Erics, Liverpool

By David A Hughes, Awaydays Producer

The club featured in the movie is based on the legendary 'Erics'. Most of the bands whose tracks feature in AWAYDAYS played at the club. It was on Mathew Street in Liverpool, the same tacky backstreet where The Cavern used to be. Kevin Sampson and I were both members. During 1978 & 79 , Eric's was the center of my universe. I started going in 1977 during the punk explosion, and from Erics dedicated audience of arty show-offs and moody Bowie clones came bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and OMD. One of my bands was Dalek I Love You, briefly mentioned in the the film when Elvis says 'Thought we was going to see Dalek tonight'.

We all had become used to watching emerging acts like Talking Heads, Television, Devo, Magazine, The Human League and Wire and reckoned we could do something ourselves. If you managed to think of a quirky band name and had a couple of edgy songs, you could be supporting The Clash the following week.

There weren't many members early on. You got to know most of the audience. Thursday was local bands night, free to members and 50 whole pee to guests! Most of the Liverpool scene and Zoo bands made their debuts on a Thursday at Erics.

We saw a lot of raw, art-punk bands who went on to become platinum-selling pop bands. The Police, Simple Minds, Ultravox, for 75p or a pound. I remember about 30 people watching The Human League knowing the best days of punk were now over, electro had arrived... and I was staggered to see how Joy Division progressed from being a pile of shite in one very early gig to jaw-dropping brilliance a couple of months later.

I never heard a Beatles track played at Eric's. The regulars had a dogged (and predictable) anti-Beatles stance, and we all moved to the bar when Souxsie & The Banshees played 'Helter Skelter'. Whatever they'd done to put Liverpool on the map, we knew that Eric's was giving the city a chance to move on from the burden of The Fab Four. Through Roger Eagle's (Erics owner) zealous love of music from all nooks and crannies, we got to hear lots of reggae, weird Louisiana blues, Dub, German Electro and Rockabilly. All these sounds filtered through to the emerging local bands. From Rockin Dopsie & His Cajun Twisters to Tapper Zukie and Matumbi, a night at Eric's was an education - truly the world in one city.

Erics opened your eyes to other things as well. The gents toilets were unusable. Everything went on in the Ladies - and I mean everything. The club was in a basement, so when there was a high tide you could feel the damp in the floor and the girls in their fishnet stocking feet would put their painful pointy boots back on before the rising Mersey tide sent a few rats scurrying across the dance floor.

Above all else Eric's made me , a runty twerp from Birkenhead, feel impossibly cool for long enough to land the drop dead gorgeous love of my life.

Credits / © Red Union Films 2008