|Trash Garage Masters !|
The Vibes weren't the first band that the various members had been part of and both Bob and Gary (Gaz Voola) Boniface, who'd known each other since their mid teens, had been tinkering for years prior to The Vibes formation. Their roots were most definitely Rockabilly having basically lived, ate and breathed it and that also goes someway to explaining The Vibes look at the time too. Gary lived on Canvey Island (Essex, UK) and Bob in Southend (also in Essex, UK) where the Rockabilly scence was vibrant at the tail end of the 70's and the two of them would be out most Friday and Saturday, frequenting the Southend Rockin' clubs, it was around this time that Bob and Gary first had notions of forming a band, their first foray being a Bill Haley & The Comets style combo which was called The Jumping Jacks. Gary was a drummer then with a stand up snare (ala The Sting Rays) and Bob had tried to take up the sax but without training...They never got past the rehearsal stage !
|Down In The Garage|
A little hiatus at this point and the exact circumstances are a tad fuzzy but Bob's reluctance as a frontman and Gary's desire to get out from behind the drums meant a formation change with Gaz taking up the vocals and Bob moving to (rhythm) guitar, so now they needed a lead guitarist and a drummer ! It's not sure how Lloyd knew them but we ended up with a couple of young brothers, Alex (Guitar) and Adam (Drums)..think that Alex was around 16/17 at the time and Adam was only 14 but they could both play really well !
Around this time the band were listening to lots of different music, Bauhaus, The Gun Club, The Cramps and even some nascent electro, it was also at this point that Gary introduced Bob to 60's Garage Punk via the Pebbles and Nuggets which was an epiphany for him (still a big fan now), rehearsals now became a experimental with lots of styles being bastardised along the way. Not sure of the exact circumstances but Alex fell away sometime around this point and we found Martin Parsons, another Colchester lad whom Lloyd had known for quite some time....Martin was an easy going guy and fitted well.
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The band were also having trouble at certain venues due to Adams young age and so the band made a decision to let him go which was unfortunate and a tough decision. Lloyd introduced another guy from the Colchester rockin' scene, John Jobbagy, who he'd known for a long while and got him to come down and jam with the band. John's style was a little jazzy but he could play four beats where others would play one and it just worked for us....This was the first real line-up of The Vibes, Gary on vocals, Lloyd on Bass, Bob on fuzz guitar, Martin on lead and John on drums with Gary being the creative driving force with all the original Vibes songs being written by him at this point, late '82, early '83.
So with The Vibes ready for action and following on from some local gigs in Colchester the band were given their first London gig by Mike Spenser in 'The Garage', the basement of The Clarendon Hotel in Hammersmith !
They were lucky with their timing and hit the scene just as it was blossoming, and with the release of 'These Cats Ain't Nuthin' But Trash' on Big Beat there were plenty of venues and other bands to play alongside. The band were really well received, The Clarendon becoming something of a spiritual home with them playing every month for the best part of a year. Their following was growing and they played with some of the finest bands around at the time including the Sting Rays, Tall Boys, Milkshakes, Prisoners and The Cannibals.
|Their first on Big Beat.|
They didn't have to think twice and jumped at the chance, quickly getting into Elephant Studios to record the 'Can You Feel' EP....Bob felt it was quite raw and that the production could have been better in hindsight, the engineer didn't quite 'get' the band and they (the band) were too inexperienced of the process. Regardless of that, the record went down a storm and The Vibes found themselves in demand....something they were doing was resonating with the crowds they were playing to at venues such as The 100 Club, Dingwalls and the like. Their musical style just grew naturally, encompassing 50's/60's styles and sounds, there was no concious effort to have a certain sound, it was the bands musical capabilities and limitations along with the vintage equipment which dictated how they sounded and the band were happy that the fans genuinely seemed to like it.
It should be pointed out at this point that The Vibes were NOT a psychobilly band and they tried to make the point very clear stating that they hated the phrase and it's implications...Upon reflection, Bob obseved that none of The Vibes tracks could be construed as such....it was purely the fact that we had a double bass and a couple of quiffs !
Having the 'Can You Feel' EP released on Big Beat opened a certain number of doors for them and they were getting regular reviews and namechecked in the main music press of the time, NME and Sounds, with the latter going onto feature a double page spread ! The band were even requested to appear on the special feature 'Trash On The Tube' for Channel 4, unfortunately one of the other bands which were to later appear on the show had (apparently) kicked up a bit of a fuss about being overlooked, politics prevailed and The Vibes missed out !
|Antoine Bernhart Masterpiece.|
|A Bit On The Trippy Side !|
|Sounds Music Paper.|
The session went well and four tracks were recorded, with all the band being very happy with the outcome (there are low quality versions on youtube, so look them up) and waiting for them to be aired and hearing John Peel wax lyrical about their music was an exciting time. Shortly after this, The Vibes embarked on a Dutch tour with great crowds in great venues and with John Peel having a syndicated show there every week the Dutch fans were more than aware of thier stuff which certainly helped. The highlight of the shows in Holland was supporting The Legendary Stardust Cowboy at The Paradisio in Amsterdam, this show was also broadcast live by VPRO and often turned up on cassette later. The band then turned up to play Bastille day in Paris, an open air festival in the afternoon followed by a gig in a crypt that night hosted by a Surf/Jazz combo called The Pasadenas (they gave me (Bob) a copy of their 7"...highly recommended and worth seeking out incidently).
|One Of The Best Albums Ever.|
|Available here : www.trashwax.com|
That more or less brings the history of the band to an end, a bit of discontent had seeped in during the time spent in Germany and there were internal frictions coming to the fore, possibly because of spending so much time together makes any little annoyance seem magnified and by the time they arrived home, Gary wanted out and the band decided to split in early 1986.
The rest as they say is history with all the guys going on to play in different bands, Gaz went on to form The Purple Things (along with the 2 Johns) and then subsequently Terminal Cheescake.
Lloyd went on to be involved with various bands including The Bugs, Blubbery Hellbellies and The Zipguns before relocating to America where he still plays.
Bob went on to play in The Margin Of Sanity and John Jobbagy is currently the drummer of The Go Go Cult !
Big Thanks to Bob Martin for his patience and time.
If you haven't already, you can still get the LP & CD here : www.trashwax.com