If you were into Coventry music in the mid-eighties, you couldn’t have failed to notice The Furious Apples, fronted by the tall enigmatic figure of Greg Crabb they knew how to promote themselves. I wrote the Coventry Gazebo column for the Brum Beat newspaper in those days, and I still have a ton of letters, flyers and general Furious Apples promotional material I received from Greg and the guys back then. Greg had a plan and we were all part of it, forget the hype though, the Apples were something very special and definitely had the talent to go with all the publicity.
Musical ideas began formulating in early 1981 with Greg Crabb and his brother Michael, their love of punk music had naturally inspired them to do something themselves, Gregg describes their first outing as a not very real “Glamour” a bedroom band. As regular gig-goers they began networking until the basis of a real rock band had been pulled together. The Furious Apples were now are entity on the Coventry music scene. “We had this get up and do it yourself spirit”, Gregg Admits, “in those days people just craved getting to together and start writing song in a punky anti-establishment way, but now I feel people in bands are striving to be part of the establishment and that’s where it’s all gone wrong. Nowadays bands seem frightened to go too far out on a limb, it’s all very safe. We started playing at The Hope & Anchor a venue that were prepared to let almost anyone have a go in those days, we did a lot of support there, before playing our own headline gigs at The General Wolfe”.
Gregg and the band would play along side the likes of Mummy Calls, Spacemen-3, The Higsons, April 1st Movement and The Sound. In photos they looked good; on stage they were stunning, amongst all the Furious Apples paper-work I found a promo-flyer with one of my live reviews on it, this is a little of what the live Apples experience was like in those days. “Some bands have it, some don’t the Furious Apples fit in the former category, and their stage presence is strong and forever growing stronger. Front-man Gregg Crabb has the looks and the charisma and indeed all the qualities that can help put this band on the pro muso-map”. Media-wise it was hard to label them, musically the Velvet Underground always came to mind, visually it was The Doors and the Stones mainly because of Gregg’s Jim Morrison/Mick Jagger looks. Members came and went including Nick Farrington, Martin Wilson, Steve Fardon, Mike Moore, John Wright, Raphael Moore, Clive Leyton and Whippet. Gregg and his brother Michael would always form the core of the band though, and between them write the bands songs. Two of those songs found there way onto a single, Engineering and Bella Donna released on the Cabin Studio’s record label Sonar in 1983. It would be a landmark in the bands history, finally converting some of that live energy to a 7” single. The band (and influential DJ John Peel) all favoured Bella Donna, but both songs in my opinion demonstrate a “moment in time” for a band that had such a big footprint on the local scene. In hindsight the release of the single would be the peak for the band, though at the time it seemed more like the launch pad for bigger things.
All Furious Apples flyers, posters and even letters had a ‘special’ look about them thanks to Gregg and his graphic design skills, self promotion and in-house marketing saw the bands profile rise in Coventry and even as far a field as London from time to time. With the arrival of Manager Wayne Morris, and interest from major label CBS, things were looking good for the Apples. The band shot a super eight promo-video for the song “Girl On Fire” all filmed at the then dilapidated Paris Cinema in Gosford Street, Coventry. “ The song Girl On Fire” says Greg, “was about Edie Sedgwick, she was in a lot of Andy Warhol movies, we though the old Paris Cinema was a great place to film the video, it was all falling down, but it was so atmospheric, but it was never properly edited, and I’ve never seen it properly, but I have heard it was really good”.
After getting their heavily sampled eastern influenced song Ajmer on the Compilation album Something Stirs, Michael left the band, and that was pretty much that for one of the city’s more forward-looking outfits. Gregg would go onto the band Daniels Vision and The Mudsliders, though he would become more pro-active in The Pilgrim club based at The Colin Campbell pub in Coventry. When Michael came back to Coventry the band The Pilgrims were formed, sadly they never lived up to The Furious Apples and a potential return to form was lost. The good news it that Greg is about to unleash a new band on the scene, one things for certain when he does, the whole city will know about it!
Furious Apples Trivia
- Drummer Whippet is now a member of the legendary Skabilly Rebels fronted by local hero Roddy Byers.
- CBS Records were so interested in the Apples that they had them play their song Terminal Passion down the phone. A deal with CBS was lost when the Furious Apples loving A&R man left the company.
- Manager Wayne Morris would go on to manage the Coventry chart band The Primitives.
- Former Apples drummer Steve Hands now plays with Peter Perrett and the One. Peter was once front man with the cult band The Only Ones famous for their song Another Girl, Another Planet.
For more Backbeat information go to www.covmusic.net
Contact Pete at email@example.com
You can hear Pete Chambers’ “Pop Into The Past” on
Bob Brolly’s Friday Show every week from 3.00 p.m.