1988 – 1996 (8 years)
Formed in 1988, Bristol based six piece The Haywains played jangly guitar pop fronted by a distinctive boy-girl duel vocal delivery. The band were to become a familiar name on the UK's 'indie-pop' scene of the late 80's and early 90's.
Charismatic singer Jeremy Hunt and guitarist Paul Towler were musically first acquainted in a sloppy sixth-form band, playing mostly covers of one of their favourite bands - The Undertones. After a single ramshackle gig in 1982, the sixteen year old pair wouldn't see their musical partnership rekindled until six years later with the formation of The Haywains.
The band's early gigs were rather shambolic affairs with their debut gig boasting a set list of just five songs! Together with guitarist Dave Yelling, Jeremy and Paul would be the only three members to remain with the group throughout an eight year history that witnessed countless line-up changes.
The Haywains began their recording career with the 'Surfin' Trowbridge EP' a flexi-disc issued with a fanzine called 'Woosh!' in 1988. The record's opening track 'Bythesea Road' would remain one of the band's staple live favourites throughout their career. The following year, the band released their first 7" single 'The Fisherman's Friend EP' on their own Emily's Shop label. Lofthouse of Fleetwood, the company who manufacture the famous 'Fisherman's Friend' lozenges, gave the band permission to reproduce the well known Fisherman's Friend branding for the cover. The single received healthy reviews and air-play by John Peel.
The band began playing shows around the UK including regular billings at the legendary 'Waaaaah!' indie-pop showcases. Further 7" singles followed for small independent labels - 'The Freshen Up EP' released in 1990 on German imprint Blam-A-Bit, also 'Snuggle Up Warm with The Haywains' released in 1991 by Four Letter Words, one of America's earliest indie-pop labels.
A turbulent line-up eventually settled with the arrival of drummer Marc Bendell in 1992 and the re-introduction of original singer Rachel Jones.
The band released a self-financed album 'Never Mind Manchester, Here's The Haywains' before ultimately signing to Vinyl Japan in 1991 which would remain their home for the rest of the band's recording career. A 12" single 'Rosanna' promptly surfaced in 1992 followed by the band's second album 'Desperately Seeking Something' in 1993 which displayed a more accomplished take on the band's shambling jangle-pop sound. The band's jumbled and hard-to-find back catalogue prompted a singles compilation album 'Get Happy With The Haywains' on Vinyl Japan which finally brought all of the band's elusive early singles together for the first time.
A final 7" single 'Why Do I Get The Feeling Your Mother Hates Me?' was released in Spain by Elefant Records in 1995 shortly before the band's split the following year. The Haywains announced two 'farewell shows' in the summer of 1996.
Guitarist and songwriter Paul Towler went on to form short-lived band 'The Casswells' who were active between 1997 and 1998. Their one eponymously titled album, released in 1997, would continue Paul's long-standing association with Vinyl Japan. After a hiatus of almost a decade, Paul started the country-edged pop band The Westfield Mining Disaster in 2006, adopting a grown-up take on guitar pop and concentrating mostly on studio work.
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