The Bears – On Me

3rd April 2024 · 1970s, 1977, Music, Punk

I’d never heard of The Bears until I began reading Richard Norris’s memoir, Strange Things Are Happening, and came across their debut single, On Me.

They were one of the first punk bands back in 1976, formed at Watford College of Art by guitarist George Gill, who had been in an early line-up of fellow art students Wire.

The other members were Mick North (vocals), Ron West (bass), Cally Cameron (drums) and Kris Kershaw (sax) and they originally went by the terrible name Smarter And The Average Bears.

As if that were not enough of a handicap North, their singer and songwriter, was killed in a motorcycle accident along with Pete Perspex (né Dallymore) from fellow punks The Paper Dollies in September 1977.

The band regrouped by bringing in Paper Dollies vocalist John Entrails (great punk name!) as their new singer and immediately recorded this excellent single, On Me.

I think the band members had ambitions beyond punk’s traditional three chords judging by the extended jam on the B-side, called Wot’s Up Mate, with its rambling musical passages and surreal lyrics.

They had a new rhythm section and had adopted a very different guitar-heavy proto-goth sound by the time they released their rather wonderful second single, Insane, and its B-side, the alarmingly misspelt Decsisions.

But just when they were getting interesting The Bears folded in 1980, West and Cally going on to form The Tea Set.