Martin Bramah

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Martin Beddington (born 18 September 1957 in Manchester),[1] better known by his stage name Martin Bramah, is an English guitarist, singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of The Fall, Blue Orchids and Factory Star.

Bramah met Mark E. Smith and original keyboard player Una Baines towards the end of 1975; Bramah and founding bassist Tony Friel were friends with Smith's sister Barbara. Originally, he was slated to be the group's vocalist but when Smith failed to learn even rudimentary guitar, he and Bramah swapped roles. Bramah would remain in the band until April 1979, leaving mid-tour due to increasing tension between him and Smith. Simon Ford states in "Hip Priest" that Bramah's relationship with Baines was one cause of this.

Bramah, alongside Baines then formed Blue Orchids, releasing an album and a clutch of singles on Rough Trade Records. The group also acted as a backing band for Nico during her 1982 UK tour; they can be heard on the Do or Die: Nico in Europe album. The group disbanded at the end of 1982, briefly reforming in 1985 for a further single. After this Bramah formed a new group named Thirst with ex-Fall drummer Karl Burns.

In 1989, Bramah unexpectedly returned to The Fall, taking the place of Brix Smith who had recently left. Bramah admitted to Simon Ford that his contact with Mark E. Smith around this time was not fortuitous; he had known of Smith's marital split and actively sought to rejoin The Fall. He stayed for the recording of Extricate before being fired in Australia in August 1990. Following this he formed a fresh incarnation of Blue Orchids (this time alongside guitarist Craig Gannon) releasing some singles, but their album would remain unreleased until 2003. A further return to The Fall was mooted around 1997 but, although Bramah rehearsed with some of the group's members (as heard on the album Levitate), the reunion never took place.

Since then, Bramah steered fresh incarnations of Blue Orchids, releasing new albums and EPs, as well as overseeing reissues of the group's earliest material before becoming a solo artist in 2008, releasing the folk-influenced The Battle of Twisted Heel.

In early 2009, he formed a new group, Factory Star, initially featuring Tim Lyons and Brian Benson (of The Sandells), subsequently featuring fellow ex-Fall members Stephen Hanley on bass, Paul Hanley on drums and John Paul Moran of Rapid Pig, Gnod and The Monochrome Set on keyboards. The Hanley brothers departed during 2010 to be replaced by Chris Dutton (formerly of Sicknurse and Kill Pretty) and Tom Lewis. The début album Enter Castle Perilous was released on Occultation Records in March 2011.

Lewis left in 2011 and was replaced by Joe McKechnie (formerly of The Passage and Benny Profane).

Bramah reformed Blue Orchids in 2012 adding Ann Matthews (Ectogram, Fflaps) on guitar to the Factory Star line up and the band toured during the latter months of 2012 and in 2013. A second Factory Star release "New Sacral" was released in 2012. McKechnie was replaced by Chris Connolly in 2013 in both Factory Star and Blue Orchids.

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