Tamworth Bands History : 1983
Well what a year…what a year.
Early in the year we heard of the demise of veteran heavy rock band Flash Harry who played their last-ever gig together at Polesworth Top Club. In the same week top funk outfit Gonzalez became the first ‘name’ band to play at Tamworth Assembly Rooms for years.
October of 1983 saw the retirement of Edward ian Armchair, local alternative punk poet, who was planning to concentrate on writing rather than performing. His final performance with the Dead Captain Speaks, Nick Lowe and Those Attractive Magnets included appearances from Co-op Department Store shop dummies.
One sub-plot of the gig was the ‘split’ of Those Attractive Magnets – they did get back together after 24 hours. The band could console themselves with the fact that their single ‘Nightlife’ had become a big hit on the dance floors of several of London’s top nightspots.
It was all change at Tamworth Arts Centre in 1983. At the end of January we heard of the resignation of Arts Centre Administrator Georgie Jackson. The post was filled later in the year by Gary Holt.
There were exciting developments at the centre with plans under way to launch a new ‘community theatre’ group in Tamworth – made up entirely of young unemployed people. The idea was masterminded by Gary Holt new Centre Administrator and the Centre’s technician Jed Moore.
Later in the year a complete re-fit changed the coffee bar into a petit French bistro.
The place to play in the town in ’83 was the Tavern In the Town in Corporation Street. No longer in the Stable outside, but in the bar itself.
In April – Sam Holliday expressed the desperation in the town with a full-page article on the apathy of the local scene entitled “Can these victims of apathy fight back now?” He listed the top ten local bands and how everything had dried up in terms of excitement and band activity. Later in the year things would change.
1983 saw many new names on the local scene – there was a brief appearance by Norman Conquest. The Royal Family and the incomparable Dave Smith appeared and in July one of the town’s most successful and enduring bands, the Dream Factory appeared for the first time. The band included two of the town’s most durable musicians – Mark Mortimer and Donald Skinner.
The year also saw the first appearance of one of the Tamworth music scenes longest-lasting characters – one Mike Fleming. Mike wrote a letter in March to Musicbox stating:
I should like to correct the impression given by Music Box in the February 25 issue, that the current line-up of BHX has played gigs at the Belgrave Comprehensive School and at Wilnecote Youth Club.
In fact, it was the previous incarnation of the band (Keith Edwards, Mick Goodby, Dave Thomas and myself on bass) which played those gigs.
As far as I know, the new BHX hasn’t yet gigged, but I wish them luck when they start.
Another name made his first appearance – Mark Brindley, a 15 year-old Belgrave Comprehensive School pupil appeared in Select Elect with John Bates. They could be seen taking part in the Young People’s Arts Festival in October when the emphasis was on relatively new groups. The four acts playing on Sunday 16th October were Sitting Pretty, the Mandettas, BHX and Select Elect.
Two more names making their first appearance were Neil Jones and Nick Reed, making their debut with new band Love On Board.
Finally in July, at last, Those Attractive Magnets, the towns most enduring band of recent years, found themselves on vinyl with their own 45 – Nightlife. The single was backed with Love Chimes and released on their own Tavern A.D. label. At one gig, Sam Holliday wrote:
During the set the Magnets began throwing our free copies of their first single ‘Nightlife’. One chap stepped out of the audience and gave his free copy back. Laugh? I could have cried. Tamworth Herald – 25/11/83 - Sam Holliday
Highlight of the year was the first outside rock festival in four years taking place on Bank Holiday Monday in August in the Castle Grounds. Still not the full-blown festival of later years, this event was organised by Hardware (the new name for Brewster) but proved a resounding success.
The line-up was:
Read the full account of the 1983 Tamworth Rock Festival here.
At the end of the year, for the first time, Musicbox held a poll which included Local Band of the Year – this was won by the Dream Factory. The top ten bands of 1983 were:
Top 10 local bands
1. The Dream factory
2. Those Attractive Magnets
3. Classified Ads
4. The Royal Family
6. The Visitors
9. Love on Board
10. Select Elect