Nyah Fearties built up a loyal cult following from the late eighties until their demise in 1995 mainly due to their crazy live shows. It was often hard to believe how a band that used acoustic instruments could make so much noise, and the speed at which they played often approached meltdown! Their music was an original blend of chaotic sound played on acoustic instruments and "found" percussion! Although often classed as a folk/punk crossover, in their early days their sound was more feedback driven thrash, than anything resembling traditional Scottish folk!!!!!
The Fearties came from Lugton, a nowhere village buried in North Ayrshire, and the band started in the early eighties with the core members of David Wiseman on bass and Craig White on vocals. Influenced by punk, reggae, rockabilly and country, they developed a unique sound that spat in the face of eighties synth-pop and new romantics. Theirs was a primal, tribal broadside. With 'Treesy' on manic drums and David on fretless bass they recorded a guitarless track on an Ayrshire compilation tape in 1982 which left the rest of the bands on the cassette speechless! The band were soon joined by Lawrence Bryce on guitar and Alan Cook on drums and began a series of gigs that were always different, improvised and either compelling or awful! You either loved them or hated them - there was no middle ground. You would hear covers of Joy Division, Elvis, Leonard Cohen and reggae classics along with the Fearties own compositions which were angular and funky!
By 1985 this version of the band was in limbo and Davy began working with his younger brother Stephen and a friend from Lugton, Donald Sutherland. Rehearsing in Donald's parent's farm they created a range of drums from scaffolding, carpet tubing and oil drums which laid the foundation for the new Feartie sound. Donald was a skilled banjo player and Stephen created his own instrument 'the ganjo' . This line up debuted at the Gateway Centre in Kilmarnock as 'The Root Searchin', Metal Bashin' Fearties' and caused a sensation! Like the Sex Pistols 'Screen on the Green' gig, many more people have claimed to have been in the audience than were actually there but everyone who was had their life changed in some way. There were only a few gigs done using the full scaffolding and oil drums but each one was an ear shattering event.
Due to the impracticality of touring with tons of scrap metal Davy and Stephen began busking acoustically on the streets of Edinburgh and then moved to London. Stephen became a master of the wildly thrashed 'ganjo' and Davy got an acoustic bass which he played like a man possesed! Never before has a bass been played in such a style. Full barre chord rhythms and beautifully seductive melodies alternated from his rumblin' bass guitar.
By busking in London the Fearties met the Pogues who asked them to support them at Hammersmith Palais and then tour with them. The pairing was a fruitful combination and in 1986 the first Fearties album 'A Tasty Heidfu' was released. To record their unique style the band returned to the barns of Lugton with their producer and teamed up again with Donald Cuthbertson for banjo and 'blatter cage' percussion. A 1986 appearance on The Tube promoting their first LP exposed them to a wider audience, but their unique sound and over the top Scottish image was too much for most people and the Fearties found themselves forever on the fringes of alternative music culture.
They were always fiercely, independent, releasing almost all of their subsequent music on their own LYT Records, and refusing to compromise their sound for anyone. Their anarchic musical style won them many friends in Europe where they played regularly, and they often appeared at Celtic festivals in Wales and Ireland where they'd scare the shit out of the local folk music community.
Thir next release was a 4 track 12" EP recorded in Manchester by Neale Cairns. By this time the band was purely David and Stephen. This was followed by a 7" 'Barassie' and their next LP 'Desperation o' a Dyin' Culture' which is arguably the bands finest hour.
After touring as a two piece for a number of years the brothers took a break. David switched to guitar and began working with bass player Allan Henry doing experimental recordings. It wasn't long before they had a handfull of songs and Stephen was brought back in to flesh them out with banjo. A one-off live performance with extra musicians and fire-eaters proved a catylist in getting a new live band together and local musician and song writer Francis Lopez became a member of this new combo who giged under the name of the 'Collaborators'. Looking to augment the sound of the band, Michael Woods was drafted in to play fiddle, accordian and tin whistle when Frannie Lopez left, and this line up of David & Stephen Wiseman, Allan Henry and Michael Woods became Nyah Fearties until they dissolved in 1995. This version of the Fearties released 'The Collaborators' cassette, the 'Red Kola' EP, 'A Keech in a Poke' cassette and 'Granpa Craw'.
In 1994 French label Jivarock began releasing Fearties material in Europe starting off with a compilation CD "SKUD" and finishing off with the final Fearties CD "Granpa Craw". The band repackaged Granpa Craw and partially rerecorded it for release in the UK on LYT. After some very successful tours of Europe promoting the album and an apathetic return to Scottish venues, the Fearties stopped playing in the summer of 95, though Davie and Stephen (who by this time had moved to Germany) got together for a two man tour of Holland in December 1995 reviving a variety of classic Fearties songs!
In 1996 Davie and Michael, formed a new band "Dub Skelper" playing a slightly more traditional Scottish sound though still with the manic energy of the Fearties, and when that fizzled out around the turn of the century a new band called Junkman's Choir was formed briefly reuniting Davy with his brother Stephen on percussion!
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