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Eddie and the Hot Rods

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Eddie and the Hot Rods
Eddie & the Hot Rods 2021
Eddie & the Hot Rods 2021
Background information
Also known asThe Rods
OriginCanvey Island, Essex, England
Years active1975–1985, 1996–present
LabelsIsland, EMI, Voiceprint, Wienerworld, RodHot Records
MembersSimon Bowley
Ian "Dipster" Dean
Richard Holgarth
Mic Stoner
Past membersBarrie Masters
Graeme Douglas
Paul Gray
Lew Lewis
Paul Curtis
Steve Nicol
Tony Cranney
Dave Higgs
Gary Loker
Gordon Russell
Chris Taylor
Pete Wall
Ian Nix
Rob Steele
Russ Strutter
Warren Kennedy
Tony Cranney
Tex Axile
Steve Walwyn
Mick Rogers
Madman Keyo
Jess Phillips/Steve Kehoe

Eddie and the Hot Rods are a pub rock band from Essex founded in 1975. They are best known for their 1977 UK top ten hit "Do Anything You Wanna Do", released under the shortened name Rods. The group broke up in 1985, but reformed in 1996. Singer Barrie Masters was the only constant member until his death in 2019. The band continued to tour, fronted by their former bassist, Ian 'Dipster' Dean.



The band was formed in Medway, Kent, England, during 1975 by guitarist Dave Higgs (who had previously played in the Fix with Lee Brilleaux), with drummer Steve Nicol, bassist Rob Steele, and singer Barrie Masters (born in Rochford, Essex; 4 May 1956 – 2 October 2019).[3][4]

Before rising to semi-stardom in 1977, the Hot Rods underwent several changes in personnel: one of the first members to leave the band was "Eddie" himself, which was a dummy that featured prominently in the Hot Rods' early gigs and was discarded as the joke had worn thin.[5][6] Otherwise, the band consisted of Barrie Masters on vocals, Pete Wall and Dave Higgs on guitar, Rob Steele on bass and Steve Nicol on drums.[7] Ed Hollis (brother of Talk Talk's Mark Hollis) became their manager.[8]

In May 1975, after building a live reputation, they secured a Saturday-night residency at The Kensington in London.[9] This was followed in October by a joint residency with the 101ers at The Nashville, playing alternate headline sets.[10] In November, after positive press reviews of their live shows, they were signed by Island Records.[11]

Commercial success[edit]

By 1976, Lew Lewis (harmonica) and Paul Gray (bass) had replaced Wall and Steele.[7] Lewis's tenure in the group lasted for the release of their first two singles before he too left.[7] With this new line-up, the Hot Rods played a set at London's famous Marquee Club – their opening act was the Sex Pistols which descended into chaos with the Pistols smashing the Hot Rods' gear;[7][12] The Pistols' support slot earned them their first music press review, in the NME, with no mention of the headlining Hot Rods at all.[13] By way of revenge, the Hot Rods claimed in the next week's edition of the NME to have "sacked" the Pistols from an upcoming tour, which the NME pithily described as "what you get for mixin(g) with real punks."[13] During a residency at the club in the summer of 1976 they duelled for alternate weeks with AC/DC, to see who could cram more bodies into the Marquee during one of the hottest summers on record.[14] They first appeared in the UK Singles Chart the end of that year with the Live at the Marquee EP and the single "Teenage Depression", an energetic rock and roll song.[7]

After the release of the Teenage Depression album, which gave them their first appearance in the UK Albums Chart, they recorded another EP called Live – At the Sound of Speed.[7] During the gig from which this EP was recorded, Graeme Douglas (formerly of the Kursaal Flyers) joined the band onstage and jammed along adding extra lead lines. Afterwards his membership of the band was made permanent,[7] and they set about writing and recording for their second album. The live recording of the Sound of Speed EP featured Douglas on only one track, he therefore set about recording additional lead guitar overdubs in the studio, though to keep in with the essence of a live release, he was only given one attempt at recording each song.

With the addition of Douglas, the band was moved in a more radio-friendly direction. Their biggest hit came with the Douglas/Hollis collaboration "Do Anything You Wanna Do" in the summer of 1977, under their shorter, snappier name, the Rods.[7] This single made the British Top 10 (number 9 in August 1977) and also proved popular with the then predominant punk audience, as did that year's album Life on the Line. They appeared at the Reading Festival held in August 1977 and also in that year the Hot Rods toured the United States with the Ramones and Talking Heads.[15] In late 1977 they released a one-off collaboration with MC5 singer Rob Tyner as 'Rob Tyner & the Hot Rods'.[7] When it came to recording a follow-up album, the band tried to recapture the success of "Do Anything You Wanna Do", but to no avail. The album, Life on the Line, hit further problems with CBS Records still having contractual claim over Douglas, leading to his picture being removed from the LP sleeve for some releases.[16] In 1978 the band toured in Canada.[17]

In early 1979, they released a further album with Douglas, entitled Thriller, recorded at Abbey Road Studio, which featured a fuller studio sound and used more studio effects. Due to disappointing sales, they found themselves dropped by Island in 1979, and in May that year were rumoured to be on the verge of splitting, with Gray touring with the Members and Masters and Nicol playing in the band Plus Support.[18] They signed to EMI in August 1979, releasing a further album in 1981, Fish'n'Chips with new bass player T.C. (Tony Cranney), but disbanded in 1981.[7]


At this point, Gray and Douglas had already left the band, the former joining the Damned.[7] Masters teamed up with the Inmates.[7] Ed Hollis went on to work with some of the best known acts of the punk era including the Damned, Elvis Costello, and Stiff Little Fingers. Nicol joined One the Juggler.[6]

Masters and Nicol re-formed the Hot Rods in 1984, with T.C. (Tony Cranney) bassplayer from the "Fish and Chips" album and new guitarist Warren Kennedy.[7] This line-up recorded the single "Fought for You". Tony Cranney was later replaced By Russ Strutter for the live mini-LP One Story Town,[19] before the band split again in 1985.[7] Tex Axile, who had briefly been a member in this era, went on to join Transvision Vamp.[7]

In 1992 the 'classic' line-up (Masters, Nicol, Higgs, and Gray) re-grouped for a European tour. Higgs left after the tour, but the band carried on with Steve Walwyn of Dr. Feelgood replacing him. Another Feelgood member, Gordon Russell was briefly a member, soon replaced by Mick Rodgers, a former member of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. In 1994 they recorded the album Gasoline Days, released in 1996 by Japanese label Creative Man.[6][7] Several line-up changes followed, with members including Madman Keyo and Jess Phillips.[6]

The new millennium saw a new line-up, still led by Masters but now comprising Simon Bowley on drums (nephew of original drummer Steve Nicol), Dipster Dean on bass and Gary Loker on guitar. In 2001, after an 80 date UK 'Naughty Rhythms' Tour (with Dr Feelgood, the Hamsters and John Otway)[20] they were joined by Richard Holgarth (Otway) on guitar and shortly afterwards, Loker left the band.[citation needed]

In 2005, they recorded Better Late than Never in preparation for a 30th anniversary tour and then expanded to a five piece band again with the addition of Chris Taylor in 2006 for the recording of the album Been There, Done That. This is the line-up that has since performed as Eddie and the Hot Rods.

Dave Higgs died in December 2013.[21]

In early 2018, the band announced they would soon retire from headline tours.[22] The band toured the UK in March 2019 opening for Stiff Little Fingers. Touring bass player for the March 2019 tour was Adam Smith of Newtown Neurotics.

A one-off celebration gig 'Done Everything We Wanna Do' took place at o2 Academy, Islington on 13 April 2019.[23] which featured appearances from past members (Lew Lewis, Paul Gray, Steve Nicol, Graeme Douglas, Warren Kennedy, Chris Taylor, Tony Cranney), current members (Richard Holgarth, Simon Bowley, Dipster) and special guests Captain Sensible (The Damned), Leigh Heggarty (Ruts DC), Duncan Reid (The Boys), Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham (Nine Below Zero) and JC Carroll (The Members) all joining frontman Barrie Masters.

Masters was found dead in his home on 1 October 2019, at the age of 63, having taken various intoxicants. [24] A later inquest determined that his death was drug-related.[25]

Having already announced that Barrie would be retiring at the end of the year due to health concerns and, after an enforced Covid pandemic break throughout 2020, the band decided to return to the stage in 2021 with long time bassist Ian 'Dipster' Dean taking over the vocal duties. Mic Stoner (Chords UK) replaced him on bass guitar and they undertook on a UK tour alongside Nine Below Zero.

Guardians of the Legacy[edit]

On 27 March 2022, they could be seen performing their new single "Guardians of the Legacy"[26][27] on the Talking Pictures TV broadcast of The Heritage Chart Show with Mike Read.[28][29][30][31] "Guardians of the Legacy" is the title track from an album issued on the anniversary of Masters' death in October 2022.

Musical style[edit]

The band's early repertoire consisted of covers of 1960s R&B songs and original songs inspired by the likes of Dr. Feelgood.[4] Known for their energy on stage, they attracted a younger audience than many pub rock bands.[4] Although often categorised as one of the founding fathers of the punk era, they were simply interested in playing loud, fast, in-your-face rock and roll. The energy and attitude certainly endeared them to punks and Joe Strummer stated that when he read about the band in a listings magazine it was the first time he had seen the word 'punk' used to describe a band.[32] Their 1977 tour of the US with the Ramones and Talking Heads was billed as a punk rock tour,[15] and their 1977 concert in Windsor, Ontario, was billed as "Windsor's First Punk Rock Concert".[33] They were overtaken by punk rock bands, however, and were soon considered to be outside the genre.[34]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album UK Albums Chart Record label
1976 Teenage Depression 43 Island Records
1977 Life on the Line 27
1979 Thriller 50
1981 Fish 'n' Chips EMI Records
1996 Gasoline Days Creative Man Records
2005 Better Late than Never Voiceprint Records
2006 Been There, Done That...
2011 35 Years of Teenage Depression
2022 Guardians of the Legacy Outro Records (Vinyl)

Renaissance Records (CD)

Live albums[edit]

  • One Story Town (1985), Waterfront
  • BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert (1994), Windsong
  • Live at the Paradiso (1998), Pub
  • Get Your Rocks Off (2002), Jungle
  • New York:Live (2009) Recorded live at Southpaw, Brooklyn.

Compilations and sessions[edit]

  • Rods (1977) Promo (Live & Out-takes)
  • Curse of the Hot Rods aka 1979 Freerange Studio – Covent Garden sessions (1992), Street Link
  • Live and Rare (1993), Receiver
  • Ties that Bind (1994), Dojo
  • The End of the Beginning – the Best of Eddie & the Hot Rods (1994), Island
  • Get Your Balls Off (1996), Skydog
  • Doing Anything They Wanna Do... (1996), Anagram
  • Take No Prisoners! The Best of British Punk (1998), Delta Music (UK)
  • Do Anything You Wanna Do (2000), Spectrum
  • The Singles Collection (2009), Captain Oi!
  • Do Anything You Wanna Do: The Best Of (2012), Spectrum Music


  • Live at the Marquee EP (1976), Island, IEP 2 – UK No. 43
  1. "96 Tears"
  2. "Get Out of Denver"
  3. "Medley: GloriaSatisfaction"
  • At the Sound of Speed EP (1977), Island, IEP 5 – UK No. 56[A]
  1. "Hard Drivin' Man"
  2. "Horseplay"
  3. "Double Checkin' Woman"
  4. "All I Need is Money"
  5. "On the Run" (on 12-inch version only)


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side Album
1976 "Writing on the Wall" Island Records "Cruisin' (In the Lincoln)"
"Wooly Bully" "Horseplay (Weary of the Schmaltz)"
"Teenage Depression" 35 "Shake" Teenage Depression
1977 "I Might Be Lying" 44 "Ignore Them (Always Crashing in the Same Bar)"
"Do Anything You Wanna Do" 9 "Schoolgirl Love" Life on the Line
"Till the Night Is Gone (Let's Rock)" "Flipside Rock"
"Quit This Town" 36 "Distortion May Be Expected (laughbagindub)" Life on the Line
1978 "Life on the Line" 55[A] "Do Anything You Wanna Do" (Live)
1979 "Media Messiahs" "Horror Through Straightness" Thriller
"The Power and the Glory" "Highlands One, Hopefuls Two"
1980 "Wide Eyed Kids" EMI Records "Leave Us Alone" Fish 'n' Chips
1981 "Farther on Down the Road
(You Will Accompany Me)"
"Fish 'n' Chips Part 2"
1985 "Fought for You" Waterfront Records "Hey, Tonight"


  • Do Anything You Wanna Do (1996), Cherry Red
  • Live 2005 (2006), Plastic Head
  • Introspective (2009), Voiceprint


  1. ^ a b Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".
  1. ^ a b Wardle, Ben (2024). "Chapter 2 (1962–1975): One Thousand Eddie". Mark Hollis: A Perfect Silence (2nd ed.). London: Rocket 8 8Books. p. 22. ISBN 9781915156167.
  2. ^ Wardle, Ben (2024). "Chapter 2 (1962–1975): One Thousand Eddie". Mark Hollis: A Perfect Silence (2nd ed.). London: Rocket 8 8Books. p. 29. ISBN 9781915156167.
  3. ^ "Barrie Masters: Singer with Eddie and the Hot Rods who fired up late-Seventies UK rock". The Independent. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Buckley
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3, p. 146
  6. ^ a b c d Erlewine
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Strong
  8. ^ Ankeny, Jason "Mark Hollis Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 30 December 2010
  9. ^ Gimarc, p. 18
  10. ^ Gimarc, p. 21
  11. ^ Gimarc, p. 23
  12. ^ Gimarc, p. 26
  13. ^ a b "'Don't look over your shoulder, but the Sex Pistols are coming': 40th anniversary of their first review « Paul Gorman is…". Paulgormanis.com. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  14. ^ Engleheart, Murray & Durieux, Arnaud (2009) AC/DC: Maximum Rock and Roll, Aurum Press, ISBN 978-1-84513-496-9, p. 171
  15. ^ a b Billboard, 26 November 1977, p. 44
  16. ^ Gimarc, p. 99
  17. ^ David Farrell (14 January 1978). "Canada learns to Pogo". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 57–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  18. ^ Gimarc, p. 211
  19. ^ sleeve notes Live & Rare CD
  20. ^ "DR FEELGOOD - Naughty Rhythms 2000". Drfeelgood.de. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  21. ^ Barnett, Helen (2014) "Dog's goodbye to her master before funeral of Canvey band Eddie and the Hot Rods's guitarist Dave Higgs", Echo News, 2 February 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2015
  22. ^ "Eddie & The Hot Rods - The beginning of the end..." Eddie & The Hot Rods. 11 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Eddie & The Hot Rods - Done Everything We Wanna Reviews..." Eddie & The Hot Rods. 29 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Eddie and the Hot Rods singer dies aged 63". Bbc.co.uk. 2 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Eddie and the Hot Rods: Barrie Masters' death drug-related". Bbc.co.uk. 17 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Eddie & The Hot Rods - News". Eddieandthehotrods.coms. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  27. ^ "Eddie & the Hot Rods - NEW Single - Guardians of the Legacy ***FREE DOWNLOAD**". Eddieandthehotrods.com. 22 January 2022.
  28. ^ "Heritage Chart". Heritagechart.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  29. ^ "The Heritage Chart Show with Mike Read Season 1". Radiotimes.com.
  30. ^ "Video". Tptvencore.co.uk.
  31. ^ Talking Pictures TV schedules for 27 March 2022 page 56, Radio Times 26 March - 1 April 2022
  32. ^ Flockhart, Gary (2010) "Gig preview: Eddie and the Hot Rods, Citrus Club", The Scotsman, 3 September 2010, retrieved 30 December 2010
  33. ^ The Windsor Star, 29 October 1977, p. 49, retrieved 30 December 2010
  34. ^ Belcher, David (2001) "Who wants to buy a little anarchy?; It is the ultimate irony that the Sex Pistols were the public enemies vilified by the same Establishment that now wants to purchase their cast-offs, laments David Belcher", Glasgow Herald, 20 September 2001, p. 17


Further reading[edit]

  • Crancher, Steve (2008) Eddie and the Hot Rods: Do Anything You Wanna Do, Desert Island Books, ISBN 978-1-905328-40-6

External links[edit]