Red Guitars

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Red Guitars
OriginKingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
GenresIndie rock
Years active1982–1986
LabelsSelf Drive Records, PIAS Recordings, Virgin Records

Red Guitars were an English indie rock band active from 1982 to 1986. Based in Hull, Red Guitars' first single "Good Technology" was a minor hit, selling 60,000 copies. Their singles "Marimba Jive" and "Be With Me" both reached number one on the UK Indie Chart.[1]


Jerry Kidd (born Jeremy Kidd, vocals) and Hallam Lewis (guitarist) met in 1979 at a Community Arts programme in Hull. The two formed the short-lived project, Carnage in Poland. After several line-up changes, including the addition of Mark Douglas, the band changed their name to the Czechs, billing themselves as 'eastern European reggae'. After more line-up changes, including the departure of Douglas, the Czechs abandoned their name and reggae sound, becoming Red Guitars.[2]

Playing a mixture of punk, blues, electrified folk and African rhythms, Red Guitars built a small but loyal national following, playing mostly benefit shows for left-wing causes.[citation needed]

In 1982, the group recorded their first single "Good Technology". In keeping with the band's anti-corporate ideology, the Red Guitars released the single on their own record label, Self Drive Records, selling 60,000 copies.[citation needed] The video to "Good Technology" was broadcast on the cult 1980s Channel 4 music TV show The Tube, as part of the show's Hull music special.

Constant touring to support follow-up singles "Fact", "Steeltown" (The John Peel Session version of which also featured on the Four Your Ears Only EP – an aural collection which included Luddites, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Party Day) and "Marimba Jive",[3] added to the daily pressures of running a record label resulted in internal pressures in the Red Guitars, culminating in the departure of Kidd in 1984, two months after the release of debut album Slow to Fade.[4] The band continued on without Kidd for a further two years, bringing on Robert Holmes for vocals, but failed to achieve the previous critical or commercial success, although "Be With Me" also reached the top spot on the UK Indie Chart in May 1985.[1]

Red Guitars disbanded in 1986 after their appearance at the Pukkelpop festival near Hasselt, Belgium. Two of the ex-band members, Hallam Lewis and Lou Howard, formed another group, the Planet Wilson.[4] They were joined by Grant Ardis (drums and ancillaries). Howard was still on bass and Lewis on guitar and vocals. In 1988 they released the album In the Best of All Possible Worlds (on Virgin Records) and in 1989 they released the album Not Drowning but Waving (on Records of Achievement).[4] Jerry Kidd released a solo single "Petals and Ashes (a song for Emma Goldman)" in 1985 (on Self Drive Records), after leaving Red Guitars; it had a mix of "Crocodile Tears" on the b-side. Lewis went on to run a recording studio in Hull. Holmes released a solo album in 1989, entitled Age of Swing,[4] and has released a series of recordings since 2015 on YouTube under the title "Robert Holmes Channel Two"[5]


Amongst other tracks, the group performed "Paris France" at The New Adelphi Club in Hull on 14 February 1998.[6] The Red Guitars played a one-show reunion at the Winterlude Festival in Hull, on 11 February 2006.[7] The original line-up re-formed for a 7-date 'Slow to Fade' tour in April 2022. [8]


  • Matt Higgins (drums)
  • Lou Howard (a.k.a. Louise Barlow, bass)
  • Jeremy Kidd (vocals)
  • Hallam Lewis (lead guitar)
  • John Rowley (rhythm guitar)
  • Robert Holmes (vocals/guitar – replaced Kidd on lead vocals in 1985)



  • Slow to Fade (Self Drive Records) 1984 UK Indie No. 3[1]
    • "Remote Control"
    • "Dive"
    • "Astronomy"
    • "Cloak and Dagger"
    • "Crocodile Tears"
    • "Shaken Not Stirred"
    • "Sting in the Tale"
    • "Marimba Jive"
    • "Slow To Fade"
  • Tales of the Expected (Virgin Records) 1986
    • "Sweetwater Ranch"
    • "National Avenue (Sunday Afternoon)"
    • "Be With Me"
    • "Suspicion and Fear"
    • "Love and Understanding"
    • "Storyville"
    • "House of Love"
    • "Trains on Time"
    • "Marianne"
    • "Baby's Got A Gun"

Retrospectives and collections[edit]

Compilation EP[edit]

  • "Steeltown" (John Peel Session Version), part of Four your Ears Only (PIAS Recordings) 1984


  • "Good Technology" b/w "Heartbeat Go! Love Dub" (Self Drive Records) 1983 UK Indie No. 8[1]
  • "Fact" b/w "Dive" (Live) (Self Drive Records) 1983 UK Indie No. 7
  • "Good Technology" b/w "Paris France" (Self Drive Records) 1984 UK Indie No. 4
  • "Good Technology" b/w "Fact", "Paris France" (Self Drive Records 12-inch) 1984 UK Indie No. 4
  • "Steeltown" b/w "Within 4 Walls" (Self Drive Records 7-inch & 12-inch) 1984 UK Indie No. 2
  • "Marimba Jive" b/w "Heartbeat Go!" (Self Drive Records) 1984 UK Indie No. 1
  • "Marimba Jive (Extended Survival Mix)" b/w "Heartbeat Go! (Extended 'Pinky-Work' Mix)" (Self Drive Records 12-inch) 1984 UK Indie No. 1
  • "Be With Me" b/w "Things I Want" (One Way Records) 1985 UK Indie No. 1
  • "Be With Me" (longer version) b/w "Things I Want" (One Way Records 12-inch) 1985 UK Indie No. 1
  • "National Avenue (Sunday Afternoon)" b/w "King And Country" (Virgin Records) 1986
  • "National Avenue (Sunday Afternoon)" b/w "King And Country", "Things I Want" (Virgin Records 12-inch) 1986
  • "America And Me" b/w "Marianne" (Virgin Records) 1986
  • "America and Me", "Marianne" b/w "America and Me (12-inch version)" (Virgin Records 12-inch) 1986
  • "Blue Caravan" b/w "Suspicion And Fear" (Virgin Records) 1986
  • "Blue Caravan" b/w "Blue Caravan (Acoustic)", "Suspicion And Fear" (Virgin Records 12-inch) 1986

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980–1989. Cherry Red Books. p. 186. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4. Archived from the original on 9 April 2001.
  2. ^ "JR's CD Notes : For those of us with dented pride who never reached the top..." Archived from the original on 16 February 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2006.
  3. ^ "Radio 1 – Keeping It Peel – The Red Guitars". BBC. 14 July 1984. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Larkin, Colin (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave. Virgin Books. pp. 349–350. ISBN 0-7535-0231-3.
  5. ^ "LaLa La La". YouTube. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Red Guitars perform Paris France at the New Adelphi Club, Hull, Saturday 14 February 1998". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Winterlude". Archived from the original on 12 February 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2006.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Red Guitars".