The Frantic Elevators are most known for being the jumping-off point for a pre-Simply Red Mick Hucknall.
In 1976, Audenshaw Grammar School pupil Adrian Whittleworth decided to form a band with fellow pupils Frank Ollerenshaw and Gary Hulston. this band was called Osiris. Frank would then be replaced by Mick, who was keen to display his vocal abilities. Eventually, Neil Moss joined the band, and the songwriting partnership that was Hucknall/Moss was formed. Together the band wrote their first song Time Over Matter.
Mick left Osiris to join a series of local bands, such as Joe Stalin's Red Star Radio Band and Purple Haze, but eventually formed a band with Neil and fellow members Steve Tansley and Mark Reeder. Mick and Neil settled on calling the band Elevation. Other suggested names were the Elevators and the Rancid Elevators, but the final name came to be The Frantic Elevators. Mick and Neil also wrote their first of many songs together, called Marion.
Mark Reeder left the band to start a new life abroad, while Steve Tansley decided to quit soon afterwards. Once replacement members had been sought, the Frantic Elevators consisted of:
Mick Hucknall, vocals
Neil Moss, guitar
Brian Turner, bass
Kevin Williams, drums
On the record sleeves, Neil Moss would be credited as Neil Smith, so as to avoid being questioned by the Social Security people! There was also a fifth 'unofficial' member of the band, resident photographer Richard Watt.
The band's first single, Voice in the Dark, was released in June of 1979 by TJM. Their planned second single, also on TJM, was to be Hunchback of Notre Dame, with I See Nothing and Everything and Don't Judge Me as the b-side tracks. This was not released.
Their second release, recorded at Cargo Studios in Rochdale, was You Know What You Told Me in 1980 on Eric's records. This was coupled with the song Production Prevention.
A third single, Searching for the Only One, backed with a new version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, was released in 1981 on Crackin' Up records.
In 1982, the band were confident in the ability of the song Holding Back the Years, which was recorded at Hologram Studios in Stockport. Despite no longer having the backing of any company, the band decided to finance and release it themselves. Lack of decent distribution, saw the single go largely unheard.
Songs for a fifth single were recorded, though due to internal conflicts, these would never surface. The songs were When I Go To See Her and Haven't Got The Power. These songs remain in someone's possession!
Early in 1983, Mick decided the band was not doing justice to his talents, and decided to leave. Neil, Kevin and Brian chose to continue and renamed the band the Elevators. They recruited a saxophonist who soon left once he realised this wasn't the band he'd heard about! The Elevators tried to continue as a threesome, but without the leadership of Mick, all was lost. Brian Turner left in the early summer of 1983, leaving Neil and Kevin to finally disband.
Mick would then turn to his friend Elliot Rashman, in the hope of recruiting some capable musicians to showcase his vocal capabilities. Elliot then became manager to Mick's new project. The band performed their first gig under the name World Service, but were renamed Red and the Dancing Dead, then Just Red, and finally Simply Red. Holding Back the Years was re-recorded by Simply Red, and provided them with a UK number 2 hit. The song was co-written by Neil Moss, who would later pocket around £50,000 in royalties.
Neil Moss is once again making music, as a member of Manchester duo KP2 and Nemo, alongside former Hamsters band member Ian Moss AKA Moey. Their EP Fruits and Roots is available for listening and purchase via this link.
The "Fifth Elevator", Richard Watt currently lives in Milton Keynes and is still an active photographer.
Osiris founder, Adrian Whittleworth, is currently living and working in Dubai as Operations Manager for a staging and events company. [ Photo ]
Osiris member Gary Hulston was until recently a member of Manchester band Room Thirteen.