|Eddie and the Hot Rods|
|Genres||Pub rock, punk rock, power pop|
|Years active||1975 - 1981; 1982 - 1985; 1992 - present|
|Labels||Captain Oi!, Island, Arista, Voiceprint, various|
|Associated acts||The Damned
The Kursaal Flyers
Eddie and the Hot Rods is a pub rock band from Essex founded in 1975. Allmusic states "Arriving during the waning days of pub rock, Eddie and the Hot Rods helped usher in punk rock in the United Kingdom. Working from the same bluesy, Stonesy three-chord foundation as contemporaries like Dr. Feelgood, the Hot Rods were faster, tougher, wilder and louder than any other pub rock band. They also celebrated adolescent abandon, unlike their peers, who usually concentrated on working-class subjects."
The band were originally formed under the name 'Buckshee' in 1973. They rehearsed in drummer Steve Nicol's garage in Rochford, Essex. Bassist Rob Steel was known by his nickname, 'The Hustler'. They changed their name to Eddie and the Hot Rods after Dave Higgs joined. He was more experienced, and it was his input at this early stage that helped them to gel and get gigs, eventually, in 1975, hitting the London pub rock circuit.
They are often considered as one of the many punk rock bands that sprang from that city in the mid 1970s, but in fact saw themselves as more influenced by groups like The Who and The Kinks, and other pub rock acts such as Dr. Feelgood or Graham Parker & the Rumour. Before rising to semi-stardom in 1977, the Hot Rods underwent several changes in personnel: One of the first members to leave the band was Eddie himself, a dummy that featured prominently in the Hot Rods' early gigs and was discarded as the joke had worn thin. Otherwise, the band consisted of Barrie Masters on vocals, Pete Wall and Dave Higgs on guitar, Rob Steel on bass and Steve Nicol on drums. Ed Hollis, brother of Talk Talk's Mark Hollis became their manager, and the band were signed to Island Records.
By 1976, Lew Lewis (harmonica) and Paul Gray had replaced Wall and Steel. Lewis's tenure in the group lasted for the release of their first two singles before he too left. With this new line-up, the Hot Rods played a set at London's famous Marquee Club - their opening act was a young band named Sex Pistols. During a residency at the club in the summer of 1976 they duelled for alternate weeks with AC/DC, to see who could cram more bodies into the Marquee during one of the hottest summers on record. They first appeared in the UK Singles Chart the end of that year with the "Live at the Marquee" EP and the single "Teenage Depression".
After the release of the Teenage Depression album, which gave them their first appearance in the UK Albums Chart, they recorded another EP called "Live - At the Sound Of Speed". During the gig from which this EP was recorded, Graeme Douglas (formerly of The Kursaal Flyers) joined the band onstage and jammed along adding extra lead lines. His membership of the band was eventually made permanent, and they set about writing and recording their second album. The live recording of the "Sound of Speed" EP featured Douglas on only one track, and he therefore set about recording additional lead guitar overdubs in the studio. To keep with the essence of a live release he was only given one attempt at recording each song.
With the addition of Douglas, the band was moved in a more radio-friendly direction. Their biggest hit came with the Douglas/Hollis collaboration "Do Anything You Wanna Do" in the summer of 1977, under their shorter, snappier name, The Rods. This single made the British Top 10 (number 9 in August 1977) and also proved popular with the then predominant punk audience, as did that year's album Life on the Line. Still in 1977, the Hot Rods toured the United States. The band continued to perform, but their crowds were beginning to shrink dramatically, as their brand of energetic R&B became overshadowed by the punk explosion. When it came to recording a follow-up album, the band tried to recapture the success of "Do Anything You Wanna Do", but to no avail. They found themselves sacked by their record company in 1979, and after Fish 'n' Chips, another unsuccessful effort for EMI, the Hot Rods disbanded in 1981.
At this point, Gray and Douglas had already left the band, the former joining The Damned. Masters teamed up with The Inmates. Ed Hollis went on to work with some of the best known acts of the punk era including The Damned, Elvis Costello, and Stiff Little Fingers. After The Inmates and One the Juggler failed to make an impact, Masters and Nichol re-formed the Hot Rods with guitarist Warren Kennedy and bassist Tony Cranney. but the group broke up shortly afterward. In 1985, the group reformed with Masters, Nichol, Kennedy and bassist Russell Strutter.. This line-up recorded a live album for the independent Waterfront Records,
In the 1992 the 'classic' line-up (Masters, Nichol, Higgs, and Gray) reunited for a European tour. Upon its completion, Higgs left the group, and the remaining trio continued with guitarist Steve Walwyn, who was on leave from Dr. Feelgood due to Lee Brilleaux's illness. Shortly afterwards, former Feelgood Gordon Russell joined, but he too was only briefly a member of the band, and was replaced by Mick Rogers, a former member of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. In 1994, the Hot Rods were offered a one-shot recording contract with the Japanese record label, Creative Man Records. They re-grouped and the band made its first album in 16 years — Gasoline Days. The album was released in the UK in the spring of 1996 and in Japan. The following year, Rogers returned to the Earthband and he was replaced by Madman Keyo. That year, Nichol suffered a car accident, and while he recovered, Jess Phillips was the group's drummer.
In 2005 a Masters-led outfit recorded Better Late than Never in preparation for a 30th anniversary tour. The band is currently enjoying renewed popularity throughout Europe with regular tour dates, and has also performed in the U.S. after a 25-year sabbatical.
$$ EP tracks were "Hard Drivin' Man", "Horseplay", "Double Checkin' Woman", "All I Need is Money". A limited edition 12 inch version of this EP was also available, featuring a live rendition of "On The Run"