Diesel Park West

Diesel Park West
Diesel Park West
Origin Leicester, England
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1981–present
Labels Food Records
Website http://www.dieselparkwest.com/

Diesel Park West are an alternative rock band from Leicester, England. Formed in 1981, they have released ten albums to date, plus six singles that have appeared in the UK Singles Chart.[1]


Original line-up

  • John Butler (vocals, guitar, born 17 April 1954)
  • Rick Willson (guitar, vocals, born 1 December 1959)
  • Geoff Beavan (bass, born 24 January 1953)
  • David 'Moth' Smith (drums, born 23 July 1951).


The early years, 1981-1987

The band was originally formed in 1980 as The Filberts (after local football team, Leicester City's former Filbert Street ground), although they would also occasionally appear as The Psychedelic Filberts. Their main influences come from the West Coast sound of 1960s bands such as Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield and Love. The main creative force in the band is Butler, who writes nearly all the band's material. Butler and Moth (who had also drummed for local Leicester band, Gypsy) had previously played together in a short-lived band called The Flicks, releasing one album in 1979 called Go For The Effect. Three Psychedelic Filberts tracks were released - a cover of The Byrds' "Lady Friend" on the Obscure Independent Classics Volume 2 album; a cover of The Beatles' "Rain" which was included on Yeah Yeah Noh's final release, the Temple Of Convenience EP; and "Atlantis 1968", which appeared on the He Didn't Even Draw A Fish On My Shower Curtain compilation album.[2]

Butler was a mainstay of the Leicester music scene for many years, and had toured the America with the Mott the Hoople offshoots, Widowmaker.

After recruiting Willson (formerly of the heavy metal band, Brooklyn) and Beavan (formerly of Agony Bag),[3] the band started a long period of writing and recording in their Barkby Road studios. During this time they amassed an amount of songs, honing their skills and trying to get record label attention.

The band released a one-off single as The Come On called "Guitar Party", but it was several years before they got a recording contract. On Good Friday 1987, when Butler received a call from David Balfe from the small independent record label, Food Records, leading to the band's signing by the label. Balfe was not happy with the band's name and told them to change it. Eventually they came up with Diesel Park West.

August 1987 saw the release of band's debut single, "When the Hoodoo Comes". It began to get airplay on late night radio shows and word of mouth about the band started to spread, and the Food label was acquired by EMI. Mick Salisbury joined the band at around this time as third guitarist.

Major record label years, 1988-1992

With a big label now behind the band, they went into Olympic Studios in January 1988 to start work on their debut album. With Chris Kimsey of The Rolling Stones fame producing, the sessions were completed, and in May 1988, Salisbury was replaced by Rich Barton (born July 1957).

Their second single, "Jackie's Still Sad" was released in October 1988, dealing with the life of Jackie Onassis, and although it failed to chart, it gained a number of positive reviews, including 'single of the week' in Record Mirror. The album, Shakespeare Alabama, was released on 30 January 1989, and was well received in the music press, but the album only reached #55 in the UK Albums Chart.[1] To coincide with the album release, the band supported Big Country on tour, and then followed that up with a headlining tour of their own.

It was around this time that the baggy scene took hold, and The Stone Roses took the media's attention, and Disel Park West, despite sharing the same influences were perceived as out of step with the times.[4]

After the release of a reworked "When the Hoodoo Comes" in August 1989, the band fell quiet. Although their cover version of Jesus Jones' "Info Freako" on The Food Christmas various artists EP gave them a taste of Top 30 chart success in November 1989,[4] it would be over a year after The Hoodoo EP before their release - an album of b-sides, covers and outtakes, entitled Flipped.

During this time Smith departed the band, and they eventually went to record their second album without a full time drummer. In September 1990, they went to Belgium to work with Laurie Latham, using a drum machine on many tracks. Recording was finished in early 1991, but the lead single, "Fall to Love", was not released until September, reaching #48 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1992.[1] Their album, Decency, was released on 3 February 1992, and peaked at #57 in the UK Albums Chart.[1] On the supporting tour, Dave Anderson (born 27 April 1967), joined the band on drums.

In September 1992, a cover of the Beach Boys, "God Only Knows" was released as a single in various formats, each with a number of other cover versions including Moby Grape’s "Bitter Wind", The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", The Rolling Stones’ "Tumbling Dice" and Jesus Jones’ "Info Freako".

Having acquired Virgin Records, EMI went through a clean up of their roster and the Diesels found themselves without a label.

Independent years, 1993-1995

They were picked up by Demon Records. The Diesels recorded their third album, Diesel Park West vs. the Corporate Waltz. Its accompanying singles, "Six Days to JuJu" and "The Cat’s Still Scratching" failed to make an impact on the charts. Diesel Park West were dropped by their label, but the independent record label, Permanent Records stepped in and, in 1995, they released FreakGene, their fourth album. Belinda Carlisle later recorded a cover of "I See No Ships" from the album. Geoff Beavan had left the band prior to recording this album and was replaced by Ian Michie. The band left Permanent Records after the album's release, and after a farewell concert in Leicester, they split up.

Split, solo and re-formation, 1997-present

EMI released a best of in 1997 called Left Hand Band (Butler, Willson and Michie all being left-handed).

Butler signed to Chrysalis Records for a solo deal. His album, The Loyal Serpent, was released on 3 November 1997 and gained a four star review in Q magazine. Although it was a solo album, his former band mates all played on part of the recording.

In 1998, Diesel Park West returned with a new album, HIPReplacement, comprising songs recorded before the band split. They also released a bonus CD, made up of the Shakespeare Alabama demos. The band reformed and toured. During 1999 the band played one off gigs in Leicester and London, showcasing some new material and playing Shakespeare Alabama, but Smith left the band again.[5] In 2000, the band signed to Hypertension Records and their next album, Thought For Food was released in August.

In early 2001, Butler unveiled his second solo album, Worthless Bastard Rock. To complete their deal with Thunderbird Records, a compilation of the demos from Shakespeare Alabama and Decency called King of Ghosts was released in 2002. Shakespeare Alabama was reissued in August 2006. A DVD of the Diesels in concert over the years was released in April 2007, called Damned Anthems.

The Diesel's next album, Blood And Grace, was released in June 2007, preceded by the single "There's A Grace" on their own Danville Records label. This is the first time that the band had recorded a new record since The Corporate Waltz. The follow-up single "Personal Lives" came out in August. Rob Morris (ex Crazyhead) joined on drums. "There's a Grace" received radio airplay and Janice Long invited them onto her BBC Radio 2 show for a session.

The Diesel's teamed up with Chris Kimsey again to record for a new album called Do Come In, Excuse The Mess due for release in late 2011.



  • Shakespeare Alabama (January 1989) UK #55[1]
  • Flipped (b-sides, out-takes etc., August 1990)
  • Decency (February 1992) UK #57[1]
  • Diesel Park West vs. The Corporate Waltz (June 1993)
  • FreakGene (May 1995)
  • Left Hand Band (Best of, February 1997)
  • HIPReplacement (September 1998)
  • Thought for Food (August 2000)
  • King of Ghosts (demos, March 2002)
  • Blood and Grace (2007)
  • Do Come In Excuse The Mess (2011)


  • "When The Hoodoo Comes" (1987)
  • "Jackie's Still Sad" (1988)
  • "All the Myths on Sunday" (1989) UK #66[1]
  • "Like Princes Do" (1989) UK #58[1]
  • The Hoodoo EP (1989) UK #62[1]
  • "Fall to Love" (1992) UK #48[1]
  • "Boy on Top of the News" (1992) UK #58[1]
  • "God Only Knows" (1992) UK #57[1]
  • "Six Days to JuJu" (1993)
  • "The Cat's Still Scratching" (1993)
  • "The Natural Things" (withdrawn, 1995)
  • "Love It" (1998)
  • "There's A Grace" (2007)
  • "Personal Lives" (2007)

Compilation contributions


  • Damned Anthems (2007)

John Butler solo


  • The Loyal Serpent (September 1997)
  • Worthless Bastard Rock (February 2001)


  • "Wings of the Morning" (withdrawn, 1997)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 155. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ He Didn't Even Draw A Fish On My Shower Curtain
  3. ^ BandToBand.com : Hot Rockin!
  4. ^ a b Strong, Martin C.:The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, 1999, Canongate, ISBN 0-86241-913-1
  5. ^ During this period, the band accepted an invitation to contribute to More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album, a tribute album for Moby Grape co-founder Skip Spence, who was terminally ill with cancer.

External links

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