The Members

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The Members
The Members in Chicago, 2014
The Members in Chicago, 2014
Background information
Origin Camberley, England
Genres Punk
Years active 1976–1983, 2007–present
Labels Stiff, Virgin, Arista
Members Jean Marie Carroll
Chris Payne
Nigel Bennett
Nick Cash
Past members Rat Scabies
Nicky Tesco
Adrian Lillywhite
Gary Baker
Steve Morley
Clive Parker
Steve Maycock
Rudi Thompson
Simon Lloyd
Chuck Sabo
Adam Maitland

The Members are a British punk band that originated in Camberley, England. Their best known recording is "The Sound of the Suburbs" (1979).


The Members were formed by lyricist Nicky Tesco (Nick Lightowlers) in 1976, through an invited audition at a recording studio at Tooley Street, London.[1] The original personnel, with Tesco (vocals), was Gary Baker (guitar), and Steve Morley (bass guitar), initially with Steve Maycock then Clive Parker (drums). Morley and Parker were later replaced by Chris Payne and Adrian Lillywhite.

Official logo of the Members

In 1976, the band performed for its first engagements at The Red Cow (London W6), The Windsor Castle (London W9) and The Nashville Rooms (London W14). In that year composer Jean Marie Carroll (aka JC Carroll) joined the band to complement Tesco's lyrics.[1] The Members had recorded a number of songs, but the first released recording was "Fear on the Streets", produced by Lillywhite's brother Steve Lillywhite. This song was included on the first record released by the Beggars Banquet label, the punk compilation Streets (1977).[2] The song-writing collaboration between Tesco and Carroll moved The Members' sound towards an incorporation of reggae, shown in the first single released for Stiff Records, "Solitary Confinement", produced by Larry Wallis. Following these releases, band personnel became Tesco (vocals), Carroll (vocals and guitar), Nigel Bennett (guitar), Payne (bass) and Lillywhite (drums).

In 1978/79 The Members continued to play the London pub and club circuit, became a feature in the music press and were championed byJohn Peel. They signed to Virgin Records in 1978, for which label they recorded "The Sound of the Suburbs", again produced by Steve Lillywhite. This became The Members' biggest chart success and their best-known song in the UK. The follow-up single, "Offshore Banking Business", a reggae tune written by Carroll, did not achieve the same popularity. A version of "Offshore Banking Business" was recorded for the early 1980s film Urgh! A Music War, produced by Michael White, distributed by Filmways and Lorimar Productions.[3]

The Members' first album, At the Chelsea Nightclub, was followed by a second for Virgin, 1980 – The Choice Is Yours. Their last album was Going West,[2] issued a year earlier as Uprhythm, Downbeat (1982) in the US.[1] The album featured the singles "Radio," which made the Top 10 in parts of Australia,[4] and "Working Girl," the music video for which gave the band exposure in North America via MTV.

The band broke up in 1983, when Tesco left the band after the last tour of the US. In 1989, Tesco appeared in Leningrad Cowboys Go America, written and directed by Aki Kaurismaki, a film about a fictional Russian rock band touring the US.[5] This fictional band then toured as an actual band, and recorded the Tesco song "Thru the Wire". Kaurismäki directed a video for "Thru the Wire", featuring Tesco.[6] As well as working as a music journalist for the magazine Music Week, Tesco has been a commentator on new releases for BBC 6 Music's "Roundtable".

In 2007, The Members were reunited at The Inn on the Green, Ladbroke Grove, London, compèred by Phill Jupitus under his 1980s performance poet stage name of "Porky The Poet".

In 2009, a new single "International Financial Crisis" (a re-write of "Offshore Banking Business") was released, recorded by Tesco, Carroll, Payne and Bennett, with artwork by the original Members' album sleeve designer, Malcolm Garrett. The same year, Carroll and Payne toured as The Members, with occasional appearances of Tesco and Bennett. The Members line-up of Carroll, Payne and Nick Cash (drums) performed during 2010, playing in Spain and Italy, and at the Isle of Wight[7] and Glastonbury Festivals. (Nick Cash is not the same person as the Nick Cash of 999.[8])

In March 2012, the Members released their fourth studio album, InGrrLand, featuring Carroll, Payne, Bennett, Cash and Rat Scabies. In October 2012, guitarist Nigel Bennett released his debut CD "Truth or Consequences" on Zip Records/Sony Red.[9] In November 2012 Bennett announced that he would be leaving The Vibrators to concentrate on his solo career, and in December 2013 he rejoined the Members. The band toured Australia and New Zealand in 2013. In 2014 The Members mounted a coast-to-coast tour of the USA,[10] without Payne's temporary replacement Calle Englemarc who had injured his hand. Instead, JC Carroll played bass. This was[clarification needed] the band's first tour of the USA for 32 years.

In 2015 the band began work on their 5th studio album in studios in London and West Byfleet featuring a nucleus of Carroll, Cash, Payne and Bennett together with guest appearances from Guy Pratt and former Jam guitarist Steve Brookes; the record is due for release in early 2016.



Year Title UK Label
1979 At the Chelsea Nightclub 45 Stiff/Virgin
1980 1980 – The Choice Is Yours - Virgin
1982 Uprhythm, Downbeat - Virgin
1995 Sound of the Suburbs (Best Of) - Virgin
2010 Live In Berlin - Smash The System
2012 Ingrrland - AngloCentric


Year Title UK UK




1979 Solitary Confinement - - - -
1979 The Sound of the Suburbs 12 - - -
1979 Offshore Banking Business 31 - - -
1979 Killing Time - - - -
1980 Romance - - - -
1980 Flying Again - - - -
1981 Working Girl - 41 34 -
1982 Radio[2] - - - 5
2009 International Financial Crisis - - - -
2011 New English Blues - - - -

Compilation Appearances[edit]

  • Streets (Beggars Banquet 1977 – Track: "Fear on the Streets")
  • The Moonlight Tapes (Danceville Records 1977 – Track: "Rat up a Drainpipe")
  • The Sound of the Suburbs (Columbia Records MOOD18 (1991) – Track: "The Sounds of the Suburbs")



  1. ^ a b c Stand up and spit – the story of The Members
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 361. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Urgh! A Music War
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum – 1982 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Nick Tesco: Leningrad Cowboys
  6. ^ Nick Tesco: Aki Kaurismaki
  7. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival 2012". 24 June 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Carroll, JC. "Nick Cash Musician". JC Carroll. 
  9. ^ "Unknown". [dead link]
  10. ^ Harr, Dan (25 August 2014). "UK Punk Trailblazers The Members Touring America Now". Music News Nasvhille. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 

External links[edit]