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Hot Snacks / Machine

Hot Snacks began as Machine - Coventry ska Band c 1978 early 79 until about 1982. Notably they appeared on the Sent from Coventry LP on Cherry Red with (You Need a) Character Change. In the early 80's they supported Bad Manners on tour and the Specials and Selecter at The Spa in Leamington. They almost signed a publishing recording deal with Carlin Music.

Hot Snacks have a Facebook Page - you can ask to join - here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/617879381613603/

Line up 1 - 

Julian Bell - Keyboards / Synth / Electronic Wizardry
Jackie - Vocals
Simon Finch - Rhythm / lead guitar
Silverton Hutchinson - Drums
Nigel Mulvey - Bass
Mike Collins - Vocals / Guitar

Simon Finch tells us " the photos with me and Jackie and Silverton in were taken on and around Radford Common in March 1980 (near Caldecote Rd where Mike lived & we used to rehearse) - I was only in the band for about 4 months in 1980, and the name change took place I think in mid 1980 after I left, followed a couple of months later by Silverton and Jackie."

Notes on the line up
1. Silverton was the original drummer with the Specials and joined Machine. The Specials of course replaced him with John Bradbury. Silverton eventually left Machine after they became known as Hot Snacks and was replaced by Jim Pryal. Jim had played with Wandering John, Stiletto, Stepmother and many other bands since the 60's and went on to play with Inferno in the noughties and then became producer of his own digital tracks before moving to the London area. 

2. Simon Finch was replaced by Tony Clarke on guitar.

3. Nigel Mulvey was replaced by Ollie Oliver (better known now as Doc Mustard and other assorted names).
Nigel Mulvey also played with Squad / Urge and other bands around that time. Ollie was from Derbyshire and played in Pug-Ma-Ho and Smack back in 1974 in the Coventry area and went to play in the Reggae band The Ring before going solo and then moving to Cornwall where he still busks and plays solo. Nigel now lives down under.

4. Jackie Betterton left the band but I have no details of any other bands she fronted. Simon Finch tells us "She was around the Coventry / Leamington area until the late 80's, she and John Shipley had a baby together in 1989."

5. Julian Bell was the genius synth / keyboard player and stayed in the band throughout it's existence.

6. Mike Collins was also a mainstay of the band throughout it's existence as singer and guitarist and songwriter. Sadly Mike died in 1987.

Line up 2
As per the notes, the second line up as Hot Snacks
Mike Collins - Vocals and Guitar
Ollie Oliver (Doc Mustard) - Bass and Vocals
Julian Bell - keyboards / synth and Electronic wizardry
Tony Clarke - Guitar.
Silverton (and then Jim Pryal) - drums

Here are some tracks from Hot Snacks / Machine on youtube but none of them feature the vocals of Jackie. Pity- if anyone has audio of the band when they were Machine and featuring Jackie's vocals, do upload or send it along.

Two youtubes of Character Change - featured in 1980 on the brilliant sent From Coventry album on Cherry Red initiated by Martin Bowes of Alternate Sounds (later in the band Attrition). the band are designated as Machine on the album although this track doesn't feature Jackie on vocals, only mike but it's a great track. The first version features some of ollie's photos and was etched from the vinyl, the second version may be a digital cd version - not sure.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Jim Pryal uploaded this next track called Baby Elephant Walk.

YouTube Video

The next track was remixed by Doc Mustard (Ollie Oliver).

YouTube Video

So far these are the only tracks we have of the band online.

Machine - The Songs
Concert review by Julia, writing in Coventry's Alternative Sounds in 1979 when they were Machine, at the Zodiac
Weekend / Say It / Church Games / Lost / Who cares for You / Character Change / You've got what you Want / No Emotion / Prove Yourself / The Whitecoats / Had Enough of You / Like the Sound

At the time Nigel Mulvey was the bass player. Martin Bowes (editor of Alternative Sounds) didn't like the band so much

but Julia found the songs "Individual" Weekend consisted of "beautiful keyboards, a bouncy reggae tempo, pleasant sounds and a powerful bassline." Say it "Unfortunately, with it's 'dee dee' was too pop-y for me but I warmed to the end slightly and they kept the rhythm together." Church Games " has a very nice bass riff and a lot of instrumental parts." Lost " is one of their better ones. It is more sk-ish with weird sounds kindly lent from the keyboardist. The rough vocals slips nicely into place as does the bass." "God's Toys may have influenced the one with this intro of bass and keyboards. It then becomes almost a jazz solo on keys interrupted with sharp lyrics." Who Cares for You "tended to drag as it was a slow song accompanied by a hidden owl." "Then came their best song Character Change which had a definite reggae sound and a lovely flowing quality.The band were really beginning to work together" "The spoken title You've Got What you Want added polish to the song as there was an effective build-up on keyboards." "I'm sorry to say the semi-aggressive vocals of  No Emotion lacked the punch of the title." Prove Yourself " followed which is more commercial with a nice bass bass riff." "The short No The Whitecoats crawled around the floor a bit and then we were awoken with Had Enough of You which was Rezillos-ish and as powerful as suggested. On Like the Sound Mr Webb the second appeared appeared on black and white notes to make it a fast and tight rhythm with special effects of a train ending it. Nigel's deep voice was used on this one"

In general it was very original with the keyboards (looking like NASA control) flashing. The lead vocalist sounded slightly strained in places and the lack of a mic meant that Nigel couldn't do his harmonies. They are still a smashing compact band though! PS Liam (of S.A. fame) was dying, huddled over the fire at the Zodiac. Hope you are better by the time this is in print. Coventry seems to be losing a lot of bands at the moment, one way or another."

When did machine become Hot Snacks?

Pete Chambers in his 2005 book on Coventry music - Godiva Rocks, wrote about Doc Mustard and thought that Machine
became Hot Snacks in 1982. Machine became Hot Snacks in, In mid 1980 with several lineup changes. They were certainly Hot Snacks before Oct 1980 when i left Coventry as Simon Finch confirms.

Hot Snacks or Hot Snax! The Confusion of Two Different Bands!
Another confusion, which is also in Pete's book and which has raged on the internet, is over the spelling of the bands latter name.  I can also confirm, and the band agree, that the spelling of this Coventry band's name was Hot Snacks. The confusion comes because there was another band in 1980 called Hot Snax who have material on youtube and possibly a later band from Newcastle. I'm not clear on this though, it may be the same band. What is clear is that the Coventry band formerly called Machine, changed its name to Hot Snacks and NOT Hot Snax!

Memories from Jim Pryal

I first met 'Ollie' or Roland Oliver at the Woodbine studios. He was in a band called Machine at that time with Julian Bell on keyboards, Mike Collins vocals and guitar, Silverton Hutchins on drums and Tony Clarke on riddim guitar. Silverton had left The Specials just before they took off I think. Ollie was trying to cadge a lift back to Cov! 

Not long after this time, mid 1979, I'd left Stiletto and went for an audition in Radford in the upstairs room of a terraced house
to try out for what became 'Hot Snacks'. Silverton had left and Machine had had a track on the compilation album 'Sent to Coventry' with other bands like The Mix and The Urge.

The first gig I did with Hot Snacks was at The Dog and Trumpet on a Weds night. I was still learning the tunes in the car on the way to the gig. As it goes, the gig was great and very well received by an enthusiastic audience. Over the next 6 months, we built up a great following in Coventry and played many times, packing pubs out. Of course the whole 2 Tone thing was exploding and the Coventry music scene was jumping.

I remember one gruelling recording session at London Road. Chris King who was interested in managing us at one point, brought his mixing desk and monitors. We set up all the gear and banged down 10 songs live to tape for about 8 hours non stop. None of this overdubbing lark!! Blood sweat and tears!  

A big high was playing in a Mercia radio sponsored concert of Coventry bands at the Belgrade theatre one Sunday night. Mike the singer, who was totally unpredictable, came on completley naked. Mums, dads and brothers and sisters in the audience. It was the last song and a load of fans invaded the stage blocking him out. It's on video somewhere. Mustn't forget Ian, the mate who came on as a baby elephant during our rendition of the Henry Mancini tune of the same name. The Mercia DJ presenting the show looked a bit unhappy afterwards. 

Both the Specials and Selecter gave us support slots at the Spa centre, Leamington which was brilliant. Two great nights. In Dec 1980 we got offered a national tour with Bad Manners playing mostly universities for about 18 dates. I think Ollie was the contact on this one as he was friendly with Douggie, the Manners singer. 

So we set off in a Brady hire van, a bunch of misfits with about 2 bob between us, striking out for the big time for 50 quid a
night. What an experience that was! There was a lot racism going on at that time. We got spat on every night by the first ten rows of skinheads at a few gigs. Both us and Bad Manners had black musicians so we were the targets of their vile behaviour. During one gig at West Runton Pavillion, Norfolk, some of the crowd turned nasty. We knew it was time to get off. As we were moving gear, I saw in slow motion, a beer can coming at my head. It landed fair and square in my face! We had to barricade ourselves in the dressing room with flight cases jammed against the door while a mob of skinheads tried kicking the door to bits.It went quiet for few minutes so we made a run for it out of the venue and into dark lanes leading down to the sea. We stayed there till it was light before going back to get the gear. It was a really frightening experience. 

The tour overall though was fantastic, playing to packed university halls heading into Xmas. One little point; Ollie took Paxo, his dog on the tour. The first night we left him in the van while we played. When we came back to the van, Paxo had chewed up the passenger seat big time. It was a new van. Oh well!

When the tour finished near the end of December, we were convinced we would go on to bigger things. We got signed to Carlin music publishers and we were advanced the money to record 2 demos in London. A lot of people who supported us expected us to take off. Well we didn't and my own theories are; 1. We didnt have a manager 2. We weren't out and out Ska and also, the New Romantics were just starting to appear. After about 3 years of graft and frustration we split up. 

Ollie went on to be Dr Mustard. Tony Clarke went to live in London. Mike, Julian and myself and roadie Andy Dalton put money into building our own studio in the upstairs of the Mike's house in Caldecote Road, Radford where we'd rehearsed for 3 years. 

On a sad note though, Mike Collins got killed on his pushbike in a collision with a lorry on the A45 cycling to a part time job he had as a guide at The Henry Doubleday Centre, Ryton organic gardens. It was a tough time ringing his folks and friends, waiting for the inquest and everything else. A tree was planted at Ryton gardens in his memory. He died in 1987.

Warwick University

Jim Pryal

Ollie Oliver

Machine 1978 / 9

Machine From Alternative Sounds 1979

Tony Clarke

Machine c 1979


Julian Bell

Machine with Silverton, Jackie and Simon - original members.

Machine supporting Nine Below Zero - Silverton on drums.

Hot Snacks Road Crew

Road Crew

Mike Collins

Machine appeared on this with Character Change c 1979

Jim and Ollie