Michael Clare

Original songwriter of The Hotknives

Ska legends The Hotknives were originally formed in 1982 by a group of friends interested in ska, dub, reggae and Northern Soul. They recorded two live albums, “Live at the boatman” and “Live and Skanking” before recording their first studio album, “The Way Things Are” in 1989.

The original lineup of the Hotknives existed between 1982 and 1993. They created three albums, the live albums Live at the Boatman and Live & Skankin, and the studio album ‘The Way Things Are’. Their catalogue of classics include the live favourites “Holsten Boys”, “Don’t Go Away”, “Skin Up Harry”, “Dave and Mary”, “Driving Me Mad”, “Julie Julie”, “W.L.N.”, “Alcoholic Nightmare”, “One Man And His Dog”, “Believe It”, and “Man In The Cellar”.

The band featured the vocals and songwriting talents of Mick Clare and Gary Marshall. Clare played guitar and occasional harmonica. Marshall played rhythm guitar. Lead guitarist Dave Clifton also had a hand in writing some songs. Kev Clements, who started out as keyboard player, also wrote some songs, and finished up on the trumpet. Micky Matthews played saxophone and featured on “Turkey Stomp” and “Double Barrel”. Mick Merritt and Clemmy played bass and drums respectively. Jim Mills took over keyboard duties from Clements. Paul Mumford and Colin Jones provided additional saxophone at times through the band’s history.

The original lineup split up in 1993 and reformed a year later, slimmed down to become a four piece band. This consisted of original members Mick Clare and Clemmy with Bosky (Richard Allen) and Marc Carew. Bosky was formerly in Brighton based ska band Too Many Crooks, and Carew continues to play with the Long Tall Texans.

In 1996 the band released their second studio album, Home, on Grover Records and in 2000 followed up with the studio album Screams, Dreams and Custard Creams. In 2003 the lineup changed when Clare left and was replaced by Stuart Brown on guitar, with Carew taking over on lead vocals. In 2010 the band released their latest album, About Time.

In December 2014 a long lost recording emerged via the Facebook page “Fans of the original Hotknives”, Live & Erect, recorded live at Champagne’s Nite Club in Horsham in August 1987. This featured 18 tracks, many of these which appeared on CD for the first time. These included “Dave’s Song”, “Recovery”, “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”, and “Three Minute Warning”.
Having reached the top of the 3rd Wave ska scene and been banned from Radio in the UK, the band decided to call it a day in 1993. In 1994 the band reformed, this time with Marc Carew of Long Tall Texans fame and Richard “Bosky” Allen from Too Many Crooks . The band started to regularly tour Europe with their infectious ska rhythms and memorable melodies.
In 1996 the band released their second studio album “Home” to rave reviews on the ska scene. In 2000 the band released their next studio album,”Screams, Dreams and Custard Creams” getting in the top 10 in the Zoom charts in Germany. In 2003 they had their most recent and dynamic line-up change to date with the addition of Stuart Brown on guitar and Marc Carew taking over on lead vocals. The band continued to build up their following in Europe, headlining both ska and rock festivals and are due to headline festivals in Germany and the Czech republic


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