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Eclectic Electric Volume 1

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Bandcamp. If you've heard of it you'll know why we are using it! If you've not heard of it you'll thank us for telling you!

Can you imagine a website where bands can upload full resolution audio files (.aiff) and you can chose what type of format your download is, and there's a minimum of third party overheads reducing the band's income.

Imagine no more because that's what Bandcamp is. By starting with the highest possible quality source, they’re able to convert our tracks into a bunch of different format and quality combinations for you to listen to, including MP3 (320, VBR V0), Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, FLAC and AAC (aka .m4a or iTunes store format)

You can see why we have chosen bandcamp as our supply partner for our downloads.

Having said that In the days of our demo recordings the facilities available to up-coming bands were rather basic compared to this century!

The demo tracks were mostly recorded on a cassette based "portastudio" or in some cases directly off the sound desk at gigs but this also imbues the tracks with a certain 'patina', which given their 30+ years age is quite fitting, so please understand that these are not modern recording studio quality. We're currently leaving the tracks open for streaming so you can hear what you are getting before buying!

Click here for Pallas Downloads at Bandcamp

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PALLAS have had a very eventful history. From a schoolboy band in the early Seventies to headlining the world famous Hammersmith Odeon in the mid Eighties, they developed their own unique style which made them very difficult to categorise, suffered the trials and tribulations of the record business, over thirty years on are happy to continue to write and perform as a self financing 'cottage industry'. This is the start of the story of the bands chequered past, their highs, their lows and their in-betweens! Its quite long, though not as long as when they lived it! Before the internet was even a generation away bands kept in touch with their fanbase (dare we even say 'fan clubs') with newsletters and magazines, this potted history comes from "The Sentinel Handbook" which was sent out as part of the membership package for the Pallas 'fan club' in the early 80's.

THE VERY EARLY DAYS

 On the 27th October, 1974 the young Aberdeen band 'Rainbow' had their first practice together. One week later saw their first gig at Keith. The original line up consisted of:

 

George Gibson - Lead vocals, electric mandolin and violin

Dave Taylor - Lead guitar and vocals

Graeme Murray - Bass guitar and vocals

Mike Stobbie - Organ

Colin Rae - Drums

 

This short lived line up was soon to change with Ali Milne taking over the drum sticks, Brian Wood taking over the microphone and Dave Holt taking over the guitar. Not long after, Derek Forman assumed the drumming position and Craig Anderson took over the front man's job by early 1977. The band were forced to change their name at this time due to Ritchie Blackmore forming his "Rainbow". For one reason or another, PALLAS was the name of choice, and the first PALLAS line up comprised:

 

Craig Anderson - Lead vocals and tambourine

Dave Holt - Guitar, Synthesised guitar, vocals

Graeme Murray - Bass, Bass/12 string twin-neck, vocals

Derek Forman - Drums, Percussion, Tubular Bells

Mike Stobbie - Hammond organ, ARP, Odyssey, Crumar Multiman

At this time the road crew included Mike Bentley and Graeme Hunter who are with them to this day.

 

This line up supported many bands at Aberdeen University including Thin Lizzie, The Damned, Slik, Kevin Coyne, Shakin Stevens etc. The band also wrote many pieces of music written in the same style as Yes and Genesis who were still to reach the pinnacle of their success. Many locals considered that these likely lads were on the verge of similar success.

However, 1977 was famous/infamous for the PUNK REVOLUTION!!! A movement which was to kill stone dead many a proficient young band, and in all honesty, probably lead to bands such as Yes and Genesis becoming "mega buck dinosaurs", their young natural successors having being driven underground. PALLAS weren't wiped out by the Sex Pistols phenomena, but entered a slightly dubious phase of their development with a change in style to what was termed "Symphonic Punk".This was a fusion of the musical proficiency and standards of the "old wave" with the pace and agression of the "new wave".

As the band's late '77 publicity so graphically puts it:- "Their new adventurous approach to music led to a genetic mutation of old ans new wave music in the form of a cynical futuristic 1984 (!) setting. Their menacing Thought Police appearance on stage smacks of new wave, 2nd generation Rock Music minus obligatory safety pins. Their music, driving energetic, at times overpowering, is structured with the skill and cleverness of the old wave and has been described as "Symphonic Punk".

The height of this period came on 16 December 1977 when the band recorded the first piece of plastic to bear the name PALLAS. "The PALLAS EP" was recorded at Craighall Studios, Edinburgh. The tracks comprised "Reds under the Beds", "Wilmot", "Thought Police" and "C.U.U.K." This must be a true collectors item, only 700 being sold and many became ashtrays in their old age. The EP was released in February 1978. For the next few months the lads went around Scotland, causing consternation among some University social secretaries with their 'neo-nazi 'image.

Though some aspects of this period may be embarrasing to the band now, it probably resulted in the continuing drive of PALLAS music since that phase.

More crucial in the formation of the "PALLAS Sound" were the line up changes in 1978 and 1979. Guitarist Dave Holt's limitations led to the band auditioning for a new guitarist. Amongst those apporoached was Niall Mathewson, whose own band "Pryer" had recently disbanded. In June 1978, Niall played his first gig with PALLAS, with the minimum of rehearsal. This was to be the pattern for Euan and Ronnie too. Niall joining the band marked a change of musical direction, towards a much more guitar orientated variety of "Symphonic Rock", the "Thought Police" image being abandoned. Interesting to note at this time, PALLAS were mixing their own self penned numbers with covers of "Burn", "Smoke On The Water", "Won't Get Fooled Again", and "Squonk".

Following increasingly deteriorating relationships within the band, singer Craig Anderson departed, in fact not turning up to a gig. Craig had started exploring theatrics, and the band were eager to pursue this track. Local band Balrog were renowned for their frontman Euan Lowson, hailing from Dumbarton. He was approached, and within a week, his first PALLAS appearance was at the Cuinzie Neuk in Kinghorn, Fife October 1978

Euan Lowson - Lead vocals

Niall Mathewson - Guitar

Graeme Murray - Bass, Bass/12 string twin-neck, vocals, Bass pedals

Derek Forman - Drums, Percussion, Tubular Bells

Mike Stobbie - Hammond organ, ARP, Odyssey, Crumar Multiman.

His audition comprised of "Bohemian Rhapsody", and "Child in Time". At a later date, he pointed out that he had been auditioned by Graeme before Craig joined!

For the next year, PALLAS made their name in Scotland, adopting a second home at the legendary Dial Inn in Glasgow where their famous rendition of "Suppers Ready" became an increasing millstone around their necks! The music biz was pricking up its ears, but no-one would commit to anything so unfashionable. At this time of increasing popularity and potential, founder member and keyboards player Mike Stobbie departed to join another local band in September 1979.

 

Good keyboards players were hard to come by and the remaining four members set to rehearsing as a fourpiece, writing "Five to Four" (about the band - understand now?!) "Guess Who" "When The World Stood Still" "Procession" until a chance conversation with Derek landed Ronnie Brown in the Keyboard seat, recruited from a local Funk/Soul band!!

 

Euan Lowson - Lead vocals

Niall Mathewson - Guitar

Graeme Murray - Bass, Bass/12 string twin-neck, vocals, Bass pedals

Derek Forman - Drums, Percussion, Tubular Bells

Ronnie Brown - Keyboards.

 

As usual, Ron was thrown in at the deep end, and with the minimum of rehearsal the band played in the Aberdeen Musicians Union contest in December 1979. Ron's joining was the last line up change for a long time and marked the begining of a long uphill slog. It is a tribute to the stability and strength of PALLAS that they weathered the difficult times until July 1983 when the EMI deal was secured.

 

SCOTTISH SUCCESS

With the dawn of the eighties, PALLAS consolidated their growing success in Scotland. The early months of 1980 were spent writing/rewriting material with Ronnie. The "Radio Silence" tour of Scotland in February/March 1980 featured "Five To Four" "Flashpoint" "Radio Silence", "Queen Of The Deep" "Playground" "The Interview, with "The Knife/Los Endos" and "Echoes" as covers.

 

During the summer months the band had the use of an old church hall which enabled them to practice whenever they could, and a cohesive PALLAS style was established with the writing of "Crown of Thorns", "The Ripper" with it's highly controversial theme, and "Heart Attack" in fairly quick succession.

 

 

Armed with these numbers, and the best of the "Radio Silence" set, PALLAS stormed their strongholds, and firmly established that there was a market for their so called "progressive rock". In November 1980, the lads played the Glasgow Apollo in the Battle of the Bands contest. Following from the success of the new material, the lads organised their own finance to record a live cassette album, entitled "Arrive Alive", at the Bungalow Bar in Paisley. It was recorded on the top notch Radio Clyde Mobile. 1,000 cassettes were originally pressed, and released in June 1981, with two further editions being made some months later.

 

The track listing was:

 

Side A

1 Five to Four

2 Queen of the Deep

3 Flashpoint

 

Side B

1 Heart Attack

2 Crown of Thorns

3 The Ripper

 

The second and third pressings contained an additional track in the form of a demo of "Paris is Burning". These original "Granite Wax" recordings with "Paris is Burning" must be the rarest PALLAS recordings.

The next move was to increase the bands following down south. Publicist Keith Goodwin was approached in February 1982 and the name PALLAS started appearing regularly in the columns of Sounds and Kerrang. Keith persuaded the band to release their first single for their own label - Granite Wax - in April 1982. Confusingly entitled "Arrive Alive", the track had originally been recorded as part of a series of demos in November 1981 at Glasgow's Ca Va studios.

 

Having visited many record companies with the cassette album during late summer, it had become obvious that the epic style of the album needed shorter tracks to compliment it if record companies were to become more interested in the band . To that end, a hectic few days were spent exploring the possibilities of singles type material. The result was recorded in November and that two day session proved very valuable. The four tracks demoed were "Arrive Alive" "Paris is Burning" "Stranger on the Edge of Time" and a one off "Live" take of "The Hammer Falls".

 

The band deliberately tried to show their diversity by writing a heavy metal track, a pop-rock track, and an "electronic" track respectively. "The Hammer Falls" was not intended for release or demo purposes. It was recorded for a proposed Radio Clyde session.

 

The first mix of "Arrive Alive" was improved for the single . The B side was "Stranger on the Edge of Time", the experimental electronic number. The demo of "Paris is Burning" found its way onto some pressings of the cassette album. Unfortunately , the one off "The Hammer Falls" found its way onto vinyl at a later date without being overdubbed and re- mixed.

 

NATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH

 

Following the association with Keith Goodwin, PALLAS arranged their first English dates in February '82, including Leicester Electric Theatre before an audience of four "new romantics" due to a billing cock-up! At this time Marillion had recently released their first cassette album and the Scottish connection of Fish being their singer prompted Mike B to contact them, as a result the band supported them at the Starlight Club for their first London gig, plus a few others, and in turn helped organise Marillion's first Scottish tour in April and May.

 

 

Immediately after these dates, "Vic" the faithful tour bus, crashed through a wall at the Sunderland Mayfair whilst it's new engine was being checked by a mechanic, demolishing the plumbing system and closing the venue for the night! All that was damaged on the bus was the now missing front windscreen, and the passengers had to travel overnight to Glasgow's Diall Inn for their first national interview in Sounds magazine in a gale!

 

Six months later (!) the feature hit the streets on the same day as the band played the first of many gigs at the prestigious Marquee Club in Soho, London, September 22nd 1982. These regular 1000 mile round trips marked the transition from Scottish Hopefuls to National Status, albeit at the bottom of the ladder. From then on the band recieved numerous reviews and ever increasing interest from a gaggle of record company A & R men. By the 2nd & 3rd gigs at the Marquee, the guest list read like an A & R man's convention. Unfortunately, the most important gig to date suffered from technical problems with the venue PA system, and though the band received a refund this couldn't make up for the bad impression given to the record companies. However a manager , Harry Maloney, showed an interest in the band and took them on at the end of the year.

 

By the start of 1983, the demand for PALLAS material was such that the "Arrive Alive " album was re-released in an abridged form on vinyl. For unexplained reasons the inferior first mix of the track Arrive Alive was included instead of the approved single mix.

 

The album graced the "Heavy Metal" charts for many months and sold a respectable 10,000 copies.

The running order was :

 

Side A

1 Arrive Alive

2 Heart Attack

3 Queen of the Deep

 

Side B

1 Crown of Thorns

2 The Ripper

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pallas Ep 1977

EP1

1. Reds Under The Beds 04:39 
2. Thought Police 04:14
3. CUUK 03:58
4. Wilmot Dovehouse MP

On 16 December 1977 when the band recorded the first piece of plastic to bear the name PALLAS. "The PALLAS EP" was recorded at Craighall Studios, Edinburgh. The tracks comprised "Reds under the Beds", "Wilmot", "Thought Police" and "C.U.U.K." This must be a true collectors item, only 700 being sold and many became ashtrays in their old age. The EP was released in February 1978. We have digitised the EP for download - listen and marvel at what was to develop from these foundations!

 

Click here for The Pallas EP at Bandcamp

 

Home

Eclectic Electric Volume 1

wearewhoweare

News

Pallas Shop

XXV

Archives

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