Biting Tongues were formed on stage at the Factory Club in Hulme 1979 Manchester to perform a live soundtrack to a film of the same name made by band member Howard Walmsley.
This one off line up stabilised into a 5 piece of Howard Walmsley -Sax /Colin Seddon -Bass /Eddie Sherwood -Drums /Graham Massey- Guitar ,violin & woodwinds and Ken Hollings Text and vocals .
Manchester DIY label New Hormones funded some early recording at Drone Studios in Chorlton
with Piccadilly Radio producer Stuart James -Dark Room Skin Transfers (side one of Don't Heal)
Side two “The White Valise” had to wait a year to be financed and was recorded at Pennine Studios Oldham again with Stuart James . The band then sold the recordings to Situation 2 and the album eventually came out in 1981
New Hormones funded another recording session that became “Live It “ -intended as an LP but released only as a limited run Cassette -Recorded with Stuart James at Relentless Studios Ancoats (later to be Out Of The Blue Studios) The LP saw the light of day again 40 years later when an expanded version was released on vinyl by Finders Keeper/Cache Cache records.
A Third LP was released in 1983 -“Libreville” on the short lived Paragon label .Recorded at Revolution Studios Cheadle Hulme with Belgian producer Roland Beelen at the controls
Some tracks were also recorded at Bootleg Studios Reddish and Cavalier Studios Stockport.
The band mostly played regular gigs in Manchester as a member of The Manchester Musicians Collective - Band On The Wall , Cypress Tavern ,various University gigs -Early on a number of gigs at New Hormones/City Fun s Beach Club. The bands front man and vocalist lived in London and procured a number of gigs in the early 80s at art hot spots such as The ICA , The B2 Gallery , The Hayward Gallery The Wag Club & Cabaret Futura.
In 1984 work began on the film FEVERHOUSE written by Ken Hollings and directed by Howard Walmsley with some funding by North West Arts . Tony Wilson offered to part fund its completion if Factory could release it on VHS as part of its newly formed video wing IKON. The band could also release the soundtrack on Factory as part of the deal. The project emerged in 1984.
By that time Ken Hollings and Eddie Sherwood departed the group the latter became the first drummer in Simply Red . The drum seat was taken by Phil Kirby formally of the band The Knives
Also Tom Barnish ,a Trombonist was added, also from The Knives.
This version of the band gigged regularly in Manchester /London and also ventured on brief Dutch tour
In 1985 Colin Seddon left the group to concentrate on Inner Sense Percussion a large scale samba group based in Manchester that ran for many years .
Various bass players came through the band Mark Derby ,Steve Jones (later of The Dust Junkeys ) and Paddy Steer from the band Yargo -Phil Kirby was also in Yargo at this point
During this period two further releases appeared on Factory Records -Trouble Hand (1985) and Compressor (1987)- both being 12 inch EPs .A long format video collection called Wall Of Surf was also released on Factory IKON. Yargo were to be signed to London records in 1987
which would normally be the death knell of Biting Tongues .However Graham Massey had by this point started working as a sound engineer and learning the emerging music tech of the day .So Massey Walmsley and Barnish recorded a final electronic based album for the Cut Deep label based out of Strawberry Studios in Stockport . This was around the same time as Massey’s new project 808 State were making some progress with the emerging dance scene .Cut Deep went bust just after promo ing the album Recharge as a double vinyl white label. A 12 single was released “Love Out" featured Denise Johnson on vocals .
In 2003 the original Biting Tongues line up reformed to play a one off gig with former rehearsal room mates Crispy Ambulance at The ICA in London .This coincided with 3 releases on LTM .A collection “ After The Click ,The Dialogue” A Factory Years collection called “Compressed” and the lost 1988 electronic album “Recharge”
A number of infrequent reunions occurred subsequently in the 2000s at Islington Mill Salford ,Plan K in Brussels and Shunt Vaults in London-A Collection of live recordings from these reunion gigs appeared in 2020 as a CD “Clear Your Screens” on the Touch /Tape Worm label . A Cassette only release “Still On Hawaiian Time “ live at The Library Theatre 1983/Riverside Theatre 1982 was also released by Tape Worm in 2016.bitingtongues.com
Biography added : 1st June 2020
by Graham Massey