Then (1984)...

...and now (2011)

I am drummer for Underground Zero. The psychadelic rock genre is quite a small one, so unless you've spent much time listening to the likes of Hawkwind, and in particular the Friends and Relations albums) or hanging around dodgy psychadelic rock clubs in Soho you're unlikely to have heard of us. We have a new track on the most recent Friends and Relations album.

We've done quite well though. Our main claim to fame is this:

We entered the indy chart at number 1 with our debut album. The fact that the Smiths were thereby demoted to number 2 gives me more pleasure than I can possibly express. We did a lot of other fun stuff as well, such as playing the last ever Stonehenge Free Festival, where the first photo above was taken. Who is that skinny kid? (Luckily we were invited the year before the notorious Battle of the Beanfield as immortalised by The Levellers.) At our peak we played to a crowd estimated at about 10,000 at Earlham Park in Norwich.

Here we are just before setting up to play The Marquee - yes, the original one in Wardour Street - I think in about 1985.

This was taken in BBC Studio 4 in Maida Vale at about the same time, while recording the first invited session for the Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1.

Most of our recording was done at the now deceased Spaceward Studios, about which there is a history site containing many hilarious haircuts. By a strange twist of history, I recently discovered that it was part owned by a graduate of the Computer Laboratory.

There are some photos here of us headlining on Sunday night at Hawkfest 2008, complete with huge and scary lasers.

Ultimately Underground Zero's history is far too long to relate here, although you can find a good chunk of it on our Wikipedia entry. Also, some bits of it may never get into print in any kind of unexpurgated version. Especially the bits involving the big fireworks...

In addition to Underground Zero I also play assorted stringed instruments for an English Folk duo called Cruel Folk. This has included gigs at Glastonbury in 2008 and assorted other fun festivals.

And if you think that the move from rock to folk looks like getting old and civilised, think again. English folk music has more murder, bigamy and general nastyness than you can shake a stick at. Don't believe me? The Death of Young Andrew is a good place to start...