||Barrie Masters - Vocals|
|Dave Higgs - Guitar|
|Graeme Douglas - Guitar|
|Paul Gray - Bass|
|Steve Nicol - Drums|
and The Hot Rods were formed in 1975, by Guitarist Dave Higgs, Vocalist
Barrie Masters, Drummer Steve Nicol and Bassist Rob Steel. They soon started
building a great repertoire of material and quickly acquired a manager,
local legend Ed Hollis. Then, following a couple of personnel changes, Lew
Lewis joined the band on Harmonica, and Paul Gray replaced Steel on Bass.
(Lewis would continue with the band for their first two singles before he
left). This line up of the band played the infamous Marquee gig on February
12th, 1976, where they were supported by The Sex Pistols, whom smashed the
Rods gear, and Steve Jones famously said to the NME 'Actually we're not
into music. We're into Chaos'.
The Hot Rods continued to write, rehearse and gig at an incredible pace, and Dave Higg's 'Amphetamine Rhythm' was really propelling the band along. They were developing an incredible live show, with them all pushing themselves to the limit, especially Vocalist Barrie Masters. The band's high energy sound was even being described as 'Punk', before the term had really caught on and the movement had any definite form.
The remainder of 1976 saw the band packing out venues such as The Marquee, and appearing in the Singles Chart with their 'Live at the Marquee' EP and 'Teenage Depression' single. The 'Teenage Depression' album would later enter the Albums Chart, and 1977 was set to be an incendiary year for the band. After jamming with them onstage at The Rainbow (Where they recorded their 'Live - At The Sound of Speed' EP), Graeme Douglas (Ex-Kursaal Flyers) joined the band, giving them a Twin Guitar Attack, redolent of Detroit Proto-Punk legends the MC5, circa 'Back In The USA'.
1977 saw the band have a colossal hit with 'Do Anything You Wanna Do', and this and the classic album 'Life On The Line' really cemented their burgeoning reputation. The band were now regularly appearing on TV shows such as Top Of The Pops and classic Punk / New Wave show 'Revolver', as well as playing serious shows at such venues as The Roundhouse and The Lyceum, and were recording sessions for John Peel and even headlined the first UK Punk Festival (the Ill-fated Chelmsford City Rock Festival). This latter show even saw Rob Tyner of the MC5 joining the band onstage, and they subsequently backed him on the single 'Till The Night Is Gone (Let's Rock)'.
The band toured America with Talking Heads, The Ramones and Tom Petty and pushed things as far as they could, and continued their intense live schedule with their 'Life On The Line Tour' in 1978, before time was spent writing the next album 'Thriller' (Which featured the classic song 'Power and the Glory') and they embarked on another long UK tour in 1979. The band were beginning to get burnt out from their relentless schedule of nonstop touring by this stage however, and when Paul Gray joined The Damned in 1980, this line up recorded the 'Fish and Chips' album before the band ended in 1981.
Various iterations of the band have subsequently reformed and continued to play, from the line up featuring Warren Kennedy and Russ Strothard in the Mid-1980's, right up to the current red hot version of the band, where Barrie Masters is still the driving force and irrepressible front man, leading the band as they deliver their high-octane rock and roll.
'Teenage Depression' - LP (Island Records - 1976)
'Life On The Line' - LP (Island Records - 1977)
'Thriller' - LP (Island
Records - 1979)
'Fish 'n' Chips' - LP (EMI Records - 1981)
And The Hot Rods - 'Do Anything You Wanna Do'
By Steve Crancher
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