C86 Show - Indie Pop

The Photos with Steve Eagles

April 17, 2020

The Photos with Steve Eagles in conversation with David Eastaugh

The Photos were originally a punk band named Satan's Rats that formed in Evesham, Worcestershire in 1977, with the first stable line-up of Paul Rencher (vocals), Steve Eagles (guitar/vocals), Roy Wilkes (bass guitar), and Olly Harrison (drums). They released three singles as Satans Rats before Wilkes left, to be replaced by Dave Sparrow; and then Rencher left, after which the others deciding to expand the group with the addition of a female singer; They unsuccessfully tried to get Big in Japan's Jayne Casey to join, but convinced Wendy Wu (born Wendy Cruise, 29 November 1959), the former manager of pub rock band City Youth to join in 1979. The Photos signed to CBS Records but moved on to Epic Records after one single. They released a self-titled album (Epic, 1980) and number of singles. These included "I'm So Attractive" and "Barbarellas" (concerning the closure of a Birmingham nightclub).

The album was successful, reaching number 4 in the UK Albums Chart, and Wu's picture was briefly a regular item in the music press. Initial copies of the vinyl release of the album came with a bonus album, The Blackmail Tapes, the additional tracks also included on the cassette release, and the album was supported by the group performing numerous concerts around the UK.

The album was later re-released in CD format, although only a limited number of copies were pressed. The CD was re-released in October 2007 by Cherry Red Records, the label originally due to have signed the band before they were contracted to CBS. The re-release includes some additional tracks including "I'm So Attractive".

They released several singles in the UK including "I'm So Attractive". which was added to the US album release. "I'm So Attractive" was not included on the CD that was released in 1999, along with eight additional tracks from The Blackmail Tapes.

Their scheduled appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops was cancelled due to industrial action. A second album, Crystal Tips and Mighty Mice, was released in promotional form in 1981, but withdrawn before it reached the shops, and reissued by Cherry Red Records in 2008. Wu left the band in 1981, to be replaced by Che, and The Photos split up later that year.