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|The definitive history of Passion Spent - by Patrick (the parrot)
This was not the beginning – and I wasn't around to record all the shenanigans – but one Sunday in the early 80s (Ok, I know exactly when it was: Sunday 9 January, 1983 – at 12.00 noon!) – at the old Paragon Toolmakers offices in National Avenue, Hull – Dave, Ian, Mick Douthwaite and Brian Wrigglesworth held auditions for a singer. The story goes like this: one of those auditioning was so scary that Dave secreted himself in the gents toilet looking for an escape route (Have a heart! He was only seventeen). This auditionee was not Jim, who ended up being voted into the band... by default, you could say. Actually, Jim tells me that when Mick phoned to say he was in the band, he made a point of saying it was for a trial period. Having never been told that the trial period has ended, Jim's convinced it's still running!
At that time, Ian was using an old Casio-MT31 (isn't that a toy?) to play songs like 'Candle in the Wind', while at the same time learning to use one of those more complex things – one of Yamaha's monophonic analogue synthesizers (actually a single oscillator CS5), with all kinds of knobs and buttons – like VCA, VCF, portamento and such. Dave was playing a Yamaha SG2000, but he also had a red Yamaha SC1200 as I recall. But this was all in the distant past, so I could be misremembering everything! As a point of interest, one of the band members still owns that old Casio-MT31. Who could that be?
Of course, once the line-up was complete the next thing was to decide on a name for the band. Hoping, I suppose, to catch the coat tails of the New Romantic movement, and with regard to the recent (November 1982) release of Duran Duran's single of the same name, the band chose the name RIO. However, at such tender ages and with little experience to speak of, they didn't realize that – as they would be playing the pubs and clubs in the Hull area – people would generally think the name RIO indicated that they were a Country band (and probably thought the band originated from the Rio Grande, Texas!!)
Anyway, by 6 March 1983 a sufficient number of songs had been learned (in a fashion) for the band to perform their first gig. This was at the Endyke pub – Endyke Lane, Hull. Jim's between-song patter was almost non-existent, consisting of "That was [name song] by [name original artist]; this next song is [name song] by [name original artist]". But after the gig, Jim received (along with a clip around the ear) some encouragement from the Endyke landlord, Dick Lovejoy, for which Jim remains eternally grateful. Dick actually recorded that first gig on video, but no one can remember watching the footage, so perhaps there was no film in the recorder. Then again, almost anything can turn up on eBay these days.
The songs the band covered in those early days included Gary Numan's 'Cars', Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love', The Cars' 'Just What I Needed', Duran Duran's 'Save A Prayer', Foreigner's 'Waiting For A Girl Like You', Gary Moore's 'Parisian Walkways', Hall & Oats' 'Maneater', Bowie's 'Lets Dance', etc. See – not one Country song!
If you'd like to hear about Mick's experimentation with electronic percussion (a single electric tom-tom, actually) and his coat-hanger microphone holder...