The Breathers – Windsor Castle London 1980’s by Clive Pierce

photo supplied by Clive Pierce

Jim Bell (Red Ferrari), John Wilde (Izzi Peptone),  Clive Pierce and Ric Hool

Clive Pierce… I would just like to clear a few inaccuracies up In relation to my short spell with The Breathers. I was contacted quite out of the blue by Simon Davies, who had been one of the A&R managers at a subsidiary label of EMI called Cobra Records. I was in a group called CRAZE who were signed to Cobra. Everything was going well until for reasons unbeknownst to me, Simon and his co A&R partner Tony Squires decided to jump ship leaving all the artists signed to Cobra floundering. We were passed on to EMI Harvest but we weren’t anyone’s baby anymore so consequently were neglected and through this Craze split. I was asked by Simon if I would like to try out for the vacant drummer position in The Breathers so off to Hastings I went to meet the guys in the group and to see if we could click. I found them all very amicable and was made to feel part of the group almost immediately after my audition. It is true that I did consider at this stage to becoming a session drummer and had started to earn quite good money but I absolutely hated every minute of it. I was 18 years old and was playing sessions on tracks that I had no affinity with whatsoever, so The Breathers were a breath of fresh air ‘pun intended’. Even though I gave The Breathers my best shot I was still in love with CRAZE so just slipped slowly away but with no hard feelings. Lovely guys and Izzi was an absolute character. Rick was very accommodating and friendly. I stayed at his place in Hastings while we rehearsed for a mini tour of the North and even stayed at his parents house up in Newcastle….I love the folk from the North East. One thing i must say that did not sit for me very well concerns the single they released. I have no idea why their original drummer Steve Demetri left but I have to take this chance to say that it was him and not I who played the drums on Living In An Age Age even though I am credited on the sleeve as doing so. It was done without my consultation and it was too late to have my name removed after they had gone into production. That was just not right and embarrassing for me.I would have been livid if it was the other way round. If I had my way Steve’s name would have been on the sleeve and not mine. Anyway….thank you guys for the fun. Clive.

Phil Gill… That poor man has no shirt. I’d have given him back one of those he gave me in 1976 if I’d known.

Alan King… I lost mine on the 3:35 at Lingfield perhaps he did too

Ric Hool… Clive Pierce was a crisp drummer, sharp to The Breather’s material and if I never said so before, thanks Clive. Yes, Steve Demetri was the drummer on Livin In The Age Age. Once heard, you couldn’t mistake Steve’s unique style. It’s gracious of Clive to put the record straight. That tour Clive mentions, I think, went into Scotland – Edinburgh, Bathgate, Glasgow… Every gig outside of Hastings was virtually always north and most often a long, long drive so putting a tour together, though we never made money, put enough petrol in the van to keep us going. Friends were made along the way who put us up overnight and, as Clive mentions, when possible, staying with family was a luxury. Motorway eating was far too expensive but as soup was the cheapest item on the menu we got through a lot of it. John (Izzi) and I, in desperate times of hunger, used to scan the tables to see what other customers were leaving and make a dive for the scraps as soon as those tables were deserted. Typical of most groups trying to make it: Lords on stage; Beggars off stage. Best Ric

John Wilde… Hi Boys. Great to see posts from Clive and Ric.Thank you Clive for your keen presence all those years ago. They were great times. So, thank you Ric for inviting me on board. We were a tight unit, I wish I had paid better attention and focussed more on the music instead of preening my feathers. I wish both Ric and Jim (Red Ferrari) all the best and Clive, thank you for your graciousness.

Stuart Moir… They were the good times when the gear was perched on beer crates

Tony Davis… Strange to see this now. During my recent local music show on Hastings Rock Radio I decided to dig out some legacy tracks and was extremely grateful to Julian Deeprose for letting me have a copy of Age Age. It was great to here again and if anyone has any other Breathers tracks I would love to play them. Great days

The Breathers – Living In The Age Age biography

The Breathers:  Livin In The Age Age

ACTION!

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.

The Jukes – rare line up circa 1983/1984

Jukes rare line up

supplied by Ric Hool

Ric Hool… This was a very unusual line-up for them with (from top left to bottom right) Jim Bell (ex-Breather) (gtr); Andy Knight (drums); Ric Hool (ex-Breather) (bass); Andy Bannister (vocals & harp). Jim and I were at loose ends and exhausted after the final demise of The Breathers and needed a complete change of direction in order to refresh ourselves. Andy K & Andy B were pretty brave – or desperate – to take Jim and myself on. I don’t know what their thinking was but perhaps it went along the lines of, and was influenced by, Dr Feelgood – y’know a brash, punkish, high energy R&B. It didn’t quite work but both Andy K and Andy B were really great guys to be with: Jim is always terrific to be with.