The Spoons - History!

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It all started in 1984 with Mark Carter (guitar & lead vox) and James Fowlds (drums) putting an ad in the local Bournemouth Advertiser for a bassist. The ad was answered by Martin "Budgie" Burden. The new 3 piece immediately started gigging under the name Cloud 10, and it was about 3 months before the band were joined by guitarist / singer / songwriter Hugo Slater, who was a good old friend of Mark's from previous bands. Cloud 10 suddenly had two songwriters, and started to sound very retro 60's with the blend of 2 different influences.
With a bit of a clash of personalities, (or should I say "musical differences"!?), James left, and was replaced by drummer Steve Garnett after long, tiresome auditions for drummers. Steve had an immediate impact on the spirits of the now "un-named" band, making rehearsals good fun with his and Hugo's madcap sense of humour.

The bands local watering hole was a pub in Wimborne Road, Winton, called the Queen Victoria. This pub had the world's smallest chapel in the back garden! (Honest!) The small bar in the centre of the pub was a former "Gentlemen Only" bar called the "Glue Pot". (This glorious old pub has since been demolished and replaced with a supermarket!)
It was here that one night, under the influence of Stella (98p a pint!) that whilst trying to think of a name for the band, Mark Carter suddenly came up with the name "The Spoons" whilst trying to focus on the ice bucket that had a massive serving spoon in it.

The Spoons first gig was at a nightclub called Madisson Joe's, with Hugo Slater on lead vocals and guitar. They went down, surprisingly, an absolute storm. From here, The Spoons began to play regular slots at The Pinecliff in Southbourne through most of 1985.
After a year of constant gigging around Bournemouth, the strain of singing was too much for Hugo's bad eye, after multiple operations for a rare condition, it was time to look for a new singer. But the question in all the band's minds was "How the fuck do you replace Hugo Slater!!"
Hugo remained the main songwriter, along with Mark Carter, and after weeks of auditioning singers, into the room swept Lance Riley.

Instantly fitting all expectations with his clean shaven looks, cord jacket, cravat and Hush Puppies, he became the new voice and face of The Spoons, and his brother, Marc Riley, became the live "Sound Engineer" at most gigs - ( Conrad Barr and John Maggs were also brilliant live sound engineers on various gigs ) - (Lighting was always done by Phil Acourt, who started with a plank and some bulbs and a couple of smoke pellets..! Crazy..! He is now one of the UK's top lighting companies!)

Lance & Marc Riley were formerly in local band called "Tails of the Riverbank", Marc being a brilliant bassist and Lance an incredibly poetic singer (with long hair, long beard, flute and bare feet, if I remember rightly from a gig I saw at The Moathouse..???)

Lance was also good at PR, something that the band seriously lacked, and with a few of his contacts in the local press, turned his first appearance with The Spoons at the Third Side Club into an absolute sell-out frenzy!
The Spoons carried on gigging through 1986 and drummer Steve Garnett left because of "musical differences", and was replaced by Nick Wellstead. (At this time, they had their first taste of fame when their song "Sinner" was included on a compilation album called "Hag", run by Phil Nelson. This song got it's first airplay on Tom Robinson's World Service show.)

The "musical differences" within the band did not stop there, and after another couple of months, Mark Carter and Nick Wellstead both left the band, leaving just Hugo, Lance and Budgie.

Some have said that Hugo is such a perfectionist, that he will stop at nothing to get the right sound and the right players for his songs. His main idea now was to get the perfect drummer, and after some time, he found Simon Courtney.
Simon Courtney was the magic ingredient that the now 4 piece band needed. Dynamic, powerful, and just all round fucking brilliant!
The Spoons re-launched into 1987 as the line-up that they became most popular for: Lance Riley on lead vox, Hugo Slater on guitar and vox, Budgie on bass, Simon Courtney on drums, and occasional appearances by Pete Dale or Trevor Palfrey on keyboards. (Pete Dale is the man responsible for capturing all of The Spoons greatest recordings!)
Virtually every gig was packed, at venues like Mr.Smiths, Benedicts, Bacchus, Mr.C's, The Academy, The Gander etc…..un-knowingly influencing people like Alex James from Blur, who was quite a follower of The Spoons, among others.
They soon started to feel trapped in Bournemouth, so started gigging in London at places like the Mean Fiddler, The Rock Garden, The Bull & Gate, Fulham Greyhound etc..and inevitably started getting serious record company interest.

They took up the services of professional photographer and friend Mark Amor to be their manager and representitive in the interim, who did some outstanding shots of the band, one even getting published in the Melody Maker.! Then Mark Amor passed the baton to Julian "Marz" Marzalek and John "Jonjo" Power, who got us further established in London, and got the band some tasty merchandise. (Mars was showing the signs of being top management at such a young age, getting tapes to every A&R in London, meetings with producers, promoters etc...)

Never quite getting the final deal signed, the band were taken in by the, then, owner of The Academy, Kelly.
Kelly financed trips to London, recording sessions, PR etc..and was a good lift for the band, who were now in the local press virtually every week, and occasionally in the national music press with gig reviews.
It was at a gig in 1989 that The Spoons met brother of U2 producer Steve Lillywhite, Adrian. Adrian became the manager of the band, recording their first single "Show Me How" on his self - financed label "Tunnel" , also making a video at Bournemouth College that got shown on VH1 & MTV etc..
Hugo Slater left the band shortly before the release of "Show Me How", and the band's poor efforts at promoting the single were never quite the same, drafting in Lance's multi-talented brother Marc Riley on guitar at the last minute, to try and save the sinking ship.
The Spoons never quite delivered the goods, try as they might, the band were trapped in a rut, the frustration being too much for Simon, now the backbone of the band, who left at the beginning of 1991 which marked the end of The Spoons.

The remaining Spoons, Lance and Budgie, tried changing the bands name to things like "Coloursound" and "G.L.O.W", drafting in Mark "Basha" Spiers on drums. This lasted another couple of years, until 1993 when this chapter of Bournemouth's music history finally ended.......

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