Thee Armless Teddies
Thee Armless Teddies - Poster
Thee Armless Teddies - Mark James, Steve '76' Bulley and Pigeon
Thee Armless Teddies - Poster
Thee Armless Teddies - Mark James, Steve '76' Bulley + Pigeon
...The Story...
 

Thee Armless Teddies - First Gig Poster - Focus Youth Centre - 01.10.84Thee Armless Teddies were originally formed in the early eighties by Pigeon (otherwise known as Jip, Pidge, Lord Pigeon De’ath or many other monikers) who was joined quickly by Polly on bass and Mark James on guitar. Pigeon played drums and attempted to sing. Their first gig was supporting The Calamity at Focus on 1st October 1984 whose line-up was Steve ‘76’ Bulley on vocals, Sean Wastell on guitar, Si Smith on bass and Murray Blake, later of Kronstadt Uprising fame, on drums (yes drums). The Calamity really embraced the early punk spirit in the sense that they could not play a note and were just thrown together for a laugh. Both bands rehearsed together in Pigeon’s bedroom on the day of the gig, which was the first time Murray had heard the songs!

Steve promptly joined the Teddies on vocals after that first gig, and after another 4 gigs with that line-up, he swapped jobs with Polly. The Teddies were booked to support the Exploited at the Pink Toothbrush in September 1985, but neither Polly or the Exploited turned up. The gig went ahead anyway with Steve & Pigeon sharing the vocals and the set strung out with some impromptu Damned covers. A legend was born that night and although Polly did the next gig (the infamous Focus Theatre riot with the Burning Idols), he left soon after and the Teddies embarked on a year of furious gigging with the 3 man line-up gaining musically and winning fans with every step.

Thee Armless Teddies - Steve '76' Bulley, Pigeon and Mark JamesThe Teddies were characterized by their energy, outlandish stage behaviour (mainly Pigeon), mix of musical styles and elaborate punk/fantasy artwork on their posters. Of course, their lyrical content reflected Pigeon and Steve’s beliefs as well and covered mainly animal cruelty, war and the struggles of the down-trodden – giving a serious lyrical edge to their outgoing, fun stage presence.

During 1986 regular gig-goer Al (Sir Alice Naed) started to join them on stage and eventually joined the band as full time vocalist. Al’s presence and between-song patter really took the Teddies to the next level and enabled Pigeon’s wild drumming, Steve’s funky bass and Mark’s brooding, powerful guitar to develop the band into a formidable musical unit. Damned covers became more regular set-enders, as did a full-on cover of Flux of Pink Indians’ 'Tube Disasters' but the set was still loaded with original songs covering anarcho-punk ('Man Enough', 'Fields Are Green', 'New Clear Product'), reggae ('Down on Your Luck') and even rock instrumentals ('Serenade').

Thee Armless Teddies - Live at The Chalkwell Park Rooms - 27.11.92 - PosterThe band didn’t do a lot after 1986 except for some metal collaborations and a fresh round of London gigs with the ’86 line-up in the first half of 1988. They also did 3 re-union gigs in 1992, '93 and '94 which were probably some of their best and biggest gigs!

Most people know that Pigeon departed this world on Remembrance Day 1995 after being hit by a car outside the Pink Toothbrush. His personality and presence will never be forgotten however, and anyone that knew him, the Teddies or his later brainchild Nuclear Anarchy plc has had their life irrevocably brightened. Much of his enormous talent lives on through people that he influenced.

After 1988, as mentioned, Pigeon formed Nuclear Anarchy (the Nukes) and played bass with them until his death, when Steve took over the job. Pigeon and Steve also played together (on the right instruments) in Steve Hooker/Rob Moore creation The Upsetters, as well as No Matter What and Columbo until 1995 (Steve stayed with them until 2004).

Thee Armless Teddies - The Return of The Four False Men of The A Pocket Lisp - PosterDuring this time Pigeon also played for a number of other bands and Steve had spells in Steve Hooker & The Shakers (1987) and Vulture Squadron. Mark formed Death By Chocolate and has played for many Southend bands/projects including Columbo for a time and recently Dirty Water. Al went into stand-up comedy, radio and acting and pops up on our TV screens from time to time.

The Teddies left no recordings except for a demo recorded in 1986 at Indigo Blue in Chelmsford containing 'Torture Town' (a song about the Porton Down monkeys) and the instrumental 'Serenade'. 'Torture Town' was Mark’s singing debut. Many rehearsal and gig tapes still exist and could make it on to a CD one day if the quality can be cleaned up.

Profile by Steve '76' Bulley

Special Southend Punk Feature #1 - Click Here to see a special Armless Teddies Gallery!
Special Southend Punk Feature #2 - Click Here to see a special 'Thee Armless Teddies vs Threshold' Football Match Special Gallery!
Punk Rock

 

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