A tribute to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band (1976 - 1986)
The Origins of Spider (to the best of my memory)
As recalled by Colin Harkness - July 2011
The first contact I was to have with a future member of Spider, occurred back in 1970. I had been a pupil at Poulton Junior School in our home town of Wallasey Merseyside, and was offered an early glimpse into the brutal realities of life, in that you sometimes have to say ta-ra to a lot of your old mates. I was moved to Somerville Middle School, or secondary modern or whatever it was called and it was there that I first encountered David Bryce.
I'd seen him about at school, usually getting chased around the schoolyard by some “brick shithouse” hard git, who he'd managed to wind up to the point of bubbling rage. He was a cheeky little bugger, nippy, could run like the wind, so more often than not he'd escape the severe duffing-up he undoubtedly deserved - and he'd be laughing as he was legging it! A trait I alarmingly developed further into our relationship, as we both legged it from highly enraged thuggish elements.
But that was later. "Brycey", as everyone called him, was one day in an art class. A three foot tall skinhead midget who, it has to be said, did have something very likeable about him. I don't know whether it was his cheekiness, or the fact he was always laughing and up to mischief, but up to that moment I had kind of quite liked him. He splattered the masterpiece I was creating, a nicely painted "all shades of blue and green” portrait, with a rather unflattering splash of red paint!
It was a typical pushing shoving kind of debacle those kind of things used to descend into.
The next day we were best mates! And to my recall, that was the last dispute we ever had to this day. From there on, up to the Spider years we grew up together. I was always into music, but had never imagined myself playing guitar. Dave’s dad was very musically minded and encouraged the development of Dave’s interest in playing the guitar. If I was ever at Dave’s and his dad was there, out would come the guitar and Dave would show me how to play certain things. True to his previous form, David Bryce and his father caused me to hound my long suffering grandmother to take me to Woolworths to buy a Glorious Kay Guitar with sunburst finish - lovely cricket bat it made but not much of a guitar. But the stress on my Grandmother! Shame on you Bryce!
When our time to leave Somerville School arrived, our school paths separated. He ended up going to Henry Meoles school (I believe Robbie also went there) and I ended up at Oldershaw Senior Comprehensive. Dave and his parents moved away from Liscard to Moreton and though the distance appears small today, back then with bus rides and everything, it was a bit of an expensive trek. So we drifted for a while.
Obviously a lot of guitar playing went on in these periods. Dave and I had got together on a few occasions at church events in the Church Hall and just played a variety of what we fancied. There was never any organised push to get a band going at that time though.
I had heard about Brian Burrows long before I eventually got to meet him. On the days I wasn't with the band lads, I’d be catching up with some old school friends as to what we were up to etc. and his name would always be cropping up. They used to go around to his house regularly, and he obviously had a fair deal of charisma then, because the stories I would hear about him got to build up this mental image of a smoothy thug who was well hard. You see, one of the guys I was in the band with absolutely hated Brian Burrows. Some fights had occurred between them in college days and the Dave in the Band absolutely detested him too. Dark moods would descend whenever his name was brought up.
Looking back now its pretty funny but I can clearly see how things panned out. I had bought a Hofner bass guitar and wow, I could play a showpiece twelve bar run on the thing. Via mutual friends and Chinese whispers, this information drifted back to Brian as, “Colin Harkness has got a Hofner bass just like Paul McCartney and he could show you this great rock and roll thing he does.” I think Brian decided there and then, if true it and it was a Hofner, he'd relieve me of it by fair means or foul.
When news filtered back to my band that I had been in the company of Brian Burrows, they instantly treated me differently - it was like a light bulb went out - I had sunk to the depths of hell by even talking to the guy. Relations were never going to recover, so that was me and The Satellites finished.
So, I decided to take up an invitation by Brian to go around to his house with guitar and amp for a jam. When he originally asked me, I asked if it was OK to bring a friend with me - he said, “sure.”