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Before the beginning...
Although 100 Bullets Back only formed in June 2002 and started gigging in December 2002, the origins of the band date back to 1994, when a new intake of faces appeared in the 6th Form of The Henry Box School, Witney, Oxon.
Like many of his friends, Noel Pearson went into the 6th Form as an excuse to dodge the real world for another few years and hopefully onto university further down the line. Free periods and the thought of improving '60 seconds footie' skills were about all on his mind. On his first day however, he, like his schoolmates, was greeted by a new face in the school yard.
With briefcase tucked under his arm, sporting a thin pencil line moustache, buff side parting and wearing the finest suit M&S could tailor at the time, David Alexander Clayton from Carterton announced himself to his new classmates. Having recently moved down from Scotland, Dave quickly found himself at home in the lazy atmosphere of the 6th Form block!
A friendship was quickly struck up between the two, based on sport, growing up and of course an increasing interest in music. With the new wave of 'Brit Pop' sweeping the airwaves at the time, the two formed their first band with friend James Wood. James, whose father had played in a covers band for years, already played the guitar and encouraged Dave to do likewise. The Hairy Palmers were born and would practice covers by The Beatles, Oasis and other artists of the day. The shambolic outfit never performed in public and disbanded when university beckoned after two years.
Both Noel and Dave went to Staffordshire University where sport became a major part of both their lives as well as an increasing amount of socialising. With Noel taking up the guitar, the amount of song writing stepped up for both and a number of songs were written under the pair's guise of Cider and Black. The two performed an acoustic set live at Christmas 1998 at The Dorris Watts Centre, Carterton, Oxon. A set containing mainly covers was most noticeable for the debut of two originals, "Mrs Jones" and "Wallhead".
After finishing university, the two changed their name briefly to Potatoman and then to Atticus. Atticus performed live in January 2000 in their converted studio to an invited audience. This set consisted entirely of originals and saw Dave's debut performance on the bass and Noel's on the electric guitar.
The two spent the next couple of years working and travelling. They met up again in May 2001 in Sydney, Australia. Dave had been performing at a local open mic night, 'Green Jam', over the previous weeks and with Noel's arrival, both performed a couple of acoustic sets for the first time together in a year and a half.
In June 2002, Noel returned from travelling and with Dave raring to go, set about forming a "proper" band. With Noel on guitar and vocals and Dave on the bass and vocals, a drummer was the missing piece of the cake the two had always needed.
Since their time away, Dave's brother, Martyn, had finished his time at drama college and had bought himself a drum set and was playing in a band with some of his classmates. The 'skate rock' covers outfit practised in the same converted studio as had been used by Atticus. Martyn or Meat or Maximus or Del, was quickly snapped up and the cake was nearly completed.
Together, the three practiced for six months a bunch of older songs as well as a number of new ones with an aim of playing live before the year was out. A name was still required and with few ideas being put forward, Martyn came up with a suggestion after playing a computer game. After a short deliberation, all agreed and an embrionic 100 Bullets Back began it's life.
The 3 piece played four gigs together and although were well received, soon realised the sound lacked a "certain something". With the onset of having to record a demo nearing, the band set about their search for a keyboard player and soon came across old school friend Andrea Johnston. After the success of her "trial" during the recording of the demo (Significant Silence EP), Andi joined the band full time and the new look 100 Bullets Back was born.
The band played a number of gigs thoughout the first half of 2003 including first appearances in London and Oxford. A new demo, "The Violence EP", was recorded in July at Shonk Studios, Bicester and showcased a new electro heavy sound the band were moving towards. Another couple of gigs followed, but all was not hunky dory as Martyn was growing apart from the band and decided to call it a day in July (musical differences/lack of drive blah blah). A new drummer was needed and luckily after only a couple of weeks Helen Stevenson-Miller was "discovered" in the wilderness wastelands of Carterton.
Helen had previously been playing in a covers band "Ruby Red" and following their split had been looking for a new project. Helen fitted in nicely and following only two weeks practice, played her first gig with the band at Bar Oz on the eve of the Reading Festival.
A number of gigs followed throughout the remainder of the year and another venture into the studio to record what would become the band's first single "The Lost Souls Club". Although things seemed to be cool, internal cracks were again beginning to show in the line up (shown in reduced line up appearances).
In January, David and Noel again worked with John Halliday to record new track "I Know" for the fourth Velocity Recordings compilation album release, the near legendary "Abuse Your Friends". Two local shows followed including the band's biggest gig to date (supporting Dogs Die In Hot Cars and The Zutons). This however was to be Andi's last gig as she had previously decided to leave the band. Instead of replacing her, it was decided to play as a three piece and play all keyboard/synths live via a backing track. This was not the end of the upheavals though. Before the next gig Helen also decided to leave due to work commitments. In the space of two weeks four were now two!
With gigs booked and the upcoming release of their first single, another drummer was needed quick. A work colleague of David's, Scott McFadzean, had seen the band live recently and jumped at the opportunity to join on the pots and pans. Scott, who hailed from Glasgow, was a metal fan by trade but quickly adjusted and picked up the electro heavy dance beats the two were now after. With Scott's addition, a more rounded fuller sound was born. This is where it starts...