Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

The Reliants

St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978.
The Reliants -1977
Line-up (left to right); Sam Norchi (Bass), John Higgins (Drums), Vince Watts (Guitar), Edward ian Armchair (Vocals)
Musical Genre/Type: Punk
Formed: 1977 Split: 1978
Band Members:
Lead Vocals:
Edward ian Armchair (Amington)
[formerly of Ed Ake & the Painkillers, later with The Reliable Duo, The Reliants#2, The Ornaments, DHSS#1, DHSS#2, DHSS#4, DHSS#5, Edward ian Armchair, Ulterior Motives, Norman Conquest, The Ornaments, Formaldehyde Daffodils, The Foundation]
Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals:
Vince Watts (Glascote)
[later with The Reliable Duo, The Reliants#2, DHSS#1, DHSS#2, DHSS#3, The Ornaments, Formaldehyde Daffodils]
Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals:
Sam Norchi (Glascote)
[later with RITS and Somethin' Else]
John Higgins (Glascote)
[later with The Reliants#2, Those Attractive Magnets, The Conspiracy]

April 1978
The Reliants
St. John’s Guildhall

May 1978
The Reliants
St. John’s Guildhall

June 1978
The Reliants
Rikky Patrick Disco
St. John’s Guildhall

June 1978
The Reliants
Bowling Green, Lichfield

The Reliants
Rikky Patrick Disco
Tamworth Arts Centre
Admission: 50p

Tamworth Herald – 17/11/78
Disc Jockey left lying in pool of blood – court told - The Reliants
The ReliantsA Tamworth youth, who struck a disk jockey with a stick and left him lying in a pool of blood at a church hall ‘disco was sent to detention centre for six months.

Tamworth magistrates heard that violence erupted at a church disco when punk rockers threw chairs and cans at a group of Tamworth youths.

Assistant DJ Stephen McDade was hit in the confusion as he went to break up the fight. He needed 14 stitches for head wounds after being hit with a piece of wood.

Gary Owen, aged 18, of Wordsworth Avenue, Leyfields, admitted possessing an offensive weapon, but denied a charge of malicious wounding.


He was found guilty of malicious wounding charge and given a total of six months detention.

David Yates, aged 18 of Stevenson Road, Leyfields denied a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. But magistrates found the case proved and he was fined £150 with £40 costs.

John Young aged 18 of Claremont Road, Coton Green, who admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm was ordered to do 120 hours community service. A charge of malicious wounding was dismissed.

Magistrates decided there was no case against Alan Emuss, aged 18 of Wordsworth Avenue, who was accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. However he was bound over for two years in the sum of £100.


The court heard – how the atmosphere was strained at a disco held at St. John’s Church Hall, organised by the youth section of Tamworth’s Roman Catholic Church.

Mr. Derek Wassall told the court there was some friction at the disco between punk rockers and other youngsters.

The DJ, Mr. John Ulliott, asked the crowd to calm down.

But Emuss made a very abusive remark to him which caused Mr. Ulliott to “ask him outside.”

A fight then broke out between Emuss and the DJ. The assistant DJ, Mr. McDade, jumped off the stage to help Mr. Ulliott and in doing so kicked Young in the face, Mr. Wassall said.

Young and Owen then seriously attacked Mr. McDade – Young by kicking and punching him and Owen by striking him across the head with a piece of wood.

Owen said, “As soon as we started dancing, chairs and cans got thrown at us. I felt worried so went outside and picked up a stick and put it into my jacket. I had heard of the punks’ reputation and took the stick for my own protection.”

Yates claimed he went over to stop the fight, but when hit by an object “became wild and lashed out with his fists.”

When the full lights were switched on, the sight of Mr. McDade’s injuries brought some sanity to the situation and the fighting stopped, said Mr. Wassall.

The four accused claimed that they were all “disgusted and sickened” when they saw the injuries to the disc jockey.

Mr. Arnold Ward, presiding said, “It is the sort of thing one doesn’t want to see in the town at any time at all.”

Tamworth Arts Centre – 15/12/78Tamworth Herald – 15/12/78
The Reliants New Wave Band
“THE RELIANTS” a new-wave influenced band who have been together for nearly eighteen months now are to play at the Arts Centre tonight Friday.

The band have already played several dates in and around Tamworth including the Bowling Green, Lichfield and the Crown in Birmingham.

The four members are Edward Sutherland, vocals, Vince Watts, guitar, Sam Norchi, bass and John Higgins on drums.

We understand their music is fast, exciting and very original , the songs being mainly concerned with society and its problems. They detract from the usual concept and pop groups in that they do not project the idea of the perfect boy and girl.

The group are still looking for a manager, but hope to do some recording in the New Year.

Additional Info:
In August 1977 Ed (then known as Ed Ake) sent a letter to the local weekly paper, the Tamworth Herald, highlighting the fact that punk had arrived in Tamworth. The letter was printed and he was contacted to feature in a special report on 'Punks in Tamworth'. The reporter with his extensive skills in investigative reporting had only found two punks in the whole of Tamworth, Ed Ake and a girl known as 'Suzie Headbanger'. However, despite the attempts by the press to belittle the subject, almost immediately, Tamworth's hidden collection of punks began to emerge. Ed met Tony 'Boney' Jones one morning whilst on the bus to town with his Mum, he then went on to meet Vince Disease (Watts) and things never looked back. Tamworth's first punk band, The Reliants were formed.
Click here to go to the top of the page.Songs
Unite & Fight (Watts/Norchi/Armchair) The Nazi Front (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Shock Baby Shock (Watts/Norchi/Armchair) Hey! Children (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Social Disgrace (Watts/Norchi) Margaret Dixon (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Rewind (Watts/Norchi/Armchair) Media Control (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Sixth Formers (Watts/Norchi/Armchair) Why Don't You? (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Fighting (Norchi/Watts) Soldier Boy (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
We Are the Ones Who Think (Watts/Norchi/Armchair) Suicide (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)
Life Script (Watts/Norchi/Armchair)  
Other Songs:
At each gig we did a cover version of Great Balls of Fire which Vince would sing. At the first gig (St. Johns Guildhall April 1978) we also did a cover of Boredom by The Buzzcocks. At the last gig (Tamworth Arts Centre 15/12/78) we did a reggae version of Away in a Manger
Click here to go to the top of the page.Gigs
First Gig:
St. John’s Guildhall – April 1978
The Reliants practised in Vince Watts' garage, much to the delight of his Father! On drums, John Higgins had been recruited, a little 12 year old who lived around the corner from Vince. With Ed inspired by the mixture of Actifed and Kodeine their set of songs grew until they were ready for their first gig in April '78. Ed and Vince had been regular attendees at St. John's Youth Club held in The Guildhall in John Street, Tamworth. Apart from playing table tennis and ogling the young Catholic school girls, Friday night was Disco night. Here Ed and Vince would irritate the young disco loving girlies and Northern Soul dancing boys by lying full stretch in the middle of the dance floor - such larks!

Being regulars at the club, the band were booked to play at The Guildhall in early April by Mick Foley and the gig, the first punk gig in Tamworth, was a resounding success, they went on to play the Guildhall several times.
Other Gigs:
St. John’s Guildhall – May 1978

St. John’s Guildhall – June 1978 – Guildhall Massacre#1

June 1978 saw the band return to St. John's for what became known as the first 'Guildhall Massacre'. Mick Foley, Youth Club Manager, in his wisdom, had decided that for this gig the disco should have the stage and the band should perform on the floor, great! By this time the audience had taken on a punky hue and the gig was packed as usual. At the time, the most popular music locally was Northern Soul and a large group of Wigan Casino regulars could often be found at the Guildhall. Unfortunately, local Northern Soul fans had decided that violence was the order of the day, and the gig turned into a mini-riot. The DJ on the night was Rikky Patrick (none other than Rikk Quay), soon after the band had finished and the disco had restarted, his assistant, Steve McDaid, was hit by a chair leg, eventually to be taken to hospital. The night ended, the mess cleared up, but the rumour was that the soul fans were swarming around the town and were going to 'get' all of the punks, they scattered across the town, and nervously made their way home. The cheeky little Northern Soul fans were caught and arrested and justice was done - praise the Lord!

Bowling Green, Lichfield – June 1978
In June 1978 the band played another gig, this time at The Bowling Green, Lichfield. The gig was a sixth form disco and exposed the talents of these 'adolescent anarchists' to the naive folk of Lichfield, Streetly and Aldridge. Ed, Vince and Higgins made their way to the gig on the Midland Red bus, lyrics, guitar and drumsticks in hand. Sam travelled with the rest of the gear in his Dad's van. The gig was a resounding success for the band. Tears did flow however as the band had written a song especially for the occasion; one of the sixth form students had tried in vain to prevent the band playing, and so the song 'Margaret Dixon' was performed.
Click here to go to the top of the page.Last Gig:
Tamworth Arts Centre – 15/12/78 (Arts Centre Photo Story)
Tamworth Arts Centre – 15/12/78In 1978, the prime venue for bands to play in Tamworth was the Arts Centre. The manager at the time was an ageing rock 'n' roller, Dave Armour, who, despite this, was very keen to encourage young bands in Tamworth, (in fact the very first Tamworth Rock Festival was his idea and his initial plan was to have The Clash headlining - true!) At the time, the only bands in Tamworth were 'rock' bands of varying hues, Flash Harry, Ice, Brewster are a few that spring to mind. So to have a group of 17 year old punks gatecrash their exclusive scene was a bit shocking for these ageing hippies. Jed Moore, the Arts Centre 'dogsbody' had screen-printed some posters for the gig and Ed and Vince had posted them around the town - Vince resplendent in full length waterproofs to prevent being covered in paste. Ed, in all innocence, on a solo pasting expedition, had pasted Reliants posters over Flash Harry posters. He had forgotten to look at the date on their posters and a seething anger within Flash Harry members had erupted as their gig was at the same time as The Reliants - sorry!

At the time, the local paper, the Tamworth Herald was on strike. This could have potentially jeopardised the success of the gig, with no advance publicity. The press article had to be written by the band themselves and submitted by hand - what memories, the days of a Labour government before Thatcher took away any Union rights!

It was 50p to get in. The capacity was 96. The Reliants broke the crowd record and had over 100 people paying to see them. Each band member made £4.80 - the big time! Ed had purchased a stripy pyjama top from the Oxfam shop for his stage wear, thinking it had a 'Belsen' look to it, very trendy at the time! A variety of school kids arrived with their school ties anarchically tied loosely around their necks.

It was December 1978, Christmas was round the corner. Rikky Patrick (Rikk Quay), the DJ for the night, had a siren in his box of tricks and this hailed the arrival of The Reliants on stage. The gig was a raucous success, the audience danced down the aisles and in front of the band. The band played 'Away in a Manger' reggae style, as a festive treat. Half way through the gig as things got a bit lively, Dave Armour had to stop proceedings warning the audience if they didn't stop dancing and shouting and throwing things, pop bands would no longer be allowed to play. The audience calmed down, the band played on and a wonderful night was had by all.
Click here to go to the top of the page.The Gallery
Click on the thumbnail images:
Punk Flop as New Wave Sinks in Tamworth - Tamworth herald article on Punk (August 1977) St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978. St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978. St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978.
Vince Watts (Guitar) and Sam Norchi (Bass) in Vince's bedroom. Set list of The Reliants first gig - St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978. St. John's Guildhall Massacre St. John's Guildhall Massacre
The Reliants last gig : Tamworth Arts Centre : December 15th 1978 St. John's Guildhall, the Reliants first gig April 1978. The Reliants last gig : Tamworth Arts Centre : December 15th 1978 The Reliants last gig : Tamworth Arts Centre : December 15th 1978
The Reliants - Tamworth Arts Centre Photo Story
Click here to go to the top of the page.Thanks to: Sam Norchi

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Punk Poet - Edward ian Armchair
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