Andy McMaster and Nick Garvey got together in 1974 when the former successfully auditioned for a keyboard slot in Ducks Deluxe, a London-based pub rock band. Garvey played bass in the short-lived Ducks.
Ducks Deluxe split up in early 1975, and when McMaster and Garvey resurfaced as The Motors two years later (with Bram Tchaikovsky and drummer Rick Slaughter), they were far more assured of what they wanted to do.
The Motors – produced by wide-screen sonic colourist Robert John “Mutt” Lange – was a sophisticated variation on New Wave: metallic guitars and a mostly pounding pulse set up by the rhythm section.
Their first single was Dancing the Night Away, which reached #42 in the UK Singles Chart in 1977.
The next six months saw the band established as a fine live act, although singles Be What You Wanna Be and Sensation came and went, out of step with Britain’s New Wave.
A second album, Approved by the Motors (1978), was transitional: four tracks retained the first LP’s unique sound, but there was also bouncy commercial pop-rock (some fluff too close to MOR for comfort) and anomalously theatrical emoting.
Approved yielded two UK hit singles, Forget About You and Airport – four glorious minutes of pop perfection and a Top 5 hit – but The Motors suffered the loss of Tchaikovsky in late 1978 and ground to a halt.
Tchaikovsky moved swiftly from band-member to leader and made a dent in both the UK and US Top 40.
Tenement Steps (1980) was released by the remaining Motors, heralding a further refinement of the Motors’ aural approach. The LP was dominated by keyboards – with orchestral backing slipping in and out of the songs. it was a far cry from the chromium-layered guitar sound of the debut LP.
The band finally split up after the failure of two further 45s – That’s What John Said and Metropolis.
Nick Garvey went solo, releasing one album, Blue Skies (1982), and Terry Williams joined Dire Straits.
Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass
Bass, keyboards, vocals
Ricky Slaughter (Wernham)