Indebted to Steve Corr of Idiot Strength, one of my favourite bands on the mid 1980’s, who jotted down some notes for me to place onto this KYPP post – Revised March 2016.
These two songs are the first things I ever recorded and I’m told ‘Wasting Your Time’ was played by John Peel.
The tracks were recorded in my bedroom by a guy who had a four track cassette porta studio back in 1982 when I was just 19.
The drums really were a suitcase and three of those thick white plastic water containers, one of which was sellotaped to an upturned biscuit tin lid with nails in to act as a snare. Sounded great to my ears.
The song ‘Caroline’ was a piss take of some country & western band I’d heard where the singer tells the story of the song while the band plays the intro.
For those who might be wondering, the crowd applause is taken from a live 10CC album at the Hollywood Bowl and not from the Chard folk club where I used to play on a Wednesday night. I was persuaded to record this as everyone at the folk club seemed to love it but I wasn’t keen at the time.
The tracks were recorded for a compilation cassette amusingly (?) called ‘Chardbusters’. Chardbusters was a collection of songs recorded by musicians who played at what was known as the ‘Chard folk club’. Essentially it was an, ‘open mic night’ for anyone who wanted to showcase their music.
Shane Dabinett (Children Of Revolution Records) used to go to the club.
I remember once getting annoyed that no one was listening and noticed Shane had his back to me so I started singing about him and it may even have been that ‘Caroline’ was originally about Shane although I don’t imagine it would have been a love song!
‘Wasting Your Time’, is one of the first songs I wrote. It’s about a girl from my school who lived in the posh part of town. On reflection I probably fancied her but she was too posh and vacuous, I think she wanted to be a punk.
Idiot Strength formed in Bristol in 1984 playing sporadic gigs in various squats and venues around Bristol.
The original line up in the above picture was Mathew Brett on drums (now sadly deceased), Giles Coe on Bass and myself, Steve Corr on vocals and guitar.
Idiot Strength moved to London in 1986 where they continued to play in the same sporadic half arsed kind of way, performing at squats and the odd festival in the capital.
The above tracks were taken from a demo recorded in Walthamstow during the latter months of 1986. Sian, ex Lost Cherries and soon to be Blyth Powers backing vocalist, sang backing vocals on Someday. The five tracks were originally going to be released as a split album with Wat Tyler but I had decided the vocals were so bad it couldn’t be released.
Mathew Brett left to go travelling and was replaced by Andy Tuck who had previously played with Thatcher on Acid and later with Schwarzenegger. Matt was soon followed by Giles who sold his bass, bought a camera and went travelling. Giles was replaced by Chas formerly of Flowers in the Dustbin.
Chas left after a year or so and was replaced by Bob Butler who was also a member of Thatcher on Acid and Schwarzenegger and has since been seen playing with Steve Ignorant’s Crass revival band.
Bob and Andy had been friends since my early teens where I first met them hanging around Glover Walk in Yeovil.
In the early 90’s we acquired a succession of lead guitarists, the last of whom and perhaps the best was Dan who had previously played and sang with Blind Mole Rat. We recorded about a dozen songs in a small studio in New Cross in the summer of 1996.
Sadly the band never released anything and we stuttered to a halt in 1996.
In 2012 Bob and Andy joined me for a few songs to support the newly reformed Mob (their first show in thirty years) at the Fleece in Bristol with Rubella Ballet and Zounds. I had supported the Mob a couple of times as a solo artist back in the day when they were based in Yeovil.
Also that night I played with new bass player Pete Webb we played along to a backing track I had made and decided to get ourselves a drummer. A few months later I literally bumped into our new drummer and we were a band again. I decided to keep the name Idiot Strength and a year later we recorded our debut single, ‘Long time Coming’.
We have since been joined by Ian McKenna on lead guitar and are currently (March 2016) recording an album bit by bit.
Steve also was the guitarist in the second line up of Blyth Power from 1987 until 1991.