About The Toads
1977 saw the formation of the Toads, Norwich's first punk rock group. The line-up consisted of Dave Smith on vocals and rhythm/bass guitar, David Viner on vocals and rhythm guitar, Paul Cheetham on vocals and bass/rhythm guitar, and Alan (Polo) Pollard on drums.
The band was formed in late February 1977 after Dave Smith placed an advert in Cookes Band Instruments' shop window. Neither Paul nor David V had played live in bands before though the latter had got together with a few work mates the previous year to rehearse a selection of songs mainly by the Beatles, T. Rex and other bands of the era (including, unfortunately, the Wurzels!). Polo had been drumming with quite a few bands and Dave S had played one gig in a band called Dick Dangler and the Testicles!
Sometime in May or June we attempted a studio recording at Touchstone Studios, which were located off Duke Street. Three songs were recorded:
- Blood on my Wheels (Viner)
- I Don't Care About You (Smith)
- Eyes (Viner)
Paul had wanted to record one of his songs but had laryngitis (or something similar) at the time and, unfortunately, couldn't sing.
Somewhere between 24 September and 8 November we 'lost' Paul Cheetham due to 'musical differences' (as they say). Therefore, Dave had to learn to sing lead and play bass simultaneously. We tried out a couple of other guitarists after Paul's departure but none seemed to fit in and so we ended up as a three-piece.
Later rehearsals at Ranworth Village Hall were taped onto cassette. Some were edited into a demo tape in Autumn 1977 and sent to various record companies (who didn't want to know). The first Wymondham College gig was taped on a portable cassette recorder that had nearly flat batteries - it's hard to make out what was going on - you had to have been there to appreciate that tape!
At the end of 1977 we had decided to 'take some time out' and try to improve our material. Unfortunately, in early 1978, the enthusiasm died out and the group broke up.
Paul moved on to do his own thing and you can find out all about him on his own site.
A slightly different version of this page can be seen on Detour Records' Bored Teenagers web site.