The Stands were formed by Howie Payne in 2002 and were a guitar group from Liverpool playing extremely melodious power pop.
Payne’s soaring vocal was supported by various members of the Liverpool musical community in the early days.
Names including Martyn Campbell (Rain and Richard Ashcroft), Russel Pritchard and Robby Stevenson (Hokum Clones)and Sean Payne (Zutons) were all associated with The Stands in these formative days.
Musicians came and went (and some came again), but Payne recruited another local musician Steve Pilgrim on drums while Luke Thomson came in on guitar. The three were joined by Martin Campbell on bass to record several songs at Parr St. Studios in Liverpool.
The Bandwagon at the Zanzibar Club
The Bandwagon Night at the Zanzibar Club in Liverpool was organised by Liverpool band The Bandits.
Such became its popularity and renown that it was the source of an ITV documentary called This Is Music in September 2002.
The original billing did not feature the band at all but the others appearing protested for their involvement and were duly added to the line-up.
The night would be significant as a musician named Dean Ravera asked if he could play bass for the band.
He was brought into the fold a week later as the group were invited to join The Coral on their autumn UK tour.
After being handed a copy of the record the band had cut at Parr St. Studios, Noel Gallagher contacted the band to offer them a support slot for Oasis Liverpool Royal Court date in December 2002.
The band continued their association with Oasis as they agreed to play Birmingham’s NIA Arena and two dates at the Point Theatre in Dublin. Several high profile gigs continued as the band supported acts such as Alfie, The Zutons and The Coral and, while still being unsigned, were asked to play the major summer festivals, Glastonbury, T in the Park and V Festival.
The unsigned band playing all the big gigs in town was finally snapped up by Echo Records in early 2003 and was soon recording their first album All Years Leaving.
With a roll call of musical friends including Noel Gallagher and Bill Ryder Jones (The Coral), the band recorded at the Oasis guitarists’ Wheeler End recording studio in Buckinghamshire.
Released in February 2004 the album reached number 28 in the UK Album chart and the album produced three top 40 singles with When This River Rolls Over You debuting at number 32.
UK summer festivals
The Stands played with Jet on the Aussie rockers’ UK and European tour while recording All Years Leaving and struck up a friendship resulting in the band joining the Aussie rockers on the bands homecoming tour down under.
2004 brought the band their first headlining tours of Europe and the UK while supporting Gomez and Paul Weller.
The band also began to look across the pond playing at Los Angeles’ Troubadour and El Ray clubs. These gigs were all supplemented by summer UK festivals including Glastonbury and The Isle of White Festival.
October 2004 brought the recording of the bands second album in Los Angeles. The group worked on Horse Fabulous with producer Tom Rothrock in Hollywood, California at Sunset Sound Studios.
The album charted at #62 (perhaps due to the restructuring of Echo Records and a subsequent change in direction) with the first single hitting #28.
Steve Pilgrim, after recording the album, left the band so Graeme Robinson was recruited to play drums on their US tour playing with Brendon Benson.
After returning to Great Britain to support Oasis on their European tour Luke Thomson decided to leave the band before its completion and were joined by Paul Malloy (Skylarks, Zutons) to play guitar.
The band played the UK festivals and another tour of the US but after the restructuring of Echo Records the band split from their label and began a fourth, and what would turn out to be final, UK tour.
The bands final gig came in November 2005.
Howie Elliot Payne, Dean Ravera and Luke Thomson are working on solo projects while Steve Pilgrim is now drummer for Paul Weller.