Night Visitors were formed in Salford in 1979. The original line-up was:
Janice Johnston Howie – vocals
Andy Hieke – guitar
Rick Cooke – guitar
Colin Robinson – synths and tenor sax
Chris Peck - bass
Rich Souter – drums
Andy Hieke and Rich Souter had previously played together in the band Kalamazoo, along with Colin Thorpe (Chapter & The Verse).
Colin Robinson had played in the experimental unit 262.
The first gig was an open-air event at The Sabre in Ordsall in September 1979. After that gig, Tony White replaced Chris Peck on bass.
The band played a lot of gigs in the North-West during 1979 and 1980. Rick Cooke left the band in June 1980 and Colin Robinson played some live guitar after that.
Steve Garvey from The Buzzcocks did some production work for the band at Graveyard Studios in Prestwich (where A Certain Ratio and Joy Division had recorded). In 1980, Janice, Andy and Colin bought Graveyard Studios. The band used this for recording, and also as a base for Andy and Colin’s record label, Terminal Music. Colin had originally set up Terminal to release material by 262.
Tony White left Night Visitors in October 1980, and was replaced on bass by Dominic McDonough from the band Matinee.
The band played their last gig in July 1981, at the Derby Hall in Bury, but continued recording at Graveyard.
In May 1983, the band won a competition in the national music paper Soundmaker. This entitled them to a recording deal and also a video, and initial meetings were set up with Joy Division producer Martin Hannett. Unfortunately, Soundmaker and the video company both went bust soon afterwards, and Night Visitors ended up hiring recording equipment from Martin Hannett and percussion from the band Sad Café for some self-produced work, which featured Gareth Jones (who had also played in 262) on percussion.
Night Visitors’ music started off as Blondie-influenced new wave, moving into a more experimental area after they bought Graveyard.
The band released several cassettes on the Terminal Music label, including:
“English Electric” (1980)
“Sale Ange” (1982)
“Don’t Look Out Of The Window” (1983)
During the early 1980s, Andy and Colin also worked as the live sound engineers for Steve Garvey’s post-Buzzcocks band Motivation, which featured the late Dave Rowbotham (“Cowboy Dave” from Durutti Column and the Moth Men) on guitar.
Night Visitors fell apart in 1984.
Colin now plays in Big Block 454; Janice and Andy both live in America (as does Steve Garvey). Rick Cooke and Rich Souter both still live in the North-West. (submitted 12.05.07)
Clive Henthorne remembers:
"I saw Night Visitors a couple of times in the early 80s. The band consisted of the very attractive Janice Johnston Howie on lead vocals.
The band released two cassette albums that I know of. The name of the first one escapes me the second was called English Electric.
1/ Sunshine Grenade
2/ Weigh it down
4/ Metallic Blue
5/ Playing the fool
6/ Vile and Sterile
7/ VIP Treatment
Night visitors are yet another great band that didn't make it" (Submitted 05.04.07)