In London, late 1976, Nick Cash (guitar & vocals), Guy Days (guitar & vocals), Jon Watson (bass) and Pablo LaBritain (drums & percussions) started to play together. The first gig was 22.1.1977 and their band was called The Dials at that time. Soon the changed their name to 48 Hours (Nick Cash was called Gene Carsons at that time), and after that the name was The Fanatics, and finally 999. As trivia: Nick did play in early 70's in Kilburn & the High Roads, Ian Dury's first band.
The initial line-up of THE LURKERS consisted of Pete Stride on guitar, Pete ‘Manic Esso’ Haynes on drums, vocalist Howard Wall and Nigel Moore on Bass. After playing just a handful of gigs, Nigel was very soon replaced by Arturo Bassick, becoming the line-up we are most familiar with. The band went on to support the Jam in February 1977, Eater in March and Slaughter and The Dogs in April.
By the time of the punk heyday of 1977, the band had built up a huge and loyal following, and were signed to Beggars Banquet Records, through whom their debut single, ‘Shadow’, was released. This single was voted by John Peel listeners as the twelfth best track of 1977’s Festive Fifty: The B-side, ‘Love Story’, voted at number 31. The Lurkers recorded four sessions at Maida Vale 4 Studio for John Peel at BBC Radio 1, and appeared on Top of the Pops, as well as various other media shows. Arturo played on the track ‘Be My Prisoner’ on the 1977 compilation album, ‘Streets’, of early UK punk bands from a variety of independent labels.
After recording the second single, the B-side written by Arturo, ‘Freak Show’ / ‘Mass Media Believer’, Bassick left the band to form Pinpoint, and was replaced by former Saints member, Kym Bradshaw, who then himself left before recording the third single. Nigel Moore returned for this recording: 1978s ‘Ain’t Got a Clue’ / ‘Ooh!, Ooh! I love You’, which was their biggest hit, reaching number 45 in the UK singles chart. The following month, the band’s debut album, Fulham Fallout, reached number 57 in the UK albums chart.
Their second album, ‘God’s Lonely Men’ was not as successful as their debut. Due to changing musical trends, and the record company focusing on new signing Gary Numan, The Lurkers called it a day in 1980. Still, just two years later in 1982, Stride reformed the band, signing to Clay Records, a Stoke-on-Trent based label who worked with GBH and Discharge. With Clay, they released four singles and one album, ‘This Dirty Town’, then calling it a day again in 1984, when lead vocalist, Mark Fincham, ran off to work the drag clubs of Berlin.
This was not, however, the last we would see of The Lurkers, as in 1987, Arturo had a chance meeting with the hugely successful German punk band, Die Toten Hosen, and discovered that they were Lurkers super-fans, willing to finance a comeback album. ‘Wild Times Again’ was released in February 1988, launching The Lurkers once again back onto the live punk scene. The album featured Arturo Bassick on vocals, Nigel Moore on bass, Pete Stride on Guitar and Dan Tozer on drums, although the album credit was, out of loyalty, given to Esso, despite his return to the band for just the one gig in 1987. This friendship with Die Toten Hosen saw The Lurkers supporting the band in huge stadium gigs across Europe, Arturo himself coordinating the Hosen’s 1991 ‘Learning English’ album in London with a series of well-known punk artists of the time. Nigel left in 1993, followed by Stride in 1994, leaving Arturo as the last remaining member of the 1977 line-up.
Since this time, the band have continued to tour, not only regularly all over the UK, but also throughout Europe, Brazil, and Japan, amongst other places. The line-up has changed several times since 1987 to date, largely due to Arturo’s somewhat nomadic tenancies and the necessity to recruit members within his locale. In recent years, Nelly (The Fiend) on drums and Billy Gilbert (Chelsea) on guitar played many Lurkers gigs, including supporting a 14 day Buzzcocks tour: later with Dan Tozer on drums, then Craig Casson (1977) on drums and Steve Racket (Hi Fi Spitfires) on guitar. In spite of the interchangeable membership, one constant has always remained, Arturo Bassick. Whilst the legacy of the band is primarily rooted in their late 1970s works, which are considered classic examples of UK punk, it is largely Arturo’s witty, outgoing, cheeky, ‘has-time-for-everyone’ demeanour that may people think of when they consider The Lurkers.
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