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Amethyst

Founded in the latter half of 1981 when guitarist Wayne Kay met Brad Richardson at a rock disco in their home town of Stockport, England. After hearing Brad singing along to some of the tunes being played, he told him he was putting together a band and wondered if he'd be interested in having a go at vocals. Together, with friend and bassist Dave Walker, the nucleus of Amethyst was formed. In 1982, after months of auditions, John Sleigh was chosen as second guitarist along with Mark Maher on drums. The band started to write their own material and, with the addition of a few cover songs, began gigging in the early part of 1983. During this time, they recorded their first demo at Decibel Studios in Manchester, a four track cassette. The early material had a very 'prog rock' feel with a heavier 'metal' edge to it, due to the wide range of influences within the band. In fact, their very first gig saw them as support act to the Here & Now band at Stockport College. In 1984, Mark was replaced by Dave Lyne on drums and, after several gigs with this line up, musical differences between Wayne and John saw him being replaced by Barry Sharples on guitar. Barry's style of playing was more 'rock' influenced and this was more the path Wayne wanted the band to pursue. During this time, their second demo was recorded at Courtyard Studios in Stockport. This showed the more 'heavy rock/metal' sound they would continue to produce for some time. The band continued writing and gigging with the new line up and, in 1985, they took part in a 'Battle of the Bands' competition organised by BBC GMR Radio at the Ritz club in Manchester. This was recorded and subsequently broadcast on their station the following week. The band were told they should have won, but the vote was swayed in favour of another act as they didn't deem it 'fitting' that a heavy metal band should take precedent over a pop act. In 1986 they recorded their third demo, again at Courtyard Studios, this was a two track cassette. In 1987, Amethyst took a gamble when the recorded their fourth demo, a 7” vinyl single. With the addition of keyboards, played by friend of the band Dave Rudge, the songs took on a more AOR feel, rather than heavy rock/metal, in an endeavour to produce something they hoped would be more 'radio friendly' at the time. The gamble never paid off. The song was never played by any radio station it was sent too, and a rather cutting review in Kerrang magazine, which quoted a line from one of the songs and read something like "'Take me to the limit, take me to the sky...' why don't you just f**k off and die?", led the band to continue writing songs in their original heavier style. 1988 saw the departure of Barry Sharples and Dave Walker and the arrival of Sean Clark on guitar and Mark Porter on bass. However, conflict between Sean and Mark saw him being replaced by Gareth Hamilton on bass in the latter part of 1988. The band continued writing and performing and in 1989 produced their very last demo, three songs recorded on Wayne's portable 8-track studio. This was done mainly to send to venues to get gigs and was never released as an official demo as such. In the latter half on 1989, Brad announced he was leaving the band. He felt the heavier, aggressive style of music the band were producing was not suited to his more 'melodic' vocal range and suggested the search for another singer. After some auditions, a suitable replacement could not be found and in December 1989, Amethyst played their final gig at the Boars Head pub in their home town of Stockport. Thanks to Wayne Kay. 08/01/13