The Breathers – Living In The Age Age biography

The Breathers:  Livin In The Age Age


Ric Hool and Jim Bell (aka Red Ferrari) moved to Hastings from Newcastle, in late 1978, on the back of an abortive management deal with Brian Leahey, who was working at that time from East Grinstead: Brian managed musician friends in the group, ‘Goldie’.

A few weeks after arriving in All Saints Street, Old Town, Hastings Steve Demetri called round to check-out the Geordies, apparently steered that way by Tich Turner.  Steve returned a few days later with John Wilde (aka Izzi Peptone) – they were musical celebrities of Hasting. There was an instant recognition of energy.

Daily rehearsals soon began above Steve’s parents’ café on the seafront, on the corner of St Mary’s Crescent: things got tight. It was a purple patch of creativity for each member and Ric was pushed forward as the song writer, exploring and synthesizing the musical capabilities of the group. It might be said that these pre-gig days were the best and most joyous.

Steve introduced a keyword to the group, ‘Action!’

He would say it, animating the word with an arc of his fist in the air, as if delivering a left hook. It became an uplifting statement and a vital gesture to The Breathers.

A name had to be found.

Izzi Peptone burst in one day and declared, “We are The Breathers.”

Nothing to argue about.

‘Livin In The Age Age’ was written on demand by Steve and Izzi  who wanted an all-out 120mph post-punk thrash but without any compromises on good lyrics or instrumental and compositional integrity.

Ric had picked up on facts that medical science had increased the human life span and that 45% of the UK population were over the age of 45 years (1979). The social comment and sci fi overtures were right for the embryonic Thatcher years.

Simon Davies, ex EMI and United Artists A&R man signed The Breathers to Curly Management, working in tandem with the brother of Chris Squire (Yes) and  operating out of the York Street, London W1 office of Ric Lee (Ten Years After).

Regrettably, Steve Demitri left The Breathers before the recording of ‘Livin In The Age Age’. The session drummer at Ambience Studios in 1980 was Clive Pierce.

‘Livin In The Age Age’ b/w ‘Count On Counting’ was produced by Dave Foister & The Breathers, engineered by Allan Morrow and released by Diversion Records.

The Breathers original line-up:

Izzi Peptone (John Wilde) vocal

Steve Demitri                      drums

Red Ferrari (Jim Bell)         Guitar

Ric Hool                                 bass

supplied by Ric Hool

Tony (Anthony) Davis… I can remember the guys in the Breathers hanging around the Golden Hind a lot, probably because Stevie D owned it. I was DJing there at the time and remember that I often played a demo tape – wish I had it now! Also remember going to the Windsor Castle pub in London to a great gig. Like everything Steve and John did – filled with energy!

John Wilde… Ha. Thanks for the memories. Bless the Soul of Steve. Best wishes to Ric and Jim. It was a blast.  Sorry I was so fucking ego tripped. L O V E x

Yvonne Cleland… Blimey! I remember these guys. Derek Bolland and me met them when they’d just moved into that gorgeous house at the bottom of All Saint’s Street. They invited us back to talk about how they could get into the local music scene. All I can remember now is their lovely accents, how they were really into Buggles’ ‘Video killed the Radio Star’, and how amazing that house was. That was in the days when me, Tich and Derek used to hang around a fair bit…. Derek must have put them onto Tich, and now I know what happened afterwards. Cool.

Darren Holmes…  remember Jim he used to teach my mate Michael Delpeache and myself the guitar in the 80s – I think he called himself Jim Dubelle at the time and his lead singer then was his girlfriend Dee

Dave Nattress… Really interesting story – nice one. Thanks for posting. Knew a bit about The Breathers and the connection with the wonderful John Wilde and Stevie D but this fleshed it out wonderfully.

Clive Pierce… Hi All, I am Clive Pierce who played the drums briefly with The Breathers. I very much enjoyed my short stint with them and agree they were lovely guys. If anyone is interested I have a photograph of The Breathers in action at The Windsor Castle gig mentioned above. Just let me know how and who to send it to and I will gladly do so. All the best Clive.

John Spence… I saw the band at the Golden Eagle pub in Blyth, Northumberland in late 1980, really enjoyed their set so I bought Livin in the age age off the band that night, I still play it now as I think it’s catchy and a cracking song.

Darren Holmes… I’ve actually played Jim’s Les Paul pictured above, what a fantastic guitar.

Johnnie Winch – folk singer Hastings 1970’s

Barry French… In the early days of SoulXpress John shared the bill with us twice at the George Street Hall. A brilliant guitarist/ vocalists . Len Benton & myself had the privilege of guesting on his set at the Black Horse folk festival (I think 1991)

John Winch… Just found this site – a blast from the past to be sure. I’m seventy eight now, an old geezer but still as mad and still playing the odd few gigs here in Germany. I remember well George Street Hall and the gigs with SoulXpress as if it were yesterday. Also, my own very long and mad stint of Sunday mornings at the Standard. The Nelson Folk Club in the days of Wilf the landlord and Jeff Coates and Bruce Astly hammering away in the Nelson Sunday morning session (I used to play banjo then with them. the banjo kindly lent to me for the session by Ron Harrison who, sometime during the session and after a few pints, used to burst into a great version of ‘Shoals of Herring’. Those were the days when there were still a few herring in Hastings waters.
SoulXpress one of the best of the Hastings groups, which also included Tich Turner and Stallion, Chris Sayer and Co, and many more. Hopefully Barry , Lenny, and the others are still alive and kicking. Unfortunately some have left us, but I shall never cease to be amazed that there were so many good musicians and so much live music in such a small town.

Barry French… Hi John. A couple of weeks ago Len & I were in my back garden sharing a few beers. We were reminiscing about the early days of Soulxpress & the George Street hall gigs were bought up. We were both wondering what had happened to John Winch, & low & behold you’ve appeared out of the blue! Great to hear your well & still entertaining folks with your brilliant playing. I remember you used to come to the Yelton Hotel to see Soulxpress & were always supportive of the band.

John Winch… Well,well. Barry and Len. You didn’t invite me to your garden for a b….y beer did you. Do you remember Chris S always saying, “I’ll just have a half.” He named one of his bands ‘Swift Half’ if I remember rightly. Anyway, about the beer, us old folks still need the sustainance you know. I have two photos still, although not very good, one of me playing the EXpress interval at George street and one doing the same at the Yelton, and Len, always big thanks to you and Mo for all you did for me back then and, a very guilty man that I am, I still have your Little Milton single ‘Grits and Groceries’ and your early 1964 Decca Rolling Stones EP with ‘Confessin’ the Blues’ and ‘Around and Around’ on it. If you go to my web site or, maybe here, you will find my e-mail address. Please send an e-mail with your address and, believe it or not, I’ll be only too happy to return them to you.

Neil Partrick… Self-interestedly Alan, I was wondering if John was aware of the article I wrote about Kelvin Message as it mentions his work with him. Could you forward this link to him as I’ve no idea where he’s based now?…/kelvin-message-life…

Jennifer Addison (Stafford)… So pleased you are still playing. Happy Christmas. Xx

Dave SanSoucie… Hello John.