Jo Jo Laine & The Firm – When The Boys Happy 1980


A few local people played on this one as The Firm including Phil Gill, Steve Demetri, Andy Caine, Wesley Magoogan, Ray Fenwick.

Phil Gill….The first session Steve and I ever did for Ray.  Some good tales about McCartney and Jimmy McCulloch,  John Perry (from Grapefruit, a Beatles signing to Apple) had some great stories about Cliff Richard and Alan Tarney – John was in Cliff’s backing band at the time and sorted us out with tickets for a Cliff show. Jo Jo spent about £60 on t-shirts from a gift shop on the sea-front. We nailed it first take, Wes was a complete pro, Ray paid us for the session and it made the Radio 1 playlist, so I heard it it on my car radio – double result. The b-side was my favourite.

Andy Caine.…Hi Chaps,I don’t have any photo’s I’m afraid! Remember the session though. She was quite a character.

The Box Recording Studios – band unknown?

supplied by Neil Cartwright.



Neil Cartwright…A photo from inside The Box – probably 1981. The dark-haired guitarist could have been called Nigel, the other was possibly Mick, and I think he was a teacher. Mick Burt was certainly on drums, and we battled through standards like ‘Freebird’ and ‘Wishing Well’. Some time later, we practiced down there with Trevor Lewis – a gifted songwriter with a beautiful voice. Any idea of the band?

Michael Mepham…..That might be Mick from Stone Junction on the right. I think the other guy might be named Brian.

Yvonne Cleland….That looks like Mick Hartnell on the right

Sam Rosewell….That is Mr Hartnell – he was an English teacher at Hillcrest when I was there in the 80s.


Memories of Hastings Bands in the 80’s by Tony May

I bet a lot of you remember ‘The Telham Tinkers’, The Architects’, ‘The Disc Jockey’ and ‘Stylus’.  In fact, just thinking about the 80’s band scene in Hastings brings back to mind so many ‘local heroes’– after all who could ever forget…

Die Laughing  Hastings very own hard rock band reached the later stages of the national Melody Maker (remember that music rag?) Rock Contest in 1978 but somehow never quite made it in the record business. Stalwarts to the town, Tel, Lol and Mick continued to keep Hastings rocking for many years however and were regular performers at ‘The Carslile’ on the seafront. One self-financed single was released but as far as I know the band were never fortunate enough to release an album.

 Cracked Mirror I don’t know a lot about this rock band but I do recall having a good few copies of their only album in stock at Stylus Records. I wish I’d bought a copy (or three) now too as original copies of the album change hands for anything up to £500 these days! Only 200 copies of the album were pressed you see and the group are now regarded as one of the most original of the ‘New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ bands of the early 80’s.

 Turn Blue/ Face To Face (plus various other names) Ah yes, the loveable and always original Dave Arnold! Dave was (and probably still is knowing him) always one of the first to push the boundaries of music and art. In the early 80’s he was the front man and think tank behind a plethora of very unusual bands. ‘Turn Blue’ may not have been everyone’s scene but they were prolific and Dave built up a steady fan base for his music by releasing regular albums on cassette that he then sold through local record shops. My personal fav of Dave’s though was one of his more commercial tracks, ‘Body Heat’.  Recorded when Dave was part of the duo, ‘Face To Face’, the song had a killer guitar riff and some sexually explicit female groaning on it but best of all was the fact that the lyrics of the song included the classic line ‘suckin’ on an ice cube tryin’ to keep cool’ – Immortal!

The Teenbeats Well, what more can anyone say about this lot? Hastings favourite Mods may have recorded only two singles (one of which the front cover pic was taken underneath Hastings Pier!) but they will long live on in the hearts and minds of music lovers in the town. Tragically, in June 2009, just before a scheduled reunion gig was planned, we lost Dave Blackman – the bands drummer. Lead singer, Huggy Leaver, went on to be a well-known actor of course and the band will always be remembered nationally because they were one of the first groups to be managed by, the now legendary, Simon Fuller.

Expandis Expandis was another band to build a good reputation upon innovation, live performance and self-produced cassette only albums for sale at gigs and in local record shops. For a while they looked booked for big things, Elton John’s label, Rocket Records, signed the band and in August 1983 released a single on 7 and 12” called ‘Mystic Man’. As is all too frequent a story in the music business however, the single failed to chart.  Interestingly, a second single ‘My Love’ is rumoured to exist but I have never seen a copy (whereas ‘Mystic Man’ was everywhere at the time) and such a single is not listed in any of the Music Master (the music business bible) catalogues from the period? I think it very likely that the single only got as far as the promo stage.

I don’t know an awful lot about what happened to the band after this but I do know John Wilde went to America and worked for a time as an interior designer and that Phil Thornton is still an active recording artist to this day.  Excitingly for fans, two Expandis albums, ‘I’m Not Waving I’m Drowning’ and ‘Living Like This’ (featuring ‘Mystic Man’) are now available to download from itunes. Both are priced at £7.99 if you’re interested.

Such good times and such good memories, eh?

Dave Arnold…. Cheers for the mention Tony, above’s a link to the track Body Heat & the label website