Shallow North Dakota
with Intensive Care and Not Of
From the Promoter
SHALLOW NORTH DAKOTA
Noise-rock band from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Back in 1980 when all the world was young, Iain Kilgallon started a band with 3 other guys, Tam Stewart, Iain Tannock and Mark Hendren. The boys were all big fans of Punk Rock and wanted to try and do their bit to add to try get their home town of Gourock, situated on the West Coast of Scotland, represented on the UK punk rock map. They decided on the name Side FX and were soon playing support slots, playing mostly original material, to the local host of new wave bands in the area, which had still to produce any out and out punk acts. After around six months of playing live, Mark Hendren announced he wanted out as he wasn’t enjoying playing.
The guys had a look around for a new guitarist and while in the middle of this, we all decided that we needed a name which better described our brand of basic, angry punk rock. During a night in Iain’s parents house drinking Merrydown Cider and Tennents Lager, and after listening to the new compilation ‘Oi! The Album’, the guys decided on Intensive Care.
A new guitarist was found, Brian McGrath and the band were soon up and playing supports to local punk acts including the notorious Tuaregs and even with soon to become famous, H20.
More changes in the personnel followed with Iain Tannock, Tam Stewart and Brian McGrath leaving after the band had a heart to heart about the direction they wanted to go and only Iain Kilgallon wanted to follow the Oi!/Punk route with all the others wanting to go new wave. As Iain was the main songwriter, he continued with Intensive Care and brought in Big Jim Gallacher on drums, Nelly on Guitar and Sammy MacLeod on vocals, with Iain staying on bass.
The band went in to the studio to record their first demo and as soon as it was ready, it was duly dispatched to Garry Bushell at Sounds music weekly and to all the UK’s punk labels. Much to their surprise, they got a reply from the top Oi!/Punk label, No Future Records, who’s acts included Blitz, Peter & The test Tube Babies, The Partisans, Red Alert and The Violators, saying that they were very interested in keeping tabs on the band. As well as this, a few weeks later Garry Bushell did a piece on who were the most promising young bands to keep an eye on coming through the ranks around the UK and we were mentioned, we couldn’t believe it and thought we had won the lottery. This may seem OTT but remember, we were only 16 and 17 years of age and were totally astonished.
Next came a call from Garry Bushell asking if the band wanted to travel down to London to play with some of the top acts in the country at the newly opened Skunx Club at the Angel in Islington. He read off a list of the bands coming up and to the bands ears it was like being kids in a sweet shop! That is not far off the truth as remember we were only kids and only one of us was even old enough to drive and two were still at school! The band opted to come down and support Peter & The test Tube Babies and then Blitz, then the Urban Dogs and then headlined the venue, doing very well and it was during one of these gigs that No Futures bosses offered us a deal to sign to them, with one proviso….we ditched Sammy from vocals and Iain took over. Iain turned the offer down instantly as the band were all mates but one thing led to another and Sammy left and Iain moved to vocals, big Wattie McClure joined on bass, Nelly left and Wattie’s brother, Wullie McClure, joined on guitar. Not long after this Bryza replaced big Jim Gallacher on drums. Talk about musical chairs!
During 1981/82, the West of Scotland was to be torn apart with the closures of the main source of employment, the Shipyards so as jobs were few and far between, Iain chose to head south to the Horley/Crawley area next to Gatwick Airport to stay with his sister and as soon as he arrived he got a call from No Future Records asking if we could go on the mega popular compilation Country Fit For Heroes’. Iain called the guys back in Scotland to travel down and record but for one reason or other, the guys couldn’t do it so Iain went round the local record shops and the pubs where the punks and skins drank and frantically tried to recruit amongst people he had never met before. Luckily most of the scene in Horley and Crawley had heard of Intensive Care so the job was pretty easy.
Enter Liam Knight on guitar (RIP) and Trout on drums, they did the recording with Iain doubling up on bass and vocals. The lads recorded two tracks for the compilation, Fight & Die and Ghost Town. These songs were very well received so the guys set about starting to get the name out and about and we soon recruited Spike Harris on bass, and Gav Hills on Drums, with Wee Lee Panel replacing the nutty Trout on drums.
On a very successful gig at the world famous 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street, the guys were approached by the now famous Mr Gig, who said in his opinion we were the best un-signed band on the scene and he wanted to sign us up for his newly formed Punishment Block Records. We were delighted, and liked him very much as he was such a character, and the next thing we knew, we were in the studio recording our first, and only 7” single. It was a 3 track release with:
1 – Cowards
2 – Class of ‘84
3 – Organised Crime
The release did very well, just failing to crack the top 30 in the independent charts but still making enough of a splash to get the bands profile raised considerably and the offers of gigs started rolling in.
One very interesting point was that in the West Sussex area, Crawley etc, we were out-selling the highest selling single of the time, Careless Whisper by George Michael, and due to this Sussex BBC Radio, the biggest in the area by a mile and based down in Brighton, contacted the band to get us in for an interview etc to explain how on earth a bunch of herbert’s like us could prove so popular. Iain told them he hoped they could tell us as we didn’t know either!
It was around this time that Wee Lee left to concentrate on work as he was under all sorts of outside pressure, he was replaced very fleetingly by Beaky on drums who was promptly replaced by Bryza, who had moved south from Scotland.
Anyway, the band kept gigging away and being offered slot on all sorts of compilation albums and all day punk shows, scooter rally’s, gigs abroad and al the things we had never dreamed of being invited on, including being fortunate enough to play with such great names as the UK Subs, GBH, The Business, PTTB’s, Blitz, Exploited, Abrasive Wheels, One Way System, Major Accident and many others.
An interesting point was one of the support bands on our gig in Wales was the now mega famous Condemned 84. We could tell right away that they had that extra needed to rise above the normal band and the bands formed a good friendship. Also around at the time were the superb scallywags, Vicious Rumours, again a good friendship was formed and as well as with other great bands round the UK including Brighton’s superb Skingraft and Scotland’s Condemned and Red Brigade.
Next up came the offer to sign for Oi Records, Roddy Moreno’s Cardiff based label, and Iain agreed right away. Roddy offered to put out our first full length album and the guys were all delighted. It all changed….Iain’s dad dropped dead, only 59, and his whole world turned upside down. While up visiting his mother in Scotland, he mentioned the record was going to come out and his mother said that his father had left a small amount of money which he would have wanted his son to record and press a record to release. Maybe it was emotions all over the place and being disorientated, but Iain decided to go it alone and called Roddy to let him down as gently as possible to thank him for his very kind offer. Let’s just say he wasn’t best pleased and to this day I don’t think they have spoken! Iain still feels bad about it but I hope he understands it was the most unusual and unexpected situation which was totally unplanned and if he could have changed anything, he would have.
So out came the bands 6 track 12” single, ‘Rebels’, ‘Rockets’ and ‘Rubbermen’. It was very well received, particularly in the USA and the band seemed to be going from strength to strength.
Gigs offers kept coming in and then they were asked to appear on one of the famous and very popular Oi! Compilation albums on Link Records. They recorded their track ‘Framed’ which was very well received.
One thing that was beginning to sour events was the amount of trouble the gigs were attracting as the mid to late 80’s was a period of unprecedented trouble between Punks, Skins, Straights, Mods, Rockabillies and Psychobillies. It got to the point that the band were sick to death of the constant trouble and this led to splits in the band and a change of personnel. Spike, Liam and Wee Lee left and were replaced by Glen on Bass, Ash on guitar and Mark Reynolds on drums. They plugged on for another year or so but in the end they decided to take a break for a while as they had been playing constantly all round the UK with the odd European gig thrown in for the past 5 years, and none of them even had a steady job.
It was not long after this that tragedy was to strike. Liam was knocked down and killed while trying to cross a dual carriageway on his way into town one evening. The guys were shattered as without doubt, he was the most liked guy in the band and to this day, I don’t know anyone who ever had a bad word to say about him. The guys reformed and played two benefit shows for his parents to help with the costs involved in this tragic loss and it helped pay towards the gravestone, burial, a seat in the local memorial gardens and the rest went towards the local hospitals, sick children’s ward. The first of the two packed shows was filmed and came out on video and sold out in no time at all. The guys spoke about getting back together but alas it was not to be, for a host of reasons, not least the arrival of Iain’s daughter, Leanne. He felt he needed to get a real job to provide for the new addition and the rest is history.
After we had called it a day, offers still came in for interviews and shows and even a tour of the east coast of the USA, tempting as they were, nothing was ever done about it, shame really but the one last thing that the band did agree to was the release of all their previous recordings which included lots of un-released material through the legendary Captain Oi! Records. This has proven to be a popular release and years later when Iain started playing with Beerzone, the thing that struck him most about his first couple of American tours was the amount of people, who night after night, only wanted to talk about Intensive Care, not Beerzone. This has to be the highest praise of all, a band which hadn’t played for over a decade, still proving popular on the other side of the world. What more can you say about that!
One last point that I have to add is that we are still offered gigs to this day, 2007, but in the last few years another band started in North London using the Intensive Care name and have been poking fun at us from all directions for quite some time now. Iain takes it in good spirits, rightly or wrongly, but cant for the life of him work out why anyone with half a brain would use a name that is already firmly rooted in the history of Punk and Oi!, its lucky these cheeky North London herbert’s are not very good, or we would be in trouble!