Band members Related acts
- Martin Ace -- bass (replaced Bram Tchaikovsky)
- Nick Garvey -- vocals, guitar, bass (1977-82)
- Rob Hendry -- guitar (replaced by Bram Tchaikovsky)
- Andy McMaster -- vocals, keyboards, bass (1977-82)
- Rick Slaughter (aka Richard Wernham) -- drums,
backing vocals (1977-78)
- Bram Tchaikovsky (aka Peter Bramall) -- vocals, guitar
(replaced Rob Hendry) (1977-78)
- Terry Williams -- drums (replaced Rick Slaughter)
- Dire Straits (Terry Williams)
- Ducks Deluxe (Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster)
- Fallen Angels (Rick Slaughter)
- Nick Garvey (solo efforts)
- Man (Terry Williams)
- Rockpile (Terry Williams)
- Snakes (Nick Garvey and Rick Slaughter)
- The Stoics (Andy McMasters)
- Bram Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: Approved By the Motors
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: US pressing
GEMM catalog ID: 5480
Funny, but for some reason in the States these power popsters managed to get themselves dumped into the mid-1970s punk bins. Complete shame since their catalog was catchy and commercial enough to have sounded right at home on US top-40 radio. Naturally they didn't come within a country mile of any American recognition ...
Singer/multi-instrumentalists Nick Garvey (who'd once been the road manager for The Flamin' Groovies) and Andy McMaster had previously been members of the pub rock outfit Ducks Deluxe. When that outfit called it quits in 1975 (just as the genre was beginning to make commercial inroads Stateside), Garvey formed the band Snakes. Along with singer Rob Gotobed (who went on to form the critically acclaimed Wire) and drummer Rick Slaughter, Snakes survived long enough to record one single. Garvey then resumed his collaboration with McMasters in what became The Motors rounding out the line up with ex-Snakes drummer Slaughter, and guitarist Rob Hendry who was quickly replaced by singer/guitarist Bram Tchaikovsky. The quartet quickly attracted media attention with performances at London's Marquee Club and an appearance on John Peel's BBC radio program. The resulting exposure saw the band quickly signed by Richard Branson's Virgin label.
Co-produced by Peter Ker, Garvey and McMasters, 1977's "Approved By the Motors" has always struck me as being their creative and commercial zenith (of course they only released three studio sets). With three of the four members contributing material (Slaughter being the lone non-writer), the collection was packed full of catchy pop tracks that put them diametrically opposed from true punk and new wave outfits. With Garvey and McMasters frequently sharing lead vocals virtually any one of these ten tracks would have made a dandy single. That makes it hard to pick favorites - pressed I'd go with the insidiously catchy rocker 'Mammmma Rock n' Roller' (which was better than anything The Records ever released), their fabulous Motown knockoff 'Soul Redeemer' and the ominous but catchy 'Do You Mind'. 'Course 'You Beat the Hell Outta Me' and 'Breathless' were just as good and 'Today' was the best Crowded House song Neil Finn never wrote. Geez, as you an tell, I like the whole LP. The album also spun off a series of four UK singles with at least two of them seeing American distribution:
- 1976's 'Sensation' b/w 'The Day I Found A Fiver' (Virgin catalog VS-206)
- 1977's 'Airport' b/w 'Cold Love' (Virgin catalog number VS-219) (in the States it was released with Virgin catalog number ZS8 9519)
- 1977's 'Forget About It' b/w 'Picturama' (Virgin catalog number VS-222)
- 1977's 'Today' b/w 'Here Comes the Hustler' (Virgin catalog number VS-236) (in the States it was released with Virgin catalog number ZS8 9521-1)
By the Motors" track listing:
1.) Airport (Andy McMasters) -
2.) Mammmma Rock n' Roller (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters - G. Hann - Bram Tchaiskovsky) -
3.) Forget About It (Andy McMasters) -
4.) Do You Mind (Andy McMasters) -
5.) You Beat the Hell Outta Me (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters) -
2.) Soul Redeemer (Andy McMasters) -
3.) Dreaming Your Life Away (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters - G. Hann) -
4.) Sensation (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters - G. Hann - Bram Tchaiskovsky) -
5.) Today (Andy McMasters) -
Shortly after the album was released the group underwent a personnel shake up with Tchaikovsky giving notice (he was reportedly unhappy at his lack of full membership in the group). He subsequently reappeared as a solo act. Slaughter left shortly afterwards. Bass player Martin Ace and former Man drummer Terry Williams were subsequently recruited as replacements.
Thanks to YouTube you can catch a couple of performances on the Top of the Pops television show:
"Forget About You"
The album was reissued in CD format by the English Captain Oi! label (catalog number AHOY 277). The reissue included a booklet with extensive liner notes and five previous unreleased tracks:
- The Day I Found A Fiver
- Cold Love (Live)
- Be What You Gotta Be (Live)
- Today (7” Single Version)
- Picturama – The Middle Bit-Soul Surrender
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Tenement Steps
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: gimmick cover; promo copy with radio station timing sticker
GEMM catalog ID: 5481
With bass player Martin Ace and former Man drummer Terry Williams recruited to replace original drummer Rick Slaughter and singer/bassist Bram Tchaikovsky, front men Nick Garvey and Andy McMasters finally got around to releasing The Motors' third studio album in 1980. From that point on things went downhill. Recorded in New York with producer Jimmy Iovine, judging by the ten songs on "Tenement Steps" the long break seems to have left Garvey and McMasters without their knack for writing fun and commercial pop. Buried amid poorly conceived synthesizers tracks like 'Metropolis', the martial title track, 'Slum People', 'Nightmare Zero', and 'Modern Man' all came off as shrill, self-absorbed, and largely unlistenable ... Elsewhere they were lucky that Stephen Stills didn't hit them with a plagiarism suit for 'Love and Loneliness" which blatant ripped off his 'Love the One You're With' Sure, that left about half of the album as being worthwhile. While a 50% success rate may have been pretty good for most bands, that wasn't the case for The Motors. So what was worth hearing? 'Love and Loneliness' was a classic pop song with 'Here Comes the Hustler' and 'That's What John Said'' coming close.
Virgin tapped the LP for a series of singles:
- 1980's 'Love and Loneliness' b/w 'Time for Make Up' (Virgin catalog number VS-267)
- 1980's 'That's What John Said' b/w 'Crazy Alice' (Virgin catalog number VS-349)
- 1980's 'Metropolis' b/w 'Love Around the Corner' (Virgin catalog number VS-363)
Steps" track listing:
1.) Love and Loneliness (Nick Garvey - G. Hann) - 4:48
2.) Metropolis (Andy McMasters) - 4:43
3.) Here Comes the Hustler (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters) - 3:22
4.) That's What John Said (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters - G. Hann - Word) - 5:05
2.) Slum People (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters - G. Hann) - 4:31
3.) Nightmare Zero (Nick Garvey - Andy McMasters) - 3:29
4.) Modern Man (Nick Garvey - G. Hann) - 3:20
The band continued to limp along for another two years, releasing a 1981 'best of' set "The Motors Greatest Hits" (Virgin catalog number VM-2218) before finally calling it quits in 1982.
Garvey went on to release an instantly obscure solo project 1982's "Blue Skies" (Virgin catalog number V 2231).
McMasters is still involved in music, but has kept a low profile.
Slaughter played with a number of bands including The Fallen Angels.
As a solo artist Tchaikovsky had released a series of three solo LPs, enjoying 15 minutes of American fame with the single 'Girl of My Dreams' before turning his focus to the business side, operating a recording studio.
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