I hope you are sitting comfortably as this could take some time.Way back when in the mists of time,the summer of 1982 to be precise,myself (Tom Halpin),Martin Farkas and Paul Murphy (Murf) went to see a band called Spartan Youth which was made up of a few friends of ours Paul & Jamie Smith,Paul Hughes and Dave Powell. (later of Lash Lariot And The Long Riders)When we saw them we thought, if they can do this we could probably do it as well.We arranged to go to one of their rehearsals down Acton at a rehearsal room called Tracks.There and then we formed Original Sin,we started as:-Martin-Guitar, Tom-Bass and Murf-Drums but that didn't last long as myself and Murf couldn't play our instruments,so I transferred onto drums and Murf took over vocals,so now we had to try and find a bass player. I had a friend Andy Crighton (later of Snuff) who lived around the corner from me who was learning how to play bass at the time,so I asked him could he help us out for a while,he agreed so we did a couple of rehearsals.
Then on 19/10/82 we got a gig at the Roxborough pub in Harrow On The Hill as a support band to Spartan Youth.
The line up was:-
It was a very haphazard affair we didn't have a clue what we were doing but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.We only had two songs "Ratbag's Still Up" (Murf/Farkas) and "Glenda Wants A Test Tube Baby" (Farkas),we played Ratbag as an encore.Andy left us after that gig as he was only helping us out as a favour.A friend of mine at work had a friend Peter who could play Bass and fancied trying his hand,so we rehearsed with him for a while and did another gig at the the Pied Bull in Islington on the 24/11/82 with Spartan Youth again which went quite well.We had added a couple more songs to our set by then "Ruck Dance" (Farkas) and "Love Me" (The Phantom cover).
By this time we had got friendly with members of the band Chaos:-Dino & Frog,Bill & Jim.Peter had by this time left us because he didn't really like Punk music so we found another Bass player Chris (Scruff)who I used to see walking around the area I used to live and someone recommended him to me. We (Tom,Murf & Martin.) went to see Chaos on the 5/12/82 down the Moonlight Club in West Hampstead and thier support band didn't turn up so they asked us to play with them which was good as there was a good crowd there.There was a lot of barracking between the band and the crowd but all in all it was a good gig.Mark Geraghty was in the crowd that night,he had a tape recorder on him,he thought we were so bad he had to tape us.This led to him approaching us to let us know and we became good friends after that. (more later).At this gig we had to borrow all of Chaos's equipment.Martin was a left handed Guitarist and Bill was a right handed Guitarist,Martin managed O.K. But had to play everything back to front.Two days later on the 7/12/82 we played the Roxborough again with Spartan Youth (this is becoming quite a habit now).By now we had 8 songs in our set as we added "Society Sucks" (Farkas), "We Don't Want You No More" (Farkas), Red Cadillac-Black Moustache (cover) & Wild Thing (Troggs cover).After that one we played one final gig on 18/12/84 at Woodheyes Hall in Neasden with Chaos & Spartan Youth.Then we called it a day.
By this time as gig goers we were alternating between Punk & Rockabilly/Psychobilly gigs.Going to see the likes of The Meteors,King Kurt,The Stingrays,Milkshakes,Guana Bats on the Rockabilly side.Chaos,Peter & The Test Tube Babies,Theatre Of Hate,The Business,Toy Dolls on the Punk side.We were getting to know lot of new people on both scenes and getting a lot more interested in playing in a band again.
We had a rethink of what to do,so myself & Martin decided to stay together and form a new band, we asked a friend who used to come to see King Kurt with us called Owen to join as Drummer,Martin's girlfriend Charlotte came on board as Bassist and a bloke we used see around at gigs etc,Paul Lyons (Razor) to join as second Guitarist and myself (Tom) moved to Vocals and we changed the name of the band to Circle Of Sin.We wrote some new songs and kept some of our old ones and started rehearsing again.The songs we kept were "Ratbag's Still Up","We Don't Want You No More","Glenda Wants A Test Tube Baby","Ruck Dance","Society Sucks",we also wrote some new songs "Sod The Nieghbours" (Halpin/Farkas),"Child Batterer" (Halpin/Farkas),"True Story" (Halpin/Farkas),"Can't Pay Won't Pay" (Farkas)"Crazy Sin Beat" (Farkas) & on one gig only a cover of "Ma Na MA Na"(Muppets). Our first gig was on the 10/4/83 with Chaos at Skunks down at the Angel.We didn't have any of our own gear then so we used to always borrow stuff off whoever we were supporting at the time and because Chaos only had one Guitarist, Martin played the first half of the set and Paul played the second half,Murf was in the crowd so he got on stage and sang back up vocals on "Ratbag's Still Up" as he wrote that song.Two weeks later on the 22/4/83 we were playing Feltham Football Club (which was a favorite haunt of ours because the Punk & Rockabilly bands used to play there). We were supporting True Life Confessions with The Worms & Dirty Toilets.After that we (Tom,Murf,Owen & Martin) went to see Chaos,The Destructors & The English Dogs at the Sea Cadets Hall in Cambridge on the 14/5/83.The English Dogs didn't turn up,so we were asked to play,which we did with Murf on Bass even though he couldn't play a note,we played 8 songs.This was a good gig as Chaos had organised a coach from London, (Despite the fact that Martin had a glass thrown at him,he picked it up and threw it back and hit one of our friends Brendan) who was on the coach with us.Next gig we did was at Skunks again with Chaos & Iconoclast on the 27/5/83.
By this time myself & Martin got together with Mark Geraghty & Paul Frost (Frot) from The Worms to form a covers only band called Floppy Big Toes (which was a play on Stiff Little Fingers), we only rehearsed the one time,we did plan to do some gigs but never got around to it.A tape of the rehearsal was made I still play it now and then,it is mainly old school Punk covers.
By now we had got friendly with the Guana Bats who were quite well known on the Rockabilly circuit so we asked them for a support slot some time to play to a different crowd,they said yes and let us support them on the 6/6/83 at Basement Bar at The Clarendon in Hammersmith this gig went quite well,but because we were going to see King Kurt on regular basis at the time,some bright sparks (Chris Plummer & Murf) thought it would be good to cover me head to toe in crap which I wasn't too pleased about at the time,but looking back it was laugh.One month later on the 6/7/83 I organised a gig at The Old Queens Head in Stockwell for Chaos to headline,but about a week before the gig they said they coudn't play,so I asked the Guana Bats would they fill in they said yes so the gig went ahead with a band called Fear who we used to see all the time supporting King Kurt & The Meteors.This was to be my last gig with Circle Of Sin.I was told the next night at a King Kurt gig at The Fridge that I had to go.
We had a couple of more gigs set up at the time 16/7/83 at Feltham Football Club at the Punk All Dayer and the 29/8/83 at the Roxborough in Harrow On The Hill.We cancelled the Feltham gig but I still went anyway with Paul Lyons because Chaos & The Destructors were playing.While there we got talking with Mark Geraghty from The Worms who I had played with in Floppy Big Toes.We were hitting on an idea to form a new group but we needed a Drummer,Mark had a friend Martin Hornsby (Trapper) So we asked him,he said he was up for it.So that was it 16 Guns were formed,Paul agreed to play for 16 Guns & Circle Of Sin.
We had to get rehearsing straight away as there was a gig coming up at the Roxborough on the Bank Holiday in August.I brought 3 of my own songs from Circle of Sin "Sod The Neighbours","Child Batterer","True Story" with me as Paul knew them,I also wrote one more "Since You Left Me Baby". Mark wrote 4 songs "Psycho","Car Crash","James Bond","Private 999" Paul helped write the tunes.We used to do 2 covers "Suzy Is A Headbanger" (Ramones) & "Get Off Of My Cloud" (Meteors version) & a song called "Sheena" (which Murf had written for Original Sin,we never got to play it in that band)This brought our repetoire up to 11 which we thought was enough to start gigging.So on the 29/8/83 we played the Roxborough supporting Dead Loss (who I had seen the previous week and asked them as a favour to headline for us.)Our second gig was on the Friday of that same week 2/9/83 we were asked to support The Toy Dolls at Feltham which was really good for us as we used to go and see them quite a bit at the time.So it was a chance of seeing them for free.It was another month before we played again,our old friends Chaos asked us to play with them at The Swan in Kingston,with a newly reformed Dirty Toilets.I got totally pissed out of my head at this gig,the rest of the band were on stage about 10 minutes before I could be found,when I finally turned up it turned out to be a blinding gig with the crowd going mental for us.
By December we had three more gigs first one was at the Roxborough 7/12/83,16 Guns headlining with Circle Of Sin & Dead Loss supporting.We introduced a couple of new songs "24 Hours" (Geraghty/Lyons), "News Of The World", (Geraghty/Lyons), "Short Song", (16 Guns).Then 18/12/83 at The Old Queens Head in Stockwell with Chaos,Dead Loss & The Worms.Then two days later at The Old Queens Head in Stockwell (again) with The Sub-Humans & The A- Heads.
By the end of 83 Colin Gerwood of Conflict rang me with a proposition of putting a track on a compilation album "Who?What?Why?When?Where?" He was releasing on Mortarhate Records with the likes of Conflict,Poison Girls,Hagar The Womb,Vex,Anthrax,Chaos & now 16 Guns we jumped at the chance of doing this and spent 6 hours in studio underneath Waterloo Bridge and ended up with "Private 999" which was included on the album.We were a bit lost in the studio as it was a completly different experience for us laying down tracks seperately and to tapes but over all the outcome wasn't that bad really.I used to get lot's of mail from all over the world from people who heard us on that album which was good.
1984 started slow with one gig in January 28/1/84 at the Binfield Memorial Hall supporting The Distorted.
Then one in February 20/2/84 at The Old Queens Head in Stockwell supporting The U.K.Subs & Wandering Souls.
Things picked up a bit in March with five more gigs 9/3/84 at The Swan in Kingston supporting The Satellites & Disease.12/3/84 at The Old Queens Head in Stockwell supporting Chaos & The Samples.We introduced a couple of new songs again "You" (Geraghty/Lyons), "Idol" (Geraghty/Lyons) & "Police Car" (Cockney Rejects cover). 13/3/84 at Frenzy (Ronnie Scotts) supporting Circle Of Sin.18/3/84 at The Clarendon Basement Bar supporting Hagar The Womb.
It was at this time that the album "Who?What?When?Where?" was released,it entered the Indie chart at No#14.It stayed in the Top 30 Indie album charts for about 12 weeks at one point rising to No#3.We were competing with the likes of The Smiths, Billy Bragg, Cocteau Twins, The Cramps, so it didn't do too bad really.
Our next gig was on the 23/3/84 at Feltham Football Club supporting The Meteors (we only got asked on the night to do this gig so it was a bit of a rush phoning everyone up to turn up but it worked out O.K in the end)
In March of 84 we went into a studio down Lewisham to record a 4 track demo.The tracks were:-
4)"Sod The Nieghbours".
Our next gig wasn't until May 2/5/84 at the Pindar Of Wakefield in Kings Cross with Chaos & Dead Loss.A week later 9/5/84 we were down The Pindar Of Wakefield again with Burning Rhythm & The Circle Of Sin.We introduced "Motorhead" (Hawkwind Motorhead cover) as an encore which was mainly sang by Vince Mahon who used to be singer of Curfew.It became a firm favorite at gigs from then on.
We were double booked to do two gigs on the 19/5/84.The first one was in Leeds at The Dortmunder Bierkeller, (which I only found out about by reading the N.M.E.)It was an all day gig with Black Flag headlining,Husker Du,Cult Maniax, Hagar The Womb,Newtown Neurotics & The Mau Mau's were on the bill.This gig was organised by Nick Toczek who I had met about a year earlier when I went to see King Kurt up at Leeds at Adam & Eves,I mentioned I was in band,gave him my address. The other one was in Wales at powys Presteinge Memorial Hall with The Samples,The Accursed,Offensive Weapon,Picture Frame Seduction & Intensive Care on the bill.This gig was set up by Benny Davies who I used to write to all the time and ring up now and again,unfortunatly we had to pull out of both gigs.
On the 23/5/84 we were asked by Robin Scott to support Restless at the Hope & Anchor which we agreed to.But for some reason Robin didn't tell the organisers we were playing so half way through our set we were told to leave the stage as we didn't have permission to play which nearly caused an argument between a few people,but was quickly sorted out.Our next gig was at the Greyhound in Fulham,which was a pub we used to go to quite a lot to see bands and we always wanted to play there,it was the 28/5/84 supporting Chaos with Disease.We introduced a new song tonight "C29" (Geraghty/Lyons)
We played two gigs in June first one was on the 2/6/84 at The George in Islington supporting The Commitee & The Wet Paint Theatre (Who Paul later left us to join,more about that later). Next gig was 6/6/84 at The Crystal Palace in St Albans supporting The Worms.
By this time I had been chatting to two friends one night who happened to be brothers Rob & Rich,we got talking about forming a new group outside 16 Guns.This group would be called Nursery Skool.
The line up for this group was :-Rob-Vocals. Rich-Guitar.
Gary Day. (later of various Rockabilly bands) on Bass. (more of Gary later) Tom) on Drums.
I remember we did a couple of rehearsals at a Rehearsal Room down at Acton (I can't remember the name) after a few Rehearsals for some reason myself or Gary can't remember he left the group,to be replaced by Duncan Redmond (later of Snuff) on Bass.We did some more rehearsals then we played one gig at the Roxborough. (More on that later).
Our next (16 Guns) gigs were in July. On the 7/7/84 we (Tom,Mark & Paul) went up on a coach organised by Chaos to Oddys Club in Oldham to see Chaos, Red London & Disease.Trapper had organised to go up on the coach organised by the group Disease but for some reason the coach company let them down.You might know the story by now,what happens when Chaos's support band doesn't turn up. The only thing was that when we got there we went to find the nearest pub,so Dino had to send people out to look for us to see if we would fill in,when found we agreed,got straight back to the venue for a soundcheck but because Trapper wasn't there I took over on Drums,Mark played Bass & Paul played Guitar and also took over Vocals,this turned out to be a really manic gig as we were really worse for wear Paul was really on form that night for his first night on vocals we played a short set only 6 songs.The next gig was on the 10/7/84 at The Pindar Of Wakefield supporting The Satellites & Screaming Eagles.I couldn't sing at this gig as I was just getting over Glandular Fever,so Vince Mahon who used to sing "Motorhead" with us learned all our songs and did the gig in my place,I went to the gig,there was mixed feelings about this one with our regular crowd,at the end of the gig I got on stage and sang "True Story" with John the Bass player from The Satellites Drumming this song was played at double the normal speed for some reason but went down O.K.
Our next gig after that was a complete disaster,a riot broke out it was at Wyeside Arts Centre in Builth Wells,Wales on the 21/7/84 we were supporting Chaos with Disease & The Worms. (This gig was organised by Benny Davies again,we couldn't let him down again) We travelled down to Wales by coach from London half way there our trouble started the coach had puncture,so we had to wait by the side of the motorway for ages until the repair man turned up.Then we got to the Arts Centre set up our gear did a sound check,then went for a wander around the local area.There was about 70 of us who went down by coach,vans and cars.We went around town and got jeered everywhere we went ,a few fights broke out in various pubs through the day but we thought nothing of it,so we went back to do the gig which seemed to go OK until it was time to pack up and go back home to London.When we went outside the whole place was surrounded by locals about 400 in all and only 70 of us.They broke the windows on our coach and told the driver to get out of Wales and not come back.Then they proceeded to throw bottles and glasses etc at us,and broke windows of The Arts Centre, at one point they even got through the fire exits into the hall but we somehow forced them back out.At about 4a.m. the police finally calmed the crowd down and got our coach to come back for us,but as we were going out to the coach the bottles and glasses started again,the police made two lines from the doors of the hall to the doors of the coach.When we got on the coach we got a police escort all the way to the Severn Bridge.We were glad to get home from that gig I can tell you.All be it a bit battered and bruised.Our next gig was at the Greyhound in Fulham with Chaos and Disease on the 31/7/84 as part of the Capital Radio Music Festival Fringe '84.This gig was videoed and we played an impromptu version of The Clash's "English Civil War",we changed the words as a tribute to all the people at this gig who went to the Welsh gig 10 days earlier as the three bands tonight were playing that night.
Our next gig was at The Roxborough in Harrow on the 22/8/84 where we were supported by Dead Loss & my splinter group Nursery Skool this was our first anniversary gig we had been together a year by now.
The line up for Nursery Skool at this gig was:-
September was here now and we had two gigs booked.the first one at The Ad Lib in Shepherds Bush on the 10/9/84 supporting The Satellites with The Syphletics. The next was at The Greyhound in Fulham supporting Silent Rage with The Worms,on 14/9/84,we had an interview with a French Radio station at this gig.We introduced new song tonight which I wrote called "Saturday Night".
By now we thought it was time to go back into the studio, so we booked some time down at Lewisham again and recorded 5 more songs : -
1)"Private 999" (revamped version).
We were very pleased with the way these songs turned out,we seemed to be getting more comfortable in the studio by this time.
October came but only brought two gigs,the first one at The Greyhound in Fulham on the 5/10/84 supporting Chaos,Red London were booked to play but didn't turn up for some reason.The next gig was on the 20/10/84 at the Moonlight Club in West Hampstead supporting Chaos with The Censured.There was a bit of banter with some of the skinhead element of the crowd at tonight's gig.Soon after I received some mail at my home address threatening that our next gig would be wrecked and we would be beaten up,but this never happened,thankfully.
By now you would probably have noticed we used to support Chaos quite few times in our history,this was simply because we were very good friends and we used to go to see them a lot at the time,so by playing gigs with them I didn't have to pay to see them.I personally saw Chaos over 80 times and out of the 50 odd gigs I had done in various bands Dino only missed one gig,that was because he was ill.We also used to borrow their Bass amp,Guitar amp and Drum Kit if we weren't playing with them as we didn't have our own gear at that time.
November came and we had three more gigs organised but we only played two the first one was on the 2/11/84 at the Sugar Hill Night Club in Dudley,Birmingham supporting Chaos with Death Zone, Joust and Indecent Assault,this gig was organised locally by a couple of lads I can't remember their names,the idea of the gig was to get a few of the bands who were on the "Who? What? When? Where?" album.This was a Friday Night gig so we were surprised that when Chaos had organised a coach to go up to Dudley from London it was packed.On the way up poor old Bill from Chaos was busting for a leak but Dino said the driver couldn't stop as we were in a hurry.But after a lot of moaning he let the driver stop,a few people got off for a leak.Dino got the driver to drive on to the gig and left Bill etc behind (nice eh!!!) when we got to the venue we met a mate called Rupert who had turned up by car and told him the story and he drove back and picked Bill etc up (what a good bloke) we set everything up and did our soundchecks but when the gig was to start everyone just said they were with the band.I don't think anyone paid to get in that night.Everyone was worse for wear and a bit of trouble broke out between a few people who came up on the coach,which we had to sort out.
The next gig was sorted out by Benny Davies for us to support Chaos,Intensive Care & Condemned 84 in Wales at The Presteigne Memorial Hall but because of all the trouble at the last Welsh gig Trapper & Paul said they wouldn't do it,so that was that, I went to the gig anyway on a coach organised by Chaos and as you would have thought there was load of trouble again but not as bad as the previous gig we had played on.
By now we thought we would try and record a single and release it with our own funds.My friend Andy Crighton recommended we get in touch with Alan Warner (from the 60's group The Foundations). He had a studio in his loft at Mill Hill we went there for three days and ended up with a 3 track demo:-
2)"Child Batterer".(new revamped version)
24 hours recording for 9 minutes worth of songs.We were really pleased with the end result on these demo's.John (Bass player from The Satellites was the engineer) Alan was the Producer.
Our next gig was back in London at The Ad Lib Club in Shepherds Bush on the 26/11/84 this was our biggest headline gig to date and went very well,with a very appreciative crowd the bands supporting were The Only Alternative & The Plague.We introduced a new song at this gig "Moscow "(Geraghty/Lyons) this song was a bit different to the rest of our set but was well received.
Our next gigs weren't for another month when we did two Christmas gigs the first one was on the 20/12/84 at The Ad Lib Club supporting The Angelic Upstarts (One Way System were supposed to play as well but didn't turn up).The second one was on the 21/12/84 at The Greyhound in Fulham supporting The U.K.Subs with Dead Loss.
1985 was now upon us we had three gigs set up for January.The first one was on the 11/1/85 at the Cricklewood Hotel in Cricklewood which was where me and Paul were from.My Mum and my Brother came along and Paul's Mum and Aunt came as well,as it was local.This gig had originally been planned as The Membranes ,Chaos & 16 Guns.Chaos pulled out so Dead Loss were added to the bill.But on the night our problems really started the group Skrewdriver turned up with their entourage and demanded to play.The reason they turned up was because The Hotel was well known for letting bands like The Redskins play,also it was situated in a predominantly Irish area.Suffice to say some trouble broke out and the police were called to stop the gig at the end,but all the bands had already played.
The next gig we played was our second big headline gig it was on 21/1/85 at the Greyhound in Fulham with The Plague and Violent Outburst supporting this was an excellent gig,as there was quite a big crowd as both support bands brought a coach load of fans plus our crowd was there,it was the biggest crowd we had played to as headliners.Two days later we were bottom of the bill again at The Three Johns pub in Islington on the 23/1/85 supporting Disorder & Rancid (not the american band).This was Paul Lyons last gig with us as he left us to take up stage acting with The Wet Paint Theatre Co.
It took two guitarists to fill his place a friend of ours called Paul Beeson who used to come to all our gigs and Nick Moon (from the group Dead Loss) who used to come to follow us as well.
The next gig we played was on the 13/2/85 at the Old Tigers Head in Lea Green supporting Chaos and The Only Alternative.This gig was organised by Neil Thompson from The Only Alternative who we used to play a lot of gigs with at the time. (The Only Alternative are still doing gigs today.).This gig was played as a 5 piece with the addition of Paul & Nick,they only had about 3 weeks to learn all the songs,before being thrown in at the deep end playing in front of our audience.They were well received.
Our next gig was supposed to have been on the 1/3/85 at Wet Paint Theatre on White Lion St in Islington supporting The Guana Bats,we arrived at the venue and waited for them but they were double booked and didn't turn up so the gig was cancelled.
On the 18/3/85 we played at Fetcham Riverside Club near Leatherhead supporting The Plague & Vicious Rumours,this venue was in the back of beyond it took ages for us to find it.Once there it was a good gig as quite a few of our crowd turned up.The only problem was that some one (who will remain nameless) caused a bit of damage in the venue which we had to pay for.Two days later on the 20/3/85 we played at The Club Royal in Guildford supporting The Plague.At these two gigs we introduced a new song called "The Prisoner" (Geraghty/Moon).Our next gig was at The Royal Standard in Walthamstow on the 26/3/85 supporting Chaos with Violent Outburst.I remember there was a problem at this gig as there was only one Guitar amp,as per usual we had two Guitarists so a friend at the time Nigel Pymont (now my brother in law) rushed home and brought us his amp to borrow.
We played a gig at the 100 Club supporting The English Dogs I can't remember the date.I'd say it was around May 85' sometime. (Gigs weren't coming in that quick around this time). At the 100 Club there seemed to be a bit of tension between us,while we were actually playing on stage we had an argument and split the band that night.
We had three gigs set up at this time 17/6/85 at the Ad Lib Club, this was a headline gig,originally planned to have Condemned '84 & The Plague supporting.27/6/85 at the 100 Club supporting Broken Bones.29/6/85 at the Westcliffe Hotel in Clacton On Sea supporting Condemned '84.We cancelled all these gigs,but for some reason we couldn't cancel The Ad Lib gig.So a few phone calls and a bit of sucking up I got 5 of us together to play this gig the line up was:-
Paul Lyons-Guitar. (back as a favour).
Dave Armstrong-Drums.(from The Syphletics as a favour).
We never rehearsed this line up we just got up on stage and went for it.Condemned '84 and Curfew supported.From what I can remember this was a very good gig,we went down really well but still decided to call it a day.
The three years we played in all the above bands we made a lot of friends so I'm glad I did it.I still keep in touch with Mark Geraghty, Martin Farkas mainly via e-mail.Gary Day I've always seen at various gigs I used to go too but as he was always busy touring with whatever group he was in at the time we didn't see each other too much.Until recently we bumped into each other at the Guitar shop he works at,struck up our frienship again.Gary then came up with the idea of getting Circle Of Sin back together again,I rang Martin to ask him as it was between myself and Martin who wrote the songs for Circle Of Sin.So as I write this history we are trying to set something up all we need is a Drummer & another Guitarist,Gary is going to play Bass.
How about seeing some Original Sin Flyers. Click hereLife after Circle Of Sin :- The story of what happened to me after the break up of Circle Of Sin by Martin