Coping With Kevin were formed in the autumn of 1984 by founder members Si Allen (guitar) Martin Joddrell (bass) and Andrew Wilson (vocals and guitar). Dave Hall (drummer) would join in the spring of 1985 after answering a message placed in a local music shop. (Martin was to leave in January 1987 to be replaced by Paul Dsouza). The band were from Stockport in Greater Manchester.
The origin of the band’s name is shrouded in myth. One rumour tells us it was taken from the 1970’s UK soap opera Crossroads. The story goes that an on-screen conversation took place where one character was asked how she was “coping with Kevin”, a fictional relative and mechanic on the show. Don’t do drugs, kids.
Real life is, as ever, more curious and ennobling than fiction. Coping With Kevin is derived from a playful mixture of the names of Julian Cope (The Teardrop Explodes) and his alter ego Kevin Stapleton.
The band took their influences from artists such as Orange Juice; Aztec Camera; Lloyd Cole and The Commotions; Joy Division and The Smiths. The music and lyrics of Coping With Kevin was a collaborative affair between band members.
Their first rehearsals took place above a butcher shop in Heaton Moor and then later, over a joiner’s near Stockport Market. Their initial gig saw them at Stockport College in the summer of 1985, with further appearances at The Brookfield, Man Alive. Manchester Polytechnic, The Venue, The Boardwalk and most notably at The International where they supported The Replacements. Two more gigs were played at The Green Room, their final appearance being there on February 11th 1988.
The band were never to release an actual EP or single. However, their music was recorded on to tape cassette at various locations and studios in Greater Manchester (The Commercial Studio, Quantec, Out of the Blue) and a shed in Cheadle. The high point was a 4 song session for The Mark Radcliffe Show on Piccadilly Radio in December 1986.
Recently the tape cassettes were unearthed and digitised to MP3 by friends of the band. All of these songs can now be found on YouTube, homemade CD’s and various media devices dotted around the Manchester conurbation. Check them out when you can, you wont be disappointed!
The band were not to exist any later than the summer of 1988, due to a combination of practical logistics and artistic (in)difference. It is said that at a band meeting where the question of whether the band should “split”, no one said no.
Sadly, Martin Joddrell passed away in 2019. His contribution to the music and lyrics of Coping With Kevin (Heaton Moors best kept secret) can be fondly remembered when listening to their mercurial songs today.
Welcome to the 21st Century and welcome back to the ubiquity of a global digital mediascape that is post-modern popular culture, Coping With Kevin.
Biography added : 6th May 2020
by Simon Turner