STEPS ONE: NEW FRIENDS & NEW BEGINNINGS

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Perry Haines was an influential face on London's hipsters circuit. A graduate of St Martins fashion college he had dived head first into the cities post punk club scene just as the focus of musical experimentation was shifting from the traditional rock gig onto the dance floor

A new generation of one- nighter events fronted by street wise kids had created legendary club nights such as Blitz and a new establishment of DJ's, taste makers and promoters were making waves.

As a co-founder with Terry Jones of the fashion bible i-D magazine, it was Haines who had coined the term 'New Romantics' to describe his fellow socialites and along with former Blitz doorman Steve Strange, he had smartly collected his own social register of contacts to help fill his own i-D club night at Gossips.

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In 1980 Duran Duran's management turned to Perry Haines for assistance in styling their new romantic Brummie's and even trusted him with budget for his video directorial debut on Durans 'Careless Memories'. Multi tasking as magazine editor, club promoter and fashion stylist, Perry had even found space to release two singles for Fetish records before deciding his career might not be in front of the microphone.

Having witnessed the meteoric assents of associates in Duran, Spandau Ballet and Visage, Perry concluded that his talents could best be utilized in band management.

So it was that the Folkestone VHS of the Reluctant Stereotypes received much repeat play and Perry decided he'd like to meet this band and in particular check out their lead singer who to his eyes looked like a star.

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With a regular Sunday night residency at London's Marquee club the Reluctant Stereotypes weren't hard to find and on the premise of creating a piece for i-D magazine Perry arranged for Paul to meet him a few days later for an interview.

 

Perry quickly assessed that the Stereotypes as a unit were unfortunately reaching an end but their lead singer was hungry and as evident from the Marquee show, clearly a talented and charismatic stage presence.

The two connected immediately rummaging through the bric a brac of their similar working class backgrounds and parted with a firm commitment to stay in touch.

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Later that summer Haines was filming a fashion video and needing models invited Paul to come crash at his girlfriends apartment for a week and earn some bucks. This 24/7 opportunity to be in each otherís company consolidated the pairís friendship. There was lots of time to discuss their passion for great music and exchange ideas on what a cool band should sound like in the 1980's. On departure the inspired Paul King headed back to Coventry with a determination that he and Perry would work together.

 

As 1981 concluded the Reluctant Stereotypes parted ways. Paul sequestered the rhythm section Tony Wall and Colin Heanes into his evolving plan for a new dance rock outfit. The next months were spent seeking like- minded musicians from the local gene pool.

 

Recently defunct Team 23 were a Dexy's influenced Coventry band who like The Reluctant Stereotypes had benefited from The Specials patronage supporting the ska ambassadors on their final UK tour.

With a conceptual plan of mixing Sly Stone soul with T.Rex guitar, Paul approached Team 23's trumpeter Lynn Thompson and cool looking guitarist Jim 'Jackal' Lantsbery.

 

" I got a call from Paul saying he was getting a band together and if I was interested would I come along for a chat? I went along and that was it. Paul carries a lot of charisma. You sit there and talk to him for a little while and you know there's something special going on inside his head. So I needed no persuasion, I knew this new project would be something special." Jim Jackal - Smash Hits

 

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With guitar and trumpet on board Paulís next priority was a great keyboard player.

Mike Roberts was a classically trained pianist who had just finished a stint playing with reggae legends The Pioneers. As a teenager he'd earned his crust backing American touring acts such as The Crystals, Chantelles and Velvelettes. An adept player who could move with ease across soul, ska and rock, he fitted perfectly into Paul's vision of a hybrid dance group.

 

"The first time I saw Mick he was in band called the MPs, supporting the Reluctant Stereotypes. When the show finished and everyone was packing down, he got on a piano and started playing - it was then I realized that he was very talented. When King came together we needed a versatile keyboard player; an anchorman. Mick came through on all levels." Paul King - Music Maker Magazine 

 

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As 1982 commenced the newly christened Raw Screens took over the top floor of the General Wolfe pub on the cities Fosehill Road. The Wolfe was ran by the band friendly landlord and Van Morrison fanatic Ken Brown whose support of local musicians was beyond generous.

Over the next months the band worked up a live set, demoed tunes and tested out their ideas on locals bemused by the groups growing locks, ripped jeans and painted Dr Martins.

 

Ah yes... Kings notorious painted Dr Martins boots. Time may have dimmed the impact this statement had both on a street and wider pop cultural level. So to help perspective hereís a little slice of DM history.

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Originally worn by 1960's skinheads the DM boot was later adopted by 70's punks, then 2-Tone rude boys and the fascist skinheads of the early 80ís. Consequently the Dr Martin boot carried a large association with violence, thuggery and general bad boy attitude.

 

In the early 70's at the height of Glam rock, elements of London's more fashion conscious football thugs had taken to spraying their Doc's with metal paints. A spotty faced Paul King had witnessed this phenomenon at Coventry City's Highfield Road stadium with visiting Chelsea and West Ham supporters. Much to his mothers dismay the impressionable 13 year old chose to spray his favorite monkey boots silver in honor of the Glitter band and then promptly moved onto his next fashion statement.

 

For every action we have the reaction and post the flamboyant excess of the new romantics; the style savvy Perry Haines developed a more aggressive image of ripped jeans and painted Dr Martins for his new club night 'Dial 9 for Dolphin'.

A regular visitor to the capital and Perryís club the enthusiastic Paul King, keen to fit in with the 'Dial 9' gang, blatantly ripped off his buddies dolphin look and took it back to Coventry for his band mates to like wise imitate.

 

Later when signed to a record deal and with some available finances the groups clothes were enhanced with mod influenced suits, cooler leather jackets and courtesy of Dr Martins a never-ending supply of bespoke boots.

 

After a few months trumpeter Lynn Thompson departed Raw Screens. In-between bouts of local gigs, more song writing and plenty of rehearsing in the attic at Jim's fathers house in Gulson Road, the band were starting to find their feet. Regular visits to London kept Perry Haines up to speed on the groupís progress and confirmed Paulís belief that if he delivered on his ambition to front an ace dance rock band then Perry was the perfect man to manage it.

 

By the summer of 82' songs such as 'Love & Pride' and 'Kings For a Day' were emerging and the strength of material persuaded Perry Haines to ease off his other day jobs and along with Rod Pearce, the founder of Fetish Records; become the groups management.

 

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