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The Members are a British punk band that originated in Camberley, England. Their best known recording is "The Sound of the Suburbs" (1979).


Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The Members was formed by lyricist Nicky Tesco (Nick Lightowlers) in 1976, through an invited audition at a recording studio at Tooley StreetLondon.[1] The original personnel, with Tesco (vocals), was Gary Baker (guitar), and Steve Morley (bass guitar), initially with Steve Maycock then Clive Parker (drums). Morley and Parker were later replaced by Chris Payne and Adrian Lillywhite.

In 1976, the band performed for its first engagements at The Red Cow (London W6), The Windsor Castle (London W9) and The Nashville Rooms (London W14). In that year composer Jean Marie Carroll (aka JC Carroll) joined the band to complement Tesco's lyrics.[1] The Members had recorded a number of songs, but the first released recording was "Fear on the Streets",produced by Lillywhite's brother Steve Lillywhite. This song was included on the first record released by the Beggars Banquet label, the punk compilationStreets (1977).[2] The song-writing collaboration between Tesco and Carroll moved The Members' sound towards an incorporation of reggae, shown in the first single released for Stiff Records, "Solitary Confinement", produced by Larry Wallis. Following these releases, band personnel became Tesco (vocals), Carroll (vocals and guitar), Nigel Bennett (guitar), Payne (bass) and Lillywhite (drums).

In 1978/79 The Members continued to play the London pub and club circuit, and became a feature in the music press. They signed to Virgin Records in 1978, for which they recorded "The Sound of the Suburbs", again produced by Steve Lillywhite. This became The Members' biggest chart success and their best known song in the UK. The follow-up single, "Offshore Banking Business", a reggae tune written by Carroll, did not achieve the same popularity. A version of "Offshore Banking Business" was recorded for the early 1980s filmUrgh! A Music War, produced by Michael White, distributed by Filmways and Lorimar Productions.[3]

The Members' first album, At the Chelsea Nightclub, was followed by a second for Virgin, 1980 – The Choice Is Yours. Their last album was Going West,[2] issued a year earlier as Uprhythm, Downbeat (1982) in the US.[1] The album featured the singles "Radio," which made the Top 10 in parts of Australia,[4] and "Working Girl," the music video for which gave the band exposure in North America via MTV.

The band broke up in 1983, when Tesco left the band after the last tour of the US. In 1989, Tesco appeared in Leningrad Cowboys Go America, written and directed by Aki Kaurismaki, a film about a fictional Russian rock band touring the US.[5] This fictional band then toured as an actual band, and recorded the Tesco song "Thru the Wire". Kaurismäki directed a video for "Thru the Wire", featuring Tesco.[6] As well as working as a music journalist for the magazineMusic Week, Tesco has been a commentator on new releases for BBC 6 Music's "Roundtable".

In 2007, The Members were reunited at The Inn on the Green, Ladbroke Grove, London, MC'd by Phill Jupitus under his 1980s performance poet stage name of “Porky The Poet”.

In 2009, a new single "International Financial Crisis" (a re-write of "Offshore Banking Business") was released, recorded by Tesco, Carroll, Payne and Bennett, with artwork by the original Members’ album sleeve designer, Malcolm Garrett. The same year, Carroll and Payne toured as The Members, with occasional appearances of Tesco and Bennett. A Members' line-up of Carroll, Payne and Nick Cash (drums) performed during 2010, playing in Spain and Italy, and at the Isle of Wight[7] and Glastonbury Festivals. Nigel Bennett currently plays with The Vibrators where he shares singing duties since the departure of frontman Knox. The band cover "The Sound of the Suburbs" in their live act.

In March 2012, they released what is only their fourth studio album, InGrrLand, featuring Carroll, Payne, Bennett, Cash and Rat Scabies. The Members continue to tour and record with Rat Scabies playing the drums.

In October 2012, guitarist Nigel Bennett released his debut CD "Truth or Consequences" on Zip Records/Sony Red. In November 2012 Bennett announced that he would be leaving the Vibrators to concentrate on his solo career.

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Singles[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • "Solitary Confinement" / "Rat up a Drainpipe" (1978) Stiff
  • "The Sound of the Suburbs" (1979) UK No. 12
  • "Offshore Banking Business" (1979) UK No. 31
  • "Killing Time" (1979)
  • "Romance" (1980)
  • "Flying Again" (1980)
  • "Working Girl" (1981)
  • "Radio" (1982)[2]
  • "International Financial Crisis" (2009)
  • "New English Blues" / "M1DL1FECRi5i5" (2011)

Albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Compilation albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • Streets - Beggars Banquet 1977 (Track: "Fear on the Streets")
  • The Moonlight Tapes - Danceville Records 1977 (Track: “Rat up a Drainpipe”)
  • The Sound of the Suburbs - Columbia Records MOOD18 (1991) (Track: "The Sounds of the Suburbs")

Line-ups[edit source | editbeta]Edit

1976

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • Gary Baker: guitar
  • Steve Morley: bass guitar
  • Clive Parker: drums
  • Steve Maycock: drums

1977

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • Gary Baker: guitar
  • Steve Morley: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums

1977

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Gary Baker: guitar
  • Steve Morley: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums

1977-78

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Gary Baker: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums

1978-83

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Nigel Bennett: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums

1981-83

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Nigel Bennett: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums
  • Steve "Rudi" Thompson: horns
  • Adam Maitland: horns

1981-83

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Nigel Bennett: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums
  • Steve "Rudi" Thompson: horns
  • Simon Lloyd: horns

1983 (disestablished)

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Nigel Bennett: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Chuck Sabo: drums
  • Steve "Rudi" Thompson: horns
  • Simon Lloyd: horns

2007 (reformed)

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Nigel Bennett: guitar
  • Chris Payne: bass guitar
  • Adrian Lillywhite: drums

2009

  • Nicky Tesco: vocals
  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Chris Payne: bass/vocals
  • Nick Cash: drums

2010

  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Chris Payne: bass/vocals
  • Nick Cash: drums

2011

  • JC Carroll: guitar/vocals
  • Chris Payne: bass/vocals
  • Rat Scabies: drums
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