Blue Poland were formed in Crosby, Liverpool, Merseyside in 1979, members were Neil Morgan (vocals), Chris Larsen (bass guitar) and Nigel Robinson (guitar and vocals). At the time they had no drummer so had to get drummers in for demos and gigs. They finally got a drummer a couple of years later called Steve Thomas. Chris and Nigel from the band were still at school when they made their first demo tape age 16. An earlier version of the band without Neil Morgan was called The Neutral Cover Ups. Also during this time they formed a punk band called The Rampant Nasties with Tony Elson but were stopped/banned from playing at a sell out gig in Crosby. They made three demo tapes and one John Peel session and appeared on a BBC2 programme called Something Else alongside a London band called Doctor Fantasies Devils which featured Keith Moore, now in The Popticians with poet John Hegley, and a socialist poet called Pete Sinclair (now a comedy writer for Graham Norton, Jack Dee, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and lots of other comedy programmes). Also on Something Else as guests were George Melly and Nick Lowe, who Blue Poland interviewed (nervously). BP had another member by then who sang backing vocals, Melanie Deeprose. The programme was directed/produced by Mike Dick and Paul Pierriot who were part of the community programmes unit at BBC. They were responsible for putting Joy Division, the Jam and U2 on the same programme.
Demo Tape one:
Last of the Zero Hours / Real Shadow / Past Age / Let Me Out Of Here
Drummer for this session was Tony Elson who went on to have some success with The Real People (Chris and Tony Griffiths sang on and produced the first demos for Oasis which led them to a record deal).
Engineer: Noddy Knowler
Recorded at Open Eye Studios (4 track), Liverpool.
Demo Tape two:
Never Pretend / Endless Silence / Ordinary Level
Recorded at Open Eye Studios, Liverpool (4 track).
Engineer: Roy White.
Drummer for this session was Charlie Plant.
Demo Tape three:
I'm Always Falling Down / Household Gods / Puppet Nation
Engineer: Steve .........?
Recorded at Open Eye 8 track studio.
By this time Steve Thomas had joined the band as the drummer and considerably improved the sound and structure of the band (incidentally he too was a member of an early version of The Real People, called Jo Jo & The Real People.)
None of the demos have ever been released and the reel to reel recordings still exist and are archived. All have been digitised so it is possible that they may become available in the future.
The John Peel session was broadcast twice. Three of the tracks were rebroadcast on Marc Riley's 6 Music show in September 2010.
The 'Lost Shows' website and the Kaleidoscope British Television Music & Light Entertainment Research Guide confirm that every edition of the 'Something Else' TV series exists, and the latter specifically confirms that Blue Poland's edition (30 April 1982) exists and has been converted to a digital format. The live reel to reel and sound recordings for Something Else also exist.
The band would play regularly around Liverpool at The Warehouse and do double headline gigs with The Icicle Works until one day the NME started to compare the two totally dissimilar bands, causing this arrangement to cease. The first journalist to write about them was Paul Mathur (who wrote the first book about Oasis and has written extensively about Primal Scream and worked for Melody Maker and NME). He liked the band and continued to give them good reviews for their gigs. The band were regularly featured in local music zine Merseysound.
After Futurama they received a rave review in the NME and were chased by many major record labels, the main one being Sire Records (WEA) in New York. Seymour Stein, the man responsible for signing Talking Heads and later Madonna, telephoned Nigel, who believed it was a hoax, when he was having his dinner. He then paid for the band to do a showcase gig (Nigel invited Pete Sinclair down to do some poetry as well), at the Warehouse in Liverpool.
Unfortunately nothing came from this, and the band became restless and anxious that they hadn't released any records yet, so they stopped playing. They had achieved a lot of exposure over a short space of time.
Other early supporters of the band included Janice Long who would regularly play their music and interview the band on Street life radio show on BBC Radio Merseyside as did another DJ called Phil Ross. They also played a gig with Peel as the DJ at Keele University.
Festive Fifty Entries
- One session
1. Recorded: 1982-03-29. First broadcast: 07 April 1982. Repeated: 04 May 1982. Session producer was John Williams (Housemartins, Simple Minds) (not the classical guitarist) who was Blancmange's manager at the time.
- Time And Motion / Find Out / Puppet Nation / Household Gods
Other Shows Played
- BBC 6 Mark Riley show repeated 3 of the tracks from John Peel session in September 2010.