History of Leicester bands 1

Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.

Gaye Bykers on Acid

performed at The Donkey on Friday 30th September as part of their UK tour.

A number of bands form part of the early history of modern music in Leicester; others include Cornershop, Prolapse,  Crazyhead, The South, Chrome Molly, Diesel Park West, Showaddywaddy and others, all of which pre-date the emergence of Kasabian and were nationally important back in the 1980s to 1990s. Very few of the members of these bands are still active atoday but a few of them are and the appearance of one of them at the Donkey was of considerable significance.

Gaye Bykers on Acid (GBOA) were an English psychedelic rock band from Leicester, founded in 1984/5, and one of the founder members of the Grebo music scene comprising psychedelic electro punk pop. The band’s genre is given as ‘Indie Garage Punk Space Rock, Dance Groove.’

Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.
Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.

They later released both thrash punk and dance music albums under various aliases. Gaye Bykers on Acid were formed in late 1984 by Ian Reynolds (Robber) and Ian Hoxley (Mary). They were later joined by guitarist and art student Tony Horsfall and drummer Kevin Hyde. Their first gig was at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester in mid-1985. The band came to prominence in 1986 to 1991.

Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.
Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.

The name of the band – Gaye Bykers On Acid – was originally inspired by a Ray Lowry cartoon.

The rest you can read on Wikipedia.

Their first releases – the single Everythang’s Groovy and the Nosedive Karma EP – were released on the InTape label. They then signed to Virgin Records, they were dropped by Virgin in 1989, with Virgin releasing the albums Drill Your Own Hole and Stewed to the Gills. Initial quantities of the vinyl version of Drill Your Own Hole were pressed without a hole in the centre, so it was necessary to literally drill your own hole to play it. The album spent one week at number 95 in the UK Albums Chart in November 1987. They also played gigs (dressed in women’s clothing) under the name ‘Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds’, supporting themselves, and thus getting paid twice. They also performed as a fictitious East German thrash punk band “Rektüm”  recording an LP Sakredanus and an EP Real Horror Show under the name.

In 1990 they released Pernicious Nonsense, their last studio album, recorded with Jon Langford at the Stone Room Studios and at Alaska St. Studios with house engineer Chelo Zambelli. After difficult tours in the US and UK the band broke up, the final blow being when the label Rough Trade, who distributed their Naked Brain recordings, went bankrupt owing them and many other bands considerable amounts of cash.

On February 22nd 2016 it was announced that Gaye Bykers on Acid would be reforming for a final performance at Indie Daze in October 2016. This was later expanded into a 9 date tour. The tour is being promoted as the last time the band will play together live.

Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.
Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.

Robber now works as an underground DJ and film-maker. He records under the names Robber Byker and Surfin’ Bernard. Robber Byker and Zoe Reynolds have released several Wonky Techno records on Shed Records, and remixes on Midtone. In 2013, with Robber on lead guitar alongside Porkbeast, Vom and Anderson from Crazyhead, a new band was formed, entitled Swamp Delta. The band has released a number of singles to date and played at the Bearded Theory and Rebellion festivals during the summer of 2014.

Mary Byker has sung in the bands Pigface, Hyperhead, Apollo 440, and Maximum Roach. His current group is called “The Jungle”. He also composes music for TV adverts. In 2011 he joined a new incarnation of Pop Will Eat Itself, replacing original member Clint Mansell.

Gaye Bykers On Acid (the name originally inspired by a Ray Lowry cartoon) were formed in late 1984 by Ian Reynolds (Robber Byker) and Ian Hoxley (Mary Byker). They were later joined by guitarist and art student Tony Horsfall (Tony Byker) and drummer Kevin Hyde (Kev Byker). Their first gig was at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester in mid-1985.

Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.
Gaye Bykers on Acid at The Donkey, 30th September 2016. Photo: Gaz Birtles.

Their first releases – the single Everything’s Groovy and the Nosedive Karma EP – were both recorded in Leeds with Jon Langford of The Mekons, and released on the InTape label, both reached the indie charts with Nosedive Karma staying at No.1 for 2 weeks. They did several tours of the UK and Europe and two tours of USA. They subsequently released the album Cancer Planet Mission on their own record label, Naked Brain. They also recycled and used the band name ‘The Purple Fluid Exchange’ (PFX) to release their dance cross-over material. It was at this time that Rocket Ronnie joined the band as DJ, sample player and dance advisor.

The group often included samples from other artists or films in their music, usually from cult films such as Repo Man, Taxi Driver, Dune, Barbarella, Clockwork Orange, Star Trek, Videodrome, Apocolypse Now, Bladerunner & Monty Python.

Rich Deakin is the author of a forthcoming book about GBOA and Crazyhead to be published by Headpress.

See this YouTube film of Swamp Delta performing Heavy Water. (GBOA’s Robber Byker collaborates with Crazyhead’s Anderson and Porkbeast in creating Swamp Delta. )

Find out more from the band’s website.

See also:

Diesel Park West at The Musician in December 2018.

Our roundup of Leicester’s live music in September.

Our roundup of Leicester’s live music in October.

Budgie Smugglers – feature article.

About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan.