Have Guitars…Will Travel presents…
Formed some time in 1983 on the demise of John Novak’s previous band, Where’s Lisse?
First line-up features John on vocals/guitar with:
Chris Evans (bass)
Tony Booker (keyboards)
Martin Richardson (drums)
Dusa and Nina (backing vcls)
The early demos the band produced were a mixture of electronica with psychedelic pop (in the vein of The Cure) -typical track “Anangarange”.
However the departure of the female vocalists led to the development of a harder edged live sound with stronger psychedelic leanings. – “The Hand”
The band attempted to follow on from Where’s Lisse?’s progress and rarely played in the Northampton area, with sporadic forays to Birmingham and Oxford but interest in this type of guitar based music was limited (and would only later re-emerge with bands like Sonic Youth/Pixies in the states))
The band was again cursed with bad luck, the near fatal stabbing of
Tony Booker leading to a six month hiatus, followed by the departure of both
Chris Evans and Martin Richardson (who later took his own life)
Their replacements were Mark Halsey on drums and Alaric Neville (Penny Dreadfuls) on bass/guitars. track -“This Man” The more polished sound of the new line up lead to interest from Elektra records but nothing transpired. The return to Northampton of John’s brother Alex from his stints with Attrition and Dance Naked
in 1986 lead to the formation of the original 3 piece line-up of The Venus Fly Trap:
Alex Novak (vocals/TR707)
John Novak (guitar)
Tony Booker (bass)
A back to basics approach with a Gothic/Stooges inspired sound, a set-list composed of re-jigged Cats Collide songs (inc The Hand) and new material (Morphine/Catalyst/Rosey Crucifixion/Desolation Railway/Flowers/Step Inside etc)this line-up gigged frequently over 1986/87 including a number of Londonshowcases and recordings of Morphine and Catalyst appeared on numerous tape
and vinyl (Dead Man’s Curve) compliations. After initial interest from Revolver records a deal was made with French label Danceteria. At this point John departed to create Evermore Music- home of the “Perfect Squash” indie compilation tapes.
He was replaced in the line-up by Dave Freak 9percussion) and Chris Evans (bass)with Tony Booker switching to guitar. This line-up re-recorded Morphine and Catalyst for the Danceteria release and followed it up with numerous European dates and the Desolation Railway and How the Mighty releases. this line-up eventually folded
in 1988 and John returned to the fold for the recording of the Mars album along with Tim Perkins (Finality Jack).
Having now all officially left The Venus Fly Trap, former Cats Collide members
John Novak (guitar/vocals)
Tony Booker (guitar)
Chris Evans (bass)
reconvened and re-recruited drummer Mark Halsey to create The Red Room
Once again, re-inventing some Cats Collide material (The Hand), some early VFT tunes (“Flowers” becoming “Sap”) and writing new songs, the band returned to the local circuit, playing alongside the likes of Venus Fly Trap and Awesome Wells.
Never frequent giggers, the band produced a couple of demos, the 6 tracks appearing on the “Step Inside” cassette album.
Some time in the early 90’s – 1992 is just a guess, things took their natural course and Cats Collide/(VFT)/The Red Room ceased to be.
In 2010 John Novak used solo demo recordings made in the period 1983-1992 to create his latest project – Ethereal K.
In 2012 the best of Cats Collide and The Red Room’s recordings appear on the CDr album cats collide vs the red room on wall of novak.WON008
“an original punk band formed in 1977”
Review of The Aliens gig June 2017, (Pulse Magazine)…. Landing at The Charles Bradlaugh are Wellingborough based band the Aliens who are playing their first gig in 35 years. With a sound that is simultaneously futurist and a homage to ’60s garage rock their unique brand of high energy sci-fi punk is a sure crowd pleaser. Their self-effacing humour (“We’re the semi-legendary Aliens!”) could leave them looking a little goofy but no fear: musically these guys are on top form and tracks like ‘Loose’, ‘Poxy Students’ and a cover of Pink Fairies’ ‘City Kids’ all seal their punk credentials. The choice of encore is pure genius (Julian Cope’s ‘Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed’) and raises a few eyebrows and smiles. Visit us again soon Aliens: don’t make us wait another 35 years!