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In The Beginning...
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In Memoriam
Rob Jones
Martin Gilks

Solihull, West Midlands. 1981

"Drummer wants to join band into Echo And The Bunnymen and Joy Division" read the advert placed in a local record shop window by a fifteen year old Miles Hunt. He had taken up drumming shortly after seeing Slade performing at Birmingham's Hippodrome in 1977 and placed the ad after failing to successfully launch bands with his older brother Russ - Pop Da Freak, A Moment and Promise being the more notable efforts.

Thirty miles away in Kingswinford, guitarist Malcolm Treece and bass player Chris Fradgeley were looking to form a band and responded to the advert, arranging to meet Miles in the car park of The Railway public house in Dudley before going on to Wolverhampton Polytechnic where Chris had arranged for them to be able to jam together in the crèche. Miles got a lift there from his dad and says, "On the way, my old man said that he would stick around for ten minutes while we jammed, and if I didn't like it I was to give him the nod and he'd make an excuse so we could leave. As it was, we went inside and jammed around and after five minutes, my dad could see it was good so he gave ME the nod and left." With three parts of a group in place, Clint Mansell and Adam Mole, both of who had rehearsed with Malcolm and Chris in the past, joined the ranks leading to the formation of Flowers From Eden - with the group name coming from a time when they were rehearsing and watchers kept throwing flowers through the windows.

On July 21st 1982, the group played their first gig at The Broadway in Stourbridge. After only a short period of time, the 'Flowers' tag was dropped whilst their popularity increased. Citing influences such as Psychedelic Furs, The Velvet Underground and Wasted Youth, the line-up of Clint Mansell (vocals and guitar), Adam Mole (keyboards), Chris Fradgeley (bass), Malcolm Treece (guitar and backing vocals) and Miles Hunt (drums) succeeded in pulling crowds into nearly every venue they played. Rave reviews followed in the local and national music press and a support tour with the Sisters Of Mercy was well received.

A live gig mention firstly for From Eden, caught at the Junction and resulting in severe mind staggering. A savage sexuality and swagger with an image that falls between Ramones' leather and Bolan's gypsy plus a sound that recalls Reed's 'Vicious' era plus early Heads and Voidoids. Rare to be heard outside of 'Max's Kansas City'. Great cuts include 'Sarah's Song', 'Turn It On For Number One', 'Johnny Ray' and the anthemic 'Baal'. Ride their train now while you can get a ticket.

Brum Beat

Like everything though, nothing appeals to everyone. In a letter to Midlands music magazine, Brum Beat, an outraged Janie Darwin wrote: "I was quite astonished to see the inclusion of From Eden in your 1983 tips for the top. I fail to see how anyone can be entertained by their use of a musical form which was of no importance when it died out ten years ago. I don't want to be labelled a raving feminist, so I won't dwell on their mindless, sexist lyrics, but the fact remains that musically From Eden are hopeless. When I saw them supporting the marvellous Dahli's Car I heard pure noise - not uplifting in any way, but unpleasant and rather depressing. No tunes, a 'singer' who never sings a recognisable note, no subtlety. I really believe that if people will swallow From Eden, there is little hope for music in Brum or anywhere else". In response to this, at their next gig the band displayed a backdrop stating "We love you Janie Darwin". Sadly, it was all a pointless waste of time though - the sign kept falling down and, unsurprisingly, she didn't attend the gig anyway.

From Eden (Miles and Malc on far right)Towards the middle of 1983, Miles began to get unhappy with the musical direction that the band were taking and started missing rehearsals. "I had a bad attitude," Miles admits. "I wasn't turning up for rehearsals, and I was generally being miserable all the time... pretty much as I am these days! I think I thought it was too much hard work being a drummer. It wasn't what I wanted to do."

This resulted in a mutual agreement between himself and the rest of the band that he should leave, which he did, to be replaced by Graham Crabbe. According to Clint, when he left the group Miles was "going to have all his hair cut off, get a proper job and never play music again".

Crabbe's recruitment saw the group develop a harder, rockier edge to their music than had previously existed and a number of new tracks were written that highlighted this. A series of dates were set up to showcase some of the new material, the first show with the new line-up being at Birmingham's Duma Express club. After only a few gigs, it became obvious that more trouble was brewing. The new sound was a result of Clint, Adam and Graham listening to groups such as The Three Johns and The Shop Assistants whereas Malcolm and Chris were listening to Bryan Adams and King. Eventually, in November 1984, From Eden split up. Malcolm and Chris went one way, whilst Clint, Adam and Graham recruited a fan of From Eden's, Richard March, on bass and went off to record under the name Wild And Wandering.

Their first gig was in January 1985 at Birmingham's Loft Club where they played four From Eden songs, mixed with two new tracks and a Wasted Youth cover. Continually gigging, the opportunity arose in the Summer for the band to record some tracks, with a view to releasing an album at a later stage. With many of the songs under consideration for recording being old From Eden tracks, Miles, Malcolm and Chris were invited to attend and join in at some of the recording sessions.

The first track to be released from the recording sessions was 'Real Cool Time' which appeared on the 'Motor City 9' compilation album in late '85. However, although having been written originally by From Eden and appearing on the group's first demo cassette, the track was credited on the album to Wild And Wandering and doesn't feature Miles, Malcolm or Chris.

The first official release for Wild And Wandering came in January 1986 with the release of their 12"-only EP titled '2000 Light Ales From Home' - a play on The Rolling Stones' track '2000 Light Years From Home'. Mixing both new Wild & Wandering tracks with old From Eden material, the EP featured 'Real Cool Time' and 'The Appletree Parts 1 & 2' which features Miles, Malcolm and Chris shouting and banging things in the background. The track had originally been used to end From Eden's live sets and allowed room for large amounts of improvisation. Consequently, the recorded version bore little resemblance to From Eden's original version of the song.

In May 1986, after reading a Jamie Wednesday review (who later became Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine after a minor line-up change) in the Christmas '85 issue of NME, Wild And Wandering changed their name to Pop Will Eat Itself (the headline of the review) and the rest, as they say, is history.

But backtrack for a moment to the end of 1984 when From Eden split. Miles had already left at this point but, on hearing of the split, was soon in contact with Malcolm & Chris looking to team up again. The result was the formation of These Ashes, a name which managed to last for one gig before it was changed to The Hunger. Four dates later, Miles left the group vowing never to go near a drum kit again prompting Malcolm to swear that he would never work with Miles again. Getting a hair-cut and a suit, Miles switched from drumming to picking up litter in the car parks of Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, of which one of the perks of the job was getting to see the soundchecks of acts playing at the venue. One group which Miles had the opportunity to see soundchecking was Queen, an experience which he regarded as being "fantastic" and "a great inspiration".

In July 1985, whilst still working at the NEC, Miles moved out of the Solihull family home to share a flat with Clint Mansell in Stourbridge. Living with Clint, Miles was in a position to view the excitement created by the formation of Pop Will Eat Itself from the sidelines and it wasn't long before he began to look at ways in which he could get back into the music scene without having to play on the drums, eventually settling for the guitar. Looking back on his change of instruments, Miles recalls, "My brother had a guitar and I used to mess around on his. He had a Columbia Les Paul copy, a black thing. I remember one night my mum and dad had gone out and he had a Fal 6W amp. I was stuck in the living room and I was doing all the big dancing and stuff, and the fucking strap fell off and the guitar came crashing down on top of the amp and I split the neck. And I was like, 'Oh God!' ... I had to tell him in the end. Anyway, he twatted me round the head for that and they went and got it mended. That was my first guitaring experience."

Upon hearing that Malcolm had started up another new band and was looking for a singer, Miles contacted him and, surprisingly, was offered a chance to try out for the role and show off some songs that he had written. On his way to the first rehearsal with Malcolm, Miles met Bryan Taylor - a long time school-friend of both Miles and Clint - and Miles spoke about his impending rehearsal. Considering the alledged acrimony between Miles and Malcolm, both parties were surprised that the rehearsal was even taking place though Miles was feeling positive and looking forward to the meeting.

After a successful rehearsal, Miles, Malcolm and Chris began playing together but five sessions later, Chris left claiming that he wasn't happy with the musical direction of the group. There were rumours that Chris and Miles had a major argument, though this looks unlikely as they both still keep in regular contact to this day and have met up on a number of occasions as Chris went on to one of Pop Will Eat Itself's guitar technicians.

Chris' exit led to the recruitment of ex-Mighty Lemon Drops drummer, Martin Gilks (who's exit from his previous group had been due to the other members of the Lemon Drops requesting that he got his hair cut!), leaving only the bass player's role to be filled. Whilst they were looking to fill the vacant position, they continued to rehearse using Pop Will Eat Itself's Richard March whenever he was available. The Wonder Stuff, 1986

A solution was soon to arrive in the shape of Robert Jones. In the days of From Eden, a friend of Malcolm's had followed the group almost everywhere they went. Rob Jones had left the Midlands for London in 1984 to play in a number of unsuccessful thrash/death metal bands and even roadie for a support band on one of The Pogues' tours. Hearing that he had returned to the Midlands in March 1986, Miles contacted him with a view to Rob becoming the group's new bassist. Miles remembers: "I'll never forget the day he turned up at my flat. It was terrifying. I looked through the peephole and saw this mass of black hair, this... thing. The toe of one of his Doc Martens was ripped and there was green moss growing out of it. He had eye make-up all over his face, leopard skin spandex, a black leather jacket and his Sid Vicious V-sign T-shirt. We had a Telecaster with no amp and an acoustic guitar with three strings on it. We sat in the kitchen that night and wrote 'A Wonderful Day' and 'Red Berry Joy Town' which, respectively, became the first Wonder Stuff single and the first track on our first album. And we were born."