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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Dr Filth

Dr Filth, 1981. Alex on the left. (c) MDMArchive.

One of the many intriguing post-Distractions projects that involved band members (this one involved Alex and then Mike) was Dr Filth/Full Circle/Sundiver, who sound like they also struggled for commercial acclaim despite some stellar names being involved along the way. John Nuttall recounts them over at the Manchester District Music Archive:

"I managed Dr Filth for a while. We later renamed them The Serpents, as we mistakenly thought that might make them more commercially viable. The line-up was Don Durham (songwriter/vocals), Mark Coley (bass), Dave Holmes/Paul 'Rosie' Rosenfelt (guitar) Ella/Dave Carroll (keyboard), Alec Sidebottom (drums). Don Durham was the songwriter.

Dr Filth at the Cyprus Tavern, Manchester, 1979. (c) MDMArchive.

"Don Durham then wrote a country-influenced set for Mike Finney and Dr Filth became 'First Circle' with Mike on vocals. After Mike left First Circle carried on with ex-Yes Sir vocalist, Dean Frost. "There were various other line ups with Don on vocals. Those who served included: Anthony Behrendt (guitar), Victor Freeman (bass), Aziz Ibrahim (guitar), Paul Fairweather (guitar), Paul O'Sullivan (bass), Craig Gannon (guitar), John Bohan (ex-Biting Tongues; drums), Tony Small (ex-Biting Tongues; bass)."

Of these, Aziz Ibrahim and Craig Gannon leap out as significant names in Manchester and British musical history. Ibrahim was guitarist with Simply Red and perhaps more famously, took over from John Squire at the end of the Stone Roses' career. He played their last ever ill-fated show at the Reading Festival in 1996. Ibrahim most recently provided spoken vocals on Paul Weller's excellent double album, 22 Dreams [1]. Gannon was also rather ill-fated in that he was the "fifth Smith", joining the band to replace sacked bassist, Andy Rourke. The Smiths' bassist was soon reinstated so Gannon backed Johnny Marr on rhythm guitar, featuring on singles Ask and Panic as well as other classics such as London and Half a Person.

[Back to Full Circle] "Eventually we recorded an album under the name of Sundiver [the impossible-to-find 1993's Cautionary Tales on Chrome Records]. The line-up then consisted of Don (vocals), Richard Steel (ex-Ghost Dance and later Spacehog; guitar), Andrew von Melchior (keyboards), John Grant (ex-ghost Dance; drums and production) and Pat Grant (bass) [2]."

The Distractions also at the Cyprus Tavern, Manchester, 1981 (soon-to-be members of Dr Filth, Alex and Mike). (c) Mark David Cooper.

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