Paul Shuttleworth - Vocals
Graeme Douglas - Guitar
Vic Collins - Pedal Steel Guitar
Richie Bull - Banjo
Dave Hatfield - Bass
Will Birch - Drums
Kursaal Flyers from Southend formed in October 1973 and have been described
as a band whom 'bridged the gap between pub rock and power pop'. Paul Shuttleworth,
Graeme Douglas and Will Birch had previously played in Surly Bird, and Paul
had gone on to play in Cow Pie, where he met Vic Collins, Richie Bull and
Dave Hatfield (whom had previously played with Graeme in 'Saints and Sinners').
Dave was the driving force in getting the band together, and they initially
rehearsed in his house in the Winter of 1973 / 1974, before making their
debut at The Blue Boar Pub (later renamed Reids for many years) in Victoria
Avenue, Southend, in February 1974.
Connections with Dr. Feelgood helped secure The Kursaal's two gigs at The Kensington in London, which led to the band speaking with Charisma booking agent Paul Conroy whom offered the band enough paid work for them to 'turn pro'. All the members except Dave Hatfield did so, on January 1st 1975, and Dave left the group. Soon after Jonathan King signed The Kursaal's to his UK Records and the band recorded and released their debut album 'Chocs Away'. Though unhappy with the production, it enjoyed some good reviews and the Singles from it 'Speedway' and 'Hit Records' were played on Radio One.
A second Album was recorded for King's Label - 'The Great Artiste', although is didn't sell as well as their debut. A song on it - 'Cruisin' For Love' - was thought to have potential if re-recorded, and Wombles maestro Mike Batt was chosen to do this. The Single didn't sell as well as planned and the band ended their association with Jonathan's Label. The band's live reputation continued to build though, and this soon led to CBS being interested in the band. The band recorded their third Album (and first for CBS) 'Golden Mile' during the summer of 1976, with Mike Batt producing. A Single from the Album 'Little Does She Know' was, at the bands behest, given the full Phil Spector treatment, and became a success in the Singles chart, with the song gaining substantial radio play, garnering The Kursaal's a coveted Top of The Pops appearance which helped the song reach number 14 in the charts.
Also in 1976, on Saturday February 21st Mark Kiddel's Second House Documentary 'So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star'? which featured The Kursaal Flyers, was first broadcast (at 9:05pm on BBC 2). Essentially its an early version of Reality TV, where a camera crew follows the band around, especially memorably in Middlesborough. The editing may have been questionable at times, but all these years later it does serve as a great document of the era, and has even been included in a number of '50 Greatest Music Films Ever'- type listings, including those of Time Out and Record Collector.
The band also managed to get on Mike Mansfield's TV music show 'Supersonic', performing 'Little Does She Know' in November 1976 and again in March 1977, when they also played 'Radio Romance'. A performance of 'Little Does She Know' on German TV show 'Musikladen' was also undertaken, and was aired in February 1977. Also, on May 15th 1977 the fifth in the 'So It Goes Concert Series' was broadcast by Granada, featuring The Kursaal Flyers performing 'One Arm Bandit', 'Pocket Money', 'Yellow Sox', 'Street of the Music', 'Radio Romance', 'Speedway' and 'Little Does She Know'.
Later on, Graeme was dissatisfied within the group however and had clashes with Mike Batt, and he left to join Eddie and The Hot Rods. Barry Martin (currently of The Hamsters) then joined and the band were touring heavily all over Europe to promote the success of the single. However, slowly the band members and their managers and friends enthusiasm for things slowly began to wane. Their manager left, followed by Vic Collins who was replaced by John Wicks. They did manage to put out a further album - 'Five Live Kursaals' (Memorably described as 'The One And Only New Wave Country Album') - and to promote its release they undertook a UK tour in 1977 with Bristol based Punk band The Cortinas in support. The tour was going well - The Kursaal's were ending every gig with Paul demolishing a TV set with an axe - but it reached the point where the members were looking to do other things, and Paul decided he wanted to leave and go solo, and the rest of the band then disbanded.
After the dissolution of the band, Paul Shuttleworth issued several solo records, Graeme played with Eddie and The Hot Rods and Will Birch formed The Records with John Wicks whom had a hit in the USA with 'Starry Eyes', and Vic Collins went into Band management. The Kursaal's reformed in 1985 to record the album 'A Former Tour de Force Is Forced To Tour' and have performed intermittently ever since.
'The Great Artiste' - LP (United Artists - 1975)
'Golden Mile' - LP (CBS - 1976)
'Five Live Kursaals' - LP (CBS - 1977)