ModPopPunk Archives: How did the band form back in 1977? Who was originally in the band?
Kidder : The band formed when Alan, my brother, decided he needed to do something to get out of our home town of Nuneaton. He had been playing guitar for a
while and we used to sing songs around the house together. He decided to get a band together and in the first line up our next door neighbour was asked to play bass.
We played a few shows with a guitar player and drummer before the guitarist was replaced by Dave Lister, and at that time we used to watch a band called Vertigo that featured John Rollason on guitar. We basically split up both bands and Alan, Dave, our bass player and I joined up with John and his drummer.
That is when the band pretty much came together and when the bass player and drummer left they were replaced with John's brother Les on Bass and Graham “Dick” Millington on drums.
That was the start of the band as most people know it and the line up that recorded the first single Everybody Knows.
MPP A: What are some of the bands that inspired you?
K : Inspiration?
Well for Alan it would have to be Marc Bolan and T-Rex, The Rolling Stones, Slade and Thin Lizzy. I was into ELO and some early new Wave such as The Clash, The Boomtown Rats and The Cars. The other members had varying tastes but mainly Slade and Thin Lizzy.
As for the band sound – well it was pretty much our own with a hint of Thin Lizzy in the dual guitar breaks but we mainly just responded to the fantastic hooks and melodies that Alan always had in his songs. And they were fantastic melodies to sing.
MPP A: Why did you move to London?
K: At the time we were very much out of synch with the “fads and trends” of the era. We played most of our shows in the Coventry and Birmingham areas and had built up a great following playing live. At that time though, Ska was coming through and was driven by bands from Coventry/Birmingham such as The Specials. We really didn't fit into that and so made the decision to move out of the area to get away from the “trend”.
Interestingly enough our agent at the time, John Mostyn from Oak in Birmingham, wanted to manage us at one point but went and put his money into The Beat instead and made a success of it with them, and good luck to him. He also went on to manage the Fine Young Cannibals.
MPP A: The first 7" was on a small label called Psycho , how it's happened?
K: The deal was put together by our manager at that time. To say we were a little naïve would be an understatement. We should have known then that this wasn't label going to do the sort of release that we were looking for and when we heard the first mix of the single we were proved right.
MPP A: Were you happy with the way it came out?
K: Despite a remix it was still a poorly recorded single when it came out and the band pretty much disowned the single but not the song. It is ironic that the single has become such a collector's item as the sound doesn't reflect us at all…
MPP A: Strangely, the second 7" was released by the French label Carrere (like another UK power pop band the Salford Jets) why? Was there any UK labels
wanted you? Were you in touch with the Salford Jets?
K : We were spotted playing live by a Carrere employee, Pete Hilton, who loved the band and asked us to sign. We had lots of discussions and despite my personal concerns we signed.
Again it was a new label in the UK and still small. They had just had a number 1 in the UK with Since You've Been Gone by Clout and so they seemed to be able to promote a successful single so we went with them.
Although we had no interest at the time I am sure that given time we would have had further offers.
We never met the Salford Jets but they also signed Saxon at the time – who had a lot of success with Carrere – and we met them a few times.
Maybe we never gave the deal a chance to reap the benefit, all we needed
was a good producer who could get the power of the live sound down on
MPP A: Have you ever done anything that you regretted later?
K: In life – lots of things!!!
Musically it was probably leaving the band before we went fully professional as I could have spent time learning keyboards etc later.
MPP A: As for the two great 7" singles, why do you think that the KIDDA BAND never became more successful?
K: IIt is one of those strange things in life – I can look back at a string of awful bands that had various degrees of success and cannot understand it.
I then look at the songs, the melodies, and also the reception we got at ‘000s of live shows that we were involved in, and I cannot understand how we never managed to get any level of success.
I think that the records never quite captured what we had and if we had
managed to get a decent producer to pull the sound together and a iron out
a few rough edges and we could have made a go of it.
I have always said that if we were born in the USA and came up the same way
that we did in the UK then we would have had more success…maybe we could
have got there before The Knack.
We were just pleased to get an album out that put the material out there
for people to hear it.
MPP A: Did you tour with punk rock bands? Mod revival bands? Power pop bands?
K: We never did any major record company supported tours or support tours but
we played ‘000s of live shows.
We played with a number of bands in one off shows such as The Troggs, Radio Stars, The Beat, Bad Manners and The Bellestars.
MPP A: In 1980 the KIDDA BAND became the KICKS, why did you change band name?
K: We felt we wanted a new start in order to try and kick start something. It didn't work.
MPP A: Why didn't you sing in the band?
K: Well there were reasons behind the scene that
MPP A: What do you most enjoy from your KIDDA BAND years?
K: I have never really enjoyed anything as much as I did that period in my life. I have become fairly successful in my career since the band but it is going through the motions as I don't get a buzz from it like I did back then.
The live shows were fantastic and I really enjoyed that part of the bands activities. I also enjoyed the recording process but never enjoyed the results we achieved on the records.
Most of all though I love the songs…and although people may call me sad, I still play the album myself on a regular basis and I still enjoy them.
MPP A: You were a KIDDA BAND singer, who are your favourite singers, bands and CDs in 2005?
K: I sang lots of harmony parts throughout most songs and in the early days also sang a couple of cover versions but after that it never really happened that I sang lead on one of Alans great songs. I guess it was Alans polite way of saying I couldn't sing!!
I have a mixture of the two Busted albums on my iPOD and I really enjoy that, it has lots of similarities to the Kidda Band, good pop tunes played with power.
I loved Avril Lavignes first album, the new Maroon 5 album, the self titled Evan and Jaron album was superb pop, Ben Folds' Suburbia album, Clarkesville's the Half Chapter album, Longview's Mercury album, Fountains of Wayne's Welcome Interstate Managers album also rocks, Jesse Malin's first album showed great promise, Ryan Adams early albums, Jet's Get Born album and lots lots more that probably don't count as 2005!!
This year I really liked Keane's Hopes and Fears.
MPP A: 2000 saw a KIDDA BAND CD release on Detour Records but what else have you been doing over the past years? Still involved in music?
K: Alan played on for years and I helped in the background with recording and
publishing and was instrumental in getting the album together.
Not least of all as I carried the old tapes around for nearly twenty years without destroying anything!!
MPP A: How did 1997 Records in Japan as your new label?
K: The Everybody Knows single was a big collector's item in Japan and it was this that led Detour Records to track us down and work with me to get the album out.
1977 knew Detour well and so they approached them to ask if they could re-release the songles. Things quickly followed from there and 1977 re-released all of the singles shortly after.
I am pleased to say that both the album and all singles sold out very quickly.
MPP A: A new album of unreleased gems is on the way, let's talk about your new record...
K: There was lots of stuff that we didn't put on the first double album because the album was already 30 songs long (counting the hidden track on the CD). So there wasn't any space left for more!!!
There are still some great songs from The Kidda Band and The Kicks era. Plus there are loads of songs from the final line-up called We're Only Human.
There is enough material for a double album but I suspect that it may be come two single albums this time around.
MPP A: Do you think in the future there will ever be original members KIDDA
K: We have been asked several times to play in Japan and I would have to say
that I still keep thinking it through and one day I think it still might happen. It depends how badly they want it.
I am not sure if all of the original members would be involved but there would definitely be the two of us (Alan and Kidder) and maybe Dave Lister.
MPP A: What do you think about all of the other power pop / punk pop bands
that broke up for a while and then recently reunited?
K: Good luck to them all…
MPP A: Kidder have you anything to add?
K: Yes – could you tell everyone about the official Kidda Band site which can be found at www.kidda-band.co.uk
Thanks for the interview – it has been an absolute pleasure. I would also like to thank you for using some Kidda Band MP3s on your site as I know that these have brought the band to the attention of a number of new generation Kidda band fans. So thanks for that.