Busted Fender Blues Band really began in 1986. Started by ex-Caricature and Hold
Back The Tide members, Tim Dunn, Andy Mills and Gordon Robinson, it included vocalist
Pete Turner who played saxophone and guitar and Kevin Brazier on the piano. The
last line-up of Hold Back The Tide consisted of Tim Dunn, Andy Mills, Gordon Robinson
and Neil Mercer (who was brought to the band by Andy Mills from The Betty Ford Quartet).
Neil left in 1985 to join a country band with Jim Young.
Busted Fender very quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the local music
circuit and started to gain recognition on the southern blues circuit. Very soon
they were commissioned to play support for many of the professional bands, such as
The Climax Blues Band and Dr Feelgood. During this time they produced two cassette
tape albums: Busted Fender -produced by Busted Fender and Tim Nowell in 1987, and
Everybody Oughta Change -produced by Tim Nowell 1989. This album was released in
the spring of 1990 (Remastered and fixed by Tim Dunn in 2001). For personal reasons
Pete Turner and Gordon Robinson both decided to leave in late 1990 which, understandably,
caused the remaining members some concern. To have to replace members of the band
at this stage was a bit of a blow. They quickly began to audition for replacements.
Tim Nowell had been wanting to join such a high profile band for some time, and he
had his sites set on Busted Fender, having been the sound engineer for many of their
support gigs and both their albums. Mick Arloe had known both Tim Dunn and Andy Mills
from Caricature days, himself busy playing in folk clubs and doing duo work with
the guitarist from the excellent heavy rock band Ex Libris.
Strangely enough, Mick had been showing an interest in the Blues and when he was
asked to audition for the band, he jumped at the chance. Mick passed the test and
was immediately thrown right in the deep end. His first gig was a support slot for
The Steve Gibbons Band.
Fortunately the band went from strength to strength. They released their third cassette
tape album in 1992 called Nothin’ But Trouble and were asked to perform many supports
and festivals up and down the country, including the Birmingham Blues Summit of 1993
and the Portsmouth Blues Festival of the same year. They played at the Seventh Maltings
Blues Festival in Farnham and played support at both the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth
and The Boars Head Country and Blues Club at Boarhunt near Wickham. Many highlights
of these days included playing support to Blues ‘n’ Trouble, Otis Grand, Nine Below
Zero,Paul Lamb and The Kingsnakes, and from the US, The Phillip Walker Band, The
Doug MacLeod Band, Anson Funderberg with Sam Myers (Sam died recently and The Times
paid a wonderful tribute to him) and the inimitable John Campbell, to name but a
few. Not to mention Canned Heat some time later. In 1994 Fender recorded their first
album in CD format, From Under The Covers. It received great reviews from Blues In
The South magazine and was very well received by their many fans and followers. However,
trouble was looming and shortly after the release of the CD, Tim Dunn departed in
a less than amicable fashion. Due to personality clashes, and the legendary “musical
differences”,Tim Sadly left the band,something he was never happy about.