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Exclusive: Pete Burns, Nightmares In Wax And Another Unheard Demo – Black Leather.

Exclusive: Pete Burns, Nightmares In Wax And Another Unheard Demo – Black Leather.

Above Photo: Pete Burns at a Nightmares in Wax gig at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, February 1980. (© Mick Reid)

First posted after Pete Burns’ death in 2016.

There have been lots of nice things said about Pete Burns since his shock death last week. As is often the way in death, the more-hidden, humane and decent characteristics of a person are emphasized and highlighted by a broad spectrum of writers, and happily that has been the case with Pete.

My favourite obituary article was produced by Alex Petridis in the Guardian (see link at the end of this article), and I’ve been genuinely surprised to see how much press attention Nightmares in Wax has received in the welter of Dead or Alive media references. Nightmares in Wax was Dead or Alive’s previous name, before Pete changed it shortly after I’d left the band in 1980.

bombed out punk and new wave memoir peter alan lloyd pete burns mick reid nightmares in wax 1980 everyman gig dead or alive Punk and new wave bands 1980s liverpool bands

Mick Reid plays at the Everyman gig.  (© Mick Reid)

As chronicled in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, I’m still enormously proud of the time I spent playing bass in Nightmares In Wax. And Pete Burns unwittingly provided a dramatically explosive catalyst for my unusual life course after I left the band, bizarrely after the best gig I’d ever played, one rainy night all those years ago. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

As a result of writing the book, I’m also pleased to be back in regular contact with Mick Reid, the guitarist from Nightmares in Wax, who was with me onstage that night, and who was able to fill in some of mental blanks surrounding that apocalyptic episode, which will be the subject of an article in due course, as it’s classic 1980s Liverpool Band fodder.

If the Liverpool music scene ever needed an official chronicler, Mick would get my vote, as he has a laser-like memory, cuts through all the (usually fictional) bollocks surrounding the Liverpool music scene back then, and was in many of Liverpool’s influence-forming early bands: Crash Course, Glass Torpedoes, and he was also a founder member of the originally-named ‘Rainbows Over Nagasaki’, which changed its name to Nightmares in Wax, which then became Dead or Alive – so nothing much escaped him.

bombed out punk and new wave memoir peter alan lloyd pete burns mick reid rainbows over nagasaki nightmares in wax 1980 everyman gig dead or alive Punk and new wave bands 1980s liverpool bands

Pete Burns with me in the background on bass at the Everyman gig. (© Mick Reid)

I was amused to see a Nightmares in Wax track, Black Leather, which was on the Birth of a Nation EP, and also part of our set, make tenth place on a critical list of Pete Burns’ best records in the Guardian (You Spin Me Round only came in at 5th).

As a tribute to Pete and the band, Mick Reid has posted an exclusive and unheard demo version of the song Black Leather on You Tube (see link below).

Commenting on the recording, which he also played guitar on, Mick said: “It certainly is a ragged affair, but there’s charm in its barely restrained chaos which, for me, is more representative of how we sounded on stage than are the other studio recordings. There’s also a lot of humour in the performance which was somewhat lost in the subsequent recording of Black Leather used for the EP.”

bombed out punk and new wave memoir peter alan lloyd pete burns mick reid nightmares in wax 1980 everyman gig dead or alive Punk and new wave bands 1980s liverpool bands

Pete discards his hat as the temperature rose in the Everyman basement that night. Marty Healey on keyboards in the background. (© Mick Reid)

“It was this element of humour which led me to select a previously unseen ‘smiling’ photograph of Pete to use at the end of the slideshow. There are very few photos I’ve seen of him in which he isn’t looking very serious, yet this new one is far more representative of the Pete Burns I remember from when he, Marty Healy, and I spent our days wandering around Liverpool city centre, laughing, joking, and formulating plans for the band.”

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

This is the You Tube link to the demo track:

Alex Petridis’ excellent Guardian article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/oct/24/pete-burns-provocateur-with-a-pop-brain-and-a-sensitive-side?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=196325&subid=13113535&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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  1. Rob Meyers

    Hi Peter, Hi Mick.
    It’s been almost a week now since the awful news of Pete Burns’ passing, i honestly cannot find the words, it still hasn’t and possibly won’t ever sink in what has happened – it’s such a terrible loss to us all.
    I wanted to say thank you to yourself Peter and to Mick for bringing the fans of Nightmares In Wax, Dead or Alive and Pete Burns this incredible demo of Black Leather – where it all began..alongside some wonderful unseen pictures, god i wish i was there at the time! And the accompanying words, the recollections, that continue to bring this amazing story of the birth of Dead or Alive to all the fans, new and old, stories that we just never knew and pictures we’ve never seen. And so important it is to the history of the Liverpool music scene.

    I’m ever, ever so grateful. Thank you so much.

    Best Wishes, Rob Meyers

    • Peter Alan Lloyd

      Hi Rob – sorry for the delay in replying to your comment, but I’ve been travelling.

      Thanks a lot for your sentiments about Pete, which Mick and I share. We’re proud to have been involved with him, the bands and the time as deeply as we were. But credit for the recent tracks must go to Mick. He has an archivist’s memory and a treasure trove of Nightmares in Wax/Dead or Alive early tracks, and believe it or not, there are still more to come!

      Best wishes,


  2. Michael Reid

    Speaking purely for myself, I think ‘proud’ would be stretching things a little Peter. LOL

    • Rob Meyers

      HI Mick, i hope you don’t mind me saying that it’s a real privilege for us fans to be treated to some hidden gems from your archives. After 35 years the Nightmares certainly returned with (should’ve been a single) ‘Turn Away’, and then followed the brilliant ‘Couldn’t Care Less’. And then this was followed by the awesome, and it really is, demo of ‘Black Leather’. I can’t stop listening to it, it’s SO good. I imagine this song was great for you guys to play live. Is it the one that made everyone go nuts at the gigs for an encore!!
      I still wonder to this day how close did it possibly come to Nightmares In Wax cutting their first album..

      Best Wishes

      Rob Meyers

  3. Michael Reid

    Hi Rob.
    My pleasure, and I’m pleased to know you’ve enjoyed hearing them. There’s a fourth, and final, track from that November 1979 demo session which will be uploaded to Youtube sometime later this week, so look out for that.
    No, we never came close to making an album, and by the time a second single was released the name and musical style of the band had changed.

  4. Rob Meyers

    Hi Mick, once again we are being treated to another gem from your archives, thank you very much, these tracks continue to form this amazing story that us fans are ever so grateful for, and thank you for answering my question on a Nightmares In Wax album.
    I wonder if i could ask you another question, about Pete Burns’ first gracing of a stage at Eric’s in 1977 in the band Mystery Girls? Very little is mentioned on this time, but i wondered if you saw them perform, and if you did, what was your impression, and would this have been around the time you met Pete Wylie to form Crash Course.
    I don’t know if Pete Burns or Phil Hurst ever talked of the band, or if they were able to use any songs that would turn into Nightmares in Wax tracks we know, and love! today.
    Julian Cope recorded ‘Bouncing Babies’ which is the only one i’m aware of coming from Mystery Girls originally. I can imagine Pete’s vocals on this track would have been incredible to hear. Hope you don’t mind me asking.
    Thank you very much Mick
    Best Wishes
    Rob Meyers

  5. Michael Reid

    Hi Rob, No, I didn’t see that one and only performance of the Mystery Girls, nor do I recall Burns or Hurst talking about it all that much. Remember, events only become the stuff of ‘legend’ long afterwards. At the time it was just another bunch of local kids wanting to be in a band. Things which sound glamorous in hindsight happened every other day at Eric’s and, at the time, didn’t mean all that much. For instance: during the soundcheck for that first NIW show in July 1979 myself, Jones and Hornby, were joined on stage by Martin Dempsey of the Yachts and Mac from the Bunnymen for an impromptu performance of ‘Sympathy For The Devil’. Sounds great when I write that now, 37 years later…
    I didn’t know Wylie in 1977. I first spoke to him when he approached us (Crash Course) after seeing us supporting Big in Japan at the matinee of their farewell gig in August 1978 and asked to join the band.
    Anyway, cheers for that Rob, we do appreciate your interest. 🙂

    • Rob Meyers

      Hi Mick, Thank you once again for your reply. I’m ever so grateful to have the opportunity to have asked yourself and Pete Lloyd some questions on your memories of time with Nightmares In Wax/Dead or Alive. Hearing yours and Pete’s reminisces are just so fascinating, from Pete Lloyd’s (Essential reading) Bombed Out! book detailing his time with NIW, having first seen them perform Sept’79 at Eric’s, to the phone call from Pete Burns to join from Pink Military, and then doing so in Feb’80 (to then perform two gigs in Leeds & Manchester), followed by the Everyman gig in Liverpool, 2 gigs at Eric’s and the F Club.. And then to your Incredible Demos and Rehearsal tracks that you have unearthed, the wonderful unseen photographs, to the origins of the Nightmares In Wax name, and the memories of the first NIW show in July 1979.
      It really gives us fans a window into a time and place, with a band we love, and continue to do so, thank you Mick

  6. Rob Meyers

    Hi Pete and Mick. Just heard today the posting of the two demo tracks for ‘Shangri-la and Girl Song’. These are FANTASTIC!!!!!!! versions.

    Thank you for finding these in the Nightmares In Wax Archives.


  7. Rob Meyers

    Pete Burns…Never Forgotten..Miss you Pete

  8. Jonathan Rodriguez

    Hi Peter and Mick!

    Hello from Argentina!

    Thanks for all the information about Nightmares in Wax, I did not know much about those years. I thought they had only recorded ‘Birth of a Nation ep’. I was fascinated with ‘I’ll turn way’ really a great song (I like it more than ‘Girls Song’). I thank you for all this and I would like you to tell me some anecdote with Pete or approximately how many concerts have they done?


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