At the outset, NEO, fronted by Ian North, was actually called Ian North's Radio, but the band only managed one gig under this moniker before Martin Gordon (ex-Sparks, ex-Jet bass) left to be replaced by George Dyner (bass). when the latter himself abondoned ship, remaining members Ian North (vocals, guitar) and Paul Simon (drums) roped in Paul's brother Robert Simon (aka Robin Simon) on guitar. with Ian North switching to bass, an instrument he had never played before, the last piece of the NEO puzzle had fallen into place, and the sibling band embarked on an incessant schedule of rehearsals and gigs. The time was April 1977.
Martin Gordon in the meantime headed straight for the Radio Stars, joining forces with his old Jet pals.
To go back to NEO's foundation we need to head for New York as it was in this very city that Ian North fronted Milk And Cookies, a band that release a single in 1975 on Island records. Getting nowhere with Milk And Cookies in America, North jumped at the chance when Island Records invited him to London with a view to signing him as a solo artist. When this fell through in the last minute (Island opted to jut release Milk And Cookies' LP in December 1976), North decided to stay in London in order to start up his own punk band. And this despite the fact that meanwhile back in New York Sire Records were starting to show serious interest in signing Milk And Cookies. An unaffected North was determined to give his best effort in London and after two weeks of rehearsing, Ian North's Radio played their abovementioned one and only gig in November '76, supporting Ultravox! at London's Nashville.
At the end of 1977, Ian North's work permit expired and he was faced with the following ultimatum by the Home Office: Get a UK record contract by December 31 or leave the country. Luckily Jet Records came to the rescue, allowing North and the Simon brothers to soldier on.
NEO contributed two tracks to the "Live At The Vortex" album, released by Nems Records in December, 1977. in their review of "Live At The Vortex", Sounds saod NEO came off the best, and, when reviewing a Neo gig, Sounds went on in their championing of the neoteric Ian North and da bruddars: "They have more magic in their stage presence than I've seen in 90 percent of the two bit band wagon jumpers that are multiplying in numbers all the time". Interestingly, Neo, a London band led by an American in exile, would perform with the aid of a Union Jack back drop.
Written by Ian North, "Small Lives" and "Tell Me The Truth" are the two NEO tracks punking up the "Live At The Vortex" album. The former is a beefy bass driven archetypical '77 mid-tempo punk song with becoming quirky guitar solos. and thanks to its "Do what you will, the only solution is kill kill kill" - chorus, thos one's ruthlessly in your face. "Tell Me The Truth" is more of a doom-laden punk slow-burner, but without losing any of its conviction or potency.
NEO released the 7" "Trans-Sister"/"Failed Pop Song" on Jet Records in 1978. Still in 1978, the Simon brothers were replaced by Steve Byrd (guitar) , John McCoy (bass) and Bryson Graham (drums). Byrd and McCoy soon left for the Ian Gillan Band. Their replacement was found in the names of Stephen Wilkin ( ex-Wired, ex-Masterwitch - guitar) and Nick South (bass - later in TIME UK). Next change occured when Graham and South were replaced by Mark Steed (ex-Masterwitch - bass) and Derek Quinton.