Solvent Abuse 1980 - 1985

I played my first ever gig in 1979, it was at the Youth Club upstairs at the Kimberley Leisure Centre, the band was named 'The Government'

If memory serves correctly I stood on the makeshift stage with a bass guitar in my hands (I’m reluctant to say I was actually playing it!). My good friend Shelley Eaton was on vocals, John Harrison played guitar and Darren Warner played drums. As I recall it was pretty fewkin’ awful and we decided to call it a day almost immediately thereafter.

A chance meeting on the 331 bus from Nottingham to Watnall led to Shelley and I forming a new band with Jono Hanson (drums) and Simon ‘Gig’ Garrigan (guitar) and we practiced in the attic of Jono’s parents’ house.

Looking back the meeting seems all the more incredible because there were few punks about in those days, particularly in a place like Watnall which is the quiet end of nowhereville, a place where people still point at aeroplanes and put bread out for helicopters!

Heroin GirlsSolvent Abuse
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Jono and Gig had played in a band previously (The Ditch Boys! although they never made it to the live scenario) and had several songs already formed, we added a few of those cobbled together during our brief time in The Government and we soon had enough to consider another gig.

And so it was that Riot Squad (as we were initially known) played their first gig, back in the Youth Club and opening the set with a cover of The Damned’s ‘New Rose’….is she really going out with him indeed!

There is a picture of the event on this page with Shelley and me looking about seven stone lighter than our present weight and with much more hair!

We performed under the name Riot Squad for the first few gigs until we realized another band with the same name had been signed to some indie record label - we became Solvent Abuse.

One of the more memorable gigs we played in these early days was in Gutersloh, West Germany (as it was then known), as part of a foreign exchange trip organized by Youth Club leader (and local legend) Martin Nailer. I remember on the day of the gig we visited Bonn on the train and got loads of the German Punks to come up to the gig, in return they introduced us to the local Gutersloh punk scene (and alcohol!)

It wasn’t long before our four piece band became a five piece band with Linda ‘Jar’ Sanderson becoming the shriek to Shelley’s bark.

Somehow we ended up being resident support act for all the touring third wave Punk bands at the Union Boat Club which lived in the shadow of The City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest and right beside the River Trent.

We shared the stage with The Insane, The Adicts, Peter and the Test Tube Babies and Rubella Ballet among others.

Between 1981 & 1985 Solvent Abuse recorded four times, the first at Broadway studios in 1981 where we cut ‘Nuclear Fallout’, ‘Last Salute’, ‘Vigilante’, ‘Heroin Girls’ and ‘Social Scum’

Line-up = Gig Guitar, Jono Drums, Cookie Bass, Shelley Male Vox, Jar Female Vox

The second time in 1982, again at Broadway studios in Nottingham’s Lace Market we cut ‘S.A.S,’, ‘Glue Kills’, ‘Chant’, ‘Sixty Seconds’ and ‘Times Up’

Line-up = Gig Guitar, Jono Drums, Cookie Bass, Shelley Male Vox, Jar Female Vox

I don’t know where the third recording session was recorded (I left the band for a short while) but only one song ‘1984’ was cut.

I was back in the fold for the final recording session in 1985 at Eagle Studios (owned by Country Music legend Stu Stevens), we laid down five tracks including backing vocals and overdubs in under two hours and the sound was the best we ever had….we cut ‘Burn like a Bullet’, ‘No Hope’, ‘They’ve got guns’, ‘Anarchy in Yourself’ and ‘System Trance’

Line-up = Gig Guitar, Jono Drums, Cookie Bass, Shelley Vox (Jar had left by this stage!)

We went separate ways soon after this final recording session, just natural evolution I guess, Gig and Jono went on to form ‘Sirens of the Mind Machine’ and Shelley and I started ‘Emily’ with John Harrison,  Darren Warner (both of whom were in 'The Government') and the inimitable Alan S Robinson……

But that isn’t the end of the Solvent Abuse story!

In 2007 and completely out the blue I got a phone call from Rough Trade Record Shop offering to put out a vinyl LP of all the Solvent Abuse demo recordings, I can’t remember the name of the chap but apparently Solvent Abuse were his second favourite band back in the day!

And so later that year ‘Last Salute’ came out on a joint release on Pure Punk Records ‎(PPR015) and Rough Trades Demo Tapes Records ‎(TAPE003) with any accompanying 12 page colour booklet.

I think 350 were pressed and they sold out immediately.........result!

Cookie 12.01.18 (updated 23.12.19)