Monday, October 26, 2009

NICE - the band

This is old content transferred from the original lawsie.com site.

This band is also covered in an article I have had published at AltSounds.com


Way back in the mists of time a bunch of friends living in Wickham Market (Suffolk) decided pursuing the traditional village pastime of sitting outside the mens toilets by the village bus stop was never going to appeal to them so they followed their obsession with music and decided to form a band. Matthew Bell, Dan Foden, Tom Bell and Andrew Laws called themselves The Remedial Class, then Nice, then Morris 1000, then The Benaults, then The Listeners, then probably about twenty other names I've forgotten.

Well that's sort of how it happened. From what I (Andrew) remember, Dan, Matt and Tom formed a band called 'The Apple' with Tim Laskey aged about twelve or thirteen, after one video ably shot by Dan's dad 'Mr.Foden' the band called it a day and I was drafted in to be the singer in a new band with Matt and Tom. The only qualification I had for this position was that I owned an LP by the Charlatans and didn't appear to have anything better to do. After one attempted video shoot by Joe Drury we all agreed that the world wasn't ready for my unique singing style and I was given the ultimatum by Matt that if I wanted to stay in the band I needed a bass guitar. This was at a stage in proceedings when we didn't have a drum kit, so the sum equipment in the band was Matt's guitar and an amp the size of a transistor radio. Without really thinking about it I sold all the photography equipment that I had bought with my hard earned paper round money and returned triumphant from a bus ride to Ipswich with the crappiest bass known to man. I forget how Dan joined the band, I think he just sorta turned up one day. This was way back in (possibly) 1989.



I'm not going to write the whole history of the band here, as frankly I can't remember most of it. Our first gig was to the church youth group in Wickham Market, and they were frankly underwhelmed. Matt and Tom (and to a certain extent Dan) had musical training, this was something I was lacking. Not being able to remember any of the compulsory recorder lessons I had a received at primary school I followed the best course of action I could, I made it all up as I went along. This would have worked fantastically at this first gig had I not been playing through an amp at least ten times more powerful than any other piece of equipment in the room. For the next gig I hired out the village hall at nearby Hatcheston and charged £1 entry. My dad and my next door neighbour formed security and we borrowed a PA for free from Sounds Plus in Ipswich. To this day that first proper gig remains special in my heart for two reasons; 1 - We made £20 each and it took me at least ten years after that to make as much money playing in a band. 2 - We had about 120 people at the gig, and it took me at least 14 years to get that many people to come and watch any band I was in again.

So we started on a high, what followed was a number of years (it's hard to tell exactly how many) of gigging very little, practicing very much and generally enjoying the feeling of being in a band. There are hours of video footage of the gigs we did over the years, as well as fairly random footage and of course the short film noir gangster flick we made. I don't at the moment have any method of getting this footage onto the site, but I hope to in the future.

As with all things the band eventually faded away as members went onto University, or like me got fired for joining another band and then spent years on the dole. Here on this site is a collection of some of the photographs and recordings that we cobbled together over the years, I hope you enjoy it and please get in touch if you have anything to add to this site.



The Bois in the Band

This is the gear list as I remember it, there are of course omissions and it covers the whole lifespan of the band. It doesn't cover the old gutiar hardcase we had crammed full of all kinds of random leads and whatnot.

Andrew Laws
Bass Guitar
Equipment List
Sunn Mustang Precision Copy
Honner Jazz Bass copy with the frets ripped off and a fake MusicMan headstock
Vesta Shite Precsion Copy
Peavy TKO 75 bass amp

Tom Bell
Drums
Premier Drumkit
Various odd african drums with hair on them

Matt Bell
Guitar/ Backing Vox
Mystery Black gutiar that we always thought was a Gibson
Guitiar Amp known as 'The Beast'
Honner Les Paul Copy
Squier Stratocaster
BOSS Feedbacker Pedal
Rocktek Metal Worker
Vintage Marshall 500watt head
Homemade 2x12 cab

Dan Foden
Vox
Casio SK1 Keyboard
PA bought off Elmerhassel with the heaviest cabs known to mankind
Technics Keyboard



Photos

There must have been hundreds of photos taken of our band, Dan's dad used to turn up with a camera with a flash so bright it could bring down light aircraft. I have no idea where all these photos are, and I'd love to see them! There are also hours of footage covering almost every gig we ever did, I'll try and get them on the site too.


I think this is the only cover we ever made, taken from our 'ShavenEvilPlaces' side project
Our rider for a gig at Charsfield Village hall. We didn't get any of it but Dan still managed to be most unwell the next day


Matt Bell

Matt's first electric guitar


Tom doing the patented 'biddy sneeze'



Andrew's first crap guitar (a Sunn Mustang)

Matt Bell in relaxing Morcombe, we stayed there the year before they closed it down and turned it into a prison camp.


Thanks to this photo booze was banned from Sizewell Hall, this photo was taken the night after a gig at Bredfield Village Hall

This picture was taken from the background of a church group photo that was going on in front of us


One of may black and white photos that Dan and Andrew developed after Dan's dad had gone to bed and left us in the darkroom. The rest are missing.


Dan Clearing up after some recreational eating


Matt Bell playing a guitar that Andrew wrote 'I love Sarah' on


One of my favourite pictures of the band, Framlingham Old Railway gig


Hatcheston Village Hall


Framlingham Old Railway gig



Matt Bell at the Framlingham Old Railway gig


Dan at the Framlingham Old Railway gig



The board outside our gig at Framlingham Old Railway, circa 1991 I think

We were avid skaters, for at least a few months


Posed, much? Note that we are drinking the homebrew that Andrew and Matt made, brave souls indeed!


In the early days we didn't have a drumkit


Dan and Andrew at Southend

The posters from the first band name, I think we sold them for 10p each








The Secret Band Base

Like all proper bands we dug our own underground secret base, only a few photos survive.


The corner of the living room

The edge of the sleeping area, also the fireplace, so if you fancy a sleep you could be sure your head wouldn't get cold


The sleeping area

The entrance to our secret underground base




Where are they now?

Andrew Laws

Tom Bell
  • Now a practising Doctor

Matt Bell
  • Now a practising Doctor

Dan Foden
  • Still performing here in the UK and in the USA, check out his band The Great Shakes

If any old bandmates are reading this then please feel free to update me!