Sick Of You / I'm In Love With Today

Catalogue Number - RAW 1

Label - Raw Records

Year Of Release - 1977

Quantity Pressed - 20,000 (Rumoured)



Sick Of You / I'm In Love With Today

Catalogue Number - RAWT 1

Label - Raw Records

Year Of Release - 1978




Kicks In Style / Dead On Arrival

Catalogue Number - Warp 1

Label - Warped Records

Year Of Release - 1978

Quantity Pressed - 5000

All copies came with a numbered picture sleeve and each copy came with a postcard which is shown below.




In the past much has been written about The Users, but all fail to put any meat on the bones of this much loved, but mysterious, Punk band from Cambridge.

For their two and a half year existence they have little to show, two singles, under twenty live performances (the majority unadvertised), one fanzine interview and a handful of photographs. So we have decided to approach our history of The Users from a different angle by starting a chronological listing that hopefully any ex-band members or fans can offer corrections and help fill in the gaps to give the full picture of this awesome punk group.



 Formed in  Cambridge, England, by a bunch of young Iggy & the Stooges fans.


Line Up #1
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Guitar - Craig Harris
Bass - Bobby Kwok




The owner of local record shop "Remember Those Oldies", Lee Wood is asked by the band to come and see them rehearse and give them advice.

Impressed by what he sees, Lee tells the group to ditch their second guitarist who is far too old school muso and concentrate on their  garage band sound.

The second guitarist is dismissed.


Line Up #2
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Bass - Bobby Kwok


MARCH 1977.

Plans are made for releasing a one-off single by The Users on their own record label, "Raw Power".
All four band members and Lee Wood would put money into the project.
As punk takes off countrywide Lee decides to start up a label on his own via the shop and the "Raw" label is born with its first release to be the debut single by The Users.


20th MARCH 1977.


The recording session for the bands debut single takes place in a local basement studio situated at 19 Clarendon Street, Cambridge and known as "Spaceward Studios".


The session is engineered by Mike Kemp.



      Recorded live in the studio (with no overdubs, etc), this old garage cover was basically a warm up for the session. On the 9th of December,1977 it would appear, without the bands permission, on the "Raw Deal" compilation LP credited to "The Bloodclots"..........


 02; "SICK OF YOU"

      Using the same name as an Iggy & The Stooges "Raw Power" LP outtake, this Burkill / Free original would be the A-side of the single.


    03; "MESSAGE"

      This was basically an early version of "Dead On Arrival" that turned up a year later as the flipside to their second single. This original version would not see the light of day until 2003 when it appeared as a bonus track on the "Raw Deal" CD (Damaged Goods label, DAMGOOD209CD).



      And this cracker, one of the best to sum up the change that was coming in 1977, was the b-side.



MAY 1977.

 On the 6th of May, 1977 The Users release their debut single,

    "Sick Of You" / "I"m In Love With Today" (Raw 1) 7" Single.

 First pressing 7" (cut by CRS); 2,500 in picture sleeve. (06.05.1977)


By all accounts the band were not happy with the muddy sound on the disc (similar to the same fate as Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers "L.A.M.F" LP) so Lee said they would get it re-mastered at the first opportunity.


 Second pressing 7" (cut by 'Bilbo' with a much fuller sound), Machine numbered picture sleeve edition of....?  (  .  .1977)


At great expense it was taken to George "Porky" Peckhams studio, "The Master Room" to be re-cut by Denis "Bilbo" Blackham. This re-mastered version appeared in late 1977 as a numbered edition, the only time "Raw" ever did this.


Third pressing 12" Single; NO PICTURE SLEEVE (Cut by Max at Lyntone) was issued in 1978 on the Raw "78 Series" label, catalogue number RAWT1. Limited pressing of possibly only 1,000 hard to find at the time and even harder now.


 The single appeared without the band's knowledge and only became aware of it when the local record shop ordered in copies and showed the band! Lee Wood then went on to claimed that "Sick Of You" sold over 20,000 copies in total between 77 & 78. The band never had a happy relationship with 'Lee Woods' Raw label and had to apparently start legal proceedings against the label for their royalties.

In the 90s London independent label "Damaged Goods" took over the "Raw" catalogue and released these further two pressings of note;


7" With Picture Sleeve - Lime Green Vinyl ;(damgood 139); limited edition of 1,000 (released in 1999)

7" Picture Disc; (damgood139P); limited edition of 1,000 (released in 2006)


MAY 1977 - FEBRUARY 1978.


Above is an original A4 advert for the debut single.


Above is the original Promo Poster for the bands debut single.


Now its time to promote the single with a slew of live gigs. One or two drawbacks though......the band don't have their own equipment or P.A (they occasional borrow their local band mates, The Soft Boys gear.), no management (to book them into London venues like the Roxy or Vortex) and both James and Chris have full time jobs of which there's little chance for time off to travel the country..........

So in this period of time only six gigs are played, non of which appear to have been advertised!

A bit of detective work has thrown two up so far;


Thursday 5th May 1977; Howard Mallet Club, Cambridge (supporting Cherry Vanilla & The Police)

plus a week later ; Hockerill Teacher Training College, Bishops Stortford.

the other four gigs remain, so far, unknown.




A collection of the "Raw" records demo tapes by bands such as the Killjoys, Sick Things, Acme Sewage Company, etc is released as the "Raw Deal" LP, the only previously released track, The Users "I'm In Love with Today" opens the proceedings. For an album highlighting unreleased punk recordings its a surprise "Message" isn't included, a bigger surprise is that the bands take of "Louie, Louie" is on it listed as being by The Bloodclots!!

This may have been the start of the band looking to create their own label in order to release their next single.



 Saturday 7th January 1978; "Alex Wood Hall", Norfolk Street, Cambridge with 'The Soft Boys'.


 Saturday 18th February 1978; Communist Party Bop, "Alex Wood Hall", Norfolk Street, Cambridge with 'The Soft Boys'.


Chinese bassist Bobby Kwok returns to Hong Kong as his time in Cambridge studying English at the University comes to an end. Auditions for bassists follow, a new face is quickly hired.


Line Up #3
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Bass - Peter Bevington (aka Pete Bevington)

The band play five live shows with Pete on bass, none of which are documented!!


MARCH 1978.


The band receive their only real piece of publicity when Charlie from "Chainsaw" fanzine interviews James, Chris and Andrew at the Portland Arms in Cambridge. The three page interview plus offstage pictures is printed in "Chainsaw" fanzine issue 5 (March / April 1978), the band are also the cover stars.


Song list; circa 77-78;

 Understanding (Small Faces Song)

Sick Of You

I'm In Love with Today


Louie, Louie

Kicks In Style

Dead On Arrival (aka; Message)

Russian Roulette

All I Get From You

Red Hot Rag

Moving In A Fast Lane

Heart To Heart

Bad Decision

Commercial Television

Slow Death (Flamin" Groovies song)

 Chris Free also informs us that "Heart To Heart" & "Bad Decision" were demoed with 'Robin Hitchcock' of the 'Soft Boys' on Bass.




The recording session for the bands second single takes place in the same studio as the bands debut single "Spaceward Studios".




     (The A-side of their next single)



     (The B-side, and its a re-recording of old song "Message" from the first single session. A last minute decision to record this as the original flipside was to be "Russian Roulette"......its not known whether this (or any other songs) were recorded at this session.)


Recorded and engineered by Mike Kemp.

Mixed by Dave Goodman at Berwick Street Studios, London.



MAY 1978.


Saturday 13th May 1978; Concert Bop, "Alex Wood Hall", Norfolk Street, Cambridge with 'The Soft Boys'.

Sunday 14th May 1978; "The Nashville Room", London with 'The Soft Boys'

 "Kicks In Style" / "Dead On Arrival" 7" limited edition of 5,000 in numbered picture sleeve, plus free postcard. Released on the bands own "Warped Records" label, catalogue number WARP 1.

It has now come to our attention that there are in fact TWO different pressings to this single as well. The first one has the following matrix numbers:

A side- WARP 1 A1W KEV
B side- WARP 1 B1W

This version is the rarer pressing as it is a totally different mix. It has the same vocal and drums, but totally different guitar and bass line...! Apparently, this pressing doesn't have the raised edge around the outside of the label and the back of the picture sleeve is not numbered!

The more common version can be identified with the following matrix numbers:

A side- WARP 1 A-2  KEV     3
B side- WARP 1 B-1          4

This more common pressing does have the raised edge around the outside of the label and the back of the picture sleeve is machined  numbered!


Above is the original 11½" x 16¼" Promo Poster for the bands second single.





 Another bassist bites the dust, Pete Bevington leaves.
Auditions via an anonymous advert in "Melody Maker" follow.





Line Up #4
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Bass - Alvin Gibbs



SEPTEMBER 1978 - MAY 1979.


New bassist Alvin Gibbs lives in a rented house in Sydenham, London SE26, the front room is soon turned into a rehearsal space and the band crash in the other empty rooms.

Ex-Sex Pistols soundman Dave Goodman, after mixing the bands second single, remains in touch with the band and turns up in Sydenham one weekend to record the band playing live in the front room on his 8-track portastudio. These recordings, thought to be lost, are often wrongly referred to as the "unreleased studio album ".


Yet again, only sporadic live shows are played, usually down to Alvin's persistence.

 The advertised ones were;


Wednesday 14th February 1979; Southbank Polytechnic, London SE1 (Rock Against Racism) with "Crisis".

 Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd March 1979; Marquee, Wardour Street, London (Supporting The Members)

Saturday 5th May 1979; Downing College, Cambridge (Supporting Dolly Mixture)

Thursday 10th May 1979; Music Machine, Camden, London (supporting Chelsea & Fourth Reich)

Saturday 26th May 1979; Corn Exchange, Cambridge (Supporting The Fall / Dolly Mixture / The Transmitters / The Sinix)


Saturday 7th July 1979; "Alex Wood Hall", Norfolk Street, Cambridge with 'Ersatz' & 'Dance Demo'.


The Users actually put on and promoted the gig at the Corn Exchange with help From The Fall. Dolly Mixture were also asked to play as they were another local Cambridge band and had a strong local following PLUS Rachel from the band is Andrew's younger sister.


???????; "Alex Wood Hall", Norfolk Street, Cambridge (Supporting Patrick Fitzgerald)


also unadvertised support slot at the Nashville are rumoured.



MAY 1979.


 After arguments over the bands lack of ambition Alvin and rest of the Users go their separate ways. Alvin joins ex-Damned guitarists new group, Brian James and the Brains.

Yet another new bassist joins the ranks in the name of "Rick Tucker".


                                                                                                             Line Up #5                                                                                                             
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Bass - Rick Tucker

Some when between the end of May / December 1979; John Peel Road Show, Northampton (This concert was actually filmed and the band were asked if they wanted to buy a copy of the performance but the band had no spare cash and videos were quite rare back in the late 70s. After a couple of months, videos became more common so the band got back in touch with the BBC only to be told "Sorry lads, we only keep the footage for a couple of months before recording over it!!!!"



 Late 1979 The Users re-appear as Mod band "THE SELECTIONS".


                                                                                                             Line Up #5                                                                                                              as The Selections
Vocals - James Burkill (aka James Haight / aka James James / aka Phil James.) Drums - Andrew O'Hanrahan (aka Andrew Bor / aka Andy Boreman.)
Guitar - Chris Free (aka Chris "Panic" Free) Bass - Rick Tucker

A few new songs were brought into the set which took on more of the Mod / 60s Beat feel. The first being "Lies" which was by an obscure US 60s Punk outfit called the Knickerbockers. The original 60s version can be found on the "Nuggets" Box Set. Other new songs that were brought into the set were "Only Passion Burns", "Now That it's Over", "What You Gonna Do" and a cover of the old 'Who' classic "It's Not True".

By the end of  the year The Selections had split, Chris and Andrew along with Lucy then formed "A Craze" and signed to 'Paul Wellers' "Respond label along with 'Tracie', 'Main T Posse', 'Dolly Mixture' and 'The Questions'. Chris Free along with Lucy Barron actually wrote "Give It Some Emotion" for Tracie which was one of her more successful tracks and charted quite well.


After a couple of months, Andrew decided to leave the band and move back to Cambridge and to seek full time employment.  However, Andrew would then resurface at a later date working with Dave Goodman on his Ex-Pistols projects.

Phil would end up managing "Dolly Mixture" & then "The Seers" in the late 80s. Then he got Chris back involved and he helped out and produced a eight track demo for them!





The late John Peel had a legendary record box he would keep separate from the rest of his collection, whether he thought he would one day start up on e-bay or it was a source of quick cash, the box contained 142 rare 7" singles from across the years. The subject of many programs, websites and speculation it was found to contain two copies of The Users "Sick Of You" single.

Intrigued by its contents, journalist Anthony Barnes tracked down the former lead singer of The Users, amongst others, for a piece in the "Independent On Sunday" Newspaper in October 2005.

"We were just middle class kids who wanted to be Iggy & The Stooges" he said, "Until recently I had 3,000 copies of the record under my bed and I decided to get rid of them as they were just taking up space."



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January 2007



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