History of The Subterraineans

Dean and George worked on making a tight set of Subterraineans songs out of the creations from Dean’s unusual mind, with Dean singing and playing acoustic and electric guitar, and George playing electric guitar and singing. Jeremy, or Jerry as we all called him, was discovered by accident when someone suggested to George that he should try knocking on his door and asking if he would like to play some bass. This was clearly a far more cunning plan than it first seemed to be and Jerry quickly agreed to join the band and began learning their songs.

Soon after, Graham was added on drums, although right from the outset his personality clashed with Dean’s and the very first meeting of a musical nature was characterised by a huge argument between them, which Dean found extremely funny and Graham didn’t. It wasn’t looking good, but things began to trundle towards a live performance and a variety of collaborative compositions, as well as an offshoot project called The Ug Brothers, which had the same line-up as The Subterraineans except Marc played bass rather than Jerry and the set was different.

With Jerry and George acting as peacemakers between Dean and Graham, the band rehearsed enough songs to be able to perform a show which Jerry had managed to organise at Bicton College’s Christmas Party. Result! There were two stages at opposite ends of the hall, and a band on each stage, though not at the same time. The other band played two sets of covers and kept asking The Subterraineans if they played the song that they were about to perform, but there were no covers in the Subterraineans set, only originals. The covers band were glad to get home early and The Subterraineans were pleased to be headlining their first show. There was even a fair amount of attention from some of the ladies of the college, which were enjoyed mostly by Graham and Dean as George and Jerry had girlfriends at that time.

George remembers that when the band started playing, he felt rather drunk due to having been sat around in the bar for far longer than was perhaps reasonably sensible, and wondered if he’d be able to remember the correct order to play all those notes in. As the band were playing original songs rather unlike anything in the mainstream and it was their first show, the audience had no idea what to make of it all, especially as they opened with the song Planet Earth (not the Duran Duran song but something completely different that had been penned by George and synth wizard Zaphod) which involved lots of flanging from the electric mistress and driving rhythms and general bizarity. Dean’s pink trousers and Jagger-esque mannerisms added to the overall mayhem and probably didn’t make the poor students feel any safer…

Eventually the band managed to complete their set of 90 or so minutes with a certain amount of aplomb and avoided any form of fatality. A few of the crowd loved it, including the covers band who stayed to listen anyway, but it was beyond the comprehension of the majority of people there. However, no rotten fruit was hurled despite Bicton being an agricultural college, and all in all the show was considered something of a success.

The next show was a few days later, at a New Year party at a friend’s basement flat, where there was considerable human carnage, much jamming until sunrise and beyond, and a great time had by all. Another success! Hooray! The only thing was that Jerry was unable to be at this show due to other commitments so various random people had a go at playing the bass throughout the night with varied results.

Around this time the band started recording a demo to try to find a few more gigs, and it was not long before another one was lined up for The Hole in the Wall, a bar in the centre of Exeter. It was a Motorcycle Action Group event of some form or another, and The Subterraineans would be supporting local covers band Gremlyn. When Dean failed to show up for the soundcheck and Graham’s lack of carpeting or proper drum legs meant that every whack of the bassdrum caused the kit to slide a few inches towards the front of the stage, the band started feeling a little tense. Eventually Dean did manage to appear a few minutes before the band were meant to start, and he was completely off his face on who-knows-what. The gig actually went reasonably well despite Jerry having to leave the stage to be sick between two songs and the place was very busy, and Graham had something of a struggle with his drums and kept having to drag them back into position until a mid-show anchoring solution that Heath Robinson would have been proud of was found. At the end of the night though, the local chapter of Hells Angels arrived determined to shed the blood of the more peaceful MAG riders, and the most extraordinary and horrific scenes of violence took place. It really was appalling, but the band survived unscathed.

The fourth performance by The Subterraineans would be their last, at Bart’s Tavern supporting Root Logic.

> to be continued… <