The Lotus Eaters were formed in Liverpool in 1982 while the coming together of Peter Coyle and Jeremy ‘Jem’ Kelly represented a bond between the two musical styles that typified Liverpools musical output up until that point.
Peter had been involved in Jass Babies, a band more akin to Manchester band Joy Division than Liverpool group Echo and the Bunnymen, which played with the typical melodious sound of a Liverpool group but with a certain harshness.
Meanwhile ‘Jem’ had helped form The Wild Swans a band with a guitar driven sound which certainly did not conform to the New Romantic attire that the band wore.
Record with John Peel
The band began to compose new material after they earned an invitation, like so many top Liverpool artists, to record with John Peel. The band recruited Ged Quinn on keyboards and travelled to London to record the session.
One of their earliest compositions, The First Picture of You was one of the tracks to be included in the radio session and was performed simply with Coyle’s vocals, Jem Kelly’s guitar and Quinns piano.
The band returned back to Liverpool to find that CBS Records had been on the phone and wanted to sign the band.
However CBS were not the only party in town and a bidding war began with the band eventually signing with Arista Records in 1982.
The band immediately recorded The First Picture of You with producer Nigel Gray (ex-Police and Siouxsie and the Banshees) and the song hit #15 in the UK singles charts in 1983.
Complete Band Lineup
All this before the band had actually performed live. The band now looked to recruiting musicians to complete the bands line-up. Coyle and Kelly brought in ex-Cure bassist Michael Dempsey, Stephen Emmer on keyboards (to replace Ged Quinn who had left to pursue a career in art at The Slade school of Fine Art) and Steve Crease on drums.
With this line-up the band went into the studio to record their debut album which upon release left listeners with a lack of understanding about who the band were.
The album No Sense of Sin perhaps did not sit with the early 1980’s trend of punk rock or New Romanticism with the band taking a more typically Liverpudlian approach to making music, concentrating on the melody.
As a result of this the album was not a commercial success reaching #96 in the UK album charts. However, despite the fact that the band perhaps did not sit easily in the musical landscape of 1984 in the UK, the band did enjoy cult status in continental Europe particularly in France and Italy where the Italian music buying public gave the band three top ten hits.
Asian successes also made the album a genuine collector’s item and have since fetched huge mark up prices on the internet.
The band supported the album through touring in the UK, France and Italy but by 1985, they were flagging badly and the final single release It Hurts, was supported by a promotional video as the band had already split up. The bands status in Italy again gave them a top five hit in that country but this was not enough to save the band.
Peter Coyle got involved in the burgeoning dance scene of the late 1980’s forming 8 Records and a nightclub called G-Love, a precursor of the Cream nightclub. Jeremy Kelly meanwhile went on to reform The Wild Swans releasing an album in 1988 called Bringing Home the Ashes on the Sire label. Both Kelly and Coyle have since gone on to study Multimedia Theatre and Psychology respectively.
The Lotus Eaters were reunited in 2002 and released a new LP called silentspace possibly following in the renewed interest in their material in the 1990’s which saw the reissue of No Sense of Sin on CD in 1998.
The group announced new live dates in 2009/2010 taking in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the Camden Barfly, a tour of Italy in June 2010 and some shows in Japan also in 2010. A new album called Dying Soldiers was announced in April 2009 but this has so far failed to materialise.