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The Oral Exciters



Single sleeve from 1980

  


 

Tim Soul - Vocals and Korg MS20 Synthesiser

Tony Fewkes - Guitar  

Gary Hawkins - Drums 

John Walpole - Bass Machine 

Alan Rolfe - Keyboards 

 

It seemed that a change in musical direction was required after 

the demise of Tricky switch and so, in 1979 Tim and Tony 

decided to go back to the drawing board and start again. Tony 

and Tim carried on writing and after a brief recording project 

with Pete Bown in his Eltham studio, Rooftop, as The 

Futuristics and Alphabet, where we first started using 

synthesisers, we started auditioning for new band members and 

so we formed The Oral Exciterswith John Walpole joining 

on bass and Gary Hawkins on drums, both previously from Clive 

Pig and The Hopeful Chinamen. 


We  carried on recording all the new material with Pete 

Bown, in which synthesisers had become an integral part of 

the sound. Tim was so impressed with the synthesiser sounds 

from The Futuristics session  that he went straight out and 

bought his own, a Korg MS-20 a patchable semi-modular 

monophonic synthesiser (cutting edge technology of the day) 

and using that on all the recordings and gigs from 

November 1979 onwards. He's still got the receipt.


Elton John's champagne


We spent from 27th to 31st December 1979 recording at 

Abbey Road studio 2 with Pete Bown  and I took my own camera 

in with me and have various pictures as a result. The picture with 

Elton John's champagne was taken in studio 2 control 

room at Abbey Road studios on new years Eve 1979. Elton 

had come in to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra record to 

his piano backing track - but nobody could find it and 

studio engineers were running round in a panic, so Elton just 

sat down at the piano and played it again, in one take (class) 

then the orchestra did their bit and he went off to party (mind you 

he had brought his own small party with him - I remember seeing

a young man in a large fur coat who appeared to be unable to 

walk on his own being being supported on either side by two of 

his friends) and we were left with the rest of Elton's Champagne 

and Hennessy XO cognac - result. Cheers Elton.


 Tim Soul singing - Abbey Road studio 1


Early on in 1980 we auditioned Alan Rolfe on keyboards and 

he joined the band and was on all of the recordings from 

February 1980 onwards. Along with Alan also came his 

brother, John who became the bands roadie and live 

sound engineer. 


Alan initially had a Fender Rhodes electric piano and his 

own monophonic synthesiser, so Alan and Tim started 

playing synthesiser harmonies together.


Alan soon sold the fender Rhodes and replaced it with a 

brand spanking new Roland Jupiter 4 polyphonic synthesiser, 

which brought a whole new range of sounds to the band.

 

 We then started gigging in 1980. In fact the first gig of the 

full lineup including Alan Rolfe was a heat of Rock '80 competition,

competition for live bands, which we entered when Alan 

brought an entry form to rehearsal one day. We thought it would

be useful to help tighten up the band. We won our heat at 

The Kingsway, in Luton, apparently the toughest heat.

We also won the semi-final at the same venue and 

subsequently won the final at St Albans City hall in June 1980 out 

of 81 bands, with a first prize of £1200 worth of Yamaha 

equipment, plus recording and video recording at 

Wopalong studios in Luton. We also released our first 

single to coincide with the competition final, with one side 

recorded at Abbey Road and the other recorded at Pete 

Bown's studio in Eltham. We also signed 

with a manager /agent Mike Malley Enterprises and started 

gigging extensively, supporting acts like Ace, 

Showaddywaddy, Peter Green, Splodgeness Abounds, 

touring with Darts and doing the London circuit, Dingwalls, 100 

Club, The Greyhound etc....


 

Watford Observer July 1980

 

The country's biggest live music com­petition has- produced 

a Garston-based pop group, The Oral Ex­citers, as the winners.

The band were the last on stage at the finals of the Herts and 

Beds Rock Competition on Tuesday and they left to 

rapturous applause and shouts of more.


Sadly there was no time for an encore, that happens at the 

Verulam Arms pub in North Watford on Monday. The Oral 

Exciters, whose keyboard player, Alan Rolfe, lives in Coates 

Way, Garston were tipped by many to win the competition. And 

their fans were not disappointed with the band's perform­ance.

 

Stylish

  

With not a pair of denim jeans in sight The Oral Ex­citers 

played classy contem­porary pop as stylish as their stage 

gear. Lead singer, Tim Soul, 23, led the four other band 

members through their set, which was almost perfect visibly 

and audibly. It included their new single, It's A Holiday / Tonight, 

which has been released on the Three Elms label.


Herts and Beds Rock was staged by the owner of Vox-trot Music 

in Watford, Ian Harrison with the backing of, a 12,500 sponsorship

from Yamaha. Throughout the competi­tion and during the. at The 

City Hall, St. Albans, bands have used Yamaha equipment. 

For winning, The Oral Exciters were pre­sented with £1,100 of 

gear and £I00 of recording or video time. The Walkie-Talkies, 

from Hemel Hempstead, came second. The semi-new wave 

trio made an immediate im­pact when their drummer, Mick 

Carter, 29, cycled on stage in shorts. For their last song, the 

band were joined by a robot!


The Watford group, Mr E and the Imaginations were placed 

fifth. They also won the prize for the best original song in 

the competition. Mr E were faced with the ominous task of going 

on first but they coped well which is not surprising as three of 

the line-up are pro­fessional musicians.


A live album was recorded at the final, which Ian Harrison hopes 

to market through one of the major record companies. 


Competition results:


I The Oral Exciters; 

2 Walkie­Talkies; 

3 Toad The Wet Sprockett; 

4 Turbos; 

5 Mr E and the Imaginations; 

6 The Beez; 

7 Late Road Lunatics. 

Best original song, Mr E and the Imaginations.

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