Chase was formed in the early 80's when Tim Meek
(guitar, vocals) and Andrew Hemming (bass, no vocals) met Paul Clarke (drums,
gagged) in a cold a reverberant rehearsal hall above a squalid pub in
Chiddingfold. Humping 4 x 12 cabinets, bass bins and bass drums up near-vertical
stairs was the backbreaking opener that set the scene for the next twenty years.
The pain was in no way eased by the express instruction that Andy's bass bin
wheels couldn't touch the floor at any time in case they got worn out. In years
to come Andy would blossom into a hard livin' rocker and would purposely throw
the same cabinet around just to see the fabric tear. The infamous Coach and
Horses in Farnham was fool enough to let Chase play for the first time, it
closed soon afterwards.
Chase was always meant to be a three-piece but the weedy grating sound required a fourth member just to blame the poor sound quality on someone else for a change. The fourth-place spot was taken by a number of inadequate performers of mediocre quality, generally disappearing just when needed or blasting through the quiet bits until a reasonable effort was made by Stuart Turner.
This barely adequate foursome managed a number of recordings at Ray Dorset's studio cut into a crumbling hillside in Grayshot, with two appearing here. 'Years End' and 'Fight (1982 version)'. Both of these tracks give a false impression of the sparse sound that live audiences would come to despise due to 16 tracks being available and would bloody well be used 'cos we paid for them. Thus was added a number of extra guitar bits (we had to bounce down actually as 16 tracks weren't enough), SH101 synthesiser and a melotron-copy string machine. Engineer Ken Marshall wanted more hand claps added but fortunately a well-aimed one disabled his left hand during mix-down. Looking back, the two tracks seem to be the same song although a couple of chords are swapped around so they are purposely moved to the extremes of this CD so no one notices.
Meanwhile, Chase tried to annoy as many people as possible by performing live at any venue where the booking agent was either deaf or a lot smaller than the four members combined. The former method working well at the Crossing Gates in Liss where the Landlord was both deaf and couldn't care less anyway giving Chase their first residency. Although the 'Gates couldn't be classed as a top venue it was at least home to a good crowd who were previously deafened by the trains that gave the Pub its name. Yes, we did have to move the Pool table out of the way, and yes, the chandelier was off-putting dangling in front of the microphone but at least we got paid, well sometimes as long as we bought enough drinks to cover it.
The cost of this fame was that Andy (bass, no vocals) was burning out, the wheels on his bass cab were scratched and the cloth on the cabinet was slightly discoloured. Andy tried to weather the storm by buying a new bass (Kramer 8-string) but that too was knocked over one night and went out of tune….the writing was on the wall, it was all over.
An exhausting period of auditioning bass players started and eventually Dave Glover turned up. Fortunately Dave had never heard of Chase before and so was not put off like the rest of them. Dave had an uncanny ability to play the right notes in the right order and this heralded a new period for Chase. A period that would mean the closure of most of the local venues due to structural problems and disappearing audiences who would start to cry at the slightest glimpse of a stringed instrument.
Chase started small with the closure of Pilgrims wine bar, a small, cramped corridor of a venue bedecked by fishing nets hanging from small shelves on which famous wine bottles were lovingly placed. By the time Chase had done the sound check cracks were already beginning to appear and those bottles were rolling around in the nets as though caught by a bedeviled celestial trawler. By the time this period was over the number of operating venues were reduced to a handful, even the Salutation in Portsmouth was gone. The last night played out by a haunting set of Chase numbers followed by Gary Watkins, a combination that no venue could withstand. Also gone were the Rock Gardens, The Spaniard and the Globe Trotters. The last venue tried to recover by changing its name to the Queen Victoria but the sound of a 4 by 12 being pushed down its spiral staircase gave warning that resistance was futile. Even an audience of crack Paratroopers were no match for the mind-destroying chord sequences and purposeless key changes. The Globe Trotters closed and although the Landlord tried to escape to the Unicorn in the next street, Chase closed that pub too.
Not content with closing down the venues Chase turned to the recording studios for some light relief, some of this period is captured on this CD with 'Young Girls',and 'Need Some Lovin' Time' heralding the downfall of a Basingstoke video studio and 'Burning Down' and 'Can't take any More' requiring a change of premises for Watershed studios. 1992 saw Chase reach the pinnacle of their achievements with a session for Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show at the Maida Vale studios in London. This session included the tracks 'Gus O'ria', 'DGATT' and 'Fight (1992)' which are found on this CD, the only track missing from that session being 'Chase' which was crap. Tommy Vance left soon after this session.
Chase continued to play live during this period but found shutting down the Royal Oak in Passfield beyond their means, this was due to the policy of changing the Landlord at regular intervals. The failure to close the 'Oak was a bitter blow, in fact it has been said that this is the reason Chase no longer plays live. What is the point of playing if nothing changes? Surely this is the point of all music, to make something change, to make a real difference. All that was left was 'Crosswire', even though played live a number of times it never saw a recording studio and 'Thin Blue Line' that was never played live because it was too weedy and needed more instruments to hold it up. The drums for 'Thin Blue Line' were recorded during a Chase rehearsal (a rare event) and the remaining tracks added using Cool Edit Pro. The whole of 'Crosswire' was recorded on a PC as was 'CEOTP' using Reason and CEP.
Tim Meek Guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass (CEOTP, Crosswire)
Paul Clarke Drums
Dave Glover Bass, vocals
Andrew Hemming Bass on 'Fight (1982)' and 'Years End'
Stuart Taylor Guitars on 'Fight (1982) and 'Years End'
All songs and music Tim Meek 2001
Chase can be contacted by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org