1981-86 The Violet Vaults

1981-86 The Violet Vaults

1981-1986

Leeds, North of England, 1981. The March Violets started in 1982 as one of Leeds' four famous 'drum machine bands', the other three being Merciful Release labelmates The Sisters of Mercy, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Three Johns.

From the beginning they wanted a band that was very sparse on stage. No drummer... so in came the drum machine (it was state-of-the-art then, the most advanced drum machine on the market, but now of course seems really primitive). They wanted something visually striking at the front of the stage. So, two vocalists. Male & female. Both looking and sounding very different.

 

First recordings were at KG Studios in Bridlington, a small seaside town in North Yorkshire, with the fabulous Kenny Giles. It's amazing what you can do on an 8-track. They recorded the Religious as Hell EP, Grooving in Green, Steam, 1,2,I Love You and Crow Baby there. It wasn't until Snake Dance that they got into a 24 track (Amazon in Liverpool).

Rosie left the band in 1984, after Snake Dance, and things started to go Horribly Wrong. By the time Rosie returned in 1986, after working in Sudan for two years, The March Violets were no more. For now...

Headlines' interview Really delighted to have a full-page interview in the autumn edition of 'Headlines' – the magazine of the Christie Hospital trust. I talk about how the experience of throat cancer changed my life – and how I have fought to get my voice back. Both creatively and literally...
The March Violets 'Made Glorious' Tour 2013. ALL dates - 10 gigs - are now confirmed. That should be it now... Please come along and have fun. Click on this link to buy tickets for any date!
As of 17th September 2013, ALL tickets for this event have been sold. Many apologies, and check out 'The Palace of Curiosities' event at Birmingham Literature Festival on October 5th.
The Palace of Curiosities is now available in paperback! Order it direct from HarperCollins here: Click this link to order Described as 'Bewitching' by Good Housekeeping. 'A jewel-box of a novel' - Sarah Waters.
The March Violets 'Made Glorious' tour 2013 is underway and ongoing! Taking in venues and events such as Antichrist (London), The Trades Club (Hebden Bridge), Un-Peeled (Preston), Corallo (Italy), Bannermans (Edinburgh), The Cluny (Newcastle), 02 Academy (Islington) & Whitby Goth Weekend – it's going to be a very busy month. Check out the gig page for more details... Click this link for detailed gig listing And The March Violets new website: Click this link for the official March Violets website
I've been invited to be guest lecturer at the Creative Writing Department of Staffordshire University. It's a great honour. It's also open to interested members of the public – the date is Thursday 30th January 2-4pm. For details see the Gig List page. I shall be focussing on editing and rewriting, especially fiction.
I'm struck by the number of people who see biblical overtones in The Palace of Curiosities (especially how I named the characters), and who suppose that was my intention. First up, there were no biblical intentions on my part. Secondly, if that's how you read the novel, that's absolutely fine by me. The two main protagonists in the novel are called Eve and Abel. Some readers have seen a conscious tip 'o' the pen to the Genesis story: Eve being the first woman (except for Lilith of course – but moving swiftly on...) and Abel (her son, the 'nice' brother…
'The Palace of Curiosities' is declared winner of the Cooperative Respect 'Loved by You' Awards Book of the Year 2013! Drum roll please... The Cooperative were amazed by the positive response to the 'Respect 'Loved by You' Awards'. The awards generated lots of interest: 8,753 nominations were received and the awards reached over 2.5 million people on Twitter with lots of support from community groups, celebrities and charities. The winners of the awards were those that received the most nominations. The awards were an opportunity for people from all over the UK (anyone in the world could vote too) to…
My poem 'The Sum of all Meat' has just been announced winner of the Ariadne's Thread first Poetry Competition. I'll admit to being surprised... it's a poem about an abattoir worker and I thought it would put the judges off. Another example of the importance of writers having the courage of their convictions. A fabulous start to 2014! To check out Ariadne's Thread magazine – click the link. Ariadne's Thread website
Religious As Hell EP, 1982 Track Listing: A1. Religious As Hell A2. Fodder B1. Children On Stun B2. Bon Bon Babies Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals Rosie Garland - vocals Tom Ashton - guitar Laurence Elliot - bass Dr. Rhythm - drums Catalogue Number: MR 013 Label: Merciful Release Year: 1982 Run-Out Groove Inscription (because we were such groovy funsters): A: "Frightening..." B: "Aren't we?"
The first EP - cover design by Si Denbigh. Features a photo of Si... Recorded at Kenny Giles 8-track studio in Bridlington, Yorkshire. Released on Merciful Release - MR13 Track listing Religious as Hell Fodder Children on Stun Bon Bon Babies ...If you still have a copy of this - congratulations!
Grooving in Green, 7" single 1982. Reverse of sleeve. Art & design Si Denbigh. Track Listing:     A1. Grooving In Green                                                                                B1. Steam                Personnel:     Simon Denbigh - vocals,    Rosie Garland - vocals,    Tom Ashton - guitar,    Laurence Elliot - bass,    Dr. Rhythm - drums                                                                                       …
Grooving in Green, 7" single1982. Reverse of sleeve. Art & design Si Denbigh. Track Listing:     A1. Grooving In Green    B1. Steam Personnel:     Simon Denbigh - vocals    Rosie Garland - vocals    Tom Ashton - guitar    Laurence Elliot - bass    Dr. Rhythm - drums Catalogue Number: MR 017Label: Merciful ReleaseYear: 1983 Run-Out Groove Inscription (for those who are really paying attention):     A: "The face of a Dragonfly..."    B: "Is nothing but eyes!"
Crow Baby - our first 12" single... Track Listing: A1. Crow Baby A2. 1 2 I Love You B1. Long Pig B2. Crow Bait Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals Rosie Garland - vocals Tom Ashton - guitar Laurence Elliot - bass Dr. Rhythm - drums Catalogue Number: RB 1812 Label: Rebirth Year: 1983
Crow Baby - our 3rd 7" single. Yes, that's me on the reverse of the sleeve. The shoot took place on a freezing cold day in 1983. Hence the mean and moody expression. Ha ha.                                                                                      Track Listing: A1. Crow Baby B1. 1 2 I Love You                                                                                   Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals Rosie Garland - vocals Tom Ashton - guitar Laurence Elliot - bass Dr. Rhythm - drums                                                                                        Catalogue Number: RB 18 Label: Rebirth Year: 1983
Crow Baby cover - artwork by Si Denbigh.                                                              Track Listing: A1. Crow Baby B1. 1 2 I Love You                                                                            Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals Rosie Garland - vocals Tom Ashton - guitar Laurence Elliot - bass Dr. Rhythm - drums                                                                                       Catalogue Number: RB 18 Label: Rebirth Year: 1983
Snake Dance, 1983. The last single I sang on before leaving the band in 1984.                    Track Listing: A1. Snake Dance B1. Slow Drip Lizard Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals, Rosie Garland - vocals, Cleo Murray - vocals, Tom Ashton - guitar, Laurence Elliot - bass, Dr. Rhythm - drums Catalogue Number: RB 21 Label: Rebirth Year: 1983 Notes: Snakeskin textured sleeve
Snake Dance 1983. The back of the snakeskin textured sleeve features a photo of Si Denbigh onstage. Track Listing: A1. Snake Dance B1. Slow Drip Lizard Personnel: Simon Denbigh - vocals Rosie Garland - vocals Cleo Murray - vocals Tom Ashton - guitar Laurence Elliot - bass Dr. Rhythm - drums Catalogue Number: RB 21 Label: Rebirth Year: 1983 Notes: Snakeskin textured sleeve
And on the subject of the interesting sleeve notes & liners that accompanied 12" singles back in the days of vinyl... here is the inner sleeve, designed by Si Denbigh. Features lyrics for Snake Dance, Slow Drip Lizard and It's Hot.