Biography by Lee Drury
..."I left school in 1976, wishing I had a time machine to take me back to 1956. Then bang, it happened. In early 1978, I formed a band called The Corvettes with some local lads. We did about fifty gigs in the East London area, many at the legendary Bridge House in Canning Town, which was sadly knocked down a few years ago, but we never made it up the West End. In 1979 our bass player, Paul Spicer, was killed in a hit and run and that was that, so to speak.
The Corvettes' guitarist Steve Pear joined The 4-Skins (even though he had a giant quiff!), whilst Jeff Wilmott went on to drum for In Camera who recorded for 4-AD Records.
I started squatting at Kings Cross and going down all the wrong roads. This was where I met Frenchie Gloder, our future manager and Flicknife Records boss. I even got thrown out of my apprenticeship with the gas board - no mean feat, haha. I sang the 'Rock 'n' Roll Swindle' live with Cook and Jones [of Sex Pistols infamy] at the Moonlight in West Hampstead. We were backed by Tenpole Tudor. I was friends with all of them and with a little string pulling I managed to front the band for this one song. It was great! I wish videos were invented then!
Then I met Yvonne, my future wife, and calmed down a little bit. This was when Jim Berlin approached me in the Bridge House and asked me if I would be the singer in a band that he was starting. I wasn't really interested as Jim wasn't one of the in crowd, if you know what I mean. He kept on pestering me though and, after a few weeks, I agreed to go to a rehearsal on the strength of a promise that we would sound like The Ramones. That was all I needed.
The line up included Bernie Cairns on bass; Bernie only used the D- and G-strings, but he never made a mistake. Billy Trigger was on drums; Billy had only been playing for a few months and wasn't finding it easy! He kept losing the beat, then coming in backwards, snare where bass should be and vice versa. I began to wonder what I was doing there. Jim put on his guitar and did a perfect medley of Ramones songs. That sounded okay so we began to practise playing songs from their first album.
I was used to writing as a band, but Jim was prolific and the songs began to pour out. The more he wrote, the better they got. He would rarely finish one as he was too busy with the next - so that job went to me. I would write the odd verse here and there, work out a few endings, a few intros, and so we carried on.
The band were very nearly over before they began though, but circumstances conspired against Lee who for a moment there considered an alternative musical career without a microphone in his hand.
The UK Subs needed a new bass player in early 1980, when Erazerhead was still a project without a name. Charlie Harper asked me to audition and I jumped at the chance. I skipped work and went off to find some High Street up Hammersmith way. I had the name of the studio but not of the road, needless to say, I never found it. After a few hours, the bass began to get heavy and I started to realise how easy being the singer is. You don't need any equipment, just yourself. This is what I kept telling myself as I made my way back across town.
Lifting their name from the surreal David Lynch horror movie, but spelling it differently to avoid any legal hassles Erazerhead rapidly began getting a name for themselves with some frantic gigging around the capital.
Me and Billy were part of the London club scene, so we knew everyone and getting gigs wasn't a problem. We supported nearly every punk band that played at the Bridge. That was easy as I was best mates with the landlord's son! The cleaners would find me in the mornings, rolled up in the pool table covers! I don't know who was the most startled, me or the poor cow that tried to recover the table.
Then Bernie moved to Harlow and we never saw him again. We put an ad in the music press and had two replies. One was the bass player with an old punk band that I used to go and see called The Low Numbers. I loved 'em, but he didn't want to do stuff like that anymore. The other bloke came to an audition but he was unlucky 'cos Gary Spanner turned up too. Gary had a live Erazerhead tape and had learned it all, so when we gave them both a chance there was no contest, and Spanner got the job. Plus he used the E- and A- strings so all of a sudden we sounded right!
In 1981, the band raised enough money, just short of £300 (a lot of money back then!) to record their debut single, 'Apeman', which saw the light of day through Terry Razor's Test Pressings label. Backed by 'Wipeout' and 'Rock n Roll Zombie'. Apeman remains a tuneful punk gem, what the drums lack in power compensated for by buzzing guitars and a wonderfully raw but melodic turn from Lee.
It sneaked into the lower echelons of the Indie charts for a month upon its release in September 1981, and, in conjunction with yet more high-profile shows at the 100 Club with the likes of Theatre Of Hate, landed them their deal with Flicknife Records.
The 'Rumble Of The East' album was recorded in Brixton and unleashed in November 1982, reaching No. 21 in the Indies, and was preceded that summer by the thoroughly enjoyable 'Shellshock' and 'Teenager In Love' singles, that both rattled along at an effervescent pace.
On June 14th, 1982, the band recorded a well-received session for John Peel's Radio One show. Featuring 'I Hate You', 'Teenager In Love', 'Martian Girl' and 'No One Sees Me Now', the session actually saw Lee handling bass as well as vocal duties for the first time.
Gary Spanner was on holiday so I stepped in and played bass. I always loved Dee Dee Ramone and Sid Vicious so, to be like them, I had taught myself how to play. This would come in handy later when Gary left the band after a big bust up with Jim, and I had to step in, and we became a three-piece, but it was nearly the end.
We recorded our second album in 1984 'Take Me To Your Leader' but Frenchie didn't pay the studio fees so they wiped all the tapes, and we had to do it all over again! Not easy when you are working as well... Yvonne and me never had a holiday for the first four years of our marriage. We were either on tour or in the studio, so all my holidays were spent that way.
That album was a direction change for us. Everybody always banged on about us being Ramones soundalikes, so we thought, we'll show 'em. It got a five-star review in the press but Frenchie refused to promote it, so obviously it bombed.
A further two fine singles 'Werewolf' and the rather mellow 'Summertime Now' beat the album into the racks, in May 1983 and early 1984 respectively, but, frustrated and disillusioned with the industry, not to mention some of their own band members, Erazerhead decided to quit while they were ahead and called it a day.