Vinegar – Bangor indie band (mid-90s), feat; Spaggz (Leon Craggs) (bass) (now plays in Carbonvein, ex-Fubar, Killing Bagpuss, Babies With Rabies, Skink), Rueben Leach (voc) (ex-Killing Bagpuss), Dave Taylor (gtr) (ex-Killing Bagpuss, Bucko) & Blud (Wayne) (drms) (ex-Fubar, Bucko).
Vinegar formed from the dregs of what was Killing Bagpuss. Reuben, Dave and Wayne had been in several bands together prior to Vinegar with the first formed when they were all 15. Vinegar were basically Killing Bagpuss minus Gareth Horne.
Right from the start Dave decided that he wanted the music to be very quick indie pop that people could dance to. He actually said to Reuben that he didn’t want any slow songs. Dave and Reuben did most of the writing. Dave wrote all of the Music and then the arranging was generally done by Reuben and Dave in Dave’s front room. Leon being a really good bass player had some really great imaginative bass lines and loved buying expensive effects pedals. This added to the sound that Vinegar created. Wayne was a superb drummer too. Full of energy.
Vinegar would practice in the Wayne’s bedroom which was on the top floor of the Mostyn pub in Menai Bridge. Vinegar’s songs included ‘Take A Good Look At Yourself’ and Reuben and Dave’s favourite ‘Deny Me’.
Their first gigs were at the Aber Country Hotel in Abergwyngregyn. Reuben, Dave and Wayne were all sixth formers at the time, Leon was a year older and was busy being technical with Beer – anyway the early gigs were all a success. Usually organised by Reuben, they would regularly attract up to 100 people.
Most Vinegar gigs were done with the likes of Dog Shit on Toast, Vaffan Coulo, Ocean Size and ARD. Although at the time the gigs were called ‘gigs’ looking back they were more like parties with dozens of 16 and 17 year olds using them as an excuse to get hopelessly drunk. Other venues they played at were several in Bangor, one in Denbigh and a famous gig in Porthmadog which is captured on film for posterity. (DVD was available for £10).
Probably most famous and memorable of their gigs was held in Jocks Bar at the Student Union in Bangor. It was originally supposed to be with Blacklisted but they dropped out so a hastily put together ‘support act’ of Trifle, Joe Shooman and Barry Jones was put together calling themselves Noisy Muthas they were exactly that. With typical student bouncer prowess the doormen that night did their utmost to make a pain of themselves, telling the bands they were too loud and making all sorts of daft unreasonable comments. It resulted in the plug being pulled on the power. Not without some protest from Vinegar and the Noisy Muthas though. One of the Bouncers cleverly tried to grab one of Wayne’s drum sticks from him whilst he was in the full throws of ‘Creating Rhythm – his hand is probably still bruised. All hell broke loose, the police were called the rest they say is history.
After this Vinegar unfortunately seemed to peter out. Tom Squires joined the band and practicing moved to Ty Croes in Anglesey. Leaving the hallowed turf of the Mostyn seemed to have a detrimental effect on the band and they slowly fell apart towards the end of 1995. They did reform very briefly during the summer of 1999. Leon at his own decision was replaced on bass by Ashley Roberts, Dave and Reuben wrote some new songs and performed one gig in Barrels in Bangor. The reformation was only ever supposed to be for one gig anyhow as Reuben was off to University. However it was evident that that romantic blinkered excitement of being in a band that everyone had when in school had gone and the practicing seemed hard, not fun as it had been five years prior.
(Contributers: Reuben Leach, Leon Craggs – 04.12.04)