By Tim Wheeler
Mark and I both got guitars for Christmas in 1989, having been inspired to become RAWK GODS by Iron Maiden and the awesome Megadeath (give us a break we were only 13). We followed this path for the next two years with our band Vietnam, embarrassing ourselves everywhere we went, yet we persevere and remained true to our twisted vision.
Liberation came in late 1991/'92 in the form of punk. In school there was a group a few years older than ourselves called Lazergun-Nun, they captured our imagination with their hundred-mile-per-hour versions of classic Stooges tunes like 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. Freed by the energy of punk and the simplicity of power chords. We realised that we'd go nowhere with a drummer and a singer who didn't turn up for practices, so we decided to go it alone. By this stage (June '92) we had about five or six good songs and a new found determination, we just needed a drummer and a plan to lead us to the top. the plan, well that took a long time top get together, initially it consisted of making a tape, selling it and getting noticed. As for the drummer...we knew Rick from skool and although he was a geek and had quite a cynical attitude towards us, 'cos of our previous attempts at rock'n'roll, he begrudgingly came to a practice and the rest is history...well almost.
After a week of after-skool practices, we went to our first recording session, that would become our recording home for the next two years, Cosmic Rayz studio by the sea. The studio was basically a hut with a 7-track mixing desk (yes 7-track, it was supposed to be 8-track by 1 track was broken), the engineer Ray Valentine is a teacher in his spare time and a space cadet all the time, but we love him anyway. The studio is in a small village on the Co. Down coast called Strangford, about ten miles form our home town, Downpatrick. So we recorded six songs for our first tape, we don't play any of those songs anymore but they were good for us at the time.
That summer we did our first gigs and finally it looked like we were on the right path, Over the next year we wrote prolifically and kept recording tapes, even though we didn't have the sense to send them to any more than about five record companies. Because none of us had a job we had to starve ourselves and save up our dinner-money at skool to pay for our recording sessions. Almost all the songs on 'Trailer' mini-album were written during this period. we often got frustrated because of the lack of attention we were attracting...the Northern Irish music industry is not exactly very big and what record companies and media there is totally ignored us anyway. We didn't understand it 'cos we still believed in ourselves but we were starting to get a bit disillusioned , so many of our friends bands split up for this reason even though they could've been as good as yer average Menswear. Breaking out of Northern Ireland is really tough and there are really only two ways of doing it; Really hard work or else luck. We did it the second way because we didn't have the vision or the support to be able to do it the first way. We officially call it luck but I like to think of it as FATE ( we've always been fans of destiny since Star Wars - 'Come To The Dark Side' and all that...).
The story goes like this...a friend of ours knew a friend who knew a guy starting up a record label called La La Land records. A tape got passed on to La La Land who were interested in releasing a single, so one weekend in September '93 we recorded 'Jack Names The Planets. It wasn't going to be released until February '94 so in the meantime we recorded 'Season' for a compilation 12" of local N.Irish bands (on Raptor Records). February '94 saw the release of 'Jack...' and we finally got a manager, the single received quite alot of radio play and some interest from record companies so we trekked to London during our Easter holiday to do some gigs. We decided to sign to new independent label, Infectious and the rest is really history...
'Trailer' was recorded at the start of our summer holidays, the day after Rick finished his exams and since then we have recorded and released five singles and toured lots in the UK. 'Girl From Mars' was our first British hit single reaching No 11 in August '95 and our most recent single 'Angel Interceptor' hit the No 14 spot in October coinciding with a sell-out UK tour (venues of 1000/20000. Now we've finished skool, we've toured the States, Europe, Australia, Japan and just played with Therapy? in Belfast and Dublin as well as doing New Year's Eve in Edinburgh. January '96 sees us going into the studio with producer Owen Morris to record an album and the rest... will be history!