The Adventures

Biography

Formed in early 1984, the Adventures' story can be traced back six years to the Belfast, Northern Ireland power-pop/punk group The Starjets, which featured vocalist Terry Sharpe and guitarist Pat Gribben.

The duo eventually sought their fortune on the London pub circuit and put together the Adventures with Pat Gribben's wife Eileen on vocals, aided by Gerard 'Spud' Murphy (guitar), Tony Ayre (bass) and Paul Crowder (drums).

A contract with Chrysalis Records brought minimal chart success during 1984 and 1985 when they released their Theodore & Friends debut album in 1984 (This was named The Adventures as a re-packaged version for the U.S. market containg remixes), but didn't find success until four years later, prompting the group to take a sabbatical in order to rethink their approach. A new contract with Elektra Records saw them achieve modest acclaim for The Sea Of Love, while the single, 'Broken Land', entered the UK Top 20 in April 1988. Although they attempted to consolidate their position, 'The Sea Of Love' failed to reach the Top 40.

Their next album (Trading Secrets With The Moon) which was as strong a musical masterpiece as 'Sea Of Love' again failed to set the charts alight but again gave the fans another album full of great material.

Their final album (to date) Lions and Tigers And Bears was released in 1993 and several singles from it hit the lower Top 50 but again it was the music world that missed out on this the Adventures most professional sounding production

 

The following articles were found on the Adventures message board at UBL.COM - Please visit and exchange messages

By Colin Harper

The mid '80s were hardly a vintage era for classic pop music, but one act whose star has not diminished over the years is The Adventures. From Belfast, based around the exhilarating creative chemistry between the sensational vocals and stage presence of Terry Sharpe and the more reserved but classy songwriting and guitar wizardry of Pat Gribben, the Adventures enjoyed a run of minor hit singles spanning 1984-92. Broken Land, reaching No 20 in 1988 remains their biggest hit and certainly one of Pat's most enduring songs - encapsulating the kind of melodic values that subsequently led the likes of Crowded House on to bigger and better things. The Adventures have been effectively dormant for years now, but a one-off reunion show on Sunday August 10 at the West Belfast Festival may prove something of a watershed. "Myself, my wife Eileen and Terry Sharpe are the three who started the band and we're all still there" says Gribben. "Over the years we've had people come and go but it just so happened that all three of us are now back in Belfast at the same time and the idea of doing this gig was put to us. I was a bit sceptical about it but Terry said he wanted to do it so one night I said 'yeah, okay...' and before I could think twice about it it was on posters and programmes and being announced on radio shows. So I can hardly stop it now!" Gribben admits it's been about six years since The Adventures last played live, and about nine years since they last played in Belfast, although there was an appearance more recently on Anderson on the Box: "I got a phone call asking if I was interested in doing that show and I'd just recorded a demo of a new song To Whom It Concerns, and thought, 'Yeah, we'll have a go at this.' Terry was in town and we got in Nicky Scott from Van Morrison's band and a few others. But in terms of gigs it's been ages. The people from the West Belfast Festival assured me there was still a lot of interest. I didn't know there was, but the bottom line is that the key members are all in town, we're all musicians and we've got the songs - we've no excuses not to do it. We've had a couple of acoustic rehearsals which were really enjoyable and we've had one full band rehearsal which was...well, it was okay!" Anyone who's seen Gribben in action with one of his other projects, popular local covers acts The Dead Handsomes, will be aware that this is mere modesty. Gribben, like the other members of that band - who can regularly be seen storming Belfast bars like McEnaney's, the King's Head and the Hercules - is a top class player and performer and there's a lot that today's plethora of young original music bands around the north could learn from The Handsomes. And speaking of which, does Gribben, who is also currently involved in writing and touring with hot new English singer Ryan Molloy, feel any affinity with the current crop of successful Northern Irish artists? "Ash are excellent" he says. "I really liked Oh Yeah but no, they're much younger ... it's a different thing. But strangely enough a lot of the bands that have had success from Oasis on are harking back to the same stuff we did, like the Beatles. The guy that's managing me, Simon Fuller - who also manages Brian Kennedy and The Spice Girls - said that The Adventures would be perfect for now. We just weren't perfect for the mid '80s, we were going against the grain. So with that in mind we'll do this gig and if we enjoy it and it's good then we'll look around for another record deal. I've got the material - I never stopped writing songs. It wouldn't take much for us to be persuaded." Though finding the time might be a problem: "Yeah, I'm up to my neck in music - I'm probably busier right now than I've ever been! When The Adventures last record deal was terminated I was looking around for something to do and Simon Fuller and a guy from BMG showed me a video of their new discovery, Ryan Molloy - a young guy from Newcastle-upon-Tyne - and asked if I'd be interested in writing some songs with him. This would have been about 1995 and I was back in Belfast. Ryan arrived over on the 12th of July that year, we went into a local studio - Green Dolphin - and demoed two songs, he went back to London and the record company loved them." A long process of more writing, recording and mixing began and Ryan's album - co-written entirely with Gribben - should hopefully be out soon: "I've already done two support tours with him and he can really do it" says Pat, "brilliant singer, great performer. The biggest ego you could imagine!" That's as may be, but he'd better watch out because after the 10th of August Terry Sharpe, the original and the best, is back on the scene. And it's not to be missed.

 

A broken band no more By Deirdre Cartmill

The Adventures were the most highly acclaimed Northern Irish band of the eighties and achieved a string of successes. Their international hit single Broken Land was Radio One's most played single of 1988; they were the first signings to manager Simon Fuller, who brought The Spice Girls to fame; they toured Europe with Fleetwood Mac and they were the first to capture the sounds of Brian Kennedy, who sang backing vocals on their albums. Now The Adventures are back with a reunion gig at The Empire, Belfast on December 27. The three core members of the original band, Terry Sharpe, Pat Gribben and Eileen Gribben, will be joined by two new members Iggy Ward and John Burns. Reunion is actually a slight misnomer as vocalist Terry Sharpe explains that although the band have been quiet since 1992, they never actually split up. "It was a case of things kind of ground to a halt and we were involved in different things. Pat had moved back to Belfast and I was still living in London so we were physically less in contact with each other. In the last few months different elements seem to have come together and have conspired to get us back together again. "We had the offer from the West Belfast Festival for us to headline on their closing night at their open air festival and then The Empire came in with an offer for us to do a show; then we got some recording time to try and re-record some old stuff and work on some new material." Their undisputable touch for writing classic pop melodies is a major factor in their appeal. With four albums under their belts, The Adventures have been using the latest studio technology to re-record some of their classic tracks such as Broken Land, Raining All Over The World and Send My Heart. They plan to release these together with a smattering of new material as a Best Of.. album next year. Although they've stayed closely connected with music over the last six years, Pat as a songwriter with major recording artists and Terry singing with covers bands, they are excited about concentrating on their own music again. "Doing TV shows around the world and touring all over the world is wonderful, and I think we miss it," says Terry. "It's one thing playing in a bar and doing other people's songs, but playing to live audiences who've come to see you, that's a great job to have." Their pop sensibilities and live sound fits well into the contemporary music scene, in fact a lot better than it did first time round. "Back in the days of Bronski Beat and The Communards and The Eurythmics, we went right against the grain. We had a seven piece band on stage and the unfortunate thing for us then was that there were a lot of two piece synthesiser duos and trios around so we were never really fashionable in that sense. It seems that it's come full circle and there are a lot of live bands around now." So Terry's final words of wisdom with his usual tongue in cheek humour are: "Whatever everybody else is doing, do the opposite. You might be on the right track in a few years time."

Tim Brannigan

They came so close to scaling those dizzy heights, but just never quite made it. Now, though, Belfast band The Adventures are set one more try, with a gig tonight and plans for a new album. Tim Brannigan spoke to the band’s frontman, Terry Sharpe
There is a famous category in rock music that most bands are happy to avoid being placed in: the ‘good band who never quite made it’ bracket.

Every so often a DJ will play their one and only hit and then ask “Whatever happened to them I wonder?” Tomorrow one such band, Belfast’s very own Adventures get a second bite at the pop stardom cherry when they launch their comeback at Clarendon dock.

The Adventures were formed in the mid-1980’s and had reasonable chart success with their biggest hit Broken Land.

They produced a series of albums which received critical if not always chart success and they toured the world twice ­ although not as the headline act, it must be said.

Front man Terry Sharpe, from Belfast, is confident that there is still a demand for The Adventures’ sound, despite the changes that have taken place in the pop scene in the intervening years.

“Last summer we were approached and asked to reform and headline the West Belfast Festival.

“We met up and began to rehearse and rehearse and we decided that we liked the old songs and in fact Pat (Gribben) had also written some new songs.”

“The band enjoyed the gig and then last Christmas they played the Empire to a packed house and realised that their sound still had appeal and that much of their original fan base remained loyal.”

Terry and some of the other members of the band have been together in various guises for a considerable time. They played rock stadiums in the United States as support to Fleetwood Mac on one tour, and Tears for Fears on another. So how did it all begin.

“I went to St Gall’s primary school and then St Malachy’s Grammar school and from there I went to acting school in London (RADA no less) as I saw myself as a budding thespian.”

He left drama school a few terms before the end of his course when he realised he was never going to be a luvvie.

“Basically what happened was that I was in London on my own and then a friend in Belfast said that he was going to form a group and I liked the idea of being in a band so I packed in RADA.

“The band was called The Starjets, and apart from myself the other members were Liam L’Estrange, Paul Bowen and John Martin, who were basically a pop band.

“But no sooner had I come back from London than the whole New Wave scene took off and we decided that we should all head back to London, which was a bit odd for me.”

The Starjets had one minor hit single called ‘War Stories’, but then in true rock ‘n’ roll style they had ‘differences’ with the management and broke up shortly after the poor sales of their album.

That left Terry back in London at a loose end, until he met up with old childhood friend. Pat Gribben had written some songs, and he asked Terry to sing them so that they could put them on a demo tape in the hope of getting a publishing deal.

“We didn’t plan to form The Adventures, but what happened was that we got Pat’s wife Eileen to sing backing vocals and then, with the other session musicians that we were using. we thought ‘look we’ve got a band here’.

“We got a publishing deal really quickly and signed a deal with Chrysalis Records and the reaction to our early demos was really good.

“We brought out an album which was called Theodore and Friends and we had a couple of minor hits and then we did a tour of America with stadium giants Tears For Fears.”

At this stage Tears For Fears were at the height of their fame, and with all the exposure and touring The Adventures managed to build up a fan base.

But ­ and there’s always a but ­ they never quite made the breakthrough.

At this time Terry was seeing Sarah from Bananarama, but he wouldn’t be drawn on this subject other than to say that he “loves her dearly”.

Despite releasing a number of albums, Broken Land remained their one and only big hit. The single came from the album Sea of Love, which went silver and earned them a British and European tour with Fleetwood Mac.

However, the band at this stage made a number of crucial mistakes (apart from sharing a bill with Fleetwood Mac that is).

“For one thing, we failed to crack the all-important American charts ­ and if you fail to do that, a record company will drop you no matter what sort of domestic success you have.

“The second problem was that on the follow-up album to Sea of Love (Trading Secrets with the Moon) we didn’t really think about a hit single, and so the album went straight into the charts and straight back out again ­ because there was no hit to help sustain its shelf life.”

Not surprisingly, the record company began to get cold feet and dropped them. They then signed to Polydor, but this coincided with an unfortunate musical phenomenon for guitar bands everywhere.

In 1987 the band MARRS brought out a single which was arguably the most influential single of the 1980s: Pump Up Volume. Little did the guitar bands know it at the time but the dance scene was to prove remarkably durable and the kids deserted over-earnest rock bands in their droves.

“By this stage, our momentum had dipped and our last album got nowhere.”

While Terry, Pat and the gang were getting deep and meaningful with songs of love and loss, Yazz was dying her hair blonde and telling us all The Only Way Is Up. The Adventures didn’t stand a chance.

Looking back on the whole period there were some highlights, although two appearances on Top of the Pops didn’t seem to get him excited too much: “hanging around all day doing nothing”.

“I remember a big gig we headlined in London, and I remember playing Queen’s University... it a was a big night as we had already made a name for ourselves, but this was our first home-town gig. It was pretty amazing.”

For years they remained in the wilderness or, as they say in the pop world, they “got involved in other projects”.

The current line-up consists of Terry Sharpe, Conor McHugh, Pat and Eileen Gribben and Gary Harden, John Burns and Iggy Ward.

Last year’s Feile gig planted a seed that has begun to take root and which they hope will bear fruit in the near future.

Now, with a list of requests to do live gigs and concerts, they are in negotiations about signing to a new label, and in the period between now and Christmas The Adventures hope to write and record new songs.

This time they are sure of what they want to do and where they’re going to go.

“We definitely feel that we never really made the album we wanted to make and now we’ve given ourselves a second chance.

“The scene now is set up for us now. Kids are into loads of good stuff.. they’re listening to Revolver (by The Beatles).”

And it seems that time has taught The Adventures one lesson: “When we get into the recording studio, if we hear a song that has a bit of a hook to it we’ll probably try and develop it.”

As the comeback gets underway The Adventures know that it’ll takes guts as well as talent to get to where they want to be.

“We’re not afraid of failure and we just remind ourselves that we’re only three minutes away from success.”


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