A Nightmares in Wax Set List Mystery Solved.
Above Photo: Me playing bass with Pete Burns at a Nightmares in Wax gig at Eric’s, Liverpool, in March 1980. (© Michael Reid).
When I was back home recently and going through a pile of old crap (more grandly known as ‘memorabilia’) I’d stored in my mum’s loft, I was amazed to come across a list of songs of a band I was in, called Nightmares in Wax, which had been written in a strange hand in the back of one of my old St Mary’s College school books.
Usually only Punk, relationship and football graffitti covered these, so this was a big surprise.
It looked like a rehearsal or a set list for the band, and I knew it wasn’t my handwriting, so I asked Mick Reid, the former Nightmares In Wax guitarist, whether he’d written it.
“No’, he replied.
Apart from who wrote it, I also wondered how on earth it could have been written inside my old school book.
Part of the mystery was solved when I sent a photo of the handwriting to a mutual friend of Pete Burns, and asked if he could identify the handwriting. The friend couldn’t, but, unasked, he kindly sent it on to Pete Burns himself, who made a positive ID – it was HIS handwriting and it was indeed a set list for the band.
So now I had to work out how it came to be written in my old school book, and a moment’s thought laid that mystery to rest too.
The answer lay in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, where I explain I was already studying (on the dole) for my A Levels when Pete Burns asked me to join Nightmares In Wax. Although I’d said yes, sometimes before or after band rehearsals in the damp Ullett Road basement, I used to go to Liverpool’s Central Library to do some studying.
Being broke, and an early advocate of recycling, I’d been using blank pages in my old, unfilled school books as a notebook, and it was on one of these days, before we’d played a gig somewhere, and after I’d been studying in the Library, that Pete had written out the set list, probably in the Aigburth Road café we used to frequent.
Mystery happily solved.
My favourite Nightmares track was the first one, Couldn’t Care Less, which was the first track following a strong instrumental we played before Pete came onstage.
Of the others ‘Sound I Can Ride On’ and ‘Turn Away’ I also liked, and ‘Black Leather ‘ was a great live track too.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
I have put You Tube links to Turn Away and Black Leather below.