An Exclusive 1980s Nightmares In Wax Rehearsal Track: Couldn’t Care Less.
Above Photo: Pete Burns and Mick Reid on guitar, in the Ullet Road rehearsal basement, Liverpool (© David Bailey).
Back in the icy-cold winter of 1980, Liverpool band Nightmares in Wax was meeting every day to rehearse in a famous/infamous Liverpool rehearsal basement, in a dilapidated Victorian house at 8 Ullet Road. A few months later, the band would change its name to the more famous Dead or Alive.
Back then, before the name-change, the band consisted of Pete Burns on vocals, Mick Reid on guitar, me on bass, Martin Healy on keyboards and Phil Hurst on drums.
The below recording of a track called Couldn’t Care Less is from a Nightmares in Wax rehearsal in the same basement, dating back to the early months of 1980, which was recently sent to me.
Although I don’t know who recorded it, or precisely when it was recorded. I believe the above musicians play on it. It certainly sounds like the same arrangement and instrumentation I vividly recall when we opened our set with this track.
That Ullet Road basement holds fond memories for many who played there, as Nightmares’ guitarist Mick Reid recalls:
I did enjoy rehearsing in that room, and was there several days each week for the best part of a year. What do I remember about it? The smell of damp. The bitter cold in Winter months. Often having to climb in through the broken window from the derelict back garden when we couldn’t find the key….”
When I joined Nightmares in Wax and began rehearsing with the band there, it was almost a year to the day that I’d auditioned in the same basement for another Liverpool band, Pink Military Stand Alone, as mentioned in my 1970s-1980s Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, where it is described as:
“A damp basement of a big, old, dilapidated Victorian mansion in Ullet Road….
Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the distinctive and overpowering smell of amplifiers, drum skins, guitar cases, keyboards, PAs and speakers which cluttered the room. There was something deeply exciting and powerful about this first smell of professional musicianship, and how close I was to it.
At the time, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes also used the basement to temporarily store their equipment, so space was pretty tight….
“I played my bass, looking out at the wintry, dead garden of skeleton trees, naked bushes, sodden grass and brambles. A pale sun broke through the clouds and weak shafts of sunlight pierced the dark basement, catching specks of dust and wisps of cigarette smoke that swirled around, as we hammered out the most incredible sounds.”
And that is where the below recording was made, all those years ago…