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After Punk.

Following the demise of the Undertones John O'Neill took refuge back in Derry, where he soon hooked up with an old friend Mickey Rooney and Buzzcocks freak Raymond Gorman. Fired by cheap cider and a passion for Soul they spent evenings listening to records and bemoaning the absence of a good alternative Night Club in Derry. John's wife Caroline ensured that the drink kept flowing and that Iggy the cat was protected from the mayhem. The outcome of these drunken evenings was the launch of the best music Club to hit Derry in many a year The Left Bank.

Two Tone By this stage John was writing songs with Raymond, and inspired by the success of The Left Bank they decided to form a band. And so That Petrol Emotion was born. Having played some gigs with Liz Brown on vocals at the Gweedore Bar they soon realized that if they were to make their mark London was calling. Once there they teamed up with Ciaran McLaughlin who had previously deputized in the Undertones on drums, Damian O Neill on Bass and American Steve Mack on vocals. T.P.E received immediate critical acclaim, in no small part due to their blistering live shows. However they never managed to turn this into record sales, and after a few line up changes and a relatively successful career the band finally split in 1994. Some would argue that they were ahead of their time in mixing dance with rock, others that they failed to play the game. Alledgedly their overt political stance in highlighting injustice in Northern Ireland did not help their chances of airplay at the BBC. When a 'Best Of' compilation does finally becomes available they may get the retrospective acclaim they undoubtedly deserve.

Public Image That Petrol Emotion in fact took their name from the lyrics of a song performed by another Derry band, Bam Bam And The Calling, who although musically adventurous never really fulfilled their potential. Bam Bam also spent some time in London and made an impression on the live circuit and in the music press. Success however eluded them and today they remain virtually unknown outside of Northern Ireland where they still perform occasionally.

Bam Bam were supported regularly by two other local bands Fear of God and Tie the Boy. Tie the Boy were more pop orientated and it comes as no surprise maybe that lead guitarist Peter Cunnah went on International success as D-Ream. His biggest hit "Things can only get better" became the "unofficial" anthem of New Labour. Surely when political parties embrace pop stars it's a sign that another punk style revolution in music is long overdue!


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