All About Us. Exciting stuff this.

EAA little bit of history.....

Exhibit A play original material and were formed way back in 1984. Founder members Steve Watts and Nick Hampson had originally formed a prog rock band "Mithra" with the line up of Steve Watts (Bass), Nick Hampson (Guitar), Barrie Cannon (Drums), Steve Cable (Guitar), Billie James(Vocals). The name "Mithra" was Barrie's idea and he went on about it relentlessly (cue title of future song). We gave in because the only alternative was to either break up the band before we'd even started, or give him a good kicking. We did consider both :) but sadly his drum kit was so huge we couldn't get to him.

"Mithra" didn't exactly roll off the tongue however - and it was mangled at every opportunity by Barrie who proceeded to explain it's Sun God origin at every opportunity at gigs so everyone "got it". Most people just looked confused though and happy memories of Barrie grabbing the microphone (we only had one) from Billie to give his own explanation just when she was about to introduce the band still prevail to this day...mainly because she was only about 4' and had the mike rather well secured to a stand, so he had to sort of twist himself down to it to make himself heard. We were probably as good as a comedy act as we were as a live band (while I'm on the subject, Barrie's subsequent experience with a superheated dry ice machine and supercooled co2 was just as predictably amusing). To be fair Barrie was more than a comedian - his commitment and enthusiasm really did help keep the band on track even though perhaps we didn't quite recognise it at the time what with being all young and moody.



Anyway, back on the subject. Most of the material was from a previous band that Cannon and Cable played in, and while some gigs emerged the band thankfully never progressed to recording any material so it's only a distant memory now - although Nick still has some tapes which will put it all in terrible context for us both. Changes followed a couple of years later and keyboard player Neil Foss was introduced to give more texture to the previous guitar based line up. The band began to move into the progressive rock genre, although given the range of influences that everyone had, the material had its own style pretty much from the outset. Unfortunately much of the material tested Billie's vocals and her own musical direction, but to her credit she was an enthusiastic contributor. And she wasn't bad looking either.

We lost touch with Steve Cable which was a shame because he was a great musician and a really good bloke. We were all shocked to learn in1988 that he'd taken his own life.

New Vocals

Dave Foss frequently came along to rehearsals to listen to the material. Back in those days the band were full of enthusiasm and new ideas were frequently floated. These instrumental ideas really needed a vocal enhancement and Dave nervously stepped in with some clear encouragement from the rest of the band ("Go on you useless b*****d, aaarrgh-you tuneless c**t). The results were actually encouraging and resulted in the first vocalised Exhibit A song, "One Of Us". (It wasn't that good of course-which is why it was never recorded). Gigs soon followed and the band developed a good natured following - keeping the emphasis on seriously executed music with light hearted band dynamics.

The lineup stayed very much the same until Barrie Cannon departed in 1988. Venues played in the following period included:

The Marquee Club, Charing Cross Road
The Borderline, Mannette Street, off Charing Cross Road
The Rock Garden, Covent Garden
The ‘Royal’ Standard, Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow
The Hermit Club, Brentwood
The Square, Harlow
The Pink Toothbrush, Rayleigh
Army & Navy, Chelmsford
The Esplanade, Southend
The Greyhound, Brentwood
Club Riga, Southend
Thameside Theatre, Grays
The Roundacre, Bas Vegas
Queens Theatre, Hornchurch
"Y" Club, Chelmsford
New Windmill Hall, Upminster

We were booked to play The London Borough of Havering 750th Year Celebrations but it pissed down all day. And I don't mean a bit of rain either, it was almost 12 feet deep everywhere you looked. We'll be back to do that one sometime when the water recedes.


Exhibit A also received air play on the BBC and amazingly enough were very popular internationally, being heavily plugged on Turkish radio Instanbul who constantly played tracks from "A Different Dimension" and also in Poland where the ArtRock prog rock show gave continual airplay, to the extent that the band were considering whether to further exploit the eastern eueopean market in case the one tape that they had wore out. In reality it reinforced the general view that music in Europe is so dreadful that they had to resort to our material to create a captive audience and we abandoned the idea after Neil discovered that he would probably be arrested for being too fat.

Releases & Recording

The band had a good range of material and two albums were released, for us in pretty quick succession. In those days it was very much a case of getting stuff together and out quickly (rather than slickly :) ). First up came 'A Different Dimension', consisting of a range of tracks which gave in to prog in places, but were more pop in others. It was really well received though, despite cluttering the place up for a while. We recently (2011) re - released this on CD, with the addition of bonus tracks that never made it onto the original release due to the limitations at the time of tape which meant that the track balance had to be around 20 minutes per side.


The second release was 'Out There', a slightly more realistic offering which had the harder edge that's still present, although the band were still finding their way with their overall direction. Some stand out tracks still find their way into the current gigging set.

1994 saw Paul Caswell smoothly move in and he has been with the band since, giving an inevitably different and more polished feel to the rhythm section overall.


Wind the clock forward to around about now....

2010 saw the release of the band's third album ‘Make mine a Lobster’. With most of the material already written and pretty much arranged ready to record, the project started In early 2007, and we began the slow process of recording, aiming this time for as near perfect a result as we could achieve. The first track, "Touch The Stars" was initially recorded to gauge the quality and because it came first it has maintained that position on the album.

The whole project came together relatively quickly (3 years) and we can honestly say that we feel it's by far the most consistent offering from Exhibit A..

Make Mine a Lobster has received some fantastic reviews worldwide - we really are genuinely pleased to bring our music to so many enthusiastic people. If you've only just discovered us, then please buy the album, we've put together some really cheap packages!

The fact that there's just about 50 minutes worth of stuff to show for 10 years worth of rehearsals indicates what a lazy bunch of shits we really are though!
as I have a spaneeesh guitar you beetch Come on, come on, make me famous and I'll buy a new keyboard squeeze my butt lick my head Peace man
Here we are in 2010, just prior to the release of Make Mine a Lobster. This was the back cover photo that doesn't really make us look as young as we really are. Left to right, mental age in brackets: Nick (12), Neil (15), Dave (16), Paul (8 months), Steve (5).

A 2014 update confirms that we're still together. Well sort of. Nick has moved on to something else - well I hope so anyway because it would be a waste of talent if he didn't. We're still working on our fourth album "The Random and the Purpose" which we hope to release in the spring of 2015 (quick for us). We can't wait to get it finished. And we've enjoyed some cracking gigs over the past couple of years to fill in our time as well.