The ‘Thames Valley Scene’ is a blanket term applied to all bands from Oxford and environs in the late 80’s and 90’s. However Slough’s Thousand Yard Stare always felt themselves to be outsiders when it came to the social and musical circles of the likes of Ride and Lush.
Stephen Barnes (vocals), Giles Duffy (guitar), Alex Lidgate, later replaced by Kevin Moxon (guitar), Dominic Bostock (drums) and Sean McDonough (bass) came together in 1988 after meeting both at school and the Windsor live venue, Psykik Dance Hall.
1991 EP ‘Keepsake’ reached number 1 in both the NME and Melody Maker indie charts and support slots with Carter USM, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Milltown Brothers, Chapterhouse and James followed an appearance at Reading Festival.
The band’s last EP of 1991, and their last release on their own label, ‘Seasonstream’ included the track ‘0-0 a.e.t’ which reached number 65 in the UK Singles Chart and heralded Thousand Yard Stares’ signing to major label Polydor.
1992’s debut album ‘Hands On’ was well received and ended the year at the top of the NME’s Indie Chart.
A front cover for Melody Maker, a number 37 single and follow up album ‘Mappamundi’ appeared to bode well for the band’s future and by the end of 1994 they had toured the US with The Soup Dragons, Carter USM and James.
And yet, by mid ’95 the light had started to wane as the likes of Suede, Blur and Elastica turned the public’s focus toward Britpop, leaving the Yardies bereft of a recording contract and in terminal decline.
Stephen Barnes went on to form ‘Click’ whilst the rest of the band were involved in ‘Euphoria’. Giles has since formed ‘republicofheaven’ whilst Dominic has become a chiropractor in Slough.
“Three people and a dog. Then my amp went down and one of them insisted on offering ‘helpful’ suggestions. And it was cold. Venues should not be cold.”
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