Monday, 5 March 2012

The Bok , Stiff , Rabid and a little John Peel

In 1976 Andy Marshall had a gig to fulfil with his band Marshall Law. Unfortunately the band left before the gig took place so after a a phone call or two The Bok (singular of Box) was formed . Simon Clinic (aka Tony Eyre) original vocalist left before the first rehearsal, but in true punk fashion we wrote songs for the gig as well as a few covers to spread out the set. All gigs were in and around Preston in carious clubs , pubs and halls. The band consisted:
  • Andy Marshall - Guitar - Vox - Songs
  • Mike Singleton - Guitar - Vox - Songs
  • The Hippy Mark Lester - Bass
  • any drummer we could find but mainly Dave Topping
Songs were chosen for lack of chords and ease of playing and obvious influences were Velvet Underground , The Damned , Jonathan Richman. Covers we did included:
  • Waiting For The Man
  • Psycho Killer
  • Rue Courier (Roadrunner - in French)
  • Shot By Both Sides
  • The Passenger
  • Gloria
  • Egyptian Reggae
Songs titles I remember apart for the demo list were:

  • Sick of Beer
  • Tennis
  • Rant and Rave
  • Accident
  • Magic Eye
We had a gig in the basement of a pub in Preston. I had been using Ollie Halsall's trick of practising with heavy guage strings and playing with light gauge strings. This meant you could play very bendy sols and chords , but also in the hot sweaty confines of the pub basement  the guitar needed continuous retuning as I played . Guy came up to me at the end and send he loved my inplay tuning , didnt have the heart to tell him it wasnt planned. The DJ didnt like us and when we launched into Magazine's "Shot By Both Sides" he started playing the record as loud as he could, The crowd took umbrage and trashed his decks - nice show of appreciation!  Anyway .......
........Basically the idea was to choose some songs record them and despatch to people who mattered in music. John Peel tahanked us but said we were too primitive! Stiff Records apologised that they sent us a pre printed rejection letter , but Rabid Records of Manchester wanted to record us and put out a double "A" side single of "Mystery Band" / "Happy Birthday" , with an accompanying video involving pies , bikes and aqualungs!! . We went to Rabid's headquarters in Manchester but everyone had buggered ogff to the CBS launch of John Cooper-Clarke's Disguise In Love. Graham Fellows aka Jilted John aka John Shuttleworth dropped for rehearsals for the Jilted John album . He reckoned we looked like students. Also Martin Hannett did a lot of work with Rabid artists!!

An unexpected side effect was that a lot of girls stopped talking to me because they thought we were going to be on Top of the Pops!! Never could work that one out , the only time being in a band had an adverse social effect!!

After cups of tea and making plans the guy asked us what studio we had used . Studio? We hadn't a clue but the reason for John Peel's dismissal may have become apparent. Anyway Rabid records went bust fairly quickly after that and the band sort of didnt go any further though things could have been different.....

Below are some salvaged demos - enjoy:

The Bok - Rabid Stiff Peel Demos by Mike Singleton on Grooveshark

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