In this regular feature hosted by Simon Smith (@HertfordSoul) we will be re-discovering some of our long lost indie favourites who didn’t quite make the grade and have since disappeared off many people’s radars.
We’ll be featuring one Great Lost Indie Band each time and, in true indie style, we’ll be following the ‘Who? Why?’ Where? format (copyright Jesus Jones). ‘Who are they?’, Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?’ ‘Where are they now?
Of course there are only so many bands a middle aged indie kid can muster so, once Simon posted a few of his own chosen long lost gems, he’ll be opening this feature up to the rest of the Everything Indie Over 40 community to share theirs.
In this edition, Simon turns his attention to….
Great Lost Indie Bands #1 – FORMULA ONE
Who are they?
Formula One were a 5 piece indie band from Preston who released a number of singles and an album between 1996 and 2000. Oh and they’re not to be confused with a Seattle skate punk band of the same name, in fact, you couldn’t get two bands who were more different. Saying that, they both formed and split up around the same time – coincidence?!
In the mid 90s, due to the lack of that very handy thing we call ‘the internet’, you had to rely on other methods in which to discover new bands. A lot of the bands I fell in love with I would have found through reading about them in the music press, seeing them on the ITV Chart Show, The Beat or Snub TV or hearing them on John Peel or Gary Crowley’s show on GLR on a Sunday afternoon. Formula One were different though, as soon as I heard that Martin Carr and Tim Brown from The Boo Radleys were producing one of their singles that was it, I had to get involved.
Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?
They had great tunes, melodic and catchy. One music magazine said they were like ‘The Fall playing Krautrock’. Unfortunately they arrived just at the wrong time, at the tail end of Britpop, a scene that they just wouldn’t have fitted into. Then all everyone wanted to hear was ‘OK Computer’ and ‘Urban Hymns’ and if I ever see them again I’ll have to apologise as I was one of them.
But, it was good while it lasted. I remember seeing them at The Hacienda before it closed down, they were bloody nice people and I had a really good chat with them after the gig. I used to send them Christmas cards and write to them (I liken it to tweeting band members nowadays). In return they used to sign their singles for me (see the photo my singles collection of theirs below, Siggy is my nickname by the way).
I once asked them in a letter what time they were playing the Reading Festival and gave them my mum and dad’s number (it would have been during my Uni summer holiday) and the lead singer Lee phoned me up to tell me! Bands would never do that nowadays, would they?! You’re lucky if they tweet you back. Saying that they probably get loads of tweets – Formula One may have only had one saddo who wrote to them.
Where are they now?
Being such a ‘lost band’ it has been really difficult finding much info about them online.
Dave Chambers, the drummer, was in Cornershop and a band called Pastel Collision (anyone know anything about them? They could feature in a future Great Lost Indie Band post if so) before he joined Formula One and it sounds like he went on to form The Wandering Step, another local Preston band, when he left.
As for the remaining members, another Dave, Lee, Kerrie (who was also in Pastel Collision) and Emma, I’m struggling to find anything on them, they are well and truly ‘lost’. It’s a shame as they were all brilliant musicians who were different to anything else out there at the time. I’d love to know where they ended up.
Check them out if you get the chance, their back catalogue is on www.discogs.com if you want to take a punt. Like I said, there’s not much about them online. I did find a recording of one of their singles though, ‘Aqua Manera’ and a YouTube link is below. This is one of the songs produced by Martin and Tim Boo and once you hear the ‘Lazarus’-style Spanish trumpets you’ll see what influence they had on it.
Anyway, best be off, I need to see what this Pastel Collision band are all about. Until next time…
UPDATE FROM SIMON
The Formula One post I wrote made it’s way over to Canada recently and was picked up by Lee Nicholson, the former lead singer of the band. We had a chat over email and he’s managed to fill in a few gaps of what happened to the rest of the band since Formula One stopped playing together – in Lee’s own words “Formula One never officially disbanded, it just kind of fizzled out”.
They recruited a sixth member of the band (Miles) and him, Lee, Kerrie and Dave the guitarist moved to Brighton, formed the band Domestic4 and released an album and two EPs. More information on these releases can be found here :
Even though they have now all gone their separate ways, they all still keep in touch but, since moving across the pond, Lee has been working on a solo project called Electrohome and here is a link to some of his songs :
It’s great and I highly recommend you have a listen.
I feel my job now is to get the original line-up back over here to reform for a 20th Anniversary gig – you never know…”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Failed Rock Star in awful early 90s grunge band, Prehistoric Wife, failed blogger with dad blog ‘musodad’ and collaborative music blog ‘Session Bloggers’, Simon went solo in 2013 with the release of his own music blog ‘Hertford Soul’.
With over 6 months without a post, Simon was recently plucked from obscurity by the lovely people at EIO40 with a chance to resurrect his music blogging career. Many have likened the transfer to the risk Brendan Rodgers took in signing Mario Balotelli but Simon sees himself as more of a Rickie Lambert-type blogger. Erm, hang on a minute…
What great lost indie band will Simon be tracking down next?