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denim coalition








Colin Hales reveals all

[Our own TOAD sixties band were called Denim Coalition.  They kept this rather quiet whilst we were at school.  I for one never saw them play live.  What a release! - Ed 15 Sep 02]

    Band History    
  Formed from the still smoldering ashes of The Gone and Block Seven, this four-piece Hertfordshire combo toured for two years before splitting up as a result of ‘irreconcilable musical similarities’. During this period, they played to packed houses well out of earshot of the venues at which they were performing - St Mary’s Hall, Chaulden Youth Club, Bennett’s End Summer Fete, Apsley G.S Fifth Form Christmas Party, the C.E Constance Benefit Concert (Clive Aid) and, somewhat surprisingly, the Hemel Hempstead Burma Star Association Annual Dinner and Dance (fitting reward indeed for men who had endured five years with Ord Wingate’s Chindits in the Burmese jungle behind enemy lines, without a gramophone, racked by dysentery, malaria and trench foot and living off two handfuls of rice a day cooked in their own
    The band in 1965

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Seen here at the Burma Star Association Gig in 1965.  Adrian Foreman is seen here on base.


    The band in 1966

click to enlarge

Seen here at the Burma Star Association Gig in 1965.  Adrian Foreman is replaced here by Ian Laird on Bass.  Note the right handed guitar strung for a left handed player. Some say this is what gave Laird his distinctive style.


    Line Up    

Vic ‘Golden’ Brown,
 Lead Guitar and Vocals. Schooled in the Hank Marvin guitar tradition, Vic perfected the Guvnor’s melodic licks and nifty foot work (though not, pace Gerald Ford, at the same time) before graduating to Townshend chordal assaults that left the clientele of the Belmont Road Baptist Youth Club cowering, ears bleeding, in the vestry.
Could always be relied upon to give an original vocal interpretation of the Kinks’ classic, Well Respected Man, anticipating the recent anthrax scare by 35 years. Still playing, in Lancashire (but, then, so are Accrington Stanley)
Glyn ‘Can’t Buy Me’ Lovelock
Rhythm Guitar and Lead (pronounced LEED, by the way)Vocals Not content with building a wall of sound from chords many of which were quite different, Glyn got through 40 Embassy Regals a day in order to recreate the authentic Gade Delta Blues vocal sound originally made famous by the legendary Adenoidal Nectarine Washington. Later mortified to learn that he was supposed to smoke them. His unflinching willingness to stand at the front and shout back at members of the audience (usually both of them) who were demanding their money back proved to be ideal training for a career in banking.
Adrian ‘The Fab’ Foreman
Bass Guitar and Lead Vocals. A member of the original line-up, formed out of the unstabbed survivors of Caesar and the Conspirators. Able to carry off the not inconsiderable feat of wearing a polo-neck jersey under a denim shirt without looking like two people, Ade produced lyrical bass-lines and lilting melodic vocals reminiscent of McCartney at her best. Despite considerable musical talent (he could even read the stuff), stayed with the band for a year before leaving to pursue a solo career of Gary Barlow proportions. Replaced by:
Ian ‘Lady Marma’ Laird  
Bass Guitar and Vocals. The only band member (so to speak) to have his own fan-club, Ian grasped the hypnotic appeal of the repetitive ‘Boom-Boom’ long before Basil Brush and frequently showed off at gigs by singing the correct lyrics, in tune. Abandoned the exhilarating intricacies of Bach-like bass lines for the equally exhilarating intricacies of corporate tax consultancy, an activity that has spawned a new generation of fans. Recently picked up a guitar for the first time in years (it was a dark night).
Colin ‘Purple’ Hales
Drums and, by popular request, no vocals. Always seeking to compensate for an irredeemable absence of technique by beating eight kinds of excrement out of the kit, usually managed to reduce a moderately-sized Norwegian wood’s worth of drum sticks to shavings at each gig, thereby unwittingly setting the agenda for the Kyoto agreement on deforestation. Despite plaints, petitions and threats of physical violence from those of a delicate aural sensibility, continued playing drums with other ridiculously-named bands such as Sir Charles Babbage’s All-Brass Computing Engine, Maya, The Famous Men, The Wednesday Band and, currently, The Esher Fat Boys and The Juniper Hill Blues Band, as a restful antidote to a head-banging career in what currently passes for higher education.

The Brown Album. Recorded: April ‘66; Released: October ‘66; Remaindered: December ’66 Highest Chart Position: Last

Total Sales: 4

Total Sales to people not called Brown, Lovelock, Laird or Hales: Nil

The band’s debut and valedictory concept L.P (the concept being ‘round, grooved and made from recycled Hillman Imp steering wheels’), recorded in Box Lane at the Thompson Recording Studios by the eponymous Richard Thompson, a man who went on to lay down many more memorable tracks - mainly between Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard as an employee of British Rail. The album is replete with never-to-be remembered and unrepeatable innovations in sound recording such as a dramatic change in level and tone from barely-audible muffled bass to synapse-shredding tinny treble halfway through a verse of Louie Louie, Vimto-induced phasing and unresolved chord sequences, the apparent environmentally-friendly use of a discarded Quality Street tin in preference to a snare drum and the prominent position in the final mix given to the dustbin lid. Genius simply isn’t the word (Neither, for that matter, is ‘adequate’). Sales of the album were inevitably disappointing as a result of its simultaneous release with Revolver, Pet Sounds and Aftermath, a set-back that could not be reversed even by the desperate expedient of re-naming the album, variously, Revolter, Gerbil Noises and Afterlunch. Now, however, regarded by the hard-of-hearing as something of a cult offering.


Having previously resisted the temptation either to re-form permanently as the more fitting Cavalry Twill Loose Association or to develop a second career backing the Atomic Kitten tribute band, Nuclear Pussy, the Denims, now with an expanded line-up (to the tune of about 12 stone), return - for a one night only guest slot. Blink and you’ll miss them. Blinking tempting isn’t it?
Colin Hales 14 Sep 02

06 November, 2004         © Ron Moss