Glam Rocks – No Sleep Til Chelmsford

Me in my Mad Max Factor/Southend R.O.C.K period

(note tasteful band logo on left arm – and missing tuner on guitar head)

In a past life I was once the guitarist for a glammy band called The Ladykillers (dreadful name, not my idea). I say glam, it was more of a post-goth, pre-grebo garagey rock ‘n’ racket affair really (a local paper once did a piece on us claiming ‘They’re Glam, They’re pop, They’re Punk’ – which sort of nails it I suppose). Based in Southend and on the scene at the same time as, and crossing paths with an early era My Life Story – we seemed to get the support slots for any visiting rocky horrors and lower league goth monsters that put a buckle booted foot into the Essex area – a few incidents from my rock date diaries include…..

Two encounters with Zodiac Mindwarp (which you can read about on page 43 of this month’s The Word)

Our second only live date, (with Mal from My Life Story helping out on bass), supporting Flesh For Lulu to a pre-health and safety elastic capacity Pink Toothbrush, where the icy tinkles and cinematic style keyboard intro was blitzed by the drum machine’s improv’ Drum and Bass meltdown.

The third gig at a local youth club on the night it was populated by German exchange students – the only ones that danced. In a moment of randomness we’d hired a dry ice machine for this gig, not a popular move with the Middle-Aged-Ladies that ran the club – the amount of puff pumped from this rent-a-gadget gave the effect of being smothered by a creeping indoor fog. Cue a stage invasion from the M-A-L’s with damp dishcloths to smother the smoke “it’s no good they can’t see a thing in the ping-pong room” or some such was the cry.

Having a gun pulled on us at Harlow. Someone fainting in Romford.
And the gig where the above pic’ was taken – supporting Ghostdance in Chelmsford (which must qualify as the least rock ‘n’ roll phrase in human history) an experience not dissimilar to playing to an audience of Autons, until the drums turned to shrapnel and went a’rolling around the stage mid-set. These were patched up gaffer tape and Meccano style, we carried on with the set and the crowd literally went wild – I’ve got a video of this gig and the audience go from musical statues to wild things in the space of two songs..

It just took a collapsing drum kit and couple of covers to defrost the good people of Chelmsford, two tunes that were regulars in our set and fairly reflective of our ‘angle’…

Iggy Pop – Funtime

Adam and The Ants – Fall In

And of course this – a show closer from the first gig to the last..

The Where Are They Now Epilogue….
(Well, the ones I know about anyway)

The Singer works in the entertainment industry

The Keyboard player is a Professor at Leicester University

Bass player number 4 – is a soundman and plays in Cult tribute band Pure Cult

Drummer number 2 – is a professional drummmer and in a T Rex tribute band Too Rex

Mark Ellen – reads part of my Zodiac Mindwarp Experience – right here at 6 mins 30 secs


29 Responses to “Glam Rocks – No Sleep Til Chelmsford”

  1. Go never played a pub in Medway did you… I’ve a memory – very fuzzy of seeing something like that some years back.

  2. Planet Mondo Says:

    Never south of the river Furtheron – but a few dates around London: Rock Garden, Bull And Gate etc… there was a generic sort of Hanoi Rocks/The Sweet look circa 1986 so must have been someone else with the same influences

  3. Sorry mate, I’ve just laughed myself stupid. Mostly because there are pics of me on stage in full on mod gear from about the same period that have the same look as people from another planet. When did people stop dressing up? I miss it…

  4. tip top stuff. a sort of younger more femme julian cope!! But you gave it a go which is the main thing.
    nowadays wouldn’t you be called “Da Laydee Killas”

  5. Nice post mate. Good clean fun.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I reckon I might’ve been at the Flesh for Lulu gig!
    Good to see an original flyer with ref to Parrot Records. The haven of youth on Saturday afternoons after the Dickens.

  7. Hey Dave. Wow! I never had any clue. That is so awesome. I thought you looked pretty cool. I miss the days of people dressing up like that. Thanks for sharing about your gigs. It must have been quite an interesting time in your life. Cool tunes you posted too. Cheers!

  8. Planet Mondo Says:

    You’re right Simon dressing up and a sense of fun – it’s not the same when you can’t tell the band from the audience (if you think this is funny, and it is – check out the one on Southend Punk – Gallery 8 – phew, a howler!)

    The hat was more of a Hanoi Rocks/Sweet/Bolan thing BL, and the hair sorta Robin Hood influenced I think – and yes we definitley gave it a go, but the video evidence is staying buried

    See Col, your last gig wasn’t sound so bad after all was it..

    Fancy that Choco’ rammed wasn’t it, and we got shoved back on for an encore by the Lulu’s. Parrot was great but loads of imports though.

    Oh yes Keith quite wild ol’ times..

  9. What a Fantastic trip down memory lane – I’m lovin it today PM.
    Fab photo by the way!
    They were fun filled times weren’t they…

  10. Planet Mondo Says:

    If I remember Lil, you were at our very first gig at The Halfway House , where a rowdy crowd of mods gave us glam-bangers a whole load of heckling ..and yes great, great times

  11. Ha! You were one of the first things I saw when I opened my freshly arrived Word magazine on Saturday. That’s a great story about Zodiac Mindwarp!

  12. Planet Mondo Says:

    Thanks cocktails – I was out with a couple of people that worked with Zodaic when he was still Mark Manning the graphic designer for Flexipop , apparently he was just as much of ‘character’ then, the first EP is a belter if you haven’t heard it

    Here’s the title track High Priest Of Love (it’s 1 min 30 secs in before the song to starts)

    And I’ve just dropped a pic in the post from Zodiac gig number 2


  14. HA! glory days indeed … the back room at the westcliff hotel was a paticular lowlight i seem to remember :/ but the zodiac gig at the victoria rooms was buzzing so i guess it balanced out ….

    nice hat

  15. Planet Mondo Says:

    Davey – I make no excuses except – it was the eighties..

    Bleech Both Zodiac gigs were belters, but for capacity Flesh For Lulu, The Ghostdance one and our dates in Romford were rammed, rammed, rammed. So much so Terry’s girlfriend passed out (the heat, not the band) – Steevi Bacon (drummer number 2) still reckons it’s one of the best bands he’s been in – a sort of ‘York Road Dolls’ I suppose (you’d have to be a Southender to get that one)

  16. Devil Dick Says:


  17. bitterandrew Says:

    I demand a reunion tour!

  18. vincent the soul chef Says:

    Too cool… 🙂

    I’ll be back soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

    Peace and blessings.

  19. York Road Dolls! That’s beautiful, Dave..

  20. PM: your piece made the word youtube advert clip on the main page

  21. Planet Mondo Says:

    DD – if you’re gonna be in a glam band you’ve got to go ‘full tilt’ and remember this was post Hanoi Rocks and pre Guns N’ Roses to put in into context.

    if we can find out trusty set of band hair crimpers BA – you’re on!

    Vince – remember your Fu Fu Goes Mondo Mix – this is what I was doing while you buying those tunes

    Thanks Mal, thought you’d get it (didn’t My Life Story have digs in York Rd?)- and were you and our ex drummer Steevi in Love’s Young Nightmare at the same time?

    Yeah had an email from them about it last night BL , what a result eh?

  22. I love this, made me smile a great deal ~ thanks for the link. Wish I couldve seen Flesh for LuLu

  23. (180) York Road was indeed the My Life Story HQ – 5 points.

    I wasn't in LYN at the same time as Mr B, but he was their drummer when I first met Tommy & Tony, and indeed the reason they were playing in Southend in the first place.

    So, in a way I have Steevi to thank for a good chunk of my musical career!

    D'ya know, I mentioned that Pink Toothbrush gig to Nick from FFL a good 10 years later & he had perfect recall.

    Which suprised me as they were completely pished at the time.

  24. Planet Mondo Says:

    FFL were a storming live band Jen and Subterraneans became a bit of an anthem in Southend..but also we opened for a handful of other gothy groups Skeletal Family, Danielle Dax, Dr and The Medics and Zodiac Mindwarp

    Yeah I vaguely remember a couple of woozy visits to MLS mission control Mal, as Paul’s place was just up the road (in Heygate I think) and a few MLS vs Ladykillers Sunday football sessions

    It was a mad gig my guitar was totally out of tune and some old biker called out ‘play some Pink Floyd’ so I did the Interstellar Overdrive riff which he loved – and Flesh For Lulu seemed genuinley enthusiastic about our set and slapping our backs and shoving us back on again to do 20th Century Boy

  25. Yes, heady days indeed! I’m glad you had the decency just to show a photo of yourself. You should have included our version of Funtime or perhaps even born to burn. Ahh… Ladykiller classics. At our first gig in the half way house I didn’t even realise my keyboard was unplugged until I got the photos back and noticed that the red on light wasn’t on. Sabotage I think.

    Terry (The man with the Keyboard from the ladykillers- I’m somewhat reluctant to call myself a keyboard player)

    PS just in case your wondering I gave up wearing make-up, high heeled shoes and glittering polyester shirts some time ago(at least in public)

  26. Planet Mondo Says:

    Bloody Hell’s bells Terry how did you find out about this piece of retromania? Yes I thought it was best to be Mr Discreet and only incriminate myself..

    Honest it wasn’t me with the off button antics – do you remember the reheasal rooms behind Mandella Pianos where I think we were asked to leave as the noise was bothering/frightening the customers..

    Are you back in Sunny Southend again this Christmas?

    PS drop me a line, the email link’s on the sidebar..

  27. ha! Was at almost every one of your gigs PM! Remember the Focus youth club one with much fondness! One a chesters I remember being a real ol rocker. Saw both the Zodiac support slots too. Great days indeed! Have a few iffy demos and videos around somewhere too… be afraid, be very afraid!!

    great post!


  28. This is one of the coolest posts I’ve read anywhere in a long time. I love it! We all have something like that in our past don’t we? I’m still not sure I can ever talk about one of the bands I used to play in. It was that bad.

  29. Planet Mondo Says:

    P – Always sounded a right ol’ racket stage-side, but did some to be plenty of crowd movement most times – I remember someone buying a ticket and saying to me “I’ve heard about your lot, you always blow the main band away” Couldn’t beat the Zodiac’s though…

    PS Terry’s desperate for some footage – drop you a line

    J any band tales are always worth telling, sounds like you’ve got a ready-made blog-bit waiting to happen..

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