History

Eddie CravenAs Punk took its last few dying breaths, in late ’79: something new, something exciting and colourful was happening. Spawned like a phoenix from its dying embers: New Romanticism stood for everything that punk stood against!

It was a revolt against the negative attitude of punk and, whilst its music borrowed heavily from the late ’30’s to early 40’s, (albeit, with a more modernistic, ironic twist), its style and fashion were more in keeping with that of Elizabethan England. For the first time in 350 years, men wore more make-up than women!  

My Pierrot Dolls marched at the front of the pack: banners carried high… leading the revolution whilst many others followed.

This website casts a nostalgic eye over My Pierrot Dolls: from the bands inception, through its rise and its eventual demise. It also offers an exclusive insight into what the band members have been up to since they removed their lipstick!

 

Ken Patten Sheffield recording studios

Our first foray into recording was to go to Sheffield where we would encounter our first meeting with the legend that was Ken Patten.

Arriving at the studio a semi detached in Handsworth the first thing that hit you was Kens notice next to the door bell. It read ‘knock three times and ask for big Jake’

Ken was well known in the local music circles as the man that could get the sound you were looking for.

As you entered the studios (Kens semi detached) the first thing that hit you was the normality and tidiness of the place.

No cans of lager strewn along the rooms,no smell of dope just a well kept house with everything in order.

To record at Kens was like working your way through a maze,one room for drums,the kitchen for mixing,the upstairs bedroom for vocals etc.

Ken was in his fifties,quiet spoken and not the typical recording type of guy. Ken, you could imagine would spend many a weekend pruning his roses and cutting his geraniums.

First rule of the studio was not ‘no bad language,not no drinking,not no love making on the setee but the rule to be obeyed was ‘Take your shoes off’ when walking in the house.

Another redeeming trait about Ken was his afternoon biccy and tea. Kens wife would shout half way through a session ‘Your tea and biscuits are ready Ken’. Never once did Ken share his digestives we just watched on as he dunked them in his cup,not mug of tea.

We recorded a few times at Kens and always enjoyed the expierence. One memorable session was when we recorded the track ‘Mirrors don’t lie’ at the end of the song we wanted the sound of a mirror smashing. Now there was no way Ken was going to let us break anything in his house so we asked him for a suggestion.

Ken promptly came up with the idea of a vase he’d got on the table full of ornamental pebbles,Ken then miked the table up and threw the pebbles out on to the table. This was going to be the nearest to smashing glass we would reach.

The effect worked Ken was happy we were happy and later on in other studio sessions we would come up with more and more ingenious sound effects in Kens surburban semi detached.

 

Rehearsing in the cellar with a drum machine (egg boxes)

One of the lowest points as a band was the time we lost both keyboard players Ian Hicken and Pete Antcliffe.

Things hadn’t been going well with the different factions in the band and Ian and Pete were starting to get itchy feet and plotting their escape.

The ides of March were getting re-inacted as Pete and Ian started rehearsing in Barnsley behind mine and Baz’s back.

They would start to miss rehearsals with different excuses every time. Ian would ring and say he couldn’t make it,Pete would follow up the call with ‘Well if Ians not coming its pointless me coming’

Eventually it came to a head and both were confronted,i asked them outright ‘have you got a new band’…sheepishly Ian replied in his deep dulcet tones ‘yes’..i told em to fuck off then.

Pete and Ian aided by Linda had really been working hard behind mine and Baz’s back they’d got a band together even the name ‘Scaramouche’ and were already planning gigs.

That left me and Baz what would we do ,was this finally the end of the Dolls.

I left it a week before I spoke to Baz and rung him up one sunday afternoon I asked ‘what do you want to do mate,if you want to leave i’ll understand but i’m not giving it all up’

No hesitation Baz replied ‘I’m stopping with you,whens next rehearsal’ Baz once again proved his loyalty and friendship something the Barnsley two never had.

Next stumbling block was where would we rehearse what was our plan of attack,could we once again start again and recruit new members.

I’d just bought a Terraced house on Main street Rawmarsh it was to be mine and Julies first home.

We would have to utilise the house I said to Baz,so as me and Julie would decorate the upstairs rooms me and Baz would also make our own rehearsal room in the cellar.

Egg boxes were the order of the day and we went round shops beg stealing and borrowing egg boxes.

Eventually we covered the walls with grey egg boxes this was our sound proofing.

Still however there was just the two of us and a drum machine we called Roland. Night after night into the early hours of the morning me Baz and Roland would freeze to death writing new songs,planning our next course of action.

 

Leeds Fforde Green

Leeds Fforde green was a great indie pub to play. We’d got the gig and made our plans to get to the venue.

Our mode of transport in those days varied from gig to gig,always second class. Cars,Transit vans etc but we would surpass all our previos outingus with Fforde Green.

Baz had a long time mate who’s name was Rob Earnshaw. Rob would help out driving the transits whenever he could.

Unfortunately for the Leeds gig we never had a transit but Rob helpful as ever said don’t worry lads i’ll get you there.

Low and behold Rob turned up in a massive removal van his dad the driver. Now Robs dad was the only one armed removal man in the business but still a gem.

We all clambered in the back of the van and threw our gear in accordingly.

The journey was one hell of a bumpy ride. The gear was getting thrown from side to side and so were we.

In the back of the van there must have been 20 of us band and fans drinking cans of lager holding on tight for dear life.

Evenually after an hour and an half we arrived at the venue. We all look shell shocked and our gear had nobs broken off and the speakers were battered and looked like they’d never work.

Fforde Green was on the corner of a roundabout in Roundhay Leeds.

Inside it was a dingy dirty venue,scruffy interior and looked like it was a place no brave soul would venture into.

The room we were in had a small stage with a dj box at the side where as I recall the dj was a Marc Bolan lookalike,long permed hair and dark eyeliner.

The gig was only memorable for the fact that Baz forgot his stage outfits and went on in his leather motorbike jacket and ofcourse the journey from hell.

 

Sheffield University (battle of the bands)

Well this was the one the gig that could send us on or way the gig that would catapult us into national recognition.

The band had reached the national heats of the TDK battle of the bands competition where we would battle it out with 5 other bands to see who would represent Yorkshire in the finals in London.

I’d made a big effort to recruit everyone I could from Dale Farm foods Rawmarsh,all my work mates,colleagues would turn out in force to cheer us on in Sheffield.

The response to rally the troops was excellent and a full coach made its way to Sheffield University all anticipating a night of beer and music.

We had been at the venue soundchecking in the afternoon and sizing up our opposition.,which included mainly Sheffield bands one which stood out for the name alone and also for having a good reputation were the ‘Flying Alphonso Brothers’.

The Alphonsos were always going to be our main threat but we felt with the majority of the support we would influence the judges to send the Dolls through.

The night started and the bands took to the stage. The first couple of bands were met with little applause as only a few friends and family had made the journey to watch them.

When it was our turn to take the stage the Yoghurt fans had had chance to sink more than enough liquid refreshments. All big drinkers men and women and had all come for a good night out,little did they expect the night would go with a real bang.

After a few songs I noticed a disturbance in the crowd and to my horror my brother Ian was flaying arms and reigning blws don on to a lad in the crowd. Suddenly it all went up. Unfortunately for the lads from Sheffield they’d not bargained for the  lads  from the factory who were more akin to scrapping than the students from Sheffield.

Terry Milns loved to body build was hitting one by one and they fell like flies. Terry was aided by two other nutters Tommy Graham and Melv Goulty,they too took no prisoners.

Eventually it was left to me while the rest of the band cowered backstage to plea for peace.

That night the gang from the factory returned home triumphantly,we were disqualified from the competion and the next day the saga hit the headlines.

The actual story in the Sheffield Star read as follows:

An outing from a South Yorkshire yoghurt factory turned sour when

rival fans clashed at a sheffield pop contest.

A coachload of music lovers from Dale Farm foods, Rawmarsh, travelled

to Sheffield University to support local heroes, My Pierrot Dolls in a

Battle of the Bands contest.

But the heat of the national competition – ran by a well known cassette company – ended in violence as fans fought in the University’s Concert Hall.

Today the groups singer Ivor Hillman, who leapt on to the stage to make

a peace plea, said, “It wasnt our supporters who started it: it was a group

of lads at the front who were heckling me and calling me a poof when

 I was singing. My fans were merely protecting my good name.”

BRUISED

“When we weren’t placed,” Ivor continued, “it was the last straw for our supporters who were already very angry. I think they took the defeat worse than the band did.” “There are a fewbruised knuckles at the factory this morning.” Laughed Ivor, who, as well as fronting the band, works at the Dale Farm Foods factory.

An organiser said later, “This sort of thing hasn’t happened anywhere

else during the contest: just in Sheffield. It’s a shame that a minority should spoil what was otherwise a very successful evening.”

Clouds Preston

An early morning start was the order of the day for our Clouds gig at Preston. We’d only got the gig a few days earlier as another band had dropped out.

Fruitcakes long term friend Paul (known to us as Johnny Rotten) hired a transit and picked up all up one by one. We’d bought loads of cans of beer and began drinking them at 9am in the morning in the back of the Transit.

Enroute we would pick Drummer Howard Daniels up from outside Huddersfield train station. Once aboard Howard cracked open a can and the party began.

At noon after loads of pee stops over the Pennines we arrived at Clouds. First thing we noticed was 2 weeks before us the Cult had appeared and now little old My Pierrot Dolls would grace the main stage.

After sound checking we made our way to a local pub in Preston it was still only 2pm and we were’nt due on stage till later that night. Drink was the order of the day and we slowly but surely drunk ourselves into oblivion.

Nine thirty came and we stumbled our way to the club,hardly being able to stand never alone play a gig.

On we went to a muted reception.

The club was packed and waiting for the Goths from Rotherham to open their set.

We started banging the songs out in what can only be described as awful and we could see the natives were getting restless.

Suddenly they began spitting at me as I threw my self in a drunken stupour around the stage. I recall quite vividly a punk at the front filling his gob with beer and then spraying it all over me. At this I threw my Frank Spencer berret at him followed by my pumps from my feet.

It began to get too much for the promoter and after about 6 songs he pulled the plug.The sound system we were using was turned off and the clubs DJ began playing songs by the Cult to the delight of the crowd as we stumbled our way out of the club.

That night was the longest night ever and returning home at 5am,drunk,tired and with no clothes on virtually was a memory i’ll never forget. 

The Leadmill Sheffield

The Leadmill in Sheffield was one of the most prestegious gigs to play for an indie band like us and I knew one day we would achieve the gig.

I’d took it upon myself to relentlessly campaign to get the gig so I began my battle with the promoter of the gig.

I rang and asked for him by name for some reason the name Adrian rings a bell. ‘Hi is Adrian available’,’i’ll just put you on said the girl in the office’ ‘Hi Adrian Ivor here My Pierrot Dolls any chance of a support slot for the band’ Adrian replied ‘i’m busy at the moment ring me back later’

Adrian Ivor here any chance of a gig’…’mmmmm ring me back tommorow’.

Tommorow came and sure enough I rang him back. His secretary answered ‘who’s calling she said’ Ivor I replied from My Pierrot Dolls’..’oh mmmm he’s not in at the moment.

All week I kept getting the same answer off his secretary until I put my cards on the table and said ‘Listen love tell Adrian I won’t stop calling until he gives us a gig’

Ten minutes later the phone rang it was Adrian asking us to support the UK Subs the following week . Result!!!

The day we supported the SUBS was very memorable indeed. I said to the lads we’ll get there early to do a soundcheck,we arrived so early the place wasn’t even open.

Eventually they let us in and we soaked up the atmosphere of the place and made our way to the stage. Wow look at the size of the P.A system we were taken aback.

‘Sorry lads said the in house sound engineer ‘you won’t be using that one,you’ll be using the fold back system.

Shit we thought but even to this day this is how it works with bands and supports the main band will use a massive rig to make them sound awesome and the support band will use a shitty sounding system.

Well it was still the Leadmill and we didn’t care. Soundcheck over with and we made our way downstairs to the dressing rooms. We plonked ourselves down and waited the arrival of the main act the Subs.

Time began to pass and there was no sign of Charlie Harper and the boys we just sat laughing and joking. The door flew open and in walked the sound eningeer ‘lads look like youre on your own the Subs aint shown,quick upstairs and do a sound check.

Like greyhounds we darted up the concrete stairway and on to the stage. Howard began beating his drums and the sound was thunderous,this is what you call a sound I thought.

By this time the crowd began coming in all decked in leathers with painted motifs of the UK Subs on the back. There’ll be a riot I thought when they know we’re the main band.

Downstairs we waited in aticipation for our big moment. The door opened again in walked the promoter with 2 crates of bottled beer ‘here lads you might as well have these’ Get in we’d even got the Subs beer.

Two minutes later once again the door flung open and in ran the promoter ‘Sorry lads as he picked up the crates just removing five bottles the Subs are here,youre back to support’

Well we did the gig a bit of a non event as everyone were there to watch the Subs,we got 40 quid for the gig and one bottle of Budweiser each.

 

My Pierrot Dolls 2014

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Latest News 2014

My Pierrot Dolls made a blistering performance at Rotherham Trades in May.

The new line up consisting of Ivor Vocals,Barry Bass,Ian Keys and new member Mark Frith on guitars and keys give a sensational performance to a sell out crowd.

The band are currently organising a national tour with a few European dates hopefully added

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Video produced and directed by GlennBoulton www.di-recordingstudios.co.uk