About XL5

Bob Simmons • vocals, guitar
Bruce Maine • bass
Dick Simmons • drums

Bob Simmons writes:
In 1976, I was a good friend of Dave Greenfield and asked him about starting a group. But he told me he'd joined a group called the Stranglers and they had a year's worth of gigs lined up. Because I couldn't get him as a keyboard player, we basically formed a guitar band. First of all it was a fairly basic rock band and the drummer Dické Slexia, would later join the Piranhas.

All the local bands used to rehearse at the Resource Centre, aka the Vault. The culture was that most Brighton punk bands rehearsed down there, including the Piranhas. XL5 came out of another band, Easy Glider. My brother decided to come and join as drummer and we inherited the bass player from that group in its early stages.

Easy Glider in turn came out of another group, Swift, who played with the Troggs and Spencer Davis in 1972 and 1973. Bruce Maine left fairly quickly and then Martin Ayris came down from Canterbury and that became the XL5 line-up.

The band's first gig was at Canterbury Art College in 1976. Xl5 started working around

London and played up and down the country. They had an extensive set of originals including unrecorded and forgotten numbers like Sex Tax.

We had quite a lot of long songs and quite a few short songs and very little in between. Lightning Records chose Here Comes The Knife for the Roxy album. It was all recorded on the RAK mobile. Unfortunately the album didn't sell that well. We did a tour of Scotland with some other bands to promote it but that didn't seem to push it a lot.

We were up there with the UK Subs (I used to promote them in Brighton), and we played a lot of gigs with them in London. Jimmy Pursey was a fan of ours. We used to do the XL5 theme as an encore and he leapt up on stage, off his head, and joined in. We had a lot of good fun.

After XL5 ended I got together with Dické Slexia and the brass section from Dexy's Midnight Runners and we put toether a reggae band, the Tribe, which lasted about a year. There was some interest from Pete Waterman but it never came to anything.

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