|The East of London is the spiritual home of football and music. Think of the mighty West Ham United F.C. And think of Iron Maiden (or the Cockney Rejects for that matter). But quite obviously for every success story, there is also a sad tale of missed opportunities. Take Cock Sparrer for example, they could have been the true Sex Pistols. It wasn't to be. Malcolm MacLaren visited them in their dingy rehearsal room and as he wasn't prepared to buy the band a round at the pub after the work had been done the lads told him to sod off.
So what about Urchin? With Adrian Smith achieving great things with Iron Maiden it's not quite right to talk about the band as not being a success (at least for Adrian). But what could have been _? Would they be where Iron Maiden is now, had EMI signed them in the late 1970's instead of Steve Harris' lot? Urchin manager Graham Sclater chooses his words carefully: _Dare I say that Urchin could have been as successful but more mainstream due to their great songs? As far as I_m aware Iron Maiden signed to EMI in America and that in my opinion was how they managed to beat the English Rock music scene being turned upside down by Punk and New Wave._
It's common knowledge that Urchin inked a deal with DJM Records (and recorded two singles for them). However, there was never really talk of Urchin writing a full-length album for the label: _No, I had a number of meetings with Stephen James at DJM Records and although they had already released two Urchin singles he didn_t see a large enough market for an album. The main reason was that Punk was getting a lot of coverage and Rock was seen to be in decline: very sad but understandable at that time. Only a few Rock bands continued to work and although Urchin and Iron Maiden continued to gig, sometimes at the same clubs and pubs on the same bill, it became incredibly difficult to get radio play, press coverage and Rock gigs were harder to get.? There were offers from other record companies as well knows Graham Sclater: _We did have offers of recording contracts from two independent production companies but for many reasons, mostly the recording costs and nerves about getting airplay and media coverage, they failed to get as far as recording an album. With hindsight I should have recorded Urchin myself.?
With Adrian Smith joining Iron Maiden and also releasing his own solo albums under the ASAP moniker it always appears as if Urchin has been his band all along. This certainly seems to be a misrepresentation: _I really believe that Urchin was a band in every sense of the word and all members contributed in some way to the music and the songs they wrote and performed. I_ve been told by the other band members that Adrian really liked the vinyl album as they all did. For me it's wonderful to see their music getting the exposure it so rightly deserves after so many years.?
At the time Urchin was definitely a popular live act not only in the East End of London. Graham Sclater recounts: _When I was managing Urchin they played more than 250 gigs each year, all over England in clubs, pubs, colleges, American bases and a tour of Holland, which included clubs, festivals and American bases.? Unfortunately, however, fans don't need to hold their breath hoping for a proper live album: _I have heard a very poor live recording made by a fan at the Corn Dolly Oxford but the songs are almost indistinguishable. For much of the recording the crowd is louder than Urchin.?
The retrospective self-titled Urchin album on High Roller Records was a huge success. The band (including Adrian Smith) liked it very much: _I was very pleased with the packaging and presentation of the first vinyl album and so were the band. We were fortunate in being able to get together a lot of background information to make it interesting for Urchin fans old and new.?
Following the debut album High Roller Records is proud to announce its successor entitled "Get up and get out". Graham Sclater knows more about the origins of the material: _The album title relates to the title of one of the songs and I suppose it literally means, 'get up and get out of your current life, conditions, situation, friendship or work.' As the lyric goes on to say 'I_ve had enough of this place.' Nothing more than that. There are six unreleased numbers on the album, namely 'Madman', 'Need somebody', 'Get up and get out', 'Little Girl', 'Don't ask me' and 'Suicide'. These songs, as before, were recorded live and in one take, in the basement during band rehearsals at varying times whilst I was managing them. The demos were recorded for me to play to record companies and promoters. At the time they surpassed other Rock recordings made in that way and created a great deal of interest but unfortunately Rock wasn_t in vogue at that time. As far as I_m aware these are the last recordings available from the full band and I don_t believe there will be a third release. I did have other Urchin recordings but the tapes have disintegrated due to age and can_t be restored.?
Secretly I had hoped that Graham would be able solve the mystery around the question of whether Adrian's old school pal, no other than Dave Murray, is playing on any of the two official Urchin singles. However, my hope was in vain as the band's manager points out: _The records were released before my involvement with Urchin but I understand he played on at least of the singles.?
When I talked to Steve Harris quite some years ago, he did not rule out the scenario of an ultimately final Iron Maiden show involving all high profile former Maiden members (including Paul Di'Anno, Dennis Stratton, Thunderstick and Paul Mario Day). That said, Steve would certainly have nothing against a one-off Urchin live reformation (possibly at one of the bigger festivals). Maybe it is only down to Graham Sclater to re-unite Adrian with his former band mates: _Anything is possible and it would be great to see and hear them on stage again. I see no reason why Steve Harris would object to that as Adrian has played with other bands during his time with Iron Maiden.?