourite Metalmen play their Christmas Chaos gig at the Rathole.

Both nights promise to be mouth-watering celebrations of the Christmas spirit and with Wolfsbane already looking like being a sell-out this looks set to be a major Yuletide highlight for the majority of those who regard leather and studs as more important than tinsel and trees.

Here is info on both shows starting with the Wolfsbane event – which has been the talk of the town for some time.

THURSDAY DEC 27 – The Rathole
Wolfsbane/Suicide Blonde/Harlam the Jester
Already being touted as possibly the biggest FUN night of 1990, this will be Wolfsbane’s wild and wacky end of year bash. It will be their first major concert since the Iron Maiden triumph, their first major showcase for some brand new material and their final way of thanking their local followers for their incredible loyalty.

Tamworth Herald – 28/12/90
Musicbox – Kerrang Kings!
WOLFSBANE, that fine, furry, feverish Fazeley foursome, have swept aside all comers to claim the title of the MUSICBOX band of the year.Wolfsbane have been given a very major boost by the highly-influential metal magazine Kerrang!

The magazine, generally regarded as being the most important organ in the metal world (ooo-errr!) chose Wolfsbane’s marvellous ‘Kathy Wilson’ album as the second best LP of they year beating many very famous other elpees by the leather and studs brigade.

In addition to this proud record, Wolfsbane were chosen as the best new band by our very own Bob Catley of Magnum (nice one Bob!), and the best band of the year by an Iron Maiden member who also chose Bayley as the joint best singer of 1990 and ‘Kathy Wilson’ as the top album.

As you read this I have just closed the lid on the MUSICBOX poll and this time next week we will reveal what you think of Wolfsbane and indeed all our other local faves. It is fascinating stuff.

Wolfsbane have re-released ‘I Like It Hot’ as a single following Radio One’s DJ Steve Wright’s decision to play the record every day until it hits number one!

Tamworth Herald – 04/01/91
Musicbox – Wolf-it
WOLFSBANE, that fine, furry, feverish Fazeley foursome, have swept aside all comers to claim the title of the MUSICBOX band of the year.

In a landslide victory the Wolfies have not only taken the prized top local band award but also won the national band award AND both the single and album of the year accolades for the second year running. It is a marvellous result for the metalmen and proof positive that the affection you, the Tamworth music goer, has for them, the Tamworth trailblazers, has no bounds.

Amazingly perhaps this is the first time ever that Wolfsbane have won the top local band award. In the past they have been just pipped at the post by the likes of DHSS and Catch 23 but this year, despite at one stage trailing to The Yogots, they quickly took the lead and held it until the very end. What makes their result even more impressive, is that if you look at the rest of the choices in the singles, albums and so on, you will see that metal hasn’t done particularly well. When it comes to Wolfsbane however, pop fans join with metal heads in appreciating the Bayley Boys appeal and as s result they have swept aside the rest.

“the poll belongs to Jeff, Jase, Bayley and Steve”

WOLFSBANE, that fine, furry, feverish Fazeley foursome, have swept aside all comers to claim the title of the MUSICBOX band of the year.

Just to summarise, the Wolfsbane achievement in the poll of 1990 – they won the best local band award for the first time ever, the best national band for the third year in succession and the best album (for ‘Kathy Wilson’) and the best single for ‘I Like It Hot’ with both of these record awards being for the second year running. Only in the best local songs were Wolfsbane denied the top slots but make no mistake this poll belongs to Jeff Hateley, Steve Danger, Blaze Bayley and Jase the Ace. A wonderful band comprising four lovely people and I for one am delighted they have at last earned your acclaim as the best local band because they have dominated the scene for so long now.

But, it wasn’t ONLY Wolfsbane who deserve a smile this morning. The Yogots have deservedly taken the runners-up slot in the local band section for a magnificent year in which they have increased their support by enormous degrees and added a great deal of professionalism to their songwriting and for their attitude, Under the enthusiastic wing of the Magic Ear team The Yogots have really started to blaze a trail nationwide and 1991 augurs very well indeed for those five angelic popsters. Record companies watchout – the Yogots are coming with your mandate!

Third and fourth in our poll this year (and there was very little separating them in terms of votes) are Emma Gibbs and Spiral Eye. Both have had excellent years as well in which their profile both locally and nationally has increased greatly with Emma Gibbs hitting the singles trail to great effect and Spiral Eye proving themselves to be a live band with very few peers. Both firmly established now as local heroes as well. After all when you’ve got lead singers with the charisma and style of Lee Revelle and Barry Fix you can’t go far wrong can you?

“the poll is a nice mixture of new and old”

The highest new band in our poll this year are Vindaloo Breakfast, much to my delight. Clearly capturing the imagination of the musically enlightened (!) Vindaloo have swept into an impressive fifth in their first ever poll and it should give the chaps a big boost for the term to come. Eight Ball Joe grabbed the sixth slot as a worthy reward for their hard-working live record during the year and Catch 23 came in seventh slot, a slightly lower than usual position due to their low profile throughout the year. Hopes are very high that the band will be far from ‘low profile’ in ’91 however and get set to see them in next year’s Smash Hits poll as well!

Elsewhere in the poll’s top 20 it is a nice mixture of the new and old. Of the newish bands Sindy’s Sonic Garden, The Sherbert Trees, Shakespeare’s Monkey and Crystal Injection have all caught your attention while Rhythm Damage have achieved a solid, respectable vote after a solid, unrespectable year. The New Puritans, The Big Noise and Chemikill also continue to hold a place in your affections and there will be much pleasure in the Banned in Yellow and First Conspiracy camps as the bands achieved top 20 slots even though they are now officially defunct.

In the national sphere of the poll, it is clear the whole dance/indie thing has caught Tamworth by the short and curlies. The Happy Mondays and the Beloved scored well throughout although amazingly perhaps there was not a single vote for the Stone Roses in any section. Other than that, the records chosen in the singles and LPs reflect very much what is going on nationally and I am enormously indebted to the handful who voted the last Stranglers LP into a mighty ninth.

So that’s it, YOUR verdict on the music world circa 1990. What is clear is that you are immensely proud of Wolfsbane and their achievements and I think you have given the credit to the bands who have really worked at it this year – Spiral Eye, Emma Gibbs and Vindaloo Breakfast. The top five is about as reflective of locally popular taste as I can remember in my seven years of conducting this poll and I for one applaud YOUR choices this term.

Will these bands go on now to justify your choices or will the new pretenders to the throne unseat them by this time next year? Will impressive new bands like The Foundation and Fly On The Wall go on to take over from the big boys in the next 12 months or will we once again be cheering on the same heroes in 1991? There is only one way to find out – stick around and revel in 12 months more of local musical magic.

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 04/01/91
Musicbox – Review in a nutshell
Wolfsbane's I Like It HotWolfsbane – The Rathole
In front of the biggest and loudest Rathole crowd ever, the new MUSICBOX Band of the Year absolutely slayed them all with the wonderful Christmas bash.

The crowd itself was enough to leave you open mouthed in admiration. As well as a healthy crop of locals, the packed-to-bursting venue was swelled by people from Scotland, Wales, London and even in one heroic case Sweden, to make it a definitive Wolfsbane fan party. The noise those people made was almost as loud as what the boys produced and the atmosphere was SPINETINGLING.

It is very hard for me to say anything new about Wolfsbane any more because I have used up all the superlatives I know in the last six years. All I can say is that Wolfsbane have never sounded better than they do now and their set travels along a series of classic toons with a speed and style that makes even past highlights seem small. Oldies like ‘Manhunt’, ‘Loco’ and ‘Killing Machine’ sound as fresh and new as if they had been written yesterday and brand new tunes that probably WERE written yesterday like ‘Cathode Ray Tube’ and the magnificent ‘Loveless’ show the band to have depth and quality in their songwriting that augurs extremely well for the future. They looked as good as ever as well with Jeff in particularly chirpy mood and guest stars John Buckingham and Tim Latham adding a unique and exciting touch to the power sounds of offer. Wolfsbane have now realised all potential they have promised us for so long and all we can do now is sit and wait for their inevitable world domination. It could begin on January 20, when they join The Quireboys, Ozzy Osbourne and Magnum at Wembley Arena (ye WEMBLEY ARENA!) but, whatever happens Wolfsbane have ended 1990 as they began it – on top of the world and in a league all of their own.

Magic.
Sam Holliday


The Gallery

Wolfsbane

On the road to success or to be certified? Make your own mindup tomorrow when Wolfsbane will take on the Arts Centre. From left: Jase The Ace, Jeff Hateley, Bayley Cook and the charming looking but uncharmingly named Poo-Poos.

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Single Launch Party Invitation

Single Launch Party Invitation

Clutching At Straws

Clutching At Straws - Front Cover

Clutching At Straws

Clutching At Straws - Back Cover

A-Side : Clutching At Straws

A-Side - Clutching At Straws

B-Side - 5AM

B-Side - 5AM

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Blaze Bayley

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Tamworth Herald - 20/05/88
Musicbox – Rock Kings Crowned

Wolfsbane

Captions: The good old days
Wolfsbane circa 1984…complete with drummer Mandy Hemming and one or two very dodgy outfits.
Wolfsbane circa 1985…very much the glam approach complete with bleach blonde, high heels and a drummer Stakk Smasher.

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane circa 1988…a lean, mean fighting machine with a Ramones/grebo image and a ‘would you let your daughter go out with one of these people’ style.

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane

Caption: Wolfsbane…back some the Sleaze Brothers!

Musicbox – Wolfs live fast, but not just yet

Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast

Musicbox – NO, THIS IS NOT Spinal Tap!

Live Fast Die Fast

Live Fast Die Fast

 

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