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Very special thanks to everybody, who fed me with data and background information.

The Early Years

Torment was originally formed by Simon Brand, Sean Holder and Kevin Haynes in the second half of 1985. Sean Holder knew Simon Brand  as they both were band members of a  Bristol-based Rockabilly band in 1984, under the Jumpin Jacks moniker and Sean and Kevin had been playing with the Joint Jumpers, when Kevin was introduced to Simon. The fellows kept in touch. Simon Brand wasn't active on the rockin' scene since he was asked to leave Frenzy and had left the Jumpin Jacks the year before and Kevin Haynes and Sean Holder were also looking for a new opportunity as the Joint Jumpers didn't seem to go anywhere. Consequently, a new band was born. The only thing left to find was a band name, which was finally found on the flip side of the classic 12" EP release of Robot Riot , a recording from Simon Brand's days with Frenzy: TORMENT.

By November 1985 the band was already up and running. The trio started to rehearse in Sean Holder's garage and wrote down some songs of their own. Among those early tracks were Uncle Sam, The Source and Death Trail. The three-piece was supported by 'Nutty' Dave Ayres, who finally organised two gigs for the band in Brighton on the 23rd December and another gig in Bristol on Christmas eve. The two shows also included some other relatively newcomers of the scene with The Long Tall Texans and the Coffin Nails respectively. In January 1986 the first demo tape was recorded, but not all was hunky-dory. Kevin and Simon decided to sack Sean, who was promptly replaced by Tony Biggs. Tony- who later eventually joined The Rimshots- was the original bass player of The Firebirds-- the band that was Simon Brand's first musical outfit in the very early eighties. But that was just another short-lived affair.

In 1986 the Torment thing really started to thrive, a manager was hired in Clive Metti, a demo tape was accorded to Roy Williams from Nervous Records, who showed interest in releasing some material and a record deal was inked. The threesome were also booked for the Klub Foot.
In the spring of 1986 Nervous Records released a compilation album entitled Zorch Factor-One, that included--besides an old Frenzy track from the 12"  EP Robot Riot (All Alone) -- a bunch of new talent. Torment also made its record debut with a two-track appearance. My Dream is a funny song about that sort of girls, that only appears in dreams. The other song The Source broached the issue of arguing Psychobilly/ Neorockabilly vs. Authentic Rockabilly. The threesome were also booked for the Klub Foot.

Tony Biggs left after the initial Torment release and Simon Crowfoot, an other old mate from Simon Brand, took over the double bass duties and more gigs were held, too.
Torment also had a three track appearance on the Stomping At The Klub Foot compilation album series and, but have been most noticed for their debut LP Psyclops Carnival, which hit the record shops in the summer of 1986 .
The album was recorded at Diamond Studios in two days and produced by Roy Williams and the trio. The album  proved to be one of the genre's true classics. To specify the impact, that the album has had on Psychobilly, I've added this excerpt from Craig Brackenridge's  book "Let's Wreck-Psychobilly Flashbacks From the Eighties & Beyond ", taken from Chapter 4:The Song Remains Insane-Early Psychobilly Classics:

"…As The Psychobilly scene really began to establish itself on vinyl, speeding over the horizon came two other groundbreaking debuts from Torment and Demented Are Go which pushed the genre onto new heights of composition and further depths of depravity. I had seen and heard little of Torment when I bought a copy of their debut platter in 1986.
"Psyclops Carnival" seemed a bizarre title and it looked a little different to many of the psycho albums released up to that point, with its stark black & white imagery and sombre tone. After giving it a first spin I was initially unimpressed as it lacked a certain boot-stomping immediacy but as I continued to play it the tracks really grew on me. Like many of the songs on The Guana Batz debut, there were many lyrics expressing personal concerns and steadfastly avoiding what were then psycho-standard themes such as horror, graveyards, getting pissed and mental patients. While I do not intend to get all chin-strokingly philosophical here, it can not be denied that Torment offered another level of intelligent song-writing, mostly from the pen of Simon Brand, along with yet another radical reworking of the traditional twangy geetar, drums and double-bass line-up…
Torment were one of the many excellent Psychobilly bands which I felt could have had major success had they continued, weathered the quiet years, and been offered the opportunity to cash in on the type to many Yank and Aussie bands since the late Nineties. They really struck out on the UK psycho scene with a distinct image, well crafted songs with strong lyrical contend and a really unique sound."


Three´s A Crowd

Within a year of existence, the band has become one of the genre's best known and highly regarded acts, mostly brought about by their surge of releases in 1986. The trio also had appearances on the Stomping at the Klub Foot VHS footage and on the second volume of the Psycho Attack Over Europe compilation album series. The band was booked for an extensive "Psyclops Tour" on European mainland, which started in early 1987, highlighted by an appearance at the First Psychobilly Weekend in Dendermonde, Belgium in April in front of an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 Psychobilly kats .
But even the countless gigs couldn't prevent the trio from doing more work in the record studio. Nervous Records released the four-track 12" EP " Mystery Men in 1987. They also recorded two more songs for the second volume of Zorch Factor: True Expressions, a song that was written by Simon Crowfoot and the wonderful Hornet's Nest, a wild rockin' parable on Psychobilly lifestyle.
By end of the year Nervous Records issued their second album Three's A Crowd, which was produced by Simon Brand's companion and Frenzy co-founder Steve Whitehouse. The long-playing record was as essential and good as the forerunner, but has lost some of its original impact over the years , most probably because it was never re-release on CD. The album also became a footnote of music biz history as hitting the Top 20 of the UK Independent Album Chart in December of 1987. The 12" vinyl was packed in a folding sleeve, that included a load of photos from their Psyclops Carnival Tour in Germany of the same year. It includes ten tracks, mostly wild rocking, but catchy melodies supplemented by those distinctive lyrics regarding personal concerns, mental unbalance and a couple of anti-love songs. The only cover version of the long-playing record is an excellent interpretation of The Ricochets' I'm A Loser. All tracks but one also eventually made it on the Best Of Torment CD , which was released in 2000
(The only song that was overlooked in fact is These Chains)
After a relatively quiet 1988, that was highlighted by an appearance at the 3rd Belgian Psychobilly Festival in Gent, which was arguably one of the biggest events of the eighties and a re-recording of My Dream for the 3rd Psycho Attack Over Europe compilation , Torment finally released another full length platter the following year.
Round The World, which also marked the 50th album release of Nervous Records, really differs from all that other Psychobilly recordings of the late eighties. The majority of the remaining , original outfits plus most of the scene´s newcomers were all in search for a new heavier, faster sound of Psychobilly. But the trio from Bristol struck another new path through the world of Psychobilly. The back sleeve of the disc includes a b/w promo photo with the band dressed up in made-to-measures suits, ties and neat combed hairstyles. The set list affords plenty surprises too. Speed changes, a sound repertoire comprising Swing elements (Good To Be True), Neorockabilly (Sail Away) and classic Psycho (Laser Head) as well as the a-capella version of the Eddie Cochran classic Twenty Flight Rock or the melancholic ballad Hideaway, that was recorded with a string section are in contrast to most of the other Psychobilly related releases of the era. The back sleeve also includes an intelligent,
short review of the album, written by Peter Michaels:
" Love 'em or loathe 'em, you can't deny that Torment have come up with something daringly different with Round The World. The blending of twentieth century technology with fifties frenetics coupled with a selection of songs that push their chosen music to its limits, has resulted in a disc that is no less than dazzling, highly recommended. "



Curtain Call

It´s 1990 and the band recorded their fourth and what eventually proved to be the final Torment album. Hypnosis tied up to Round The World with its very special blend of sounds and influences from various musical backgrounds. The tracklist includes two strong cover versions of the Bo Diddley standard Who Do You Love? and a surprisingly refreshing recording of the Tina Turner 80´s smash hit single I Can´t Stand The Rain. Despite a few weak moments, I´m convinced that this platter does not pale in comparison with any other recording from that era. Rather, songs like Worse And Worse, Washed Out, Psyclone Joe and Don´t Despair all remain true gems of the Psychobilly genre. The album was distributed on 12´´ vinyl and on a relatively new sound storage medium called compact disc as well. The CD release also featured a couple of extra tracks ( Sad Man and Strangulate). Hypnosis was produced by well-known “ Psycho “ Pete Gage, who also gained fame for his work with outfits like Restless and Screaming Lord Sutch and distributed again by Roy WilliamsNervous Records .

 The band also recorded another cover version of an old Swing tune (Route 66 ), that eventually was taken for the 3ed part of the Zorch Factor compilation album, that also includes a solo recording of Simon Brand, entitled Broken Home.

The band was still in great demand as a live act and their performances at main events like the Hemsby Weekender or the Wreckin Festival in Belgium only prove my point. But after one of these gigs in Amsterdam ( Holland ) Simon Crowfoot decided –after he had met a Dutch girl-to stay in the Netherlands. With the rest of the band located in the UK, Simon Brand and Kevin Haynes finally made the decision to replace him with Vince Mildren and the new formed trio started to gig again, including another tour on the continent in 1992.

 In 1993 Simon Brand decided to went  to Vermont, USA to work and forbear from his own personal problems, most of them brought about by the relationship with his (ex-) wife. His US stint also forced the band for a break. Simon eventually moved back to Bristol in  early 1994 and he and Kevin Haynes started to make plans for the Torment reunion, future releases and tours. But his parents finally admitted Simon Brand into a hospital while suffering another depression in the same year. He never left this place again as he eventually committed suicide in the grounds of the hospital. Simon Brand´s untimely death also turned out to be the abrupt end of the band.

 The musical legacy of Torment has loads of more to tender than just four brilliant full length albums and the excellent Mystery Men EP, which were all recorded in a period of less than five years.  The band offers an alternative route through the world of Psychobilly avoiding lyrical or musical stereotypes, always keen to experiment and the trio also was never afraid to give new technologies a try. Their unique sound, individuality and forward looking attitude turned the band into one of the most influential , interesting and best bands that ever emerged from the 80´s  Psychobilly revolution. Undeniable unforgettable!