Circuit



Circuit-1971 Charlie Bell - drums and vocals
Mike Born - Lead Guitar and vocals
John Stubbs - Rhythm Guitar and vocals
David Foley - Rhythm Guitar and vocals


Circuit began life as Dry Heat in 1969 when David Foley, Mike Born ,Paul Davidson and John (Stubby) Stubbs, all kids from the Raffles Estate-played at a Morton School Christmas party. Strangely, Stubbs was on drums and even more strangely ....he didn't turn up! Their set that night: Beatles, Stones, Creedence, The Move - all number ones in that year- reflects what an exciting time it was to be in a band (or a 'group' as we had it in those days of 'records' 'singles' 'LPs' 'courting' 'milky coffee' 'wimpy burger with that serrated sausage wrapped around it.') And they, like everybody else, including the ones who pretended otherwise-worshipped at the feet of the FABs (as George Harrison would call them.)

After playing at Wigton British legion that same year- the poster read 'Things are looking hot for Dry Heat 'a modern pop group'- The group changed its name to Circuit and would keep this name for a 1000 gigs. They weren't the best band in the town but they were the next generation coming through, they played their own songs
and believed that rock and roll should be about screaming a lot and jumping around on stage.

Punishing rehearsals began for the Raffle's boys in Barney's hall (St Barnabas Shady Grove Road) where weekend sessions would carry on until no one could speak and they were all full of Robson's chips and Dandelion and Burdock. Long Tall Sally was a favourite in Beatle key of G rather than the Little Richard original in F. Outstaying their welcome the band moved to Trinity Church Hall on Wigton Road where David Foley was told by the vicar that things would be fine "as long as we have none of your camp followers here too." Not having a clue what he meant they filled the place with mates and girlfriends.



The Victory Hall in Dalston 1971

 The Victory hall in Dalston on Saturday the 3rd April 1971 was the scene of one of their first paid gigs (£20 equivalent to £100 today) for the marriage of Lesley Bird and Lenard Salkeld. After getting a regular spot at the British Telecom (Telesport) club in Fisher Street, Andy E Park (or Colonel Tom/Andy Epstein as the boys called him)-then a more than aspiring agent with a diary; an enormous pile of coppers in his local Denton Holme telephone box and let's be honest -incredible drive, would later become manager of the group and the potential for: money, aggravation, petulance, fun, sexual indiscretion, alcohol and substance abuse were all greatly enhanced.

This period in the group's history was the most exciting: being 17 or 18, gigging like the older guys they admired: 22nd Street, Lemon Grass, Cottage -getting mentioned in the paper or recognised in Woolworths etc. David Foley remembers his moment of band epiphany quite vividly watching Rue and the Rockets during Uncle Macs ABC Minors Saturday morning show at the Lonsdale Cinema, 1964. "The came on in their blue lamé suits and the girls around me went nuts. I'm doing this , I remember thinking!" Five years later and still unable to sneak into the Gretna in Lowther Street he would stand in the back lane listening to Northern Soul on a Sunday night as the rain ran down his neck. Edwin Starr - 25 miles -

I got to keep on walkin'
I got to walk on
I, I, I, I, I'm so tired but I just can't lose my stride
Walk on let me tell you ya'll I, I, I, I, I, I'm so tired
But I just can't lose my stride"

One of the strangest gigs for this band was to perform on the back of a flat bed truck as it drove around the Hell Drivers course (Silloth) between demolition derbies. The drummer nearly fell off- his cymbals definitely did and the generator was louder than the band. The programme read: "Lofty Stoddart is loaning his lorry and you will get your fair share of their fine music." The strangest gig of all was playing for a group of expectant mothers who as 'shamed' single parents had been sent to the seclusion of Coaldale Hall on Newtown Road.

The Friday Night Dance
In the land before discos and breathalysers, getting to Skelton village hall tanked up
looking for a fight and upsetting the girlfriend was standard practice-and that was just the band! Foley remembers lots of fights and how women in short skirts and handbags clambered out of the mayhem onto the stage. "I remember great old dears brewing vats of tea in the back while condensation streamed down the walls and one solitary figure (one of the twins-again!) surrounded by an arc of antagonists- standing like the Hulk in the middle of the dance floor, shirt ripped and bloody-icy stare, hunched back, clenched fists shouting 'come on then!' This was rural Cumbria's Cavern Club if you like, bursting well beyond fire regulations. Foley remembers being so excited by the whole experience that when he got home to his Grans off Wigton Road , he got his Hofner club 40 out of its cardboard box and played until his fingers bled and the sun rose.
It was also at these dances that Circuit were able to further their musical education playing alongside the Capricorn Soul Show from Manchester (a 'coloured group' it read on the poster -with coloured underlined.) or admiring Neil's slide playing in Cottage. Playing the Hilltop Hotel in support of the Chris McClure section was enough to make you pack in then and there as they blew the band off the stage with their version of Jo Jo Gunne's Run Run Run . Circuit by now were focusing on early Slade numbers - after seeing Steve and the boys in Question playing Coz I luv You the week it came out, spell-checker confounding numbers such as:
Get Down and Get With It / Gudbuy T' Jane/ Mama Weer All Crazee Now. This meant that they could carry on their primal therapy screaming but drop the now dated Little Richard numbers.


Circuit - Scamps1973
Mike Born - Guitar and vocals
John Stubbs - Rhythm Guitar and vocals
David Foley - Bass Guitar and vocals
Ian Atkinson - drums


What do you do if you want a regular income from the music business? Have incredible success - ok yes - play anywhere and everywhere -, mm - compromise
and become all round performers?? Having successfully auditioned one cold morning in the Twisted Wheel and with a tour of Hamburg imminent, the band members were polarised- Foley and Stubbs had no other jobs(or college plans even) they just wanted to be musicians-end of story. The other members of the band-under different pressures went out and got jobs (Stubbs and Foley-with a sense of failure- would eventually have to give up and take employment too.) The band now moved into the Allthingstoallpeople showbandglamrocksingalongajoketellingjakethe pakeartforartssakemoneyforgod'ssake category but still tried to stick to their Northern soul meets rock and roll roots with tracks like The Fantastic Johnny 'C's Some Kind of Wonderful. The band now had a brilliant guitarist in the shape of Malcolm Holliday who not only had a Fender Strat -But more crucially for the Glam Rock days-he had a siren on his volume pedal!
"Does anyone know the way, did we hear someone say
We just haven't got a clue what to do".

The Cosmo
The Cosmo in Harraby was Carlisle's answer to a big city venue like the Cats Whiskers in Streatham, London -where Stubbs and Foley (with their incomprehensible Northern accents) tried vainly to chat up Kennington girls. The Cosmo was so voluminous and had so many bars that is was possible to arrange to meet three different girls on the same night and track them from the balcony - although it did end in tears and a slapped face.
Les Leighton was the manager and he had a kind of Gangster smooth charm that matched the seriousness of the venue. Circuit, within a few weeks, supported the Northern soul legend that was Arthur Conley:
"Down on Funky Street that's where the grooviest people meet"
Jesus man - he wrote songs with Otis - Duane Allman played guitar
for him - the stones recorded his Let's Go Steady , B-side of "Sweet Soul Music."

A couple of weeks later the boys supported Del Shannon of "Runaway" and "Hats Off to Larry" fame. He, in his Stetson, said they had a 'cute little band' of course that could have meant anything!

David Foley (late 70's)


The Crash
A tip for all band members: When travelling at night in a 35cwt, six wheeler fully laden Transit van try to make sure that at least one member of the crew (preferably the driver) is awake. On a cold moonlit night somewhere between Ravenstonedale and Hades, Phil (yes-the drummer) suggested that we drive to see 'some great tarns.' The rest of the band were, of course ,desperate to get to Southwaite services so they could spend all of their hard earned pay on a fry up. (The band once estimated that at Southwaite ‘toast prices', a loaf of bread would come in at £35.) On what was to become a harrowing night, it was fortunate that someone was awake in the van as it careered along B roads. Unfortunately the person awake was Foley and he was on the back seat -2 metres away from the steering wheel. Foley remembers it like this:

"I could see us veering off the road; there was a steep drop down to a river. There was a sickening crunch as a concrete bollard (with its warning reflector) exploded in slow motion before my eyes and something primal, deep within my stomach told me I was soon to die. The driver woke, over reacted and saving us from the chasm, hit the other bank and the vehicle spun improbably onto its side and began a torturous, screaming slide down the road towards a small bridge and ultimately the river. I remember vividly two sounds-the small pieces of gravel being crushed between the vehicle and the road and the gushing gurgling sound as the petrol tank emptied around us. I thought- 'shit was anyone smoking?' The van ground to a sickening halt leaving a tangled mass of confused bodies in the pitch black. (with unbelievable luck –after years of sitting on the gear as we toured the County- we had just had a partition welded into place which stopped the gear hitting us - you can imagine a 4x12 cabinet at 40 miles an hour!) The doors had always been a problem in that they would never slide properly. In my panic I gripped the handle and flung it back - then balancing on Malcolm's face, I hoisted myself into the shockingly cold air.

I could see nothing but blackness but with the fear of death upon me I knew I would have to leap-but into what? A ravine, a river? I jumped and only travelled about a foot before landing face first in a heather bog. Two of us ran to the top of the hill waiting for the explosion –feeling the relief of a survivor. Then with visions of the rest of the gang burning behind the windscreen we clambered back onto the van and got everybody out. Together we stood in a shivering huddle, at the top of the hill, a 100 metres from the van. We eventually lit a fire-it was so cold that if you sat a foot away you shivered - close enough to warm you burned. Stubbs of course fell asleep beside the fire and I remember someone pulling him out when he turned over to make himself more comfortable. We frightened a few farmers at three in the morning-tried to wrestle with a public phone marked 'press button B' and eventually got taken to Tebay services and home the following afternoon. The policeman said “You lads should stick to the main roads"- yeah Phil!

Circuit- 1974
Mike Born - Guitar and vocals
Malcolm Holliday - Lead Guitar and vocals
John Stubbs - Rhythm Guitar and vocals
David Foley - Bass Guitar and vocals
Kenny Kendal - Drums


As is the tradition in most bands the drummers walked a perilous line between being
a rock and a driving powerhouse rhythm section to, on the other hand, being a threat to the egos of the frontline warriors. Subsequently every year or so, the Circuit drummers were ritually slaughtered to the gods of regular tempo and overly handsome appearance. Ian Atkinson arrived just as Scamps Disco opened with DJ Konz Narvard (eh?) The band were now in matching suits -except Ian of course because he was a drummer and had the drummer death wish upon him. (See photographic evidence body language arms folded - some distance from rest of band unit!) The band played an array of venues during this period: village halls/social clubs/pubs/open air festivals/Scottish town halls-the advert pages from the Cumberland News give you an idea of just how much entertainment was going on at the time.

Thanks to David Foley for the article and photos

Malcolm Holliday