The Tale of the Third City
The Idiots were a four piece band formed in east Belfast at the end of August 1977, after some drunken discussions during a Rudi gig at the Glenmachan Stables. The three main culprits were “Barry Young, the younger brother of Rudi guitarist Brian Young‘’ who was the only one who sort of knew how to play Guitar”. The other two were well known Punk’s around town Gordy ‘fangs albert’Owens, Name so because of his lack of front teeth, on Drums, and Dee Wilson who could play the flute, (not that would helped him in the Idiots) on Bass Guitar. All that was need was someone who could at least remember the words; it didn’t matter if they could sing or not, after all it was Punk Rock. Finally that post wasfilled a few days later by Stephen Harvey, a school friend of Barry’s.
With an average age of just fifteen, Dee being the oldest, just turned sixteen, meant that the Idiots were the youngest band on the circuit at the time. Dee Wilson explains “ We were initially inspired by serious amounts of Old English Cider and Drawbridge wine, the latter not being the nicest of beverages but it did the trick back then, the 70’s version of Bucky (Buckfast) “.
Soon the band were rehearsing in such salubrious surroundings as each other's homes, which, given the title of their one and only single ‘Parents' is quite ironic. While they occupied their parent's front rooms, driving them mad with their racket, Barry had begun to pen the lyrics of the song. The idiots also rehearsed in a building in the grounds of Stormont courtesy of Dee 's father.
Dee recalls how is dad helped the band “ My father worked for a Government Security firm and at weekends or Public Holidays, while he was doing over time the Idiots would entertain him and his fellow work mate's at the Stormont premises which he gained access for us. He even on one occasion stood in as road crew, as did Ronnie Matthews's dad for Rudi, God bless them”.
Dee again “ Rehearsals and gigs were never really taken too seriously at first. They were just an excuse for a rake, or a piss up, or whatever else would turn up, which could mean anything with the Idiots. The rehearsals usually took place at Stephen Harvey's house, which meant all sorts of mayhem would occur as Stephen's mum was never at home most of the time due to her work load. So rehearsals became a whole different ball game in Harberton drive. A lot of raking went on to say the least. The fact Stephen had a little sister at just the right age made matters worse. I was always disappearing with, quite often for long periods of time! I think this was the main reason why Stephen left the Idiots. I think his aim was to protect his little sister from me but I knew where she lived and she liked me (foolish girl) so his efforts were all in vain”.
The idiots soon built up a set consisting entirely of cover versions such as, Ulster Boy, Angels with Dirty Faces, Janie Jones, Sweet Jane and the one cover that they made their own “Teenager in Love”. Their rendition of the song later became the title track of the John T Davis movie Shell Shock Rock.
Their debut gig, in pure Idiot fashion, was gate crashing a Rudi Gig at the Arts Collage in Belfast York Street , the Gig was headlined by Rudi with the Flying Squad and Pretty Boy Floyd and the Gems as support. The Idiots entirely didn't see the other support acts as Punk's, so they decided to gate crash the gig, backed by the members of Rudi and armed with Rudi's instruments. However, this impromptu appearance only lasted for one song. Dee Wilson takes up the story “ We ‘played' a cover of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane and for some strange reason, vocalist Stephen Harvey walked of stage at the end of the track. No one knew why he walked of the stage after just one song, but I believe it was because his little sister had arrived with a few of her little punk mates, and of course this distracted me. I then turned to Gordy and said that's me getting my whole tonight. Now I did't think he would have heard me but Stephen he did and obviously he wasn't happy that I was abusing his little sister, like I said, he did try to be protective”.
This is an extract from the Sean O'Neil & Guy Trelford book "IT MAKES YOU WANNA SPIT" - published 2003 by Rekus Reecords .
This Chapter is yet to be written, as they say always keep the best to the last :
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