(2003) Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring
(1993) Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring
Latest Album: Pieces, released December 2009
Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring were formed in 1991 and stopped in 1994. During that time they recorded an EP (Audrey Hepburn EP), an album (Beetsmakespitpink), two double A sided singles (Ram/America, and Mindless/Tangles & Knots), played about 300 gigs round Scotland and supported Radiohead (twice), The Joyriders, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, Fish (!?) and many more.
So what happened?
Jim Gellatly (then of Moray Firth Radio, but later, Northsound and now Beat 106) included an early version of ‘audrey hepburn’ (by Seven Yellow Canaries – and yes there are no excuses for this name or Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring for that matter) on his Groove Machine compilation tape in 1990. At the end of 1990 Tinkerbell’s Dope RIng was formed with Tom Fraser, David on bass and Richard on drums But after we got invited to play a gig on Skye which went incredibly well the drummer and bass player refused to play a gig the next day at Nigg Ferry so we split up. In January 1991 Mike Wheeler on drums and Sue Allen on bass joined Tom Fraser and the Tinks were off again. In February 1991 we re-recorded Audrey Hepburn along with Mindless(Space to Let), Industrial Relations and Sweet Conceit (written by Sue Allen, with Sue on guitar and vocals and Tom Fraser on bass) and released it as a 7 inch vinyl ep on our own floppy records label (‘audrey hepburn ep.. a little gem’, ‘great…3 out of 4 tracks are really good’). Sue Allen left shortly after the recording and Scott Shaw took over as bass player. We then played the infamous Inverness Hayloft, The Lemon Tree, and many other places across the central Highlands.
In the summer of 1992 we organised a 22 date tour round the Highlands and Islands ending with The Shock Of The North Faultline Festival headlined by the Joyriders (‘But the night belonged to TDR’, ‘It was Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring who really got the place jumping’) and then Mike Wheeler moved to Glasgow and Tom Fraser moved down to Edinburgh where Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring continued.
With a new bass player XXXXX XXXXXX, and then another Robert we continued gigging in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Then in February 1993 we recorded the album Beetsmakespitpink.
Beetsmakespitpink was produced in 7 days at Ice Station Zebra, Edinburgh. Jon King (Olympic Studios producer for Motorhead, Elvis Costello, The Cult (She sells Sanctuary), Anita Dobson) was the producer and did a great job. We recorded Angel on the loose, Fire in Babylon, Jamie Lee, Meet Mr Nasty, According to the bear, Cut me loose, Green eyes strikes back, Student love, Pets, Straw roofs, and Popstar.
In 1993 Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring gigged all over Scotland supporting Radiohead in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Brainiac, Sidi Bou Said, going to Letham and Xthe other crusty festival in fifeX, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness. In November we recorded the Ram/America (in a crisis of singing confidence, we got XXXX to sing America) single and made a video for Ram, and played sessions for BBC Radio Scotland. In May 1994 we recorded the Mindless/Tangles and Knots single and made a video for Mindless. By 1994, though we were playing an early version on Skunk and trying to play Skewhiff (both later to be tantrum songs). But the Tinks didn’t really like them. And Nikki and i wanted something bigger and slower. We formed tantrum 6am 1st Jan 1995.
Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring were, by the end, Tom Fraser (guitar, vocals), Mike Wheeler (drums), Arthur Finlay (Guitar) and Deke Patton (bass, vocals). There were nine other bass players in all including: Arthur Finlay, Scott Shaw, Robert Nicholson, Dave, Sue Allen and Tim.
Punky, indie guitar pop.
Mindless/Tangles & knots – The Scotsman – Aug 1994.
Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring seem to enjoy collecting comparisons, so i’ll chuck in The Psychedelic Furs for ‘Tangles and Knots’ which both proves that they could get by without the overly quirky (yuk) flip side ‘Mindless’.
Mindless/Tangles & knots – Buzz Factory – Aug 1994.
This band are great live but ‘Mindless’ makes me wonder if someone’s put helium ice cream in my hash cake.
Ram/America – Cool Ed- April 1994.
After the rather erratic debut LP Beetsmakespitpink i was hoping to heara more controlled sound from TDR. The album seemed to be more an experimental mix of different musical styles which, unfortunately, for me, did not seem quite compatible, although i admired the band for their brave attempt at trying something different. Much the same can be said of this new double A-side single. Ram is a rather confused mash of melodic rock interspersed with hiccups of thrash, while America is more structured with guitars that remind me of the mid-eighties Postcard-pop jinglejangle sound. If there hadn’t been a label on the single, i would have said i was listening to two different bands. TDR certainly have plenty of interesting ideas but maybe they need to sort out what direction their music is heading. But is it a bad thing after all; why do we always feel the need to pigeon-hole new bands? Grab a copy of the single and see what you think.
Ram/America – The List – April 1994.
Edinburgh-based Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring who sound like they should be the greatest band on the earth’s crust, fall some way short with ‘Ram/America’ with melody that fails to ignite, but aside from the Carteresque rush halfway through, the backing on ‘Ram’ works its way under your skin. ‘America’ carries a flame for The Housemartins – a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
Audrey Hepburn EP – The Sun.
And their debut record Audrey Hepburn…… has just been voted single of the week on Moray Firth Radio.
Audrey Hepburn EP – The Sun – Sept 1991.
Watch out for Inverness band Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring. Their new Ep is great and shows a sense of humour as they manage to mix everything including Dixieland jazz into their songs. Three out of four tracks are really good which isn’t a bad average. Start touring soon lads.
Audrey Hepburn EP – Siren – June 1991.
More soft soppy indie imbeciles who need the sound of one hand slapping their faces, but while the soar off here and there as the plot goes askew, this is a four song collection of reliable bass-poked charisma and you stay glued to the speakers for encroaching stupidity. It doesn’t come. They just get seriously stroppy. Fabulous for £3.
Audrey Hepburn EP – Inverness Courier – June 1991.
Inverness band TDR release a self-funded EP which may attract more than a little attention. An Indie sound with commercial ingredients that will attract radio attention, the EP contains four tracks, all pennd by the band and is well worth a listen.
Audrey Hepburn EP – Highland News – June 1991.
TDR put out their excellent single Audrey Hepburn, a little gem gleaming in the apparent dull lull in local band action.
Audrey Hepburn EP – Jim Gellatly/Frontline June 1991.
Four tracks are squeezed onto this nifty little 7″, kicking off with the title track, Audrey Hepburn. I’m actually chuffed, having included a very basic version of this song on my own Groove Machine compilation last year. ‘Industrial Relations’ is my favourite track on the single, far more thrashy than the rest and no holds barred lyrics with loads of angst. ‘Sweet Conceit’ turns up on the record as a bit of an oddity, a jazzy little number with a lassie on vocals. ‘Mindless’ rounds things off, another fast number, it even includes a rap name checking Megadeth – are they trying to say something? Musically TDR combine a few styles probably somewhere between James Brown and Jesus Jones with a bit of the Neds and Janes Addiction shoved in just for good measure. Check them out now!
Beetsmakespitpink – M8 -Aug 1993.
Something worth checking out is the debut release from Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring whose album Beetsmakespitpink is a bit of a closet classic. Invernesses finest purveyors of user friendly indie pop have unleashed an album of unbelievable silliness guaranteed to have you pogoing about grinning like a maniac. If you are part of the unsuspecting public then i would advise you remain so as there are only 500 of these albums on sale and the intense disappointment of not being able to find one may be just too much! A record deal and stardon surely awaits.
Beetsmakespitpink – The List -Aug 1993.
What looks like psychedelic pavement pizza meets Rupert The Bear (the cover), sounds like The Wedding Present unleashed in a slap-bass factory (the record), and reads like the deranged ramblings of don’t-give-a-monkey’s provocateurs (the press release)? Beetsmakespitpink does, the debut LP from these Invernessians on the loose in Edinburgh. What they lack in variety – too many songs clatter by on knee-jerk stilts; Tom Fraser’s hoarse, strangulated voice is a bit wearing after a while – they make up for in ramshackle quirkiness. But quirkiness’s appeal can quickly pale, and TDR should straighten out some of their indie-ghetto kooks and firm up their funk.
Beetsmakespitpink – The List -Aug 1993.
Beets is atraight-ahead-high-octane rock that can’t stay po-faced for long. It’s tougher than the previous EP which some Scottish DJs played rather more readily than their current, spikier incarnation of TDR.
Beetsmakespitpink – Cool ED -Aug 1993.
My first thouht was that this is not really my cup of tea. TDR appear to be a grunge/funk/punk band all rolled into one. They have an energetic frenzy of guitars and drums, although there are a couple of slower songs. Kind of like a heavier Shrimptons (which is no bad thing) with perhaps shades of Guns’n’Roses (but much better). My only complaint is that the vocal is too quiet, but they do strike me as being a band that works better live than studio. So, If you like funky-grunge with a touch of punk then this is the one for you.
The Railway Club, Inverness – Highland News – March 1994.
Double Bill that’s purely poptastic. It was a dark and stormy night – but a suitable backdrop for the radioactive glow of some perfect pop at Inverness Railway Club on Friday. Not that Edinburgh four-piece Miraclehead would probably think of themselves as pop – more rock, funk, rap, hip hop, scat – jazz even. But it all added up to confident, idiosyncratic, aural stimulation. Positively poptatstic. But then TDR did choose their pals to support them. And that’s loveable TDR’s trouble in my humble view – too much humility. It’s quite unnecessary these days, too. Lead singer Tom Fraser’s chosen gravelly growl is plausible enough, you’d go a long way to find more intriguing lyrics and the currently moving-on bassist is going to be one sore loss. And yet… TDR need to find the conviction to present their own songs with as much flair as their Dee Lite and Jane’s Addiction covers. And why throw so many endings away? They should manufacture the odd preposterously rockist final build-up. We love it really. So many songs sound like hits – Jamie Lee is infuriatingly catchy and new single-to-be Ram is just one more great melody. And like the honourable funsters TDR are they don’t settle for half measures. So long before the dancefloor is emptied of obliging TDR boysnbabes in encore Green Eyes Strikes Back, Tom had sacrificed his broken whisper at the altar of rock.
Radiohead tour – The List -Jan 1993.
Tinkerbells Dope Ring. Destined for major label success with an EP, debut album, Radiohead Scottish Tour and Hinnies Uk Tour. If you don’t see them now, you will probably see them next on TOTP.
Radiohead tour – ? -Jan 1993.
Radiohead, Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring and Miraclehead, Subway Edinburgh, King Tuts Glasgow. See preview for Radiohead. Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring released the cult highlands single ‘Audrey Hepburn and since moving to Edinburgh are rumoured to have attracted interest from Go! Discs and Island Records.
The List – Jan 1993.
Tinkerbells Dope Ring – Negociants. Already hailed as the Highland’s top unsigned band, TDR have relocated down here in the hope of greater exposure. Rumour has it that this year’s Different Class single will be a Tinkerbells Dope Ring number.
Shock of the North – Highland News – Sept 1992.
Shock of the North, shifted to Tain, seemes a good move, with good attendance and plenty of enthusiasm. The Joyriders headlined with the noisy class which is already taking them to the top. But the night belonged to TDR who took control to sum and fuel the happy shambolic spirit of the crowd, the band’s ability finally matching the grandeur of its gleeful masterplan.
Shock of the North – M8 – Sept 1992.
350 -400 people packed the Duthal Centre Tain to hear som egreat music from five bands from around Scotland, including Demo Page favourites Tinkerbells Dope Ring and the truly wonderful Joyriders. The night kicked off with punk-style Inverness group Make My Day, then indie funk was the order of the day as The Allnighters really got things underway with some real fast bass slapping. June Frost from Edinburg played some swirly laid-back sounds that contrasted with Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring who really got the place jumping and stage diving. The Joyriders were excellent as ever and played tracks from their truly awesome EP. It was a great night. Lets do it more often.
The Sun – July 1992.
TOUR IN A BUGS BUGGY
Skint Inverness band Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring will tour the north of Scotland in an ambulance painted to look like a ladybird. The crazy trio – who caused a stir last year with their tribute to Audrey Hepburn – hope the gigs will earn them a major record deal. Singer Tom Fraser said: ‘We set up our own label last year but there’s not much you can do with £50 in the bank.’
Highland News – June 1992.
Tinkers on the road, doing their bit for the environment, clean living funsters Tinkerbells Dope Ring set out on a 30 gig tour of Scotland from tomorrow. They will be on the road until September and they declare they are sure their bright red and black-spotted ladybird bus is sure to be stopped by the polis for no good reason – their name on the side won’t help either, they believe. However, with the recentish release of their four track live session Tom, Scott and Michael are rarin’ to go, watch out Aberdeen, Tain, Fortrose, Thurso, Stornoway, Uist, Barra, Huntly, Peterhead, Elgin, Glasgow…
Express Sounds -Jim Gellatly – June 1992.
Indie three piece Tinkerbell’s Dope Ring set out on their most extensive tour this weekend. Formed for just over one and a half years, the Inverness band with one of the dodgiest names around have already had a track included on a Highland compilation tape as well as releasinga 4 track single on their own label, Floppy Records. BBC Scotland’s chart show selected the single’s title track, Audrey Hepburn, for a video on the programme – but 12 hours before going down to Glasgow they changed their minds because the Tinks no longer had a girl in the band! Having sacrificed their day jobs for a life on the road in a bright red and black spotted bus, the Tinks kick off the tour by playing the Springfield Hotel in Inverness tomorrow followed by Aberdeen’s Lemon TRee on Saturday. After taking in almost every location from Stornoway to Glasgow the tour winds up at Elgin on August 21.
Demo – M8 – June 1992.
Following on the Inverness trio’s Audrey Hepburn EP of last year comes this recent four-track session for Moray Firth Radio, a cheap n’chirpy collection of rumbustious EMF-meet-Frank-And-Walters slap-happy pop. Would almost certainly have escaped unharmed from the Demo Valley of Death, if it hadn’t been for the vocalists’s unintelligible impediment-hindered rough throat delivery. File under ‘o’ for orthodontics required.