Metal Jester: the full story

Three years ago, I posted about an early 1990s heavy metal band, Metal Jester, whose singer Richard Whitbread had also been our singer in Anne Heap of Frogs. Since then, I’ve heard from Simon, the lead guitarist, as well as Martyn, who at one point auditioned to be the bassist. Simon sent me a bunch more material, and, well, here it is!

Artwork for demo tape: see below for the actual songs.

First, some photos:

Metal Jester Clophill shoot c. 1989 — L–R: Simon, Stu, Dave, Chris and Al.
Shot at Clophill church, Beds. Photographer: Stu Jackson.
Myco Music — Richard during a rehearsal at the always damp and smelly Myco
Music, Roydon, which was just down the road from Michael Barrymore’s
bungalow!
Richard Whitbread at the Marquee on 30th June 1991. Unknown photographer
(it was one of Lick That’s friends, but forgotten his name).
Simon A at the Marquee on 30th June 1991. Unknown photographer
(it was one of Lick That’s friends, but forgotten his name).
The Flag — L–R: Al and Dave at the Flag, North Wembley (formerly The Chequered Flag/Dog and Duck pub) c. 1989/90. Promoter at this venue Francis Drake. It had a very strange small stage, Chris and his drums had their own area to the right of the stage, outside of the area covered this shot.
The Leviathan, Watford, known locally as The Levi — Chris on drums.
The Leviathan — L–R: Al, Chris, Stu, Dave and Simon.
Very early rehearsal c. 1985, pre Metal Jester. — L-R: Simon A, Chris, Al and
Simon S. Photo by Andy Draper. Location: Richard Hale School, Hertford, the
new dining room, which we were later chucked out of following noise complaints
from nearby neighbours! We moved rehearsals to the school’s main assembly hall, again resulting in more complaints about noise, then we were moved to the sixth form common room in the centre of the school, where we rehearsed every Sunday for about two years.

But how did they sound, you ask? Simon was able to dig up four tracks: three with Stu on vocals, and one of them an alternative mix with Richard singing.

Cut ‘n’ Run (1988 or 1989) with Stu Hickson on vocals.
Lovin’ Hell (1988 or 1989) with Stu Hickson on vocals.
No Man’s Land (1988 or 1989) with Stu Hickson on vocals.
Lovin’ Hell (1991) with Richard Whitbread on vocals.

The most striking thing to me is how very Ozzy-like Richard sounds here. But I suspect part of that is down to reverb on the voice.

5 responses to “Metal Jester: the full story

  1. Richard G. Whitbread

    Well, well, well…

    Firstly, a very big ‘thank you’ to Michael and Simon for going to all the trouble of putting together this collective band history, culminating – in one sense, anyway, since I know that Michael is still involved in live performances – with the story of Metal Jester. It really has been a trip down Memory Lane, even if my own personal recollections are clearly not quite what they should have been concerning our opening, not closing, set at ‘The Marquee’ on 30/6/1991. (Blame it on a thirty years’ absence of leave, Simon…!)

    Regardless, it’s been great reliving my short tenure as MJ’s front man (thanks especially for the photos, Simon – great to see those again), as well as catching up on how the band looked and sounded with Stuart / chronicling the band’s subsequent musical journey, as detailed in a separate post.

    All of which brings me to say that – likewise – I trust you are doing well these days, Simon. Please do pass on my warm regards to Al, Chris and Dave (assuming you’re still in touch with any of them, of course) the next time your paths cross. And if you’d like to continue the correspondence, I can of course be found on ‘Facebook’…

    …Best, Richard

  2. Great stuff. The songs came back to me as soon as I heard the opening to ‘No Mans Land’ (must be a good few years since my cassette copy went awol) I could always imagine Maiden doing that one (Maybe see if Mr ‘Arris is after any new tracks?) The B/W photo very reminiscent of early Maiden too. Rocking times baddada baddada like a fury as Colin Grigson would say! – Cheers, Martyn

  3. Hi Richard / Martyn / Mike, Apologies for a lengthy silence again, I thought being self employed was supposed to mean you had more free time to yourself….apparently not! No Mans Land was the first song we ever wrote together, I think you can tell we’d listened to a lot of Maiden!

    Anyway, glad to have jogged some good memories, I would like to start a FB page about the band but I dont think I’ve got enough material really, our gigging time was after all relatively short.

    Richard, I came across this (see link below), and I’m guessing that somehow someone has been lifting info from The Re-Invigorated Programmer website……Richard Whitbread…you are officially ‘metal’ according to the Encyclopaedia Metallum, you reach their assessment standard of ‘…being metal enough..!.’ (read their page on selection criteria) to be featured:

    https://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Richard_Whitbread/903121

    …even AHoF get a mention Mike!

    Cheers
    Simon.

  4. Richard G. Whitbread

    Thanks, Simon. My work here is officially done. :-)

    P.S. In a suitably low-key kind of way it reminds me of the story of Steve Harris, who was once told that he was being nomimated for an MBE. When he expressed surprise at the honour, he was told that it stood for ‘Metal Bloke Extraordinaire’…

  5. ..Lol….don’t leave the day job just yet for a re-union tour!

    I remember that MBE story about Steve Harris 😄, I wonder if he was disappointed? s’funny what sticks in my creaking memory and what doesn’t.

    Hope you have a great day Richard!👍

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