It was a coincidence [Bits]
At the beginning of 1983 if you wanted to see a band on the Island there was only one band to go and see. No seriously there was only one band to go and see. After the demise of Loony Tunes there were no gigging bands on the island that did original material. The Waltons were going to change all that.
The Waltons first gig was at the Prince Consort in Ryde on April 14th 1983. At the time the Consort was run by Brian McDoormat, [a luvy]. He thought the band were great and they were asked back.
The band were soon locked into a twice weekly routine at the Consort that lasted for the next nine months.
The next major thing that happened to the band was the filming of the drama "Annika" on the island. The scouts for the Swedish film company walked into the language school where Dread, the drummer, was working, and he offered the bands services.
Most of the filming took place at the Prince Consort upstairs from the band's normal gig. It was a lot of fun. It mostly involved sitting around getting stoned and drinking coffee, with just the occasional need to play some music. Cheesybits managed to get himself an extra part playing a skin head at St Johns railway station. Both the male stars of Annika went on to greater things. Jesse Birdsell played a lead part in "Bugs" and Vas Blackwood most recently starred in "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels".
The Waltons were by now pulling in large crowds, but desperately needed a manager. When one finally turned up over a year later he proved to be the wrong man at the wrong time. In fact he proved to be the wrong man at the wrong time with the wrong hair-cut.
That was a pretty amazing summer in retrospect. It was marred by having to deal with the police every night after the gig though. There always seemed to be a patrol car parked outside The Consort when the band left. Their was inevitably confrontation. But there were also parties and even, by now, other bands to see.
In October '83 Sean the bands long standing keyboard player arrived on the scene.
"I didn't enjoy the first gig at all, in fact I thought the band were crap, but I also thought, 'I should be able to make a bit of money here'.....just goes to show how wrong you can be." [Sean]
The year culminated in two remarkable gigs at the Prince Consort, Christmas eve and New Years eve1983. Christmas eve is particularly well remembered, [but not by anybody who was actually there].
The whole thing was arranged like a bizarre children's party, or an afternoons pool side entertainment at a holiday camp for acid heads. By half past nine the Consort was a heaving mass of drunken humanity all intent on having a good time. Judging from the state of the bar-room the next morning I would say they all succeeded.There was naturally the Xmas Tee Shirt competition. It was of course fixed, the winner just happened to be some one that the band wanted to give a good custard pie-ing to. One runner up won because she got her home address wrong, she was mortified to have the piss taken out of her, and turned out to be dyslexic, of course the band didn't know this at the time.
The Prince Consort closed over the next couple of months amid court cases, eviction orders, and bailiffs seizing furniture. Meanwhile the Waltons went into hiding while they broke in their third drummer."I can't remember why Dread left, everything got a bit weird around Xmas what with Bits going deaf, and other things." [Tony]
Four months later they decided to do another gig. It was at Ryde Pavilion in aid of the deaf.
"No I was much better by then." [Bits]
It was in this atmosphere of not giving a.. that the idea of contributing to the island compilation L.P. [then known as Seagull Shit] was first put to the band. Bits was against it, but rang the instigator of the project Rod Gammons for a chat, then he was really against it. Tony thought it would be a good idea if only to have a record of the band on vinyl. So finally it was decided that this would be the last project the band would do together.
But of course, things being as they are, this proved not to be the case. In between the decision to do the compilation album, and the recording session the band was offered a management deal by local entrepreneur Steve Gold (sic). On the basis that they had nothing to lose the band accepted the deal. This "well we were going to split up anyway" attitude was to seriously impair the bands decision making over the coming months.