A name just as apt now as it was back then, Gedde’s Axe was named after Sir Eric Gedde’s drive for the public economy in the 1920s, the name comes across more like some Conan-esque fantasy game. Far from it, Gedde’s Axe was a New Wave of British Heavy Metal band that formed in Barnsley in early 1979 and produced a handfull of quality metal singles.
In 1980, Gedde’s Axe supported the mighty Saxon at Sheffield City Hall and in 1981, a gig at Derby Hall, Bury formed the setlist that would make their only known bootleg. Included in the set of original material was a cover of Kiss’ Detroit Rock City, which would feature in live performances until their split in 1983.
Derby Hall, Bury 05-05-1981 Bootleg
1. Return of the Gods
2. Sharpen Your Wits
3. The Day the Wells Ran Dry
4. Metropolitan Girls
7. Detroit Rock City (Kiss cover)
9. Valley of the Kings
11. Into the Wilderness
13. Rock and Roll is the Way
Two years in and having already garnered a good following, vocalist Andy and drummer Day left the band and was replaced respectively by Tony Rose and John Burke. In 1983, guitarist Andy Barrot left to join Baby Tuckoo, a band which went on to find moderate success, even recording covers of Tears of a Clown and Mony Mony and then later playing with Chrome Molly.
In 1983, Gedde’s Axe was reviewed by rock journalist Xavier Russell in Kerrang! #33. Not long after, the band split. Here is that review in full.
Live at The Ad-Lib, Kensington. Words by Xavier Russell
If I was a member of Geddes Axe, I would be feeling more then a little peeved off, at the poor attendance, on this cold Thursday evening, in mid-November. Mind you having said that the Ad-Lib, isn’t the easiest of venues to get to, and is too far of the beaten track, for yer average H.M. fan to find.
Still the few that did show up seemed to enjoy the show, but I was disappointed, and got the feeling the axe were just going thru the motions, even Kerrangs own Paul Suter whom, I seemed to re-call raved about the G.A.’s last year when they played a showcase gig at the Marquee, was seen to be shaking his head sadly, and said that the boys have definitely gone down hill, and accused ‘em of turning into a trash metal band. Apparently they favoured Rush / Sabbath crossover materiel last time out.
Starting off with ‘Rock’N’Roll Is The Way’, a Def Leppard influenced song, with catchy twin lead attack, I thought these boys could do no wrong. But when they followed that with ‘Life In London’ and ‘Wild Fire’, I began to realise, Geddes Axe, were living on borrowed time, ok they may hail from the same heavy metal steel town as the aforementioned Leppard, but to start cloning them is unforgivable, and the funny thing was, that a rather quite and subdued Joe Elliot was sitting in the corner, and couldn’t keep the grin off his boat. “Anyone heard of Kiss”, shouted vocalist Tony Rose, as he introduced, ‘Detroit Rock City’, and the reply was a loud and clear, “NO”. Surprisingly enough they turned in quite a good cover version of the Stanely-penned classic, the twin lead axe attack of Messrs., Martin Wilson and Nick Brown being spot-on. ’666′, which promptly followed, was very amusing, as the title suggests, even the Ozzy sounding evil laugh was thrown in for good measure, but during ‘Escape From New York’, I escaped to the bar, for a much needed pint and found the rest of their set boring end tedious.
A pity coz lead guitarist Martin Wilson is a fine axe man, and I got the feeling he was playing material he wasn’t really at home with. Maybe a return to the Rush-influenced sound would do Geddes Axe a power of good. Or maybe I caught ‘em on an off night.
VOCALS – ANDY MILLAR (1979 – 1982), TONY ROSE (1982 – 1983)
GUITAR – MARTIN WILSON (1979 – 1983)
BASS – MICK PEACE (1979 – 1983)
GUITAR – ANDY BARROTT (1979 – 1983), NICK BROWN (1983)
DRUMS – DAVE CLAYTON (1979 – 1983), JOHN BURKE (1983)
What a great post. Brings back a few memories from the good old NWOBHM days in and around Sheffield. I think I can just about remember seeing geddes Axe in the Wapentake – is that place still there I wonder?
I’m still a huge NWOBHM fan and try to keep it alive to some extent on my blog – http://newwaveofbritishheavymetal.com though there’s no Geddes Axe content on there at the moment.
Be excellent to put that right. Perhaps we can collaborate a little and use some of what you have up here with, naturally, a hefty credit and link back.
Will drop you an email now.
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I saw Geddes Axe several times in the early eighties , even watched them rehearse. I have some photos of them in action that I can scan in to upload if you are interested. I believe the line -up at Sheffield City Hall was Geddes Axe, Def Leppard and Saxon .
Thanks for the post.
I’d love to see your photographs.
I am currently creating a music archive for Barnsley – maybe used in the forthcoming town hall museum too.
See free to send anything to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also feel free to write any memories you have about the band; or any other local band for that fact.
geddis axe were formed in sheffield not barnsley the line up was saxon a french band called latrec ( this is not the right spelling ) geddis axe
I saw Geddes Axe in London (Marquee) 1981/2?? I had just moved down and didn’t even know they were from Barnsley!!