Neil O'Connor (Hazel O'Connor's bro) - Guitar
Dave Freeman - Guitar
Joe Hughes - Bass
Pete King - Drums
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 toLama 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
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
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.
By Neil O Connor.
Review from Alternative Sounds - 1979
THE FLYS - NAME DROPPING / FLY V FLY (EMI)
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
Neil O Connor's version of his sister - Hazel O Connor's Will You
Hazel doing Neil O Connor's Molotov Cocktail (Neil did the music for this and wrote the song for the Flys originally)