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Peter Nicholls - Lead Vocal

It was July 1976, the last really hot British summer that everyone still remembers, even those who weren’t alive then. Peter had taken himself off to Bingley Hall in Stafford to see Genesis performing on their ‘Trick Of The Tail’ tour. Hundreds of fans spent the afternoon sitting outside the vast and imposing cattle shed, braving the sweltering heat and waiting for the doors to open. Quite by chance, of all the people assembled there, he started chatting with a young Mike Holmes and Niall Hayden. “How we happened upon each other I don’t know and I shudder now to think: What if we hadn’t?” A friendship was struck and they exchanged addresses in order to keep in touch.

So began a long period of frequent letter-writing, during which Mike casually mentioned that he and Niall were guitarist and drummer respectively in a band called The Giln. Seizing his chance, Peter announced that he was a singer in search of a band. This, of course, was not strictly accurate. He’d never sung in public, in truth never having progressed beyond squawking along with records in his bedroom and posing in front of a mirror with a hairbrush for a microphone, but full of youthful confidence, he staked his claim.

Within a few weeks Peter had travelled to Southampton and the trio had made their first tentative steps together. The Giln swiftly evolved into The Lens, of which he was a nominal member, the celebrated non-singing vocalist ‘Pete from Manchester’, though he did introduce the songs at a notable open-air gig in 1978. Eventually, sense prevailed and he left the band, due in no small part to geographical differences.

Cut to May 1982 and a band under the name of The Same Curtain, featuring a singing and drumming PN, are playing their debut gig. Mike and Niall both attend. The next morning, Mike offers Peter the lead singer post in IQ, who incidentally have a gig coming up less than two weeks hence.

So it is that he makes his first appearance with IQ on June 1st at the Moonlight Club, West Hampstead, and in September he moves to London in pursuit of fame and fortune. What follows for the band is a long, frustrating slog of navigating the British motorway system in alarmingly unroadworthy vans, playing initially to handfuls of people and sleeping on a succession of damp floors, but with obstinate determination they stick with it, the music shines through and gradually the audience numbers increase and there’s even a post-gig hotel every now and then.

Some 30 years later, the road still stretches ahead. Amazing what a chance encounter can lead to...

Recommended Reading

‘Mervyn Peake – The Man And His Art’. Genius.

The collected works of Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie.

Also re-reading ‘The Hobbit’ in preparation for you-know-what.

Recommended Listening

The Producers: ‘Made in Basing Street’. Great songs and performances, greatly produced.

The Motels: 'The Motels'. Their sublime debut album. Love it.

Led Zeppelin: ‘Celebration Day’. Impressive and masterful. Stunning version of ‘Kashmir’.

Kristina Train: ‘Dark Black’. Flawless and the best voice ever.

The Beatles: ‘The Complete BBC Sessions’. Wow, those boys worked hard.

Recommended Viewing

‘Avatar’ on 3D blu-ray. Jaw-dropping.

‘The Munsters – The Closed Casket Collection’. Marvellous stuff.

‘Jude’ – the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Jude The Obscure’, my favourite book.