Ack Ack were originally formed as 'Dirty Mark and the Stains' in 1977 by Mark Williams (vocals), Mick Foley (guitar) and Lawrence "?" (bass) who were all school friends from the Twickenham/Isleworth area of W. London. They were joined by Alan Spencer on lead guitar and Stuart Russell on drums. Stuart was a work colleague of Marks older brother and was a few years older than the rest of the band himself, it was he that introduced the Northern Soul and Reggae aspect to the group. Soon the name 'Dirty Mark and the Stains' was dropped and Ack Ack was born. At this time they were simply a 'garage band' and had not performed any gigs.
As the bands skills improved it became clear that Lawrence was falling behind the rest of the members so in 1978 I [Steve Jaymes-Wright] was drafted in on bass guitar. Shortly afterwards the band played it's first gig at Chessington Rugby Club. Thanks to a quite aggressive poster campaign by the band the gig was very well attended and this was the beginning of Ack Ack's strong local fan base.
Alan Spencer left the band shortly after as he was more contemporary rock influenced and not comfortable with the punk scene. He was replaced by Johnny Fuller, formerly of 'Adrenaline' & 'The Cane'. The band now had it's final line-up of:
Mark Williams - Vocals,
Mick Foley - Guitar,
Johnny Fuller - Lead guitar,
Steve Jaymes-Wright - Bass,
Stuart Russell - Drums.
The band continued to build up its local fan base by playing local venues such as The Grove in Kingston and The Winning Post in Twickenham plus many of the local colleges. At this time the band was being managed by Mark's older brother Tony.
In early 1979 the band recorded a five track demo tape at Spaceward Studios in Cambridge. Copies of the demo were used to secure gigs at some of the more prestigious venues around London such as The Pegasus in Stoke Newington and The Starlight Club in Hampstead. It was also passed on to former Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera guitarist Paul Brett. Brett became the band's manager later that year. Many gigs, both local and in or around London, followed both as main act or support act to more established bands such as The Adverts and The Specials.
In 1980 work began on recording the band's debut album 'Trouser Tricks'. It was recorded over a six day period at TW Music Studio's, a small studio on the Fulham Palace Road near Hammersmith, W. London.
Steve Jaymes-Wright (Bassist)
"To truly appreciate the greatness of Ack Ack, you have to understand the culture of the time. Pitch battles were fought between people depending on their choice of hairstyle or - for that matter - trouser style, so eloquently captured in the lyric of "Trouser Trick." Skinheads vs. punks vs. rockers vs. mods vs. hippy types -- it was a gang nightmare. Looking back, the irony is that we were all united in the same hatred: that of the Thatcher regime. Instead of throwing our anger into a strong political movement, it was warfare on the streets outside every bar on any given night. I fell into no category. Neither did Ack Ack. The fact that a mixture of all sub-cultures and all ages gathered at each gig says a lot for the music. A mixture of punk, new wave, ska and who knows what else, with witty and wise lyrics and great melodic tunes...Ack Ack would rock the place!"
Ruth Bonnet (entourage)
"Ack Ack were in my opinion, one of the best bands around in the late 70's. We came so close to a deal with Steve Blacknell who was A&R manager with Orange Records at the time, but unfortunalely, Orange themselves went out of business. They were great live and a pleasure to work in the studio with. Even today, the collection of tracks we produced at the infamous TW Music Studios in Fulham, stand out strong and transcend the years. They come accross as vibrant as ever. The band had an original style of playing and writing and I still think that their frontman Mark Williams had the right image to project the band into a far higher status. Still, I'm glad that Steve Jaymes-Wright has seen fit to feature the songs we set to history. Download them and judge for yourselves "
Paul Brett (Manager - Producer)