|The Sharks, Phantom Rockers of Neo-Rockabilly
The Sharks were formed in the late 1970's by guitarist Alan Wilson and were initially a 50's style Rockabilly band. A line up change in 1982 brought in Steve Whitehouse on slap bass and Paul 'Hodge' Hodges on drums. Within 2 weeks the trio had not only written and recorded their first album, but had also signed to Nervous records - a new label that was spearheading the Neo-Rockabilly movement.
Their first release was titled Phantom Rockers (1983) - an album that even now still sells well. This album has been licensed to several other companies and released in many formats including coloured vinyl and CD. Within a few months of the release the band split after a trip to Holland where they were recorded live by KRO radio. Some of these tracks were subsequently released on the Nervous LP First and Last Live.
It would be 10 years before the Sharks would emerge again. Steve went on to form Frenzy whilst Alan set about a career in sound engineering and producing. These days he runs Western Star, his own recording studio.
In 1993 Alan was producing an album for The Frantic Flintstones when bass player Gary Day suggested that the Sharks would be well received should they ever reform. So, the Sharks started recording - using Gary on bass - and were snapped up by Cherry Red records who released the Sharks comeback CD on their Anagram label. Recreational Killer received critical acclaim and before long the Sharks were touring again, busier that ever and headlining festivals all over Europe and Scandinavia.
In 1995, due to touring and recording commitments with Morrissey, Gary was replaced by original bassist Steve Whitehouse, but not before the coloured vinyl 12" EP Bitch Attack was released by Vinyl Japan as well as a CD of demo recordings called Ruff Stuff was released by Rockhouse records. Alan and Hodge later worked with Gary Day on his solo project The Gazmen - which was released as a 12" EP on Vinyl Japan. The tracks also featured Morrissey's guitarist Alain Whyte and has recently surfaced as a CD on Rock It records of Hollywood.
Now that Steve was back, the Sharks again toured extensively, this time billed as the original line up. Anagram released the album Colour My Flesh and Fury records put out a 7" EP called Sir Psycho. There were other re-issues and odd releases along the way including picture discs and many, many compilation appearances.
Hodge was replaced on drums by Ben Cooper (ex Restless) in 1996 who was in turn replaced by Carl Parry (ex Frenzy guitarist) a few years later.
Although live performances are now kept to a minimum - due to individual members all being so busy, the Sharks are by no means dead in the water and are currently putting together a new studio album titled Apex Predator. Meanwhile a collection of EP tracks and other assorted Sharks songs that never made it to CD has just been released. The title of this 16 track compilation is Bitch Attack and is available from Raucous records.
Also watch out for other Sharks-related releases: Frenzy are still actively recording and performing whilst Alan is also busy with his solo project Reservoir Teds and his recording band The Woodies.
Recent Sharks releases include: 'Live in Japan' out on Crazy Love records - available on both CD and picture-disc vinyl, and just out on Anagram records, a brand new 25 track 'Best of Sharks' CD containing 2 previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Courtesy of Alan Wilson, 2004
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