The Flys

 Neil O'Connor (Hazel O'Connor's bro) - Guitar 
Dave Freeman - Guitar 

Joe Hughes - Bass 

Pete King - Drums

The Flys on MY Space- Fan My Space site with tracks on Here

Source - Rex Brough

This band were originally called Midnight Circus. <(Check their page out too) In 1974 they played their first or early gigs for us at the Hobo Workshop - Holyhead Youth Centre (associated with the roots of Two Tone) in Coventry and by 1976 were playing the Memorial Park festival with many other up-coming Coventry bands before changing their name to the FLYS

The band recorded a demo in 1977 that failed to

attract much attention from record companies, so they formed their own Lama label and put out an EP, Bunch of Five, around the end of the year. That caught the fancy of EMI, which signed them up in a hurry and put out the EP's "Love and a Molotov Cocktail" as a single. The album Waikiki Beach Refugees appeared in 1978. Several Flys singles appeared in early 1979, culminating in the release of the second album, Own. Intraband quarreling had led to King's departure and the arrival of Graham Deakin, the former drummer of John Entwistle's Ox. A move to Parlophone Records did little to salve the bickering, and the Flys broke up in 1980. O'Connor joined his sister Hazel's band and then took his skills behind the scenes as producer, arranger, and engineer; Freeman performed on Alison Moyet's Raindancing album, played briefly with Roddy
Radiation and the Tearjerkers, and then formed The Lover Speaks with Hughes; Pete King went on to join After the Fire before his untimely death at age 26.


Love and a Molotov Cocktail / I can crash here / Civilisation - EMI 1978

Oh Beverley / Don't moonlight on me - EMI 1978

Fun city / EC4 - EMI 1978

Waikiki Beach Refugees / We don't mind the rave - EMI 1978

Name dropping / Fly v Fly - EMI 1979

We are the lucky ones / living in the sticks - EMI 1980

What will mother say / Undercover agent zero - Parlophone 1980


Bunch of Five (I can crash here / Me and my buddies / Just for your sex / Saturday sunrise / Love and a Molotov Cocktail) - LAMA 1977

Four from the square (Sixteen down / Night creatures / Lois Lane / Today belongs to me - Parlophone 1979

Others on You Tube - 



Waikiki Beach Refugees EMI 1978

Own EMI 1980

I think Neils piece from the Flys My space describes them best -

In the beginning there were three young lads from Cov in the UK. David Freeman, Joe Hughes and Neil O’Connor. 
Hazel O'Connor Molotov Cocktail Neil was slightly older than the other two and had made their acquaintance through David’s mum, Esther Freeman, a lovely lady who was Neil’s Yoga teacher. ( yeah he was a bit of a late flowering hippy….) Joe took up the bass, Dave and Neil, the guitars and voices and they started to try to do something. They gave themselves the name "Midnight Circus" and were probably bloody awful but, hey, it was a good laugh. In those days there was never a full time drummer The Flys formerly Midnight Circus except for one guy, Paul Angelopolis, an American guy from Florida, in the same age group as them who wasn’t half bad except for when he partook more than he should’ve. Sadly Paul
abused too much and died of a barbituate overdose at the age of 24. And that was sort of the end of "Midnight Circus". By now it was 1977 and there was a change in the air. So they dropped the name and reincarnated as "The Flys". But still no drummer. Around this time they happened upon a guy named Chris King who started to take a managerial interest in the lads and, as luck would have it, had a younger brother, Pete King, who was a good drummer and so deserved an audition. 197872 Here was the guy they’d been hoping for years to meet. And so The Flys became Dave, Joe, Neil and Pete. Chris had a huge amount of belief in the band and proposed that he’d set up a small indie label and sign up the band to release a limited edition 7 inch EP and so they went off to Pathway studios, an 8 track in Islington where all the great Stiff recordings had been made, to spend a Saturday
recording their repertoire of 14 songs, or so. 284373 Then 5 of the recordings were chosen, mixed, mastered and became the EP "Bunch of five" on Chris King’s "Zama" label which included the titles…."Love and a Molotov cocktail" "Can I crash here" "Civilisation" Eventually EMI were to sign the band after having heard the EP and seeing the band on stage 362246 opening for The Buzzcocks tour in the Autumn of ’77. A condition of the contract was that the "Zama" indie release had to be limited to 2,500 copies as EMI wanted to re-launch with the title "Love and a Molotov cocktail". In the late winter of ’78, with EMI money, they went on a UK nationwide tour opening for John Otway and Wild Willie Barrett and as spring arrived moved to London and started to record their first album for EMI, "Waikiki beach refugees". Maybe they’d been too long in each others company, it’s
hard to know exactly why but rifts started to appear. The first casualty was Chris. The Flys were no exception to any other bands in that they were full of insecurity and that insecurity pushed Chris away. Pete continued to play with the band who, by now, were opening for "The Ruts" around the UK and playing shows in their own right around Europe but he was never totally happy without his brother around. Probably he felt torn in his loyalties, Which is no surprise and eventually he was offered the chance to join "After the fire" who, at the time, were about to tour with ELO. For Pete this became a dream come true as ELO’s drummer became to ill to play and Pete ended up playing drums for ELO for most of the tour. After Pete they recruited Graham Deakin, a lay it down Keith Moon type who came to the band from John Entwhistle’s "Ox". And so with new drummer, Graham, the guys went down to a 16 track in Somerset to record their second album which was to be called "Own". Although they continued to record more singles, EP’s, tour and make many TV and Radio appearances throughout the UK and Europe their
time together started to unravel and in the spring of 1980 they called it quits. Neil went on to play guitar and record with his sister Hazel O’Connor. Eventually, in the mid 80’s, he moved into the field of recording and producing working mainly from Martin Rushent’s "Genetic studios". David went on to follow a solo career securing a publishing/ development contract with Dave Stewart. Eventually Joe joined him, they called themselves "The lover speaks" and in the ‘90s they were rewarded with a huge songwriting success when Annie Lennox covered their song "No more I love you’s". Sadly Pete succumbed to cancer before he could reach the age of 30. Graham was never heard from again. These days Neil lives in Montreal, Canada producing and performing still. Joe and his wife split their time between the UK and the States with their band "Cicero Buck". David’s a bit of a hermit as of writing. "Die Toten Hosen" from Germany and "Duanne Peters" have both covered "Love and Molotov cocktail". Hazel included it in one of her TV shows too. Photo L to R ( taken by Pete Vernon 1978 ) Neil O’Connor - guitar, keys, vox David Freeman - guitar, vox Joe Hughes - bass, vox Pete King - drums Managers and road crew were……….. Chris King -manager 77 to 78 Mark Rye –manager 78 to 80 Vance Anderson -tour manager 77 to 80Mick Anderson - backline 77 to 80 Record labels…………….. Zama-indie - 77 to 78 EMI - 78 to 80 See for miles - re-release in the 90s Captain Oi - re-release in 2K.

 By Neil O Connor.

Review from Alternative Sounds - 1979


Get ready for the next Flys single - as the chorus line of the song says, it is amaaazing! Featuring David on vocals, there's some good lyrics for all you posers to sing-along to. There's some nice juicy guitar playing too, and with a catchy tune like this, all I can say is - make way for a hit. The B Side is a novel little instrumental. The guitar work in it is most unusual - good if you're feeling like a jerky dance. A single well worth adding to your collection.


This Coventry, England-based group enjoyed a minor league role in the new wave, but owed more to power-pop and astute songwriting than punk. Singer and guitarist Neil O'Connor (brother of Hazel O'Connor) met school kids David Freeman (guitar, vocals) and Joe Hughes (bass, vocals) in the mid-70s, and formed Midnight Circus, eventually recruiting Pete King on drums. A name change to the Flys coincided with the discovery of punk's first tremors, but a demo in April 1977 brought an apathetic response from the usual channels. The band issued Bunch Of Five, an energetic EP, on their own Zama Records label in time for Christmas. Quick as a flash, EMI Records snapped them up, rushing out one of the EP tracks (and perhaps their finest ever moment), "Love And A Molotov Cocktail", as a single. After a tour with the Buzzcocks and John Otway And Wild Willy Barrett came "Fun City", recorded at Pathway Studios. Waikiki Beach Refugees (also the title of their next single) emerged in October 1978 to an enthusiastic response, while the band toured Europe. 1979 saw a flurry of singles - "Beverley" in February, "Name Dropping" in April and "We Are The Lucky Ones" - but internal quarrels led to the recruitment of a riotous new drummer Graham Deakin (ex-Frankie Miller and John Entwistle's Ox). Flys Own, rawer than their debut, coincided with a tour with the Ruts in autumn 1979. The EP Four From The Square was released in February as the band transferred to Parlophone Records. This was followed by "What Will Mother Say" in May 1980. Internal pressures began to erupt and the Flys broke up soon afterwards. O'Connor joined his sister for two years and two albums before becoming a musical arranger, and then a producer and engineer. Freeman issued a cover version of the Supremes' "Stop! In The Name Of Love", took a degree, published his poetry, sang on Alison Moyet's Raindancing and later formed The Lover Speaks with Hughes (after his spell with ex-Specials Roddy Radiation And His Tearjerkers). Pete King, meanwhile, joined After The Fire, but sadly died aged 26. In 1991 See For Miles Records compiled an excellent self-titled retrospective of the band.

Comment from the Hobo site from Stu Knapper (Lead singer with Riot Act)

Got to tell you that I loved The Flys, In fact I am sure that I still have a few Fly's badges still kicking around in a cupboard somewhere. I saw them in the early days a couple of times at Mr Georges as they always seemed either get the support slot or top the bill when the headline didn't turn up. This happened a few times during '77 I remember no shows from Eater, Elvis Costello and Generation X and on at least one occasion the Fly's got the gig. I think they suffered at the hands of EMI who at the time where really pushing their top acts like Kate Bush and Queen. I was working in Virgin for some of the Fly's releases and I can tel you that they never got the push that might just have broke them to wider audience. But lets not forget the grat records and some good memories.

Posted by: Stu Knapper | 02/29/2008 at 07:06 PM

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Neil O Connor's version of his sister - Hazel O Connor's Will You

YouTube Video

Hazel doing Neil O Connor's Molotov Cocktail (Neil did the music for this and wrote the song for the Flys originally)

YouTube Video