Howard 'Tosh' Midlane (Vocals/Guitar)
Dave Palmer (Drums/Vocals)
Tony Cousins (Keyboards/Vocals)
Phil Boucherat (Alto sax)
Steve Jackson (Drums)
Steve Turner (Lead/Bass)
Reg Hancock (Bass)
Tim Haywood (Drums)
Arthur Kurwyn (sp?) (Percussion)
Jiz Brooks (Violin)
Alan Ross (Bass)
With thanks to Tony Cousins for sharing the story of Tosh
The band, Tosh, originated in Penarth, S.Wales, as the duo “Bicycle”. Members were Tosh (Howard Midlane, guitar/vocals) and Dave Palmer (Drums/vocals). They toured pubs and clubs in Cornwall playing a mixture of country, folk, pop and rock coupled with their own “cabaret” act consisting of comedy songs and “adult” jokes and humour. Highlights of their performance included several Simon and Garfunkel songs and their own unique version of the traditional folk song “Oh, dear, what can the matter be?” concerning the pitfalls of various young ladies who became stuck in toilets!!
I first saw them on TV when they appeared in a late show on the old Westward TV.
I am not sure what happened in the early politics of the band but when they became Tosh they had Tim Collingwood on bass and banjo and a keyboard player I didn’t know. I had a call from Dave Palmer who said he was leaving the band and was I interested in forming a trio along with a bass player he knew called Pete Schroff. We formed a band called Trix.
Tosh himself was a very talented, charismatic character, good vocalist/guitarist and above all, song writer. When I joined, Tim was still on bass and banjo with Dave on drums. One of the highlights was Tim and Tosh playing “Dueling Banjos” as featured in the film, “Endurance”. We played pubs and social clubs throughout the county, including (locally) St Austell Railway Club, St Blazey Railway Club, Band Club, Bethel Club, St Blazey FC, The Welcome Inn, Packhorse, Market Inn, etc. Tim left and was replaced by Reg Hancock on bass. This caused a bit of a change in style as Dave, Reg and myself were “headbangers”, sort of “turn it up to 11, heads down, see you at the end” (a quote I have stolen from the late, great Tim Haywood, drummer with thrash metal band Seducer and, if we continue the Tosh story, Tim features in Tosh just before he died in 1994).
So Tosh’s country roots were gradually being eroded in favour of a more rocky style of music. During this era we were working 6/7 nights a week throughout the county. Memorable gigs were The Polgooth Inn every Wednesday. Loud and heavy and the place was always packed out. Many people from the area will remember the landlord Jimmy Bone, wonderful character who on several occasions, when it came to him having to pay us at the end of the evening would deduct money for the advert he placed in The Cornish Guardian plus a couple of quid for the electric we used!!
As the band matured (only musically I hasten to add!) Dave Palmer moved to front the band on lead vocals. As the rocky side took over, Dave’s powerful voice was more conducive with the style. He was replaced on drums by Steve Jackson (Mechanics, Wire Daises) and we were frequently joined by Steve Turner on guitar (Bucket Boys) and latterly, sax player Phil Boucherat.
The album “One More for the Road” was recorded at Steve Turner’s studio. All tracks were written by Tosh himself with some of the arrangements accredited to other band members. Our sponsor at the time was John Holloway who ran the Queen’s Head in St Austell and John somehow got to do the final mix at Abbey Road studios. The album, for me, shows the very underestimated song writing talents of Tosh. His classic “Queen of Tiger Bay” was covered by many local bands and the “mini-operetta”, Julius was, to me, a very powerful, poignant song. My own personal favourite is “Little Runaway Sister” featuring haunting sax solos from Phil. Steve Turner’s superb guitar is prevalent throughout the album supported by the solid bass of Reg Hancock and the driving percussion from Steve Jackson. Another great favourite is the title track “Just One More for the Road”.
Tosh organized a “One More for the Road” tour for charity. It was known as “The Walk” as they planned to walk from the North back to Cornwall playing gigs daily along the way. Unfortunately this was the end for me as I was in full-time employment and was unable to get that amount of time off work. It was the same with Reg. Reg was replaced by an amazing young bass player called Billy (became known as Billy Blister due to the blisters formed on his feet due to the walking.) Eventually I think the band became known as The Blister Band. I think it was around this time that Tim Haywood joined the band, along with Arthur Kurwyn (sp) on percussion. Not long after this the band was joined by the fantastic Jiz Brooks on violin and also around this time, Alan Ross (Flying Tigers) on bass.
In 1994 Tim was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and Tosh organized a gig at the Band Club St Austell simply called “Tim’s Final Time Out”. The musicians contributing that day are too numerous to mention however the CD of the same name is a wonderful momento I have of the day. I was fortunate enough to be invited to play some keys that day and Tim performed an amazing final drum solo. On the day he was filled up with steroids and played some amazing stuff. Tim died just 12 weeks after the gig.
The picture above has a montage of photos showing just a few of the performers that day. They are (in a clockwise direction starting Top Left) : -
1. Dave Palmer formerly of Bicycle and Tosh, now vocalist with No Picnic
2. Left to right Dave Quinn, Steve Turner, Dave Yelland
3. Tony Wright
4. Jiz Brooks
5. Jiz and Tim
6. Tony Cousins
7. . Steve 'Chad' Yelland / Alan Ross / Graham Bath
9. Chris Bunt
And that’s Tim in the middle.
An excellent band with whom I proudly spent several years.
Tosh - One More For The Road (Bycicle Records. MP1003. 1982)
Links to other bands:
Did you play in this band? If so please get in touch!