The CUD story part 1

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And so it begins.

(above) William (seriously bad haircut), Elvis Belt and Carl, Leeds Poly, 1985

14 Jun 1985
The first CUD gig.
Except that we have been advertised as CND.
Clubterranean was the alternative night at Leeds Polytechnic (now the better-dressed Metropolitan Uni). Bitzen, Batzen, Botzer also suffered from the terror of the typo. They are Ritzen Ratzen Rotzer, the elder band from the Poly Fine Art department. (Ritzen were one of a long line of Leeds Poly Fine Art acts that look back to Soft Cell, Fad Gadget and even Frankie Vaughn.)

Hand-crafted poster, above.

Through bothering, we both got ourselves on the bottom of the bill below a rockabilly band, but this was a different CUD to the CUD known and adored internationally. This was Elvis Belt (Dave Read) vocals/guitar, Alan Thomas (guitar), Carl Puttnam (bass), William Potter (drums), Nicola Hill (salad spoons) and Susan Johnstone (recorder) who, through the strength of a demo cassette, had secured a gig before they had a band… or songs.
[Dave claims to still have the tape somewhere – an early version of You’re the Boss’).

The first gig as it appeared in Leeds Student newspaper

And so, in the basement of William’s flat in Burley, with William bashing drums sat on the cellar toilet, they put together a patchy set of songs in just a week including ‘You’re the Boss’ (about the Leeds Poly director) and ‘Art!’ which would eventually be immortalised on vinyl and an appalling solo shouting/drumming outro by William called ‘Fuck Off You Bastard!’


Elvis Belt

Dave Read got his nickname because he wore an ELVIS belt.
Good name for an album too!


Alan Thomas

Alan didn’t wear an ELVIS belt, but his trousers stayed up.

It was a lark, nothing taken too seriously. The name was chosen not for its glamorous and inviting connotations, but because, with just three letters it would look big on posters. This theory only worked if the poster designer gave the band names the same amount of space as opposed to the same font size as was more likely the case. It could have been worse. ‘Allez Cud Dem Nid Du Prog’ was one early rejected proposal. Or we could have been called Limp Bizkit.

Carl as light fixture, Leeds Poly, 1984
poly.jpgLeeds Poly in the Eighties


Carl and William met on the first day, arriving for the Fine Art course in autumn 1984. Alphabetically they appeared next to each on the course roster. Dave Read was also on Fine Art. He was a more sarcastic, direct, arrogant guy than Carl and William. He got CUD the first gig probably through force of will. Nicky and Susan were on the course too. Alan was going out with Nicky. He had Bob Dylan looks and guitar hooks.
And so the sextet formed itself.

So, one gig under their belts, the force that was CUD went on from strength to strength. Well, no. Actually, they did fuck all for five months. And when they returned, they were half the size.

Continue to Part 2