(c’87-’89) Jake Spires (vocals / harmonica), Dan Hiscocks (drums), Ed Walters (bass), Peter Bailey (vocals), and Ian Smith (guitar).

Formed by Hiscocks and Bailey, they started as a 4-piece with Smith and Walters, before adding Spires..in fact the band occasionally pulled “guest” musicians/performers from the audience including Aled Jones (harmonica) and ex-Trashqueen roadie Graham Clayton for a vocal. Van Gogh’s first gig, only 3 weeks after forming, was to a non-responsive crowd at Woking College. They were once touted for a warm-up slot on a prime-time TV show (which, I do not know), but were also well known for their exploits in the raft race held on Goldsworth Park Lake. Their biggest headline came when a schoolgirl ran off to Manchester with Bailey. Damian Wilson, of The Button Factory, is reported to have said of Van Gogh’s Bailey “he’s a better singer than myself”. In September ’88 they were part of “Showcase ’88”, one of numerous gigs at venues such as Brooklands College, Woking College and the Lion Brewery (Scratchers). Many of their most notable appearance occurred at The Cricketers, Westfield – the ‘local’ for Woking College students. They closed out ’88 with some time recording in a London studio. Smith left at the end of ’88 to pursue a journalistic career in New York, his rumored replacement being Arno Spires (guitar). Arno was certainly involved in the recording of the bands first demo cassette, “Van Gogh Through The Beers”.

“Through the Beers” demo tape cover…

The job eventually fell to Paul Bushell in early ’89. Not long after this Bailey moved on to Calamity Sax. Calamity and Van Gogh then proceeded to both appear at The Devil’s Dance Party at the Civic Hall, Guildford in March ’89. In August ’89, Van Gogh picked up the Sigue Sigue Sputnik award in the Phil Gibby farewell honors, as well as sharing the Most Momentous Occasion with Guildford Live Aid. In Jan 1990 the band released their second demo cassette, “One Hundred Percent…” carrying four original tracks. Oliver Angel replaced Ian Smith for the recording and subsequent gigs. The end of Van Gogh and the Earlobes was, some say on the same day (27 July) as Van Gogh’s untimely demise, hailed by Hiscocks backpacking Europe and India.

Bailey now fronts folk rockers Leatherat. Bushell is no longer with us unfortunately.