Twelfth Night (band)

Twelfth Night (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Twelfth Night

Img_capt = Twelfth Night, September 2007 | Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born =
Died =
Origin = England
Instrument =
Voice_type =
Genre = Neo-progressive rock
Occupation =
Years_active = 1978–1987, 2007-
Label =
Associated_acts =
Current_members = Andy Sears
Andy Revell
Brian Devoil
Mark Spencer
Clive Mitten
Past_members = Electra McLeod
Geoff Mann
Rick Battersby
Martyn Watson
Notable_instruments =

Twelfth Night are an English neo-progressive rock band of the 1980s, reformed in 2007.



The seeds of Twelfth Night were sown when guitarist Andy Revell and drummer Brian Devoil joined forces on 20 February 1978 as "The Andy Revell Band" to win a talent competition at Reading University. The road crew included Geoff Mann as backdrop painter, and Rick Battersby as dry ice engineer. Devoil's previous musical experience was of various local bands in Reading, including "Trash" with whom he recorded a single "Priorities" released by Polydor in October the previous year. Revell's previous bands (in Bournemouth) included "Joe Soap and The Bubbles" and "Abraxas". Later in 1978 Clive Mitten wandered into a rehearsal and asked for a job. (Devoil described Mitten as being very good in creating opportunities, convincing them when he said "you need a bass player".Fact|date=February 2007) Mitten had previously played with local bands in Brighton, including "Luna Hare".

Twelfth Night

Following a couple of gigs as the "Andy Revell Band", the band changed their name to Twelfth Night. In March 1979 the band completed its first recording which resulted in the 'legendary' Skan demo (Line-up: Devoil, Mitten, Revell). Later, during the Summer, they played one notable gig: a Midsummer Rock Concert at Reading University where friend Mann guested on vocals. After a couple of open air concerts in the summer, the band retired to Mann's parents' home in Manchester for rehearsals taking Battersby with them. While there they played a gig in Salford to an audience of 10 year olds.

When Battersby and Mann joined the band it was their first musical venture, although Battersby had previously been classically trained in the piano. However, Mann decided to remain in Manchester to paint and work with a close friend, Peter Lawrence, in a two-piece "off the wall" band called the "God Stars". So Twelfth Night, having decided to forge ahead as an instrumental band, started gigging in earnest early in 1980. These early gigs were mainly pubs in the Home Counties.

Coming to notice

The band's first publically available material was released in January 1980. This was an album featuring live versions of Fur Helene and Encore along with studio tracks Freddie Hepburn and Sequences. It was only available as a cassette and was named The First Tape Album. Their first major breakthrough came when music paper "Musicians Only" voted this tape its "Demo of the Week". This was followed by an ecstatic gig review and full page article - the band's first national press.

To find a vocalist the band advertised in "Melody Maker" and during that summer recruited American singer Electra MacLeod.

Electra added lyrics to a number of previously instrumental pieces, notably The Cunning Man, Abacus, Keep The Aspidistra Flying and Sequences. Live recordings of this line-up remain unreleased.

The band, with Electra, recorded a second cassette album (known variously as "Twelfth Night, The Electra Tapes and Early Material") which was released to coincide with an autumn tour. However, this didn't work out and Electra left during November 1980. Despite this, a single, jokingly named "The First 7" Album" (TN001) was released that December featuring Electra's vocal contribition to The Cunning Man and a newly recorded short version of Fur Helene.

Following Electra's departure the band quickly recorded a live album, Live At The Target (TN002). This album was released in February 1981 and was promoted by extensive live dates on a couple of which support was provided by "God Stars". This tour included the band's first gigs at the Marquee Club, London.


The album Live At The Target was recorded over two days in January. This led to a publishing deal with Neptune - signed in March 1981 - and the initial success of the album prompted Pinnacle Records to offer a distribution deal which meant the band had product available nationally for the first time. It appeared in both Heavy Metal and Hippy charts in both Melody Maker and Sounds.

Once again the summer saw them searching for a vocalist. One track recorded with Reading vocalist Ian Lloyd-Jones in May 1981 was intended as a single, but did not materialise.

Eventually they recruited Mann once again and opened the Reading festival in August 1981, making history as the first local band to appear at the event. Mann's own version of Sequences, debuted at Reading, would soon become a live staple and, ultimately, perhaps the best-loved Twelfth Night song.

After this they disappeared into the studio to demo some new songs. Some of the tracks from these demos were released on an LP length tape early in December 1981. Entitled Smiling At Grief (TN003) it also included Fur Helene Part II, one of the earliest tracks written in 1978 and not previously released. During this period Battersby left the band to pursue some solo projects. By this time, Live At The Target had also enjoyed significant sales in America, Scandinavia and Europe.

The band spent most of 1982 writing and recording the Fact and Fiction (TN006) album. Commenced in May it wasn't finally finished and released until December. Mitten doubled on keyboards in Battersby's absence and a few gigs were done as a four piece that autumn.

During the summer an offer to appear on TV came "out of the blue" and so the band performed East of Eden on the first ever David Essex Showcase. It was screened on BBC1 on June 26, 1982.

Two tracks which didn't find room on the Fact and Fiction album, Eleanor Rigby and East of Eden were released on single (REV009) in October 1982. Battersby then rejoined in December 1982, completing the line-up for the Fact and Fiction Tour which began in January 1983 and included the band's first headline gig at the Marquee. Bullet & Pinnacle Records took over distribution of the new album.

A new epic track, The Collector, was performed and demoed during the first half of 1983.

In August 1983 the band once again performed at the Reading Festival. CBS records seemed poised to offer a recording deal after four demos were recorded for CBS the previous May.

Departure of Mann

In November 1983 Mann left after two sell-out gigs at the Marquee, which were recorded for a live album, "Live And Let Live". Mann commenced a solo career, and was replaced by vocalist/songwriter Andy Sears (ex Canis Major, Isis, Rapid Apple, and Silva) in December.


In January 1984 the band began an extensive period of touring with Andy Sears, coinciding with the release of the Live And let Live LP on the Music For Nations label (Cat. No. MFN18). Highlights included a slot supporting Pallas at Hammersmith Odeon, London, in March and several more gigs at the band's second home the Marquee Club - including one which was filmed. This concert went out "live" in several European countries and was recorded for subsequent broadcast in the UK as part of a series: "Live From London". Twelfth Night's performance has never been broadcast, but was later released on video entitled "The Creep Show" and a DVD "Live From London".

Immediately after touring the band signed a management and publishing deal with Hit and Run Music, joining Genesis and Peter Gabriel amongst others at the company.

While most of summer 1984 was spent preparing new material, including a major new song Take A Look, the band broke cover in July to play their first major London headline at the Dominion Theatre. It was a great success with some 1,500 people attending. In August the band travelled to Liverpool to record the Art and Illusion album with Gil Norton (of "Echo and the Bunnymen" fame) producing. Soon after its release in October it reached No. 83 in the national chart. The tour saw the band playing much larger venues than before and included the Dominion Theatre again and what turned out to be their only gig outside the UK, in Marburg, Germany.

1985 started with a couple of special birthday gigs at the Marquee under the pseudonym Jan Six and the Cryptk Clues which sold out in advance through the fan club. Most of the rest of the first half of the year was spent writing new material, some of which was tried out during the Corner of the World tour in May.

At last it seemed that the band was going to get a major record deal when Charisma Records decided to sign them. However, in July, while most of the band are on holiday, the company went bust. Not dispirited the band played a charity gig (Wycombe Live Aid) followed by three consecutive nights at the Marquee - their 14th, 15th and 16th successive sell-out gigs there.

September: the songs for the next album are selected and the band, with producer John L. Walters, begin pre-production. Virgin Records takes over Charisma.

November: recording of the album begins at Jacobs studios in Farnham, Surrey... and then finally, after years of waiting, the band sign a long-term, world wide, major record deal with Virgin. The date: The 12th day of the 12th month, 1985.

1986: recording moves to Swanyard and Rooster Studios in London and the album is mixed at Wessex. Executive producer Richard Burgess doesn't last the course. April comes and the band premiere the album to "Virgin people" and a few invited fans at a special "showcase" concert at the Marquee.

In May, there was another special concert, this time at the Town and Country Club, London. Filmed by the BBC for "Old Grey Whistle Test" - Blue Powder Monkey is subsequently shown. Radio 1 also record the show but decide not to broadcast it. In June, Virgin release Shame as a single b/w Blue Powder Monkey. In July, the album Twelfth Night is released (Cat. No. CASG1174) followed soon after by Take a Look b/w Blondon Fair as the second single from it. Though receiving critical acclaim the overall sales of the album were disappointing, though it went straight in at No. 1 in Reading's local chart. Before the end of the year the band once again played Hammersmith Odeon in London.

Departure of Sears and Mitten

Andy Sears left the band in late 1986, severely disappointed with the complete lack of direction and promotional strategy displayed by Virgin. Sears was replaced by Martyn Watson from Pookah Makes Three. After initial rehearsals as a 5-piece, Clive Mitten also left, early in 1987, to run a recording studio. The contract with Virgin is terminated shortly after, and although the band continue as a four piece, with Watson doubling on bass, the writing is on the wall and by summer that year Twelfth Night is no more.

The last set of songs written by Revell, Devoil, Battersby and Watson receive a one-off live airing when the four of them support Geoff Mann at one of his, Marquee gigs. Twelfth Night quietly split.


In 1988 during one of the frequent calls between band members the subject of the unrecorded song The Collector was discussed. Mitten offers studio time and so it is that in May the "original" line-up (Revell, Devoil, Mitten, Mann and Battersby) assembled to right that particular wrong. While there a new version of Love Song was also recorded. After careful deliberation the band offered a compilation of these and others to M.F.N in the form of the album Collector's Item and was finally released in early 1991.

Geoff Mann died of cancer in February 1993. In 1996 Andy Sears went to live in Spain, where he became actively involved in various projects, including an appearance at the Tiana festival (Barcelona), originally planned as a Twelfth Night reunion. In 2006 Sears was invited to supply all the backing vocals for a new [ Galadriel] album.

In the period since the band's demise a number of archive live recordings have become officially available from Brian Devoil's archives and a new compilation album, Voices In The Night was released in 2007.


Quite unexpectedly in June 2007, Clive Mitten and Andy Sears announced a one-off gig performing Twelfth Night material to take place in November 2007. By July, it had been confirmed that they would be billed as Twelfth Night, and in September, a 2nd gig was added and both Andy Revell and Brian Devoil were revealed as part of the line-up. Mark Spencer, formerly the vocalist in 80s prog band LaHost, Andy Sears' one time flatmate, and an old friend of the band replaced Rick Battersby. Further gigs in the UK and Spain in May 2008 included a guest appearance from Geoff Mann's son James, singing Love Song.

Future group activity is uncertain.

Lineup history



* "Skan" : March 1979
* "The First Tape Album" : January 1980
* "Early Material" : October 1980
* "Smiling At Grief" : January 1982, re-released on CD in 1997


* "Live At The Target": February 1981, re-released on CD in 2004 with 3 bonus tracks
* "Fact and Fiction": December 1982, re-released on CD in 2002 with 7 bonus tracks
* "Live and Let Live": January 1984, re-released on CD in 1996 with 3 bonus tracks
* "Art And Illusion": October 1984, re-released on CD in 2003 with 7 bonus tracks
* "Twelfth Night": July 1986, re-released on CD in 2005 with 6 bonus tracks


* "Collector's Item": 1991, reissued with some different tracks 2001
* "Voices In The Night" : 2007

Archive releases

* "Smiling At Grief ... Live": March 2003, live recording from 1981
* "A Midsummer's Night Dream": 2005, live recording from 1980
* "Corner Of The World Tour": 2005, live recording from 1985
* "Live From London": 2005, live recording from 1984
* "Entropy": 2006, live recording from 1981
* "Flashbacks": 2006, live recording from 1983
* "Night Vision": 2006, live recording from 1984


* The First 7" Album : 7" single December 1980
* East of Eden / Eleanor Rigby : 7" single 1982
* Shame / Shame(ful mix) : 7" and 12" single June 1986
* Take A Look (part 4) / Blondon Fair (short version) 7" single August 1986
* Take A Look (part 4) / Blondon Fair (long version) / Take A Look (album version) 12" single August 1986

External links

* [ The Twelfth Night Collector] ; Fan site containing useful information.
* [ Fact and Fiction] ; Yahoo Groups site.

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