My name is Lawrence Nicol,
also known as Larry / The Only Punk in Iona street / and The Square Peg.
I got into Punk in 1976 and started to write poetry then gradually started to write songs.
I started singing in a couple of local pubs in Edinburgh in 1979 got up and did a 15 minute spot reading my poetry then
started singing after a bit of persuasion from some of the audience who were a bit fed up of me talking if I remember
correctly "sing ya b*****d" was the inducement so if anyone is to blame it was them but I'm glad they did as I would not
have gone on to make records.
I started singing with Edinburgh's Billy Jones most Fridays and Saturdays in ' the Mile Bar ' on the high street and the ' Burke
and Hare' at the west port off and on until mid 1983.
I had given tape copies from the live pub gig's away to a lot of people over the years I was with Billy but I never thought
about making a record until I met a German couple who had taken a copy of a tape home to Germany and played it to all
their friends who liked it and so they more or less put the idea of recording into my head as up until thenI had just been
doing it for a laugh and a bit of fun.
I thought if i was going to go to a studio I would do my songs as i wanted them to sound like and that was as loud and as
rocky as i could So I started to look around for musicians to put it together then I met Big John Duncan who had just left
'The Exploited', and immediately he heard the tape he said no problem lets do it. John pulled in Gary McCormack who had
played bass for 'The Exploited' as well.
I knew a drummer called Robbie Bain who was playing for' So you think you're a cowboy' we rehearsed in an old house in Leith
for two nights and came out with three songs.
We went into Pierhouse studio in November 1983, and recorded 'Echoes of War / Bad Connection / No Explanation'.
That was when the Nice Boys name came about I had been known as 'The Square Peg' for a good few years prior to the studio.
I did all the usual stuff went down to London trying to get labels interested but no luck so I started my own label Stranded Records
I had used the name for various things fanzine / disco since I first met 'The Saints' ( from Australia ) in Cockburn street summer of
1977 and went to their gigs ( on the guest list I may add).
I then got 1000 copies of ' Echoes of war ' ep
Stranded xlnt-1. pressed up by Mayking records in London and spent my nights
and weekends, cutting /folding and glueing, 1000 gatefold sleeves (took me three weeks).
I met Sandy Mclean who worked in Fast Forward distribution (owned by Bob Last who was the manager of the 'Human league' )
who put the record out through the Cartel in july 1984.
We pressed up another 1000 records and another 1000 sleeves and sold 1500 copies in the first week of release although I never
saw any cash (what's new). We got a few good reviews in the music press, N.M.E./ Melody Maker/ Sounds. mostly punk sections
one or two rock ones then the music papers went on strike for about six weeks that summer .
I sent the single down to the tv program The Tube hosted by Jules Holland and Paula Yates and we were booked to appear then
Jules Holland swore on live broadcast and they pulled the show for three weeks all the bands that were booked lost their spots and
we lost our debut on tv.
The single got played on radio 1's John Peel show and on Edinburgh's radio forth 'the Scottish wave band&' by Colin Summerville
who played the single almost every week 1984 was a good year.
In June 1985 I released the 'Napalm Stars' debut single 'Fiction/Workhard' Stranded xlnt-2.
after Bryan asked me every time he
saw me to put it out on Stranded it sold reasonably well.
In August 1985 I was given two days recording time in Sound Site studio in Edinburgh through Sandy Mclean as Fast forward who
owed me money from the sale of Echoes of War were closing down the shop in Edinburgh.
I contacted Big John who by this time had formed 'Crazy Maybe' and we went into the studio with if I remember correctly about one
and half songs we spent the weekend in the studio and came out with ' Cant Say No/Nuclear Attack ' we also recorded a blues song
which started out as an acoustic blues and finished up as a mental blues punk thrash which was never released until i released the
Comp CD xlnt-1 in 2003).
I got a 1000 copies pressed up by Mayking Records, but this time I had the sleeves printed by them as well.
In October 1985 I released 'Cant Say No'
through the Cartel and it was played on Radio Forth's Scottish
wave band by Colin Summerville and I was told it had been played on John Peel's show but you cant listen to all the radio stations
it got good press reviews and sold a lot of copies.
In January 1987 I released 'Bohn Legion' debut single 'May in Berlin/Heaven Knows'
on Stranded xlnt-4. it was a similar situation
to the 'Napalm Star's' I had known the bass player Kit for about 6 months and he kept at me to bring their single out on my label so
I gave in and listened to a demo tape and said ok I'll do it.
This was the first band that I put money into as well I began to manage them and get them gigs, we released the single, and a week
later the band split up, I was a bit gutted but couldn't do any thing about it although I was left with most of the singles.
I did nothing with the label for a few years as family and other commitments took over my time also I was getting a bit disillusioned
with the band s**t so I took a rest.
A couple of times over the next few years I thought about doing a Stranded compilation of all the bands on the label but one thing or
another stopped me doing it
In 1994 I was doing a bit of joinery work in my mate Jamie Watson's studio (Chamber Studio) and he said I've got this punk band
from Livingston doing a demo they would be good to add to your compilation album they're playing at the Venue come and see them
they're called 'Swine Flu'.
So I went to see them and the result was a few weeks later I got them in the studio and the single was recorded I paid for the studio
and half the record costs.
In July we went on tour to Newcastle/Manchester/Newport/Leicester.
In August I released 'Swine Flu's' debut single 'Killing Time/Lost Innocence'
A week or so later they sacked the rhythm guitarist and replaced the drummer, with Chris (who played for beergut 100 and later
went on to play for the 'Gin Goblins' ) the last i heard he was living in california
In November we toured /Germany/and France via the ferry to Holland / Hamburg / Oldenburg / Dijon / Paris / Nantes / Brighton /
Welshy the singer later joined 'External Menace' and Billy joined 'The Exploited' on bass, Craig left to form 'Critikill' with Crany
on bass, Brigsy on rhythm guitar and Scotty on drums.
In May 1995 Jamie Watson asked me if I would build a new studio for him as he'd bought a building in the Granton area of
Edinburgh so I pulled in a couple of mates and built the new Chamber Studio
From 1994/99 I roadied various bands over Britain most famously 'The Gin Goblins'. 'The Exploited' a couple of times and after
'Swine Flu' split up I drove 'External Menace' a few times.
Big John went on to play with the 'Blood Uncles / Goodbye Mr Mackenzie' ( who featured Shirley Manson of 'Garbage' ) and
even did a stint with 'Nirvana' and has done a bit of acting as well, he has appeared in the film 'American Cousins' /
Gary had a few bands over the years then he started acting and he was in 'Gangs of New York' / Robbie,
I thought he had disappeared but he turned up in a motorbike magazine article about a bike that he built a few years ago and as
far as i know he now works outside London after he read this he got in touch with me
I went to New York in April 2003 with a few mates for the Scottish parade day on 5th avenue and I had made up a cdr copy
of my early vinyl singles to take with me and it was played in all the bars and clubs we went to,and it went down well.
When I got home I decided to re-release some of my old vinyl stuff so I put together the artwork and re-mixed the first
two Square Peg singles from 1984 /85 and added the unreleased Leaving Blues track from 1985 and an unmixed version
with different guitar solos on it.
That became the 'Echoes Of War' 6-track mini Cd xlnt-1