The Motors Biography

The Motors were based around the partnership of Nick Garvey (26 April 1951, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) and Andy McMaster (b. 27 July 1947, Glasgow, Scotland) who first met in the pub rock band Ducks Deluxe. McMaster had a long career in pop music, having played in several bands in the 60s including the Sabres, which also featured Frankie Miller. McMaster released a solo single, ‘Can’t Get Drunk Without You’, on President, and joined Ducks Deluxe in November 1974. Garvey was educated at Kings College in Cambridge and was an accomplished pianist, oboist and trumpeter. Before he joined Ducks Deluxe in December 1972 he had acted as a road manager for the Flamin’ Groovies. The pair left the Ducks early in 1975, just a few months before the unit disbanded. Garvey joined a band called the Snakes (along with future Wire vocalist Rob Gotobed), who released one single. McMaster, meanwhile, went to work for a music publisher. Garvey’s friend and manager Richard Ogden suggested that Garvey form his own band in order to record the songs he had written. This led to him contacting McMaster and in January 1977 they recorded demos together.

The following month they recruited Ricky Wernham (aka Ricky Slaughter) from the Snakes on drums. Guitarist Rob Hendry was quickly replaced by Bram Tchaikovsky (b. Peter Bramall, 10 November 1950, Lincolnshire, England) and the Motors were up and running. They made their live debut at the Marquee Club, London, in March 1977 and signed to Virgin Records in May. A tour with the Kursaal Flyers and the Heavy Metal Kids led to the release of their debut single, ‘Dancing The Night Away’, and first album, produced by Mutt Lange. However, it was their second single, ‘Airport’, which became a huge hit in the UK, reaching number 4 in summer 1978. It is widely used to this day as a stock soundtrack when television programmes show film clips of aeroplanes taking off or landing. Despite this success, the band was already burning out. After performing at Reading in August the Motors decided to concentrate on writing new material. Wernham took the opportunity to leave, while Tchaikovsky formed his own band with the intention of returning to the Motors, though he never did. Garvey and McMaster eventually re-emerged with some new material for Tenement Steps. It was recorded with the assistance of former Man bass player Martin Ace, and drummer Terry Williams (ex-Man and Rockpile). After Tenement Steps the Motors seized up, but both Garvey and McMaster went on to release solo material. Williams joined Dire Straits.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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