The Subterraineans

The Subterraineans were Dean Trotter (vocals, guitar, percussion), George Davies (guitar, vocals), Jerry Peirce (bass, vocals) and Graham Barbe (drums). The band was formed from the ashes of The Addled Eggs, so in that sense can be considered a phoenix. The Subterraineans formed in September 1986 and continued until around March 1987.

Dean was an extraordinary fellow, and The Subterraineans probably represented some of the more glorious moments towards the end of his short life. The poor guy had escaped to Devon with his girl, who he loved dearly, in order to escape the horrors of the London drug scene and his habit. Thankfully he managed to win that particular battle, and his big happy beaming face soon became well known on the Exeter scene.

But by the time the band started, Dean had already split up with his girl and was at the start of a long downward spiral. He was never the same after the end of their relationship, and he slowly came apart over a period of time. It was terribly sad to see him slowly destroying himself. He eventually committed suicide, jumping off the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol in 1993. Poor old Dean. RIP. :(

We do not condone theft. Dean owned almost nothing. To a normal employer, he was unemployable. He never had what some might call a ‘proper’ job in all of the time we knew him. It was the 80s, there was Thatcherism, and things were very different then, with a massive subculture of young unemployed people who felt a cameraderie to each other in the tough economic situation they found themselves in. Although a few did very well under that particular administration, there were many who didn’t. And so it was that somehow Dean led a remarkably charmed life in some ways. He walked into a music shop one day, picked up a Squier stratocaster and simply walked out of the shop with it and took it home. Nobody at the shop challenged him, or even noticed. He did much the same thing to acquire an Ibanez 12-string acoustic. On another occasion, he went to another music shop and stuffed a big 19″ rack mount reverb unit down his coat. There was still a large lump of it sticking out the top, but he didn’t care. He smiled at the man behind the counter as he walked past, the man wished him a good day, and Dean left having now acquired another free piece of gear. Heaven knows how he got away with it, perhaps it was that innocent smile, but get away with it he did.

On another occasion, Dean had become completely disenchanted with his acoustic guitar and threw it in the river Exe. A local artist witnessed this and fished the guitar out of the river further downstream and took it home. Sometime later, Dean was at the artist’s house and recognised the guitar, accusing him of stealing it as he had quite forgotten the midnight floatation incident.

Sometimes Dean was so out of it that he would simply forget how to play the guitar altogether, how to hold it and so on. He even had a unique way of explaining what he wanted the band to do during his songs, which only George seemed able to fully understand, and he had to translate this Deanspeak (such as “It’s got to go in, and out – in, and out!” or “Smells like… mmm… coconut!”) for Jerry and Graham. Dean had a remarkable imagination, and wrote beautiful songs which The Subterraineans perhaps never quite managed to do justice to.