Back in 1983 I was at St Anne's College, Lancashire, where I was studying drama, though I had no real intention nor desire of becoming an actor. It was through a friend of mine at college that I met Dave Holt. Dave and I were both keen on electronic music. Dave was - and remained - a far better player than me, whilst I found writing songs and lyrics a lot easier than he did, so it was quite a good balance. We got on well and decided to give writing some stuff together a go. I think this would have been around November 1983.
The gear we had at this time was about as basic as you could get. I had a Casio MT40 keyboard from Argos that had built in drum patterns and about three synth like sounds (the rest were glockenspiel, flute, bells etc.....awful) plus I had a Jen SX1000 monosynth (plays one note at a time) that I'd bought from the classifieds that summer. It cost me £80 and had a dodgy top C key. Dave had a Yamaha CS01 monosynth which was tiny but sounded good and could be worn on a guitar strap. We had no amps so I would play my Jen SX1000 through my Fidelity record player whilst the Casio and Yamaha had internal speakers. We recorded the results onto Dave's portable tape recorder in my bedroom. If you think it all sounds a bit lo-fi then you'd be spot on.
I had a couple of songs I'd written myself including 'Each time I see you', one I wrote with my neighbour Ian Newman ('Nuclear babes') plus Dave and I co-wrote an instrumental which Dave entitled 'Systamex' (when I googled this, it seems to be the name of worming treatment for cattle!). So we had a demo tape of sorts, which - for a bit of a laugh - we sent off to the Blackpool Gazette as our entry to the local Rock Battle. We needed a band name so Dave came up with Prolog (a computing term, I believe).
Obviously, you can imagine our surprise, amusement and utter shock when the Gazette's music editor Robin Duke wrote to us (no email in those days of course) and said we were through to the competition. Had he actually listened to the tape, I wondered.
The next few weeks meant rehearsing and writing more songs including 'Dear Girl', another instrumental (which was dire) and an instrumental Dave wrote for his mum called 'Hazel's Theme' which was really good.
As for the gig itself on 8th March 1984 at the Bier Keller in Blackpool, we actually had a good crowd of friends support us from college etc and that certainly helped calm the nerves....but we were pretty bad. I think I played a load of bum notes and - when compared to all the guitar based bands who appeared at the gig - we just sounded a bit lightweight. But hey, we had performed our first gig..
In 2020, Dave and I - now neighbours since 2014 - did tentatively discuss working together on some new material and even created a rough demo of one track called 'Find a way'. I even based the lyric loosely around us having split up as a band and getting back together. We even joked about organising a 40th anniversary Prolog gig in 2024. Unfortunately, circumstances meant we would never get around to developing this and other ideas further.
Dave became ill in late 2021 and three spells in hospital followed, meaning he spent much of 2022 away from home. However, we kept in constant contact via text, email and WhatsApp, and it was during this time that he asked me to create a website for his music. On one of my last visits to see Dave, we talked about setting up a room downstairs in his house as a more accessible studio for him. Sadly, Dave would never got the chance to work on more music. He passed away on 11th September 2022.
Dave composed many fantastic pieces of music after Prolog finished. He established a music production facility in his home, recording and producing many local artists. Please visit Dave's website, listen to his music and read his story.
Prolog was my first introduction to being in a band and playing live music. Dave and I had a lot of laughs and we often talked about the 'Prolog' era in later years. I wish we had played lots more gigs together, invested in better gear - instead of beer - and gone into a studio to record a proper demo...but it was all great experience and I'd love the chance to go back in time and do it all again, ideally without the blue overalls.