Nicola Mumford - Finish The Story
Finishing the story
By Phill Huxley
A Worcestershire band who split up 20 years ago are releasing their songs for the very first time.
Finish The Story are one of Worcestershire's lost bands. Sinister, brooding, icy, haunting and ethereal - their music was like nothing else at the time and very little since.
Initially formed for a one off gig, Finish The Story went on to support The Cure and were voted one of the best live bands of 1982 (beating U2), before splitting up without ever releasing a record.
Finish The Story onstage
Now for the first time, some of Finish The Story's later tracks are being released, over 20 years since the band officially split.
Beginning the story
The three core members of Finish The Story; Nicola Mumford (Vocals), Peter Bright (Bass/Guitar) and Garry Smout (Keyboards) hailed from Evesham and Bromsgrove.
The band were born out of tragedy after the death of Stuart Dyke in a car accident. At the time he was Nicola’s boyfriend and bass player with Evesham group The Dancing Did.
The Dancing Did continued as a band and Finish The Story supported them for their debut gig at Malvern's Phoenix Club in mid-1981, in what was intended to be a one-off gig. The band literally had just hours to rehearse, with the three of them only meeting up for the first time a few days before the gig.
The gig went well, prompting Zig Zag magazine's reviewer Sara Jones to describe them as "raw powerful and exciting", claiming "Finish The Story's debut gig was better than the second coming of Jesus Christ."
After such as positive response, Finish The Story felt compelled to continue as a group, but with the mix of personalities it wasn't always easy for them - as guitarist/bassist Peter Bright recalls:
"There was always a tension between the three of us – sometimes it was creative and sometimes smothering – sometimes it simply got too much for us – musically it had got too intimate and close to the bone."
The 'Evesham Scene'
The Evesham Scene of the early 80s featured three main bands - The Photos, The Dancing Did and Finish The Story. It was centred around the Vauxhall Inn pub on Abbey Road. Peter remembers the pub:
"The Vauxhall Inn was where we all drank. The bar was full of haircuts, young flesh and anticipation, mixed in with the occasional Gypsy.
"We always came back to The Vauxhall for a bit of local culture... There were great parties with all sorts of shenanigans going on – at one a bloke swapped his boyfriend for a sofa – how bohemian."
Finish The Story
Although the bands were all different, with Finish The Story seeing themselves as the 'oddballs' of the scene. All three bands were shaped by their surroundings - Finish The Story rehearsed in a farmhouse in the Worcestershire countryside. Keyboard player Garry Smout remembers:
"Evesham cropped up in oblique references in several songs. ‘The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp’ is a song heavily centered around that dusty rehearsal farmhouse and some of the people who were there. ‘Playing at Life’ was also written about the farm.
"After Finish The Story split as a live possibility Peter and Nicola recorded ‘Trapped in a Hometown’ a wonderful song but the title says it all about living in small, insular market towns."
Supporting The Cure
In May 1982, after just a handful of gigs, Finish The Story got the chance to support The Cure at Hammersmith Odeon, after their vocalist Robert Smith heard some Finish The Story tracks.
The band had now added Sax player Jez Gibson to their lineup and it was the first chance for them to play on a big stage with a proper dressing room. They took advantage of the backstage catering as Peter explains:
Nicola from Finish The Story
"I bred Goats at the time – I’d bred a breed champion – so I asked the catering company to save me all the vegetable peelings so I could give them to my goats as a treat. How Rock and Roll was that?"
"At Hammersmith we had the sense to bring a kettle and tea making stuff with us", says Garry, "which meant the other bands - Smith included - actually came to our pokey dressing room for tea! Another fond memory was Nicola standing next to Siouxsie and being asked for an autograph when Siouxsie wasn't."
Coincidentlly, the gig came almost a year to the day of Stuart Dyke's death and on what would have been his 21st birthday.
Garry: "Incredibly, this was only our seventh gig and might show that we were doing something very right. Nicola saw this achievement as her work; her tribute if you like, done and called it a day."
The following year the original trio of the band reconvened and went on the road throughout the first half of 1983. But soon things came to a head and the band went their different ways.
Garry: "By July that year we sort of knew it was all over and the final gig was that September at the Marquee in London."
Finish The Story artwork
The three of them haven't been in the same room together since...
The story continues...
Four Finish The Story tracks are now available for the first time on a CD called Sampler #05 along with later tracks recorded by Peter Bright under the moniker of This Window.
The tracks included are 'Trapped In The Hometown' and 'Solace' (both previously released on French compilation CD 'En Face' in 1990). 'Ripples In The Water' and 'Playing At Life' (both unreleased and recorded 1985).
The band are in the process of getting more of their material together for another CD with seven or eight tracks. This should include some of their earlier material, which will be restored from the master tapes. You can hear a clip of one of these tracks 'As Cold As Roses' here:
For all the latest news on Finish The Story releases and to get hold of a copy of The Sampler #05, click the link below:
Garry is trying to put some of these events, the times and the other bands into what he describes as "a sort of autobiographical novel."
Nicola now lives in London, Garry in Barcelona and Peter in Devon.
You can listen to all the latest music from across the two counties on the Friday Session, every week from 7pm, on BBC Hereford & Worcester.
last updated: 16/01/2009 at 23:02
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