Ducks Deluxe was formed early in 1972 by former roadies Sean Tyla, Martin Belmont, Nick Garvey and Tim Roper.
Taking their name from a slot machine (The Duck Deluxe) at the Severn Bridge Service Station, of all the early Pub Rock bands the Ducks were the leanest and meanest.
From the start, Sean Tyla took “Get up and boogie or fuck off out of it” as the band’s motto, and their short, fast rock ‘n’ roll songs with snarled vocals and maximum swagger paved the way for Dr Feelgood, Eddie & The Hot Rods and ultimately The Sex Pistols and British punk.
From a base in their squat in Prince of Wales Drive, Camden Town – where they lived on crisp sandwiches and rehearsed day and night – the Ducks built a loyal following at the Tally Ho in Kentish Town, The Kensington (close to Olympia) and The Cock Inn on Holloway Road.
Despite Sean Tyla’s often-offensive stage persona (“Encore? You don’t fucking deserve one!”) their fan base multiplied and the music press posted rave reviews. Soon the record companies started to take notice and in 1973 the Ducks signed with RCA.
Their first single, Coast To Coast, was a high-octane ode to the road with rockabilly overtones which blew open their eponymous debut album three months later. The song attracted radio airplay and a John Peel session.
They toured the UK relentlessly in their beaten-up Ford Transit and in May 1974 they opened for RCA labelmate Lou Reed on a 19-date European tour. But somehow their raw energy never made it across the footlights in the big halls.
Glaswegian keyboard player Andy McMaster joined for the second – but unfortunately lacklustre – album, Taxi To The Terminal Zone, which was recorded at Rockfield with Dave Edmunds twiddling the knobs.
The Ducks played their last gig at London’s 100 Club in July 1975 but, by then, Garvey and McMaster had gone (eventually to form The Motors) while Belmont was soon to join The Rumour and, after a single with Stiff, Tyla and his new band The Tyla Gang signed to Berserkely.
Tyla and Belmont reformed Ducks Deluxe late in 2007 for a limited number of appearances in the UK and France.