(c’85-88) Chris “Charles Remix / Count Five” Carter (vocals), Ben “Benedik Charles” Williams (guitar), Ian “Jacob” Merrick (bass) and Shawn “Tarquin Experiment” Parlour (drums).

22 August ’87: The Charles & MMATT’s joint encore at Heatherside. Picture courtesy of Mick Magic

Formed by, ex-members of The Activities, Williams and Merrick, in early ’85 they were joined by Parlour shortly after, followed by former Lethal Dose and Panzer Korps vocalist Carter in August ’85. Over the next two years three demo cassettes were released and a collobrative release with Magic Moment at Twilight Time.The first was ‘A View From A Boiler’ in May ’86, the 6 track (including “Knob”. Ides of March” and “Helter Skelter”). Then, released on 6 May ’87, ‘The Charles with Magic Moments A.T.T.’ carried the track “Mick & Chris On Acid”, the first collaboration MMATT did with The Charles. The Community Centre, Frimley hosted the band and MMATT on 27 June ’87 and a month later ‘The Whirligig Cassette’ came along. On 22 August that year The Charles and Magic Moment at Twilight Time were at Heatherside Community Centre, with The Charles hitting The Bridge House, Bracknell seven days later. The collaboration known as The Grain, of which The Charles were a part, organized an outdoor festival at Highlands Farm, Frimley Green on 20 September to raise funds for Greenpeace. Along with The Charles, MMATT, Slack Bladder; Momentum Morae and At Twilight Time appeared. Then in November ’87 the 8 track cassette album ‘As Far As The Eye Can See’ hit the streets. Three of the bands tracks were feature on “Mick & Chris On Acid…The Album!” and a live set was released, on cassette and given away free to compensate fans for a cancelled gig, called ‘Live…and Sorry’.

They gigged at venues around Camberley and up into London, including The Agincourt and Dingwalls. Some interest was show in the band by the Screaming Marionettes with a possible slot on their tour and The Stringrays manager also reportedly sniffed around. The band’s last gig was at The Crypt, Deptford, supporting The Magic Mushroom Band, in December ’87, officially breaking up a few months later and pulling out of a second headlining gig at The Crypt on 18 March ’88 with MMATT supporting; MMATT still got the support slot, but for The Pink Fairies instead. The poster artwork for this cancelled gig was created by the award winning “H Is For Hawk” author, Helen MacDonald; who was dating Parlour at the time. A number of factors lead to the demise of The Charles: The theft of Parlourn’s drum kit before Christmas and the departure of Williams, who was replaced by an ill-fitting Jason Grey, amongst them.

Poster, designed by Helen MacDonald, for The Charles, 18 March ’88h gig at The Crypt, that never happened…. Picture courtesy of Mick Magic

In July 2015 a “Live At The Grain Festival” MP3 was released, carrying 4 tracks over 18 minutes of the band on the only surviving recording from The Grain Festival, staged at Highland Farm in Frimley Green on 20th Sept ’87.