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An early promo photo before Michael Lee joined the band August 1988
|Also known as||Mr Thrud (1984-1988)|
|Years active||1984–1994, 2012-2013|
|Associated acts||Gun, Fastway, b.l.o.w., Younger Younger 28s, Skunk Anansie, Feeder, The Cult|
|Past members||Toby Jepson
Bruce John Dickinson
Little Angels was a hard rock band predominantly active between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. The band reformed on 8 June 2012 to play the Download Festival.
History and members
Little Angels formed in Scarborough, England in May 1984, under the name of 'Zeus' and then to 'Mr Thrud' in September 1985 settling on the 'Little Angels' during recording of the Too Posh to Mosh album at Fairview Studios, Hull in 1987. The founding members were Toby Jepson (vocalist), Mark Plunkett (bassist), Dave Hopper (drummer) and the brothers Bruce John and Jimmy Dickinson (guitarist and keyboardist respectively). Michael Lee joined the band to replace Hopper on 16 August 1988.
It was at this time that the band met Kevin Nixon who became their manager and label boss when he signed them to his York-based company Powerstation Records. Eventually out-growing the local scene the band signed to Polydor Records on 19 May 1988, allegedly a deal done backstage at the old Marquee Club on Charing Cross Road.
Lee was sacked from Little Angels during the Young Gods tour in New York, after it was discovered he had auditioned for The Cult behind their backs. He went on to play the full Ceremony world tour. Lee was replaced by Mark Richardson, who filled in for him on several tour dates, before taking his place officially during the recording of the band's third album, Jam.
"The Big Bad Horns" ("Big" Dave Kemp on saxophone, Frank Mizen on trombone and Grant Kirkhope on trumpet) had become synonymous with the 'Angels' sound over the years, contributing to a large majority of their recorded output, and appearing live with the band more often than not. However, they were keen to remain independent from the band, so appearances on stage and record are credited to Little Angels and The Big Bad Horns.
Little Angels were successful in the UK and cracked the US to some extent, although not enough to satisfy their record label. Nonetheless, they had a massive profile in the UK, playing with Van Halen (who Jepson would be approached to join in 1996) and Bon Jovi, amongst others. In an act of generosity Van Halen gave the band their entire back-line for free at the end of the UK tour.
Despite the seemingly disappointing record sales, they followed the announcement of their split by playing a sold-out six date UK tour culminating in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
After Little Angels
After the demise of Little Angels, the Dickinson brothers formed b.l.o.w. with Richardson and the former No Sweat guitarist (turned vocalist) Dave Gooding. Jepson recorded and toured an album, Ignorance Is Bliss, under the moniker "Toby and the Whole Truth", which was intended to launch a solo career, but illness scuppered the tour and his immediate plans. He spent subsequent years away from the spotlight before a solo return in 2002.
When b.l.o.w. folded, Jimmy Dickinson became a member of the synthpop group Younger Younger 28's who had some success in Japan, and who released one album, Soap, on the V2 label. He went on to play with the One Hit Wonders, and is now working as a teacher at the Westwood School of Music in Scarborough, including a course in electronic music.
Bruce John Dickinson went on to teach at, and manage, The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey. He is now the Managing Director of the Brighton Institute of Modern Music which he set up with former Angels manager, Kevin Nixon.
Mark Richardson joined Skunk Anansie to replace their original drummer. When that band folded, he joined Feeder, following the suicide of their original drummer Jon Lee. He remained with the band until the end of 2008 when he re-joined Skunk Anansie for a greatest hits tour and album, plus new material.
After a long while away from the spotlight, Jepson struck out on his own in 2001, touring the "Refresh EP" in early 2002 and onwards. Financial pressures put the brakes on this solo venture, and it looked as though he would once again withdraw from the stage. However, he made a return as a solo artist supporting Thunder on their 2006 UK tour and has - once again - performed solo since then. A spot as guest vocalist for Gun, at a charity gig in Glasgow promoted by rockradio, on 8 January 2008 resulted in him taking the role permanently. This was confirmed in April 2008.
Jepson, Plunkett and the Dickinson brothers were reunited - supposedly for the first time since the band's split - at Michael Lee's funeral in December 2008.
Toby Jepson left GUN in June 2010 due to increased responsibility in other aspects of his musical involvement.
It was announced in January 2012 that the band were reforming to perform at that year's Download Festival. Their newly launched website for the occasion credits the meeting of the four founding members at Michael Lee's funeral as the catalyst for this re-union, stating "From the tragic death of their band-mate old friendships are rekindled." In an interview with EverythingRock, guitarist Bruce Dickinson stated that he doubted the reunion would be a permanent one, although his answer was not definitive.
On 7 June, Little Angels played at the 2012 Sweden Rock Festival. The reunion culminated in a 9-date UK tour in December 2012 with venues including Nottingham Rock City and O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. The Glasgow date had to be moved to a larger venue due to "phenomenal demand". Support came from fellow British band Skin.
Drummer Richardson could not perform on the tour due to commitments with Skunk Anansie, and was replaced by Dominic Greensmith (mainly known for his time with Reef). Similarly, Grant Kirkhope (trumpet) was unavailable. The reason given on stage by Jepson was that he was "living in California as a tramp".
Little Angels were booked to play the Isle of Wight festival, supporting Bon Jovi, on 16 June 2013. On 9 May 2013 they issued a statement to say that this, in conjunction with warm up shows in Cardiff and Cambridge, would be the end of their reunion activities together. Drummer Richardson joined the band for these final three dates, but not trumpeter Grant Kirkhope.
- Too Posh to Mosh [Mini Album] (12 May 1987)
- Don't Prey for Me (5 November 1989)
- Young Gods (1991) UK #17
- Jam (31 January 1993) UK #1
- A Little of the Past (11 April 1994) UK #20
- Too Posh to Mosh, Too Good to Last! (1994) UK #18
- "87 EP" (1987)
- "90 in the Shade" (5 September 1988)
- "Big Bad EP" featuring "She's a Little Angel" (28 February 1989) UK #74
- "Big Bad World" (28 February 1989) (Japanese only, seven track CD)
- "Do You Wanna Riot" (23 October 1989) UK #91
- "Don't Pray For Me" (1989) UK #93
- "Kicking up Dust" (19 February 1990) UK #46
- "Radical Your Lover" (12 May 1990) UK #34
- "She's a Little Angel" (4 August 1990) UK #21
- "Boneyard" (2 February 1991) UK #33
- "Product of the Working Class" (31 March 1991) UK #40
- "Young Gods" (1 June 1991) UK #34
- "Live At Hammersmith Odeon" (1991) (Japanese only, five track CD)
- "I Ain't Gonna Cry" (20 July 1991) UK #26
- "First Cut Is the Deepest" (13 February 1992) (Germany only)
- "Too Much Too Young" (1992) UK #22
- "Womankind" (10 January 1993) UK #12
- "Soapbox" (1993) UK #33
- "Sail Away" (20 September 1993) UK #45
- "Ten Miles High" (9 April 1994) UK #18
- "All Roads Lead to You" (13 June 1994)
- "Photo image". Jepfans.com. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- "Download Festival 2013 | Official Download Festival Website". Downloadfestival.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- Category: The Band (1994-07-02). "The Band". Littleangelsofficial.com. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- "EverythingRock". Everythingrocks.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- "Glasgow Show Upgraded to the O2 ABC". Littleangelsofficial.com. 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- "Little Angels Announce Drummer For 'One More For The Road' Tour". Littleangelsofficial.com. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- "Twitter / TobyJepson: @grantkirkhope oh mate! ya". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 324. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.