The Accidents – Kiss me on the Apocalips!(Part 2)

I can’t accurately recall but I believe Paul told Will we no longer required his services as a bass player. I know Will held a grudge for many years about his sacking, and shortly thereafter moved to London.

A word about Will. We must have met when the Maldon Grammar school turned comprehensive, around 1969, although I can recall seeing Will in the loos at Grammar school, hanging out with the bad boys, and smoking cigarettes. I think he told me he started smoking around the age of 7, can you imagine that in this day and age? His early childhood was spent living in a beach hut close to the Mill Beach pub, I can’t begin to understand how cold and damp that was, but he describes those years pretty cheerfully.

We shared an obtuse sense of humour(inspired for the most part by Monty Python’s flying circus) which we waved like a Rebel flag. We are talking about the man, be great-coated with long black greasy hair, who Nazi saluted Her Majesty on her first visit to Maldon in 1971. Because Will was always the rebel, perhaps brought about by his Father’s disciplinarian attitude. We tuned in, loved the same stuff, the same girls, the same Rock’n’Roll(initially Hawkwind, the Pink Fairies, Mott the Hoople), the same comics(mostly Jack Kirby, but we feverishly collected British comics too)and had had our “rites of passage” together. Whilst we were still at Colchester tech Will  played a one off gig at the Art school as the “Degenerates” with Matthew West(in 1975, at a “Dada art” party thrown by Edwin Pouncey  ). He  made himself ridiculously high platform shoes, and wore a Top hat with a syringe stuck in it! I did my best Johnny Thunders impression, playing a Yamaha SG, in a band called Dawn Treader(prog or what?)all chiffon and platform sandals, courtesy of Hilary Peyton.

Will was the Punk archetype proper, the real thing, and in the day he looked like a hybrid of Dee Dee Ramone and Lou Reed. The Velvet Underground loomed large in our influences(thanks to David Gowlett), and both Will and my guitar playing was firmly on the downward stroke, a la “I’m waiting for the Man”, with added Johnny Ramone fuzz and ram-a-lama. Now he could no longer be part of it, but the Accidents had to move on. World domination was our goal and for that we needed someone bang on the money bass guitar wise. Time to call another old mate of mine, Nick Fisher

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Just like Mark, Nick had attended Maldon county primary school with me. When I was a kid I always thought he was American, and I believe his oldest sister did actually marry in the USA so the family no doubt visited the States from time to time. Nick has always had a huge creative streak, whether it be music or painting. He’s a fabulous artist(just like Sir Seager)but his bass playing is phenomenal. I once read a quote from Keith Richards that said if he could have any accolade after his death, it would be that he’d influenced other people’s guitar style. Thanks to Carl Seager Nick’s unique technique has been taught to many, and I’m sure anybody that’s ever played with the man has been influenced musically by him. And in the unlikely event that hasn’t occurred Nick’s gentle and wise demeanour, coupled with his outrageous sense of humour would knock anybody for six! And like Mark he remains one of my closest friends to this day.

Prior to joining the Accidents Nick had been a pro musician for some time, playing West End shows in London. Godspell and Jesus Christ superstar are the two I can remember, his partner in crime drumwise being Colin Woolway, another great muso who ended up doing a stint in the Flying Heroes along with Nick and I. Nick must have joined the Accidents Autumn 1978, whilst Tony Lowe managed the band. Tony had moved from London and bought a house in Church walk. Him and his business partner Steve ran a small leather goods shop in Maldon, and they drank in the Queen’s Head on the quay, our local, the place where Will and I had spent most of our adolescence. Tony was an original Mod and a natural born hustler. He had, to paraphrase his good self, “more front than Buck house!” He knew a lot of the shakers and movers of the time, and the ones he didn’t know were in his sights. Tony was convinced the Accidents would be a major success, and for probably the better part of a year, he tried to make that happen.

The sound the Accidents made now was  super tight and professional. Nick, Paul and Mark were leagues beyond me musically, they literally could play anything. And our look had changed too. Gone were the Ramones t shirts and leathers, on went the skinny ties and winkle pickers.

Tony decided we’d best make some demos to showcase our new sound, so he called upon an old mate of his, John Loader. Tony knew John via the Crass, who we’d hung out with at their farm in Epping, Penny Rimbaud being a mutual friend and an old mate of Tony’s. And we had another Crass connection too because whilst I was at Art school around 1975, Eve Libertine was in my year.

John was a very disciplined producer/arranger, and how he ever survived working with the Jesus and Mary chain let alone Big Black baffles me! There were “no needles in the red” or excessive volumes, and very little in the way of effects, so in that sense it made us work harder. But personally I felt like I was back at school, with a very strict  master, who had little time for our creative nuances. But the experience proved fruitful and twice, in November 1978 and March 1979 we went Southern studios in Barnet and made demos with Mr Loader. Tony, Paul and Nick  met with Jack Bruce with a view to him mixing the “Blood spattered with guitars” demos, but sadly it didn’t happen.

Tony and I visited all sorts of posh record company offices in London, playing our demos to countless A&R men, who for the most part politely declined, with the exception of Chris Parry. Chris had A&R’d and done some production at Polydor. He’d made a enough money to go independent, and had put the Fiction label together.

The first band that he’d “discovered” were the Cure. After much negotiation Chris asked Tony and I to attend a Cure gig at the Elephant and Castle pub in London.  Mr Parry was mixing their sound and when we got there he invited us to sit with him and watch them. In those days the Cure were a three piece band, and Robert Smith sported an Afro hairdo, which really spoilt the effect for me! After a couple of songs Chris turned round  and asked what I thought of the band. Partially as a result of too much record company hospitality, but mostly because in those days if someone asked my opinion I’d give it to them straight(without my aquired dipomacy!)I told him I thought they were shit. At that point Chris Parry’s interest in the Accidents suddenly waned. Oh dear.

When Nick announced in Spring ’79 he was going back to his pro gig, this time with the Rocky Horror Show touring company, and Tony had decided he’d move to Cornwall, things were to change for us once more……

12 Responses to “The Accidents – Kiss me on the Apocalips!(Part 2)”

  1. Since this piece was published Matthew West has contacted me.
    He gave me a wonderful cd of the Accident’s first ever gig, on November 4th 1977! It will be available to download soon, and Matt has written some great sleeve notes for the cd version.
    He also wrote this about me:

    We met in a college lunch hour where this blind music tutor was teaching somebody to play Stairway to heaven in 1975. I brought my guitar in the next day and we had a jam in one of the music rooms.You said my guitar was shit and I went off in a huff. Later in the afternoon somebody passed me a note from you saying you were very sorry and didn’t mean to upset me and begged forgiveness…… but that my guitar was still shit. Later I got it fixed by that guy at Selmers in Braintree that did your Zenta.

    I would come to the practice hall every saturday on my moped and be roadie for Dawn Treader, setting up the drums. DT used to have a whip round and pay me 50p for petrol. One night I stayed over for Doodles(aka Mummy bear)party and met Veronica there..and developed an instant crush on her, that probably lasts to this day. Later on at another party Will borrowed my moped and he ended up in a slow speed chase down Maldon high street with a police car in hot pursuit . My father forbade me to come anymore after that and made me cut off my long hair. Afterwards when I went to live in London I would come back often, meeting you all in the Queens Head and bringing up goodies from London, Spiral Scratch Ep’s etc I have very happy memories of hanging with the Maldon Set…….great days indeed!!

  2. Ah, yeah. My first court appearance. Riding a moped without a licence, with a passenger on the back who wasn’t wearing a helmet. Incredibly, not drunk though! I was giving someone a lift to the bus station. Who was it??? All three of us ended up in court for that – Matthew was done for letting me ride it unlicensed.

  3. Nick ‘n” the Nazis……

    Thinking about my dear old mate Nick Fisher, he had a girlfriend when we were kids, his “Yoko”, Pam. Pam went everywhere with Nick, including rehearsals and gigs. She was a lovely gal, and jolly attractive too.
    Once we played with the Accidents at the Moonlight club, in West Hampstead. No sooner had we finished sound checking when 20 or more National Front skinheads, some dressed in part Nazi uniform, came bowling through the doors of the club. Or to be more precise, they ran along the tables, kicking people’s drinks off, and lashing out at a few unfortunates. As was the norm in those days, Alfie had organised a coach from Maldon, for our more loyal fans, and Ian Linge was on the coach. He told me afterwards it got pretty nasty prior to our playing, with the skinhead fraternity threatening and occasionally punching all and sundry.

    I for the most part was blissfully unaware of proceedings, holding court near the bar with two lovely ladies, imbibing and having a gas. But when it became time for us to go on, the skins surged to the front of the stage, spitting and seig hieling. The audience spitting at us was a ghastly punk fad, a truly revolting experience, fortunately one that had all but died out by 1979. The skinheads seemed to gravitate towards Nick, I know not why but I suppose he had longer hair than us, plus it was Ginger! The skins simply wouldn’t give up, the noise from their mob was almost as loud as the band. Being brave little soldiers we carried on as if nothing had happened. Suddenly out of the blue Pam embraced the biggest, horriblest thug, and motioned him to kiss her. When the skinhead went to comply she didn’t kiss him but bit his ear so hard it poured with blood! That seemed to dampen their enthusiasm somewhat, plus my sister Helen had had a few and told the mob to leave the band alone…..or else!

    Whether it was an inverted type of respect I can’t say, but after Pam’s attack the mob seemed to calm a little, and it seemed like we’d won them over. I felt pretty good as we left the stage, we’d tamed a seriously nasty crowd and entertained them too. And just as we walked upstairs to the dressing room a skinhead approached me and told us they thought we were great and surely we’d play for them some more……?

  4. I don’t have much recall about the Moonlight Club but I do remember Nick Fisher at the Arts Club in Baddow being threatened with a Perrier bottle by some drunken old fart. I think we were being ‘handled’ by a guy called Felix who used to drive us around, and he had the brilliant idea of taking the band to the club for after hours drinks. Blows were definately exchanged that night. I think i lost a handful of hair. And Terry, in case anyone else wants to sign us, everything they like, we like.

  5. Grammar school……
    I remembered a very funny event from my public school days.
    My form room was at the top of the old building, in the corner facing the road. My friend Paul and I had noticed since the start of the term that the plaster on the ceiling(which was very high, archetypical Victorian) was seriously cracked and seemed to be getting worse daily. As we packed our satchels we both said how dangerous it was, and how funny it would be if the whole ceiling were to fall down in a class……then Paul said to me “bet you wouldn’t throw your cap at the centre of the ceiling?”(as juniors we had to wear caps, and were supposed to doff them to the masters)”Wanna bet?!?” I said defiantly. And the rest, as they say……
    When my cap hit the ceiling it was like an upside down spiral of Dominoes stood on their ends had started to topple. The centre started dropping then all of a sudden the whole lot started to collapse! Not that we we saw much of it, we’d thrown ourselves under our desks after the initial flurry, and were rolling around on the floor, literally wetting ourselves laughing! The dust was phenomenal, the plaster was horse hair and lime on lathes.
    After the plaster disaster had subsided, we came out from under our desks, snowy white with dust, to see the caretaker standing at the door. “Are you alright lads?” Yes, we replied, desperate to keep a straight face. “I told them it was dodgy!” said the caretaker, leaving us to sneak off sniggering. Oh what fun……

  6. Far out you two. I remember Felix. He must be dead by now.

  7. What a time that was..and this is a FAB blog. The Accidents were a great bunch to be with: I’ve probably never laughed so much in my life as I did with them. Terry is the best friend I’ve ever had-the best friend anyone could have…a true friend, not like that fly-by-night git Nick Fisher. Terry also played the most passionate guitar solo I ever heard, on ‘Unknown Boy’ by the Flying Heroes (sorry Accidents). And how could I forget the incident when Pam bit the skinhead’s ear? What a woman! Where is she?!

  8. I happen to like fly-by-night gits……
    I’m glad you can look back with a smile, and thanks for the great compliment about the solo!
    Anyone wanting to hear that solo can download “Unknown Boy” from the Flying Heroes link on my link page.
    “I’m never gonna get my picture in the paper……”

  9. “Blood Spattered! is my favourite ever Revival track………really struggle with some of the lyrics in the verses though…..is there any chance they can be posted?
    Thanks. Richard

  10. Revival track? Snigger!

    Went out west in search of heavenly release, they just won’t give you no peace, it’s hard enough just to please, they’ll have you down on your knees.
    Don’t worry kid just be a person and relax, we’ll get these dags off our backs, don’t feel you’re under attack, they’re not aware of the facts……

    Looking down upon my blood pitted white guitar, maybe I’ve taken it too far, obsessed like living hot cars, and smoking in kool aid bars.

    If I live to see your smiling face again, I hope that we can still be friends, for ours is a love that never ends, I know that we can still be friends……

  11. Cheers Terence, sorry for the revival tag !!

  12. No worries Richard 🙂

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