There has recently been some interest in the band the Toys and 1977 records
Japan have just released some of the original recordings on vinyl.
The complete studio recordings are now available
Music and CDBaby
as well as lastfm, spotify etc.
Recorded in the late 70s and early 80s this is the complete studio
recordings of the Toys.
Reviewed in the NME by Danny Baker writing 'Please, please check for
they sound open and eager with some neat restraint in their songs,
don't mind chancing acoustics nor treading the path between sharp cute
and wimp cute ...
they can stuff Joe Jackson I'll wager. From St Albans, some essential
In Tracey Thorn's new book Bedsit Disco Queen she writes of the Toys
'The first local band I had any real contact with was The
Top dogs at the time ... Their main strength lay in Gez Sagar's vocals
I would later practise at home trying to sound like him.
They made me want to be in a band.'
So here is some information (written by Gez Sagar) about the band for
anyone who is interested!
1st EP 'My Mind Wanders' (April 79): Pete Abbott (guitars &
from Park Street, Gez Sagar (vocals) from High Barnet and Mick Russell
(drums) from Hatfield.
Joined for gigs and 2nd EP 'Still
Dancing' (May 1980) by Kev Buckler (guitar) from Brickett Wood and
Simon Belshaw (sax) from St Albans.
The Toys started when Pete Abbott asked Gez Sagar and Mick Russell to
record an EP with him at Quest studios in Luton.
Pete and Mick were 17 and Gez was 16.
EP 'My Mind Wanders' was released in April 79. 1,000 copies were
pressed and sold to friends through St Albans record shops such as the
After an affectionate Danny Baker review in the NME as indie record of
the week, the EP was stocked by
Rough Trade and Small Wonder who made some mail order sales to
collectors of the extremely obscure.
Toys started playing local gigs in the summer of 79 at St Albans Art
College, the FE College, St Albans City Hall (at the bottom of the bill
on a Waldo's night),
the Pioneer club and Luton FE College.
The set was 12 to 15 original songs, no covers, and took just over 40
Toys sound was two-and-a-half minute jangly no-production guitar songs,
always with simple but melodic verse / chorus structures
and lyrics about difficulties with girls caused by inarticulacy, ennui
and an inability to commit.
a bit more production and compressed guitar it might have been power
pop, but the tunes were more like speeded up
The Toys met at the St Albans School and formed out of bedroom
/ garage / youth club bands including
The Bedworthies (Gez & Mick), Tepid Halibut (Pete &
Simon) and The Pissed (Mick, Kevin & Simon).
fizzled out by the end of 1980 when the songwriters in the group
started refusing to play each other's material and the possibility of a
defined sound and style faded away.
In 2001 a 12 track vinyl LP 'Still Dancing' (2001) was
released by Low
Down Kids Records
for more information email toys[at]simonbelshaw.co.uk
with Low Down Kids
Albans Museum Exhibition
St Albans Facebook Page
back to the home page