Formed: Wigan, Greater Manchester, England, UK
UK82 band. The original lineup featured Simon 'Psycho' Middlehurst on guitar (later in Flux Of Pink Indians and Hotalacio) and Dave "Bambi" Ellesmere on drums (he was also to be seeen in Blitzkrieg, Discharge, Doctor And The Crippens, Flux Of Pink Indians, and Disgust).
Later lineups included 'Dr' Dean 'Mitch' Mitchell on vocals, Trev Aindow (Mayhem / Blitzkrieg) on bass, and Gary 'Gaz' Sumner (also Mayhem and Blitzkrieg).
The band formed in 1979 with this lineup:
Simon 'Psycho' Middlehurst - guitar
Dave "Bambi" Ellesmere - drums
Barry Taberner - vocals
Deab Porter - bass
Tina Walsh - second guitar
(A bit of trvia: Barrys' brother Steve was the Wigan Hammer, six times British Cruiserweight and Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion.)
Middlehurst had previously played in the unrecorded punk band Sammy And The Skunx, who "did garage/punk versions of old rock classics but with new and stupid lyrics!", and the lineup was very young at the start, with some of the group having only just left school. The band were rank amateurs, with Tina utilising the one-finger down the neck method made infamous by Crass. The band gigged for a year or so before making their vinyl debut with a track called 'Nuclear War', which appeared on the 1981 compilation LP Ten From The Madhouse. By this time the band had undergone a series of lineup changes. Around this time (May 1981) Bambi helped out playing drums for Discharge and then went onto join Flux with The Insane's other founding member, Middlehurst. So at this point, The Insane was actually defunct.
However, towards the end of the year Middlehurt and Bambi had both decided to reunite The Insane. Beki from Vice Squad, with whom Bambi was "having a fling", passed a copy of their demo tape onto Riot City and their debut EP was released: the crappy sounding Politics. One song fom it, 'Last Day', was plucked to appear on the hot-selling Punk And Disorderly compilation soon after. (Funnily enough the EP did not feature Barry Taberner, who had failed to make it to the studio, leaving Middlehurst to take over vocal duties.) December '81 saw them playing the Xmas On Earth festival with The Damned, The Exploited and GBH.
Come May 1982 the band released their second single, the semi-classic El Salvador, with new singer 'Dr' Dean Mitchell being responsible for the deligfhtfully cartoonishly punky vocals. The title tune was backed with a new and improved version of 'Nuclear War' and a decent stab at The Heartbreakers' 'Chinese Rocks'.
Although the single was a success, climbing as it did to No. 6 in the indies, at this point the two founding members of the band came to loggerheads over a gig one of them wanted to blow out, and the world ended up with two Insanes: one featuring Bambi and Dean Mitchell, the other being led by Middlehurst and Taberner. The Middlehurst/Taberner version of the band released the Why Die! single in October 1982 (it made it to No. 38 in the indies), pretty much cementing them as the "proper" version of the group, while Bambi's version gigged more extensively but a proposed second No Future single failed to materialise.
In 1983 Bambi joined Blitzkrieg just in time for the Animals In Lipstick 7". After that, he and Blitzkrieg's guitarist Gary Sumner re-joined the Middlehurst/Taberner version of The Insane for some shows in mainland Europe, and in 1984 they released their final vinyl, a split single, The Insane / Skeptix.
After The Insane split, Bambi formed The Parasites with ex-Blitzkrieg singer Spike, which eventually left to the reformation of Blitzkrieg in 1991. Bambi later played with John Peel favourites Doctor And The Crippens and Hotalacio, and also for a short while played with a reformed Flux.
This post by melodyman on the Wigan World Forum pretty much sums up the The Insane: Most Wigan bands played a lot of cover versions and only had a few songs of their own, which were easily recognised because of the quality difference. Many Wigan bands had one or two positive things,but a few things missing. The Insane and The System,probably the two best Wigan punk bands, were relatively good punk bands. Both bands had the typical,but good punk image. Both bands had the energy and stage aggression to hold a punk audience.Both bands had their own songs - The Insane released a couple of singles. But! Both bands didn't seem to have the songwriting and playing versatility and they didn't seem to have the melodies to capture a wider audience or to move away from the punk scene,which greatly limited them. Also, the two bands were on the Wigan music scene in the early 1980s,which was a little late for punk music. If they had been around in 1976/77,they probably would have been better known and may of had some major success.
Note: Images above courtesy of Gabe Juska (thank you).
Singles / Albums
|Politics (7", 1982)||El Salvador (7", 1982)||Why Die! (7", 1982)||The Insane / Skeptix (7", split, 1984)|
|Live In Europe 1982
|The Punk Collection (CD, split with Blitzkrieg, 1997)|
Demos / Tapes
|Demos And Rehearsals (Tape, demo, 1981)||Stop That Laughing (Tape, 1983)||Live At Grafitti 8/9/82 (Tape, split with Napalm, 1983)||The Varukers / The Insane (Tape, split, 1984)|
Ten From The Madhouse UK LP 1981 (No Peer): Nuclear War
Punk And Disorderly UK LP 1982 (Abstract Sounds): Last Day
Cascades 82 France Tape 1982 (VISA): El Salvador
"Yes You Guessed It" UK Tape 1983 (Still Dying Tapes): We Don't Wanna Fight No War
Angels With Dirty Faces UK LP 1984 (No Future): El Salvador
Viva La Revolution UK 2xLP 1985 (Cambra Sound): El Salvador
We Don't Want Your Fucking Law! UK LP 1985 (Fight Back): World's Going Insane
Riot City Records- Punk Singles Collection Volume 2 UK CD 1995 (Anagram): Dead And Gone