FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM: A BRIEF HISTORY
by Matthew Rochford
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The story begins in 1983 when Tony Pettitt (bass), Paul Wright (guitar) and Nod Wright (drums, but formerly a guitarist and sax player) meet in a local band. The three then decide to leave and join another called, believe it or not The Mission. Still dissatisfied they leave The Mission in 1984 and team up with Carl McCoy and a sax player called Gary Whisker. The story goes that they had originally met in reggae bands.
And so the original line-up was born and the band set about gigging in and around their home town of Stevenage. Their vinyl release Burning The Fields EP was a record done off their own backs for an initial cost of £500. The cover artwork (entitled 'The Melting Girl') was painted by Carl himself.
1985 saw the re-release of Burning the Fields through Jungle which helped to increase the record's distribution. The year also meant a change in the lineup as Gary was kicked out and replaced by a second guitarist - Peter Yates:
"I joined on the Wednesday and on the Sunday I played at the Marquee."
Despite this his first gig went OK. The Nephilim rounded the year off by playing loads more gigs (supporting Chelsea on many occasions) and developing a strong following: The Bonanzas as they came to be called.
1986 was an important year for the Nephilim. Prestigious support slots with Zodiac Mindwarp, Gene Loves Jezebel and the Bolshoi meant they were gaining a much wider audience. It was Situation Two, an independent label owned by Beggars Banquet, that eventually signed the band. Their first release on Sit Two was a 12" Power, although it didn't make an initial impact on the indie charts. Curiously enough Power was featured on Emmerdale Farm and in the awful Italian horror film Demons 2.
By 1987 the band were embarking on their first tour proper - the Preacher Man tour which supported their first indie smash. The gigs were at venues they had previously played support in, and were packed. May saw the release of their debut LP Dawnrazor - an incredible slab on vinyl which received wide-spread acclaim even from Kerrang. The record dominated the indie charts for months and even entered the nationals. The success of Dawnrazor was followed by an appearance at the Reading Festival (to be repeated the following year). A tour of Europe then followed along with the release of Returning To Gehenna in Italy.
In the same year another single was released. Blue Water (Blue Water also appeared in an episode of Miami Vice) The accompanying Electrostatic tour climaxed with a sell-out gig at the Marquee on New Year's Eve. In total the band had played over eighty gigs during the year.
The following year began with a short tour of Spain and an appearance on Night Network. In May Moonchild was released, their biggest national hit to date and a brief appearance of the video was shown on TOTP.
After a tour of the States a deal was made with RCA to distribute their records there. September saw the release of The Nephilim, their second LP (a top 20 record supported by a UK and European tour).
1989 saw their most experimental to date in Psychonaut - a totally unexpected yet enlightening epic. It was a technical, as well as musical masterpiece recorded on 48 tracks at Peter Gabriel's New World studio. At the end of the Psychonaut tour the Nephilim achieved their goal of appearing live on TV (playing The Watchman on Club X).
This year the Nephilim have been concentrating on their next release, an LP which should be out within the next two months. They are also planning to embark on their biggest tour ever. Apart from preparing the next LP Carl has also made his acting debut in Hardware - an android horror movie, and appeared on BBC2's A-Z of Belief discussing paganism.