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Bad Manners's History

History-writing is a process of interpretation. A short glance through the skarchives shows that the Goddess of History will be generous to Bad Manners for the band deserves a decent history. This first article concerning the history of Bad Manners hopes to provoke other people into thinking they can add to or even improve it. Go ahead and make our day!

The Bad Manners story…

Genesis of the Manners…

Formed in 1976 by school chums who lived in London, Bad Manners have become a British Institution. The nucleus of the band came together in the mid-1970's at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School, Stoke Newington, London. The school closed in 1981 and the band celebrated this event on the back of their Gosh It's album sleeve. Some ex-pupils returned over the years to 'do' the headmaster but Buster and roadie Roy never did. The band consisted of Doug Trendle (vocals), Louis 'Alphonso' Cook (guitars), David Farren (bass), Brian Tuitt (drums), Alan Sayagg (harmonicas) and Paul Hyman (trumpets). The boys went through various incarnations before the final brand name of Bad Manners was chosen.

One huge
happy family

Initially, the band had no name and its personnel line-up was very fluid and inter-changeable. Bolly Yusosevski sometimes stood in on guitar or bass while a character known as Smelly Socks often blew tenor sax as well. Paul Hyman actually tried bass and guitar before he decided to
go with the trumpet after the band liked his mime routine with road cones. In actual fact the fledgling Bad Manners could claim to have as many as 35 musicians in it. Practice and rehearsal was somewhat complex in those days! One influence on the band was an outfit put together by some of their school teachers called Snacks at the Bar. This school band often played in the canteen at lunchtimes…

Back', Back Stage Boogies and Stoop Solo and the Sheet Starchers

The band
slimmed down to its more familiar line-up mentioned above and went through two more phases. The first was the 'Stand Back' phase when the future Bad Manners were known as 'Stand Back' and played debut gigs at hippy festivals and Stonehenge. They joined forces with another band that was called The Back Stage Boogies. Here they discovered two things. First, they could play and make some form of impact on a crowd. Secondly, they enjoyed it. In fact, young Douglas Trendle abandoned his chosen career path of acting in order to play an audience with his tongue, voice and singing, owing to the success of these early forays into live music. The band performed songs including their own 'Cheese & Pickle Blues' (during which Doug would eat a plate of food)'The Milky Bar Kid', 'Riot in Cell Block 9'
and 'Monster Mash' during this early incarnation.

On returning to London, the final pre-Bad Manners phase began as the band became known as Stoop Solo and the Sheet Starchers, which for a group of young men just about speaks for itself 'eh reader!

final line-up on the eve of Stardom…

The band
line-up was finalised with the arrival of three more key people - Martin Stewart on keyboards (from Auchtermuchty, Scotland), Andrew Marson on alto sax (from Alum Rock, Birmingham) and Chris Kane on tenor sax ( Irish/London origins).

1978/79, the band line-up consisted of :

Trendle Vocals
Louis Cook Guitar
David Farren Bass
Brian Tuitt Drums
Martin Stewart Keyboards
Alan Sayagg Harmonicas, yelps, stage lunacy, dramatic monologues and 'effects.'
Paul Hyman Trumpet
Chris Kane Tenor Saxaphone
Andrew Marson Alto Saxaphone

music that informed the Manners sound…

influences on the band were the jump and jive sounds of the 40's and 50's. Artists like Louis Jordan (Caldonia) and Napoleon Brown (Don't be Angry) were as important as those who wrote on the grander form such as Offenbach and who would help the boys reach the top of the charts in 1981 (Can-Can). The boys were taken by film and TV soundtrack sounds and soon opened gigs with The Magnificent Seven. At one point, they had even considered performing the Star Trek and Fireball XL5 themes in their set. Surreal nonsense informed the talents of the group and the Bonzo Dog Band (late 1960's super loonies) had a heavy bearing on Mr Trendle and his chums. Alan Sayagg
had an enormous record collection and it featured many important sounds that would one day influence his harmonica playing as well as the band's overall sound. It included the work of American blues master Sonny Boy Williamson II, The J Geils Band and many kiddie discs top of which was Scruffy, the Huffy Chuffy Tugboat, a happy little song that eventually made it onto the final track of the band's first album Ska'N'B in 1980. Douglas Trendle was even into Euriah Heep while Martin Stewart loved Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. Chris Kane loved Bill Haley and His Comets and listened to little else for most of the time he was in the band, aside from apre Ski music while Andrew Marson was a Charlie Parker fan. Incidentally, among other things, Kane went on to perform with the Jordanairres - Elvis Presley's vocal group who continue to work today. Many moons after the King passed on. Chris Kane was the sole member of the band who could read music and his apprenticeship had been served with the Gerry Cottle circus band among other things, when he had completed solos for the magic show and the arrival of the elephants in the pre-PC days.

aliases and assumed stage identities

Manners' members loved taking on new names and identities. The
Scottish fringe actor and story smith Ivor Cutler had appeared as Mr
Buster Bloodvessel in the surreal Beatles' movie Magical Mystery
Tour. Doug Trendle liked the name and assumed its useage in the later
1970's, just before the band went big. Louis Cook became Louis
Alphonso after the famous SKA legend Roland Alphonso. Alan Sayagg
became Winston Bazoomies (!) and was basically out of control, mad
and wild on stage and off. David Farren was Reggy Mental (!) before
he became David Farr-In. Brian Tuitt was now simply Chewit while Andy
Marson was Marcus Absent and Chris Kane was 'Crust.' Martin Stewart
was Mr Bogingong at one point…

early Manners circuit - charity lads and yellow/black tape…

It was
with their unique sounds and names in tow that the band took to the
pubs and clubs of London in the late 1970's. Venues such as the Green
Man amongst others witnessed the early Bad Manners spectacle and the
bizarre invasions of their cult live following. The actual finalised
band name was decided upon when David Farren's poster art work began
to bill a certain Buster Bloodvessel and his Bad Manners. The
impoliteness factor began to kick in as a selling point once mild
forms of indecent exposure and other incidents became part of the
stage act. For instance, Buster was one night halfway through the
Cheese and Pickle Blues routine when he coughed up half the plateful
of snacks he had eaten, all over the audience… Etc. Another
reason for the Bad Manners name was the Bad Manners method of raising
cash. They were very imaginative. At one gig they billed the event as
being in aid of the Deprived Children of Hackney. At the end of the
gig they thanked everyone for their generosity on the door and in the
collection plate before announcing that THEY were the deprived
children of Hackney. They then left. Quickly…

the 2-Tone movement of SKA had taken the country by storm in 1979,
Bad Manners had been playing the same material for some years. The
2-Tone music label was also branded by its Black and White check
pattern. The Bad Manners colour code was Black/Yellow. Many people
often ask why. The answer is simple. Many Bad Manners fans were
railway and traffic workers and they were happy to bring those huge
rolls of tape you see at the side of road works. Armed with these
rolls of tape, the fans would then help 'decorate' the insides of the
venues were the gigs were being held. The reaction of the proprietors
of those venues has not been recorded.

super-group of global proportions is born…

By 1979,
the Bad Manners spectacle was created and there was a firm following
for the band in North and East London's venues. Fronted by the
enormous and outrageous BUSTER BLOODVESSEL this nine-piece musical
mini-orchestra took the scene by storm with a diet of luscious and
endearing lunacy that is still kicking today, except today they are
recognised and welcomed across continents, oceans and especially
Finland. Their early forays into the pubs and clubs created a cult
live following that enabled them to be signed by Magnet Records for
an 'undisclosed' sum of money without even recording a demo tape.
They had succeeded in creating a unique blend of SKA, jump blues and
boogie known as Ska'N'B which became the name of their first album in

1980 and 1983, they spent 111 weeks in the pop charts and had 15 hit
singles. Their time in the charts exceeded that of Little Richard,
Fats Domino, The Moody Blues, Culture Club and Frankie Goes to

included Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Na-Nu-Nu, Lip Up Fatty, Special Brew,
Lorraine, Just a Feeling, Can-Can and Walking in the Sunshine to name
but a few. Each was accompanied by outrageous appearances on Top of
the Pops that endeared Buster and his chums to the great British

The band
were always far more than a simple charting prospect however as
anyone who has seen them live will know. They are an unbelievable
live act with a cult status that transcends anything the less
charitable critic might dare to write. A world of trick and treat,
pinhead and skinhead, circus and freakshow all combined with honest
vulgarity.1000% enthusiasm is matched by 1000% proficiency every
time! By the time the band gets into its live strides, the audience
will be covered in water and other fluids, various inflatables and
body sweat. Yes sirree, the band know how to manner their fans badly…

Manners and the politics of 'race.' Ridiculous charges rejected…

early 1980's were strange times in Britain. On one hand, the
Thatcherite experience benefited millions of entrepreneurs, first
time home owners and people who had the opportunity or backing to
take up the challenge. On the other hand, old industries were dying
or changing in order to survive and millions were thrown out of work
to face what appeared to be a very bleak future. There was also a
noted increase in racist activity. Bad Manners were a solitary fun
voice in 1980's Britain. Even Madness acknowledged the lead Bad
Manners had in 1980. Buster actually declared 1980 as the Year of the
Fatty in terms of the Chinese Calendar (he had been banned from
several Eat All You Can venues in London at this time). One of the
strangest things that came about at this point however was the
accusation from some senior political circles that Bad Manners and
other SKA bands were becoming 'magnets' for Neo-Nazi groups. The
charge was simplistic and also ridiculous. Firstly, the white working
class skinhead cult was actually connected with the black working
class fashion cults of the Afro-Caribbean in terms of its desire to
'express' an identity for people. Secondly, the white skins were
dancing to and were addicted to West Indian-inspired SKA music.
Finally, the SKA bands were completely multi-cultural and
multi-coloured. In Bad Manners case, the line-up included Scots,
Irish, Jews and a black man, as well as English whites. That this or
any 2-Tone SKA band could have been accused of being a friend to the
extremists or racists is laughable. Perhaps 1% of skins and SKA fans
may have been dodgy but in any case, they were left in no doubt as to
the opinions of the band and the audience. Bad Manners were a
physical band but they were anti-violence. If fighting started, they
refused to play. It was as simple as that…

The TV
personality of Bad Manners

The band
was a household name in Britain for three glorious years 1980-1983.
They made it into the top three twice, the top ten twice and the top
thirty eleven times. They were a most welcome addition to any TV show
and made it onto Pebble Mill, Gloria Honeyford, Breakfast TV Workout,
Hold Tight (for which they wrote the theme music), Educating
Marmalade (for which they wrote the music) and many more.

The Top
of the Pops appearances were among the band's favourites. Louis Cook
and Buster have recalled how they all enjoyed being paid to get drunk
and fool about as they mimed to their records! Some of the more noted
appearances included Buster's Can Can dress and DM boots while the
performance of Just a Feelin' saw him set up as a human 'blackhead'
with dark stage paint on his bonce and tongue a wagging. In 1981, Bad
Manners performed Can Can for the Brits awards and Buster again did
the human blackhead impression while Sayagg stood at the back of the
stage motionless bar his wild arm movements on the kettle drums.

no history of TV Bad Manners can be complete without the TISWAS
period. This is a sacred and hallowed time zone. In 1980-1981 they
made several appearances on the cult live kids' Saturday show with
Chris Tarrant, Sally James (stand on the cold lino' lads), John
Gorman, Lenny Henry, Sylvester McCoy and the Phantom Flan Flinger
himself. Here, Bad Manners were in their natural environment.
Everything was spontaneous and unexpected. Things would be sheer
brilliance or utter, hilarious disaster. Slapstick lunacy was
balanced by ingenius wonkiness. The band performed Lorraine in 1980
and promoted the 2Tone film Dance Craze while they were all locked
into the infamous Cage and almost drowned in water and custard.
Buster also had the opportunity to show his culinary penchants for
drinking disintegrated pork pies mixed with pickled onions from the
jar (live), as well as offering a three week old pair of pants (from
a tour) as a prize to the TV viewers in a competition. In 1981 during
another appearance they performed Can Can and Monster Mash with
custard pies flying and blocking up the bits where the sound came
from in saxaphones and trumpets etc.

Manners - 'live' in the 1980's…

And what
was a typical Bad Manners gig like in those chart-topping days! It
would start with a darkened stage. The lights would dim. Shapes and
figures would drift across the stage and plug in etc. The audience
would be mental but they would get shouted at and told to shut up
perhaps by Chewitt. Alternatively, the whole band would wail a chorus
of 'Whooooooooooooo?' into the mikes. Then the spotlight would go up
on the drummer Chewitt who would be kitted out in Clockwork Orange
bowler hat and whites or a Jungle hat and silk shorts. It was time
for Echo 4-2.Echo 4-2 has achieved a legendary place in every serious
Bad Manners fan's consciousness of what the band is about live. It is
akin to a religious rite or a ritualistic, primitive communion with
the spirit of SKA.

begins with a solitary drum-beat on the toms which is played in true
jungle-gallop style and immediately grabs the crowd's attention and
gets them jumping. A mighty brass fanfare kicks in and the full pelt
starts with a crucial off beat from the guitar. From here, long horn
parts and calls are answered by a fast-fingered melody that simply
makes people hop, jump, scream and shout. The piece builds up to a
mighty, horn-led climax and Buster then walks onto the stage. That's
it. That's the trick. It is simply magic.

The band
had lifted the theme from a lesser known 1960's Cops and Robbers show
of the same name. Echo 4-2 was the signal given by the boys in blue
as they signed on/off in the show. By the time Buster and his chums
had finished with the orginal Laurie Johnson arrangement, it was a
devil's gallop and a primeval, primordial call to arms for all SKA
fans. It still is to this day.

into Echo 4-2, Alan Sayagg would walk onto the stage in full Winston
Bazoomies attire of a cheap suit, shirt, tie, kiddie yellow
sunglasses and harmonicas in hand. He would then speak gibberish into
the microphone until the end of the tune when he had to complete his
next job - introduce 'Mr Buster Bloodvessel - all the way from the
moon…' and Buster would walk onto the stage and the place
would go mental. Alan also served an important function in that he
was regularly introduced as the Loony and would sing Never Smile at a
Crocodile from the Disney film Peter Pan during any possible lulls in
the Manners set, giving the band a rest from the hectic pace.

Al's stage persona was chip-shop man/scientist in white lab coat and
boots/hat while David Farren sported a tropical straw sun hat and
suit. Martin Stewart preferred the Clockwork Orange Droog outfit of
boiler suit, boots and bowler (as did Buster), while the brass were
in a world of their own. Chris Kane sometimes resembled a Teddy Boy
with his draped jackets and crepe shoes (Bill Haley influences),
while Andy Marson might drift from leopard skins to gold lame' jacket
and slicked back hair. Paul Hyman was always immaculate in waistcoat,
trilby and smart trousers.

early tours and a tragedy

& Loonee Tunes 1980-81

In 1980,
the band were able to seriously tour the UK and Europe/Scandinavia
for the first time. Magnet, their record label knew the band were
winners but had been cautious about the release of Special Brew. They
had wanted to 'soften up' and prepare the British people for the
arrival of the Fat One and his gang and they had decided to do it
with NeNeNaNaNuNu first followed by Lip Up Fatty. This formula had
worked. TOTP had promised an appearance if NeNeNaNaNuNu reached the
dirty thirty and it got to 28. Bad Manners therefore went on TV. Lip
Up Fatty had a second and far more effective chart performance. When
Special Brew was released later in 1980, the band hit the number
three spot. Special Brew had in fact been conceived within three
minutes in a rehearsal room when the band were armed with their minds
and a pallet of Special Brew Beer. It was certainly a charting
prospect then and it pays the band good royalties to this day, thanks
to its popularity with biscuit companies, TV chefs and Sainsbury's
adverts. Special Brew was the third release from SKA'n'B, the band's
debut album. This LP contained many classics including Inner London
Violence. Initially, the boys were going to call that track In A
Luncheon Voucher…

all this chart success, the band, for some unexpected reason were
sent to FINLAND. The reason for this remains obscure to this day.
Some people have argued it was because Special Brew is part of the
Scandinavian CARLSBERG scene. Whenever they were doing well, Magnet
Records always seemed to send them to Finland! In any case, the
Finnish tour was a great success. Thousands of people were waiting at
Helsinki airport when they arrived, with banners and cheers, and the
band performed their expanded repertoire alongside Iron Maiden at a
huge festival were they went down very well. It was during this tour
that Magnet Records sent gifts of champagne and telegrams informing
the band of their Top 3 success with Special Brew.

As well
as Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, there was England, Ireland,
Spain and Italy in 1980, during the Year of the Fatty. The band's
imaginative ways of turning the property of other people, hotels and
venues into their own finally caught up with them in Italy however
and they were escorted to the airport to ensure they left. Buster and
co had even stopped the bus on the side of the road one day to sell
items they had decided to move from one place to another. Talk about
throwing a brick through someone's window then asking them how far it
had gone… Buster had also received a life-time ban from
Italian TV for indecent exposure (mooning) while performing. He had
been informed that his Holiness Pope John Paul was watching the set
and decided to treat the Papal seat to a view of his own. The band
was saved on one occasion when Chewitt was indisposed. Roger Lomas
therefore played drums - badly. In one venue, the mayor, local
councillors and chief of police ordered armed police to make fans sit
down rather than dance. Bizarre!

Spain, Bad Manners saved and protected the brother of Madness' Chas
Smash when he truanted from the French Foreign Legion! They got that
boy home…

Back in
Britain Lorraine charted and the band were recording their second
album - Loonee Tunes. This next offering contained classics such as
Echo 4-2 on track for the first time as well as Just a Feelin',
Suicide, El Pussycat, Ivor the Engine (Undersea adventures of…),
Doris, Spy-I, Tequila and many, many more. The Bonzo influence was
clear in the closing track Just Pretendin'. The record was made in
Wales and in Coventry. On the sleeve notes were the full lyrics to
every song, as well as photo credits that showed each band member
when they were either babies or toddlers, including an infant
matchstick-skinny Buster Bloodvessel. The inner sleeve also featured
items from Alan Sayagg's extensively weird postcard collection and
other collections in general. There was a man taking a crocodile for
a walk, as well as British political leaders at the cenotaph on
Rememberance Sunday. The infamous Todd Browning feature called FREAKS
had been banned from cinemas in 1933, for THIRTY YEARS. The film
featured pinheads, human snails and eels, halfmen, hermaphrodites,
midgets and cripples. Loonee Tunes therefore featured a still from
the film showing all the main characters and billed them as the
Magnificent Seven. The band were obviously working very hard and
playing very hard.

the Irish tour, Alan Sayagg became unwell. He had a nervous
breakdown. He had to go home. For some time he was unable to work and
after his time in hospital, an eventual diagnosis of schizophrenia
was arrived at. Sayagg was never fully 'well' again after this event
and between 1980 and 1992, he would have to enter periods of
retirement from the band before returning again. The incident had an
important effect on the other members of the group and it was not
really until the Gosh It's tour of 1981 that Sayagg would return to
full-time work with the band. When he did it was excellent.

it is the case that Sayagg more or less left the band in 1993 with a
permanent right to return whenever he was well. Today Alan is
receiving good care and attention and a number of Bad Manners friends
and relatives keep in contact with him. In the periods of his
absence, there have been only three other harmonica players. Jerry
Tremaine played for a short period in the mid 1980's followed by the
highly talented Stevie Smith. In 1994, childhood Sayagg fan David
Turner took on the role of resident Sayagg-inspired harmonica player
and has filled the spot ever since, much to the concern of many band
members apart from Buster…

It's - Autumn 1981 / Back of Beyond 1982

1981 was an immense time for the band. Can Can went to the top 3 and
would have reached number One but for the riots that affected the
cities of Britain. Against this backdrop, Ghost Town by the Specials
dominated the charts and kept Buster's brigade from the number 1
slot. Within a few weeks/months, Walking in the Sunshine had reached
the top 10 as well and Buster was on Tiswas assuring the great
British public that the guys did not need to rely on 'covers' (Can
Can by Offenbach) to reach the dizzy heights. He was right of course
but Can Can was a killer hit, as was Walking in the Sunshine.

their time between Southend and Weston-Super-Mare, the boys produced
an amazing and strange seaside video for Walking in the Sunshine. It
featured them as a bunch of likely city lads who were trying their
luck in the arcades of a classic seaside resort. They were chased out
of the arcade for rocking the money waterfall games, then they all
took their places on a huge raft from which they performed the song.
The raft broke up and they all fell in the sea. After this episode,
they were chased through a park by Roy their roadie who was dressed
as a policeman. Finally, they ended the vid by arriving at a concert
stage in a park in order to perform for old age pensioners. It was
very surreal and again showed the wonky slant that Manners were
capable of, as well as some finely-invested hours listening to the
Bonzo Dog Band when they were younger.

in the Sunshine was a key feature on the latest Bad Manners offering
in terms of their album output. Gosh It's was launched in Autumn 1981
and as their third outing into the recording studio, things were very
strange indeed. Recorded partly at Horizon Studios in Coventry and
Rockfield Studios (somewhere else), Gosh It's featured some very new
sounds and arrangements. Mixed and produced by Roger Lomas who had
engineered all the hits since the band's debut single in 1980, Gosh
It's was recorded using all sorts of new innovations. As was the
Manners habit by now, the final track was surreal, off the wall and
downright weird. Gherkin told the tale of how Buster had failed to
satiate the pickling lusts of a woman who therefore left him…
What also marked out Gherkin was Doug's interest in Hot Pot
takeaways. He ate them while singing and he sang through a huge
plastic drainpipe into the mikes, while wearing the obligatory cans
on his head to do each take. He also did it all in the open air,
which Lomas found challenging.

It's was also important for seeing the future musical trends for Bad
Manners. Accomplished SKA maestro's they may have been, but Gosh It's
also featured Latino and Jazz/Soul style influences and fusions.
Buster ain't superstitious but he was told in Italy that the musician
who is number one the day you are born is a sort of guardian angel or
key influence on you as you grow up. Strangely enough, PEREZ PRADO
was top of the charts when Buster was born . Dansetta and Weeping and
Wailing certainly brought out the Latino in the band while Casablanca
and Only Funkin' showed their Jazz/Soul talents. In a world of their
own sat Never Will Change and Runaway, both of which were surreal
vehicles from which the band could view their world. A further
inclusion on this excellent album was Nappy Brown's Don't be Angry
which modern Manners fans recognise when Buster breaks into his
'LaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLAAAAAAAAA!' routine, inviting audience
participation. The song was recorded live in the courtyard of
Rockfield studios and a large crowd of drunkards were assembled from
the local public houses to play the role of audience. The effects
were startling and thoroughly authentic. Don't be Angry led to the
band's next single outing in the charts - the R'n'B Party Four which
featured the aforementioned Nappy Brown number, Buena Sera, No
Respect & The New One. Each song was solid, exciting and grabbed
you by the choppers. The TOTP appearances featured Buster carrying
Chris Kane around on his shoulders and Sayagg pushing a doll's pram
with a pet Panda doll inside it…

1981 saw Bad Manners stocked up for their first fully-independent
tour in terms of finance. They had secured a band bus of their own
for the first time and they also had a disco in the back of the bus.
The band were keen to entertain and so the Gosh It's tour featured
routine and effective water attacks on the fans for the first time,
as well as a huge, inflated ball and gifts such as Christmas
decorations, tossed in by Buster as he walked onstage. Prior to each
gig, the boys would often take a hike around the town they were
performing in that very day and here they would buy cheap goods from
second-hand shops to use as stage props or clothes. In Liverpool,
30th October 1981, this writer notes that the band walked through
Scouseland pushing prams with dolls riding in them.

welcome aspect to the Gosh It's tour was the addition of a dedicated
support act called the Dolly Mixture - a modette'ish/thrash fusion
trio of girls who were very nice and played interesting, danceable
songs. Anoraks may be interested to know that the Dolly Mixture took
on a new role as Captain Sensible's vocal support during his solo
career on songs such as Happy Talk and that one of them even married
him. Last seen by this writer when Captain Sensible was playing in
his Brighton-based project called Space Toad Experience in the early

The Gosh
It's tour was a very good one and the band produced an excellent
programme for the tour called An evening with Bad Manners. Each
member wrote his own biog for the programme and each programme was
fronted by the oil portrait of the band, completed by David Farren
whose art abilities stood out by a mile. Farren had devised the Fatty
Man symbol for Bad Manners in 1978/79 but try as they might the boys
could not get permission to mascot for Michelin Products and earn
valued sponsor money!

1982 saw the band undertake an outback tour to the back of beyond.
The boys played obscure and small provincial venues. The fans turned
out but the venues sometimes seemed too big. This writer saw them in
Southport Floral Hall in March 1982 with a respectable 500 or more
other people. The problem was that the venue could take 3000.

In 1982,
Bad Manners went through a number of 'phases' and changes. First of
all, every record charted but the higher positions of the charts
seemed more difficult to scale. Got No Brains & Samson and
Delilah were both impressively mixed, produced and very imaginative.
Buster appeared as the Eagle Comic's arch-villain The Mekon when the
band performed Got No Brains on Chegger's Plays Pop. Samson and
Delilah saw the most expensive video the band had ever made and
featured them as a 1930's Orchestra playing the song to a variety of
backdrops from Hollywood. Buster is immortalised as King Kong scaling
the empire state building in one scene only to become Bogey in
Casablanca in another. Martin Stewart's keyboard solo saw him take
the guise of Logosi's Draclua astride a rising cinema organ! Despite
these fantastic and genius - inspired ideas, SKA was apparently on
the wane in some respects as the New Romantics took control of the
scene, although Bad Manners managed to make the top 10 once more in
the Summer of 1982 with My Girl Lollipop, a re-working of the famous
Millie hit from the 1960's. Those bands which had heralded 2-Tone
were fading. The legendary Specials had folded and despite their
great successes, the Selecter were going through personnel changes
and looking at a shorter shelf life. Only Bad Manners and Madness
were left by the end of 1982.


band's next and fourth album offering was probably one of their most
important in terms of the critical edge. Bad Manners were now
offering a superb latino/soul/stax fusion to give their SKA sound the
edge. The jazzy skank through Exodus, was matched by the excellence
of Rose of Italy, Salad Bar, Tonight is Your Night, Samson &
Delilah, Seventh Heaven, Lollipop, What's Up Crazy Pup and others.
The now familiar final oddity added on to end things was a songster
version of the ITV show Hold Tight. The band had re-christened and
re-recorded this fairground/circus arrangement to include full lyrics
and chorus and it was simply amazing!

excellence of the album was matched by the choice of cover. Hogarth's
Election Entertainment had been adjusted to accommodate Fatty and the
band engaging in an 18th Century election banquet. Wigs were flying,
food was being scoffed and wenches were a-serving in so many
different ways.

the band and their loyal cult following were ecstatic about the
album, there was a definite shift in the tastes of the record-buying
public. Bad Manners had to some extent been pigeon-holed into the
'good time' niche market and this meant silliness and the image of
the fat man and his band playing Lip Up Fatty forever… Of
course, every fan who knew the band knew that there was far more to
them than this but the difference between the real Bad Manners and
the TV/Public Bad Manners was a problem. In some respects, 1983/84
saw the band stumble to redefine themselves in a world that was
becoming more and more distinctly post-SKA.

faces, new places, Mental Notes and the United States 1984-1987

In the
mid 1980's, Bad Manners 'disappeared' from regular media spots, the
TV and other useful vehicles for their show and sounds. They were in
permanent work all over the world but they were not hitting the TV
spotlight as much as they had done. There is nothing new in this.
Many super-groups have gone through this stumbling stage after big
hits to face the issue of trying to find more. Manners didn't have to
worry about work as it was all out there. Their big concern was the
direction they should be taking. Where next! Should it be SKA or
should it be the commercial pop direction!

for them, Magnet Records allowed Telstar to release all their
charting songs on a Greatest Hits album. As the band had only been
charting for three years, it felt a little premature to allow a sort
of R.I.P effort to hit the shops, but the deal went ahead.

issue was band size. As a 9 - piece mini-orchestra there were plenty
of people to pay and mouths to feed, plus the overheads of
maintaining a sound crew and transport/security/marketing
organisation. Buster and others recall the difficulties of managing
'9 member democracies.' The band even used to argue about toilet
stops while on tour and then put it to the vote. Within the band
there were enough people to form 'gangs' who tried to keep the group
on the sort of course that they wanted. Louis and Buster did not talk
for some years because one had not told the other of a party they
were invited to. Things were a little silly at times…

this backdrop, Alan Sayagg took another health-led break from the
band and was replaced by the excellent blues harmonica player Jerry
Tremaine. The band was also joined by the veteran musical figure
Jimmy Scott who had helped pen the classic Beatles song Ob La Di Ob
La Da. Jimmy was on percussion and other effects and was a very good
stage worker, despite his more advanced years.

It was
at this point that an important video company suddenly offered the
band £10,000 for rights to film and sell a live concert. The
band eagerly agreed and Live at the Regal was thus made. It was not
the band's most favoured gig as several original members have since
acknowledged, owing to the crowd and venue but the music was
absolutely brilliant and showed how seasoned the boys had become. The
input by Jerry Tremaine left some question marks as to his future.
Tremaine was and is a top harmonica player but his style was very
blues-orientated and some of his licks were not appreciated by some
of the longer-serving members of the band. Perhaps this is unfair but
at the same time, there will only ever be one Alan Sayagg and Alan
played simple, beautifully silly, tuneful lines that made the songs
the classics they are. Change them and you change the song. The Regal
video was also characterised by the finale appearance of the Can Can
girls - much to the delight of every fan and band member!

As the
band reflected on its future, they were offered what appeared to be a
once in a lifetime opportunity by Portrait records. They were going
to be US-backed mega-stars with secure work and recording, plus big
budgets! Bad Manners had pulled it off. They were signed to this
large American label with the prospect of super star status and
numerous album deals. The prospect of global distribution and
earnings was very attractive to a hard working nine-piece who had all
gigged till they dropped since 1976. The vision was somewhat
different to the outcome however and things began to move in new and
worrying directions. For 'contractual reasons' their new 1985 album
Mental Notes could not be purchased in the UK or Europe and this
naturally cut them off from their fans.

additional factor was the actual content, style and direction of the
material on Mental Notes. It represented a big win for those in the
group who wanted to push further towards a brass led soul/funk fusion
and in many respects, the album's content was alien to all previous
ones. Nevertheless it was very interesting, if somewhat over-mixed
and produced and contained rare single releases that DID reach the
shores of the UK - Tossin in My Sleep and Blue Summer, neither of
which reached the higher parts of the charts. Other better tracks
included Bang the Drum All Day and What the Papers Say.

Tremaine had since gone and his replacement on harmonica was Stevie
Smith who was regarded as a world class player, ranking in the top 10
UK players alongside the likes of Paul Lamb and Johnny Mars. Stevie
brought back more melodic lines into the songs. His recordings on
Mental Notes are sublime and while not Sayagg style, they represent
an extension to the sort of places Sayagg was going with his playing
before he had been forced to give up. Another factor with Stevie was
his solid experience as a jobbing player. He was and remains one of
the top class blues performers in the UK to this day, via Ruthless

poured incredible amounts of money into Mental Notes without a big,
guaranteed market such as Europe or the UK. Literally tens of
thousands of pounds were spent on production of one single track
while US producers were flown across the Atlantic in order to mix the
records at great costs. As the budget expanded, it became the case
that the band would need to sell literally millions of albums before
they could make a single penny for themselves. Buster and co began to
suspect rightly or wrongly that Bad Manners were being used as a tax
fall for the Portrait organisations.

these later opinions, the mid-1980's tours at home and in the USA
were sublime times for Bad Manners. They made some excellent videos
while in the states, including a knock-out version of My Girl
Lollipop, featuring Buster as a hopelessly love-sick ice cream
parlour boss, trying to woo a sweet babe away from her beau. Back in
the UK, they were occasionally called upon to perform on the Saturday
night TV cabaret circuit or chatshow and on one memorable occasion
Buster dyed himself silvery-blue then threw buckets of glitter all
over himself and the host while performing Special Brew - live.

Smith (in interview with this writer) has spoken of the 'reality
problem' the band faced in these middle years of the 1980's. The band
(he claims) were never stupid but they were under the odd impression
that somewhere 'out there' was an entity called Bad Manners. This
band was somehow making their money for them and they were therefore
unable to appreciate the importance of getting things together with
Portrait and other companies. It was as though the band had become
lost in terms of realising who they were.

The end
of the American Adventure and another tragedy

thing that finally shook them up was the final and ill-fated tour of
the 1980's. Eventually and owing to great dissatisfaction with the
promotion of their album in the United States, Buster and co. tore up
their contract in America and returned home to the UK. They had
called into a record company HQ and were enraged when the staff there
did not know who Bad Manners actually were. Until their obligations
to their recording company were over, they would go 'underground' and

The bad
news was not finished however. The final tour had been gruelling and
taxing on everyone. Several members had colds and influenza but in
the case of older Jimmy Scott, complications set in and not long
after the band got back to Britain, Jimmy developed pneumonia and
died. Naturally, the band tried to raise money for his family and his
funeral expenses by performing benefit gigs. They even contacted Sir
Paul McCartney to inform him that one of the people behind a Beatles'
song was dead. Macca is said to have given £1000 to the appeal
fund in an act of generosity.

It was
after the death of Jimmy Scott and the Portrait wrangles that the
third piece of bad news arrived in the form of a massive VAT bill. It
was the unpleasant duty of Louis Cook to have to inform band members
that their performance fees must be cut from c.£300 per night
to £30 per night. Bad Manners would have to now gig to pay the
tax bill. Never a nice line of work. Stevie Smith left the band not
long after.

Out of
adversity came forth a new phoenix-like Bad Manners… 1988-1992

actual fact, these difficult times proved to be a great opportunity.
Bad Manners were forced to re-think and re-position their focus and
direction owing to the challenges created by the American Adventure.
Firstly, Buster decided the band needed a 'kick up the bum' and
created a smaller and alternative outfit for his musical talents -
Buster's All Stars. A key player in this project was the excellent
producer and bassist Nicky Welsh who was to pen a number of excellent
new Bad Manners tracks in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Buster's
All Stars played smaller venues across the UK and Europe while the
original Bad Manners reflected on their future direction and worked
off the tax bills. Eventually, with the smell of a SKA revival
looming c.1988, Buster merged Bad Manners and Buster's All Stars
together and created an all-new Bad Manners.

As a
result of this merger, several original members left. Paul Hyman
decided that he would take up a good job offer in a City finance
house. His childhood sweetheart had also accepted his proposal. Brian
Tuitt left shortly before the band were due to perform in Finland,
drumkit in tow apparently. David Farren's jaunts around the world had
cut him out of some discussions and re-thinks and his dismissal was
regretted in some respects but has never held subsequent back his
artistic career. He has been a much sought-after brand-labelling
artist and the Lucky Lotto Lady was his design. David also continues
to lead his own outfit called the Jam Professors. Andrew Marson was
not invited to join Buster's All Stars in 1987/88 and decided to call
it a day. He was a gifted wood worker and joiner in any case and is a
carpenter according to recent news, somewhere in the East End.

left Buster, Martin Stewart (keyboards), Winston Bazoomies (stage
eccentric, loony and harmonica), Chris Kane (tenor sax) and Louis
Alphonso (guitars) to pick up the trail with new people such as
song-writer/producer Nicky Welsh (bass) and a number of
brass/percussion players, including the excellent Alan Perry. Perry
was a saxophonist who had gone to school with Buster and also knew
the original trumpet player Paul Hyman. You will see his name on the
credits for the song 'Return of the Ugly' on the 1989 album of that
name. Alan Sayagg had made a welcome return after his previous 4 year

Manners line-up c. 1988-1992 was varied and inter-changeable but the
following people played in the band and/or Buster's All Stars :

Bloodvessel: Vocals
Louis Cook: Guitars
Dave Horn: Guitars
Seacroft: Guitars
Nicky Welsh: Bass
Mark Pinto: Bass
Melius: Drums
Stephan Hobbs: Drums
Chris Kane: Tenor Sax
Fullwood: Tenor Sax
Matt Godwin: Tenor & Baritone Sax
Brahms: Trombone & bass trombone
Rico Rodriguez:
Scampi Alto: Sax
John Preston: Trumpet
Arundel: Trumpet
Alan Sayagg: Harmonicas
'The Billy':
Martin Stewart: Organs/Keyboards
Johnny Tee:

The Blue
Beat phase and new recordings 1988-1992

1988 and 1992, this all-new and very extended version of Bad Manners
recorded a number of albums including Eat the Beat, Return of the
Ugly and Fat Sounds. They toured Europe, Scandinavia and the USA
constantly, as well as building up a rock-solid college campus, night
club and larger venue following in the United Kingdom.

Bad Manners guitarist Louis Cook was given the honorary status of
having the right to come and go from the band while he completed his
French philosophy and language degree. Louis had to live in France
for a major portion of his degree but this did not prevent him from
joining the band in Europe during selected gigs, nor did it stop him
getting to the UK on occasion

The band
was absolutely kicking and the inter-changeable and flexible line-up
led to some unfair comments charges including 'retro band' or
'Buster's pick ups' etc. In actual fact, the band had been through
traumas between c.1985-1988 and the period 1988-1992 was a settling
down period. Other bands would have been content to give up and die.
Buster and his varied line-up refused to do so.

forays into the charts were lesser known but nonetheless fantastic.
Buster acquired the Blue Beat label and went independent as a
recording artist and someone who could give other, younger bands
their first opportunity inside a studio. Longsy D came up with This
is Ska which featured Buster. The single charted in 1989. The Blue
Beat album Eat the Beat was recorded in 1988 and featured many tracks
that would later appear on Return of the Ugly (1989) which was a
vehicle for the band's new live material, while Skaville UK (Nicky
Welsh) missed the charts by one millimetre of a cat's whisker. Bad
Manners were back on the scene as the new and younger audiences began
to rub shoulders with older and more seasoned fans.

departures before a firmer footing.., 1991-1992

The band
was to go through one more important shake-up before it settled down
into a period of complete stability and firm-footings c.1992-1998.

c.1991-1992, The Selecter, a former leading 2-Tone outfit, had
reformed and its singer Pauline Black had been assisted by Martin
Stewart and Nicky Welsh of Bad Manners in breathing life back into a
band that had been dead for some years. All three musicians believed
that their careers needed to move in a new direction and so Martin
and Nicky left Bad Manners. They continue to perform and record with
Black's Selecter to this day but their professional association with
Buster was now finished. Nicky also leads and records through Big
Five, featuring Jenny Bellestar among others.

On a
matter of public record, probably the biggest wrench for the band was
the almost permanent departure of the wonderful and magical Winston
Bazoomies (Alan Sayagg) due to long-term illness in 1993. Something
along the lines of an amazing music-hall character and Bad Manners
institution, Sayagg was the original harmonica player and stage
eccentric/loony and had always been a favourite with the fans. His
departure was probably more important to the band on a personal basis
than any other change in the early 1990's. Buster and Sayagg went
back to toddler days together. Since the later 1980's, Alan had been
back performing with Bad Manners whenever he could. He had entered a
new phase in his career by wearing the traditional suit and yellow
sunglasses but he had added a rubber Elvis wig to surreal effect. He
often sat on a settee live on stage and directed the band during Ivor
the Engine and King SKA FA.

Welsh/Stewart episode was an important wrench for the band in that
once again, Buster and the remaining members were left to reflect on
their future and direction. They needn't have worried. They continued
to gig and record without mercy and with great enthusiasm.

Autumn 1994, the Bad Manners line up that was to last almost five
years was finalised:

Bloodvessel Vocals
Louis Cook Guitar
John Thompson Bass
Hobbs Drums
Dave Welton Trombones/Key boards (Royal College of
Matt Godwin Tenor/Bariton Saxaphones (Player/Manager)
Arundell Trumpets
David Turner Harmonicas

line-up travelled the length and breadth of the UK, Scandinavia and
Europe, playing every conceivable gig venue. Leisure centres, pubs,
theatres, festivals and all manner of goodly places were filled with
Bad Manners fans. Of special interest to the band was their
association with John Hessen Taylor promotions who actually put them
on stage with bands including the Sweet, Hot Chocolate and Slade!
This was a very bizarre and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The
promoter's generosity knew no bounds and the Winter 1995/1996
fixtures saw 'catering provided' for all musicians - soup, bread and
savouries. Yummy.

Wake Me
Up for Meals, Sweden and Fatty's Back in Town - 1995

period 1994-1995 saw two other key developments. There was the first
Bad Manners tour of the United States for some years. The 'Wake me up
for Meals' tour was a killer in terms of 46 gigs in 49 days coast to
coast but the band were more than hardened by their constant European
and Scandinavian experiences so Spring 1995 was a challenge more than
met. Of greater importance was the welcome the band received at cult
live venues in the US including the famous Whisky A Go Go and among

America in Spring and the new album tour in Autumn came an endless
procession of excellent gigs all over the UK. There was even a
special 30th birthday party gig for Sandra Shipman in Essex. Sandra
and her husband Mark set up Tea-Leaf Records in the late 1990's and
are absolute Bad Manners freaks and they and 400 close supporters
packed a venue one day before the band hit the road for their annual
Summer round of West Country gigs to embrace the cider culture. It
was in Wales during that Summer that Mark, an enthusiastic drummer,
went on to fulfil a childhood ambition byt drumming for Bad Manners
at a gig in a castle grounds, when Stef was not available. Mark was
excellent and very pleased with his experience. From here it was
Sweden and the band played to a record 20,000 people at the famous
Hulfstred festival, sharing the billing, coach and hotel with the
excellent Black Grape and a very young and hopeful band who went on
to become Ash. There was a little bit of eyeing each other up between
some of Black Grape and Bad Manners, who were challenged to a fight.
Bad Manners responded by threatening to outsing and outchant Black
Grape with football songs. Black Grape backed off and anyway, Sean
Ryder is a nice guy and it wasn't anything to do with him really,
just some 'angers on. One of the benefits of Sweden 1995 was the
excellent live album - Live in Sweden, captured with perfection and
engineered by Roger Lomas, who had come out to mix the sound.

second key development of 1995 was the recording Fatty's Back in
Town. The band recorded Feel Like Jumpin', Lager Delirium and newer
versions of Special Brew and Lip Up Fatty were also added to the
mixture for good measure. Buster was assisted by his producer from
the Magnet days - Roger Lomas who recreated that magic 1980's Bad
Manners sound all over again.

Back in Town created a new and bigger interest in a permanently
gigging Bad Manners. As if by magic, Undertaker Promotions combined
forces with the Dojo Record Label and the biggest UK Ska tour of the
1990's was organised. With accomplished US ska veterans Bim Skala Bim
as support, Bad Manners were also joined by 1970's legend Judge Dread
and the stage was set for a kicking tour of the UK and Europe. The
tour was a sensation with the biggest SKA gigs of the decade filling
highly respected venues across the UK, including the London Astoria
(2,000+ tickets sold). Some of the strangest aspects of the tour came
with the band's arrival in the 'old East' of Germany. Towns such as
Chemnitz, Zwickau and Leipzig had been free of Communist rule for
just a few years. There was obvious poverty in the faces of many
fans. They had worked hard to buy their tickets. Between gigs, the
band bus rolled across flat lands of drab fields and endless roads.
In the midst of nothing, they would suddenly encounter a Burger King
or Toys'r'Us, new symbols of a capitalist dawn.

As a
result of Fatty's Back in Town, more recordings were organised and in
1997, Heavy Pettin' was recorded at 411 Studios, Cowfold, Sussex. It
featured all new material from the band and has been a great hit with
fans across the world, thanks to distribution from MoonSKA Records
and Pork Pie. More on this one later.

time - served drummer leaves

The 1995
US tour had re-kindled the wander-lust in the band drummer Stefan. He
had also fallen in love with an American girl and so after many years
of pushing the live sound, Stef departed, but not before he had
completed all engagements on the Fatty's back in Town tour, where he
taught me several things about on the road survival including how to
make takeaway lunches from breakfast leftovers, the value of a jar of
French mustard and the essential need for a person to carry a
penknife. Stefan and his Grace are now happily married. It took 12
months to find a proper replacement in Carlton Hunt who has led the
band's percussion ever since and has got to be one of the finest
SKAcore drummers on the scene. For a while the band used Rob from
Essex band Eskalator who was a great bloke but tended more towards
the reggae end of the off beat world.


last tour marked a watershed for Bad Manners in early 1996.
SKAndinavia '96 was the band's first full tour of the four main
countries that make up the Nordical Council for over a decade. It was
not since Chewitt had left in 1986/87 that the band had undertaken a
dedicated tour exclusively for the fans in Denmark, Norway, Sweden
and Finland. This was going to be a big tour. The whole gang were
looking forward to it. In the case of Buster and Louis Cook, the last
time they had seriously toured Finland, there had been a huge waiitng
crowd at Helsinki Airport and Special Brew was in the top three !
This time, although the venues were a little smaller, there were
actually people waiting at the Luxury Five Star HISPERIA
international hotel for the band when they arrived - who had also
turned up in 1980 ! These were absolute Bad Manners train spotters
and the same sort of people were encountered in Sweden where one
autograph-obsessive actually exchanged a sacred and impossibly rare
copy of Mental Notes for a set of band signatures !

The gigs
were amazing, friendly and the food was superb across Denmark, Norway
and Sweden. It was on the Finnish leg that things got even more
interesting. The boat across the Baltic Sea was accompanied by an
ice-breaker, riding shot gun for the band and Louis commented on the
womb-like sounds the ice pack made as the ship whooshed past it. He
felt secure. Others were scared shitless. To fortify themselves, the
whole band went to a very large and posh bar lounge and watched the
Finns and Swedes dancing to Euro-disco sounds from a show band,
including Yellow River…

Godwin and others approached the band and asked if they wanted Bad
Manners to play an impromptu set, using the band's instruments. Owing
to the state the band was in, they were amazed that the band leader
agreed, only to be disappointed when band members refused to share
mouth pieces on brass instruments with a horn section that was
decidedly worse for wear.

Bad Manners continued talking to Finns and Swedes, drinking,
people-watching and talking to a large group of Finnish students who
were on their way home after what Finns call the 'trip.' Basically,
younger Finnish women sometimes go on a fun cruise for the weekend
and meet Swedish guys who want to take advantage of the cheap booze
on the Finnish ships, in Finland or Estonia. There was plenty of this
sort of 'cultural exchange' going on and various band members were
teaching the Finnish students English language. In return the Finns
promised to come to the gig the next night in Helsinki.

As the
night turned to morning, the band hit the sack only to be awoken a
few hours later by the knowledge that one of their number had got
lost and was extremely drunk. The band disembarked at Helsinki and
reached the HESPERIA International, where they would also appear that
night, in the underground CLUB SIBERIA. It was -25C in Helsinki and
they were a man short. The man turned up however - in Estonia. He had
gone to sleep on the floor of an empty cabin in the Swedish part of
the ship. Turfed out by an angry cleaner he took advantage of the
British consul in Talinn and got a ship back to Finland just in time
to play the gig, which was broadcast live on Finnish TV !

The day
before the gig gave the band a chance to book into their individual
suites. The HESPERIA management were nothing if but generous. The
band was given a free bar tab, restaurant tab and room service.
Mini-bars were emptied, a barrel of lager was quaffed and people
dined on beluga caviar, snails, oysters and reindeer steak in the
restaurant. And CHIPS. Dave Welton and Louis tried to visit the house
of the late, great Finnish leader and national hero MANNERHEIM but it
was closed that day. Dave Turner took a magical tram ride around the
capital and asked inane questions of Finnish passengers.

True to
their word, the Finnish students turned up - 65 of them. They formed
an obliging front row of adoring fans for the TV cameras who also
picked up on the excellent Finnish skins, mods and scooter people who
had turned up. The gig was a mega event and Buster was interviewed
live from the Sauna and Steam complex before the event.

hotel continued to be generous into the night with champagne, saunas,
a swimming pool and many other services laid on. Stardom…

Finland came return gigs in Sweden where the band got a rough ride at
Ljinroping then Malmo, finishing the tour at Copenghagen, Denmark
where they performed and lived for a day or two in the alternative
world known as Kristiannia. This community is set apart from the rest
of Danish society and has many of its own ways, liberal customs and
almost a separate legal system compared to other Danish regions.
Here, the band feasted on roast dinners. Buster ate a whole half of a
lamb. We have photo's to prove it. This episode fits in nicely with
all the other culinary chapters of Bad Manners history, such as the
time Buster ate 28 Big Macs before finding himself too poor to make
it 30. He has eaten a whole shark while on an Arabian tour and in
Argentina, consumed a whole hindquarter fillet of world class A+
grade beef.. In the Isle of Wight, Buster once ate 15 lobsters served
up with lemons, salt and pepper.

Manners 1996-1999 : Recordings and a hotel adventure…

As 1996
came along, band personnel were undergoing life changes. Dave Turner
and Matt Godwin got married while Buster and his long-term partner
Angie became increasingly interested in a new business venture beyond
their kebab stall in Ramsgate. There was also great interest, rumour
and enthusiasm for the brand new Bad Manners album Heavy Pettin' with
original material by Louis Cook, produced by Marcus Bush and
distributed by DOJO, MoonSKA and Pork Pie. Mark and Sandra Shipman
had now established Tea Leaf Records and were about to launch the Bad
Manners Rare album. This CD when launched received critical acclaim
from all Manners fans and the SKA world in general. It contained
superb covers of classics such as Double Barrel, considered to be one
of the best Bad Manners tracks ever by classically trained Dave
Welton (trombone, Bad Manners) and it also contained little known
studio prototypes of material that had graced Mental Notes. A number
of cuts featured Alan Sayagg at his loveable and surreal best. On one
track he was singing ala Elvis about being a Trucker while on another
he was a bard, extolling the virtues of a woman who he referred to
simply as 'You and your pussy my love.' All of these things made the
album a hit for the true Manners lover. Nothing could prepare even
the most hardened Bad Manners fan for Buster's next venture into the
world of catering and leisure…

Towers c.1996-2000 & R.I.P…

With the
recording cycle more or less complete, Buster's mind had been taken
by a new idea. He was tired of the Health Police's hectorings as he
called them. He was now 28 stone in weight. He therefore decided to
create a leisure and pleasure formula for all fatties and those
skinnies who wanted to eat, eat and eat. Fatty Towers was thus born!
Buster and Angie had been living in London and the Kent resort of
Ramsgate for some years now. They were both aware of the potential
for a fun food concept and had already trialled the formula in
Ramsgate, before they came across the property in Margate.

The Club
18-30 Stone society had been created by Buster in Ramsgate in the
early 1990's. Members were invited to a regular club dinner by Buster
and Angie. They had to pay but £5 and were challenged not
become full. Should they be able to eat their full dinner, their £5
was returned.

At such
gatherings, Buster was able to indulge his guests in one of his chief
pleasures - fine and hearty catering from the most remote corners of
the world. In this way, he was clearing the way for the Fatty Towers
concept. Guests were treated to meals including :

Arse Pudding

figure weights in finest beef steak and kidney, prepared in Guinness
and finished in a rich suet pastry, into which was inserted smoked

Pork in

shanks of bacon pork and ham were cooked in a rich tomato gravy,
flavoured with Spanish Chorizo sausages. Into this bubbling cauldron
were placed a huge number of large British sea clams with thick
shells. In the process both sausage and clams almost merged…

such dishes on offer, the Club 18-30 Stone paid out not a penny in
refunds during its existence. Buster knew the food formula could
work. His next move came with the take over of a vacant hotel in

A time a
place and an announcement…

Summer 1996, the Band were on tour through the East Midlands and
played an open air show in Mansfield as the final leg of a journey
which had seen performances across the UK. They were given the
mayor's residence as a dressing room and were fed and watered well.
At the end of the gig they piled into the bus in stage clothes and it
was driven through the night to Norwich where they appeared on The
Time and the Place. The programme was interested in the 'issues'
faced by FAT PEOPLE IN SOCIETY and naturally, Buster had something to
say. The band were there to perform LIP UP FATTY to close the show.
As John Stapleton closed the debate Buster was invited to announce
Lip Up Fatty. He also managed to announce the opening of FATTY TOWERS
in Margate and invited the whole nation to visit !

Towers was now born and it had reached the public's attention in true
Bad Manners style…


hotel was opened to the strains of a massive party in December 1996
and offered impossible meals (48 ounce steaks, 4.5lb meat puddings
etc), huge beds, tequila slush puppies, pleasure rooms, big baths,
the St John's Ambulance and a Cardiac Cashback guarantee in the event
of misfortune. The hotel was a sensation in both its image and
reality. This writer can vouch for that as he personally visited it
four times.

worked it for two glorious years. He became something of a local
celebrity in Margate and was involved in many charitable events as
well as setting up a number of local new acts and fielding many
brilliant stunts from the hotel, including Belly of the Year contest.

1997 and 1998, the hotel continued to trade but in Autumn 1998 Buster
decided to move on from the business owing to personal reasons. In an
uncharacteristic swipe the papers gave a less than charitable spin on
events, which was disappointing for a press that has always given
Buster a fair crack.


letting the hotel go, Buster could free up his attention and
concentrate on that factor that he has always done best - MUSIC !

1997 and
1998 saw the release of two versions of the new Louis Cook-led album.
Don't Knock the Bald Heads and Heavy Petting promoted by MoonSKA
Europe, USA and Pork Pie records. The albums represented completely
new material and other recent tracks such as FEEL LIKE JUMPIN' and
LAGER DELERIUM. Of special interest were the spoof versions of BLACK
NIGHT and RED RIVER SKA, as well as well-penned Cook originals
including Down Bury Wood and Heavy Pettin' itself.

All the
tracks were beautifully mixed and contained well-assembled brass,
harmonica, rhythm, keyboards and extras including Hawaiian steel
guitar !

special interest on the vocal take was the appearance of Louis'
French girlfriend and her twin sister.

also moved into management and agency work. It was here that the band
began to consider a new generation of theme albums linked to all
manner of Hollywood and other genres. Buster intended the band to
record a Western album, a Sci-Fi album and so on, until contractual
difficulties got in the way. In 2001, they were overcome and Bad
Manners began recording two important sets of albums.

the band's current line-up re-recorded every single ever released !
These have started to be issued in CD Album format known as the 25
Years of being BAD series and the first album was released in Autumn

always with an eye on the trends and with a talent for spoofing them
to a nicely Mannered texture, Bad Manners will soon release a
loungecore album based on the works of the Rat Pack, Andy Williams
and many other crooners who have recently made it back to the top of
the charts. Robbie Williams has much to be thanked for !


In the
first years of the 21st Century, Bad Manners have settled once again
into what they do best - gigs. Not that Buster and co. ever stopped
but at times he can be distracted ! In 2000 AD, he stood as the SKA
candidate for Mayor of London on a non-political ticket, (Buster has
always remained above politics aside from his Anti-Prejudice
campaigns and views). His campaign was sensational but owing to the
outrageous cost of the deposit (£10,000) he withdrew from the
race, advising his supporters to vote with their consciences- ie vote
for KEN LIVINGSTONE to stop the New Labour stooge from winning. This
is this writer's view, not the view of Buster.

The band
also issued the Millennium Knees-Up to mark the year 2000/2001. This
CD included an absolutely brilliant medley of pro-British football
sounds that any England fan will like, sung to the tunes of The Great
Escape, March of the Mods and Come on Eileen !

What is
the current 'typical' round of life like in Bad Manners ?

and there have been changes ! Louis Cook left for France in 1998.
Dave Turner who is a busy school teacher took a break for 14 months
owing to relocations to the East Midlands. Matt Godwin left the band
permanently in 1998 and his replacement manager/fixer Tony also
parted company by early 2000 to work in the Millennium Dome.

current line up of the band has settled again, back to the steady and
solid ways that Bad Manners prefer. The gigging is permanent and the
band could work 365 nights a year, 24/7 if it wanted. Every region of
the UK and the world wants Bad Manners. Buster has been called a fat
bastard in over 100 languages to date !

the London political contest, the band went to Argentina, Dubai,
Bahrain and many other international spots before returning to sexy
old Europe again to take their place on the familiar, brilliant live
circuit they have dominated for almost thirty years!

With the
band playing at their best ever, with Fatty in charge, with a
rock-solid rhythm section, with an ass-kicking brass sound, with a
tempestuous keyboard backdrop, a mean harmonica and with the finest
SKA guitar in the world, Bad Manners are back on top of the SKA
world, where they have always belonged. No one can touch us live.

Manners current line-up appearing at a venue near you at any time
this year !

Bloodvessel: Singer
Simon Cuell: Guitar
Lee Thompsom: Bass
Dave Welton: BassTrombone
Warren Middleton:
Trevor Irving: Trumpets
Tony Rico: Saxaphones
Harrison: Drums
Rick Macwana: Keyboards
Carlton Hunt:
Chris Bull: Trumpets
Dave Turner Harmonicas (when he gets
SKArchive UK (Band Historian)
Russell Wynn Mr Fixit,
Driver, Entourage, Spiritual Advisor,
Embalming (not a joke, he
undertakes as well as doing Bad Manners…)

This has
been a rather big story. I hope you love it. I hope you hate it. I
hope that love or hate will drive you to write to us with more
information about the band. There is simply loads of stuff I want to
add to the website in the future. Keep watching for updates and
articles !


Turner - Harmonica Player.