Dread formed in Southend in July 1983 and existed until 1985, and in that
time played some fantastic local shows, such as their gig with Alien Sex
Fiend at Crocs, as well as playing further afield at venues such as The
Batcave, and they managed to release the 12" single 'Tracey's Burning"
in 1984. Influenced initially by bands like The Birthday Party, Killing
Joke and The Cramps, their first line up was Phil Black on Vocals (ex-
Time in Motion), Andi Schurer (ex- Convicted etc) on Guitar, Pat Moriarty
on Keyboards and Donald Frame (ex-Occult) on Drums. Their first gig was
a riotous occasion at The Zero 6 on Monday July 18th, 1983, where half
the audience walked out in disbelief and disgust.
Speaking to the local press in August that year, Phil explained the Dread
aesthetic thus "We take each gig as it comes and what really turns
us on is that about 10 minutes before we go on stage our adrenaline starts
pumping furiously and we leap up and down with excitement". He continues
"Then we go on stage and have just as much of a lunatic time leaping
around. We don't take what we do seriously. We go onstage to enjoy ourselves
and we invariably do." Also, "Our whole idea is to just go on
stage and lose ourselves in in the performance and the enjoyment of it.
You just go on stage and become nothing as a personality, but everything
as a symbol of enjoyment."
too long after the bands debut performance, there was a change on the
guitar position and Leonard Finch joined. The band had quite a set of
songs at this time, including 'Tracey's Burning', 'She's Beautiful and
She's Mine', 'Dragnet', 'Tick Tock' and 'Limelight'. They went in to Diploma
Studios to try and capture their live sound, and the result was the infamous
'Tracey's Burning' 12" as released on Criminal Damage records in
1984. Reviewed by Alan Wheeler in the Evening Echo, he had this to say
"A throbbing, psychobilly, zombiepunk drum and bass beat niggle away
in the mix while the guitar screetches and squeals over it. This almost
unbearable tension is ironically undercut with Phil's ritualistic chant.
This hypnotic horror is inflammable material of the highest order. And
the Munster-like mush of the B-Side 'Tick Tock' is just about as searing
and vital as you will want to get his side of the crematorium. I severely
suggest you go out and buy this record. It will do you in."
late 1984, a further line up change occurred. As Phil explained at the
time "We have been operating on a skeleton crew since our guitarist
Leonard de Finchy went away on tour roadying for The Cure, but now we
have a new guitarist, Andy Fisher, who used to play Bass in Kronstadt
Uprising." The band started to introduce more serious lyrical themes
at his time, although Phil was keen to point out that "We don't want
to get away from the fun element in the music. The new stuff is going
to be done in a danceable way, even if the content of the lyrics is more
Not long after the Batcave Show, early in 1985 on Sunday January 20th,
the band played with their new line up supporting a band they greatly
admired, Killing Joke, at the Queens Hotel, and following on from this
recorded a new demo, containing tracks such as 'Dark Night in London'
which evidenced a darker, more R 'n' R direction. Sadly not too long after
the recording though, the band split and went their separate ways, but
'Tracey's' Burning' still appears on DJ playlists around the globe and
has guaranteed the band their place in eternity.