Commercially Inviable Since 2000 : The Edited Highlights


Buick 6 are formed and begin to play some well received shows to the good people of Birmingham.

They record their debut single, “Genuine Parts”, at Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. It is released on a green vinyl 7″ through their own Winnebago Records label and contains the songs “Drunk on My Porch” and “Southern Trail”.


A second single “Get Real / Our Little Girl” is recorded but Winnebago (somewhat inevitably) collapses before it can be released. The band donate “Get Real” to “The Songmakers Project”, a compilation CD in aid of the homeless charity Shelter.

John Peel begins playing the “Genuine Parts” single on the wireless and Buick 6 are invited to play a session for the show, recording 5 songs at the famous Maida Vale studios.

The band also record a mini-album, “Me vs The Tiny Nail”, but do not release it.


After the Peel session is aired on Radio 1, the band receive a ‘cease-and-desist’ order from Irish blues band Buick 6 and are forced to change their name, becoming The Toques.

The Toques sign a 5-year management deal with Sanctuary and are paraded in front of The Major Record Labels of London.

Creation Records / Poptones producer Joe Foster is drafted in by Sanctuary to work with the band. The Toques record some songs in London whilst S Club 7 mime overdubs in an adjacent studio. The irony escapes no-one.

The band are invited back to record a second session for the John Peel show. Members of Grand Drive, Willard Grant Conspiracy and [X] isgreaterthan [Y] are drafted in as the band swell to a 9-piece for the occasion.


“Too Tired To Worry” and “Journeys End”, recorded in the sessions with Joe Foster, are released on a 7″ single by Bearos Records. The band end up owing the label £74.

As the band record backing vocals for Carina Round‘s LP, “The Disconnection”, The Major Record Labels of London decide that what the world actually needs is The Thrills.

Sanctuary and The Toques decide they don’t want to play with each other anymore.

2004 / 2005

Realising that no-one can spell or pronounce The Toques correctly, the band change their name to “Friends of the Stars” and play shows with Herman Dune, Kimya Dawson and Mr David Viner.

Friends of the Stars record an album, “The Gun Quarter Tapes”, at their own studio in Birmingham. They do not release it. Instead, they go on holiday to Wales…

Upon their return they abandon their damp city centre lock-up, move to a home studio set-up and begin laying the groundwork for the “Lighting & Electrical” album.


Friends of the Stars finish recordings for “Lighting and Electrical”. Songs from the album are sent off to be remixed by a small selection of knob-twiddlers.

Beth McGowan begins mixing the “Lighting and Electical” tapes and just before the end of the year the album is sent to Dave Bloor to be mastered. Meanwhile, in a Los Angeles suburb, Olivia Mole completes the artwork…


The trouble and disappointment looks set to continue as the band plot the release of their 2nd and debut full-length album.


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