Charley McLenehan • Guitar, vocals
Paul Martin • Bass, vocals
Guy Hayes • Drums
Blink and you’ve missed us
By Paul Martin
Siren was originally to have been a group started by myself and Leoni, one of the girl singers form the Molesters which she left when there was a female reshuffle in that band. She and I did a bit of vocal and rhythm practice at her flat and also auditioned guitarists there. One who tried out was Frank Smith, formally of the Depressions. In the end though, we settled on Charlie McLenehan who was basic but well motivated.
The upshot was that Leoni decided not to persevere with the group and Charley and I looked for a drummer. We found Guy Hayes (who was to resurface in the post-Venus In Furs unit I played in in the mid 1980s, Tower of Babel). We got rehearsal slots at the Lansdowne Centre, in Lansdowne Road, Hove where we honed a rough and ready set of originals and a few covers.
These included an instrumental version of Magazine’s Shot By Both Sides. I played John McGeogh’s ascending guitar line of that song on bass as Charley for some reason could not get it down on guitar. We also did a crash bang wallop take on Chris Montez’s Do You Wanna Dance which usually went down well with language students and teenage weekend trippers.
Originals included our signature tune Siren’s Wailing, a song about a frightened air raid warden during the Blitz (who wouldn’t be!) and intended also as a comment on the effect of war on civilian populations in the present . We also did a three chord number called You’re Wrong. It was fast and frenetic but only being three chords gave me the opportunity to fit as many notes on the bass guitar into it as possible which was good fun I hadn’t arrived at the ‘less is more’ school of playing at that point!
We supported modsters No Exit on several occasions and played mainly at the Alhambra, Buccaneer and the Richmond. We only really played for the Summer of ’79. After which I wanted to do something more edgy and joined the revamped Molesters (small world!) and
Charley, wanting to pursue a pop line, formed the Relatives with ex-Molester bass player Mark Gresty (even smaller world!).
Ultimately, I would reunite with Charley, taking over from Mark in the Relatives and we would morph into the Life Size Models, but that’s another chapter. The photograph shows us playing at the Alhambra with me opting for a resurgent punk image and Charley in his best power popster’s threads, so you can see where our paths might diverge at that point. I’m a huge power pop fan these days though!
Richmond (supporting the Lillettes) 10/7/1979
Alhambra (supporting Laughing Gass) 12/7/1979
Alhambra (supporting the Vandells) 15/7/1979
Alhambra (supporting Sligo) 22/7/1979
Alhambra (supporting Better Looking) 24/7/1979
The Buccaneer (supporting No Exit) 3/8/1979
Alhambra (supporting Fan Club) 04/8/1979
The Buccaneer (supporting No Exit) 27/08/1979