The number of bands who come and go without making any real discernible noise in the music world is immeasurable. Even if there are some people who remember them play, even maybe purchased one of their offerings, in the grand old scheme of things if their name is not remembered, let alone known, by the average music fan long after the bands demise then perhaps they are better best forgotten.
But what about bands who have some limited success but fail to make the breakthrough to the mainstream?
One such band were the 1980’s ‘funk-punk’ band The Higsons. Label mates of bands like Madness, The Beat and The Specials, the Norwich based band never made the breakthrough to the main charts, but did have certain successes along the way.
The Higsons released a total of 9 singles in the UK between 1981 and 1985 but none made it to the official charts, although some of them did become top 10 hits in the UK Indie chart. They had a certain loyal following amongst the clubs and pubs where they plied their trade and did sell enough of their singles to make a mark on the Indie charts without bothering the mainstream UK chart. The band had split up by 1986 with their members going on to other projects, some bigger than others!
The line up of the band was as follows:
- Charlie Higson (vocals)
- Terry Edwards (guitar/saxophone/trumpet)
- Stuart McGeachin (guitar)
- Simon Charterton (drums)
- Colin Williams (bass)
- David Cummings (guitar)
After the demise of The Higsons, both Stuart McGeachin and Colin Williams left the music industry to get ‘proper’ jobs. Simon Charterton went on to found the band The Aftershave and Terry Edwards went on to found his own band The Scapegoats and later became a session musician. The other two members of The Higsons went on to find ‘fame and fortune’ and had careers that crossed over with each other on more than one occassion!
David Cummings, after the split of The Higsons, found himself in a band called Bonsai Forest that also included Paul Whitehouse. In 1989 he joined Del Amitri, staying with them until 1995, during which time the Scottish band were at the height of their powers. Cummings also turned his hand to writing for television, which he still does today!
Charlie Higson, after the demise of The Higsons, took solace in working as a plasterer but soon found himself as a comedy writer when he teamed up with Paul Whitehouse to write sketches for Harry Enfield. In 1994 the names of Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse came very much to the general public’s gaze when they wrote and appeared in the comedy television programme The Fast Show. The fast paced sketch show starred both Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse and also Caroline Aherne, Simon Day, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Mark Williams – all of whom received writing credits for the show.
Three other writers also helped to create The Fast Show – the first two, Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews would later go on to receive critical acclaim as the creators and writers of Father Ted, and the third was none other than David Cummings.
It is interesting to note that David Cummings, who at that time was playing guitar for Del Amitri and writing for television, had been in a band with both Charlie Higson (The Higsons) and Paul Whitehouse (Bonsai Forest) many years before, but what is even less well known is that all three had actually performed in a band called the Right Hand Lovers when they all attended Norwich University in the late 1970’s.
In The Fast Show series one, episode 4, David Cummings can be seen playing guitar with Del Amitri as the band perform at the very end of the video (8:45 onwards) with Paul Whitehouse on drums interrupting the song to utter one of his many catchphrases from the show; ‘anyone fancy a pint’!
I wonder how many fans of The Higsons said the same thing!