Every band has a place where they say it all started. Ours was Aberdare Gardens, a leafy street in North London's Swiss Cottage. Having moved 'up to the smoke' from Sevenoaks to start a band, A Riot of Colour (name pinched from a newspaper headline about the Queen) was born in this enormous Victorian house, shared with between 7 and 19 others, depending on who'd been to The Blenheim that night!
London's permanent drummer shortage led to our enlisting a Sequential Circuits DrumTraks for our debut two-song 7" Lyntone flexi-disc. Twenty years of hindsight has shown this delicate black sliver of plastic to have been the perfect ambassador, opening some interesting doors including the biggest, John Peel's. It couldn't have been simpler. Waiting outside the Beeb for a couple of nights at ten-past-midnight and handing it over to him in person. In our naïvety, we keenly listened to his show the next night and, lo and behold, he actually went and played the thing.
We sold the disc to Peel's listeners for 50p to cover postage. Free copies we'd left on Rough Trade's counter-top were devoured and a review in Sounds singles page followed. Soon afterwards John Walters called to offer us a session. What, after one flexi? We truly were shocked and stunned. All of sudden we were a real band and we needed a drummer fast.
Alex Osman was that drummer, popping up from his tape-op job at Sarm West. A great, energetic drummer and brilliant at drinking. Despite being a Gooner he was in. Doing a Peel Session at Maida Vale was the first thing we did together and remains our proudest achievement - until the Egg records compilation CD which should be appearing in 2008.
And the tea at the B.B.C.? Yes, it really was as bad as they say.
By the session's third broadcast and fllowing a gig upstairs at the Enterprise Pub in Chalk Farm., we were signed to Dan Treacy's Dreamworld Records.
Sadly Dan was more enthusiastic than organized and the four-song 12" EP that we recorded in the summer of '86 didn't come out until April
'87 and we missed the wave of interest we had built up. Our moment duly passed. We hadn't stopped gigging though, and by then had played from Glasgow to France with a host of bands including The Wedding Present, David Thomas, The Stars of Heaven, The TVPs and The Flatmates. The fanzines were still supportive and continued to write good things. We gave tracks to several cassette compilations and received hundreds of letters from happy flexi-disc owners.
Our second 12" EP was recorded for Brighton-based Playroom Discs, whose distribution died when Cherry Red went belly-up. Luckily, for this CD, that week we'd received a single test pressing, the only copy there is. We wondered whether we'd been infected with the Anti-Midas touch and so it was with this that it was time for Alex to depart. As far as we know Alex still lives in London. Richard Hart our 'mysterious fourth member' also headed back to Melbourne but was last spotted in Madrid.
The third and final 12" EP was recorded as a duo for Everlasting, a label from Cambridge. We re-employed the DrumTraks for the beats and, after this release, we said goodbye to A Riot of Colour as we knew it.
Alistair continued to play in London until moving to Australia in 2004.
Dom left for New Zealand and continues to enjoy musical success in Auckland.
We have set up a myspace.com/riotofcolour site where there is music and photos from back in the day. This will includes original Flexi from 1986 and also music from AROC2 1993 to 1996. We are also doing some tracks for the TVP's tribute album via Canada from Wally at thebeautifulmusic.com.
Ali Jackson. Edit this biography