(c’86-’87 & ’89-’00) Pete Marshall (bass), and Steve Mann (vocals/guitar)

Pete Marshall met Nigel Groves of The Nonkey Brothers. Picture courtesy of Matt Harding

This Yateley / Sandhurst band was formed from the ashes of X-pressure by Marshall and Mann in ’86, performing at The Rose and Crown, Sandhurst on 22 November ’86. A gig that was recorded and released on cassette as ‘Let’s Be Salad’. A month later, on 27 December they were supporting Split Into at Frogmore School, Yateley with the addition of Paul Rance on drums, and Graham ? on bass who the duo had know from early incarnations of Shoot The Moon.

The initial duo began writing songs, often with explicit comedic lyrics and approachable chord progessions; such as “Dateline” about a guy with a penchant for woman with big breasts, “The Birds and the Bees” and “Stickle”, developing a set perfect for foot-tapping sing-alongs. By ’87 the duo had written and recorded in Marshall’s bedroom, on a Tascam 4-track cassette portastudio with the aid of a Boss ‘Doctor Rhythm’ drum machine, 62 songs. These, in addition to ‘Let’s Be Salad’, were released over three cassettes: ‘Wind Ya Neck In’, ‘No Sleep ’til Chipping Norton’, and ‘Nightmare on Darby Green Lane’. This was followed by a best of cassette titled ‘The Second Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’, which carried 29 tracks.

The band’s third and final gig was at the Sandhurst Carnival 1987. Andy Smith, formerly of “Which One’s Maurice?”, took over the sticks from Rance while Simon Leppard grabbed the bass. The band reportedly folded thanks to a girlfriend and religion, and Marshall moved onto to play with Night Train to Memphis.

The Nonkey Brothers ‘Studio’. Picture courtesy of Matt Harding

Marshall met Nigel Groves, in ’89, who had an Amiga and some MIDI music software. Together they wrote a new set of explicit comedic tracks. The embryo of The [New] Nonkey Brothers was formed. They were joined by classically trained pianist Mike Auld (keyboards) who became the third Nonkey Brother. Later that year the band released 26 tracks as the ‘Now That’s What We Call Crap Too’ cassette LP. The following year The Nonkey Brother’s ‘Something’ hit the streets, packed with 23 tracks.

’91 was also the year the band decided to continue playing live. Leppard was back on bass and Richard “Dickie” Aitken, a work colleague of Groves, joined on drums. Cassette LP ‘Lionel Blair’ was released sometime during that same year followed by ‘Squat Diddley Poke’ in ’92 and ‘Stickerly On Garfield’ and ‘Santa Comes But Once A Year’ in ’93. We are also aware of an appearance on 17 July ’93 at Mr Bumbles, Blackwater.

Just as The Who, Genesis, and Pink Floyd before them, The Nonkey Brothers then wrote ‘Geek’ a rock opera / musical that was released in ’96; but it never made it to stage or film. After ‘Geek’, which took the band three years to write, they took a break, releasing the double cassette compilation LPs ‘Toilet Volume 1 (The First 10 Years)’ and ‘Toilet Volume 2 (The First 10 Years)’ in the interim. After a two year break they were back in ’98 with ‘Barsebuffknutt’, that included tracks recorded at No Machine Studios, Wokingham with the current line-up of Marshall, Auld, Dominic Brown on bass, and Andy Rowney on drums. The complete No Machine Sessions were released later that year as the ‘Pick a Finger’ demo on CD.

Late in ’98 the band recorded most of their 6 December appearance at Glen Events Comedy Night, Glen Eyre Halls of Residence, University of Southampton. This live recording was subsequently released as ‘Rooteetoot’. The last we know of The Nonkey Brothers is the year 2000’s 17 track ‘Large Tough Chicken’ CD.