Band Photos and More

Reid, Pete, Liz & Dave. Early publicity photo for Mercury records. Mercury records photo.\

Publicity still from 82.

This was taken for Mercury in 82 with our 1st guitarist Andy.

And this was MCA’s idea of publicity. Neil has taken over from Liz here Dave, Pete, Reid, Neil. MCA

This photo was used on the back of our 4th single City For Lovers

Backcover photo for City For Lovers

Andy, Dave, Liz & Pete. Seriously early contact strip and rehearsal snaps plus B&W from the Rock Garden, London.

Early contactsWOTW snapsB&W Live snap Rock Garden

I always carried a little camera with me, even on stage, which explains the crowd photos and why I’m not in many of the band pics These photos are mainly of various outdoor festivals in Holland. You never know, if you were there you might spot yourself……

WOTW Dutch FestivalsReid Neil & Jason plus fanssomewhereinholland

We also did a short ‘tourette’ of Israel and played in Tel Aviv. It was a strange place and hard to tell whether they were pulling it down, building it up or it had just been hit by a rocket…as you can see by checking the pic of us in the street with Graham our tour manager carrying some essentials. Below right, Reid Pete and Dave, a pic by a fan after the gig.

Tel Aviv streetReid Pete & Dave in Tel Aviv

Liz, our original bass player found these pictures of us in NY looking thin and moody and maybe a little out of it on the tour bus too. Click on photos to enlarge.

On the way home - from somewhere

We’re on the road to nowhere…

Liz manages to get herself in the picture.

Liz manages to get herself in the picture.

Were we really that thin? wotw 1st tour ny 82

Peppermint Lounge NY - poster

Peppermint Lounge NY – poster

bbc radio-1 concert ticket, London

bbc radio-1 concert ticket, London

17 Responses to “Band Photos and More”

  1. Heh, I’ve seen a Comsat Angels band photo that looks similar to that MCA Records publicity still. I think it’s from around the time they released Land. So that means you’re in good company.

    Anyway, another interesting connection: You were signed to MCA, and so was this guy named Dane Conover, who released an album called Sleep Convention under the name Trees. If you’re interested in seeing some Trees videos, they’re under Dane’s YouTube account (which he shares with his wife Marisa) at http://www.youtube.com/user/popgems . His music was different from yours in that his was very synthesized, but your fates are similar in that you both got less popular attention than you deserved. I understand MCA was a pretty f***ed up place back then, though, with personnel changes happening with unbelievable regularity and with little in the way of decent publicity going on. Unfortunately.

    Anyway, I really appreciate all the work you’ve put in to this, including displaying all of these unbelievably great photos. If you want to upload any of the photos you have ownership over to Wikipedia, I could help in setting up a Wiki page for Way Of The West, the way I did for the Scars. Unless you’d rather do it on your own, which I’d have no problem with. But I do think it would be a nice avenue for you to explore, considering how oft-used that resource is. And since you’ve told the story of WOTW on this site, the source material is already present!

  2. Hi Deanna

    If you really want to take on the work of organising a Wikipedia page for Way Of The West, I should take you up on it. It hadn’t occurred to me to do that or even that it was used as a band info resource so, many thanks for offering. If you email me I’ll send you what I have to work with.

    I’ll check out the Trees video, sounds interesting. MCA was going through a few changes back then as you say, I think it was one of the earliest labels that started assessing their roster purely by the money generated rather than taking a gamble on talent, which led to so much sameness and safety. Most of them work that way now.

    Here’s a funny Comsat Angels story to finish. I know Kevin Bacon, the bass player quite well. He spotted someone on ebay doing a complete Comsats collection, all pirated. He emailed them saying he didn’t expect to ever see any money from it but how about sending him a CD for free anyway as he was in the band. The guy replied “F*** Off”!

    Thanks again Deanna

  3. OMG you know Kevin Bacon “quite well”? That is too cool! You two were both members of very original, inventive, ground-breaking bands whose music will never age, so to think of you two as friends is super. What is *not* super, OTOH, is the way that eBay user (loser) acted toward someone who’s practically a legend. That eBay guy — what a maroon.

    I would love to set that Wiki page up for you, most definitely! Oh, but Wikipedia strongly advises against using original material for source material, so unfortunately all that has to be stated will have to be in the public domain. But you could certainly add on any additional information you have to any of the sections you’ve set up herein, or even add another section to the site.

    It’s terrible that MCA had to be the way they were. You would think that back in the early ’80s all of the record companies out there would consider music their top priority, but I guess MCA couldn’t be bothered. Unfortunately, yes, all of the majors have turned out that way, which is why the only good new music I find is located on the indies. But at least there’s more than enough good music there to distract me from the fact that practically all of the major label acts out there that have emerged in the past ten or so years are absolutely dreadful. But wait — you’re in London, right? So you guys still get the occasionally great, wildly successful musical artist, I guess because England/the U.K. has always seemed to me to be a place that’s more willing to accept musical brilliance and originality into the mainstream. Unlike us here in America, where the masses have almost always bought into — sorry to use this word — shit.

  4. After the Comsats, Kevin and a friend opened a studio in Sheffield, his hometown, where they recorded and produced some big acts. They’ve since moved down to London where they have another studio. The guy on ebay is stupid, Kevin wasn’t interested in shutting him down and it’s dumb to antagonise someone who could cause trouble for him. Sad but not unusual. Kevin now runs a successful digital distribution company called Awal Uk, also from Sheffield. Take a look on Google.

    When you say Wikipedia don’t like source material, do you mean it must all be readily available information, who, where, when etc, no inside info? If so, could you handle that or do need me to do it? There should be enough general info here to use. Also, does that mean you can’t use the photos?

    “The grass is always greener on the other side”, you know that saying?
    I’d love to think the UK was way ahead of the US in original independent music but I’d be fooling myself. England has no shortage of terrible music and the other side is I’ve heard some great stuff from the US. At one time we had an edge because the music scene here wasn’t as fragmented. We never had black stations that only blacks listened to, or TV shows for just one group of people. Everybody listened to everything and it all came out in the mix. Like Bowie getting Nile Rogers to produce Let’s Dance when Nile Rogers was being attacked in the US for playing disco. Maybe it’s still a little easier to break through if you’re different here but I don’t think there’s much difference these days. There’s plenty of ‘shit’ to go round.

  5. Kevin’s post-Comsats story sounds fascinating. Also, it’s good that he wanted to go back to his Sheffield roots and set up shop there, plus it’s also good (yet not surprising) that he’s been so successful that he’s also set himself up in London. It’s great that he’s being so busy and in-demand, and I will absolutely look that digital distribution company up. Also, I completely agree with you re: the eBay debacle.

    What Wikipedia frowns upon is posting information that cannot be found either online or in print. So, like, if you were to tell me something and I were to post it on Wikipedia, it would have to be corroborated by old interviews you’ve done or something you’ve said here on this site or something stated before somewhere else. But you’ve already revealed quite a lot on this site, enough for an article certainly, though it would make things a whole lot easier if you were the one to upload the picture(s) you’d want used on the profile (aside from the single covers) because you would be the owner of that/those photo(s) and you would be able to handle that/them as your own.

    What would you consider the US ahead of the UK in in terms of popular music? Because, truth be told, the only things I’m coming up with are all gritty, blues-based stuff, and I hate that kind of thing. That’s why I love your kind of music so much, because it cut away all of that ickiness and grubbiness and dealt with simple, clean lines. Also, I love how original WOTW were, particularly when it came to those guitar riffs, and it’s a thrill knowing you were the one behind them. I am aware of some of the cheesy novelty records that managed to hit #1 in the UK while remaining completely unknown here thanks to a UK “top 50 one-hit wonders” thing I was able to torrent, but you know what? We have had at least as many bad hit songs, and we were the country that unleashed bad acts ranging from John Mellencamp to NSync (or however they spelled it) out into the world and those rotten eggs stunk up the place for many years. Besides, the UK is where Blondie had to go to make it, so. Maybe things have changed very recently in the UK, but I still think you guys have far surpassed us in terms of overall great musical output.

    BTW, fully 3/4 of my entire musical library consists of musical artists from the UK.

  6. You’re right about Blondie but she wasn’t the first. Hendrix had to come to England to be recognised before returning as a star so you could have something, the UK packs a big musical punch for a small island though you could say that’s less obvious these days. When WOTW / GO4 etc were touring the US, bands from the UK were very popular and appeared regularly in the US charts, maybe because they sounded so different from what was happening. A couple of years ago, for the 1st time in maybe 30 yrs, there were no UK acts at all in the billboard 100 (maybe Coldplay had a month off!) Even acts that were massive here (Oasis?) didn’t attract much attention in the US. Recently the UK has had a (maybe deserved) reputation for concentrating more on the hype and image than the content. Even enormous pop acts like Robbie Williams don’t do a thing there, where the equivalent 80’s act (Boy George?) did. Something must have changed.

    Also you’re right. The UK does have a soft spot for ‘novelty’ records, particularly at Christmas. I don’t think that concept exists in other countries.

    As for all the ‘gritty, blues based stuff’ well, you invented it! In fact you probably invented modern pop music, from Glen Miller onwards. Lots of those bands in the Beatles time were poor copies of American originals like Buddy Holly. Any country that can produce someone like Little Richard, a black gay rock n roll singer wearing makeup who, unbelievably, was singing in the 50’s when they lynched people like that, can’t be all bad?

    Ok Deanna, I’ll do the photos if you start the thing going. If it’s ok with you I’ll try the email address you use for this blog to connect up about it. No rush, I know how time consuming this stuff is so, whenever you have the time.

  7. See? Truth be told, I’m not really into guitar-y rock from the ’60s, but it is indesputable that Hendrix provided something original to music and he too ended up breaking big in the UK, as you said. I believe very much so that you guys are more willing to take musical chances than we are, partly because your radio stations are more freeform and less rigid than US radio stations, partly because more of you guys are involved in music (it seems like it, anyway), and also partly because there isn’t this insane requirement that “good” music fit these very tight restraints that David Marsh, Greil Marcus et. al. insist upon in terms of pop/rock music. Also, there has to be something to the fact that so many of you emerged from art schools/the art school scene.

    I think the Billboard chart-toppers are by and large the least talented, most odious musical acts around. Unfortunately this is continuing on with the trend of the majority of Americans who buy music not knowing a good thing if it bit them in the you-know-where. I believe it’s pure laziness on the part of these consumers, who just go for what’s considered popular (whether it is at the time or not), or for the same old same old they’ve been listening to since God was a baby or something like that. I could just be speaking from the vantage point of someone who’s only seen the Billboard trends of the past 20 or so years, Maybe it was different some time before that.

    I’m willing to accept that The Beatles were influenced by American music when they first started out, but look at what they were able to accomplish with that once they moved on to do their own thing. And, as a New Wave/synthpop fanatic, I look at the US vs. the UK and note which side was more readily accepting of new guitar stylings and new musical technologies such as the Moog synth and see that it was the UK by and large that was doing that, while the US struggled to keep up (though there were a few exceptions). The US still has yet to produce an American Gary Numan, regardless of how much Trent Reznor might think he could be, and look at how innovative *you* were with your guitar playing in WOTW! Aside from Zappa alumna and the lead guitarist from Romeo Void, I can’t think of anyone else Stateside who played along those same revolutionary lines. Most US music either bores me to tears or makes me want to cover my ears in frustration and disgust.

    As far as the Wiki page goes, yes, let’s converse more about it. I’d really love your input on what you feel should be included on the page and any additional information you’d like to have thrown in, though all such information must be verified by outside sources. I’m so excited about helping out with this….

  8. The art school thing was big in the UK. Every other art or fashion student was also (is also) in a band and you could maybe make the argument that the whole look / style whatever you call it, was more important with bands from the UK and not just an add on. It wasn’t enough to be a good musician, or even the main thing. Look at the punk movement.

    The radio is important too. Britain isn’t that big and had national radio, the BBC, which meant everybody heard everything, if they wanted to, wherever they were. Also our mainstream pop shows like Top of the Pops would always have what would be regarded elsewhere (the US?)as ‘leftfield’ bands. The Smiths, or The Cure, (or Gary Newman) would be on there regularly between the usual crap. You didn’t have to look too hard to find them, they weren’t considered ‘underground’. The Sex Pistols in the 70’s had a harder time due to their lyrics (and attitude) and were regularly banned.

    I think I remember GO4, due to appear on Top of the Pops with ‘To Hell With Poverty’ being asked to change a word (can’t remember which) but they refused so didn’t get to go on. If you’re interested, ask on their site?

    I guess we (WOTW) were always exploring different ways to play gtrs and maybe we did find an audience (and record label) more easily here. There were lots of great bands in the UK then, and each had a different take on sound. We played with a lot of them and most didn’t get the notice they deserved. Some not even getting to make a record.

    Romeo Void. I think I remember playing a gig supporting them. Didn’t they have a saxophone, a girl singer? Could have been Minneapolis.

    I’ve never researched other bands via Wikipedia so I guess I should get your advice on a good one to check out before I start? I’ll contact you and thanks again for offering.

    Pete

  9. those photos taken in israel….a set up!..we were teetotal(now where’s my white spirit?)…

  10. That third NYC photo is outside the Mudd Club, I believe. I don’t recognize where that first pic was taken, but it has been a long time. Heya Pete, I saw you guys in more places than I can probably remember, in NYC and environs the first couple of times you were there, and in London somewhere in ’82 or ’83.

    I do remember you were all lovely and funny, at a time when many people in bands weren’t (and most likely still aren’t). Meant a lot to a little 19 year old at the time, I can tell ya.

    Wish I had photos, but so many possessions are gone with the wind, you know? You may be interested to know that the Iroquois is still there, although poshed up, and the Red Flame coffee shop down the road is not only in existence, but they’ve actually expanded! My friend Andy and I went there for the memories when we visited New York a couple of months ago.

  11. That Red Flame coffee house was the bleary eyed early morning WOTW
    meeting place while we waited for John, our long suffering driver to pick us up for wherever we were playing that night. Really glad it’s still there, unlike so many great London cafes now no more.

    You could be right about the Mudd Club, we did play there a few times and I know that’s definitely gone.

    The Iroquois most nights of the week had more bands in residence there than the average big studio. That really did need poshing up.

    Thanks for jogging those memories Bonho and glad we weren’t too cool to a 19yr old.

    Pete

  12. Hiya. Andy saunders is my dad. Cant find many photos of him cus the band broke up. He still remembers his orange t shirt though lol XD His birthday is today!! 😀

    • Hi there Miss Ruby Saunders. I also remember his orange t-shirt. I’ll look through some photos and see if there are any of your dad in his heyday. You may have them already but who knows. If you see him wish him Happy Birthday from me.

      Pete

  13. Mark Davis Says:

    Great site. This band was much better then they got credit for. I was lucky enough to catch them at The Pepermint Lounge.

  14. To all the people who’ve been commenting on here for the last couple of years and wondering where their messages had gone or why no-one was replying. I’m afraid the answer is that I managed to lock myself out of my own site, partly a broken password and partly a change to the way the site worked. Whatever, it meant that I couldn’t approve any of your kind and interesting views or get into any dialogue at all.

    Here’s hoping I’ve managed to fix the problem permanently and everything now works as it should. Anyway, I’m blaming the Ghost In The Machine till I hear otherwise. Meanwhile I’ll work through and try to answer any questions that need answering.

    I’ll put this reply on all the pages so we know where we are.

    Many apologies to our loyal WOTW fans out there

    Pete

  15. Hi Way of the West, I grew up in a Dublin suburb where once a week myself and two friends cobbled together enough coin to splurge on a flagon of Cider. We were 14 year olds, Tomo had a portable tape player and he’d put together a tape for our weekly outing to a nearby field, out of sight and earshot to curious adults. Don’t Say That’s Just for White Boys was our favourite, we rewound it so often the tape melted.

    I heard the song again just now and it transported back to that place and time. It hasn’t lost anything!

    • Patrick, That’s a great story. If you’re not a writer already you should be, and if it wasn’t about us it would still be a great story, but as it was it gives me a special glow!
      Thanks for making me smile.

      Pete

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: