Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

The First Conspiracy

The Conspiracy
The First Conspiracy
Photograph courtesy: Tamworth Herald

Musical Genre/Type: Punk
Formed: 1988

Band Members:
Break it Beth - Bass Guitar
Lisa Cooke - Vocals
Roger Moore - Guitar
Simon Harvey - Drums

The First Conspiracy
Tamworth Arts Centre

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First Conspiracy
Enots, Lichfield

Space Seeds
First Conspiracy
Tamworth Arts Centre

Catch 23
First Conspiracy
Tamworth Arts Centre

First Conspiracy
Old Varsity Tavern
Selly Oak

First Conspiracy
Lichfield Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald Articles:

Tamworth Herald - 25/11/88
Musicbox – First Step to glory
The First ConspiracyONE of Tamworth’s most durable and popular bands return to the Arts Centre on Sunday night boasting a new name, a new set and a new line-up.

The Conspiracy – who now officially trade under the name of The First Conspiracy – will line up alongside fellow Town favourites Spiral Eye and much vaunted Birmingham band The Blue Street Raiders.

Headlining the show will be The First Conspiracy, making their first major Arts Centre appearance for several months. The band regard the show as very important, hoping it will reassert them as a major force in the area. The band have spent a long time getting their new line-up together and they hope to have one or two surprises up their sleeves to impress their large group of supporters.

Simon Harvey“WE all feel very excited about the way things are going at the moment, “admitted Lisa Cooke. “We are all very enthusiastic and we have spent a long time planning for this series of shows.”

The first thing people will notice about the band that will be different (apart of course for their name) is a new drummer. The excellent former sticksman Sonny had to leave the band due to his imminent departure to live in Canada but his replacement youthful former Great Express man Simon Harvey – has fitted in marvellously.

“We are all obviously disappointed about Sonny, but Simon has come in and done really well. He is a superb drummer and we all get on with him really well so the good atmosphere within the band has continued.” Said Lisa.

As sometimes happens, a new member brings new enthusiasm and the band are fired up again to try and make a go of it. There are new songs promised and a possibly more visual show which the First Conspiracy hope will combine to really set them on course for local and national – glory.

“Everyone is really keen too go as far as possible and we are certainly looking forward to Sunday’s gig. Said Lisa. The show on Sunday night will be the latest in a short series by the First Conspiracy. We apologise for missing out on the band’s other dates which was caused by a certain MUSICBOX Editor being away for the past fortnight.

Joining the First Conspiracy will be Spiral Eye and The Blue Street Raiders. Spiral Eye who I am reliably informed are not now called The First Spiral Eye! Will need very little introduction and their unique (for it is definitely that) sound is certain to warm up the watching ensemble on what should be a very cold night. More about them I shall not say – if you’ve seen them you will know what to expect. If you haven’t then expect the unexpected.

Completing the Sunday night line-up ate The Blue Street Raiders. This Birmingham-based band come with a very warm recommendation from First Conspiracy guitarist roger Moors who reckons they are brilliant. According to the band the group sound like a mixture of Hendrix and the Georgia Satellites and such is their status that they are soon to play some major European shows. They should add a powerful ingredient to Sunday’s show and with that sort of musical pedigree look set to boast an already large crowd.

So, that’s the score for this one. Three bands all of known quality and all of considerable power. Spiral Eye will be aiming to submerge you into their tantalising undergrowth, the Blue Street raiders will be out to guitar you to death and The First Conspiracy will be aiming to prove that a new name, a new line-up and a new set can lead to new and exciting things.

Sounds a terrific night. See you there.

Tamworth Herald - 25/11/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
The First Conspiracy are due to play at JB’s Dudley on Monday night.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox – Eye-lashing!
The First Conspiracy – Tamworth Arts Centre

Maybe it was a bit unfair this. A new line-up, a new name, a new set and I guess you expect almost a new band. Which of course you don’t get so you feel deflated. But make no mistake this IS the First Conspiracy (or rather the Second Conspiracy) and the new ingredient perhaps was missing from one or two mid-year shows was enthusiasm. Faced with a big crowd and a big sense of occasion, Lisa led the boys in a speedy onslaught through a set of newies, oldies and cover versions alike. The new songs sounded stronger and a little more progressive while the older numbers were given a new and refreshing strength with ‘blood and roses’ stealing the whole show for ‘em and the sizzling ‘Passions Burning’ enjoying a second wind that earned it a very enthusiastic response. I wasn’t too sure about the cover versions though. Surely it would have been better to play covers that were written for a female singer rather than a male one, because Eddie Cochran and Feargal Sharkey are hardly ideal vocalists for a booking young lady to follow. Still like most of the set the covers went down well and the general post-show impression was that The First Conspiracy are now back on course and all the more confident for it. Simon Harvey made an excellent Arts Centre debut and the band as a whole emerged from this testing show with their hopes realised and their reputations enhanced. Still the same band of course but with an added ingredient of newly-found cocktail hope ‘n’ ambition. The passion is definitely burning again.


Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Fetch Eddie have been confirmed to play the Sonic Noise event on Thursday December 22 at the Arts Centre. They will join Emma Gibbs plus two other as yet unnamed bands. The following night (Friday Dec 23), A5 will team up with the Space Seeds and The First Conspiracy.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Engine, Roma and First Conspiracy are set to team up at Lichfield Enots on December 9 for a special FOD promotions show. Tickets are a mere £2.

Tamworth Herald - 23/12/88
Musicbox – Christmas spirit aplenty
TAMWORTH Arts Centre stages it’s VERY last Christmas party tonight (Friday).

Three bands are on offer for those who fancy some Christmas spirit (along with their Christmas spirits) and those on offer are A5, The Space Seeds and The First Conspiracy.

Headlining the show are much vaunted A5, who have scored very well in this year’s poll. The band who have been around for so long now they have just released an 11 track ‘greatest hits’ album (review to follow) see this as a fine end to a productive year for the six piece. They have played a host of gigs, had radio exposure and sessions in the Southern counties and are bristling with the same confidence that first brought the band together.

Alongside the established A5 are two oldish bands with newish elements. The First Conspiracy of course recently debuted their new drummer Simon Harvey and a jolly good time was had by all. They will clearly hope to repeat the splendid exercise tonight.

Completing the show are The Space Seeds. They will be making their first appearance since Julian Amos came in to replace former singer Martin Kelly and according to band spokesman Mark Mortimer, it should be an ‘interesting’ experience.

“We are not completely ready as yet to be honest but we felt we wanted to do the show,” he said. The three bands combined make for a very different and interesting...so make your way to the Arts Centre tonight.

I can’t say it will improve your Christmas hangover at all but I can say you will have BIG fun.

Tamworth Herald – 20/01/89
Musicbox – Snips
Among demos which have just been recorded or are in the process of recording are The First Conspiracy, The Searching, Big Noise and King Woderick. Reviews and more details as and when we get them.

Tamworth Herald – 17/02/89
Musicbox – Musicbox Demo Choice

Roger MooreThe First Conspiracy
This splendid three track demo proves conclusively to me that The First Conspiracy’s real forte is in the studio. Their first demo was a revelation and this is equally exciting. Three well-produced songs, bursting with power and purpose which makes you wonder why they sometimes just fail to hit the mark live. Opener ‘Touch My Heart’ is the best of all, a rousing, catchy outburst where Lisa’s voice reaches a new peak, twisting and vibrating with an admirable charisma and personality. ‘Beyond The Pale’ (a pure steal from The Ruts) and ‘Little Children 2’ have equal tasteful ingredients and the whole tape is extremely satisfying and uplifting. Best thing of all is the stunning guitar work of Roger Moore. On ‘Beyond The Pale’ especially he displays the killer touch of a genuine axe hero and I am left feeling nothing but admiration for this man’s finger-plucking technique. That’s the best bit of it but there are bags more good things about this tape and I would urge you to give it a fair waxing if you get a chance. Excellent demo, a major step forward.

Review: Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 24/02/89
Musicbox – SNIPS
Belated apologies to the First Conspiracy who it seems I missed out of the Indoor Festival line-up by mistake. Heartfelt apologies chaps (and chappess) and as compensation I promise I won’t print any of your old pics again. The pic of Andy Wiggall however is a different matter.

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 – 14/04/89
Musicbox – On the ball!

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 – 25/08/89
Musicbox – SNIPS…NEWS
The First Conspiracy are on the lookout for a new drummer. The band want someone who is keen, reliable and ‘capable of drinking Newcastle Brown Ale’ to contact them. This is a rare chance to join one of the area’s top bands, so drummers out there better get ringing!

Tamworth Herald- 19/01/90
Musicbox - Art for Arts sake!
Tamworth- Arts Centre this weekend stages three cracking fund-raising concerts with some of the biggest names on the local scene.

Catch 23, Kraze, Fetch Eddie, Spiral Eye and a ‘Euphoria’ rave are just a few of the delightful events planned to raise money for the centre this week and it promises to have all the feel and fun of a festival.

All three shows are designated to help finance the various improvements at the Arts Centre in recent months and all the bands have offered their services free of charge.

Six great bands will be playing over Saturday and Sunday- Spiral Eye, The First Conspiracy, Kraze, Fetch Eddie, The Big Noise and Catch 23 - but the whole thing kicks off tonight (Friday) with a Euphoria rave. Here is what is happening when, starting with a preview of the Euphoria gig by Ms. Jo Marsh…

Tonight (Friday) Euphoria Dance Event
‘Euphoria’ does its humble bit for stage salvation tonight by holding the second of many happenings. The previous December event was considered an astonishing success by the organisers, if only for the realised vision of a strobe flickering Arts Centre jammed solid with sweat-soaked dancers. The very few murmurings of discontent received on the night have been accounted for and thus the musical cross section covered will be broader than before, catering for the more discerning (i.e. whinging) ‘Indie Fan’, although dance is still the key word of the night. The message is clear: ‘do the magic boogie till we all black out.’ The rave is on! (7.45-Midnight, cost £1.50)

Saturday Night - Spiral Eye/ Fetch Eddie/ Big Noise
In real ‘Festival’ style, a very diverse trio indeed. The Spiral Eye boys are currently on a major national tour, picking up friends as they go with their rambling psychedelic rockslog and they will no doubt receive a big welcome from their hometown crowd. Fetch Eddie have also been away from these shores for a some time and will also be welcomed back with open arms by their Tamworth followers while The Big Noise make a bravely early return to the Arts Centre considering recent events! All told however it makes for a cracking three band line up and one which is likely to bring in a big Saturday night crowd.

Sunday Night - Catch 23/ Kraze/The First Conspiracy
Another splendid and highly varied line up comprising everything from pure metal to pure pop. At the metal end of the spectrum we have Kraze who deserve enormous credit for putting this whole Arts Centre fundraising event together. Kraze will continue to pull the crowds in with great regularity as do Catch 23 of course who will be looking for a celebratory concert for winning the MUSICBOX Band Of The Year accolade. Completing another spiffing line up are The First Conspiracy, a group who will use this important show as a major comeback gig after a recent line up change. They have been much missed and their re-appearance is just one more reason why you shouldn’t miss Sunday’s bash.

So there you have it, three good nights with, I am certain you will agree, something for just about everyone. All the funds raised will go towards the Arts Centre and as all the bands have volunteered to help and shown their concern for the place, surely YOU can do the same by getting along on one, two or three of the nights. It costs £1.50 on each occasion and starts 7.45-8 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend starts (and ends) at the Tamworth Arts Centre. Are you ready for it?

Tamworth Herald - 26/01/90
Musicbox - Sunday View
The Arts Centre Fundraising Gig - Tamworth Arts Centre

The First Conspiracy
Back with a refreshing bang. Absence has certainly made the band’s beat go stronger because they returned to the stage with a renewed sense of urgency and enthusiasm. The relatively long lay off (by the band’s standards) seems to have worked wonders and they played with all the desire to please of a band embarking on their first ever gig. Power-drummer John Higgins has certainly added a new dimension while Lisa’s vocals have acquired a new depth of feeling and strength which means she can cope with even the most tantalising of Conspiracy songs. The overall effect was of a band very much alive and kicking and full of a renewed spirit to succeed. They went down an astonishing storm on the night which convinced me once again that if marketed right, they could attain a huge following. Welcome back chaps (and chappess!)

Tamworth Herald - 09/02/90
Musicbox – NEWS – SNIPS
The First Conspiracy have a couple of out of town gigs for your diary. On Feb 12 they are at the Old Varsity in Selly Oak and on 23 Feb they will be at Lichfield Arts Centre with Shy. A gig at Lincolns at the end of March has also been arranged.

Tamworth Herald - 09/02/90
Musicbox – NEWS – SNIPS
Lincolns have added a few more gigs to their busy agenda. On Feb 18 The New Puritans team up with Londoners Two Lost Sons, on Feb 25 Where Gardens Fall are in action and on March 4 there is a trio of acts in Magnificent Lkage, Honeyjump and Bob Baroque. March 11 sees Bash Out The Odd and Rhythm Damage together and then on March 25 the Eddie Armchair version of DHSS team up with the First Conspiracy.

DHSS/First Conspiracy/Vindaloo Breakfast – Tamworth Arts Centre (Sunday)
Despite the bug-name attractions elsewhere, methinks that this bash at the Arts Centre may well be the one that really pulls those punters in. The First Conspiracy don’t play gigs too often these days so every one is a treat and as their last one was a real BLASTER I for one an looking forward to hearing those surging melodies yet again.

Also on offer will be the Vindaloo Breakfast boys, a group as intriguing as their name. The four Hamleteers (or is it five) serve up a heady brew which led to Jack Napier’s ‘Jimi Hendrix on mogodons’ comparison. Topping them all off will be the all new DHSS making their live debut with their fresh line-up. Only Ed Armchair remains of the 1989 variety of the band and he has now been joined by a former DHSS drummer Martin Watts, ex-Parade bassist Andy Stokes, former Green Swings man Adam Cukrowski and vocalist Jessica Pitcher who has never performed live before. The music remains the same power-driven pop of yer-old DHSS but it is now played with traditional instruments rather than computers and the end result has delighted all the band members.

“Everyone is very excited about it all,” explained Ed. “I was very lucky to get such like-minded musicians and they are all convinced that it is the best thing they have been involved in. I agree totally and feel that we have the capabilities to be the best band to come out of Tamworth for many years.”

The new band will combine several former DHSS favourites alongside newies like ‘Better Times’, Slavedriver’ and ‘The Scandal of Billy Randall’ and the entire mixture is one which Ed feels will prove very popular.

To find out if he is right – and also to enjoy the multi-pleasures of The First Conspiracy and Vindaloo Breakfast, get along to the Arts Centre on Sunday.

Benny Profane plus Support – Night Moves (Thursday)
Thursday night promises to be a real treat for Indie fans as one of the Midlands best bands hits Night Moves. Benny Profane, who recently played to 800 people at Burberries in Birmingham are exactly the sort of high profile, big name act that Night Moves is determined to attract and they are certain to prove a winner with the Thursday night Indie movers. As the indie scene is a bit of a barren area to me I can’t say much more but I can confirm that this lot come highly recommended.

Tamworth Herald – 06/04/90
Musicbox – Sunday View
DHSS/First Conspiracy/Vindaloo Breakfast – Tamworth Arts Centre
Vindaloo Breakfast
Breakfast is the first meal of the day and one which is supposed to set you up nicely for the rest of the waking hours. As such it is important that the first course of it is refreshing and palatable and unfortunately this wasn’t the case on Sunday. Vindaloo opened with a track that seemed to be going nowhere and it took a while for them to recover from it. But by the time we were into the main course – the bacon and eggs of the set – things had started to perk up and the final course was very tasty indeed. At best Vindaloo Breakfast are a post-punk modernist industrial outfit who have touches of Gang Of Four and the Psychedelic Furs and have a stark and grey look which reflects their sound. It is a wee bit bleak and it is certainly not music to take to bed with you if you’re pondering suicide, but a final and powerful last track perked things up considerably and left the band with a very encouraging reaction for what was only their second gig. They are not ready yet to storm the world but I think it is worth sticking around for the Vindaloo Lunch to see how things develop. A curiosity.

The First Conspiracy
This wasn’t actually vintage Conspiracy – bit it was still probably the highlight of the night. Coming on to a roar that implies that the band have a touchingly loyal following, the group sizzled and jerked their way through a surprisingly short set which again showed that they are a tighter, stronger and strangely happier band than I think they have ever been. They appeared to have reconstructed many of their earlier numbers and supplemented them with a couple of relative newies and a cracking Smithereens cover to make for a wholly satisfying collection. Suntanned Lisa bellowed it out like a ‘good un’. Beth and John combined for a powerhouse backing and Roger again tickled my fancy with some lovely guitar touches that again reminded me of early Stuart Adamson. Bands don’t last this long unless they’ve got something about them and the First Conspiracy really have. Nice one.

I am probably the worst person in the world to preview the new DHSS. I was so close to all four members of DHSS '89 (professionally and personally) that I knew that no matter what I said about DHSS '90 it would upset friends as well as musicians. Well I am sorry but it has to be done. Put as simply and as kindly as I can, this was NOT DHSS. The image I have of that band was of a powerful punk-inspired collection of strong personalities with a wicked and irreverent outlook on life. The computers of old fitted in with their ‘the present is crap, we are the future’ philosophy and their image, their style and of course their tunes made them one of the best bands we have ever seen in Tamworth. Sadly, this was like watching K-Tel plays DHSS. I have previously slagged off the computers, but compared to the limp noise that emerged from ‘real’ musical ‘ instruments, Atari ST’s have acquired a magical appeal. Oldies like ‘DHSS’ and especially ‘Vicar’s Hand’ were massacred beyond belief and no matter who wrote the songs (and the arguments were raging afterwards) pinching obvious Quay screams or Reeman guitar solos made it all a bit embarrassing. On the plus side the version of ‘Clark Gable’ was significantly tasty and the anthemic ‘Until The Love Bites Fade’ was quite excellent, but I really believe that the only way DHSS 90 stand a chance is to totally divorce themselves from DHSS 89. They will always be compared to the old combo – and I always fear unfavourably – and perhaps their best hopes lie in the one or two new Adam Cukrowski tracks that sound pretty good to my ears and show the way forward rather than they way back. This is a very hard review for em to write but I just left the gig feeling depressed. Imagine if you will how a Wolfsbane fan would feel if Bayley left the band and then 12 months later turned up with a new band playing ‘Fell out Of Heaven’ And ‘I Like It Hot’. It wouldn’t be the same because it isn’t the same’ This was the first time I have ever seen DHSS fail to get an encore and that speaks volumes itself. The band are keen to get out of Tamworth as soon as possible and maybe they will be more fairly judged then. But for the time being the whole thing made me feel sad and I really feel that Adam, Ed, Jessica, Andy and Martin need to assess whether they want to be a first rate band of their own or a second rate version of someone else. Sorry, but true.

Reviews by Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald – 13/04/90
Musicbox – Snips, News, Snips
Just a note from the First Conspiracy who want to publically praise Carl from the Big Noise for his support and hard work during the course of their recent demo. The band were delighted with Carl’s enthusiasm in producing the tape and want it publically known. So well done Carl old chap!

Tamworth Herald – 22/06/90
Musicbox – First Conspiracy in shock split
THE First Conspiracy, one of Tamworth’s most consistently popular bands, have split up.

Caption: The First Conspiracy – the end of the road.

After three years on the scene, the band have decided to call it a day to the surprise of their followers. Guitarist Roger Moore announced the decision in a short phone call last week. “It’s a shame and we are all a bit sad but it just seemed we needed a fresh challenge,” explained Roger.

Roger refused to say exactly what had caused the split but hinted that it may not be the end of the story: “we will hopefully be back in one form or another in the future,” he said.

The First Conspiracy will be best remembered for several great shows over the years where their mixture of succulent melody and power-guitars made them an instant hit with old punks and new rock fans alike. Their first demo remains as one of THE classic Tamworth area tapes and their lead song on it ‘Passions Burning’ rates as one of the very best original tunes to be penned by local musos. They had an awful lot going for them and a steady, loyal support and there is no doubt that Tamworth will be all the poorer in their absence. Let us just hope that the Second Conspiracy isn’t too long coming because these are musicians and songwriters who we can ill afford to lose.

Sam Holliday

The Gallery

The First Conspiracy


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