The 80's

design: Adam Firmin
Posted on 5th January 2014

In 1983, when we were thirteen years old there were a few of us at school that wanted to be rock stars. We listened to Iron Maiden, Kiss, Rainbow and Dio, grew our hair to be as long as our mothers would let us (which wasn't very long really) and bought as many heavy metal records as we could afford (quite a few, because we were too young to buy anything else more exciting) and wore denim jackets (because our mothers wouldn't let us wear leather biker jackets).\more

My mate James' Dad was quite cool and used to take us to see the bands when they came to Nottigham's Royal Concert Hall. At school one morning, during break when we were smoking cigarettes on "the Forest" we decided to form a heavy rock band - luckily we all had different instrumental aspirations - Adam wanted to play drums, James (who's mum had just bought him a blue leather motorcycle jacket... with tassles!) wanted to play bass and I wanted to play electric guitar. Even luckier, our parents were all very supportive (little did they know what they had in store!) and helped us to get our instruments. Our first band's name?...."Overture", like the opening of an opera.. (thanks for the name, Mum).

We practised hard for a year and got a set together. Our first gig, a 4-band line-up, that we organised ourselves in the "Founder Hall" at school, was named "Doctor Rock" because we decided to give all of the proceeds to our favourite charity - Dr. Barnado's (actually we were told to by the headmaster). We would have programmed ourselves as the headline act but for the fact that two years above us existed a band of legendary prowess and quality. Their name? ....."Beeston Carpark", named after one of their favourite car parks in Beeston, a suburb of Nottingham. We took to the stage in special outfits that I had made on my mum's sewing machine the night before. The show was a huge success and still lives on in our memories as a 24 karat diamond-of-a-memory in the rough of all those subsequent gigs where we could never quite achieve the same heady heights of rock stardom that we did on that first outing. The obvious next step was to record our demo tape...

Seven songs recorded and mixed in two days, I was filled with wonder and amazement and silly questions like "the guitar sounds out of time...can you make it sound in time?" because I wasn't good enough to play it properly. ", its impossible". This was in the days before digital. Here's a taste of that first recording session: High Society

Old school friends still talk about those days fondly and in October '06 there will be a special event to mark the 20th anniversary of the "Cosmic Cavern" a.k.a Dan's garage, another of our early venues where Overture shared a stage with another 80s uber-group-that-never-quite-made-it, "The Kaftans", fronted by Dan himself.

All good things come to an end, as do good relations between band-members and Overture split with James and Adam going off to pursue other musical avenues, leaving me to find my way on my own. It was a dark and barren time for all of us (but probably quite a good thing in retrospect, because we had to take our O levels anyway!).

While acid house music was big in the late 80s me and my friends were rebelling against electronic music and playing in a new band at school. In our band we hated all electronic music because it sounded artificial and we didn't understand it. (Actually I secretly really liked "Charlie" by the Prodigy, but was too scared to say!). Moreover, at the time this strange and bleepily-contrived noise was threatening to squeeze proper music like ours, made by guitars, off the musical map, so we decided to wear Raybans and call our band "Drum Machines Don't Wear Shades" desperately clinging to the notion that we could beat these shaven-headed ravers with impeccable style and dress sense. At that point we hadn't yet seen how drum machines could be made to look highly appealing and stylish if you wore a couple of torches strapped to your bonce