'A Little Bit About Me'

My name is Lawrence Nicol,
also known as Larry / The Only Punk in Iona street / and The Square Peg.

I started singing in a couple of local pubs in Edinburgh in 1979 got up and did a 15 minute spot reading my poetry then gradually started singing after a bit of persuasion from some of the audience who were a bit fed up of me talking if I remember correctly sing ya b*****d was the inducement so if anyone is to blame it was them but I’m glad they did as I would not have gone on to record singles.
I started singing with Edinburgh’s Billy Jones most Fridays and Saturdays
In the Mile Bar on the high street and the Burke and hare at the west port off and on until mid 1983.
I had given tape copies from the live pub gig away to a lot of people over the years I was with Billy but I never thought about making a record until I met a German couple who had taken a copy of a tape home and all their friends liked it and they more or less put the idea of recording into my head I had just been doing it for a laugh and a bit of fun.
So I started to look around for musicians to put it together then I met Big John Duncan who had just left the Exploited, and immediately he heard the tape he said no problem lets do it. John pulled in Gary McCormack who had played bass for the Exploited as well I knew a drummer called Robbie Bain who was playing for So you think you’re a cowboy we rehearsed in an old house in Leith for two nights and came out with three songs.
We went into Pierhouse studio in November 1983, and recorded “ Echoes of War/Bad Connection/No Explanation”.
That was when the Nice Boys name was born I had been known as The Square Peg for a good few years prior to the studio
I did all the usual stuff went down to London trying to get labels interested but no luck so I started my own label Stranded Records I had used the name for various things fanzine/disco since I first met the saints in Cockburn street summer of 1977 and went to their gigs ( on the guest list I may add).
I then got 1000 copies of “ Echoes of war “ ep Stranded xlnt-1. pressed up by Mayking records in London and spent my nights and weekends , cutting /folding and glueing, 1000 gatefold sleeves (took me three weeks).
I met Sandy Mclean who worked in Fast Forward distribution (owned by Bob Last who was the manager of the Human league )who put the record out through the Cartel in july 1984.
We pressed up another 1000 records and another 1000 sleeves and sold 1500 copies in the first week of release although I never saw any cash (what’s new). We got a few good reviews in the music press, N.M.E./ Melody Maker/ Sounds. mostly punk sections one or two rock ones then the music papers went on strike for about six weeks that summer .
I sent the single down to the tv program The Tube hosted by Jules Holland and Paula Yates and we were booked to appear then Jules Holland swore on live broadcast and they pulled the show for three weeks all the bands that were booked lost their spots and we lost our debut on tv.
The single got played on radio 1’s John Peel show and on Edinburgh’s radio forth “`the Scottish wave band” by Colin Summerville who played the single almost every week 1984 was a good year.
In June 1985 I released the Napalm Stars debut single “Fiction/Workhard “ Stranded xlnt-2. after Bryan asked me every time he saw me to put it out on Stranded it sold reasonably well.
In August 1985 I was given two days recording time in Sound Site studio in Edinburgh through Sandy Mclean as Fast forward who owed me money from the sale of Echoes of War were closing down the shop in Edinburgh.
I contacted Big John who by this time had formed Crazy Maybe and we went into the studio with if I remember correctly about one and half songs we spent the weekend in the studio and came out with “ Cant Say No/Nuclear Attack “ we also recorded “Leaving Blue’s” which started out as an acoustic blues and finished up as a mental blues punk thrash which was never released until now (comp cd xlnt1 2003).
I got a 1000 copies pressed up by Mayking Records, but this time I had the sleeves printed by them as well.
In October 1985 I released “Cant Say No” Stranded xlnt-3. through the Cartel and it was played on Radio Forth’s Scottish wave band by Colin Summerville and I was told it had been played on John Peel’s show but you cant listen to all the radio stations it got good press reviews and sold a lot of copies.
In January 1987 I released Bohn Legion debut single “May in Berlin/Heaven Knows” on Stranded xln-4. it was a similar situation to the napalm’s I had known the bass player Kit for about 6 months and he kept at me to bring their single out on my label so I gave in and listened to a demo tape and said ok I’ll do it.
This was the first band that I put money into as well I began to manage them and get them gigs, we released the single, and a week later the band split up, I was a bit gutted but couldn’t do any thing about it although I was left with most of the singles.
I did nothing with the label for a few years as family and other commitments took over my time also I was getting a bit disillusioned with the band s**t so I took a rest.
In 1994 I was doing a bit of joinery work in my mate Jamie Watson’s studio (Chamber Studio) and he said I’ve got this punk band from Livingston doing a demo they would be good to add to your compilation album they’re playing at the Venue come and see them they’re called Swine Flu.
So I went to see them and the result was a few weeks later I got them in the studio and the single was recorded I paid for the studio and half the record costs.
In July we went on tour to Newcastle/Manchester/Newport/Leicester.
In August I released Swine Flu’s debut single “Killing Time/Lost Innocence” Stranded xlnt-5.
In November we toured /Germany/and France via the ferry to Holland/

In may 1995 Jamie Watson asked me if I would build a new studio for him as he’d bought a building in the Granton area of Edinburgh so I pulled in a couple of mates and built chamber studioFrom 1994/99 I roadied various bands over Britain most famously The Gin Goblins. The Exploited a couple of times and after Swine Flu split up I drove External Menace a few times..

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