Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Charity Case......After The Sting Rays.

Here's a little insight into what some of the former members of The Sting Rays got up to following their split in 1987.


She Rocola.
Well, it all started in the spring of 1987 when Joe (Whitney) answered an advert in an issue of 'Sounds' (UK music paper). It read, "Keith Moon, Clem Burke, John Maher style drummer wanted for 60's influenced band."

I thought "That's the job for me!” I didn't have the money to buy the paper at the time so I had to find a newsagent who had a copy left after payday…were it not for that ad virtually everything that followed in my life wouldn't have happened for better or worserer!" (Joe Whitney/Drums)

So, off he went to the audition and lo and behold returned a Sting-Ray! Which was pretty cool as I remembered having seen them along with another memorable band called "The Prisoners" in an episode of The Tube a while beforehand and had really liked both combos!

As Joe's girlfriend at the time I went along to his first gig with the band and enjoyed every minute of it! I decided Mark was my my new favourite guitarist and Bal was one of the best front men ever! And the songs were just great! On the way home that night, sitting in the back of the band's van I recall Joe nipping out to puke up on Camden Road and Bal leaping on his back as he did so yelling "Wahey! Now you're really one of us!" Indeed!

Sadly though The Sting-Rays were to release only one more album, a live recording of their last ever gig in June 1987 at the Blow-Up Club, London. A fine packed and sweaty finale as I recall. The album was fittingly titled "Goodbye To All That."

So, this is where I came in…It was Autumn 1987, Alec and Mark had started to write new songs with a more melodic feel to them, as we were in the same ball park musically and because I looked the part in my 'fab gear', they asked me if I'd like to fill the vacancy for a lead singer.

Think Grace Slick! (Alec Palao/Bass)

The Charity Case. 1988.
So I gave it a go and before too long we were rehearsing on a regular basis which then led to a recording session at the now legendary Pathway Studios in Islington. It was here where most of the songs (but not all), on the forthcoming Trash Wax LP 'How To Fall' were recorded, including "Safe in the Mind" which was duly released as a 7" single in early '88 and received great reviews in the music press!

Gigwise, our first was at The Camden Falcon in January 1988 and our last (with Alec) was in the September of the same year, on a boat going up and down the River Thames! I seem to recall the drum kit (and us) sliding across the floor mid-gig at the Houses of Parliament, or wherever the turnaround point was in those days!

She dealing so majestically with hecklers....
Joe cocking a snoot at any sound-man foolish enough to suggest damping down the snare or a stuffing a pillow in the bass drum....
Alec railing against pretty much the whole musical world - but totally justified by his song-writing..... (Mark Hosking/Guitar)

In the Autumn of 1988, Alec had decided to fulfil his ambition to live at the the centre of all things groovy (ie. San Francisco),  and asked if we would move there too hence allowing us to carry on with the band. But we all liked London too much, so had to decline.

The Charity Case did continue however and with much to report I'm happy to say but I shall leave that scintillating second half of the story to accompany any further releases from us in the future… keep watching this space as they say!


Order it here :
'How To Fall' (released by Trash Wax 14/03/2016) comprises of twelve tracks recorded over a number of sessions from 1988 & encompasses a variety of different sounds & styles. The record pulls on influences from 60's Psychedelia, Folk Rock, Pop, Beat, Garage Rock & New Wave to create a kaleidoscope of sound, best appreciated at volume.

Tracks like Don't Worry, Victory Gin, Positively Negative, How To Fall & Sandie Shaw – World War will have you jumping around the room in various animated states (depending on your level of intoxication & by what substances), so it's just as well that tracks like Only Lovers Left Alive, Goodbye To All That & In My Mind are there to calm things down. Goodbye To All That, incidentally was the last song Alec ever wrote for the Sting-Rays!

To Sting-Rays fans, the guitar of Mark Hosking will be instantly recognisable as will some of the odd & uneven chord structures that you'll find within songs on this treasure chest on wax. If you grew to love 'Cryptic & Coffee Time' you will see this recording as another natural progression in sound from where The Sting-Rays ended & The Charity Case begin.... Goodbye To All That..... Hello To All This!

Charlie (March 2016)


  1. Ooops!.... It was winter '86 when Joe answered that ad in sounds

  2. Just listened to a couple songs on YT... really great! Anyone know if there's a download anywhere? I'm glad to pay album price. Thanks~