The Woodentops

The Woodentops

Infobox Musical artist
Name = The Woodentops

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Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Northampton, England
Genre = Alternative rock, Indie rock
Years_active = 1983 -
Label = Food, Rough Trade, Columbia, Epic, Hyperactive
Associated_acts =
Current_members = Rolo McGinty
Simon Mawby
Alice Thompson
Frank de Freitas
Benny Staples
Past_members = Paul Hookham
Anne Stephenson

The Woodentops are a British rock band that enjoyed considerable critical acclaim, and moderate popularity in the mid-1980s.


The band formed in 1983 in Northampton, with an initial line-up of Rolo McGinty (vocals, guitar, formerly of The Innocents and The Jazz Butcher), Simon Mawby (guitar), Alice Thompson (keyboards), Frank DeFreitas (bass guitar), and Paul Hookham (drums).cite book |last=Strong |first=Martin C. |title=The Great Alternative & Indie Discography |year= 1999 |publisher=Canongate |isbn=0-86241-913-1 ] cite book |last=Larkin |first=Colin |title=The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music |year= 1992 |publisher=Guinness Publishing |isbn=0-85112-579-4 ] After a debut single, "Plenty" on Food Records in 1984, they signed to the independent label Rough Trade Records, releasing a series of singles in 1985 and their debut album, "Giant", in 1986. Generally well received by critics, the album's sound was characterised by acoustic guitars, but also featured accordion, marimba, strings, and trumpet sounds, showing influences of Suicide. The album reached #35 on the UK Album Chart. A single from the album, "(Love Affair With) Everyday Living" became a minor hit, reaching #72 in the UK Singles Chart.

The band then became more experimental and frenetic live, using more electric guitar and electronic sounds. This first became apparent in their live shows, as documented on the live album "Live Hypno Beat" (1987), which was recorded in Los Angeles in 1986. The band became more raw live and unpredictable, becoming one of the most exciting independent groups from the U.K., while gaining an early hit on the burgeoning club scene in Ibiza with '"Why."

In 1987, Thompson left, to be replaced by Anne Stephenson of The Communards. The more experimental mood was continued on the second album "Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway" released the following year, which failed to live up to the expectations set by the debut. However, most notably, the listeners of Los Angeles radio station KROQ voted their song "Stop This Car" number 15 out of 106 in the KROQ Top 106.7 Countdown of 1988, outperforming many more established acts, and one of the album's standout tracks, "Wheels Turning," became a dancefloor favourite.

The Woodentops continued to play live, touring the world until 1992, and tracks such as "Tainted World" became a regular on New York radio station Kiss Fm with DJ Tony Humphries.

Vocalist and guitarist Rolo McGinty, who also wrote all Woodentops songs, resurfaced with the DJ band Pluto in the 1990s, the Dogs Deluxe electronica project and also provided vocals for Gary Lucas's "Gods and Monsters". The Woodentops have a page ( [] ) and returned to live performance in September 2006, beginning with a warm-up gig in Northampton, England on September 10th.

Original drummer Paul Hookham joined The Redskins.


* Rolo McGinty - vocals, guitar
* Simon Mawby - guitar
* Alice Thompson - keyboards
* Frank de Freitas - bass guitar
* Benny Staples - drums



* "Well, Well, Well... The Unabridged Singles Collection" (1985)Fact|date=April 2008
* "Giant" (1986) Rough Trade/Columbia (UK #35, UK Indie #2)
* "Live Hypnobeat Live" (1987) Rough Trade/Epic (UK Indie #1)
* "Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway" (1988) Rough Trade (UK #48, UK Indie #1)
* "Bamboo: The Best Of The Woodentops" (2003)


* "Plenty" (1984) Food (UK Indie #40)cite book |last=Lazell |first=Barry |title=Indie Hits 1980-1999 |year= 1997 |publisher=Cherry Red Books |isbn=0-9517206-9-4 ]
* "Move Me" (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #9)
* "Well Well Well" (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #1)
* "It Will Come" (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #4)
* "Good Thing" (1986) Rough Trade (UK Indie #7)
* "(Love Affair With) Everyday Living" (1986) Rough Trade (UK #72, UK Indie #1)
* "Give It Time" (1987) Epic (US)
* "You Make Me Feel" (1988) Rough Trade (UK Indie #4)
* "Woodentops Vs. Bang The Party" EP (1991) Hyperactive
* "Stay Out of the Light" (1991) Hyperactive


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