Formed in the late ’70s (originally as Stan’s Blues Band) London R&B quartet Nine Below Zero took its name from a Sonny Boy Williamson song.
The band was led by guitarist/vocalist Dennis Greaves and harmonica player Mark Feltham, and also featured bassist Peter Clark and drummer Kenny Bradley.
Beginning as mostly a cover band, Nine Below Zero recorded an EP, Packed Fair and Square, in 1979, which got them a deal with A&M.
Their official debut was a 1980 live album (a rather unusual occurrence) called Live at the Marquee, which consisted mostly of covers and was recorded at the club at which the band had a residency.
Stix Burkey had replaced Bradley by 1981’s Don’t Point Your Finger, which marked the group’s first concentration on original material, mostly by Greaves.
1982’s Third Degree was their most commercially and artistically successful album, but despite regular sold-out English and European tours and unprecedented TV coverage (which included an appearance on the now legendary comedy series The Young Ones), the band broke up soon afterwards.
Feltham kept busy with session work while Greaves joined The Truth.
In 1989, another live album, Live at the Venue, was released, and – since The Truth had dissolved – Greaves and Feltham decided to put together a new version of Nine Below Zero, this one featuring bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Brendan O’Neil.
Their only LP, Off the Hook, was issued in 1992. Two years later, a compilation, Hot Music for a Cold Night, was issued on IRS.
Micky ‘Stix’ Burkey