The Senseless Things formed around the enduring musical partnership of songwriter Mark Keds (vocals, guitar) and Morgan Nicholls (bass, originally guitar), who as 11-year-old schoolboys in Twickenham, London, England, put together Wild Division in the early 80s. With the addition of drummer Cass 'Cade' Browne they became the Psychotics, playing various venues in their local area despite still being at school. Their first gig together as the Senseless Things followed at the subsequently demolished Clarendon in Hammersmith, London, in October 1986. Auxiliary members at this stage included a keyboard player Ben, then a guitarist, Gerry, who deputized for Nicholls while the latter was studying for his 'O' Levels.
The definitive Senseless Things line-up finally evolved in summer 1987 when Nicholls returned to take over bass, with the new recruit, former BBC clerk Ben Harding, acquiring the vacant guitarist's role. Taking their musical cue from the Ramones and the Dickies, and their spiritual lead from fellow guitar outfit Mega City Four, the quartet embarked upon a hectic touring schedule that unveiled their roguish charm and obvious potential.
Their youthful zest initially outshone their musical achievements, which were first aired for public consideration on a 7-inch compilation single given away with issue 6 of London fanzine Sniffin' Rock. By March 1988 the band had attracted the attention of BBC disc jockey John Peel, who invited them to record the first of two sessions for his programme. Following another fanzine release, three tracks headed by 'I'm Moving', a friend offered to finance a 'proper' release. The impressive 'Up And Coming' 12-inch followed, then 'Girlfriend'/'Standing In The Rain', for Way Cool Records.
The musical imbalance that had seen them sacrifice melody for speed had, by that time, been thoroughly redressed. The band's debut mini-album, entitled Postcard C.V., arrived in November 1989. It comprised 22 minutes of scratchy, boisterous punk pop now imbued with more shading and subtlety. Continuing to trawl the independent wasteland, the band joined What Goes On Records just as it collapsed, but the situation was rescued by Vinyl Solution subsidiary Decoy Records, who released the four-track EP Is It Too Late?, in May 1990.
The group stayed with Decoy for 'Can't Do Anything', which prefaced an appearance at the Reading Festival, but the groundswell of live support eventually saw them snapped up by Epic Records at the start of 1991. The subsequent The First Of Too Many introduced acoustic guitars and gentler moods to the punky blitzes of yore, and 'Got It At The Delmar' scuttled into the Top 60 of the UK singles chart. Two further Top 20 singles followed in 1992, 'Easy To Smile' and 'Hold It Down'.
The first single from 1993's Empire Of The Senseless, 'Homophobic Asshole', was a brave statement but one that ultimately alienated radio programmers. Despite continuing to write high-quality songs (becoming more reminiscent of the Replacements as time passed by), the momentum had been irretrievably lost. Rumours circulated in March 1995 of the band's impending collapse, having been dropped by their record company.
Of the band's current album, Taking Care Of Business, guitarist Mark Keds would remark: 'We've achieved a very rounded and accomplished rock record, which is what we always set out to do. We're not going to repeat it. Obviously, we'll be touring the album . . . after that, I think it's going to be all change. Whateve comes next is going to be completely different.'
Keds was falsely rumoured to be joining the Wildhearts, with whom he had formerly appeared, while it was also suggested that drummer Cass might link with friends Urge Overkill. Keds eventually settled for Jolt, the band he formed in early 1996.
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 1998
Before they unfortunately split up, the Senseless Things consisted of the following people:
Mark Keds - Vocals/Guitar
Ben Harding - Guitar/Vocals
Morgan Nicholls - Bass
Cass Browne - Drums