Metal Jester at the Marquee in 1991

A few years ago, I wrote about the heavy metal band, Anne Heap of Frogs, that I was the guitarist for in my late teens; and then about Crossfire, the band that come out of that, and some other bits and pieces. But there is one more chapter to the story, and it’s much more impressive.

Trojan Horse, Lick That, Metal Jester

After singing with AHOF and Crossfire, Richard Whitbread went on to front a much more serious band, Metal Jester, which did well enough to get a gig at the Marquee — then, one of the top rock venues in the UK. The layout of the ticket suggests they were third on a bill of three, which would still pretty darned impressive, but as Richard elucidates below, they were actually the main act.

I found my ticket from that gig the other day, when I was looking for guitar strings. I thought that Richard, at least, would like to see it, hence the scan above. Sadly, although the ticket specifies most of the date (Sunday 30th June) it omits the year. I initially guessed that it was the summer after Stortfest — 1989. (It can’t have been earlier than 1988, because that’s the year that the Marquee Club moved from Wardour Street to its Charing Cross Road address.) UPDATE: Richard has commented below: it was 1991.

I don’t know what happened to Metal Jester after that, though. Maybe Richard can enlighten us?

9 responses to “Metal Jester at the Marquee in 1991

  1. 30th of June was a Friday in 1989, it was a Sunday in 1991

  2. Richard G. Whitbread

    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to write / put this up, Michael – very much appreciated, as well as bringing back some good memories. I’m not sure if I have / ever had a copy of the ticket; a poster that we did for the gig and a (somewhat grainy) colour photo of myself on stage I do still possess, however. The year, incidentally, was 1991. I left the band shortly thereafter to go travelling, initially for a year…

    Regarding the billing, we were friends with the guys in the other two bands so we actually ended up headlining. (If memory serves me correctly, since it was considered that ‘MJ’ had done the bulk of the preparation, including promising the promoters that we would fill the venue, which we pretty much did) we were allowed to go on last. Oddly enough, the main thing I remember about the gig itself was not so much the music (we ended the show with our only cover, Iron Maiden’s ‘Prowler’) as the heat – the overhead stage lights were so oppressive that I thought at one point I was going to pass out…!

    As to what happened to the rest of the band, I’m afraid I have no idea. I have occasionally tried to locate them, e.g., via the wonders of ‘Facebook’, but as yet without success. Whatever, I hope they’re doing well…wherever they are.

    Thanks again!

  3. Thanks for filling in the details, Richard: the story is even more impressive than I’d realised! I’ve slightly modified the post to account for the information you included here.

    If you want the ticket, it’s yours. Email me your postal address — you have my email address.

    And if you’d like to send me scans of the poster and photo, I’d love to add them to this post.

  4. Richard G. Whitbread

    I suppose ‘headlining’ makes it sound somewhat grander than the reality…but hey, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll (as they say)! Thanks for the kind offer of the ticket. I’ll take a look when I’m next back – if I can’t locate one, I’ll let you know. As for scans of the poster / photo, I’ll see what I can do.

  5. Simon Armitt

    Hi Mike, Thanks for posting this and for your memories of the show. I hope this thread is still live. I found it quite by chance and thought I’d add to the comments posted by jonnosan and Richard (Hi Richard, it’s been a while, I hope you’re well). I used to play lead guitar in MJ and remember the Marquee gig well. That’s my scrawly handwriting in blue at the bottom of your ticket.

    Yes it was 30th June 1991, I remember feeling chuffed that we got a slot at the Marquee, but Sunday night?…..the graveyard slot of the week for gigging bands. I needn’t have worried though as I seem to remember approx 500-800 strong audience which was great.

    I’m going to contradict Richards recollections though, as the ticket suggested, MJ were first on the bill, we had a very short 35 min slot which was over in a blur of noise, heat and lights. I think we only got this gig because of Trojan Horse connections at the Marquee and their ability to pull in a large amount of punters. By this point they’d completed hundreds of gigs and were well known on the circuit, but I think the Marquee was about MJ’s 60th gig. The reason I remember the billing so well is that although we were great friends with both TH and Lick That, the arrogance of youth and friendly rivalry made me briefly feel a bit miffed that we were at the bottom of the bill ( how ungrateful am I?). Both TH and LT had relatively large fan bases and tbh MJ struggled to get punters to turn up in London. I think it’s only due to the fact that we got on so well with both bands that we actually got the gig. But we sold our quota of ( I think it was £400…a lot of cash back then which went to the venue😠) of tickets and touted a few on the night outside the venue ( Marquee didn’t like us doing this but we did anyway). Anyway, all feelings of noses being put out of joint disappeared compared to the feeling of getting a gig at the marquee. I do agree with Richard about the heat on stage, when the venue was full it was swelteringly hot, I think I still have a photo of myself and Chris (drummer) looking a little faded immediately after the set. Sadly I don’t have much else in the way of images from the gig, but I do have a few tickets and posters from all the MJ gigs we did in and around Herts / London.

    MJ did one last gig following about 2 weeks after the Marquee at the Horn of Plenty in St Albans (without Richard, who was travelling by this time). Dave (bass) then left to join St Albans band Excel and he ended up playing at the Marquee again (I wasn’t at all jealous…. grrrr). Al (rhythm guitar), Chris, myself and Gavin (friend of Chris) went on to briefly form a new band (Porno’ Pic’) focussing on heavier riffs, sequenced dance beats and sampling. We recorded one track which was really exciting, but doing it live meant heavy investment in equipment, which none of us had the inclination to do, so it fizzled…….then some guy called Trent Reznor stole our sound and that was the final straw😁😁😁😁.

    I Haven’t been in contact with Al and Chris for I’d say 15 years and last saw Dave three years ago.

    Please get in touch if you want any further insights, I’ll see what I can dig up. Many thanks.

  6. Wow, Simon, what a great surprise to get your perspective on this 27 years on! I had no idea that the Marquee gig was the last-but-one for Metal Jester, what a shame.

    Thank for sharing all this. For the record, all threads on this site are always open, and I see every single comment.

  7. I remember that gig, although I was working in a summer camp in the USA at the time. It was the talk of Hertford! I did see metal jester a few times, love that early maiden sound that they had with some of their songs. I remember an early rehearsal with three guitars, Simon Snelling I believe was also there, and Dave was hanging around without a bass yet??? Anyhow, great memories!

  8. Hi Andy, I hope you and yours are staying safe and well. Its only been a year or so since you posted your comment, but a lot has happened to me in that time (most of it good! :-)) so I thought I’d respond.

    I still have the photo of myself, Simon, Chris and Al during one of our earliest rehearsals! Yes three guitarists and a drummer!……we had that idea way before Iron Maiden!! Dave was indeed skulking, base less….I think in fact you may have even taken the photo!

  9. Hi Mike, I hope you and your family are staying safe and well too! How could I get images up on this thread, do I send them to you? I’ve just purchased a slide scanner, so looking through all my old 35mm neg’s. Many thanks

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