Bad Manners Ska Tour

Bad Manners On Tour

The History of Bad Manners

By Autumn 1994, the Bad Manners line up that was to last almost five years was finalised:Buster
Buster Bloodvessel Vocals
Louis Cook Guitar
John Thompson Bass
Stephan Hobbs Drums
Dave Welton Trombones/Key boards (Royal College of Music)
Matt Godwin Tenor/Bariton Saxaphones (Player/Manager)
Alex Arundell Trumpets
David Turner Harmonicas

This 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

The 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 others.

Between America in Spring and the new album tour in Autumn came an endless John Bass & Stef Drumsprocession 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.

The 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.

Buster LiveFatty's 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.


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