(c’76-’81) Tony Backhurst (guitar / vocals), Sev Lewkowicz (keyboards / vocals), Tim Wheatley (bass / vocals), Allen ‘Algie’ Watkins (drums / vocals), Dick Middleton (lead guitar) and Karen Backhurst (flute).

May ’76 and this is one of House’s first publicity shots, featuring Lewkowicz and Backhurst. Source: http://www.house-guildford.co.uk/index.html

This folk rock band formed in May ’76 from the ashes of Asylum and Backhurst, both Guildford bands. Lewkowicz played for both bands and after completing a Marquee residency with Asylum, which Backhurst supported, Tony Backhurst & Lewkowicz formed House. Their first gig as House was at Scratchers, with just the two of them.

15 August 1976: House played ‘Rock At The Royal’ organized by Ray “Bonza” Bradman.

Then, with the addition of Wheatley, they performed as a 3 piece, filling Backhurst’s Monday night residency at The Kings Head, Guildford, to which Strangler Jet Black was regularly in the audience along with The Jam‘s Bruce Foxton. In August ’76 they played at The Royal, Guildford ‘Rock at The Royal’ night organized by Ray “Bonza” Bradman. This 3-piece also supported Liverpool Express – who incidentally had three singles mixed by Guildford born record producer and engineer David Tickle – at the University of Surrey and went of to play Merrist Wood Agricultural College, supported by local musician Dave Tarn in early ’77. Ex-Asylum band-mate Greg Terry-Short (drums) bought the group to 4 members and they were joined on occasions by Greg ‘Squeaky’ McGregor (sax / flute) and later by Karen Backhurst. While playing “They’re Knocking Down our House”, “Gemini”, “Beautiful Eyes”, “Roly Poly Days” and “Lady of the Hill” to full houses in the local area, away from Guildford it was different.

In ’77 they did two support gigs at a Brighton pub, the first with Shakin’ Stevens, the second with The Stranglers – the audience were not that receptive. Shortly after, The King’s Head changed hands and the residency with it. Now with Middleton, who owned a music shop in Guildford and also played with Head Waiter – having previously supported Gene Vincent, Johnny Halliday and been in The Famous Rondini Brothers and Mungo Jerry – in the mix, House went from folk rock to American country rock. Terry-Short left to play with Jackie Lynton and over the next two years the drummer changed three times: Pete Dobson (ex-Juicy Lucy), Alan Watkin (ex-Jackie Lynton) and Chris ‘Wheelbarrow’ Brayne. They continued to play the Guildford, London and Oxford circuit.

Local label Thumb issued a various artist compilation titled ‘Who Invited Them?’ [TR001] in 1978 featuring 10 tracks from Guildford bands. This included House, who presented “They’re Knocking Down Our House” – purportedly the origin of the bands name – and “Brown & White Horse” along with submissions from Headwaiter, Jackie Lynton’s H.D. Band, and Poker. The band wrapped up ’78 with a gig at The Three Lions “Scratchers”, Farncombe on 27 December, where they were joined by Andy Latimer of Camel.

On 24 February ’79 the band played the Wooden Bridge, Guildford, Then, through Middleton’s contact with Ritchie Blackmore, the band supported Rainbow at the The Rainbow Theatre, London. It was supposed to be a UK tour support slot but Middleton had already committed to tour Germany with Mungo Jerry and Dobson had signed to play with a band called Tiger. Around this time a House LP was in the works on Thumb; but to our knowledge was never released and Middleton formed The Insiders with members of Mungo Jerry. Also in the late 70’s Ray Dorset sat in with House at the Stoke Hotel, Guildford. Whether their songs ‘White Chiefs’, ‘House’ or ‘Lady On The Hill’ were played that night is unknown. But they did raise 200 quid, together with The Vapors, at a woman’s aid gig that same year.

However, other things were taking priority and in ’81 they played a final gig in the Kings Head’s garden. Tony Backhurst had his antiques business and was managing bookings at Scratchers; Lewkowicz – the only full-time musician – did session work and played around with other acts, including Soho, White Dub, Headwaiter (with Terry-Short), Duffo (with Wheatley), Any Trouble and Mungo Jerry. He also won an edition of The Weakest Link in 2002. Wheatley owned / ran Chestnut Studios and played in Good Earth, Gracious, Duffo, Taggart, then House before joining Poker. Terry-Short had also been in Black Velvet, and as well as House played in Head Waiter. He partook in the Katmandu Sessions with Peter Green, Ray Dorset, Len Surtees, Jeff Whittaker and Vincent Crane in December ’83/January ’84; that was released in ’85 as “A Case for the Blues” by Katmandu; later in the 80s he was in Cast Of Thousands.

In ’97-99 the band reformed and again on 1st May 2010 to play at Wheatley’s 60th birthday bash.