They were at their most popular during the early 1980s, during a period when other Ska revival bands such as Madness, The Specialsand The Selecter filled the charts. Bad Manners spent 111 weeks in the UK Singles Chart between 1980 and 1983 and they also achieved chart success with their first four studio albums with Gosh It’s… Bad Manners, Loonee Tunes! and Ska ‘n’ B being their biggest hits.
Fronted by Buster Bloodvessel (born Douglas Trendle), the band was formed in 1976 while the members were together at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School near Manor House, North London. They commemorated the 1981 closure of the school on the back sleeve of their Gosh It’s… Bad Manners album
After becoming popular in their native London, Bad Manners signed to Magnet Records in 1980, and became regular guests on television shows such as Tiswas. The band also appeared on The British Music Awards (1981) and Cheggers Plays Pop. In 1985, they also appeared on The Time of Your Life, hosted by Noel Edmonds. Being closely associated with the 2 Tone movement (though never signed to 2 Tone Records itself), they were one of six bands featured in the 1981 documentary film Dance Craze.
Some of their more notable hits include “My Girl Lollipop”, “Lip Up Fatty”, “Can Can”, “Special Brew” and “Walking In The Sunshine”. One of the main reasons for their notoriety, was their outlandish huge-tongued and shaven-headed frontman, Buster Bloodvessel. His manic exploits got them banned from the British BBC TV chart show Top of the Pops. The band was also banned from Italian TV after Bloodvessel mooned a concert audience, after being told that the Pope was watching on TV.
Bad Manners left Magnet Records in 1983, and Telstar Records released a compilation album, The Height of Bad Manners, which reached number 23 in the UK Albums Chart. The album was assisted with a television advertisement promotion, and it brought the band back to the attention of the media and the British public – but no further chart hits.
The group then went on to sign a contract with Portrait Records in the United States and Mental Notes was released in 1985. For two years the band toured continuously all over the world but decided to disband in 1987.
Buster reformed the band with original members Louis Alphonso, Martin Stewart and Winston Bazoomies. Another original member, Chris Kane, also remained in the band, but left in 1990. In 1988, the band licensed the name and logo of Blue Beat Records, and set up office in a 50 ft barge in the back garden of Buster’s former home in Spring Hill, London. After Blue Beat closed in 1990, Bad Manners were without a recording contract, but still continued to tour. In 1992, they signed a deal with Pork Pie Records and Fat Sound was released in Europe. The album was initially intended to be released in the UK on Blue Beat.
In 1996, Buster Bloodvessel moved to Margate, and opened a hotel on the seafront called Fatty Towers, which catered for people with huge appetites. While living in Margate, he was a regular spectator at Margate F.C., and Bad Manners sponsored the club for one season. Fatty Towers closed in 1998 and did not re-open despite a facelift. After its closure, he moved back to London.
Bad Manners released Heavy Petting on Moon Ska Records in the United States in 1997. Six years later, Buster set up another record label and the band released Stupidity on Bad Records in 2003.
Bad Manners appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks in the 2004 Christmas Special, performing festive songs to Phill Jupitus’ team. (Jupitus is a fan of the band, and Buster Bloodvessel had appeared as a panellist on the show earlier that year).
Buster Bloodvessel is the only original member left in Bad Manners, but the harmonica player, Winston Bazoomies, is an ‘honorary member’ of the band and he has a Facebook fan page set up in his honour and he currently lives in North London.
Martin Stewart left Bad Manners in 1991, and performed and recorded with The Selecter for fifteen years. Louis Alphonso lives in Paris while David Farren left in 1987, after the band’s contract with Portrait Records finished. He designed the original band logo, and painted the front cover of the Gosh It’s… Bad Manners album. He currently performs in a tribute outfit called The Rollin’ Stoned. Chris Kane is a session musician living in Wanstead. He became a music teacher during the 1990s and also performed with The Jordanaires. Brian Tuitt also left the band in 1987 and works and lives in Kent, while Andrew Marson, another band member who left the same year, has worked as a carpenter in and around London. Paul Hyman lives in Enfield and works in the stock exchange, a job he has had since he left Bad Manners.
Bad Manners headlined their own annual music festival known as Bad Fest in 2005 and 2006 at RAF Twinwood Farm. This festival featured Ska, mod-related and punk rock bands from the 1980s to the present.
In 2011, Cherry Red Records released the band’s first four albums, Ska ‘n’ B, Loonee Tunes!, Gosh It’s… Bad Manners and Forging Ahead on CD for the first time with added bonus tracks. The albums were issued on their sister label, Pressure Drop. That same year, Bad Manners performed a world tour and played a number of shows in the United States, France, Canada, Slovakia, Germany, Japan, Australia and Spain, with a number of festive dates in the United Kingdom.
In December 2012, the band released their first single in thirteen years. “What Simon Says” was released via download just before the festive season, and the music videofeatured Bad Manners fans from across the world but none of the band members themselves.
In December 2012, founding members of the band met for the first time in decades at the Ship public house in Soho, London. Paul Hyman, Martin Stewart, Brian Tuitt and Chris Kane met with band historian and harmonica player David Turner, and Christopher ‘Dell’ Wardell, a music writer and promoter from Darlington. The meeting was successful and on 18 July 2013, seven of the original nine members reunited at The Brownwood public house, near Finsbury Park, that is within striking distance of their old school, Woodbery Down Comprehensive. The meeting was again organised by Wardell and Turner. The ‘Bad Manners Originals’ who attended the reunion were; Andy Marson (alto sax), Paul Hyman (trumpet), Alan Sayag (harmonicas), Chris Kane (tenor sax), David Farren (bass), Martin Stewart (keyboards) and Brian Tuitt (drums). The meetings were arranged after Wardell’s ‘Where Are They Now ?’ band article, which was a feature about the current whereabouts of all of the original Bad Manners band members which was published in The Northern Echo in 2012.