Eddie and the Hot Rods
|Eddie and the Hot Rods|
Eddie & the Hot Rods
|Also known as||The Rods|
|Origin||Canvey Island, Essex, England|
|Genres||Pub rock, punk rock, new wave|
|Years active||1975–1981, 1984–1985, 2000-present|
|Labels||Island, EMI, Voiceprint, Wienerworld|
|Associated acts||The Damned, The Kursaal Flyers, Plus Support, The Inmates, Dr. Feelgood, John Otway|
Ian "Dipster" Dean
|Past members||Graeme Douglas
Eddie and the Hot Rods are a pub rock band from Essex founded in 1975. They are best known for their 1977 UK top ten hit "Do Anything You Wanna Do", released under the name The Rods. Still touring and recording today, they originally split up in 1981, but reformed several times since, with singer Barrie Masters the only constant member.
The band was formed in Canvey Island during 1975 by guitarist Dave Higgs (who had previously played in the Fix with Lee Brilleaux), with drummer Steve Nicol, bassist Rob Steel, and singer Barrie Masters.
Before rising to semi-stardom in 1977, the Hot Rods underwent several changes in personnel: One of the first members to leave the band was Eddie himself, a dummy that featured prominently in the Hot Rods' early gigs and was discarded as the joke had worn thin. Otherwise, the band consisted of Barrie Masters on vocals, Pete Wall and Dave Higgs on guitar, Rob Steel on bass and Steve Nicol on drums. Ed Hollis (brother of Talk Talk's Mark Hollis) became their manager.
In May 1975, after building a live reputation, they secured a Saturday-night residency at The Kensington in London. This was followed in October by a joint residency with The 101ers at The Nashville, playing alternate headline sets. In November, after positive press reviews of their live shows, they were signed by Island Records.
By 1976, Lew Lewis (harmonica) and Paul Gray (bass) had replaced Wall and Steel. Lewis's tenure in the group lasted for the release of their first two singles before he too left. With this new line-up, the Hot Rods played a set at London's famous Marquee Club – their opening act was a young band named the Sex Pistols playing their first London gig, which descended into chaos with the Pistols smashing the Hot Rods' gear; During a residency at the club in the summer of 1976 they duelled for alternate weeks with AC/DC, to see who could cram more bodies into the Marquee during one of the hottest summers on record. They first appeared in the UK Singles Chart the end of that year with the Live at the Marquee EP and the single "Teenage Depression", an energetic rock and roll song.
After the release of the Teenage Depression album, which gave them their first appearance in the UK Albums Chart, they recorded another EP called Live – At the Sound Of Speed. During the gig from which this EP was recorded, Graeme Douglas (formerly of the Kursaal Flyers) joined the band onstage and jammed along adding extra lead lines. Afterwards his membership of the band was made permanent, and they set about writing and recording for their second album. The live recording of the Sound of Speed EP featured Douglas on only one track, he therefore set about recording additional lead guitar overdubs in the studio, though to keep in with the essence of a live release, he was only given one attempt at recording each song.
With the addition of Douglas, the band was moved in a more radio-friendly direction. Their biggest hit came with the Douglas/Hollis collaboration "Do Anything You Wanna Do" in the summer of 1977, under their shorter, snappier name, The Rods. This single made the British Top 10 (number 9 in August 1977) and also proved popular with the then predominant punk audience, as did that year's album Life on the Line. Still in 1977, the Hot Rods toured the United States with the Ramones and Talking Heads. In late 1977 they released a one-off collaboration with MC5 singer Rob Tyner as 'Rob Tyner & the Hot Rods'. When it came to recording a follow-up album, the band tried to recapture the success of "Do Anything You Wanna Do", but to no avail. The album, Life on the Line, hit further problems with CBS Records still having contractual claim over Douglas, leading to his picture being removed from the LP sleeve for some releases. They found themselves dropped by Island in 1979, and in May that year were rumoured to be on the verge of splitting, with Gray touring with The Members and Masters and Nicol playing in the band Plus Support. They signed to EMI in August 1979, releasing a further album, Fish'n'Chips with new bass player T.C. (Tony Cranney), but disbanded in 1981.
At this point, Gray and Douglas had already left the band, the former joining the Damned. Masters teamed up with the Inmates. Ed Hollis went on to work with some of the best known acts of the punk era including the Damned, Elvis Costello, and Stiff Little Fingers. Nicol joined One the Juggler.
Masters and Nicol re-formed the Hot Rods in 1984, with T.C. (Tony Cranney) bassplayer from the "Fish and Chips" album and new guitarist Warren Kennedy. This line-up recorded the single "Fought for You" and the live mini-LP One Story Town, before the band split again in 1985. Tex Axile, who had briefly been a member in this era, went on to join Transvision Vamp.
In 1992 the 'classic' line-up (Masters, Nicol, Higgs, and Gray) re-grouped for a European tour. Higgs left after the tour, but the band carried on with Steve Walwyn of Dr. Feelgood replacing him. Another Feelgood member, Gordon Russell was briefly a member, soon replaced by Mick Rodgers, a former member of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. In 1994 they recorded the album Gasoline Days, released in 1996 by Japanese label Creative Man. Several line-up changes followed, with members including Madman Keyo and Jess Phillips.
The new millennium saw a new line up, still led by Masters but now consisting of Simon Bowley on Drums (nephew of original drummer Steve Nicol), Dipster Dean on Bass and Gary Loker on Guitar. In 2001, after an 80 date UK 'Naughty Rhythms' Tour (with Dr Feelgood, The Hamsters and John Otway) they were joined by Richard Holgarth (Otway) on guitar and shortly afterwards, Gary Loker left the band. In 2005, they recorded Better Late than Never in preparation for a 30th anniversary tour and then expanded to a 5-piece band again with the addition of Chris Taylor in 2006 for the recording of the album Been There, Done That. This is the line up that has performed as Eddie and the Hot Rods for nearly 15 years now, enjoying renewed popularity with tours throughout Europe and Japan as well as five successful tours of the USA in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2014. They were announced as support to Status Quo on their UK Quid Pro Quo Tour December 2012 and are currently recording their third studio album, scheduled for release in late 2015. A 40th Anniversary Tour is also being planned for 2015, with the reformation of the classic line up featuring Masters, Gray, Douglas and Nicol (with the addition of Holgarth in place of the late Dave Higgs, who died in December 2013).
The band's early repertoire consisted of covers of 1960s R&B songs and original songs inspired by the likes of Dr. Feelgood. Known for their energy on stage, they attracted a younger audience than many pub rock bands. Although often categorised as one of the founding fathers of the punk era, they were simply interested in playing loud, fast, in your face Rock ‘n’ Roll rather than bad mouthing the Queen or fermenting anarchy. The energy and attitude certainly endeared them to the punks and Joe Strummer stated that when he read about the band in a listings magazine it was the first time he had seen the word 'punk' used to describe a band. Their 1977 tour of the US with the Ramones and Talking Heads was billed as a punk rock tour, and their 1977 concert in Windsor, Ontario, was billed as "Windsor's First Punk Rock Concert". They were overtaken by punk rock bands, however, and were soon considered to be outside the genre.
- Teenage Depression (1976), Island – UK No. 43
- Life on the Line (1977), Island – UK No. 27
- Thriller (1979), Island – UK No. 50
- Fish 'N' Chips (1981), EMI
- Gasoline Days (1996), Creative Man
- Better Late than Never (2005), Voiceprint
- Been There, Done That... (2006), Voiceprint
- 35 Years Of Teenage Depression (2011)
- One Story Town (1985), Waterfront
- BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert (1994), Windsong
- Live at the Paradiso (1998), Pub
- Get Your Rocks Off (2002), Jungle
- New York:Live (2009) Recorded live at Southpaw, Brooklyn.
Compilations and sessions
- Rods (1977) Promo (Live & Out-takes)
- Curse Of The Hot Rods aka 1979 Freerange Studio – Covent Garden sessions (1992), Street Link
- Live and Rare (1993), Receiver
- Ties that Bind (1994), Dojo
- The End of the Beginning – the Best of Eddie & the Hot Rods (1994), Island
- Get Your Balls Off (1996), Skydog
- Doing Anything They Wanna Do... (1996), Anagram
- Take No Prisoners! The Best Of British Punk (1998), Delta Music (UK)
- Do Anything You Wanna Do (2000), Spectrum
- The Singles Collection (2009), Captain Oi!
- Do Anything You Wanna Do: The Best Of (2012), Spectrum Music
|A-side||B-side(s)||Year||Label||Cat. No.||UK Chart
|"Writing on the Wall"||"Cruisin' (in the Lincoln)"||1976||Island||WIP 6270||–|
|"Wooly Bully"||"Horseplay (Weary of the Schmatlz)"||1976||Island||WIP 6306||–|
|"Teenage Depression"||"Shake"||1976||Island||WIP 6354||35|
|"I Might be Lying"||"Ignore Them"||1977||Island||WIP 6388||44|
|"Do Anything You Wanna Do"||"Schoolgirl Love"||1977||Island||WIP 6401/
|9||credited to The Rods|
|"'Til the Night Is Gone
|"Flipside Rock"||1977||Island||WIP 6418||–||Rob Tyner & the Hot Rods|
|"Quit This Town"||"Distortion May Be Expected"||1978||Island||WIP 6411||36|
|"Life on the Line"||"Do Anything You Wanna Do" (live)
"(I Don't Know) What's Really Going On" (live)
"Why Can't It Be" (live)
|–||Last 2 tracks on 12-inch only|
|"Media Messiahs"||"Horror Through the Straightness"||1978||Island||WIP 6464||–|
|"Power and the Glory"||"Highlands One, Hopefuls Two"||1979||Island||WIP 6474||–|
|"At Night"||"You Better Run"
|"Wide Eyed Kids"||"Leave Us Alone"||1980||EMI||EMI 5110||–|
|"Farther on Down the Road
(You Will Accompany Me)"
|"Fish 'n' Chips"||1981||EMI||EMI 5160||–|
|"Fought for You"||"Hey Tonight"||1985||Waterfront||WFS9||–|
|"Ties That Bind"||MARYLAND COOKIES "Fakes"||1991||33rpm flexi disc with hartbeat! magazine no. 12||hb 12||–||