Formed in 1982 by Des, Simon & Caroline Harvey-Kelly as
some kind of garage rock-pet sounds-punk
rock style hybrid...!
Des' unique guitar style (think Jerry Garcia, Frank Black,
Wayne Kramer & Buck Dharma!) along with
Simon's gift for lyric,
would be the main stays of the band throughout it's
Although not yet a band proper, at the first legendary gig in
the Hirschfield Centre in Dublin City, there were 13 members on stage!
(See "Early Days 1981-83" for more information)
Eventually settling on a 5-piece line-up in
1983, the band released their first recording, an EP
That Crazy Grave!" on the Dublin indie Hotwire label.
This release yielded widespread critical acclaim in Europe
and led to notable gigs/support shows in the UK & Ireland.
The following year the band released their first album -
Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy! - on Hotwire/MediaBurn,
featuring conspiracy theorist-futurist-playwright and author
of the infamous Illuminatus Trilogy
Des scored the music for the premiere performance of Wilson's "Wilhelm
Reich in Hell" play, which debuted in at the Edmund
Burke Hall in Trinity College, Dublin.
Apparently, Wilson went on to write the Golden Horde into one of his later
From this album was released the single
& Happy" (also the theme for EuroSurf '85!), which received
regular daytime radio play
- which was rare before what we know today as daytime radio play/MTV!
These releases garnered more UK and Irish shows and saw the
continued development of an underground cult following for the
The 2nd album was ...In
Reality! on Hotwire/Mediaburn Records, which received
further positive press reviews and firmly established the band as
contenders for the title 'next big thing'
(a label attached to the band repeatedly by
the NME, Sounds, Melody Maker, Hot Press and other music
publications for many years...) and broadened their listenership outward
into mainland Europe.
During this time the first RTE Radio Session was completed produced
by renowned radio producer Ian Wilson,
featuring the songs "Teenage Head" (the
same Flamin' Groovies classic, a favorite encore of
both the band and their audience),
as well as "Gatecrashing Your Mind" amongst other Horde
Following the release of ...In
Reality!, Sam Steiger (a Pete Townshend/Johnny Thunders dynamic style
player and performer) was recruited as a 2nd guitarist
and shortly afterwards bass player Donal Murray was
succeeded by John Connor, who played bass in a Ramones-Stones-Motorhead-AC/DC
style (differing from the previous 'walking bass' sound of the
bands previous recordings). Now the definitive Golden Horde line-up began to take
The Horde gradually became ensconced in the musical
underground scene of the day (which was pretty diverse) -
from playing with garage rock bands and future longtime
friends like The
Headcoats/Thee Milkshakes &
to straight-up punk rock bands, to rockabilly/psychobilly bands of
the mid-late 80's British scene like
The Meteors, The Cramps, The Sting-Rays & The Guana Batz
. . . as well as The Pogues & making
friends and acquaintances in the Camden Lock scene,
all mixed in with straight up rock'n'roll like
And the list goes on...
Seemingly foolish to some, they did admirably (to their fans
and supporters) decline the interest of various major
labels buzzing around wishing to sign the band,
IF they "toned down" their sound, or "sounded more like"
bands in the pop charts at the time such as the Jesus & Mary Chain, or the
Manic Street Preachers...
"The live show was 5 Iggy's on stage!" -- music press quote
Manic, beautiful melodies fuelled by the ideal rock'n'roll band 2 guitar
The first (or second?) BBC Radio Session was recorded during
this period at the historic BBC Maida Vale Studios in London.
Songs recorded included "It is I" and "Positively Nowhere Today!" amongst several
other originals (info anybody?).
The Golden Horde's live show at this time also featured
Fabulous Charlottes, who go-go danced in cages, sometimes
wearing just day-glo bodypaint!, (they didn't
mind, though some women's activist groups did). Bernie Furlong, the
last remaining female backing vocalist since the formative
days, departed during this period to pursue alternate ambitions.
As well as their own shows, the Horde were also touring
and/or playing with
The Pogues (and frequently over years), Johnny Thunders,
The Fall, Doctor & the Medics,
The Damned, Zodiac Mindwarp, The Ramones,
Shakin' Stevens(!), The James Taylor Quartet, Spaceman 3,
The Sting-Rays ( the Horde & the StingRays recorded together, see
Solo Projects and Collaborations),
The Wonderstuff, The Soup Dragons,
The Nomads and many more.
During this period they also appeared at the
Eurorock Festival in Holland (November 1988),
a major showcase of European
underground/ independent music, about which journalist and music
critic Wierd Duk wrote "...Apart from the solid Ramones-like
rock'n'roll of the Golden Horde, the rest of Europe had no bands worth
mentioning" (anyone have photos or any other memorabilia for this event?).
Following their intense one hour and forty-five minute set, the
band took off for a local club venue (Vera, Groningen) and played for a further two hours!
Another high-profile appearance was headlining The
European Skateboarding Expo held in Dublin in 1991 (photos anybody???).
The Horde also headlined the first of an annual international bikers
show The Freewheelers MC
Custom and Classic Show (held in June, see gigs list) where Hells Angels, Satan Slaves, Devils
Disciples & thousands of international motorcycle
club members & freestyle knitting enthusiasts descending upon the
city of Waterford in Ireland.
The festival's attendance grew rapidly over the years, and the
Horde became close friends with the organizers (Waterford Freewheelers
MC), gladly returning to play 5+ years in a row! (can anyone confirm
Other recording projects and collaborations during this time period were
the sessions that spawned the songs "Solar System" &
"Repetition!", written & recorded with Mick Blood of
The Lime Spiders,
engineered by Paul Thomas (U2, Clannad, Moving Hearts, Davy Spillane)
and produced by the Horde.
A perennial satellite Golden Horde project was
Last Bandits, which allowed the Horde to further explore their
more acoustic side, and which spawned singles and albums with
guests and collaborators as varied as
Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps/Jacobites),
members of The Waterboys, Johnny Fean of Horslips/Zen
McCullough (of Paul McCartney's Wings & solo reknown), Mark Shepard
of The Barracudas and others...
Other recording projects included almost a year in the studio recording an
album (never released!) with Paul Thomas again engineering &
co-producing, on which the band went into a state similar to Brian Wilson's
mid-sixties 'sandbox' period...
(if anyone has tapes of this material, PLEASE get in touch immediately!)
Yet another session of unreleased / lost recordings were conducted
with the (late) great Denny Cordell (Marc Bolan, Bob Dylan, The Move,
Tom Petty, Procul Harem, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell....) at the helm
producing. These recordings are out there somewhere...?
(As your laywer, I strongly advise you to share any copies of these recordings you may have.)
At this time the Horde recorded a tribute single to their good friend,
young artist-filmmaker Carl Stephenson, who passed away Christmas
Eve 1988. This was released under the Last Bandits
moniker, entitled "The Angels are Calling".
Other BBC Sessions including one
produced by punk-new wave icon Bob Andrews were completed in this period
featuring an early version of 'Paula', 'Born to be Dead', 'I Knew Sky'(?),
'I Live for the Sun'(?), 'Codeine'(?), 'Friends in Time'(?), 'Rendevous with
Destiny'(?) and 'Collette'(?) amongst the tracks recorded.
Yet another external project were recordings by
Aidan Walsh, Master of the Universe
& Emperor of all Eagles!, who sounds somewhere between the Legendary Stardust
Cowboy, Daniel Johnson & a K-Tel hits album!
On Dec 11th 1988, joining friends
Flowers, The Pogues, The Dubliners, Mary Coughlan, Something Happens and The
Waterboys, the Golden Horde participated in a benefit gig at the
Olympia Theatre in Dublin in aid of the Temple Street Children's Hospital.
Also present was a host of comedians, DJ's & entertainers who gave freely
of their time.
The Horde played a roaring set and their audience leapt all over
the ornate and historic theatre and it's plush seating, stage-diving
and generally had a good time! The set culminated in the near total
devastation of the stage,
as monitors, speakers, trashed microphone stands, speakers & guitars
ended up in a smoking heap between the stage and the crash
The Golden Horde received legal documentation banning them from the
venue for life.
Simon within this same time-frame recorded a duet cover version of the Rolling
Can't Always Get What You Want" with
Gavin Friday (ex-Virgin Prunes),
with members of the Horde contributing to the music, along with operatic
chanteuse Miriam Bleinerhassett, Anthony Thistletwhaite,
Steve Wickham, Max (female backing singer on The Waterboys "The Whole of the Moon")
and keyboardist Maurice Rycroft aka The Man Seezer, some of whom also appeared on
"The Angels are Calling" single mentioned above. This session was engineered
and co-produced by
McCarthy, later engineer and co-producer
for REM and U2.
In 1989 the Horde were approached by U2's record label
Records & invited to join their
roster. Mother had originally been set up as a one-off
single "launching pad" label, but had now reorganized itself as a true
independent distributed by Island Records.
The Golden Horde was chosen to be the label's album debut artist.
John, Sam & Peter became
band (amongst other shows he performed in Ireland while touring
Europe). His final show was in Dublin on April 23rd 1990 - eerily,
one year later to the day he was dead! In the following weeks while
simultaneously touring in the UK, the Horde & Thunders
had intended to meet up and record together in London - one of the
songs intended was a cover version of (the Archies) 'Sugar,
Sugar'. Arrangements were made and studio time booked in a London studio,
but on the day of the recording Johnny had slept on his arm (?) &
couldn't move it, his show that night was also postponed and due to
conflicting touring schedules the recording was never completed!
Simon's obituary for Thunders was printed in the pages of Hot Press.
Another of the Horde's several notorious tours was embarked upon
during this period....
This one was sponsored by Tennents Beer and along with friends
The Honey Thieves & The Blue Angels (ex Blue In Heaven), they set forth over
the next month demolishing towns & minds (both theirs and their
audiences!) across the UK & Ireland.
The final show was at the
Olympia Theatre in Dublin which had banned them for life in 1988.
The Horde succeeded in being banned for a second time from the venue
- apparently, this time the audience ripped out the first couple
of rows of that ornate red velvet seating!
(comically, members of the Horde ended up on it's stage a 3rd time
as guests of An Emotional Fish')
At this time a 2nd RTE Radio Session (again produced by
Ian Wilson) was recorded to much acclaim, winning top positions
in that years listener's & critic's polls, featuring early
versions of the songs "I Reject You", "100 Boys " & "Rorschach".
The Horde made frontpage news while headlining an open-air music-arts festival
in Longford, Ireland. They
hit the stage at around 10pm and had soon whipped their audience
into such a frenzy that the fearful local organizers stupidly
pulled the electrical power supply (literally) to the outdoor stage
while the band was still performing! - almost electrocuting anybody
on and around the stage with a power surge backlash!
The organizers claimed the Horde used 'bad language' and
incited a riot!
This wasn't helped by an episode earlier on in the day when local police
tried to arrest John for carrying a clear-blue water pistol (really!),
but were dissuaded by the presence of press photographers and a journalist
writing a story on the band for a japanese publication.
Nevertheless, not even 24 hours later, it was front page news.
One publication in particular, the Sunday World, ran the headline
"Cops Swoop On Foul Mouth Rock Star".
The audience who attended the performance in support of the
band & escorted them out of the town like some
kind of presidential motorcade (as well as a personal band escort
of Hell's Angels - the Freewheelers MC, now part of the Horde
The band were allowed to pick up their (water) pistols as they left
With producer Daniel
Rey (Ramones, Ronnie Spector, Misfits) the band recorded
"100 Boys" &
Never Came Down", finally capturing their true 'live'
The following album entitled simply
Golden Horde" released in 1991 was completed with producer
Andy Shernoff (Dictators,
Figgs, Barracudas) as well as the Daniel Rey
produced recordings, and received accolades and critical acclaim
in music awards and polls from radio and the music press.
It went on to win the prestigious Hot Press Award for Best Album of The Year
tied with U2's "Achtung Baby". For the years preceeding, U2 had consistently
been sole winners of this award.
From this album the semi-acoustic single
in Time" was released (featuring
Maria McKee on
backing vocals) and ironically proved to be the band's
biggest hit to date!
Videos for "100 Boys" and "Friends in Time" were directed by Ritchie Smith
(produced by 'Dreamchaser') who later collaborated on video's for U2's "The
Fly" & "Until the End of The World"
Other singles released from this album were
"I Never Came Down" and
Being longtime fans of the Byrds, a stripped-down Horde (Sam, Des &
Simon) supported Roger McGuinn at a now legendary intimate
show in Dublin around this time...
A BBC Northern Ireland Radio Session was recorded during
this period which as well as several Horde originals
included dynamic covers of two Blue Oyster Cult favorites
the band occasionally performed live - "Black Blade" & "E.T.I".
Following the success of their debut album for Mother,
demo recordings were conducted for the next
album between touring obligations.
Being not quite a 'realized' independent label or able to promote
the band in their best interests, the Horde
parted ways amicably with
Records in '93-'94.
Elongated discussions with several interested international record
labels took up the next year....
Meanwhile the band was always on the road! - playing tours, festivals, shows
across Europe at this time with
Youth, Belly, The Disposable Heroes
of Hipocracy, The Cramps, The Waterboys, Faith No
More, Iggy pop a.o. ... headlining stages at
various festivals as well as opening for
U2 on the ZOOTV Tour.
There was also an eventful performance at Wheatfield Prison
in Dublin and a Bosnian Benefit show featuring on
the bill The Golden Horde, Shane MacGowan & the Popes,
Nick Cave and a Fashion Show amongst other attractions!
As well as all of this the frequent 'acoustic' shows
that had started sporadically (and sometimes
spontaneously!) years previously had now evolved into
whole "acoustic" tours! The road DID go on
Feb 1994 the Golden Horde disbanded.