Comprising Phil Woolsey (vocals/guitar), Cliff Mitchel (guitar), Simon Haddock (bass) and Buck Hamill (drums), this bracing alternative rock band was formed in Portadown, Northern Ireland, in 1992. Throughout ensuing years they built their reputation on the back of a torturous touring schedule that took them across Europe as support to artists including Terrorvision, Dog Eat Dog and Therapy? Their hard-drinking but affable outlook immediately won over many critics in the music press, earning them praise that eventually transcended the original criticism that Joyrider were merely ‘Therapy? Jnr’. They also made a point of crossing the sectarian divide by bussing both Protestant and Catholic fans to out-of-town gigs, while parodying religious and paramilitary slogans on their record sleeves. They made their debut with two singles, ‘Dweeb King’ and ‘Getting That Joke Now’, for Blunt Records, run by Andy Cairns of Therapy?, before signing a recording contract with A&M Records subsidiary Paradox. Three EPs, including the excellent Fabulae, endeared them to a growing audience in the UK, but it was their 1996 debut album, at which time Hamill had been replaced by Carl Alty, that convinced others of their long-term potential. The lyrics to ‘Bible Blackbelt’ and ‘Another Skunk Song’, in particular, were simple but effective, the latter song denouncing the prevalence of a particular brand of marijuana on their fellow musicians (‘High every night/And we’re all talking shite’). A second album followed in 1997 but despite further good press the group disbanded shortly afterwards.
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