Mark Sturdy lead vocals/guitar/violin abuse Dean License lead guitar/odd vocals Dana Ciocan rhythm guitar/violin/keyboards Helen Gill bass Alex Odell drums
Arthur's Departure was formed at the University of Warwick in summer 2000 because Mark wanted to be in a band and Deano and Dana wanted to be in a band other than the one they were already in. We met up for a practice in Deano's room that went well enough for us to reconvene after the summer holiday and continue with tentative songwriting and general noodling. By November we'd graduated to proper band rehearsals in a practice room at the university with Nick Denny on drums and Lisa Cashmore on bass.
By the start of 2001 we'd accumulated enough material (5 songs) and basic-level competence (ability to sometimes play said 5 songs all the way through) to start thinking about playing live, and through a string of unlikely circumstances (notably Venini momentarily looking as if they weren't about to split up), on February 8th 2001 we found ourselves on the stage of top Coventry nitespot the Colosseum, second on the bill at a Warwick band night. 20 minutes later, we had made our live debut and were being told that we were "like the Velvet Underground fronted by Jarvis Cocker" and "the best band I've seen all year but the other one was Dodgy so you know".
Further appearances followed around Coventry at the Campbell and a Warwick University Battle of the Bands thing (and an extremely poor contribution to a studenty compilation CD which has hopefully now been buried forever), but June 2001 saw the end of this era when we lost Lisa to America and Nick to a mobile phone company in Didsbury. After that, a bewildering succession of people came in and out of the band - the multitalented and multicellular Simon McSimon came in on drums, and we robbed the monotalented and monocellular AJ Seabright from top black metal ska-punk MOR free jazz outfit Dangermousse to play bass. A dodgy gig at the Silver Sword in Coventry followed at Christmastime before Simon decided he'd rather be in a band where he can play bass or guitar or something (he is better at doing these things than drumming), and icecool jazzmeister Alex Odell found himself behind the drumstool. This line-up did a great comeback gig at Warwick University and we managed to get our first proper recordings done (downloadable here) before AJ went to wherever it was that he went to, allowing the boy-shaped body of Harry Duns to fill the bass-playing slot about a day and a half before our first London gig, at the Bull & Gate. Several more rather excellent concerts later, Alex and Harry left cos they had to go home or something. Lesser bands would have crumbled at this point, but (to quote John Cleese) of course, we were getting used to it by now. Helen joined on bass and we triumphed splendidly at Night & Day in Manchester with Carl Banks filling in on drums.
A lengthy gap followed for the rest of 2002 and into 2003, as we struggled to find a new drummer and Mark concentrated on writing his book. By February, things were moving forward again and we were practicing with a new drummer, Chris Basford. However, before long disaster struck once again when Chris... er... stopped being in Arthur's Departure. At this point, for various reasons (not least the logistical hell that keeping five people in the band and getting them in the same room together had become), we made the decision to split up. As you find us now, we've coaxed Alex back and are getting ready to do our final concerts in Coventry.
A profound concluding paragraph that ties up all the loose ends and makes some sort of sense and hope out of the depressing state of disarray in which things are ending may not follow.