One night (ooonnne night!) 2 teenagers were doing what most teenagers do at night. Taking a trip down the pub. The time?
Near the end of 1992.
Somewhere in Bedford.
There was expectation the air, for something large was going to rise later in the night.
Entering their local, Woodhall and Walsh headed straight for the bar. No messing around here. No-one in their way either, since the landlord had only just unlocked the doors!
"We’re feeling in a good mood tonight! Largers all round!" calls Woodhall.
"But you’re the only ones in" says the landlord.
"Precisely!" Walsh says triumphantly.
So the night started. As every night started! 5 mins later, and 3 pints each already downed, off they staggered on the now familiar Bedford pub crawl. Rumour has it, that the path is so well trodden, a groove can be seen in the streets of Bedford, although this has yet to be confirmed by anyone sober.
Later, with the count of largers becoming astronomical, the conversation inevitably came around to “Da Quo”. Fans of the famous rock group, Woodhall and Walsh were known to be ardent followers of the music. Indeed, both would spend many an hour practising their guitars to the tunes of Quo. Excitement was mounting, with tickets already booked many months ago for the Christmas gigs.
Eventually, the link was made. Quo. Guitars. Quo. Guitars. Errrr.....band?
"You know what," states Walsh, between sups of his favourite brew, "we could do this mushhic."
"You mean....in a band?" asks Woodhall.
"Yesssshhhh. A band!" yells Walsh.
"Hey, imagine that! Up there, on ssshhhtage, ripping through Caroline. Oooo yes, YES!" enthuses Woodhall.
"Shhhhhall we do it?" asks Walsh.
"What?" quizzes Woodhall.
"Get another pint. What else?!"
And so was born a fledgling band.
The very next evening, 2 teenagers were once again doing what teenagers enjoy doing. Heading down the pub, Woodhall and Walsh were eager to arrive, since someone once said, the best cure for a hangover is to get another one to forget about the previous one. Or maybe not. But anyway, beer was calling loudly, and who were they to resist its sweet, seductive charms?
"Great night last night," says Woodhall.
"Yea" says Walsh. "Errr....why? I can’t seem to remember much".
"Exactly! Neither can I!"
"Wasn’t there something do with traffic cones? I seem to vaguely remember us finding some?" asks Walsh. "Yes, I think you’re right. Not too sure what we did with them, though."
"Hey, did notice how heavy the traffic was this morning, in the town centre?" asks Walsh.
"I did actually, everything seemed to grind to a halt. The main through road was coned off with a diversion sign. Couldn’t see roadworks though......"
They look at each other.
And so was born the Legend Of The Cones.
Further down the road, music became the topic of conversation. It was then, almost telepathically, that they both had the same realisation of what was agreed the night before.
"Oh ****!!!" were the immortal words, uttered in unison.
"Well, I guess we had better follow it through," says Woodhall.
"Agreed. So, we need to sort a name."
"How about Piledriver? Good, rocking album, for a good rocking band (to be)!"
"Not bad, but a bit obvious." states Walsh. "Its probably been done before. Hey, tell you what, that song we listened to the other day, where they say "Sheriff’s Coming". How about that?"
"Yea, great idea," says Woodhall sarcastically. "Think about what you’re saying!"
"Oh yea," sniggers Walsh.
"Lets stick with the album theme. Ma Kellys Greasy Spoon is out, I suppose?!"
"Great name, but we just wouldn’t be taken seriously!" laughs Walsh.
"How about On The Level? Pretty good."
"That’s good, but not good enough" says Walsh.
"Hey, that could almost be a catchphrase," replies Woodhall.
"Hey, I know, try Spare Parts. That’s got a certain ring to it" smiles Walsh.
"Not bad, not bad at all. In fact I like it!" enthuses Woodhall.
"Settled then. We are Spare Parts!"
"And its also the name of our band!"
"You know what this calls for?"
"A drink to celebrate?"
"Don’t mind if I do!"
And so the fledgling band gained a name!
THE REST, AS THEY SAY, IS HISTORY!
After realising that 2 people can’t really do everything, a bassist and drummer were recruited into the fold. Tom Pearson (from Room 21 (a band, not an address)) and Mark Allen were the lucky new members. The complete band set about rehearsing, since their virgin gig was in Feb. 1993.
But soon after, Mark left the band. But fearing not, the remaining members stuck with their chosen course, and got in a friend, Alex Crackell. A very powerful and LOUD drummer, Alex was in several bands, playing thrash metal!! What a nutter! Anyone having seen any of the gigs with Alex in the tub thumping seat, will know what we mean!
Then, but a year later, Tom decided to leave at the end of 1993. He was soon replaced by the giant Martin Roberts, all 6’ 7”. But since access to some pubs was restricted, he was then sacked in mid 1994, when Trevor Ellott joined the fold.
This line up then remained stable for the next 4 years, during which, half-a-dozen gigs were performed a year. These were happy times for the band, but unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end. Trevor had to move away because of his job, and found it hard to return on a regular basis for practise and gigs. While Alex, in mid 1998, decided he was going to join the army. Not the British army, but the American army. So a British bloke joined the American army, to be stationed in Germany. Alex’s farewell gig at the Kings Arms went down a storm, with him being allowed a couple of solo spots to show his screaming groupies (OK, slight exaggeration) his drumming skills.
So Spare Parts ground to a halt. Was this to be it?
ABOVE: the original line up
ABOVE: Darren giving the crowd what they want!
ABOVE: rockin’ the boat, down at The Ship
In early 1999, they got in a new bassist. Well actually a guitarist. But since they didn’t have a bassist, Andrew Austin (that’s me!) was asked to play the bass. Now this was going to be interesting! Having only learnt to play for a hobby, I had never really jammed with anyone before. So to be asked to play a new instrument, in a band, learn a stackful of songs, and to play to a live audience, well, this is going to be interesting! We’ll just have to see how it goes! So in Feb 1999, Woodhall/Walsh/Austin got together. Things went well, and it was soon time for drummer. Adverts were placed. Replies were.....not forth coming. One answer, was eventually had. And Roy Easton entered the Spare Parts realm. Roy has played in many bands in a long and distinguished career, and from his enthusiasm, enjoys playing this style of music.
And so weekly practice was on!
And the story of Spare Parts continues.....
Which means more member changes! The Parts fold remained constant for…hmmmm…9 months, during which several very successful gigs were had (see the reviews pages). But during this time, Roy was also busy with his other band, and to the end of the year, they were asking him to perform more and more with them. So it was with some regret, that the Parts went looking for another drummer! And literally bumped into Mr Francis McErlane. Brushing down his C&A suit, he asked politely what we were looking for (it was the sales man in him (oo errr missus!!) coming to the surface! A drummer we replied! Well I’m one, and I’ll give it a go!
So Mac entered the realm. It was sad to see the passing of Roy, he really was a character! But needs must, and Mac was far more available than Roy into 2000, so yet another drummer took the Parts stool!
And now we’re back to the present! 2000 and 2001 has seen the gig number steadily rise, to over 20 this year! OK, some may be repeat gigs, but work is work, and it is the enjoyment that counts of performing!
So, as we said above, the story continues…
The next few years then sees a few changes. As if you'd expect anything else!! 2002 and we get invited to play at a Quo fans get-together, to raise a bit of cash for charity. For a bit of fun, since it isn't our gig, we say yes when a certain Bomber 'Arris asks us if he can play keys. After the gig, The Oracle then suggests that if he wanted, Bomber could play with Spare Parts, as and when he can make it to gigs (bearing in mind the distance he has to travel). Bomber jumps at the chance (he is know to jump at things!) and we see our numbers swell to...5! So on the merry ship travels, through the 2002 waters, and breaking into 2003.
If this were a car, then this is when the wheels would have fallen off. But as it is, this is a shipping metaphor, so maybe this is when the masts break? Anyway, early 2003 sees the Bassist decide to leave. He gets persuded to do a few more gigs, to wrap the band up. Unfortunatley, the last gig that we were looking forward to, sees the drummer drops us right in it, and goes off to do another gig with another band, without telling us. So, our final fairwell sinks without a trace, while really pissing off the pub. Not the greatest of endings. But a few months later, The Oracle comes back out of hibernation, and starts getting the troups back together. Issues were resolved, and the Bassist is drawn back into the fold. But the question of the drumming stool is raised? Is was decided that we needed a new lease of life, so we ask a friend to have a go. Carl agrees, and the ship sets sail again!
So, onward and upward (if only!), Spare Parts are back and firing on all cylinders! It has now gone from a rough 4 cylinder to the sweet pur of a 6 cylinder! (Oh...slipped back into motoring again....). Augmenting the solid Quo set that we had been doing, the band starts to chuck in a few new non-Quo numbers to. It helps to break up the non-stop Quo, and helps keep the punters happy with some universally known songs. Reception has been fantastic, and 2004 beckons....lets wait and see what it holds!
And so a year on, into 2005, sees what we thought would never happen, a parting of the ways. Mark and the band split, a hard decision. But, that is certainly not going to hold us back, and so we all (well, the 3 of us now) decide to surge onward (not necessarily upward, of course) as a 3-piece, and see how it goes. More pressure on the already broad shoulders of the The Oracle, but with a few gigs now under our belt, it sounds as good as ever. Some songs lack a certain degree of grunt, but overall, we are more than happy with how it still all hangs together!
It is with great regret, that SPARE PARTS announce the death, by natural causes, of original bassist Tom Pearson. Tom, only 28, was good friends with both Darren and Mark for many years, and will be terribly missed by all who knew him. We send our deepest sympathies to his family.