The A Band
|Years active||1990–1999; 2007–present|
Calum F Kerr
Max Leonard Hitchings
Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly
Dan Spicer (in denial)
Matthew Lee Knowles
Phillip Raymond Goodman
|Past members||Andy Anderson, John Aziz, Tim Barker, Neil Campbell, Michael Canning, Gavin Christy, Sophie Cooper, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, Vince Earimal, Sticky Foster, Ginge Attridge, Stewart Greenwood, Dave Higginson, John Hedley, Mick Horton, Billy MacLennan Irvine, Joincey, Julie Kjær, David Large, Dr Neil Lent (a/k/a Lenty), Niggle, Rafe Ozimek, Neal Pates, Greta Pistaceci, Jim Plaistow, Barry Rothery, Sarah Attridge, Matt Scott, Isabel Scum-Plotter, Geoffrey Sick, Phil Todd, Richard Thomas, Dave Walters, Simon Wickham-Smith, Michael Gillham, Mike Vest, Murray Ward, Andrew Williams, Richard Youngs|
The A Band are a British musical collective formed in Nottingham in the late 1980s. In 2005, The Wire compared the band's importance to that of AMM and SME, and noted their lack of musical training.
The line-up of the group has never been fixed. New members are always invited to join the band.
Some of the early A Band members had previously recorded material in the 1980s as Well Crucial, a group scattered across the UK and, in some cases, collaborating by post. A core of members was based in Kettering, Northamptonshire around Neil Campbell, Stewart Keith and Stream Angel, with other contributions by Richard Youngs. However, by 1990 these members had moved to Nottingham and the focus shifted there, with Well Crucial effectively ceasing to be.
The A Band itself was founded at the behest of saxophonist Vince Earimal, who required a backing band, and the unit quickly became an ever-changing, freeform improvisation unit, able to play without Earimal, who, despite eventually never performing with the band, is credited with their formation. Youngs joined upon moving to Nottingham and he recalled in The Wire that Jim Plaistow and Campbell were the only constantly present members. They could number up to 18 on any given occasion. The original collective came to a halt around 1994.
The group never performed under the name A Band or any obvious permutation thereof (they are occasionally listed as The A-Band). Instead, the group used a different name for each performance, all of which began with the letter "a". These included Anusol, Arachnid, Arse-over-tit, Awkward, Anaglypta, Artex, AC/DC, Ack Ack, Anglegrinder and Advent, the latter in commemoration of the then-recently released Richard Youngs LP - in fact, it was at this show that Youngs' spoken word record 171 Used Train Tickets (released 2003) was recorded. However, the releases were almost always credited to "A Band" and these included several cassette releases, an LP on Siltbreeze and a 7" single. Some archive recordings later saw daylight; a CD of recordings from 1991 was issued in 1997 and live activity, also from 1991, was given a vinyl release in 2003, the material being edited by Youngs with artwork from Campbell and Plaistow. Much of the interest in the band that followed the initial releases came more from the United States than Great Britain, but this was insufficient to keep the band going, and the various members pursued music in smaller groups, or solo.
In April 2007 the A Band remorphed, and performed at the 4th Festival Of Improvised Music at the Pyramid in Warrington, which took place on 16 June. Billed as "Afterclap", the line up included Stewart Keith, Neil Campbell, Dr Lent, Dave Higginson (of "Who is Dave Higginson?" fame), Stocky Fister, Gardyloo SPeW, Jon Lander, Andrea Fletcher, Megan Fletcher-Cutts, Stanley Bad, Pascal Nichols and Joincey.
The next performance, as "American Evil" (an anagram of "Vince Earimal"), was on 19 August in Shoreditch, London. On this occasion Stewart Keith and Gardyloo SPeW were joined by new A Banders John Aziz, Martin Bizarro, Zoe Darling, Philip Julian, Simon Murphy, Phil Todd (of Ashtray Navigations) and Karl Waugh.
Since this they have performed over 150 times across the UK, and recruited more than 80 new members, including Richard Forrester, Richard Spencer, Richard Attridge, and two Richard Thomases.
In April 2011, Gardyloo SPeW convened an A Band performance for the first time in Sydney, Australia. The lineup consisted of Gardyloo SPeW on sax, vocals and theremin with a cast of local musicians from the city's experimental hub The Bird's Robe Collective.
A film documenting the genesis and growth of the A Band was filmed by Tim Barker in 2006, but has yet to be edited. A second film documenting the band's current activities is being planned.
This listing may be incomplete - there are probably other releases extant.