Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

The DHSS v4

Photograph courtesy: Tamworth Herald
The Gallery

Musical Genre/Type: Punk
Formed: 1987 Split: 1989

Band Members:
Edward ian Armchair : Vocals
Rikk Quay : Keyboards/Computers/Backing Vocals
John Reeman : Guitar/Backing Vocals
Anice Byfield: Backing Vocals

Click here to go to the top of the page.Gigs
Tamworth Arts Centre
(Ashes - Shock Horror!)

Tavern in the Town

Tamworth Rock Festival
Torn in Two
The Searching
The Conspiracy
Never Say Die
Kubla Khan
Castle Grounds
Admission free 11am-7pm

Scream Dream
Tamworth Arts Centre

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Stourbridge Town Hall

King Woderick and the Yogots
Soil Brothers
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Rock Festival - Indoor Festival
Space Seeds
Never Say Die
King Woderick

Tamworth Arts Centre

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Find out more...

Packaged Pleasure
The DHSS Packaged Pleasure  
Sweet Sixteen  
The End  

A Vicars Hand in My Underpants
Vicars Hand    
Vicars 12"    

Unlimited Benefit
The DHSS Unlimited Benefit  
Sweet Sixteen  
The End  
Vicars Hand in My Underpants  
Vicars 12"  

Film Stars and Credit Cards
Clark Gable Film Stars and Credit Cards  
The Money God  
If I Had My Way  

Click here to go to the top of the page.Videos

DHSS on videoThe video was shot on Sunday December 18th 1988 at Tamworth Arts Centre. The DHSS had played two days earlier in Stourbridge supporting Sigue Sigue Sputnik and were on an understandable high. It includes performances of The DHSS, Rewind, Body on a Slab, Vicars Hand in My Underpants, Clarke Gable, Money God and Sweet Sixteen. I don't know who shot the video or who edited it, all I know is Justin Ring gave me a copy of it! Hence it's appearance here.

The DHSS v4

Click here to go to the top of the page.Tamworth Herald Articles


Tamworth Herald – 13/11/87
Musicbox – Rumours are circulating that the once-mighty DHSS are set to reform with a new line-up but the self-same sardonic aggression. Details at this stage are sketchy but it seems that the man-of all-rock-and-roll-seasons Mr. Rikk Quay may be at the heart of the new venture.

Tamworth Herald – 04/12/87
Musicbox – STOP PRESS
THE ALL-NEW DHSS were due to make their final trip into the recording studio last night (Thursday). The band, which comprises Rikk Quay, Edward ian Armchair and John Reeman have been rehearsing for some months and are eagerly awaiting the chance to show off their wares publicly.

According to John Reeman, the sound is very original, powerful and impressively lyrical.

“Edward ian Armchair’s lyrics are a real revelation and I think people are in for a pleasant surprise when the new DHSS finally hit the streets.” He said.

Tamworth Herald - 15/01/88
Musicbox – A revamp at the DHSS
‘Middle class punks’ are signing on…

1987 was very much they year when that 007 maxim ‘Never Say Never Again’ was applied to the rock and roll business. Dozens of bands whom we had thought were dead and buried re-emerged with ‘hit’ records and still more new bands decided to jazz up old classics rather than take the trouble to write original material. Whether it was because of nostalgic, conviction or sheer laziness, the past became very much the present and the dividing line between the old and the new disappeared. Therefore no-one should really be surprised to learn that one of Tamworth’s oldest bands have now got together in a new format.

They are DHSS formed originally by Edward ian Armchair and Rikk Quay and featuring this time (surprise, surprise) Edwardian ian Armchair and Rikk Quay! The original DHSS v1 who go back to 1979 (yes nearly ten years ago), also went on to feature the likes of Vince Watts (DHSS v2), and when Rikk and Eddie left to pastures new , Vince carried on the band to produce a punchy combo (DHSS v3) still remembered with affection by all of us who witnessed them.

This time there is no Vince Watts but in his place has come an equally thrash-and-grab guitarist John Reeman and female backing singer Anice Byfield.

“We want to retain the spirit of the original DHSS but obviously we have added some Eighties touches,” said keyboard impresario Rikk Quay, “I feel as if we have a lot of good ideas and will really shake up the Town.”

The band’s first attack on the public has come in the shape of a unique and highly enjoyable four-track demo recorded recently at Expresso Bongo. The tape is a real blockbuster, combining razor-sharp music with superb lyrics and creating an overall atmosphere of controlled anarchy.

Musical comparisons have been coming in thick and fast but to me it sounds like an electronic version of The Ramones – fast, poppy, commercial and hard. DHSS see it slightly differently though…

“We are like middle class punk,” said Eddie, his tongue firmly in his cheek. “We feel we are original and should appeal to a wide cross-section of people.”

Eddie’s return to rock and roll is remarkable in that it has been eight years since he fronted a band as a singer. So what made him return?

“Seeing Wolfsbane had a big impact on me,” admitted the DHSS frontman, “I watched Bayley cavorting around the stage and thought “I was doing that some years ago”. I see myself as Bayley Cooke with long words!”

Rikk of course has never gone away. Since he left DHSS he has been involved with Those Attractive Magnets, The Sway, The Pakistani Brothers, XPD, the Cradle and others, but his enthusiasm has never once been dented.

“I’ve had my ups and downs but this new DHSS has really fired my hopes again. I feel really good about this group and feel we have a lot to offer,” he said.

Completing the line-up are two other musicians of note. John Reeman is widely (and rightfully) regarded as one of the best songwriters in the area, and has come in for a lot of praise from Rikk and Eddie for his manic guitar work. And Anice Byfield (ex-Orange, Sitting Pretty, XPD etc.) is another sleeping talent who is delighted to have been reawakened by the ambitious trio of males who are her fellow members of ‘the department’.

“We are a very serious band with a lot of important things to say,” insists Eddie, “Sometimes, however, if you use humour to make serious points, it tends to stick more, and that is what people will soon realise about DHSS.”

Tamworth Herald - 29/01/88
Musicbox – Arts Centre stages new-look ‘Battle’
Salute the best in new rock talent
TAMWORTH ARTS Centre is to stage a new version of the annual ‘Battle of the Bands’ in February – featuring only bands who are new to the scene. The idea was to turn the event into a ‘Most Promising Band of the Year’ contest and it has been thrown open to any group who have emerged since the last ‘Battle’ of 1987.

Already 15 groups have been nominated to take part over three heats in February. The winners on each night will then be invited to a gala final on Friday, march 4 with a £75 prize and Young People’s Arts Festival awards for the eventual victors.

Among the better known bands who will be involved are Fetch Eddie, The Conspiracy and Kubla Khan, but the event will also be the platform for first ever concerts by groups such as The BBC, Mr. Cyn and DHSS.

Although there may be slight alterations before the finalised line-ups, the current running order and the new ‘Battle of the Bands’ is as follows:

Torn in Tow, The Conspiracy, Scream Dream, The Cuddly Spiders and Future Field.

New Age Gypsies, Mr Cyn, Fetch Eddie, Jim Crows, The Band With No Name.

DHSS, Kraze, Kubla Khan, Spiral Eye, The BBC.

On each night the judges will be made up of members of longer-established Tamworth bands such as Wolfsbane, Catch 23, A5, Rape In Yellow, Depth Charge (now called Never Say Die) and so on. It will be their job to pick one winner from each night, who will go forward to a grand final along with the second highest-scoring group.

For the winners there will be cash and trophy prizes, but perhaps more importantly, the title of Tamworth’s Most Promising Band of 1988.

On each of the heat nights the bands – who cover everything across the rock spectrum – will have just 20 minutes to impress the judges, and with five bands on each night no-one should have anytime to get bored!

We will give more details of each of the concerts in the next couple of weeks but for the time being clear your Sunday evenings in February and get ready to salute the best in new rock talent within this music barmy area.

Tamworth Herald – 08/04/88
Musicbox – Metal mixed with machines!
DHSS, Wolfsbane, Kraze in action
Caption: DHSS…it’s a debut of delight.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.


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.


Ashes Shock!Daily Star (Page 7) – 18/04/08
A SICK punk singer has scattered his father’s ashes over a concert audience.

Horrified youngsters ran for cover as Edward ian Armchair chanted the revolting lyrics of a song called Body On A Slab while hurling the remains into the 300-strong crowd.

Armchair, who has met the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles after winning a Prince’s Trust grant for his tee-shirt printing business. Claimed he was making a statement about the lack of respect for the dead.

But his antics at Tamworth Arts Centre have caused a storm of protest.

Local Tory MP David Lightbown said “I find this almost incomprehensible. I am absolutely horrified.”

Clergyman’s son Steve McNamee who was at the concert, was appalled when Armchair and his band DHSS – the Department of Happiness and Self-Satisfaction – sang another song called Vicar’s Hand in My Underpants.

“The whole concert was vile and disgusting,” he said.

Armchair, 27, whose father died last year aged 58, changed his name by deed poll from K…. K……

He said: “I never really got on with my Dad.”

“However, when I collected his ashes, I expected them to be in a sedate urn. Instead I was handed a plastic bottle. That was horrible.”

After Midnight – Channel 4
Anthony H. Wilson
After showing the Daily Star DHSS press cutting: “Isn’t is good to see that the spirit of punk is alive and kicking.”

Les Ross Breakfast Show – BRMB Radio
After reporting on the Daily Star DHSS press cutting: “Come on listeners, let us know the strangest thing you’ve heard people do with their loved one’s ashes.”

Teletext and Ceefax
Lead story: “Punk Hurl’s Dad’s Ashes’

Express & Star (Front Page) – 18/04/88
Ashes hurled over fans by punk
Tamworth punk Edward ian Armchair was unrepentant today after hurling his dad’s ashes over horrified pop fans.

“I am sure if Prince Charles had been in the audience he would have giggled.” He said.

Several fans at Tamworth Arts Centre, ducked as the red-haired singer scattered the remains from a plastic bottle while screaming a song called Body on a Slab in memory of his father.

Other songs by Armchair’s band DHSS – the Department of Happiness and Self-Satisfaction – included Vicar’s Hand in My Underpants.


“I was really making a personal statement about the lack of respect for the dead,” said 27-year-old Armchair today at his Kerria Centre, Amington home.

“I was absolutely appalled when I was given my father’s ashes in a bottle, not an urn.”

Armchair, who changed his name by deed poll from K…. K ….., is well known locally for his tee-shirt printing business.

Tory MP for South East Staffordshire, David Lightbown said scattering the ashes was “almost incomprehensible.”

Birmingham Evening Mail – 18/04/08
Punk’s ashes shocker
A Midland punk singer has threatened to repeat a stage performance in which he scattered some of his dead father’s ashes over his audience.

Tamworth Arts Centre today started an investigation onto the incident involving a local singer who calls himself Edward ian Armchair.

He scattered the ashes from a bottle while appearing on stage with his group, DHSS.

He said, “I have still kept some of the ashes. I have no regrets over what I did and I would do the same again.”

He admitted that some of the people in the audience had been shocked when he told them what he was scattering.

Edward, real name K…. K….., who is 27, said the act was a tribute to his father, Mr. D….. K….., who died last year after a heart attack at the age of 58.

“You hear of people scattering ashes on cricket and football pitches and this was my way of showing respect for my father.”

Tamworth Trader (Front Page) – 21/04/08
Punk scatters father’s ashes at pop crowd
PUNK businessman Edward ian Armchair scattered his father’s ashes over a Tamworth concert audience last Saturday.

Armchair – real name K…. K….. – hurled his father’s remains into the audience at Tamworth Arts Centre in Church Street sending some of the youngsters running for cover.

The singer, who has a successful tee-shirt printing company in the town, was leading his band DHSS in front of 300 youngsters when the controversial incident took place.

He claimed he was making a statement about the lack of respect for the dead, but his wild antics have sparked a storm of protest.

“I’m not repentant about the act, it was a serious statement about something I feel very strongly about,” said Armchair.

“My father died exactly a year ago from a heart attack and I was appalled by the two-faced and disrespectful attitude my relatives took. Some might say that what I did was disrespectful, but in comparison to their attitude my actions were very respectful.” He added.

Local Tory MP David Lightbown said he was horrified by the incident.

Armchair has met both the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles after winning a Prince’s Trust grant for his business, and fans ducked when he hurled his father’s remains from a plastic bottle while chanting lyrics from a song called Body on a Slab.

The 27-year-old red-haired singer also belted out songs with other controversial titles such as Vicar’s Hand in My Underpants.

The four-piece group – the Department of Happiness and Self-Satisfaction – aim to shock their audiences with their bizarre brand of modern-day computerised punk. But this was surely over the top.

Mark Mortimer

Tamworth Herald (Front Page) – 22/04/88
Pop group admits hoax on national newspaper
‘I didn’t throw my father’s ashes at fans’

EXCLUSIVE by Sam Holliday

A ‘SICK’ Tamworth pop group admitted this week that they had deliberately hoaxed the media with a bogus story about scattering human remains over an Arts Centre audience.

According to Monday’s ‘Star’ newspaper, Edward Ian Armchair, the lead singer of the group, DHSS, threw his father’s ashes over a ‘horrified’ crowd at a Tamworth concert last week.

The newspaper labelled the band as ‘sick’ and several other regional newspapers subsequently condemned the group’s alleged antics.

But Edward – real name Kevin Knowles – told the Herald exclusively this week that the band had made the whole story up. They did it, they say, to show up the gullibility of the national press – and a s a publicity stunt for themselves.

“We believe in particular, that the national media manipulate people, so we decided to manipulate them,” said the 27-year-old singer, “It has all worked exactly to plan.”

Edward – a successful local businessman – with a thriving printing concern, who last year received an award from the Duke of Edinburgh – DID take his father’s ashes to the concert as a gimmick, but they stayed firmly encased. He had no intentions of throwing them anywhere and says he is amazed that people believed he did.

“If people can believe that – they can believe anything.” Said Edward. “I hope it will prove that they can’t trust everything they read in the national newspapers, and it should be a valuable lesson to everyone.”

Edward, who has met both Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh in connection with the Prince’s Trust, says he does not apologise for his ‘hoax’ at all, but admits to being surprised at the reaction of people who really believed he had thrown ashes into the crowd.

“I expected people to be shocked, but I am surprised at just how shocked,” he said.

Edward decided to come clean to the Herald because, he says, he has respect for the job that local newspapers do in the community. But he has no regrets for leading other newspapers astray.

“I would do it all again,” he said boldly.

Next Thursday, at The Tavern in The Town, DHSS are playing a special charity concert for the special baby care unit at Good Hope Hospital.

Tamworth Herald - 06/05/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Tabloid outrage-rockers DHSS played a highly successful second show at the Tavern in the Town last week. The band, whose recent hype gave them more column inches than Princess Di, played a long set much-loved by a large and appreciative audience. According to Musicbox’s spy at the concert, George the Roadie, it was ‘really weird, man, simply excellent.’. George’s view however must be doubted because he because he claimed that keyboard man Rikk Quay was ‘sloshed’ during the gig. As if…

Tamworth Herald - 24/06/88
Here are a selection of demos that have found their way to my ears lately.

DHSS – Vicars Hand
AMAZING, multi-faceted, multi-layered slice of electronic outrage. A tabloid-baiting title, a mind-tugging hook and a dance-definite beat. Nuff said – it’s fab.

Tamworth Herald - 05/08/88
Musicbox – Sad farewell – and the best is yet to come
WOLFSBANE 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.


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.


Tamworth Herald - 02/09/88
Musicbox – “I heard it through the Grapevine”
This week’s latest batch of rock and roll rumours on the local scene include…

Tim Latham is being mooted as a possible replacement for the departing Kraze axeman.

DHSS are planning a series of concerts shortly but will probably stay away from local stages for some time.

Former Shellshock drummer Bruno Edwards is starting a career in competitive kart racing.

Rob Cross may be the man in charge of the new Rathole.

The Beatles will NOT be reforming again this year.

Tamworth Herald - 23/09/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
A few demos are beginning to stockpile in my bedroom again and I hope to review them shortly. Among them is the one you knew I would love (DHSS) and the one you probably thought I would hate (Emma Gibbs) which turns out to be quite fab.

Tamworth Herald - 14/10/88
Musicbox – Demo Selection

DHSS – The Vicars EP
Tremendous five-and-a-half tracker which answers everything you wanted to know about DHSS but were afraid to ask. It combines the filth and the fury with the style and the smile and is more fun than being sat on by an elephant. The lyrics are a disgrace to civilised man and the tunes have all the subtlety and charm of Selwyn Frogett. If you want to hear inoffensive pop music buy something else. If you want to stomp, snarl and giggle but this. Pure punk for now people. Hear it and die happy. Ignore it and die anyway.

Tamworth Herald - 14/10/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
DHSS were due to travel down to London on Monday to discuss a possible record deal with a label that was mightily impressed by their ‘Vicar’s’ Demo. More details, when and if, the band become recording superstars.

Tamworth Herald - 21/10/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
DHSS are set to make their first major out of town performance at the start of November when they play the Tunnel Club in London. The band are hoping to take a coachload of fans along for the bash, anyone interested should contact Rikk Quay at the Tavern. Other DHSS shows are being planned throughout the Midlands as we speak. Incidentally the band’s meeting with an interested record company last week did not go quite along the lines they were hoping. In the words of Rikk Quay the whole thing was a “******* rip-off!”

Tamworth Herald - 28/10/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
The Soil Brothers, DHSS and The Yogots will combine to play a special Christmas Party night at the Arts Centre at the tailend of December. More details when we have them.

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – Sheer Style
DHSS – The Clark Gable Demo
Caption: DHSS – some kind of demoIT is no fluke that DHSS’s first demo outsold virtually every other local product released this year.

At the tavern, at the Festival and at the band’s infrequent concerts there was a clamour for the tape which surprised even that most optimistic of optimists – Reginald ‘Rikk’ Quay.

The public it seems had fallen for DHSS in a big way. The unique personalities of the four people involved was perfectly mirrored by a sound which belies accurate comparisons and invites exciting superlatives.

And if the love affair started with that first tape, believe me it will grow to a raging passion after this three piece masterpiece.

What we have here is a very original and very powerful three track demo which shows DHSS exactly for what they are – a punk band dragged screaming and dancing into the electronic Eighties. First up is the magical ‘Clark Gable’ a song which features another of those dynamic John Reeman guitar riffs and a toooon just bursting with charisma – and musical stamina. But it is the vocal that really hits you on this one. Steady Eddie is his usual melodic and unconventional self but Anice’s chorus work is a major and majestic surprise. From her old more peaceful days Anice has now discovered some hitherto unsuggested guts and power and her Pauline Murray soundalike vocal here is quite magnificent. She sings a chorus which I guarantee you will all be humming very shortly and if you want to sing rather than hum then here is the MUSICBOX Smash hits choral lyric…

“The last thing that you saw was a bitter Clark Gable, dragging on a cigarette and lapping up the girlies. The last thing that you saw was a pouting Vivien Leigh, spinning on her heals and looking oh! So wonderful!”

Got that? Right remember ir because believe me after hearing this a few times you will be singing it. Loudly.

Following Clark Gable comes the short snappy ‘Money God’. Ed’s best Clash-like lyric of the tape. It is a timely attack on the evils of capitalism and consumerism (which attacks the most cynical of us at this time of year) and makes its point in a sneering, leering way and with a backdrop of tight, crunching sound. Bit of politics eh! Love it!

With hardly a break to stop pogoing (now THERE was a dance) we are into the sprightly and gritty ‘If I Had My Way’ which is pure and simple punk rock in the Rezillos mode. It trundles along with ever-mounting power and has an irritatingly catchy chorus and another corking tune.

It all ends far to quickly for my liking and it brings home the point that you have just heard three DHSSS songs, plus loads of garbled between songs samples in seven glorious minutes. What else I ask can you do in seven minutes which is as much fun? You can see one twelfth of a game of soccer, listen to one tenth of a Pink floyd song or watch one eighth of the Waltons. Frankly my dear there is only one option.

Get down the DHSS office, claim your benefit and be transported into seven minutes of modern day punk, electro style. Wot joyz.


By the way Rikk, I think I ought to get a pint for writing a whole DHSS review without comparing you to my beloved Sigue, Sigue Sputnik!!!

Tamworth Herald - 16/12/88
Musicbox – Sputnik joy for DHSS
Dynamic DHSS will tonight (Friday) play a dream concert as support act for the almighty Sigue Sigue Sputnik.Dynamic DHSS will tonight (Friday) play a dream concert as support act for the almighty Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

The four piece anarcho-pensioners will be in action tonight at Stourbridge Town Hall in support of the world famous Sputnik crew.

The earned the prestigious show when a ‘friend’ of the band sent a tape to the Sputnik suggesting that DHSS would make an ideal support band for them. Lo and behold, Sigue Sigue Sputnik responded and asked DHSS to join them tonight (Friday) on their only Midland show of their current tour. The ‘dream’ date will be particularly exciting for DHSS members Rikk Quay and John Reeman who along with a certain MUSICBOX Editor were due to go to the concert as spectators anyway. Now they will all be able to do so without worrying about tickets! DHSS are hoping loads of Tamworth fans will make their way to Stourbridge tonight but if you can’t make it hen don’t worry. For the band are in action at the Tamworth Arts Centre on Sunday night along with three other big fun bands. The DHSS will be supported by rockabilliy sex bombs Stench, the exceedingly odd King Woderick and the reformed yackettay-yak crew The Soil Brothers.

Together the line up represents what Catch 23’s boys regard as one of my most ift-repeated descriptions – ‘one of the shows of the year’.

For once however surely even those Atherstone cynics will agree with this description. Headliners DHSS are doing marvellously well in the poll because of their highly-loveable and very distinctive electronic punk ROK and every one of their shows to date has been somewhat of an ‘event’. Sunday will be their first ever Arts Centre headliner and so they are warning everyone to get ready for something special.

Mr. Rikk ‘I’m Not Nearly As old A Everyone Thinks I Am’ Quay takes up the story. What will DHSS be like then granddad?

“The business,” he didn’t say.

DHSS top Sunday’s night’s tree but beneath it are three equally interesting branches. King Woderick have emerged at the tail end of this year as one of the area’s oddest creations. The sound can best be summed up as yugamuliwoogick music and the only band that can possibly be described as soundalikes are The Very Odd Band Who Don’t Exist At All. Get the picture? They are odd kinda fish.

Far from odd however are Stench – Tamworth’s very own Bros. The group, three healthy young males, with short haircuts (just like Bros) play hard rockabilly muzak full of vile lyrics and yukky images (just like Bros). They have a committed following (just like Bros), a distinctive apparel (just like Bros) and good songs (totally and utterly unlike Bros). They represent Big Fun.

The final act of a wicked foursome are also subscribers to the doctrine of Big Fun-isms. The Soil Brothers are a yeh-hah band unlike anyone else in the known (and possibly unknown) world full of strange instruments and unforgettable looney tunes. This is the second time they have been part of the scene and according to singer Steve ‘Elvis is Alive’ MacNamee things are as good as ever…

“We are now a six piece combo, complete with double basses and the like. Our songs are now full of wonderful sexist things like girls, trains and Newcastle Brown ale and as far as I am concerned we are gonna blow those old fogeys from DHSS off the stage. Real music is going to shine over computerised claptrap!”

I don’t need to beseech you to get along on Sunday cos everyone reading this is cool enough already to realise that you just cannot miss this show. It will be the ideal pre-Christmas present for anyone who wants to be humming and smiling after leaving a concert.

And, if you can get your butt along to Stourbridge tonight then you will be able to sample one of the biggest and best nights our local scene will ever have had.

STOP PRESS. Stench have been band from playing on Sunday.

Just in case you’re confused this week’s dates are – tonight (Friday) DHSS and Sigue Sigue Sputnik at Stourbridge, Sunday – DHSS/SoilBrothers/Stench/King Woderick at the Arts Centre and Thursday night Emma Gibbs/Fetch Eddie/Psychedelicatessen and The Believers at the Arts Centre.

Tamworth Herald - 23/12/88
Musicbox – Gigs in brief…Gigs in brief
An amazing night and an amazing show. Despite all the ‘pre-match’ nerves, DHSS took to the stage bursting with confidence and enthusiasm. The noise they then produced ranks as their best gig ever as they rattled through their set with a speed and fluency that won over all the Sputnik followers. Edward ian Armchair was in brilliantly caustic mood, sneering and leering his way through a marvellous individual show and with Byfield, Reeman and Quay going a wee bit ‘ape’ the band produced a set they will find it hard to beat. Best tracks on the night were ‘The Money gods’ and the yummy ‘Oooh-ooh-ooh, la, la, la’ the two of which represent those fine diversions in the DHSS set – passion, politics and festive fun. Quite brilliant.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik…Stourbridge
I had always loved this band – and now a few more Tamworthians, I suspect will a few more Tamworthians will do likewise. For as well as proving themselves a great live act. SSS proved themselves to be quite wonderful people and all of us that witnessed this show are going to be Sputnik bores for a long time. Their set was short, snappy and hugely enjoyable with one newie in particular ‘Raise Crazy’ being a potential number one if ever I heard one. Oldies like ‘Love Missile; and ‘Sex Bomb Boogie’ were equally dazzling but for all their rocking ability it is the personality of the band that we will all remember for long after this gig. They treated us all with amazing respect and friendship to such an extent that they even let me (and remember I’m a fan) introduce them on stage as well as allow us to do a video interview before the gig. We have all got our Sputnik claims to fame but mine was that in a game of soccer with the group before the gig Martin Degville blasted the ball right into my jingle bells and almost floored me. Famous or what?

Tamworth Herald - 30/12/88
Musicbox - DHSS claim their benefit!

Caption: 1st. DHSS

1st. DHSS – top local band, six different songs chosen as top song, three different gigs in top 20 concerts – one amazing year!
2nd. CATCH 23…runners-up in local band, top local song, three concerts in top 20 gigs.
3rd. WOLFSBANE – third local band BUT first national band. Second top local concert, eighth top local song and third top single. Best poll yet, hardly surprising!

ELECTRO PUNKS DHSS have been chosen as the MUSICBOX band of the year in the closest ever finish in our five years of competition.

Rikk’s relics just pipped Atherstone kings Catch 23 with the final days post providing the necessary votes to claim a victory by the equivalent of just five points.

For both bands there will be satisfaction in knowing that they have a huge percentage of the local market and there will also be pleasure for third place Wolfsbane. For despite only, finishing third in the local section they won the national band stakes and took the third best single in what was easily their best poll to date.

As usual hundreds of you took part in this year’s battle with ‘surprises’ and changes right until the last moment. Here is a summary of what YOU saw and heard as the pick of 1988…

BEST LOCAL BANDIn the end it was DHSS by a smidgen but how well they have earned their award. As was apparent at their last Arts Centre show the band have now got a huge cult following and such was their potential world beating appeal that of the 200 plus tapes sent in for the recent Sputnik support slot, the band were deemed to have produced the best one of the lot. Their mixture of anarchic humour and bile politics has made them the perfect punk band for the electronic age and this new boost will give them the spur to go for even greater things in 1989.

Catch 23 will also take much joy from their result. Although they will feel disappointed not to have won overall they can stay safe in the knowledge that their appeal is widespread and well beyond their Atherstone environs. Their marvellous song ‘Hangin’ On’ was the undoubted tune of the year while their increased profile and personality has made them a hugely exciting prospect for ’89. As for Wolfsban, well what can we say about those chaps. They have had a brilliant ’89 (’88 – Ed.) as reflected by this years poll with the band doing extremely well in every section and showing they earn the respect of music lovers of all genres and not just yer-metal heads.

Fourth up were A5 who captured a huge vote and just missed out on third place by a couple of votes but made up for it by taking the second best song of the year and scoring well throughout the local concerts section. Fetch Eddie, Kraze, (Sorry, Lyve), Spiral Eye, The First Conspiracy and Scream Dream all received equally well deserved top ten positions with just one relative newie – Flowers in the Attic – gatecrashing that Top 20 section. The rest of the top 20 covered a nice cross-section of the local scene and beneath it came another 30 local bands of all shapes and sizes. I intended to list them all but space won’t allow it so I will leave all the bands who didn’t make the top 20 to ponder whether they are Tamworth’s 21st favourite act or their 47th. A pint of beer settles all chaps!

These sections were pretty reflective of the top 20 bands with DHSS proving to have the most all-round appeal with six of their songs voted for here. Elsewhere A5, Wolfsbane, Scream Dream, Catch 23 and Kraze also managed a duo of songs apiece in the top 20 with the ‘gatecrashers’ this time around being the mysterious Subculture who arrived from nowhere to hit the top 20. Will they go on to be bigger than the Beatles? Perhaps not but it may give the a belated Christams smile for hitting the top 20.

Wonderful news here. No not that the Stranglers came a marvellous 17th but that our own lovely Wolfsbane took the rest of the world to the cleaners to take the overall award. Well in fact they only beat U2 by four votes but let me tell you that having spoken to Bono he is HEARTBROKEN. His exact quote was ‘How Long, How Long Must We Sing This Song, Wolfsbane, bloody Wolfsbane!’ The man is in bits.

Oh dear, I did say when I launched the poll that I thought it had been a bad year and you’ve reflected that. I was delighted to see votes for the likes of The Waterboys, The Pet Shoppies, Wunderstuff, Morrissey and Aztec Camera, but I am open mouthed in shock at the fact that Bros came ninth in the LPs and Cliff came seventh in the singles. Just who reads this column I wonder? Is it all the young dudes or not? I think we should be told.

So conclusions? Well it was a good poll and I think more reflective than ever before. DHSS, Catch 23 and Wolfsbane can fill the Arts Centre and they have all taken the top three slots and the likes of Kraze, Fetch Eddie and Scream Dream also received the sort of hefty, loyal support that shows that they have a real foundation to work on next year. My final optimistic not to close a superb 1989 is the fact that there were 50 legitimate bands voted for in the local group section. The old bores may make the old complaints but this scene is alive and vibrant, a fact reflected by this here poll! The only bad thing about it all was we will have to listen to Quay ALL year now going on about being Tamworth’s most popular band.

Sadness and woe. Ta, Ta.

Report: Sam Holliday

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald - 30/12/88
Musicbox – The Sam Holliday Pick of 1988…
BEST BAND …Wolfsbane
BEST SONG…Hangin’ On (Catch 23)
BEST GIG…Tamworth Rock Festival
BEST SINGERS…Bayley cooke, Steve Webster, Martin Kelly, Pod, Paul Hanlon, Edward ian Armchair, Graham Harwood, Barry Fox, Pete Williams.
BEST BASSISTS – Neil Gordon, Pete Wright, Paul Bethel, Neil Sheasby, Daydo, Al Page, Jeff hateley, Mark Chapman, Nick Plant, Simon O’Connor
BEST GUITARISTS – Jase the Ace, John Reeman, Tim Latham, Ray Clenshaw, Nick Read, Kevin Briggs, Roger Moore, Steve Scott, Paul Keeton, Graham Walters, Pete Fulleylove
BEST DRUMMERS – Steve Danger, Jason Notman, Steve Hayes, Batman, Duane, Jom Pighand
BEST KEYBOARD PLAYERS - Rick Smith, Rikk Quay, Rem
SONGWRITERS – Wolfsbane, Spiral Eye, Catch 23, DHSS, Kevin Briggs, Brian Lacey, Fetch Eddie, Steve Scott
NEW BAND OF ’88 – DHSS, Scream Dream, Sa Sa, King Woderick
MOST IMPROVED BANDS – Emma Gibbs, The Searching
LIVE BANDS – Spiral Eye, Wolfsbane, Catch 23, DHSS
DEMOS OF THE YEAR – Catch 23, DHSS, The Space Seeds, Emma Gibbs, The Parade, Fetch Eddie, The Searching, The Tamworth Festival Album
LYRIC WRITERS – Edwardian ian Armchair, Spiral Eye, King Woderick
BEST KEPT LOCAL SECRET – Top indie band Birdland who hail from Kingsbury but want nothing to do with the local scene
BEST DRESSED PERSON – Paul ‘Wicked’ Hanlon
BEST DJ – Buttercup
BEST BYFIELD – Den, Shirl, Gaz and Anice
BEST CAT – Elvis Holliday
PERSONALITIES OF ’88 – Ray Sheasby, All of Wolfsbane plus Barbara and Brian Edwards, Edward ian Armchair, the entire Catch 23 crew especially Smiling Steven and Big Al, the Swiss family Byfield, Rocking Reeman and Queer Quay, Phyliss, Duane, Barry Fox, Daz, Pete, Jim and Rem, Paul and Neil, Lee Revelle, Stench, Mitch Michaels, Steve King, Trevor Mugglestone, Mick ‘I’m Always In Here Somewhere’ Fleming, JJ Burnel (Huh?), Eve, Samantha Law (hooray), Ollie Catley, the Woderix, Roger Moore and of course Mikhail Gorbachev for making it possible for me to still be writing MUSICBOX.

Local Bands

  1. DHSS
  2. Catch 23
  3. Wolfsbane
  4. A5
  5. Fetch Eddie
  6. Kraze
  7. Flowers in the Attic
  8. Spiral Eye
  9. The First Conspiracy
  10. Scream Dream
  11. Dance Stance
  12. Kubla Khan
  13. Rape in Yellow
  14. Emma Gibbs
  15. Space Seeds
  16. Shellshock
  17. Heavy Metal Thunder
  18. Sa Sa
  19. Stench
  20. King Woderick

National Band

  1. Wolfsbane
  2. U2
  3. INXS
  4. Transvision Vamp
  5. Wunderstuff
  6. Bros
  7. Pet Shop Boys
  8. The Cure
  9. The Primitives
  10. UB40
  11. Bon Jovi
  12. New Order
  13. New Model Army
  14. Erasure
  15. Iron Maiden
  16. Prince
  17. The Stranglers
  18. The Waterboys
  19. Wet Wet Wet
  20. That Petrol Emotion

Top Local Songs

  1. Hangin’ On – Catch 23
  2. Worth – A5
  3. Sweet Sixteen – DHSS
  4. Vicar’s Hand – DHSS
  5. Pagan Oceon – Flowers in the Attic
  6. Exposure – A5
  7. Catch This – Catch 23
  8. Loco – Wolfsbane
  9. Sweet N Sassy – Kraze
  10. Tumbledown - Subculture
  11. No good For Love – Fetch Eddie
  12. DHSS – DHSS
  13. Short, Sharp, Shock – Shellshock
  14. March Winds – Scream Dream
  15. Dreams - Scream Dream
  16. Mind Disease – King Woderick
  17. Dance ‘Til Dawn – Kraze
  18. Switchblade Love – Space Seeds
  19. Uncertainty – Spiral Eye
  20. Paint The Town red – Wolfsbane

Top Local Gigs

  1. Tamworth Rock Festival – Castle Grounds
  2. Wolfsbane Finale – Arts Centre
  3. Gig for Life Charity Show – Nuneaton
  4. Sonic Noise – Arts Centre
  5. True Grit/Catch 23 – Arts Centre
  6. A5 – Kings Head (Atherstone)
  7. Kraze – Arts Centre
  8. The Scum Ball – Assembly Rooms
  9. Catch 23 – Arts Centre
  10. DHSS – Arts Centre
  11. Fetch Eddie – Arts Centre
  12. Battle of the Bands Final – Arts Centre
  13. Catch 23 – Faradays
  14. Wolfsbane – Festival Show
  15. The Yogots – Arts Centre
  16. DHSS – Arts Centre
  17. Scream Dream – Arts Centre
  18. DHSS – Festival Show
  19. Spiral Eye – Arts Centre
  20. Festival Party – Arts Centre

1988 – Sean Atkins reflects on events
Tamworth rock band Wolfsbane went to Los Angeles to record their first album with American record company Def-Jam, while Atherstone’s Catch 23 come third in the TSB Rock School competition and DHSS were chosen as support band at one of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s December shows.

Tamworth Herald – 06/01/89
Musicbox – ‘LoveBOX’ strikes again
OVER the last five years or so I am delighted to say that MUSICBOX has got masses of musicians in contact with each other to form masses of bands.

Musicbox – ‘LoveBOX’ strikes againBut tomorrow (Saturday) we claim a first – a love union no less. For on Saturday Steve MacNamee (Soil Bros) will officially be engaged to Anice Byfield (DHSS) after they were first introduced by one Sam ‘Dateline’ Holliday at a recording of TAMAID. Since then it has all been wine, roses and Nukey Brown Ale and very soon Anice will become Mrs. MacNamee. In wishing both of them very much luck, I also declare ‘LoveBOX’ open and I am now trying to find a match for a certain Tavern disc jockey printed on the right. OK gals it’s over to you.

Tamworth Herald – 20/01/89
Musicbox – Snips
DHSS are hoping to make some capital from their recent Sigue, Sigue Sputnik support slot. As you may remember they were chosen for the supporting position because their tape was voted the best of nearly 200 by Sputnik agent Rob Hallett. It means that this incredibly tasteful man is now setting up his own record company and if so DHSS could be heading for mega-glamour at last.

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 – 03/02/89
Musicbox – Festival set for powerful launch
Tamworth Indoor Rock Festival 1989
THE Tamworth Indoor Rock Festival begins a month long stint at the Arts Centre on Sunday with a tempting looking concert combining the old and the new of the local music scene.

Over the next four Sundays, 15 bands will play under the Indoor Festival banner concluding on Sunday March 5 with the eagerly awaited return of the mighty Wolfsbane.

Before then however there are bags of goodies to look forward to. Scream Dream, DHSS, Bash Out The Odd (ex-Space Seeds) Never Say Die, Spiral Eye, Kraze and several brand new bands will combine their talents for the festival and on Sunday the whole rambling charabang gets off to a powerful start.

The four acts who will hit the Arts Centre stage this week are the award-winning Catch 23, the much-admired Emma Gibbs Loves Badges and two brand new groups – The Big Noise and Shock Culture.

For Catch 23, the show will be a triumphant homecoming. The band have not headlined the Arts Centre for many moons and they are keen to show their natural audience just what has made them one of the most talked about young bands in the country. For the past two years they have been chosen as the best school/college age rock band in the whole of the Midlands and this year they are hoping to extend that to the whole country by winning the final of the TSN Rockschool contest. They have powerful allies to that end – dj Mike Read is an acknowledged example – and if you want to see why, then just stand back and listen on Sunday night. Their all new set will include the three songs that won them the TSB regional heat, including MUSICBOX song of year ‘Hangin’ On’ plus many, many more that may be unfamiliar to those who haven’t caught the band in a long time. Expect to be impressed.

The other established band on the line-up are Emma Gibbs Loves Badges, who specifically requested to play alongside Catch 23. Lee Revelle’s band have undergone somewhat of a transformation since their early days and the increased profile and popularity of their performance indicates that it is a change that has been welcomed by the masses. I have become an admirer but being as I was slagged of for disliking them in the start and then slagged off for LIKING them in their last gig-fanzine I will offer no opinion at all because it would obviously be invalid. Suffice to say that they are very watchable these days. Try not to miss them.

Teaming up with these two old bands (seems daft calling Catch 23 old doesn’t it!) are two brand new acts – The Big Noise and Shock Culture. The latter, Shock Culture are a complete mystery to me unfortunately, and all I can say is that they are ideal festival material. By that I mean something which you can watch without any preconceptions allowing YOU to pigeon-hole them (if you must) before I do (if I must). There, that was a good way of hiding my ignorance wasn’t it.


Completing the show is The Big Noise. This outfit made up of Ben Machin, Carl Harris and Ana Situnyake say they are influenced by the likes of That Petrol Emotion, Teardrop Explodes and Captain Beefheart.

“The band are crispy in a crunchy sort of way.” Insists their manifesto. “You’ll have to listen to see what you think.”

Actually they sound pretty interesting and they are almost certain to get a good review because Ben Machin’s sister Helen is a Herald scribe who will no-doubtedly beat me up if I dare to dislike them.”

That’s the line-up then, pop kings Catch 23, the unique Emma Gibbs, the mysterious Shock Culture and the alt-popsters The Big Noise. It is a very entertaining looking line-up and at just £1 per person entry it represents the best value of the year.

The proceeds from the show (starts 8pm) will go towards this years Tamworth (outdoor) Rock Festival so that’s another good reason not to miss it. We’re looking for a capacity crowd on the night, you won’t let us down will you?

Tamworth Herald – 24/02/89
Musicbox – Get set for a good bash!
Tamworth’s Indoor Rock Festival reaches its third exciting night on Sunday when four very different bands tread the boards.

Sadly, as you will see in our story below, the original headliners DHSS have had to pull out. They will clearly be missed a great deal but fear not – we still have a very nice package indeed for your palates to taste.

The new headliners will be the band formerly known as The Space Seeds – Bash out The Odd. They will join up with Tamworth’s most popular new group of recent months, King Woderick, old favourites Never Say Die and the newly revamped Rape In Yellow.

Together it represents a very strong line-up and one which should appeal to music listeners covering a very wide spectrum.

Bash out The Odd will certainly bring with them a large, curiosity-filled audience. The band have been away from our sights for some time and have undergone both personnel and sound alterations. The personnel has had many changes most noticeably in that Mark Brindley has now taken the complete frontsman role while former Orange, Sitting Pretty and Great Express guitarist Julian Amos is now back with avengeance. In addition the brass crew has been revamped to include some very major talents and the whole sound has moved a little bit closer to the musical ideals of band instigator Mark Mortimer.

“It’s retained its commercial feel but is a lot harder now. We are all very happy about the sound.”

It’s hard to know what to expect with Bash Out The Odd, but look for a more powerful version of the oldpop-sounds of The Space Seeds.

Teeming up with the Bash Street Kids will be three equally unpredictable acts. Never Say Die are undeniably the most traditional rock outfit on the line-up, boasting a guitar-based sound which combines the best of the mid-Seventies and mid-Eighties and personnel who are literally weighed down with bags of experience. They don’t play too many shows and for that reason those that do are always worth watching. See what you think.

The Wodericks on the other hand seem to be the Arts Centre’s most regular visitors these days. They have launched themselves on the scene in a very big way a fact illustrated by a sell out Arts Centre show a few weeks back, a top 20 placing in the MUSICBOX poll and a highly-praised demo. Their sound? Don’t ask me, I’ve tried (and failed) to describe them several times now, all I can say is that they are fun, fun and more fun.

And so to Sunday’s fourth outfit – Rape in Yellow. They have nicked DHSS’s Sunday slot by virtue of being the festival’s ‘first reserve’ and they are delighted to have done so. The band are now full of renewed confidence and enthusiasm a fact highlighted by the faith they feel in their new demo. If you want to see if their faith is justified then trot along on Sunday.

As usual the proceedings start at 8pm, entry fee is an embarrassingly cheap £1 and all the profits will go towards making YOUR Tamworth outdoor rock festival the best yet. Get a Grip on Yourselves and Get it On.

Tamworth Herald – 24/02/89
Musicbox – DHSS – ‘We are sad and sorry’
DHSS have publicly apologised to their army of supporters for having to pull out of Sunday night’s Indoor festival concert.

The band were due to headline Sunday’s show and were looking to make it a belated thank-you celebration for being voted MUSICBOX Band of the Year.

But that old DHSS problem – the technical one – has caused the band to abandon ship. Guitarist John Reeman pulled the plug on the show because he believed that the band’s new equipment wouldn’t be ready in time.

“We wanted to be perfect before we played again to make it a real good show,” said John. “Sadly we aren’t yet ready.”

Keyboard man Rikk Quay and singer Edward ian Armchair both said they were gutted to have to pull out of the gig and have asked fans to forgive them.

“I had been looking forward to this gig since it was announced and I am upset and angry that we are not doing it now,” said Rikk.

DHSS’s place in the festival has been taken by Rape in Yellow as described above.

Tamworth Herald - 24/03/89
Musicbox – DHSS to do a gig shock horror shock?
First there was the Sunday Sport story that Hitler was a woman. Then the tale that Elvis was alive and working as a taxi driver in hull. And now, more sensational than all of that is the claim that DHSS are to do a gig!!

The band, who by their own admission have played less gigs in the last couple of years than the Beatles, are rumoured to have booked a gig at the Arts Centre on April 9. The MUSICBOX phone has been red hot all week as journalists from all around the globe have rang to see if this seemingly impossible story could be true.

In an exclusive interview at the Tavern in the Town the band’s sex-change keyboard player Ridiculous Quay confirmed the amazing story.

“Yes, we are playing.” Said the suspect one. “And what is more we are gonna blow the *** of every *** that ever *** walked the *** earth,” he said.

The rumour is that *** (I can’t even bring myself to say their name) will be playing on April 9 with King Wodericks, Chemikill and The First Conspiracy.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but if it comes off you have been warned. Stay clear of the Arts Centre on that night at all costs.

Tamworth Herald – 07/04/89
Musicbox – They’re Back!
MUSICBOX’S Band of the Year, DHSS will finally hit the Tamworth stage again on Sunday night.MUSICBOX’S Band of the Year, DHSS will finally hit the Tamworth stage again on Sunday night.

The group, who have been doing an impression of Lord Lucan over the past few months, will make their first live appearance since that famous weekend in December when they supported the all powerful Sigue Sigue Sputnik and then headline the Arts Centre,

Joining Steady Eddies squeezy clean electro popites will be The First Conspiracy, King Wodericks and debut-making thrash merchants Chemikill. It makes for a very lively and exciting four band line-up and one which looks set to give the Arts Centre another bumper attendance.

For DHSS of course it will be a belated thank-you show to all their loyal supporters. The band were as delighted as re-instated eunuchs to win the MUSICBOX poll and were determined to do a show to thank everyone. To say it is a little late would be an understatement but band spokesman, Ridiculous Quay says that the wait will be more than worth it.

“We may have been away for a long time but Dracula kept rising from the grave and he remained popular,” said Quay. “Believe me the wait will be worth it. We can guarantee our crowds - .M.A.D. – that’s mutually assured decibels,” he added.

Bendy Quay said that the band had spent many millions updating their equipment and they would now be faultless but not funless.

“It’s gonna be mega,” he said.

DHSS hope to parade one or two new numbers and hope to show that they have lost none of the drive and excitement value that led the Sputnix to pick them out of obscurity and offer them a prestigious support slot. They will aim to make Sunday more than a gig. They are aiming for an event.

Helping to make that so, will be three excellent support acts all of whom will guarantee a far slice of the crowd on the night. The First Conspiracy have also been missing from our local stages for far too long, a fact not helped by some burke (i.e. me) leaving them off the Indoor Festival line-up. The band whose recent demo was a scorcher are keenly looking forward to the show and a good set is assured.

If DHSS and the First Conspiracy have been strangers of the Arts Centre of late, the same cannot be said of another act on Sunday – King Wodericks and The Yogots. This band seem to have become the Love On Board of the late Eighties, making the Arts Centre their second home and improving considerably with every performance. With a big and committed following to cheer them on, the band seem to have tightened and strengthened their modern Indie sound and they should suit Sunday’s mood perfectly.

Completing Sunday’s show will be a brand new and very enthusiastic band. Chemikill have been buzzing for some time but Sunday’s show will be the first time that Gaz, Chris, Eppy and Ant will have unveiled their thrash sound to the world. They sent me a crazy, chaotic demo to illustrate their thrash metal sound and they are convince it will be a big crowd pleaser in Tamworth.

“The last band that tried to do stuff like this was Scarab,” said Gaz, “I know in Tamworth there are a lot of thrashers so we want to see you moshing down to see us ok?”

Yep, that’s OK but what exactly IS moshing?

Whatever it is I am sure it will prove another tasty ingredient in a menu of musical delights. DHSS are determined to go for it in a big, big way and with the First Conspiracy, Chemikill and the Wodericks aiming for a night to remember, a great gig seems as certain as rain at festival time.

Mosh on down at 8pm on Sunday and have a ball.

Tamworth Herald – 14/04/89
Musicbox – On the ball!

Caption: DHSS – football songsters!

The Town’s biggest pop band – DHSS – are to perform a special Wembley song for the Town’s biggest football club – Tamworth FC

The town’s favourite shock-rockers are to re-write their chirpy anthem ‘Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, La, La, La’ with a football theme to mark Tamworth FC’s first ever trip to a Wembley cup final. It was hoped that last night (Thursday) one or two of Tamworth FC’s big stars would descend on the Expresso Bongo studio to add their vocal skills to the track which will then be rush released.

In the meantime the band are still celebrating a highly well attended Arts Centre show which brought a massive crowd through the doors on Sunday night. Here is how it went…

Excellent debut set from a band who are noisy, nasty and nicely Neanderthal. They call this speed thrash metal, but to my old punk schlonk ears it sounded like a vicious variation on Sham 69, Anti-Nowhere League and The Ramones. They looked a lean, mean fighting machine and their attitude and language prove that they clearly came from the Wolfsbane charm school. Horribly attractive stuff.

King Wodericks
Regular readers will note that I have said that the Wodericks add a new dimension very time they play. This time round it was dance-ability. The normally erratic rhythm base was replaced by a kind of fledgling funk and the new tunes produced showed that the band are making more commercial, dance-orientated music these days. A good, well-balanced set highlighted for me by some truly wicked and wild keyboard work. Mention of this show cannot pass without commenting on one of the biggest and loudest supporters. Karen…who verbally attacked me afterwards on everything from God to sexism. Nice girl I’m sure but the sort who belongs behind bars instead of in front of them. Long live Ghandi hey Karen!

The First Conspiracy
Strong set from a band whose epic themes and epic sounds still go down well with their home audience. Their lack of recent live action made them sound hungrier and angrier and even though they still weren’t exactly leaping around the stage, their visual impact was stronger than in recent gigs. Best thing of all was the way the relative newies (Beyond the Pale’ and ‘Touch My Heart’ for example) came over more powerfully than the golden oldies, which shows that the band have moved on well and can now look forward with confidence, safe in the knowledge that their songwriting ability is continuing to improve.

OK, I’ll admit it, this wasn’t the best DHSS gig I’ve seen. It ended up in somewhat of a triumph with the bands many delights pouring out of the speakers with increasing degrees of smileability, but it just took too long to get going. A slight error in the first song seemed to weaken the band’s confidence and it wasn’t until they reached the mid-point of the set that they began to climb back to the top of Division One with their sound. The last 30 minutes f the set was extremely enjoyable …absence from our stages for several months made them lose their killer edge. A couple more (quick) concerts under their belts and the band will be back on course for world domination but this show proved that there is no substitute for live experience and the band need to find the same sort of love for the stage as they have for the studio. Right, there goes my free drinks in the Tavern!

Review by Sam Holliday
(curiously described on the night as looking like a ‘vampire from the Lost Boys) and having a ‘footballers haircut’ and from Quay at least as being ‘a total ***head’!

Tamworth Herald – 21/04/89
Musicbox – DHSS hit by the Wembley fever!
DHSS have carried out their threat to record the OFFICIAL Tamworth FC Wembley football song.DHSS have carried out their threat to record the OFFICIAL Tamworth FC Wembley football song.

The four piece MUSICBOX band of the year were hoping that the Wembley tape comprising ‘Tamworth Boys’ and ‘Come On You Reds’ would be available this weekend for the pleasure of DHSS and Tamworth fans alike.

The idea for the joint venture came from DHSS keyboard man Rikk Quay who suggested it on the long haul back from the Catch 23 triumph at the TSB final in Bradford. At that stage Tamworth were not even in the final but Quay looked ahead and said ‘if there is a Wembley song, we want to do it!”

And that is exactly what has happened. Last week the band re-arranged their anthemic ‘Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, La, La, La’ track, wrote new tongue in cheek lyrics and then hoped that several Tamworth players would come along to complete the vocals.

And to the delight of Rikk, John, Anice and Ed that is precisely what occurred. Following their training session last Thursday night, no less than eight team players descended on the Expresso Bongo studios to join in the punkified rant of the ‘Tamworth Boys’ song.

Among those taking part were Tamworth skipper Andy Foote, stalwart defended Bobby Atkins and ‘star’ keeper Dale Belford who is an admitted DHSS fan.

“It took some persuading to get the lads down to the studio but when they got their they really enjoyed it,” said Dale.

The song it must be stressed is not yer-average football song. Although the lyrics are the usual jovial, catchy things (i.e. ‘Tamworth boys, we are here, see us score, hear us cheer,’ etc.) the music has not been compromised one iota. Hence this is the first neo-punk football song and for that very reason, it works wonderfully. It simply bounces along with a power and humour that leaves most football songs looking like, well football songs and clearly shows that DHSS and the loonier end of the Tamworth FC squad make for a winning team.

The two track tape, more details of which can be found elsewhere in this week’s paper, should be available as of now from both DHSS and Tamworth FC. And, with DHSS’s share of the profits gong to the Hillsborough disaster fund there is EVERY reason to buy the crazy tape…

Tamworth Herald – 28/04/89
Musicbox – Never Walk Alone!
TAMWORTH Arts Centre looks set to be packed-to-bursting on Sunday when several of the area’s greatest bands combine their talents for a special Hillsborough benefit.

The gig has been put through by Emma Gibbs’ man Lee Revelle and his contribution cannot be under-stated. He also deserves praise for writing the report below. He actually asked for anonymity, but I felt the report was so good that I would deny his request.

Catch 23, Emma Gibbs Loves Badges, DHSS, Scream Dream, World Intelligence Network and Shock Culture are among the bands participating in a benefit for the Hillsborough Relief Fund at The Arts Centre this Sunday.

In a magnificent gesture, Dave Fortune, the Arts Centre supreme has give free use of the hall for the evening ensuring all of the £1.50 entrance fee goes directly to the Fund.

Likely headliners Catch 23, oozing megastar confidence, have promised a mixture of old classics, interspersed with the odd cover version. Do not expect to leave The Arts Centre on Sunday without having heard the Catch lads blitz The Beatles and The Bunneymen.

Emma Gibbs Loves Badges will be parading an expanded line up for the first time, willing to impress all with a combination of fragile pop songs and massive stage presence. Guitarist Rob Kinson hinted that the bands recent songwriting flurry will be in evidence along with a couple of golden oldies.

One of the first groups to be involved were demonic metallists Scream Dream, who offer a raucous variation to the pop-drenched songs that make up the rest of the evening. Stephen king and his hairy bunch have undertaken to give a no holds barred performance which should delight all those with even slightly greasy tendencies.

Most unusual attraction of the evening will be an acoustic (yes!) stint by certain members of DHSS. Edward ian Armchair was a co-instigator of the event and welcomes the chance to (finally) let his intelligent songwords be heard, feeling that they are sometimes lost in the synth-based racket that is standard DHSS.

Shock Culture made their Tamworth debut a couple of months ago and are steadily improving with age. Expect a refreshing set from the Smiths-influenced pop kids.

Latest addition are W.I.N. performing for the second time in as many months. For anyone too young to remember them, if your pleasures include Cope, The Chameleons and songs about steamrollers, W.I.N. are good for you.

Although it was initially hoped for a full Fetch Eddie set, pod has ‘nipped off on his hols’. However, the bands cherubic guitarist Aaron James has pledged his support to the cause and is currently using his connections to form some sort of supergroup. What this entails is anyone’s guess but miss it at your peril!

All in all this show has event written all over it. There is a high possibility of more bands being added to the vastly impressive line up, but that this is already (excepting the festival( Tamworth’s gig of the year is quite beyond dispute. The running order is to be fought over on the night. So ensure you have a foothold in the door by 7.30, you might miss something historic.

Reporter by Lover-Lee Revelle

Tamworth Herald – 28/04/89
Musicbox – A winner!
Tamworth Boys and The DHSS – ‘Tamworth Boys’Tamworth Boys and The DHSS – ‘Tamworth Boys’
IN which Tamworth’s two greatest exports come together to produce possibly the finest five minutes of music since the last Wolfsbane EP.

Inspired by DHSS man Rikk ‘Who is Russell Gordon anyway?” Quay, this stunning two-tracker combines DHSS’s manic brilliance with the style, guts and sheer charisma that is Tamworth FC these days. To the music lovers out there ‘Tamworth boys’ is electro-punk of the very highest calibre and to the footy freaks, it is a football song to match any Cup final record you’ve ever heard.

The massed choirs of Tamworth (Belford, Ward, Foote, Heaton, Holliday and the entire crowd from the Gloucester game) provide backing vocals to DHSS's “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh” tune in a waxing that should already be a candidate for local song of the year. Bouncy, powerful and wonderful fun, just like Tamworth FC really. And if you didn’t want to buy it already, let me tell you that half the proceeds go to the Hillsborough fund. Worthy cause and a classic moment in Tamworth’s history.

Review: Martin Warrillow

Tamworth Herald – 05/05/89
Big Butty and the Wide Boys – Can’t get my breathMusicbox – And now he makes records!
Big Butty and the Wide Boys – Can’t Get My Breath
This bright young star makes his recording debut with an incredibly catchy rap/dance track with the help of Tamworth’s Stock, Aitken and Waterman (who have also been known to trade under the name of DHSS whenever they manage to play live).

The clean cut Rick Astley-style artist lends some added glamour to what is probably one of the most commercial tracks ever to come out of Tamworth.

It is best described as a sort of ‘Buttercup meets the Pet Shop Boys meet Run DMC meet the Fat Boys meets DHSS meets SAW meets 30 pints of lager’ track…and that’s about as specific as it is possible to be.

Musically it would not sound out of place in the charts and is as sure to fill the dancefloor almost as well as Buttercup.

The vocals…well, surprising as it may be, Butty’s voice is well suited to the track and his style of rapping may be a little unconventional but why not?

The man has obviously been a hidden talent for all these years and he could well become very big (!). One day you’ll be telling your grandchildren that you used to know Buttercup when he hung around with people in Tamworth.


Tamworth Herald – 18/05/89
Musicbox – The French Connection
SCREAM Dream have just grabbed a tasty slice of the international action. For the five piece cult (or is that Cult?) act have been booked to take part in a major European festival at the start of August.

The group will join three other British bands at the Lyons (France) festival on August 5 in front of an estimated 25,000 strong crowd.

The band earned this marvellous trek after their tape was eagerly snatched up by a European agency. They agreed to out the band on at Lyons in what has become recognised as a very popular outdoor event.

“This is obviously the biggest thing that has happened to the band and we are all delighted,” explained guitarist Paul Keeton. “We are going to be playing in a massive bullfighting arena which last year was full of Europeans dying to hear good British music.”

The concert will give the band not only their biggest ever gig but also their first major taste of the high-life. They will be flown out to France and will be put up in a hotel during the course of their stay. It all sounds too good to be true, but the group have the contract to prove it.

“It is all a bit unreal at the moment but we have it in black and white and so everything is finalised. It should be a great weekend.
,” said Paul.

Local fans will be able to catch Scream Dream a little closer to home in the next couple of months. On June 2 they play the third “Scum Ball” gig at Tamworth Assembly Rooms up with DHSS, Flowers in the Attic and Sheffield band The Edge Of Faith.

Scream Dream follow this on Sunday July 16 when they play on one of the major slots at Tamworth Rock Festival. And then it is off for a bit of ‘ooh la la!”

Tamworth Herald – 02/06/89
Musicbox – Scummy-types head for the Assems!

TAMWORTH Assembly Rooms is the setting tonight (Friday) for a splendid line-up in the second ‘Scum Ball’ event.

The Assembly Rooms will open its doors to the power of Scream Dream, Flowers in the Attic, Sheffield missionaries The Edge of Faith and the MUSICBOX band of the year, DHSS.

The quartet will join forces for what Scream Dream guitarist Paul Keeton confidently believes will be a real party.

“The great thing about playing at the Assembly Rooms is that everyone seems to enjoy the spectacle,” said Paul. “For the bands it is a wonderful ego trip being able to play on such a big stage, and all the punters seem to enjoy going to the Assems as well.”

Scum Ball Two aims to be more that-yer-average gig. The organisers have splashed out considerable expense to hire the Assembly Rooms and according to Paul that extra expense (and extra risk) is very worthwhile.

“The Arts Centre is good for smaller gigs but you can’t beat getting out onto a stage like the Assembly Rooms and giving it some stick,” he said. “Everyone liked the last couple of Assems shows we did and we are confident that a big crowd will turn out on Friday night.”

Opening tonight’s Scum Ball will be Flowers in the Attic, easily one of the most popular new bands on the scene. The show organisers are hoping that the Atticers will bring in a whole new audience to the Scum Ball scene and a good set is assured.

Following on from the Flowers will be the Edge of Faith, a band who you won’t have seen yet. They hail from Sheffield and such is their pedigree that they have already toured with the famous alternative act Salvation. The Edge of Faith are described as unashamed Mission-ites and they sound like good Tamworth material.

Third up tonight will be Scream Dream, the main organisers of Scum Ball ’89 and the only band to have played all the three Assembly Rooms rock bonanzas. The band promise a set featuring one or two newies and they are looking to show the world that they have hardened their alternative base.

“We’ve definitely got a bit heavier,” said Paul, “That’s entirely because of our drummer whose a real metal-head.”

Following on from Screamers and the Metalhead, will be the walking, wailing nightmare that is DHSS. This four-piece have been keeping busy of late and are keenly awaiting the chance to play in the luxurious Assembly rooms arena. It is the same stage that had held The Beatles and The Rolling Stones remember so DHSS should feel well at home with those fellow mega-stars…

“We’re gonna be as mega as ever,” said eloquent keyboard fraud Rope Quay, “It should be even more fun than watching grass grow.”

Reggie Quay added that DHSS would feature a ‘very large surprise’ in the middle of their set and without giving too much away it is ONE of a) Jason Donavan b) Julius Caesar or c) Buttercup. We don’t know which one at this stage.

That’s the package then – Flowers in the Attic, Edge of Faith, Scream Dream and DHSS. Throw in the excellent Hamlets bar, a big noisy sound and a lot of fun and you can get for a fine show.

It starts at 8pm so get your scummy selves along to Scum ball 2!

Tamworth Herald – 09/06/89
Musicbox – Spaced out at Scumball II
FOR THE MANY Scumballers who obviously overdid it at the Assems bar and are having difficulty remembering the evening, let me assure you that you did enjoy it…

With Sheffield’s Edge of Faith apparently enjoying the delights of Britain’s motorways (they never did arrive) it was left to Flowers in the Attic to set the Scumball rolling. It’s never an easy task to be first on but with the large hall filling up slowly from the back – the band had to look far into the dark and distant reaches of the Assems for their audience.

It was an impressive set and my only complaints would be that the vocals didn’t match up to the Flower’s powerful music and that the band failed to make use of the fairly big Assems stage.

I’m sure they’ll go from strength to strength before we’ve seen many more Scumballs however.

LOOKING and sounding undeniably like a cross between The Cult and any good old-fashioned Heavy Metals band you care to name, the Kings of Scumball showed how much they enjoy the venue and the event as they put on a powerful performance.

Part of the timid crowd had ventured nearer the front and it was clear that Scumball II was living up to its expectations.

‘Not their best’ said a source close to the band, who shall remain nameless, but it was certainly good and will have whetted a few appetites for their Rock festival appearance.

THE SCUMBALL demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of DHSS quite clearly. Their strengths are their ability to play in a large-ish venue and to get the crowd enjoying a load of their now familiar songs, plus splendid new tunes like ‘Pennies from Heaven’. The stage also gave Rikk Quay plenty of room to leap around without knocking too much over.

The weakness was the inevitable cock-up as the band’s Computer Studies CSE proved insufficient to keep the music to certain songs going for longer than a few seconds. Musically and technically they are excellent but on far too many occasions they show all the organisation of a British rail timetable…and it’s a shame. When they are good, they are absolutely brilliant, but when things go wrong, they can be embarrassing.

Shock news following Friday’s gig is that Scream Dream vocalist Steve has parted company with the band. Band spokesman Paul Keeton blamed good old traditional ‘Musical differences’ for the split. Musicbox understands a replacement singer is already being lined up.

Sean Atkins

Tamworth Herald – 30/06/89
Musicbox – Your (moaning) letters

Dear Mr. Atkins,

I would like to ask you one question, were you in full control of your mind the other Friday at the ‘Scum Ball’ because I just cannot understand your comments. Everybody else seemed to have a different point of view. I have been to numerous gigs by the DHSS and I thought they did one of their best performances. To blame everybody who was involved in the performance was pathetic.

If you don’t see the main reason why they have their computer break-downs then don’t bother at all. If I was in the DHSS I would have been very offended. So its about time you turned your criticism onto some of the other groups that deserve a good slagging off. If they embarrass you when you are standing watching them then I think you are strongly outnumbered. I am not embarrassed to say that I follow DHSS. The best thing you can do at the next gig is not turn up then maybe they would get a better deal.

Goldie (A DHSS fan)

Reply by Sean Atkins who reviewed the Scum Ball

Hopefully your letter has appeared in full, giving you a chance to say everything you wanted to say. Unfortunately, the weeks the ‘Scum Ball’ review was printed was a very busy week and the lack of space meant that I could not include a very comprehensive review of the DHSS gig.

I went into Chief Scooper’s den and asked our furry friend if I could borrow some of his page but he put his paw done and refused. So I was left with room for just a few sentences which included my observations of both the good and bad points of the DHSS performance. Looking back it does give the impression that I was slagging them off but it is just because there wasn’t room for all the praise they deserved.

I may have been outnumbered in my views but I was not alone. Martin ‘when DHSS are bad they’re embarrassing’ Warrillow did help me form my opinions. I honestly believe that DHSS were by far the best band of the Scumball and that they are in a class – along with Wolfsbane and Catch 23 – which sets them well above other local bands. It is because of this class that I expect more from them…like songs lasting longer than 53 seconds!

Sean Atkins (A DHSS fan)

MUSICBOX welcomes all your views and opinions on what we write and we want you to always feel free to send in reviews of concerts we may miss. This has worked very well in recent months and as far as we are concerned the more readers reviews and views we hear the better. It’s your music scene and your music column so keep them reports (good, bad or ugly) coming.

Tamworth Herald – 11/08/89
Musicbox – Why the poll-winners split ranks

AS many puzzled pop fans noticed at the Tamworth Rock festival, Rikk Quay and DHSS are no longer a married couple.

AS many puzzled pop fans noticed at the Tamworth Rock festival, Rikk Quay and DHSS are no longer a married couple.

Just seven months after Rikk, Ed, Anice and John claimed a superb victory in the MUSICBOX poll, the band has said farewell to Mr. Quay to the surprise of most people on the local rock scene.

Rikk was one of the originators of the DHSS concept and its loudest supporter. His decision to depart – just days before the festival show – shocked a lot of people so we asked both sides to prepare their own ‘statements’ on why the split occurred. This is a unique change from just saying ‘musical differences caused a blow-out’ and it gives a neat insight into how local bands works and think. Fans of the poll-topping group should note that the band is still very much together and underneath this article you will see that Rikk Quay too has decided to boldly go forwards. But first – why did he leave. The DHSS statement kicks us off…

Rikk Quay has left the DHSS – a mutual and amicable separation.

Rikk remains good friends with all the band but was unable to accept professional and responsible attitudes set by the band.

Rikk’s departure will in no way affect live work of the band, his computer operating skills are now in the capable hands of Anice.

Since over 90 per cent of songwriting has been done by Armchair and Reeman, there will be no change in the musical direction the band has pursued over the past 18 months.

Any gaps left by Rikk’s departure will be easily filled by the present members taking a more active role in the future.

John, Anice and Ed (The DHSS)

My reasons for leaving are as follows…

1. At the last band meeting it was stated that the DHSS music would get away from experimentation and the punk image. As experimentation was the prime reason I joined the band, I found this unacceptable.
2. At the same meeting it was unanimously decided that my so called ‘cavorting about’ on stage was ‘appalling’. This I could not accept as I have been the same for years now and will never change.
3. In the last few months I was attending practices and finding that songs were already written. Any constructive ideas I then had were mostly dismissed.
4. The band were bent on professionalism. I totally agree with the idea but before the festival we never practised for nearly three weeks which was not professional in my book. I refused to play the festival because of this and I was told if I did not do so I should leave the band. I agreed and thereby left DHSS.

Rikk Quay

The big noticeboard being put up from DHSS is ‘no change’. The group will now continue as a three piece featuring Edward ian Armchair, John Reeman and Anice Byfield. They made their debut in this guise at the festival and earned a very good reception for a lively set. Future dates and demos have yet to be confirmed by the band but they are very definitely still together.

Rikk has begun a new project called Rhythm Damage. This will be a totally new venture for Rikk and he feels that Tamworth will never have seen anything like it before. Basically Rikk will be at the heart of a series of tapes/gigs all of which will feature totally different musicians all working for the same loosely-defined project. He wants any musicians who fancy the chance of experimenting with him in the studio (musically I mean!) to come forward and already he has several who want to work on different kinds of music, all linked under the Rhythm Damage umbrella. It is difficult to describe in print but Rikk certainly knows and understand what he wants and we hope to reveal more shortly. In short he says “I want to destroy every possible music form and any musician who wants to partake in bringing down their own musical style will find a home with me.”

Tamworth Herald – 08/12/89
Musicbox – SNIPS, NEWS
DHSS have pulled out of a proposed gig at the Arts Centre next week.

Tamworth Herald – 22/12/89
Musicbox – DHSS appeal for members
THE once four-strong DHSS unit has been reduced to just one member.

After months of frustrating inactivity the band’s lead singer Edward ian Armchair has decided to ‘sack’ fellow cohorts John Reeman and Anice Byfield. Ed says he is still very friendly with both John and Anice but felt that the future of DHSS depended on the band getting back into action with renewed enthusiasm.

“They have both got other commitments at the moment and I really want to hit the stage again. I am now looking for similar-minded musicians to join me and help get DHSS back onto the road,” he said. “I want us to be a strong and powerful band and I am convinced that we can be that again.”

If you share the DHSS ideals and want to join Ed (he is really looking for a bassist, guitarist, drummer and female backing singer) then ring him on 50954.

Tamworth Herald - 12/01/90
Musicbox - DHSS Split - Ed Explains Why
Dear Sam,

Caption: Pictured on one of their last ventures, the Buttercup video I write with somewhat depressing news concerning THE DHSS, but it is with great sadness that I have decided there is no point whatsoever in continuing THE DHSS in its present format.

As it is at the moment as I am sure you will agree, THE DHSS is an irrelevance, we have only performed live three times in 1989 and only ten times in all, which, is frankly embarrassing. Recently it has become obvious that the situation is not about to change and never will. John Reeman yet again found a reason to cancel a gig, namely the December 15th Arts Centre Show, and has not contacted me since: in all honesty I cannot see him wanting to perform live on a regular basis in 1990 and beyond.

In my opinion, a band can only achieve success and acclaim by performing live, regularly, and to different audiences. I made this clear when I reformed THE DHSS in 1987 and throughout our time together. This was always met by a negative, apathetic attitude by both John Reeman and Rikk Quay, and I feel that this attitude will persist with John Reeman, ad infinitum.

My intention from day one of forming THE DHSS was to achieve ultimate success, I feel for a short time we had the most original, exciting and innovative music; not only locally but on a much wider scale. Songs such as ‘Pennies From Heaven’ and ‘Until The Love Bites Fade’ proved that the high standard could still be achieved, but what is the point in having a dozen songs of excellent quality when they can only be heard in John Reeman’s bedroom? I feel we have wasted a wonderful opportunity to do very well in the music business and it would be such a shame, not only for THE DHSS but for many fans we have amassed if these songs would be lost forever. I have therefore decided to move on with THE DHSS, by finding new members, i.e. a guitarist, bass player, drummer and backing vocalist. These people will have a positive attitude towards performing, practising and song writing and will want to achieve something of significance with THE DHSS.

Although it will obviously be very difficult to find four people with such attitudes, I’m sure it is preferable to sitting around doing nothing. There are many young people around and about who would love to be part of THE DHSS and the exciting project that it once was. I intend to perform many of the same songs, as I said, it would be such a shame if they were never heard again. It will be interesting to see how they sound with ‘real’ instruments.

Yours sincerely,
Edward Ian Armchair

Tamworth Herald – 26/01/90
Musicbox – DHSS - The Row Rages On - DHSS Letter Special

Edward Ian Armchair’s recent letter about what he saw as the reason for the original split of the DHSS provoked a furious response.

Here are three letters which show the other side of the coin. The end result appears to be that there are now TWO DHSS’s which must be twice as good for the rest of us…

Following your recent publication of a somewhat misinformed letter from Edward Ian Armchair, the remaining and continuing members of the DHSS would like to straighten the warped record.

Edward Ian Armchair may have left but the band continues to rock ‘n’ roll on. We have been, and will always be a socially aware and democratic band, albeit with a mean capitalistic streak. Two-thirds of the band remain and will continue to pursue the same unique musical excellence with what we consider to be a constructive change of vocal style.

Edward Ian Armchair did not solely form the DHSS in 1987, Rikk Quay, John Reeman and Edward Ian Armchair originally got together to produce a studio project, Anice was brought in to complete the team. Originally there was no intention to perform live. To say that Rikk Quay or ourselves were apathetic to live performances has as much truth as Armchair has hair. Not only did we develop a unique (if temperamental) dual computer system to perform live, songs that were not originally written or arranged with that in mind, but during 1989 we spent nearly £5,000 upgrading our equipment to make live performances a more reliable and practical proposition.

Our plans for 1990 start with a studio outing to record ‘Pennies From Heaven’, ‘Until The Love Bites Fade’, ‘Body On A Slab’ and ‘Man-in-and-about The House’. We hope that Edward Ian Armchair will join us in this project as he is still a vocalist we admire, respect and regard as a close personal friend. We will then perform live promoting this recording.

We the DHSS continue. The ‘Saint Edward Ian Armchair Real Instrument Band’ may play our songs but like ‘Coca Cola’ nothing beats the real thing.

Anice and John
(The DHSS)

P.S. ‘Headed Notepaper’ doesn’t have a band. Music and people do.

Dear Sam,

I’m writing to you concerning the letter that appeared in the recent Music Box about the DHSS. I’m not bothered whether you mention this letter on your page or not. I just wanted to talk to you. At the moment, it seems very one sided. I’m waiting to hear the other points of view.

They do say you are innocent until proven guilty. I just hope that the other people involved get as much of your time as Edward Ian Armchair. There may be some very good reasons for things that have happened. I just hope Mr Armchair can see that is so, before he writes any more disturbing letters. Thanks for reading this.


Dear Sam,

I’m so apathetic I can’t be bothered to replay to the Ed Armchair DHSS letter.

Yours negatively,
Rikk ‘Yawn Yawn’ Quay

P.S. OK, OK, I lied. I will admit that just lately I haven’t been attending DHSS practices or doing gigs, but it may have escaped Ed’s attention that I left the band seven months ago. I have since joined up with Chris and John to form Rhythm Damage who are currently recording a 12in EP and I am very happy with it. So Ed, isn’t it time you ‘grew up’, stopped bitching and got on with ‘your’ band. Let me get on with mine and stop being pathetic - you are a big boy now!

Finally, three questions-
(1) What are ‘real instruments’?
(2) Who reformed the DHSS in 1987?
And most importantly…(3) WHO CARES?!!

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