Vehicle Derek

Years ago I was in a hardcore punk band called Vehicle Derek. Recently I’ve put a few recordings of us on YouTube for posterity and nostalgia.

There was no other band like us in our hometown of Boston, Lincolnshire at the time and whilst we divided opinions musically we were certainly unforgettable. Apart from stunning drumming from our, y’know, drummer (Adam Warne) we had the necessary gimmick of switching between bass and guitar depending on who wrote the song. I was primarily the bassist and Jase Etherington was the guitarist, but with me at 5 foot 6-and-a-bit and him considerably taller we had to develop a two-strap system for the guitar and bass so that we could both play the instruments comfortably.

Anyway, we were fast, crude, enthusiastic and fun. As for the recordings, the first is a live recording from 1988.

This is an audience recording from the Indian Queen (“IQ”) in Boston (Lincolnshire) from 25th May 1988. The band were supporting Mega City Four on their first trip to the fens and the place was pretty packed (John Peel had announced the gig on his show too). The support act for Vehicle Derek were a performance art group whose name was too rude for John Peel to announce (and is still too rude to print here). Much fun was had although by the end of our set everything had gone wrong (pretty standard for Vehicle Derek gigs).

A sleeve was made for this cassette recording which is where the graphics in this video come from (including the thanks list at the end). The “release” (this is possibly the only copy apart from the original audience recording) was titled “Hands Up Live” after a between song comment when the singer (Del Howes) asked “Hands up who’s a sh*thead?”. Notable (probably only to the band members though) is how the songs-as-written-on-the-tape-sleeve eventually got different names.

Despite being a tape-of-a-tape (and maybe even a further generation away) the sound is pretty good for an audience gig. If you listen through decent headphones there is stereo stuff going on and lots and lots of detail despite the hiss and murk and the noise of a teenage hardcore punk band trying to stretch their legs and other appendages.

If you are not a fan of the music the between-song ambience is pretty good anyway, including heckles and banter in several fenland dialects (my favourite may be at the start of the tape where someone appears to ask “Where is he?” and the answer is “Probly gettin pissdup”, but equally excellent at the end of the whole affair you can hear someone say “Thank God for that” :D).

If you really care the actual cassette can be seen here –

The other recording is a rehearsal tape from the following summer, 1989.

This was recorded around the 3rd or 4th of August 1989, in rehearsal preparation for a gig at Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln. The video is made up of a few images of the band and some old flyers and ephemera from my “archive”. The Electro Hippies gig never happened incidentally, but the flyers remain!

Adam Warne

As many fans of the band already know, our drummer Adam Warne sadly died in 2017. There just wouldn’t have been a Vehicle Derek without him. No one came close.

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