The Ordinarys formed during the winter of 1976 and
1977, merging the members from two local bands. Steve Phelps on lead
vocals arrived from Waltham Cross having left his band Son of a Bitch, or
Sonavabitch as they were known then, and joined the rest of the members of The
Os, Jim Lewis, lead guitar and vocals, Steve Phypers drums and
vocals, Steve Richmond, rhythm guitar and Neil Broadbank on bass
guitar and vocals, who were known in their home town, Hoddesdon, as Granite.
They all shared common ground musically, and the joint collaboration between the five teenagers welded an awareness and a desire to become part of the coming new music scene. Punk had arrived. Frenetic, fast and powerful. Having been inspired by a live performance in Cheshunt's Wolsey Hall of a song called 'Here Come The Ordinaries' by the New Hearts (soon to sign to CBS Records), the new local band called themselves The Ordinarys. They would choose however, a more New Wave, PowerPop approach, less punk in attitude, but certainly retaining the urgency and excitment of the time.
Although musically compared to bands like The Jam, Generation X and The Buzzcocks etc, The Ordinarys retained their roots in pure Rock & Roll and R&B, playing covers of Chuck Berry and Dr Feelgood at local gigs to large, appreciative audiences.
During 1977 The Ordinarys were to enjoy a particularly busy date sheet thanks to the contacts and efforts of Steve Phelps and his brother-in-law, Oliver Scarrott, or 'Oli' as he was most affectionately known. The band drew wider and larger crowds at local residencies, which included gigs in pubs such as The Bell and The Kings Head (also known as The Top House) in Enfield Highway, The Cock in Ponders End and The Hop Poles in Enfield. By the end of 1977 The Ordinarys had become a local success, attracting huge crowds at their shows, which, in turn, produced a good deal of press and music business interest.
The most significant development towards the end of 1977 was The Ordinarys being chosen to appear on ATV's New Faces in the coming new year. Instrumental in this endeavour, was Les Cozens who sought to do his best to get the band as much media exposure as possible. The audience rating of New Faces was between seven and ten million viewers during February 1978, so, despite the show's lack of credibility, The Ordinarys agreed to go on it, performing one of their own songs, the show stopping 'I Wanna Be An Ordinary'. However, the guys felt that the New Faces appearance was, in hindsight, regrettable in some ways.
After a live interview on Radio London with Malcolm Laycock, Steve Phelps, after introducing three recorded original compositions by The Ordinarys, spoke of his frustration with getting '...a record contract'. Having already been approached by managers of bands The Killjoys and Suburban Studs, The Ordinarys were undecided as to what route they should take. Having already recorded demos for New Faces at Porcupine Studios in Mottingham and at Morgan Studios in Willesden at the request of the studio manager, Monty Babson, the band now had enough recorded demos to take to A&R men. But the backlash from appearing on New Faces was inevitably the prime erosive factor that led to the band's demise, despite ploughing on till the end of 1979 with different band members and sell-out gigs. New members from May 1978 included; Paul Hilder, lead guitar and vocals, John Harty (formerly of the New Hearts), bass guitar and vocals and Paul Doyle, 1979, bass guitar and vocals. A final demo, recorded in the summer of 1978 in Epsom at the home studios of Mud guitarists Rob Davis and bass player Ray Stiles, produced yet another collection of excellent recordings that were sadly destined to be shelved that is, until over 25 years had passed!
The Ordinarys were without doubt a band of their time, and that time was short. Just like the Sex Pistols, The Ordinarys would implode but leave their mark. Ironically, The Ordinarys sprayed their name on a wall over a railway bridge in Rye Park, Hoddesdon, 25 years ago. This graffiti still remains slightly faded, but having endured a great deal of weathering much like the five members of the band. The Ordinarys are still with us.
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