We grew up in a small mill town near the Pennines called Middleton, just far enough away from Manchester to have different accents but close enough to get to the Twisted Wheel and the Oasis to watch the bands that played there.
By the time we got in to music the town already had four recording bands: the Country Gents, the Measles, Powerhouse and Ivan's Meads. The Beatles had played the Co-op hall and a rumour that the Rolling Stones got a puncture on Long Street was quickly gaining credibility.
I don't know if it was the connection with the cotton industry but we became heavily in to the blues. There is not a lot of difference between picking cotton and weaving it, both sets of workers moaned like hell and sang the blues at weekend. The difference being a mill worker could bring tears to your eyes even with a jolly song.
There was also a strong folk tradition in the town. Mike Harding did his best to raise a smile in the Ring'o Bells folk club but a trio usually followed him with sad laments about drowning fishermen, miners being buried alive or workers getting hacked to death at the back of the Free Trade Hall.
As the Perfect Circle prepared for their first gig we had an epiphany after watching the Who at the Oasis. They released My Generation and yes they wanted everyone to "fade away" and hoped they'd "die before they got old" in the best blues tradition but they did it with style and more importantly - volume. A burst eardrum covered a multitude of bum notes and missed beats and feedback was a lot easier than a straightforward solo.
It wasn't long before a pronouncement in the local paper, declared the Perfect Circle as Middleton's answer to the Who. We thought we were better, we looked like the Small Faces plus we had apprenticeships as a sideline.
As well as "paying our dues" we began to dress the part. I had hair backcombed higher than my sister, shoes nicked from the bowling ally and wore chequered clothing that sent you dizzy if you spent too long looking in the mirror.
We upgraded our repertoire from the blues to R&B songs like: Mr Pitiful, One Way Love, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, In The Midnight Hour, Workin' In The Coal Mine and Wolly Bully. We got plenty of work and were the happiest, sad bastards you ever met.
By the age of seventeen we were living on a diet of Wimpy burgers and pale ale - four of us suffered from a drink and nicotine dependency and Mike the bass player had athletes foot. We were in debt to all the music shops on Oxford road and the Music Exchange had banned us for copying chord sequences from their sheet music. Even Mazels wouldn't let us through the door after Roy dropped a Reslo microphone in to a box full of valves, smashing most of them.
These kinds of setbacks influenced us in the direction of soul music. We became soul brothers - the pink variety. Northern Soul didn't even have a birth certificate at this time but we'd decided that was the direction we were heading.
Not having a brass section had it ups and downs, on the minus side we didn't sound as good as our rivals but on the other hand we earned the same money which helped pay our fizzy beer and fast food bills and kept Mike in talcum powder for his feet.
We all become proficient on our chosen instruments and knocked out harmonies the Ivy League would have been proud of. We could get hall full of people on to the dance floor and have them clapping in time to the music. This went on for a couple of years but the magic faded and the good times came to an end.
Like most bands ego played a large part in the break up. The move from recreational beers like pale ale and stout to John Willy's bitter was too much too soon. As the bitter went in bullshit came out and the lack of inhibitions brought out deep-seated feelings of one-up-man-ship and doubts concerning others capability. Timing skills were brought in to question and disagreements that would have been settled by discussion were being settled with microphone and cymbal stands.
It even reach the stage were devotional messages - written on the side of the van in lipstick - induced deep resentment. We had always written them in the past so there was no precedence to the new outburst of devotion for certain members that shall remain nameless.
After the break-up we all carried on playing in different bands and differing styles, becoming good friends once again. We are spread out from Manchester to Blackpool , from the Isle of Man to Melbourne and the close bond we had when we started out is still there. People will always have a difference of opinions; the secret is to respect them even if you don't agree.
Favourite song: Heatwave.
Least liked song: Eve Of Destruction.
Favourite male singer: Chris Farlow.
Least liked male singer: David Bowie.
Favourite female singer: Dodie West. (Going Out of My Head).
Least liked female singer: Sandie Shaw.
Favourite band: Small Faces. (Looked as if they enjoyed it).
Least liked band: Honeycombs.
Favourite gig: Spencer Davis (With Steve Windwood).
Worst gig: Carlisle . (Got knocked out by a bouncer).
1960s: Excess of everything, except sex.