|Among N.W.O.B.H.M. collectors, Scarab's one and only 7" single "Poltergeist" (released on Pharaoh Records in 1984) is a highly-regarded item. However, there is a bit of confusion all around as there was another band called Scarab (also stemming from the Midlands region), who released the "Rock Night" 7" single in 1981. But there was definitely no relation between the two groups as singer Paul Britton explains: "We only learnt of them after playing shows in their home town. They did in fact open a show for Jameson Raid (who I now play bass for) in 1980 and to this day because of the connection between Ian Smith and myself (he was my guitar teacher) everyone thinks it was my Scarab. But it was the Black Country lot. They came from the Black Country area of the Midlands. Wednesbury in fact. 25 miles from our home town of Sutton, Coldfield. Steve Riley, the band's first drummer, suggested the name Scarab ... They did in fact sound a bit like us when we first started in 1981. They started in 1979, I think."
Paul Britton's Scarab mostly organized their own local headlining shows when they started out in the first part of the 1980's: "Wolfsbane would open up for us all the time, and Blaze and Jase are still fans to this day. I sent them both EP's a while back and Blaze sent me a vinyl of his last album. I can only ever remember opening up for a shit hair band called Steel once because we had a label desperate to see us but we never did support slots because of the show we had. No one would have us."
Like every upcoming band Scarab was looking for a proper record deal but luck was not on their side: "Every label knew about us in the end, but no one wanted us. We had a few offers in the later days, but we owed so much money by then we really need to get a 'good' offer ... When the band split, I owed thousands of Pounds." In 1984, Scarab took luck into their own hands and issued the legendary "Poltergeist" single on Pharaoh Records. Paul explains: "'Poltergeist' was a strange thing ... We sold 1,000 copies pretty quickly at gigs, only because we did a lot of gigs. All copies came with that classic cover. Pharaoh was indeed my own label. The A-Side 'Poltergeist' was inspired by the movie. I loved the film. But my story has the twist at the end when souls are traded to get the child back. The 2008 'Soul For A Soul' 10" EP for Miskatonic was a 'Poltergeist Part 2' really. There will be a part three, it's already written ..."
The "Fight For The Right" double album on High Roller features 15 songs. According to Paul, the material spanned a period of several years: "The songs were recorded in various studios in and around Birmingham. All done on dreadfully low budgets. Only two demos were ever released as 'official' demos: The one from 1985 and the first demo. I seem to remember we sold 300 of the first one. In 1989, Zebra Records offered me a deal, but getting the band back together then was never going to happen."
Scarab was quite a heavy outfit, not dissimilar in style to Jaguar, early Angel Witch and Overdrive. How would Paul describe his band? "I describe Scarab as C-list N.W.O.B.H.M. Yes, it was very heavy, live it was very very heavy. I'm proud to be a part of what I feel was the epitomy of underground music. It'll never happen again. The only reason it was so huge was that for the most part the labels ignored everyone once the big three were signed (Leps/Maiden/Saxon) ... but small bands kept forming. I have to say, my idea of N.W.O.B.H.M. is not how it is seen today. It seems every band calls themselves that now! The ones with little integrity that is ... Jameson Raid were the original Midlands N.W.O.B.H.M., but Wolfsbane for example were not, and have never called themselves that, even though they formed in early 1984. Scarab asked Blaze to come in on vocals that year (not many people know this). He was the greatest front man I have ever seen, him and Dee Snider, they're both amazing. Not for the voices but for the sheer guttural presence ..."
A second 7" single was never to be, as Scarab only lasted a couple of years. Paul Britton: "We split up for good in 1986. On February the 7th I walked away from the last show and knew it was the end. Dave and I (along with drummer Chris McHale and Garry Wain (Chemikill) recorded the EP 'Soul For A Soul" in 2008 which went out on Miskatonic. I know the label wasn't keen on it, but I'm very proud of the EP, I consider it the only time I have ever liked how I sounded on a Scarab track. We have another 5 track EP being recorded in October this year, I think ... all tracks from the three-piece era of Scarab that was the final line of me, Dave Parrish and Rick Horton, who drums for Solstice now."
Pharaoh Records, Paul's label, released a second 7" single in 1986. It was called "Cry From The Heart" by a band called Shadowlands. Paul Britton reveals: "If you listen hard enough at the start of one of the tracks, you'll hear me singing backing vocals. I managed Shadowlands for six months, they were called China White then. I changed the name as at the time there were three different China Whites on the go. The guitar player was Dave Martin who went on to form Marshall Law. The singer Kev was a great bloke as was the drummer Steve, but they had a bass player who was a total fool and after they got rid of him, Dave Martin felt bad and it all fell apart. The f...er borrowed my Marshall stack in 1986 and had never had the decency to return or pay for it. I'll bump into him one day, I hope. He owes me a grand!"