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Archive July 2006

1979: continued from our June issue:

The Vaultage album didn’t reach the shops until January of 1979. Things were starting to happen. The Attrix bands had had an airing on John Peel’s BBC Radio show. But the euphoria experienced by the favourable reviews and release of Vaultage 78 was to evaporate overnight with a tragic road accident involving the Piranhas.

At around 1.00am, after a gig in Hastings, the band’s Transit van carrying their gear and another car carrying band members and driven by road manager Dave Bullock, pulled over into a lay by on the A27 at Firle. After stretching their legs, Dave’s car was hit by a car that came speeding up the road. He died instantly. Other band members and crew suffered broken limbs, cuts and bruises and sax player Zoot was hospitalised for three months.

It was a terrible end to what should have been a time of celebration. Dave had not long moved down from Cheadle in Stoke, to become a full time roadie for the band. He was a mild and gentle guy and an old friend of Tony and me. It was a shocking episode for everyone concerned. My new band the Lillettes made our stage debut at the Richmond on the same bill as the Dodgems, and all proceeds from the gig went into a fund for Dave’s family.

We had mixed emotions about that first gig, something of an inauspicious start. Some time later, Barb and myself accompanied the Piranhas on a grim trip up to Cheadle for Dave’s funeral. It was a bizarre experience being in the back of a van with the Piranhas, like we were on our way to a gig.

The tragedy cast a lingering shadow over the whole Brighton music scene. The Piranhas had been offered a live slot on Peel’s radio show and now everything was up in the air. Bass player Reg said the band would go ahead with the show: “We can’t miss this chance of a lifetime, even though we have been through such a lot.”

They had lots of gigs lined up, both in town and around the south coast. They had released the long-awaited first single Jilly b/w Coloured Music on the Attrix label and locally it was selling steadily.

To be continued...

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Reg at his finest. He urged the band to go on, they had lots of gigs lined up and a live slot on John Peel's radio show. But the fatal crash cast a shadow over the whole Brighton scene.