Delta 5 - Biography
By Alan Riggs
Ros Allen - Bass guitar & vocals
Kelvin Knight - Drums
Bethan Peters - Bass guitar & vocals
Alan Riggs - Guitar & vocals
Julz Sale - Vocals
Formed in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK 1979.
There was a Leeds music scene at the time that revolved around the Leeds University Art Department, and local bands The Gang of Four and The Mekons were doing well. Kelvin had briefly replaced Hugo in The Gang of Four and was recommended to Delta 5 as a drummer. Kelvin and I played in a band in York together so I went along to audition and joined in May 1979.
First release "Mind Your Own Business" / "Now That You've Gone" - 1979. The Gang of Four were recording their album, Entertainment, in the WorkHouse in the Old Kent Road and they decided that they could help us out at the same time. We stayed with them on a houseboat on the Thames at Cheney Walk, Chelsea and their manager Rob Warr arranged for us to go in and record whilst they were out at a Madness/Specials gig in Camden.
"You" was supposed to be the first recording but it wasn't happening so we changed tack and recorded both songs in about 8 to 10 hours. We had only been together a few months and done about 3 or 4 gigs by this time. Rob took the tapes to EMI who were paying for the studio but they passed - no surprise there - so Rob went to Geoff Travis at Rough Trade. Geoff came to see us at The Global Village (later Heaven) and we met him afterwards and agreed to a deal on a handshake.
The single came out in December.
John Peel was given a pre-release copy and he decided to play it twice that night. The next day we got a call asking if we'd like to do a session for him - yes please!! Then, we were off and running.
"Delta 5" and "Make Up" included on this CD are from that session of February 1980. We recorded a follow-up, "Anticipation" / "You" in February 1980. We were gigging more often at this point and "You" turned out pretty well. More gigging in Europe and the UK; around 1980 - 81, we played quite a bit at The Lyceum in London and shared the bill with The Gang of Four a few times, Echo and the Bunnymen, B52s, Specials, Teardrop Explodes and U2 to name a few. We toured with The Gang of Four and Pere Ubu in 1980.
In September 1980 we did our second Peel session, which included "Triangle," which is included on this CD. Later in September 1980 we went to the USA.
We played New York and all along the East Coast. Then we went West, and "Shadow," "Circuit," and "Journey" are all from a show we did at the Berkeley Square in Berkeley, CA. Back to England in October and we recorded "Try"/ "Colour" with the Bad Manners horn section who we had met at a festival In Finland. In February 1981 we toured Holland and Belgium. In March 81 we signed with the Pre record label in April we went into Rak Studios in St John's Wood to record an album. Rak was Mickie Most's studios and The Animals, Hot Chocolate and Sweet had recorded there.
We experimented quite a bit on the album and perhaps we should have just recorded the songs as they were - the session versions included here are more a reflection of how we were live as they were all recorded quickly in one or two takes.
None of us really liked the title of the album but it was a compromise - I think we argued quite a lot back then. We did a UK tour culminating in a headline gig at The Venue London. We even had a horn section including Rico on trombone.
We went back to the USA for a few shows on the East Coast in May and came back to England in June. We recorded "Innocenti," "Train Song," "Final Scene" and "Singing The Praises" for a Richard Skinner session in July 1981.
The album came out somtime late in 1981 and we went to Holland in October - I decided it was time to leave when we got back - I think Julz and then Kelvin left and Bethan & Ros made one more single with new personnel before calling it a day in 1982.
The early days were the best and although we did argue a lot, (what band doesn't!), we also had a lot of laughs - for a couple of years we got to play live and make some records, and then that was enough.
Alan Delta 5 - October 2005
released 24 January 2006
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