Solihull, West Midlands. 1981
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
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.
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.
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".
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
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
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.
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."