A Brief History of Imbalance

Around the beginning of 2001 I sat down to attempt to write an Imbalance history for the Imbalance website that Rob Collins was constructing. It took a while and revisiting it four years later brought back some fond memories. As it is now January 2005 and Rob is in the middle of constructing an updated site I thought I would re visit the text, and bring it up to date. There have been many changes since the original version, which I hope to illustrate. However, this is not a comprehensive history, if I ever get the book that I’ve been banging on about for five years off the ground that will fill in the gaps.


This is a brief history of Imbalance as I remember it.


Andy Bryant. January 2005.

In The Beginning......


Originally, sometime in 1994, a Grimsby band known as ‘Fold’ split up, they hadn’t even played one gig. Bjorn Christensen and myself were in this band. We’d both been in different bands before, I was in ‘Defunkt’ (great name, I’m sure you’ll agree), and various other dubiously titled hardcore bands that never lasted more than two or three practices. Bjorn had been in ‘Kung Fu Joe’ a band that had done a few gigs and done a demo. We both wanted to do a hardcore punk rock band, at this time pop punk was the greatest thing since sliced bread in Grimsby and that’s what most people into punk in any capacity wanted play.

At around a similar time, Rob Collins had recently stopped playing guitar in another Grimsby punk band, ‘Peroxis’. Peroxis had been doing regular gigs in Grimsby for some time and had recorded a couple of demos.


Prior to this Rob had spent some of his (mis) spent youth in bands, namely ‘The Ice Cream Villains’ and ‘M.A.F’(mad as fuck, would you believe), and also a ten-piece soul band.  Rob had a lot of involvement with the ‘Music Workshop’, a youth club, for want of a better term, run by the local authority, which provided a practice place and instruments to aspiring young musicians.


For a while it stayed just like this, a guitarist, a bassist, and a kid who couldn’t play any instruments and just wanted to shout. Three people who wanted to do a hardcore punk rock band but didn’t know of any drummers interested in doing this type of music.

Around the beginning of 1995, a friend introduced our three ‘heroes’ to a guy called Nick. Nick had played in a couple of grunge bands, lived in another town, didn’t have access to a car, and wasn’t on the phone.


I suppose we couldn’t see it at the time but it was destined to fail. We hardly rehearsed and could never get hold of Nick. Despite the fact that it didn’t work out with Nick, we wrote four songs, ‘Agitate the Agitator’, ‘Alien Nation’, ‘Crave Social Acceptance’ and the rather embarrassingly titled, ‘Co-operate with the Corporation’.


So, we were without a drummer again and it stayed like this for a short while. Racking our brains we could only think of one person that would be in any way interested in playing drums in this type of band, and that was Grun. None of us really knew him but he’d been in Grimsby bands since Jesus was a baby, the most famous one to us being ‘Mortis’. Since the heady days of Mortis being ‘the’ thrash metal band in Grimsby, Grun had been in ‘Sub-Effect’, a ‘Helmet-esque’ three piece, and then ‘Grasshopper’, whose music I can’t even begin to describe. Grun had been in various other bands, like I said, ‘since Jesus was a baby’. We still weren’t sure about asking him but one of our friends who wasn’t and still isn’t known for his tact, asked him anyway. So there I was at a gig in Grimsby, namely at the ‘White Hart’ pub, watching two death metal bands, ‘Crawlspace’ and ‘Evoke’. Grun came up to me and said something like, “Erm, yeah, erm, all right Andy, Bean said you might be looking a drummer, like”, and so it was, what would be the band Imbalance was born.


In October ’95 Imbalance had its first band practice. The three ‘founding’ members decided to ditch two of the four songs that’d we’d written with Nick. The only surviving songs of B.G (before Grun [that is fucking old]) are Agitate the Agitator, the first ever song, and Crave Social Acceptance. Both of these songs eventually made it onto our 1998 full length ‘Spouting Rhetoric’.


At this point we were using ‘Sounds Good’ recording studio as a rehearsal room, it is really strange looking back on those early days considering it was almost ten years ago. At this point I’d just started working as a delivery driver for a garage (shit in terms of job satisfaction, but driving around listening to music is not that bad). I believe that Bjorn was working at ‘the lead factory’ (which will always be referred to as this forever). He was ‘making’ the lead for leaded windows, Bjorn will recount this time as the best ‘having a laugh at work’ job he’s ever had. Rob was working at SGS, the same company he works for now. However, at this point he was based in Immingham and if I cast my mind back was still working too many hours for not enough money even then. I seem to remember thinking of Rob as this really responsible ‘older’ guy back then, but I think that just comes down to unfamiliarity. I’m really having to stretch my memory to remember what Grun was doing but I believe that he was a buffet type guy for British Rail (remember that), anyway I seem to remember conversations about selling pop and crisps and stuff like that. We were rehearsing weekly and as anyone who’s ever been in a band will probably agree in terms of song writing, it was our ‘fastest period’.


The first song we wrote with Grun was ‘Graffiti’. I can remember us writing that in ridiculous detail. Between writing that song and our first ever gig we wrote a fair amount of songs. And at this point it’s worth mentioning a bit about what Grimsby was like in terms of a ‘scene’.


Grimsby is geographically ‘cut-off’, no one passes through Grimsby, and the only reason you come to Grimsby is to visit Grimsby.  Grimsby bands tended to stay in Grimsby; if they were popular they generally stayed in Grimsby doing regular gigs but did little else outside of the town. Things have changed dramatically in Grimsby since those days and whilst there is still no abundance of venues allowing hardcore punk rock, I can think of a number of bands that are involved in the wider underground punk rock scene. Amazingly, Grimsby now has a DIY punk record shop, something, which just couldn’t exist previously.  When Imbalance first started there were fewer options than today.


Our first gig was March 1st 1996 with Crawlspace, a local death metal band. The band ‘Fold’ was members of Imbalance and Crawlspace. The gig was at ‘Cartergate Rooms’ a tardis type affair in Grimsby’s town centre. Imbalance and Jamie from Crawlspace had set this gig up. I seem to remember that there was a bit of a buzz going around about us playing within the ‘alternative’ scene. Also, Crawlspace were firm favourites in what they did, so it turned out really good for a first ever gig.


Our set was:


*   Agitate the Agitator

*   Disappointed by the Reality

*   Graffiti

*   Inconsiderate

*   Pet Rabbit

*   The Good Guys and the Bad Guys

*   Crave Social Acceptance

*   Step down (Sick of it All)

*   Unbalanced Power

*   Message in a Bottle

*   Chantilly Lace (The Big Bopper)

*   Best Intentions


We thought our first gig went great and even though it’s so embarrassing to watch the video, when I do it’s like yesterday and I’ve got a clear recollection of everything about it.



We desperately didn’t want to get into the whole thing of playing Grimsby all the time, so we decided to just take it easy. In April 96, we recorded for the first time, at Birdsong Studios in Scunthorpe. We decided on Birdsong because Crawlspace had recorded their 7” there and we also knew that Steve at Birdsong had recorded Napalm Death and various other bands of that ilk.

We recorded six songs:


  Disappointed by the reality


*   Message in a bottle


*   Graffiti


*   Inconsiderate


*   Best intentions


*   Little progress


After recording the demo we really didn’t know what to do with it, we had it in our heads that someone would ‘release’ it as a single. Which on reflection is pretty silly, as no one had even heard of us so we were being a bit optimistic really. So it kind of got sat on for a bit. I went off on holiday and in my absence the other guys organised another gig – our second, which ended up being at the same shed as the first with Crawlspace….again. It went well we enjoyed it and there’s not much more to it than that, one thing that it did was further embed the thought that we would not be satisfied just doing gigs in Grimsby.


At this point we didn’t know anyone involved in the larger underground hardcore punk rock scene, I’d been to a number of gigs over the past four years but tended to go, hang around with other Grimbarians and that’s it. We also had gravitated toward the larger US bands, generally because those were the ones we heard about.  As I mentioned, no bands really came to Grimsby either, so it did feel then in terms of trying to get gigs we were fighting a losing battle. I never really knew much at all about record labels and remember going through ‘How we Rock’ and sending a tape to every label/gig organiser bugging about gigs and putting out a single etc. Of the 30-40 that we sent out, a few actually replied and it was cool to get response, people gave advice on how to put out a record or put us on to people who could help us with gigs, or even just gave us a bit of encouragement.

Sometime in Autumn 1996 I went to gig at ‘The Speakeasy’ in Sheffield, I think there were about 10 bands playing including ‘Schmuck’ (who eventually became Canvas), the infamous ‘Bloodgreen’, Self Inflicted, Bleeding Principle, Too little too Late, none of whom exist any longer but that is beside the point. I handed a few tapes around and from that we began corresponding with people across the country, and there did seem to be a bit of buzz of people wanting if not able to organise gigs. Meanwhile back in Grimsby, Lee who was then in a local band named Fallout, (more recently Radio Alice) got together with a few friends including Dave (from the band, One Car Pile Up) and started organising regular gigs in Grimsby under the banner of ‘Fun with Matches’. Again bands passed through we traded tapes etc. and people from outside of Grimsby began taking a bit of notice. In December 96 we played our third gig at the Wellington Arms in Grimsby with Pinto (twelve years old and still going strong) and Nuff Said (who later became Beaker, and eventually the Sik Notes) again, an enjoyable gig but we hoped that 1997 would be the year to really start getting out and about.

January 1997 we decided to start knocking out the demo, called it ‘Are you in a good mood? Sold it for a quid, it was the best thing we ever did, it was just that, a demo and we shouldn’t really have expected it to be anything more. In the year we were selling it we sold over 600 copies, so it definitely served its purpose. Our first gig outside of Grimsby came in January 1997 at the Hull Adelphi, with Scarper and folk dude Wob. It was cool we enjoyed it, that’s it. The following month we did Sheffield Hallam University with Knuckledust and a band called Dead Joe (whose members went on to be in Otherwise), and Leeds Packhorse with Crawlspace and Canvas. We also put a on a gig in Grimsby at the Cartergate Rooms, with Canvas, Area Effect and Fallout (there is a video of this gig kicking around).

We began to feel like the ball was rolling.


People started calling us up and offering gigs and we ended up doing around fifty that year, played the first Damage Control all dayer in London, Mark Boardman from Area Effect almost ensured we were a house band at the Star and Garter in Manchester. We did our first ‘tour’ – three days, wow! Our first Dischord Inferno gig with Starmarket and Abhinanda, next day we turned up out the blue in Bristol and Graham was kind enough to put us on, and in Brighton on Sunday with Unsilent Minority, Radio Schizo and In.fect. Lil and Kafren at HouseholdName asked if we wanted to do a single for em, which we did…eventually, 1997 was an exciting year. We met some good people, played some good gigs and had a good time all round.


In between recording ‘Are you in a good mood’ and our first seven inch, ‘March of the Yes Man’ we also recorded about six songs, in a fish factory on Grimsby Docks and in an attic. We shall refer to them as ‘Imbalance…the lost tapes’ two of these songs, ‘The Money Trap’ and ‘Radical Approach’ went on the UKHC compilation on Household Name Records. The rest remain lost, although I’m still in the process of hunting them down. We recorded ‘March of the Yes Man’ in February 1998, again at Birdsong Studios in Scunthorpe, it took two days, and the songs were –

*   March of the Yes Man

*   Pretence

*   Bus Ride

*   Mutual Respect

‘March of the Yes Man’ eventually came out in May 1998 on Household Name Records, we sat in a travel lodge at Gatwick Airport, sticking the centre labels on with pritt sticks into the wee hours, the night before doing our first tour of England. We were originally due to tour with Jayne Doe, but they split up, and some of em became the very popular Spy versus Spy, all round nice dudes, with whom we would of enjoyed touring with no doubt.

We did the most erratic flitting of the country, this was mostly due to the week we chose to tour, we started in Brighton, then back up to Wigan, down to Manchester, to Stoke, back south to London, and back up to Leicester, and finally Leeds. Looking back we had a great time, played with some good bands, again, met some great people, it was really cool.


1998 was a good year, we carried on playing many gigs at a steady rate, including some very memorable ones, and we played our first festival at the 1in12, which looking back on makes me feel a little bizarre. Considering the amount times I’ve played there since, it was a real aspiration of mine to do a gig there.


In October 1998 we recorded our first full length, ‘Spouting Rhetoric’, again at Birdsong Studios.

The songs were:



*   Spouting Rhetoric

*   Failing Everytime

*   The Money Trap

*   Crave Social Acceptance

*   Bus Ride

*   Message in a bottle

*   Graffiti

*   Heroin

*   Cog in the Machine

*   Best Intentions

*   Agitate the Agitator

*   Mutual Respect

*   Absurdity

*   The Self Fulfilling Prophecy

*   Perpetuating Fear and Distrust

1999 brought a lot of changes for Imbalance, in the very early part of the year, we continued playing gigs, and getting stuff organised for ‘Spouting Rhetoric’ being released. At the Wigan festival the previous year, Dan Fenwick and I had chatted about our future album and Dan volunteered his artistic skills, which we were all really happy with especially when we saw what he’d done. For lots of different reasons there was a delay in the release, getting artwork and layout sorted took a lot longer than expected. At the end of April we went down to London to play a gig at the Garage as a kind of ‘launch’ but the CD was locked in a warehouse in Brixton, so, it ended up being a launch lacking launch if you will.

1999 brought a lot of changes for Imbalance, in the very early part of the year, we continued playing gigs, and getting stuff organised for ‘Spouting Rhetoric’ being released. At the Wigan festival the previous year, Dan Fenwick and I had chatted about our future album and Dan volunteered his artistic skills, which we were all really happy with especially when we saw what he’d done. For lots of different reasons there was a delay in the release, getting artwork and layout sorted took a lot longer than expected. At the end of April we went down to London to play a gig at the Garage as a kind of ‘launch’ but the CD was locked in a warehouse in Brixton, so, it ended up being a launch lacking launch if you will.

The day after the gig Spouting Rhetoric was released on Household Name Records and the week after we did a nine-day, ten-gig tour of England again. This time the tour ran a lot smoother, we played Peterborough, Islington, Brighton, Portsmouth & Southampton (the same day), Bristol, Stoke, Manchester, Leicester and Leeds. Again we really enjoyed ourselves, there were some real stand out gigs, and again we met some friendly people. Just after the tour Rob, finally left Grimsby for good, after working in London and doing an Alan Partridge, living in a Travel Lodge, he bought a house and moved for good, making a slight but definite change to how we ‘worked’.

Through the summer of 99, we continued at what had become a regular pace of gigs, averaging at about 50 a year from January 1997. We had always and continued to play with a diverse bunch of bands right across the punk spectrum, which suited us because we had diverse tastes, and we weren’t very happy being pigeonholed as the sorts to just play with certain types of bands. We were really happy with what we we’re doing, although a little disappointed that we hadn’t got our act together in getting over to mainland Europe. However, there were things that we weren’t happy about, and I guess like a lot of people we sat on our unhappiness and possibly thought we could ride it out.


In August we did a ‘kind of tour’ with Ensign, I say ‘kind of’ as, if I remember correctly they played four dates and we played three of em, Manchester, Derby and London.

In September we played two gigs in Holland, Amsterdam and Hoogeveen. This was entirely due to the very good band and all round great people, Oil.  Oil had stayed at my house a couple of days earlier that year, and we had become friends. They invited us over, we went on the ferry as foot passengers with minimum equipment, we were collected from the Hook of Holland and pretty much driven around the whole time we were there. Holland was a real eye opener for us although not in quite the same way that it is for many English tourists, if you get my drift. I guess we came back really excited and eager to get back over there and the rest of Europe again. We also resolved the fact that it was time to make some changes.

We’d discussed doing another album with Household Name, and even came up with a prospective title, ‘In order to save you we’re gonna have to kill you’. However, on our return to England we had already decided we didn’t want to do another record with Household Name, this was for many different reasons, which are too long winded and maybe even a little one sided, to include in this history. We weren’t happy with things and that’s it.


At this point or maybe even before, I can’t remember, James Beal, who at the time was in The Propagumbhis, and joint proprietor of Out of Step Records in Leeds had resurrected the Hermit Records label, which had been set up by another of the ‘gumbhis, Will. James asked if we’d like to do a seven-inch for him. James was and still is a good friend, and he was also genuinely enthusiastic about doing an Imbalance release, it was agreed. At a similar time, another pair of Leeds lads, namely Adam and Morgan were to set up ‘Blind Bear Records’; they asked us to do a split CD with the Propagumbhis. Adam and Morgan were also friends, as were the Propagumbhis so it made perfect sense.


The idea of a seven-inch became six track CDEP and we were to record four songs for the split. We had also decided that we didn’t want to record at Birdsong Studios again, this was due to the fact that we’d experienced little else in terms of recording. Reviews of our records almost always mentioned something about the recording, and it was usually negative. Therefore, we decided to give somewhere else ago. From listening to Fen boys, Vanilla Pod’s CD ‘Faster Disco’, and being impressed with the production, we booked ourselves into Premier Studios, Corby, January 2000.


A lot of credit is due to Iain Wetherell, ‘the man’ at Premier, Iain doesn’t mess about and we just got right on with it, we were there three days, and we recorded ten songs;  the first six for the CDEP and the latter four for the split with the Propagumbhis.

*   Admit Liability

*   Dangerous Tonight

*   Disappointed by the reality

*   Like Montague and Capulet

*   Gattaca

*   Celebrity

*   In order to save you we’re gonna have to kill you

*   Moral High Horse

*   Pet Rabbit

*   Common Ancestry.

Some people see this as a definitive moment in our song writing history, believing that at this point we diversified further in terms of musical styles and vocal delivery. I’m not exactly sure I completely agree with that but nonetheless, recording at Premier did make a marked difference in how we sounded. Reflecting on this period I now feel that the songs we recorded for the CDEP where a lot stronger than the four we had chosen for the split, when we were all together recently we even suggested that a couple on the split are particularly ‘school bandish’.


The gigging continued at it’s usual pace, we toured England again in April 2000, this coincided with the gumbhis split being released, we did just six days, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Grimsby, Southampton and Brixton. This was a relaxed tour, we had certainly become accustomed to touring in this country, it was a real good tour, but again reminded us that we needed to be touring Europe. At the end of April the CDEP came out on Hermit and was well received, it also became the first Imbalance release to be reviewed and distributed extensively outside of the UK.


Richard from Armed with Anger asked us if we would like to do an album for him and we bit his hand off, shortly after this Richard chatted with James and they decided the new Imbalance full length would be a split between AWA and Hermit.

In the Summer I got married and went off on honeymoon to the Venezuelan Island of Margarita, on returning we continued gigging and resided to the fact that 2001 must mean Europe or bust.

November we did a few dates in England with New Jersey band Fast Times, this was again really cool and a nice way to end the year 2000.

In January 2001 we recorded the album, ‘Wreaks Havoc with the Inner Ear’, at Premier Studios, it took five days, we recorded 18 songs, including:


*   The Future is a Joke

*   Clarity

*   Root Cause

*   Clarence Bodicker

*   Punk Stew part I

*   Imbalance

*   Here be Monsters

*   Little progress

*   Punk Stew part II

*   Music Scenes ain’t Real Life

*   Radical Approach

*   Small Town Story

*   The American says Dance

*   Kills the Most

We also re-recorded three songs from Spouting Rhetoric as bonus tracks for the CD version, and also a ‘joke song’ ‘They told me Stoner Rock was the next big thing.’ This album differs from other Imbalance releases as the songs, excluding Little Progress and Radical Approach? were written specifically for the album. Previously we had just written songs as they ‘happened’.   Again, on reflection this shows, we have talked about it since and agree on certain points. My feeling is that in our rush to get it out, the song writing suffered. There are some of my favourite Imbalance songs on there but also some that we don’t like at all. As insiders we’re going to be more critical and I know that I was happy at the time.

The day after recording we went over to Boston, Lincolnshire to do an IQ gig, this gig has particular significance, as Urko played and this would be the last time that we would see Jas Toomer, who was sadly killed in a car accident some months later. There is not much more than I could add other than I’m sure that I feel the way many people felt after an event such as this. Somehow wishing the clock could be turned back or that during our last conversation; I could have let Jas know how valued he was as friend and the amount of respect I had for him.

I left Grimsby for good in May 2001 and moved to Birmingham, leaving Grun and Bjorn as the upholders of Imbalance law back in Grimsby


Wreaks Havoc with the Inner Ear was released at the beginning of June 2001, it sold well and went all over the place. We had a little break due to my wife’s pregnancy and the imminent birth of my son.


A lot of work was done during this time between Rob, Richard Corbridge and Rob Kito in preparation for a European Tour. In September we played the Jas Toomer Memorial gig in Boston, and a gig at the Packhorse in Leeds, and got ready for our much-anticipated first tour of mainland Europe.

We played the following dates:


29.09.01 ‘Sojo’ Leuven, Belgium

30.09.01 ‘La Zone’ Liege, Belgium

01.10.01 ‘Haus der jugend’ Leverkausen, Germany

02.10.01 ‘Juz’ Manneheim, Germany

03.10.01 ‘Juzi’ Gottingen, Germany

04.10.01 ‘Wild at Heart’ Berlin, Germany

05.10.01 ‘Zoro’ Leipzig, Germany

06.10.01 ? Roznov, Czech Republic

08.10.01 ‘Club 007’ Prague, Czech Republic

09.10.01 ‘Music House’ Graz, Austria

10.10.01 ‘Arena’ Vienna, Austria

11.10.01 ‘Danziger Freiheit’ Regensburg, Germany

12.10.01 ‘KTS’ Freiburg, Germany

13.10.01 ‘Bar n’ Boos’, Lieden, The Netherlands

Rob Kito drove in the faithful old Royal Mail van, Rich Corbridge brought his merch stall and Rob’s girlfriend Angie also came along.


Going over to the Netherlands for a couple of gigs in 1999 had given us a brief glimpse of how organised the situation is generally in the DIY scene in Europe. However, it was still a huge shock to see how organised the gigs were, how we got food and drink at every gig, it often being the case we got breakfast also. The impact of this being that between Bjorn and myself and to a lesser extent Grun there was a whole lot o’ drinking going on. Without the financial implications, it was like being at the works Christmas do with a free bar. Much as I don’t want come across as a typical Anglo abroad, some of the meals really stood out – so much so I can still remember what we had at most of the gigs. The best meal being at Zoro, Leipzig.

We also got the chance to drink some real quality German beer in the general vicinity of Tankard’s hometown.


For the most part the gigs went really well, and it was strange to be in the position we were in 5 years before in the UK, the fact being that hardly anyone had heard of us. Nonetheless the tour went great, we had a few glitches – Rob’s brand new amplifier was blown up by another band, whilst in Roznov. Yeah, this kind of stuff happens on tour, but it was a bit of a blow and it upset the apple cart a little bit between us. None the less, the gig there was amazing, one of the best of the tour and the P.A guys cobbled something together for Rob, soldering irons out and the lot. The sight seeing aspect of the tour was great, we had a night off in Prague and a day to explore, Koln and Berlin were impressive as was Vienna.

I especially liked the Czech Republic, Roznov was just so alien, very communist in architecture and no one spoke English. At the time we were there it was not on the route of the larger US bands who had saturated the hardcore punk rock scene through most of the rest of Europe, so I got the impression that people were not as interested in what was ‘in’ and what wasn’t. In between Roznov and Prague Rob drove us to The Church of All Saints, Ossuary and Cemetery at Sedlec by Kutna Hora, people may have heard of this place as ‘the bone church’. The church’s interior is decorated with the bones from thousands of people, and it is a sight to behold – if not a little eerie.

So the tour was successful. However, it was a significant factor in why I made the decision to leave the band. As anyone who has been in a band before will know, if there is the most trivial reason that you fall out with someone, these trivial ups and downs are magnified by the touring process. I had come to the conclusion that I would not remain friends with anyone in the band if I continued being in the band. It was a decision that I dreaded informing the band of but it happened at our first gig after the tour which was in November 2001 in the town of Hitchin. Some took it better than others but we all discussed it at length and if they never understood my reasons at the time I know they do now

We decided to play the gigs we had committed to, which meant we played in London, upstairs at the Garage with Planes mistaken for Stars and Scuttle. Leeds with As Friends Rust, Strike Anywhere, Four Letter Word and at a guess Joe 90 although I can’t be sure. We played in Middlesborough with Fig. 4, Send more Paramedics, Stand and Pilger. We also played a weekender at the Charlotte in Leicester at Christmas, with the Devils amongst others.

At the beginning of 2002 we decided to do a farewell gig, which ended up as two gigs, and then three, one in London, one in Liverpool and one in Leeds. The London gig was on the 1st February 2002 at the Verge with Special Move and Adequate 7. Lil and Kafren from HouseholdName organised this and we thought this was a great way to bring things full circle in regards to our relationship with London. The gig was good and we got the opportunity to get together with people we hadn’t seen for a long time. Because we had asked the Dutch band Oil to play the last gig, Rob had to organise other gigs for then to break even. This meant they played at the Swan in London, then at the Monroe in Liverpool, our penultimate gig, and then the final gig in Leeds at Josephs Well on Saturday 23rd February and finished off in Guildford the night after. We wanted to involve people we had a history with, which is why we had asked Collective AKA to organise the gig. There wasn’t that many bands that still existed whom we had any kind of extensive history with/or were available at the time. We chose Vanilla Pod as we knew them well and had done many gigs together, Oil for similar reasons and Buzzkill as we knew them pretty well from mutual friendships and being regulars at our gigs.

The gig was fantastic and a great way to end the band, as in London we had played an extensive set, we dropped in a Kito cover ‘Rings of Fear’ which we had been playing since our European tour. Rob Kito got up and sang along which again brought things full circle as Bjorn and I had been so much into the song prior to Imbalance, – Bjorn’s old band Kung Fu Joe used to cover it also.


This is how it ended – but not quite. Reason to Believe fanzine put together a benefit CD which had an unreleased Imbalance song ‘Bikini’ which Bjorn wrote, sang on and was recorded at practice in Grimsby when I had just moved to Birmingham.


Rob moved to The Netherlands, I joined The Horror, Bjorn had a couple of Grimsby bands, one being ‘Postal’ who did a few gigs. He is now singing in the hardcore band ‘Nothing to Prove’. Grun has continued playing in a number of bands and is still active in the Grimsby band scene.

Imbalance did get a bit of flak for choosing Leeds over Grimsby for our last gig, in our defence, most of us, if not all had had enough of Grimsby by 2000. This was due to the usual burnt out feeling of organising gigs, losing money and not feeling that we were being supported by the majority of kids claiming to be into hardcore and punk rock. We passed the torch to much younger Grimsby bands who were still enthusiastic and broad shouldered enough to give it their all. People involved in and around bands such as Stand, Losers Club, Winston, The Green Acre and Big Ass promotions had been ensuring that the Grimsby scene flourished and that bands continued to come.

Fast forward to now, January 2005. Imbalance have just played a memorial gig for Ben Lane of the Grimsby band Stand. Ben was active in the Grimsby scene and the wider national and international DIY community. He will be greatly missed and it was an honour to be asked to play the gig, it was amazing. HHH and Mend This Tear reformed to play, D – Rail and Kill Yourself played, Ben’s friend Sophie played an acoustic set and Stand played their last ever gig. It was an evening that will stick with us for along time to come. I felt like we were coming home.


Who knows if Imbalance will ever play again? There are no plans to, but you can never say never.....

I may revisit this history in another four years, but will finish with that which I had written for the memorial gig:


‘It’s pretty much safe to say that all four of us thought at some point that Imbalance would play another gig. However, I’m sure that none of us thought that it would be quite so soon after playing our ‘final’ gig and, that, it would be under such circumstances as this.


It is ten years since Imbalance began, Grimsby has changed a lot since but the hardcore punk rock scene here has changed dramatically. This is due to a number of factors some completely beyond ‘our’ control, but a major factor is new young people becoming involved and trying to make it work. Ben was one of those important people.


We met Ben at some gig, sometime in 1997, at which point, I was well on the way to becoming the jaded cynical old bastard I am now. My view of Ben and his friends, in the politest of terms was that they were little whippersnappers who needed to respect their elders. Ben and others organised many gigs and were active in getting bands to Grimsby. One gig which he was involved in, Assfest, was one of the most memorable gigs I have ever had the fortune to play, it was fucking insane, and those who didn’t experience it just wouldn’t believe the kind of shit that was going down. Ben told me toward the end of the set that our time was up, I asked if we could play one more, and he replied, something along the lines of, “yeah, as long as it’s Pretence.” I assured him it would be. It wasn’t, we played a different song. Afterwards he said to me, “you’re a fucking liar”, and he was right.


Time moved on, and it turns out that Ben and his friends are not the whippersnappers that they never actually were. They’re what they always were, kids who are just like me; and we are really passionate. Passionate about music, about bands, about politics, about our art, about making a dent and changing things. This passion is limitless; it should not and simply cannot, be defined within how old someone is or by their experiences.


All of this is about investing in the future, by investing time in other people; it’s about not taking those people for granted, and assuming that they’re always going to be there. We love the fact we are involved in this, we love the fact we are doing this for this reason. I wrote this down as a way of ensuring that I said what I wanted to without mumbling through incoherently.


We want to ask everyone to enjoy themselves, to have a great time, dance if you want to dance, sing-a-long if you want, but above all, be audacious, for Ben.’




Andy Bryant on behalf of Imbalance.


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