English heavy metal band St Hellier were formed in early 1988 by Paul "Porky" Belton, after more than six years of touring the pubs and clubs of Britain as founder member of Deuce (in fact, for a while the band used the name Deuce, as the photo below shows). His aim was to form a band with fewer boundaries and a wider appeal, with young but talented musicians who were unaffected by any past experiences with bands.
The Original Line-up
Kelvin Pring Lead vocals
Paul "Porky" BeIton Lead guitar
Graham Leaney Lead guitar
Dave Read Keyboards
Dave "Jarvis" Brooks Bass
Ade Fowler Drums
Watching You Video. Filmed at Victoria Hall in Southborough back in 1991 before things went high def. Pop over to YouTube and leave a comment.
In September '88 the band recorded a three track cassette (no CDs or MP3s back then!) at The Posthouse Studio in East Peckham. The tape featured Trick of the Eye, Bitter End and Rags to Riches. There' a copy on the downloads page. The quality's not great but it's worth including for historcal purposes. Rags to Riches is also worth listening to.
Back on Terra Firma
In May 1989, the band recorded their debut album Terra Firma at Goldust Studios, London. The album – featuring nine self-penned tracks – received mixed reviews and sold reasonably well. Sadly the audio quality didn't manage to capture the energy of a St Hellier live performance, though the songs themselves stand the test of time.
Frustration setting in
After Terra Firma, Graham called it a day. The band decided to carry on as a 5 piece for the time-being, but continued to look out for another guitarist. In 1991 St Hellier released a four track EP, Frustration. Recorded at Red Studios, Rochester, the title of this self-financed project probably summed up the feeling within the band at the time. Travelling the length and breadth of the country, week in, week out - often for a minimal return - was starting to take its toll on the bands finances.
Metal for Muthas - the beginning of the end
In 1992 old friend of the band, Mark Dyer joined as a replacement for Graham. After the briefest of rehearsals with Mark, St Hellier went into Sumurai Studios in London to record Livin' in Fear for the compilation album Metal for Muthas '92. The CD was only released in Japan on Pony Canyon Records. It didn't sell well, but with a quick Google search it's still not too late to add this classic to your collection!
The Bitter End
Shortly after that Jarvis and Kelvin had a proper fight… we're not sure who won but Jarvis left. His replacement was Steve Saunders. The band rehearsed and wrote new material with Steve, but the magic had gone. St Hellier played for the last time on December 14th 1991 at Rumours in Eastbourne and disbanded in early 1993.