Rockin' Ronnie Riot
& The Rebels
Eight Hertz

‘Rockin' Ronnie Riot & the Rebels' originally formed around early 1975, the band was put together by a group of friends who had met at the Workington Grammar School .

The original line up consisted of; Martin Deans on Vocals, Nicky Naylor on Bass, Buzz Elliott on Guitar, Mark Knowles on Guitar, there was no drummer at the first practice, which was in Buzz's Mam's kitchen!

One of the songs that the band rehearsed that night was ‘FRAMED' by the Alex Harvey Band, it is the only song from that first practice that still remains in the set list to this day!

After that first rehearsal the lads decided that they needed a super cool name, and as it happened, the bass players mother had just bought a brand new set of pans that were covered in stickers that bore the words “BLACK SATIN SWAN”

The band's equipment was immediately covered in ‘black satin swan' stickers, and the lads were all very excited, not only had the band found a name, they also had free stickers with their band's name on as well !!!

At 13 to 14 years of age they instantly thought that they were the grooviest band in town, this only lasted until they got back to school on Monday morning where inevitably everyone laughed uncontrollably at how stupid it was to be named after a set of non-stick pans!!!

After a quick re-think a new name was chosen; ‘Rockin' Ronnie Riot & the Rebels' , soon two drummers were added into the line up in the shape of Paul Knowles who later went on to join NERVES, and Steve ‘Taff' Wilson, who later switched onto Rhythm Guitar and eventually Bass, Taffy was replaced as the bands 2nd drummer by Terry Atkinson who played with them for many years until he finally retired from playing drums after the shock of having to get a real job!, Terry was replaced by Tony Steel who now also plays alongside Buzz in HAMMERHEAD.

At around about the same time as ‘The Rebels' were beginning to get things together, Paul and Taff were also rehearsing with another band called ‘Eight Hertz' with guitarist John Burnyeat, plus electrical boffin'/bass player Nigel Sandwith, and keyboard player/cult film director David Taylor.

Both bands had the same core members but played very different material, 8 Hertz played a mix of 70s rock and pop, and also wrote quite a few of their own songs which tended to lean towards the new wave style which was beginning to break through at that point in time, the band steadily built up a good local following, and on one occasion completely sold out the town's Carnegie Theatre.
This amp ^^^^^^ is Jimmy Henshaw's old amp, the one that Jimi Hendrix plugged into.
Jimmy Henshaw rang up to point this out to me.

Are you ready to rock??

Rockin' Ronnie Riot & the Rebels on the other hand, were a far more chaotic affair, and modelled themselves on bands such as ‘The Alex Harvey band', ‘Iggy Pop and the stooges', and the (now fallen from grace!) ‘Glitter Band', sometimes the gigs would get out of hand and could be quite dangerous, especially with front man Rockin' Ronnies tendency to provoke, taunt and insult people with a total disregard of the consequences!

As time moved on a few of the lads went on to University and the line up of both bands had to change.

John (Stan) Burnyeat left to go to Liverpool and his place in Eight Hertz was filled by Buzz Elliott who remained with them for the remainder of the 70s until he joined Hammerhead, their very talented keyboard player David Taylor also left the county to continue his studies in Music and has played professionally ever since, occasionally with some of the countries top celebrities, and also one or two international stars.

After the demise of 8 Hertz at the tail end of the 70s, Rockin' Ronnie and his Rebels continued on throughout the 80s, and also recorded six of their own compositions at Linden Sounds studio near Penrith around 1983/84.

This batch of songs were featured on a special Radio Cumbria programme where the band were interviewed live on air (very risky!), and included the legendary, anthemic ‘SOCCA BRAZILIA' which for reasons unknown to the band, wasn't a major hit in every football loving country in the World!

If only their manager ‘Harvey Dealerfield' (aka Paul Sherwin) had got them that one big break, there might have been a different story to tell!

Eventually the band of hard line Workington Reds supporters, stopped writing and playing together regularly, but still do the occasional gig for fun, usually around Christmas time.

All the lads remain the best of friends and still meet up most Thursdays between 9 and half past, for a crack and a pint of ‘Jennings' in't Commercial pub on t'old market place in Wukin'ton



Rockin' Ronnie Riot & The Rebels
(original lineup)

Vocals – Martin Deans
Bass – Nicky Naylor
Guitar – Buzz Elliott
Guitar – Mark Knowles


Rockin' Ronnie Riot & The Rebels
(later lineup)

Vocals – Martin Deans
Bass/vocals – Steve Wilson
Keyboards – David Taylor
Guitar/vocals – Buzz Elliott
Drums – Paul Knowles
Drums – Terry Atkinson


8 HERTZ (original line up)

Vocals/Guitar - Steve Wilson
John ‘Bernie' Burnyeat - Guitar
Nigel Sandwith – Bass
Paul Knowles – Drums
David Taylor – Keyboards

(Buzz joined when Bernie left to go to university)

The Rebels in 1976

Nigel Sandwith (8 Hertz)
Sadly, Nigel Sandwith died in July 2006 after suffering with a debilitating illness for some time.
Nigel had been living in Australia for many years and we had only met up with him once in recent times, but he was still a very good friend, and he is greatly missed by all the lads in the band.
Many thanks to Buzz Elliott for providing both the writeup and the photographs