- Vocals replaced by
Gus Chambers - Vocals
Danny Cunningham - Guitar
Mark Hatwood - Drums at some point
Billy Little - Drums replaced by
Rob Hill - Drums
Scully - Guitar
Sam McNulty - Bass replaced by
Nigel Mulvey - Bass
Johnny Adams - Guitar
Steve Young - Drums
Great punk band with a bewildering line-up. Gus went off to form 21 Guns
Millionaire / Brockhill boys
This was the band from which Terry Hall came from before the Specials. Gus Chambers also went on to quite a musical career and Johnny Adams had been in many bands in the 70's spanning blues, club and leader of Fission - an outfit in the general area of Hawkwind in the mid 70's - they almost had a contract in the bag with Island c 1974 but group disputes put an end to that. Johnny's guitar playing ranged from punk, rock blues and classical and he wrote his own songs too.
Memories from Nigel Mulvey
Coventry band. Classic single Red Alert / £8-A-Week(Squad 1978) . Sing along a punk with great riff and tune and a touch of 'The Kids In America' style crooning ! The b-side was covered by the Last Resort Millionaire / BrockHill Boys (1979 Squad) continued this rock'n'roll style punkiness unfortunately. One other excellent track , 'The Flasher', exists by the band on the 'Sent To Coventry' compilation.
The band were formed at the end of '77 and originally featured Terry Hall ( later of The Specials) who is credited on the label of Red Alert. So many line up changes meant 6 months after releasing the two singles none of the original band remained !
The Squad being filmed by the BBC 1978 below
Band: Gus Chambers - Vocals. Danny Cunningham - Guitar. Sam McNulty - Bass. Marc Hatwood - Drums.
Pete Chambers - Coventry TelegraphJust over six years ago Coventry and the world of music lost one of its most colourful and charismatic figures, Mr Gus ‘Gary’ Chambers.
He will always be remembered for his days in Squad. So we take a look back at this top Coventry punk band.
If you’re talking Cov and punk then you’re talking Squad. Without doubt they were the finest punk band that ever came from this beloved City of ours.
They were lunatic, loud and loveable. Nothing malicious though, just out for a good time as their audiences inevitably were.
They began their life in the posturing safety-pin clad mid 70s. With a certain Terry Hall on vocals, Danny Cunningham guitar, Billy Little drums and Sam McNulty on bass.
Hall, who was never really cut out for a life of punk, left to join a band called The Specials (whatever became of them?).
He was replaced by the great Gus Chambers. Now Gus was cut out to be a punk, after seeing Roddy Radiation and the Wild Boys he was hooked.
Squad’s rock 'n' roll punk style was the kind of dish most punters in the late 70s were looking for. If you didn’t move at least a little at a Squad gig then you must have reached your sell-by date some years previous. It was always sweaty, loud and enthusiastic with some great laughs thrown in.
The line-up changed constantly, with the band effectively becoming a training ground for Cov musicians. Danny Cunningham would leave and form The Ramrods/ Major 5/Gdansk.
Their drummers would include Mark Hatwood, Rob Hill and Steve Young. Guitarists included Jim Scully (from local band 1984) and Johnny Adams (from the bands The Blue Jays, RU21, Fission, and Don’t Talk Wet).
With Nigel Mulvey then Nick Edwards replacing Sam McNulty on bass, Sam eventually ended up with The Giraffes.
Vocalist Gus looked at all the line-up changes like this, "Coventry was a hotbed of talent in the late 70s, early 80s, some cutting-edge bands were formed, so it was hard to keep good musicians in your own band".
They released two singles in their illustrious career, 'Millionaire' (where they were hanging out with The Radford Boys) and 'Red Alert' with the rather wonderful '£8 a Week' on the other side. They also got onto 'The Sent From Coventry' compilation with the song 'Flasher'.
The singles also appear on The Anagram album Punk Rock Rarities Vol 2. Songs you were likely to hear at their gigs included Brockhill Boys (Millionaire’s other side), 'Son Of Sam', 'We Understand' and 'Bag On Your Head'.
They knew how to play the crowd. I will always remember them singing 'The Bells are Ringing For Me and My Girl' at The Market Tavern.
Whatever the song though, whatever the venue, be it The Heath Hotel, The Hand and Heart, The Domino or Mr George’s, you knew they would always come up with the goods, great times.
Of course it wasn’t all fun in those days, punk rockers despite the fact that most of them were decent friendly people, were stigmatised because of how they looked.
One incident Gus recalled happened in Birmingham after a Boomtown Rats gig.
"We were sitting in this club with a couple of band members, when in burst a guy with a huge kitchen knife screaming all punks must die because they had killed Elvis Presley.
"No one was hurt but it shows what a negative role the media played in it’s portrayal of punks.
"There were however some positives in that time" Gus says. "The race barriers was smashed down during this period and there was nothing stronger than a united front".
As the last pangs of punk rebellion began to die in the city, Squad members moved on, as for Gus well he joined 21 Guns, who released the single 'Ambition Rock' on Neville Staples Shack Records.
They’re line-up-included Stuart Maclean, Kev Tanner and former Specials roadies Johnny Rex and Barb’d wires own Trevor Evans, the record failed to sell and the band soon split.
Gus later moved to America and formed Sons of Damnation, finally joining the no-messing high-energy metal band Grip Inc.
They were formed by former Slayer drum-king Dave Lombardo. Releasing three brooding albums in the mid to late 90s ('Power of Inner Strength', 'Nemisis' and 'Solidify') finally coming back with a forth entitled 'Incorporated' in 2004 greeted as a true return to form by the critics.
"I’ve been very lucky in my career," said Gus, "I have had the privilege of playing in front of thousands of people at festivals like Rock in Rio and the Dynamo Festival in Holland.
"Nothing though brings back fonder memories of playing in front of maybe 20 or 30 people in The Hand and Heart or the back room of The Swanswell."
He is very much missed.
'£8 A Week' was covered by South London-based Oi band The Last Resort who changed their name to The Warriors and they still perform it regularly.
Whilse Grip Inc were resting Gus formed the band Squad 21, the name of course is made up from former bands Squad and 21 Guns, they released one album entitled 'Skullduggery'. It includes reworkings of '21 Guns', 'The Flasher' and 'Millionaire'.
Squad were name checked in the Bob Eaton ‘Three Minute Heroes’ play.
The Grip Inc album 'Solidify' charted at number 65 in France!