In the late summer of 1978, the nucleus of a new band was forming in North London by the name of The U2s. By spring 1979, the singer, bassist and drummer had gone, and new candidates were approached and auditioned.
By late summer 1979, a new drummer, bassist and singer were recruited to join Mark Cook from Enfield, on lead guitar and vocals, and Ian ‘Chubb’ Chaplin from Chingford, also on lead guitar-guitar effects and vocals. The drummer, Steve Phypers from Hoddesdon, had come from a band called The Ordinarys, and he fast became close friends with Mark Cook, who was responsible for choosing Steve.
Then, rehearsals at Allen Gordon Studios proceeded, with singer Keith Ward, a former Butlins Red Coat from Chigwell, and Robbie Romp, from Hampton Hill, Middlesex, on bass, both of whom had answered the Melody Maker advert and tried their luck to audition for this ‘new band’. They both passed gloriously, and the line-up was set.
More stories and news in the music press kept coming from Ireland about a new band called U2, formerly known as The Hype, so a decision was made to change the band name to The Action.
Robbie lived near a 'Mod’ clothes shop shop with the same name. Nobody in the band at that time had referenced the sixties band of the same name! DOH!
By December 1979, The Action were ready to record their first demo tape. They chose Blackwing Studio in Southwark, London, and the engineer was Eric Radcliffe, who was soon to become the studio owner and famed producer of Fad Gadget, Yazoo and The Assembly. Two songs were recorded: ‘Friends’ and ‘Chance To Meet You’.
Tapes were made and sent to venues to get gigs, which quickly came together in early 1980. The Action played over a dozen shows in and around London over the next six months.
By June 1st, the band had been chosen from over 800 demo tapes sent in, to appear at the famous Marquee Club in Wardour Street, London, to perform at the infamous Melody Maker Rock Contest.
Winning their heat out of six bands, Melody Maker reported that: “They play powerful modern pop influenced by the best new-wave music of the past two years, one HARD bottle!”
And so The Action went on to play to a packed house at The Venue in Westminster at the ‘Rock 80’ final later that month in front of an esteemed rock panel, including Annie Lennox, Bill Nelson and Pauline Black.
Winning the prize of £300 for their efforts, the money was invested to make another new demo with new songs. The new tape was recorded at Gateway Studio, Battersea, London. Three songs were recorded: ‘Looking Through You’, ‘My Brother Doesn't Talk To Me’ and ‘Some Are Smiling’.
Also, at this time, the band had been noticed and approached by Wings drummer, Steve Holley, who expressed great interest in taking the band further with a management contract. Sadly, this was not to be, and the band played their last show at The Spurs, The Roundway, N17, on Saturday 2nd August 1980.
All the demo recordings remained locked away for 42 years, until now.
Chance To Meet You
Looking Through You
Some Are Smiling
My Brother Doesn't Talk To Me (Available as a Download Only)