The Lens

artists thelens

It all began, believe it or not, in a queue for Genesis tickets. Same old story from here: three boys meet, three boys form a band. The three boys were: Peter Nicholls, an art student, guitarist Mike Holmes and drummer Niall Hayden.

1977 saw the first gigs of The Lens, a band anything other than a constant line-up. Niall was sometimes replaced by Brian Marshall, at other occasions both of them performed on drums. Nicholls' role, although always nominally a member, was similarly nebulous. At one gig, for instance, he announced all the songs, told stories in between, but didn´t actually sing - due to his residence in Manchester, the charismatic Nicholls, was usually absent at gigs in the south of England. Later Martin Orford joined on keyboards, Hayden left and the position on bass was offered to Brian's brother Les.

Their first cassette album, No TV Tonite, featured tracks ranging in style from space hippie tunes to complex progressive rock and actually sold quite well. The Lens live performances were, no matter how small the venue, invariably impressive, using not only lights, but films, projections and pyrotechnics too.

When Carmine Brudenell, a work colleague of Mike, joined the band on stage to dance in front of the musicians, The Lens was already in a class of it's own. Despite this, cracks (personal and musical) appeared, and in early 1981, Mike and Martin decided to form a new band: IQ.

And there the story ends, or at least it would have were it not for the fact that sometime in 2010 Mike decided to revisit the concept of The Lens and, after a lot of time locked away with his laptop, 'Regeneration' was (re)born. Written and performed by Mike (with a little help from original drummer Niall Hayden and IQ band mate Paul Cook), the album is a mix of laid back, 'Floydian' grooves, chilled-out ambience and all out prog. Released on GEP in 2010, 'Regeneration' is available from the GEP online store.

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