tracks: Chuck Rock / Heretic / Jack & Jill / Jesus Was A Hippy / Green Hills / Home / Full Moon
Tucked away on a tape in (part of) the collection of Steven ‘Stel’ R. between other 1983-84 demos: a recording of a practice of the earliest embodiment of the Darlington band ‘Dan’… Some of the songs appeared on demos later on, others probably never saw the light of day again…
‘Dan’ became known with ‘Jools’ a.k.a. Julie ‘Flipper’ Dalkin (vocals; also ‘Blythe Power’), ‘Wal’ a.k.a. Ian ‘Hendrix’ Wallis (guitar/vocals), Jim ‘G-Clamp’ Clarke (drums) & Ian Armstrong (bass). Founder and vocalist ‘Dallas’ Andrew Bayles left pretty quickly (he was on the debut EP from 1986 called Can You Dig It?). Their first gig was in October 1983. ‘Georgie’ a.k.a. Georgina ‘Mooncat’ Ashwell also sang on the band’s ’85 tape and the LP Where Have All The Children Gone? (’87).
The line-up changed quite a few times. Other people involved over the years: Andrew Black (guitar), ‘Slob’ (guitar), ‘Steely’ (drums), ‘Sned’ (guitar; ‘Blood Robots’, ‘Generic’, etc. etc.), Helen (vocals), Jane (vocals), Philippa (vocals), Sarah, Simon, ‘Turny’, etc.
Read more about ‘Dan’ (in Ian Armstrong’s zine Testament Of Reality)
The name ‘Dan’ comes from a character in a dodgy American soft-porn flick that Ian Armstrong had… We were only young!
Most of our early rehearsals took place in my bedroom with a mattress over the window and a partially deaf neighbour! This would have been the first incarnation of the band featuring myself, Armstrong, ‘Steely’ on drums and Dave ‘Slob’ Robinson on guitar… All still at school and very amateur! Think we’d only played a few gigs locally, and a couple of squat-gigs in Leeds & Newcastle. Heretic was one of the first songs we wrote (on a 3-string guitar) with the others you mention just being songs played for the hell of it and mainly influenced by Armstrong’s love of less serious punk bands, psychobilly and surf music; although Full Moon [In My Pocket] is actually a cover of the [Birmingham rock band] ‘Swell Maps’ original. Home and some others may have Helen on vocals who, along with another local girl called Jane also provided vocals. It was really the later line-up featuring ‘Wal’ on guitar, and Julie & ‘Georgie’ on vocals that ‘Dan’ started to record onto vinyl with Armstrong’s Meantime label becoming more established. That said, they went through pretty much every vaguely punky person in Darlington on vocals and a couple of ropey guitarists before ‘Wal’… I think his addition really gave the band a “sound” as he was and still is an excellent guitarist (once playing in a band called ‘Trout’ with [comedian] Vic Reeves – oddball fact!).
The tracks on this very early ‘Dan’practice are indeed as follows: 1. CHUCK ROCK (a warm-up instrumental), 2. HERETIC (first ‘proper’ song we wrote), 3. JACK & JILL (originated from an Armstrong funky bass-line), 4. JESUS WAS A HIPPY (another comedy classic from Armstrong), 5. GREEN HILLS (I think I wrote this one…was well into ‘Crass’ at this stage), 6. HOME (with Helen on vocals, bit ropey!), 7. FULL MOON IN MY POCKET (read above).