Oohh here's an obscure one for y'all!
Mega thanks go out to vocalist Al Dominey for taking the time to put this together :
Ashmata were formed in 1985, financed by then manager Marcia Dovey (a breeder
of Spanish Estrella Mountain Dogs in Landford Nr. Salisbury). As far as I am
aware The original line-up was supposed to be :-
Alan Marsh (vocals)
Gary Jeffery (Lead Guitar)
Someone ex Saxon on keyboards (though this never materialised)
Marc "Gabe" Angel (drums)
By summer 1985
Gary Jeffery (Lead Guitar) and Mark Mulholland (Keyboards / Second Guitar) were the "movers and shakers" and both fairly recently departed from long-standing Portsmouth band "Truffle". Marc "Gabe" Angel still featured on drums and Alan Marsh on lead vocals (both ex "Tokyo Blade"). The bass player, by this time, was Jeremy "Jem" ?????? previously 2nd guitarist with Whiteparish HM outfit Wolfsbane (or Wolfbane) a band that had been also (mis)managed by Marcia Dovey.
Alan Marsh was having problems regarding a personal contract that he had signed with a record store owner from his home town of Bournemouth and I was approached by Gary & Mark to audition as vocalist in August or September of 1985 and by the end of October had left my day job to concentrate on the only concerted effort I ever made for a full time professional career.
I had attended Portsmouth Grammar School with Steve Hopgood, drummer of Chinatown/Paul DiAnno's Killers?etc. and figured if he could do it so could I. There were plenty of vocalists far worse than myself, not only locally, but also in touring bands that I was seeing on a regular basis and being actually ASKED to audition gave me a confidence that had previously eluded me.
While we were rehearsing the set and rehearsing for a demo recording, the band had an appearance in a Battle of The Bands at Salisbury Arts Centre (Judged by Ted McKenna the drummer of SAHB/MSG) at which, I think, Alan Marsh performed despite his manager.
By November we were in Wave Studios (Beneath The Bass Clef Jazz Club in Soho) recording a 2 track demo/single - "Running out of time" c/w "Hot Lovin'" - the intended A-side being a re-written version of a ballad previously recorded by TRUFFLE (there was some animosity over the ownership of this, although Mark Mulholland & Gary Jeffrey always maintained that it had been written solely by Mark in memory of his late father) and the B-side a fairly cheesy soft metal rocker (which I was proud of having kicked and screamed to get a rising harmony finale that I had envisioned added to the end.
There was some industry interest, but the entire industry seemed to have just turned to the current trend for the post-new romantic electronic thing and nothing came of it.
One gig was performed at "Bogey's" in Cardiff and shortly after, I departed the band having just been told that all writing was being carried-out (using a ouija board) with 7 higher spirits, there to pave the way for the 2nd coming of Christ. Gary, Jem & Mark were apparently 3 of these. This nonsense coupled with the fact that Gary & Mark were "associating" with the managers teenage daughters decided my departure for me, very quickly.
I believe a couple of other incarnations of the band ensued, but nothing much happened, as far as I am aware. Within a year or 2, the Doveys had upped and moved to Wales and the final incarnation of the band occurred there, featuring at some point former Mammath drummer Kerry Lovelock.
Gary & Mark are both still in the Portsmouth area, and Mark Mulholland still plays
pub and club gigs in a rock duo and along the way has variously been a drummer
as well as keyboardist or guitarist in several groups through the late
'80s/early 90's. Gary is no longer gigging.
As far as I was aware, Gary had already done a stint with Tokyo Blade before Ashmata (1985), I think a Japanese tour, but I can't be sure. I do know that that is how he knew Alan Marsh.
After Ashmata, I went on to join a band in the Portsmouth area called Geneva
performing self written melodic rock.
John Dunning (ex JJ's Powerhouse & Truffle and mutuous others) on Bass & lead vocals.
Myself on 2nd guitar and harmonies.
Mickey Duff on Lead Guitar
Gary Smith on Drums
JD left the band in around '88 and I took on the mantle of lead vocalist and we added Paul Boyle on keys and back-ups (now and previously with Fay Wray www.faywray.co.uk) and a bass player whose name I should remember but it's my age and all the drugs and I can't lay my hands on demos at the moment.
After Geneva, I fronted a Blues/R&B outfit called The Red Hot Pokers (recently reformed for a few party gigs - if anyone else is ever available), had a brief spell with The Booze Brothers and an offshoot '70's covers band called The Snap and am now also fronting, what I consider my main band "Fritz", County Line (mainly Southern Boogie) and another band that preceded Fritz in the Portsmouth area in the late '60's/early '70's (currently unnamed).
I also fronted a pub/club trio for about 2 years around 2000-02 called Talking Sheep III (there had been 2 previous versions) with my friend Tim Stephens a rather versatile young guitarist and Dave Houghton (from the Joe Jackson band) on drums - all on shared vocals.
I think that is about it . . . . .
All words © Al Dominey/The Page Of The Blade 2007