07 October 2009
A. Radio Songs
B. Teenage Rebel
Totally incredible double A sided 45 by Strike from Belfast. This great 45 came out in 1980 on the cash in "Shock Rock" record label in an edition of 500 copies.
Band members were:
Mark Nixon - Vocals
Noel Rafferty - Rhythm Guitar
Paul Kenny - Lead Guitar
Laurence Sprott- Bass
Davy Johnston - Drums
I asked Paul Kenny to give me a little info on the bands history since so little is available online, this is Strike's story in Paul's words...(hit the 'read more' link to expand article)
The band really started when Noel turned up to a rehearsal that I was having with another band. I was quite impressed that he had a Fender and he had an enthusiasm about him and clearly wanted to make things happen so we got together and quite soon started trying to develop a few musical ideas. Usual sort of thing sitting in bedrooms playing 45’s and album tracks trying to understand what made us tick while planning how to get a band together.
We had lots of influences; Noel clearly had a lot of respect for the Beatles while I was listening to guitar led bands like Dr Feelgood!! During this time Noel worked in a local recording studio in Belfast and I was at Art College so everything fitted quite well for us in terms of being able to direct our energy and time towards a band. We auditioned other members Lawrence Sprott on bass and Mark Nixon on vocals and started practicing in Nix’s parents garage. Pretty early on we were putting our own songs together and at times I would meet with Nix who had some ideas or lyrics and we would thrash out ideas while at other times Noel and I would be working on other stuff. We got a drummer who was a little older but with plenty of energy and who had a driving license (which was to come in handy later).
Noel was able to get us into the studio quite regularly at the end of the day were we would work late making demos and working at trying to put a set together. Unfortunately most of this seems to have been lost apart from the vinyl tracks.
Although the city of Belfast was a shell and pretty desolate place at this time it was probably the best place for a band to be growing up. Most of the big bands where staying away as it was dangerous place to be and we where stopped on many occasions as most youngsters would have been carrying suspicious looking guitar cases across the city in the dead of night. We eventually got on the road and played on the Art College and University circuit with a healthy mix of the usual pub gigs.
By this stage we were definitely finding a powerpop feel to our music which frankly came from our natural rawness. None of us where accomplished musicians but we knew enough to create a youthful high energy sound. Record collections and tracks that I remember listening to would have included; Joe Jackson, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Stiff Little fingers, Sex Pistols, The Cars, The Photos, The Jam, The Clash, The Boomtown rats, Dave Edmunds……loads more. There was a strong punk movement at this time (which I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you) and we listened to it and liked it a lot but we never really felt that we where a punk band although others may have thought we were at times due to the nature of our appearance or sound. We were really into trying to write songs that were melodic with a strong power sound.
We didn’t do a lot of covers in the early Strike as it was our own stuff that was getting us noticed although I do remember we covered Teenager in Love which was a very high energy version of a simple turnaround of four chords and power guitar with melodic backing vocals.
Around the time the single (Radio Songs/Teenage Rebel) was released things really started to pick up. We played a series of gigs around Ireland, with various write ups and radio interviews and supported the Boomtown Rats at the Ulster Hall in Belfast (The Rats were huge at the time with a number 1 in the British charts and Geldof was really quite good with young bands so the experience did us no harm).
A+M records also sent a guy to watch us as they liked our demos and were very keen for a period but after a bout of arguments Mark Nixon and Davey Johnson left and the record company were no longer interested as they wanted to sign a four piece bloke band.
After various comings and goings the band entered a new phase which was exciting in its own way with a girl singer. It helped us develop in other areas but we played less original material and concentrated more on playing covers by bands such as the Tourists and Pretenders playing residences in Dublin and Belfast. There was a mix of line ups after this but none under the name of Strike.
Obviously this is the condensed version as all the quirky band stuff would really take a lot longer to write and I have probably missed out and forgotten some very important bits as it all happened quite a while ago!
Posted by Trey Lindsay at 6:53:00 PM