THE MAKERS

 London

 

The above photo was taken by 'Gill Davies' in February 1978

 

 TONY HADLEY - Vocals GARY KEMP - Guitar
STEVE NORMAN - Guitar RICHARD MILLER - Bass
JOHN KEEBLE - Drums

 

Formed by a gang of mates from the 'Dame Alice Owens Grammar School' in Islington, North London, The Makers had originally started out back in October 1976 with Michael Ellison on bass under the name The Roots. They had already caught the Pistols live at the Screen On The Green and now wanted a piece of the action.

The Roots played a set of up tempo sixties cover versions by the likes of The Kinks, The Animals and the Rolling Stones. Their first gig would take place at their school's Christmas disco followed later by their debut public appearance at
'The Queens Head' in Turnpike Lane.

Into 1977 and a pair of prime support slots were secured with Tom Robinson at 'The George Robey' in Finsbury Park as well as during his month long Wednesday night residency at the 'Golden Lion' pub in Fulham. Things were looking up.

However Michael Ellison was to leave the band at the end of the month resulting in the group moving to a four piece with Steve switching to bass and also changing its name to the more punkier "THE CUT" who would get to play a couple of shows at 'The Pindar Of Wakefield' in the Grays Inn road.

It was during the summer of 1977 that the band would catch live a group that would turn into a major inspiration towards their future outlook, 'Generation X'.

A powerful mod-pop-art-punk mixture was the way to go.

A new bassist was sought (Steve went back to guitar) and found in the shape of 'Richard Miller', and with that
"THE MAKERS" were born.

 "We wore drainpipe cords, hand painted geometric t-shirts and Chelsea boots, and played four-to-the-floor power pop."  (Tony talking about The Makers)

"We were no longer punk, but power pop"  (Gary talking about The Makers)

 And so an assault of long lost support slots and headline shows in the capital began with new manager, and junior McLaren, the legendary 'Steve Dagger' at the helm.

Examples of which were;

 

20.07.77; ROXY CLUB, LONDON WC2; Audition Night

06.09.77; ROXY CLUB, LONDON WC2; headline gig

06.10.77; ROXY CLUB, LONDON WC2; supporting Chelsea

 20.11.77; PINDAR OF WAKEFIELD, LONDON ; part of Sunday night residency
(the New Musical Express on 10th December ran a rave review by Bev Briggs;

 

 "The Makers are a new band. A kick in the groin band. A needle in the arm band. An everything you've always wanted but never thought you'd hear band. An Alka Seltzer after a New Wave hangover. All this and a bunch of five fresh-faced nubiles".

The Makers are the clean cut guys who move in as the safety pin brigade move out.

Musically it still bangs your head off the wall, spikes your red corpuscles and ties your bondage strap in knots. You can gob to it, pogo to it, puke to it....but hang on...you can also sing to it !"

 

17.01.78; ROCK GARDEN, LONDON; supporting The Lurkers

31.01.78; MIDDLESEX POLY; headline + the Monos + Johnny Curious & the Strangers

06.02.78; THE PEGASUS, STOKE NEWINGTON; headline gig

13.02.78; THE PEGASUS, STOKE NEWINGTON; headline gig

 

25.02.78; "Record Mirror" runs a full page interview with the band by 'Bev Briggs'.

               "The Makers are a young band who emerged alongside the pogo and earache of last summer, too clean for '77, perfect for the kids of '78.They're fun, they're nice and god, they're energetic. Forget about the energy crisis, plug yourself into these boys and centrally heat two-up/two-down semi suburbia for the next decade.

It was around this time that the band booked themselves into the 'BBC's Langham House studios' in central London and recorded a 13 track demo album of Powerpop cuts. (This, along with some super 8mm live footage, is the only remaining legacy of the band.)

 

07.03.78; ROCK GARDEN, LONDON; headline gig

14.03.78; HOPE & ANCHOR; LONDON; headline gig

04.04.78; MOONLIGHT CLUB, LONDON; supporting Jab Jab

06.04.78; ROCHESTER CASTLE, LONDON; headline gig

17.04.78; ROCK GARDEN; LONDON; headline gig

 04.05.78; HOPE & ANCHOR, LONDON; headline gig
(this show was reviewed in "Sounds" on 13th May, by Linnet Evans "a currently very typical pop/rock band laced with statutory energy and with beautifully cut hair".)

 08.05.78; MOONLIGHT CLUB, LONDON; headline gig

11.05.78; ROCHESTER CASTLE, LONDON; headline gig

19.05.78; HOPE & ANCHOR, LONDON; headline gig

30.05.78; HOPE & ANCHOR, LONDON; headline gig
(this was Richard Millers last gig)

 

With Richard Miller being relieved of duties after management thought it time for a change. Gary's brother 'Martin Kemp' (from punk band The Defects) joins on bass.

A final gig as The Makers is played at the Rochester Castle on the 7th of July before yet another overhaul takes place.

In all this time no major label had yet to arrive cheque book in hand, hopes of an EMI  publishing deal came to nothing, they already had the Rich Kids in 77, why would they want a junior version? In hindsight a bad move, The Makers would by far have been better suited to the top of the pops chart market and kids TV shows of the era.

 With Martin now onboard its away with the Powerpop and back into the more mod-soul roots. And yet another name change.

'The Gentry' are launched with a residency at the 'Hope & Anchor' in Islington on the 13th of August 1978 followed by gigs ranging from Basildon to the Red Cow to the Rock Garden and all points beyond (including the Camden School For Girls) and ending up at the Marquee Club in London in May 1979.

 

GENTRY GIGS

 01.07.78; MIDDLESEX POLYTECHNIC, HENDON (as "GENTRY")

07.07.78; ROCHESTER CASTLE, STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON (as "THE MAKERS")

04.08.78; ROCHESTER CASTLE, STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON

13.08.78; HOPE & ANCHOR, ISLINGTON, LONDON

20.08.78; HOPE & ANCHOR, ISLINGTON, LONDON

11.09.78; UPSTAIRS AT RONNIES, SOHO, LONDON

01.10.78; ROCK GARDEN, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON

17.11.78; DOUBLE SIX, BASILDON, ESSEX

21.11.78; CAMDEN GIRLS SCHOOL, CAMDEN, LONDON (Cancelled; Rescheduled for December)

12.12.78; CAMDEN GIRLS SCHOOL, CAMDEN, LONDON

14.12.78; THE BRECKNOCK, CAMDEN, LONDON

02.02.79; KINGSWAY PRINCETON COLLEGE, LONDON WC1

06.05.79; ROCK GARDEN, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON

16.05.79; HOPE & ANCHOR, ISLINGTON, LONDON

 

From now on we fast forward through Bowie nights at 'Billys Club' in Soho, the PX shop in Covent Garden, Steve Strange and the 'Blitz Club', something is happening again in deepest, darkest London town.

'The Gentry' go through their final major change, this time with major new sounds-new styles and re-launch in November 1979 in front of an invited audience at 'Halligans' Music rehearsal rooms in the Holloway Road.....immediately they are booked for the both the Mayhem Studios and 'Blitz Club' Christmas parties, however the name, The Gentry, is considered old and stale and must go.

A journalist friend, 'Robert Elms', suggests "SPANDAU BALLET"......and, to cut a long story short, the rest is history.

 

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JOE PUBLIC
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