NSU Sound are, left to right, Nev Reed on lead guitar, Stewart Brown on drums, Mark Huffington on rhythm guitar, vocalist Steve Chisholm with Phil Udall on bass guitar. Photograph © Northern Echo.

NSU Sound 1967 to 1969 - notes prepared by Nev Reed.

When I was at school (Stainsby School in Middlesbrough), a few of us decided to form a pop group. This was after getting the “bug” from watching bands like the Delmonts, Soul Supply, Denver Mule and others. We started the band in 1967 and decided on the name “NSU” from the track of the same name on the Fresh Cream album. Our main gig was at the school youth club on a Thursday night where I’m sure most of the attendees became very familiar with our brand of music which was mid to late 60’s “rock”.

We were very well supported by a number of teachers at the school (those who ran the youth club mainly – Mrs Lynne Morrell, Mrs Carol Narey and Dave Hollis) and they would even ferry us about in their cars when we got the opportunity to play at other venues such as the Yorkshire Dragoon and the teacher training college on Borough Road in Middlesbrough where we had some exceptional nights. Our other gigs were at various youth clubs on Teesside such as the Avenue Methodist and the like. I have fond memories of those events to this day.

We used to practice in Phil Udall’s parents shop (Lowndes Stores) on Acklam Road opposite the Coronation pub and we would do that most nights. I don’t know how Phil’s parents put up with it particularly as we would all help ourselves to the crackling from the pork joints which Phil’s Mam would remove from the oven.

One of the biggest gigs which we did was to play at the New Years Eve dance in 1968 at Middlesbrough Town Hall where supported Cycle. A great achievement for a band of 15 and 16 year olds.

The school were evidently proud of our efforts and got in touch with the Northern Echo who carried an article, and photograph, about the group on 8th January 1969 - which you can see above. Of the guys in the photo I’m still in touch with Phil who plays bass for the Colin Holt Band nowadays. Sadly Stewart Brown died in his 20’s and, regrettably, we never really kept in touch after he left the band in 1969. Steve Chisholm now lives in a village on the North Yorkshire moors. He used to work at the Mercedes garage at Preston Farm but I don’t know what he’s doing now. Mark Huffington only stayed with the band for a short period and I can’t recall actually doing any gigs with him in the band other than at the youth club.

We took our “O” levels in the summer of 1969 and, unsurprisingly, none of us did very well with the results. In hindsight we spent too much time practicing the music rather than revising but I don’t regret that for one minute. In that summer we played a memorable gig at Stainsacre Hall near Whitby where a number of students from Oberhausen Germany were staying for 2 weeks on an exchange holiday. Happy days.

After summer Phil and I enrolled for further education at Kirby College in Middlesbrough but Phil had been told by his parents that, in view of his “O” level results, he was not to play in any musical bands until he had achieved satisfactory grades at Kirby. Phil therefore took a sabbatical from the band and a temporary bass player was drafted in to cover Phil’s absence. This temp was a guy called John Knight, from Stockton, who was a very capable bass player although I don’t know who he played for before he came in to help us out. He is mentioned as being a “roadie” on a photo of the band “Bluegrass” elsewhere on this site. Steve Chisholm had already left the band at this point for personal reasons and the 3 piece NSU continued. However, Stewart became disenchanted with music and left in about November 1969.

My personal view of this whole period is one of tremendous excitement with the way our band had progressed. Although I say it myself I think that the band was very good and that we were all very fortunate to team up in a unit which had a great desire to improve quickly and I think we achieved that. We were no doubt driven along by having high targets to aim for as many of our friends were in established “circuit” bands (Denver Mule, Midnight Farm, Rivers Invitation etc) and I think that this was no bad thing. We also had great support from an electrical/audio company called Sparksound on Borough Road, in Middlesbrough, who spent a lot of time helping us with equipment related matters.

This newspaper cutting from the Northern Echo on January 8th, 1969 had the headline "The School Group - All The Rage" - and used with thanks © copyright.

This page is dedicated to the memory of drummer Stewart Brown and John Knight, bass player, who passed away on June 25th, 2020.

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