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|The Sharks origins can be traced back to the Rock 'n' Roll revival that the UK experienced during the mid - to - late 70's. Founding member Alan Wilson had been a Rockabilly fanatic since childhood and was by now playing guitar with a trio calling themselves The Dixie Rebels. By 1980 the band had changed its name to The Sharks and were appearing live all over the UK as well as making numerous TV appearances. |
Following one such TV show - a prime-time B.B.C. music and arts programme called 'RPM' - Alan was contacted by a young slap-bass player called Steve Whitehouse. Having seen the TV shows, Steve wanted to audition. By chance, Alan's regular rhythm section (two brothers - Kevin and Paul Hancock) had just pulled out of a slot where the Sharks had been booked to support American rockabilly originals Janis Martin and Ronnie Hawkins at one of the first UK Rockabilly 'Weekenders'. Keen to meet the commitment, Alan offered the bass slot to Steve, who also had a drummer in tow, Paul 'Hodge' Hodges. With time for just a few rehearsals the band played the festival to such a great response the temporary Sharks line up became permanent.
There soon followed a demo session which resulted in the Sharks being signed to Nervous Records of London. Nervous was spearheading a new movement called Neo-Rockabilly, which was later termed Psychobilly. Recorded in 1982, The Sharks debut album 'Phantom Rockers' was to become a classic album, one that Nervous label boss Roy Williams has since described as 'archetypal British Neo-Rockabilly'. The album - which features many of what have since become scene anthems - still sells in very respectable quantities over 20 years since its original release and has been licensed to several other labels around the world. It has also been released on many different formats, including coloured vinyl, CD and picture disc.
Despite a hugely successful debut release, all was not well within the band and tensions between Wilson and Whitehouse became strained during a European tour in 1983. The band subsequently split at the peak of their success. This could well be one explanation as to why they were so fondly remembered in the years that followed. Alan went on to forge a career as a record producer, while Steve formed Frenzy, who would later achieve cult status and indie chart positions in the mid 80's. Hodge could often be found playing on projects by both Wilson and Whitehouse.
It was approximately 10 years after the split, when in 1993 Alan found himself producing 'Jamboree' - an album by the Frantic Flintstones for Anagram records. The bass player on the session was Gary Day who had previously been Morrissey's bassist for some years. Gary suggested that the Sharks might reform and offered to join on bass. So within a matter of weeks the new-look Sharks had recorded the album 'Recreational Killer' and were instantly snapped up by Anagram. Some heavy touring followed and the Sharks found themselves headlining festivals all over Europe and Scandinavia. A few EP's, dozens of tours and what seemed like hundreds of compilation appearances later Gary left to re-join Morrissey. Whilst Alan and Hodge continued to work with Gary on projects such as The Gazmen, a new bass player had to be found for the Sharks. To everyone's surprise Steve Whitehouse was up for the job. With the re-formation of the classic 'Phantom Rockers' line up came even more tour offers as well as another album, 'Colour My Flesh' (Anagram) and a few more EP's on various labels.
The Sharks continued to tour and perform at international Psychobilly events up through the late 90's, until the pressure of Alan's production work finally forced the band to severely restrict live shows. The band has never officially split, yet despite lucrative offers from promoters all over the world, they have not performed since 1999.
These days Alan runs his successful Western Star recording studio and record label. Steve runs his own building company and still records and tours regularly with Frenzy. Hodge now resides in Spain. However, there is movement in the Sharks camp in the way of some new recordings.
There are currently two studio projects under way. The Sharks have drafted in Trotsky (of the legendary Sub Humans and Citizen Fish) on drums. Never being ones to take themselves too seriously the band have recorded an instrumental mini album of kids TV theme tunes and other funny tracks, with the working title of 'Sharky Malarkey' as well as a proper full studio album. Both projects are destined for release in 2004.
Website: The Sharks
Sharks, The - Between Two Worlds
Sharks, The - Charlie
Sharks, The - Death Row
Sharks, The - Recreational Killer
Sharks, The - Sir Psycho
Sharks, The - Take A Razor To Your Head
Sharks, The - Phantom Rockers
No Messin' (CD, No Co)
Best Of (CD, Anagram)
Bitch Attack (CD, Raucous)
Colour My Flesh (CD, Anagram)
First & Last-Live (CD, Crazy Love)
Live In Japan (CD, Crazy Love)
Phantom Rockers (CD, Nervous)
Recreational Killer (CD, Anagram)
Ruff Stuff (CD, Kix)
Live 1993 (EP, Zorch)
Sir Psycho (EP, Fury)
Live In Japan (LP, Crazy Love)
Phantom Rockers (LP, Nervous)
Ruff Stuff-In Plastic (LP, Crazy Love)