Sometimes, writing about a given band's music can be a truly challenging (not to say very confusing) mission. The entity that once roamed the Earth (well, London and its thereabouts, actually) under the name T34 is a very illustrative example in this regard. Though often credited as a NWOBHM outfit (including the authoritative NWOBHM Encyclopedia by Malc McMillan), it has but a passing resemblance to the genre if we're to be honest here, and the fact that so many people consider it to belong on the same shelf where you would put, let's say, a Satan or Sweet Savage record is somewhat puzzling, to say the least. Yeah, I know NWOBHM is something of an arbitrary definition right from the start, and many of the bands labeled as such are no stranger to some crossover potential, being equally appealing to punk, power pop, new wave, prog and pub rock audiences, to name a few. Still, I consider T34's case particularly intriguing: it's not that they didn't deserve to be mentioned at all (let's face it, if a 7'' like Brands Hatch's "Teacher Teacher" can be regarded as a NWOBHM collectable, then nearly everyone else can), but it is surprisingly difficult to decide whether to attach the NWOBHM tag to them or not. I'm still on the fence myself as I write this piece, you know.
Some may still not be fully aware of this, but T34 (a name that has something to do with war tanks, I guess) is an offshoot band from none other than Smiler - yeah, that Smiler, the London-based blues rock group that became something of a legend due to its connection with Iron Maiden. It's common knowledge that guitarist Mick Clee was a direct descendent from Smiler, but vocalist Steve Williams (nothing to do with Budgie) also lent his talents for the old combo in the early 1980's, including a brief period when they assumed a more punk-rockish outlook under the name Vic Rubb and the Vapours (not to be confused with British power pop band The Vapors, whose single "Turning Japanese" entered the charts in 1980). When the other half of the Clee brothers (guitarist Tony Clee, that is) decided to take a break from music in early 1981, Mick and Steve kept working together towards creating a different entity, way more attuned to contemporary trends than Smiler seems to have ever been.
Steve Williams (V), Mick Clee (G), Colin Stuart (B), John Baker (D).
01. Computer Dating
02. Mind Your Own Business
Steve Williams (V), Mick Clee (G), Colin Stuart (B), Wayne Baker (K), John Baker (D).
01. Rock On
02. Looking After Me (Looking After You)
Special thanks to Discogs for picture sleeve scans!
Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me (email@example.com) and let me know!