The Return of… Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes

180271_499679518402_1593036_nHi folks. We’re now just over a week away and the countdown appears to be accelerating. Saturday night will be trio-tastic with Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes treading the boards for the first time in several years.

The band formed around about 1988 the band reunited Dentist Bob Collins with his former drummer Ian Greensmith (aka Vic Templar) with the intention of playing US 1960s-style garage-psych-punk covers a la Leo & The Prophets, We The People, The Chocolate Watch Band and the Misunderstood. Completing the group were Dominic Lenton and Kevin Younger, from Medway anti-legends The Train Set (a band so brilliantly lo-fi they made The Daggermen sound like Level 42). Dominic soon made way for Mark Aitken to take the 4-string duties.

Bob 1Bob, a guitarist who quickly got noticed by his Medway peers, had long been a prolific songwriter and with not all of his material deemed suitable for the Dentists, the Ascoynes began incorporating some of Bob’s originals. For those of you who have never heard Bob, Ye Ascoynes  or the Dentists, a producer who had worked with many big names rated Bob one of the two best guitarists he’d ever worked with. The other one was Magazine’s John McGeoch.

When Kevin left c.1990 he was considered irreplaceable and the quartet became a trio. Bob’s Dentist commitments meant that they were never more than a part-time band, rarely playing outside of Medway or south-east London. (Kevin later formed the incomparable Planet of the Apes, who morphed into The Speed of Sound. These days he is a long-serving member of Vic Godard’s Subway Sect. Kevin will be at the Weekender and will be available to sign autographs in exchange for refreshments.)

Ascoynes 2However, they were not without connected friends and Billy Childish, perhaps realising that the band needed archiving despite its inherent laziness, took them in to Red Studio (The Headcoats’ base of choice at the time) in May 1992 to record 4 tracks for a single. The Billy-produced session was a great success with the A-side being Just the Biggest Thing (later covered by Armitage Shanks, again with Ian/Vic at the sticks) and two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Buzzcockian b-sides; Heaven Knows and Time Goes. The fourth cut, Favourite Stuff, Billy and Ian later considered the best of a great batch but it remains unreleased, although it will be in the set in San Sebastian.

Billy was very keen to get straight back to the studio to oversee an album, and although the band had plenty of material it never happened.

Ascoynes 3The band also developed a penchant for covering songs that you would never imagine a power-pop trio to tackle; Mr Blue Sky, Get Down, Psychedelic Shack & Where Are you Baby? spring to mind.

Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes have never broken up, just fizzled down to doing one gig every eight years or so, so we are extremely delighted and lucky to have them appearing at the Medway Legends Weekender for their first ever gig outside of the UK.

Band Photos by Terry Lane. Colour photo unknown. Sleeve by Vic Templar.

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