Band / Artist
INCAPABLE HANDS was the name I eventually used to cover all my solo song-based material, and was inspired by future collaborator Steve Abel whose genius was often marred by his excesses . After one particular night where a few of us were going to see New Order at the Hacienda Steve had already drunk himself into oblivion before we set off so he missed the gig ( undoubtedly having a better night than I did !) and was still sat slumped in exactly the same position with the same can in his hand when we returned several hours later. It was Eric Mansell (ex ZOO guitarist) who christened him Steve Incapable.
Having exhausted all possibilities of working in a band I started to work alone,which was becoming a more viable proposition as cheap 4 track recorders were available and technology such as MIDI sequencing was on the horizon .
The long term outlook was not to exclude other people but for the time being this was a solo project and if musician friends helped out it was on the understanding that it was a favour so they'd be doing it on my terms. Brian Eno once said something along the lines of "If there's one thing guaranteed to kill a good idea it's democracy" which pretty much sums up the way I felt about this project. In fact a few collaborated songs did eventually emerge but they would never have been born if we'd not got to that stage via this route.
The initial line-up of INCAPABLE HANDS was :
Dave Thompson - vocals,keyboards,programs
Nigel Blinston - guitar
Mike Barlow - keyboards
Steve Incapable - guitar.
A synthesizer usually took care of the bass although I did play bass guitar on a few recordings. For live work Nigel or Steve would have played bass guitar on any songs that warranted it, plus Steve was competant enough on keyboards if a 2nd keyboard player was needed so the idea was a flexible line-up with the roles being determined by each song. What we really needed was a competant drummer who would embrace technology and take charge of the drum machine seeing it as an ally rather than a threat. The search for the right drummer was eternally fruitless. After a while this original line-up of INCAPABLE HANDS dissolved - partly due to other commitments but mainly because it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was not going to sound like the band I'd envisaged, so I retreated and started recording more new songs.
Around 1990 I resurrected the idea of a live band with a new line-up featuring guitarists Dave Gray and Phil Hartley, both of whom took turns at playing bass guitar when required. The endless quest for a drummer continued, again with no success.
Despite extensive rehearsals Incapable Hands only played 2 gigs -
Hamiltons ,Prestwich,Manchester,August 1988 (Line-up :- Dave Thompson - vocals,keyboards,Karen Knott - backing vocals,Sue Iliffe - backing vocals) ,although at that point I didn't realise I was debuting a version of INCAPABLE HANDS, and
Haughton Green Peoples' Centre,Manchester,July 1991 (Line-up :- Dave Thompson - vocals,keyboards, Dave Gray - guitar,bass,backing vocals, Phil Hartley - guitar,bass).