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That Petrol Emotion


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(1984 – 1994, 2008 – present)

That Petrol Emotion originally formed in 1984 from the ashes of the Derry Hitmakers, Bam Bam and the Calling and The Undertones. It was formed by guitarist John O’Neill and second guitarist Raymond Gorman who DJ’d together at the Derry ‘Left Bank’ club. Drummer and friend Ciaran McLaughlin joined next after having relocated from Derry to London, followed by John’s brother and Undertones lead guitarist Damian O’Neill who played bass from 1985 until 1988 upon John’s departure. He then took up guitar duties from 1988-1994 and 2008-present. Charismatic American singer Steve Mack, who was on a year out working in a pizzeria in London at the time, finished off the line up. Two more bassists played in the band after John O’Neill left: John Marchini (1988-1991) then Brendan Kelly (1991-1994 and 2008-present). That Petrol Emotion’s influences encompassed artists as diverse as The Beatles, Afrika Bambaataa, Television, Sly & The Family Stone, Captain Beefheart and Can.

The group released their debut single “Keen” in 1985 which immediately severed all musical links with the Undertones with its darker more edgy sound. Indeed That Petrol Emotion themselves were also far more political and outspoken than the Undertones. This statement of intent in the guise of Keen was followed by their debut album “Manic Pop Thrill”, released in 1986 on Demon Records and charting at number 1 in the UK Indie Chart. It was received with rave reviews from the critics, especially by Undertones champion John Peel. Around this time That Petrol Emotion were also quickly making their name as a devastating live act of tight musicianship and intense playing.


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  • flashbleu

    I used to love this band back in the day. Funny how I'd not bothered with them for a while. I forgot how great they were.

    17 Aug 2012 Reply
  • CAVermeer

    Holy - haven't listened to this band in decades. Nice to hear them again!

    20 Jun 2012 Reply
  • SilentPoet82

    New season of the Irish Rock League has started. Your votes will decide the next champion!

    10 Jul 2011 Reply
  • eyesaresmiles

    This lot take me back. Them and the Wedding Present were the first bands I got into outside the charts. The beginning of a fantastic voyage. Big decision would be such a huge hit now. The first three albums still sound terrific. Great live band too.

    22 May 2010 Reply
  • TimGrady76

    These guys are fantastic! I've never really listened to them until now. I've always loved their name, my favourite name for a band, it's great. Can't believe it has taken so long to hear them. They deserve loads more recognition and plays....

    22 Apr 2010 Reply
  • Matazone

    I saw their last London gig in 1994 when I was 17 and still have the T-shirt! A lifetime later, I'm still a fan and looking forward to seeing them play again. Come play in Oxford, guys! Last of the last of the true believers :)

    14 Feb 2010 Reply
  • SilentPoet82

    New season for the Irish Rock League has just started! Your favourite artists need your votes to win, so join now!

    3 Jan 2010 Reply
  • Lesscities


    4 Nov 2009 Reply
  • zimmerframemosh

    Playing Dublin 6th December. Its been years since I've seen them playing live. Going to see them this time for sure.

    23 Oct 2009 Reply
  • SilentPoet82

    Stop complaining about the bad taste of other people! Final round of the first season and the qualifying for the Rock Cup has just started! Join the Irish Rock League now an decide with your vote!

    7 Oct 2009 Reply
  • blossomtoe

    Good god I can't believe how few plays they've got. Christ, why didn't anyone ever listen to this band? My personal fave is their debut, Manic Pop Thrill, that I'm not sure they ever bettered. I know the later stuff is bigger and brasher, but I don't know that they ever achieved the balance of rough garage rock and sweet melody so well as on MPT. But Babble and Chemicrazy are of course also ace.

    10 Sep 2009 Reply
  • runout_groove

    playing the Ten Years Of ATP Festival:

    11 Aug 2009 Reply
  • simonx98

    01/07/2009 Birmingham - Academy 2 .......... 02/07/2009 Portsmouth - Wedgewood Rooms ............03/07/2009 London - Bloomsbury Ballroom .............. 05/07/2009 Kent - Hop Farm Festival ............06/07/2009 Nottingham - Rescue Rooms .............. 07/07/2009 Manchester - Academy 3 ............... 09/07/2009 Leeds - Cockpit .............. 10/07/2009 Newcastle - Academy 2 ............... 11/07/2009 Kinross, Scotland - T In The Park ............. 12/07/2009 Dublin - Oxegen Festival ................. Get in there :-)

    23 Jun 2009 Reply
  • simonx98

    They were always an amazing band live as well and the brilliant news is that they have a tour coming up!!!

    23 Jun 2009 Reply
  • simonx98

    Top 5 songs: 1. Inside 2. Creeping To The Cross 3. Big Decision (extended) 4. Sweet Shiver Burn 5. Cellophane

    23 Jun 2009 Reply
  • fylopastry

    Big Decision was a grrrrrrrrreat single.

    10 Jun 2009 Reply
  • annerkee62

    I found some vinyl of this group today in my collection. I had forgotten how wonderful they were.

    21 Dec 2008 Reply
  • judejudester

    I was at their last gig ever in Dublin. I'll never forget it. They were fantastic musicians whose music was filled with creativity, imagination and DNA shaking energy.

    2 Nov 2008 Reply
  • tracytennant

    Chemicrazy has been one of my favorite albums for years. The songs are all really catchy, and Steve Mack has a terrific voice. One of the most underrated bands ever -- more people should get into them.

    29 Oct 2008 Reply
  • gareth53

    Chemicrazy has some great moments (great singles and Sweet Shiver Burn is an awesome album closer), as does Fireproof. Favourite song is still Creeping To The Cross tho - mostly for Mack's BVs

    28 Oct 2008 Reply
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