(c’88-90) Damian Wilson (vocal / guitar), Quarme (?), Sacha Collision (?) and Dom ? (keyboards) and ?

The Button Factory at The Cricketers, Westfield, April 1990, with X-It’s drummer and guitarist standing in for vacant spots. Picture courtesy of Harry Tuttle.

The 5-piece Buttons gigged around the local circuit, including The Cricketers, Westfield; Three Lion (Scratchers), Farncombe; and a guest appearance at Miss Woking 1988. They also appeared at the Froebel Institute’s College’s May Ball, headlined by Jools Holland. CBS records showed significant interest in the group providing a financial incentive to record another demo, which included the track “Bullet in the Gun”. The band had a sporting rivalry with Van Gogh and the Earlobes that eventually involved a raft race. In August they were still appearing on the local circuit with a gig at The Anchor, Normandy on 8 August. Normandy was supposed to be packed with A&R reps from a few labels, but illness and injury resulted in the gig being called off. But a rapid recovery by the wounded parties meant that The Button Factory were able to stage an impromptu set for those fans who failed to hear of the cancellation. Then they opened ‘Showcase 88’ at the Centre Halls, Woking on 4 September; followed by City Limits, Colour Noise, Havana Affair, Napalm Groove Squad, The 68 Floods, Van Gogh & The Earlobes, and Steel Bill & The Buffalos. This was followed by a quiet period, leading to PG Tips awarding the band the “Where Are They Now Award” Golden Teabag in the December ’88 honors.

In January ’89 Soundscene reported that the, “3-piece”, band released of a new demo carrying three tracks: “Good Times”, “Must We Say Goodnight”, and “She Loves Me”; and that the band had been talking to a number of major labels. All three tracks on the demo were written by Wilson and produced by Peter Gordino.

12 March 1989: Ticket for Button Factory at Mean Fiddler, Harlesden. Picture courtesy of Daniel Hiscocks

In March ’89 they performed at the Mean Fiddler, Harlesden on the 12th and headlined The Devil’s Dance Party at the Civic Hall, Guildford on the 23rd with Calamity Sax, Napalm Groove Squad, Too Many Cameras, and Van Gogh & The Earlobes. Unfortunately, by the summer of ’89 the CBS thing had fizzled out. Meanwhile, Wilson picked up the ‘Busker Of The Year’ award in the Phil Gibby farewell honors in August that year. Steve Greene and Harry Tuttle (both of X-It) joined them for a couple of gigs, notably at The Cricketers, Westfield in April ’90.

Wilson went on to many great things after The Button Factory. He was in Landmarq from ’91-’96; which overlapped with tenure as lead vocalist with Threshold in ’92-’93; and a stint with local band Orphic Soop in ’93-’94. He returned to Threshold in ’97 through ’98. Somehow he also fitted in 2-years as the lead in Les Misérables and supported tours for Tony Hadley and Ozzy Osbourne. He was a founding member of Headspace in 2006, but returned to Threshold again in 2007 for a further ten years. He also appeared in Maiden uniteD. Don’t forget that he also performed as a soloist, with six solo albums to his credit, and tours with Adam Wakeman, the duo having released three LPs together. No more musical thearte, but he does dabble with acting – catch him stabbing David Rizzio, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova, in the 2018 film ‘Mary Queen of Scots’. He has also been in Arena since 2020. The bonus DVD to his “Cheers Lads! Live in Zoetermeer (2011, reissue 2015)” reportedly includes footage of The Button Factory from 1989 performing “Hey Babe”, “She Loves Me”, “Catwalk” and “Lucy”.