Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The year was 1976 and the place was Liverpool, England. Four young men (two of whom were brothers) decided to form a band even though, supposedly, not one of them had ever played in a actual band before. In addition to the two brothers (Robbie & Brian Burrows - drums and bass respectively) the band would feature guitarist/vocalist Dave Bryce (Sniffa) and vocalist/guitarist Colin Harkness. All totaled Spider would release three albums including 1982's excellent "Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies", 1984's "Rough Justice" and 1986's "Raise the Banner (For Rock 'n' Roll)" before calling it a day in 1986. Of course the band also released more singles then you can throw a stick at. Or so it seems as I'm listening to the band's "Singles Collection 1976 - 1986". Starting off with the band's first single, 1977's "Back to the Wall" and moving forward it's interesting to see the band's growth. For those who don't know the band was often dubbed a poor man's Status Quo and sure enough this early single showcases a down and dirty boogie style. While Status Quo is a matter of interpretation here, and I surely wouldn't disagree with that assesment, I'd also suggest band's like Eddie And The Hot Rods as a point of reference. Seeing the band play full-tilt boogie style rock, which is certainly on the fringe of the movement admittedly, and then transforming into something with a bit more...well, backbone is interesting. Not that album's like "Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies" completely abandon the boogie. Rather they give it a good kick in the pants. The music on 1982's "Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies" offers more of a familiar NWOBHM sound with louder guitars and an unashamed "let's just have fun with this guys" attitude. It certainly would never be confused with Saxon, Tank or Iron Maiden and yet, even as it is stripped down rock and roll at it's purest, if we are to be honest it deserves every bit the attention these other bands got just because it is so much fun. In the end, despite countless gigs and single after single, the band simply called it quites. None of the members managed to stick around in the field of music really if truth is to be told. Even now some will no doubt cast snide remarks about whether or not Spider were really a NWOBHM band as they were more rock then metal. But, from their early days on the boys just wanted to have fun and play music that was no-frills, rock and roll with the same sort of D.I.Y. attitude that made the genre so sweet to begin with!

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