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1980-1981


Biography

Manchester's A II Z (named after street-finder atlases, not, as charged by a few ignorant troublemakers in the press, a Nazi publication) was the beneficiary of very fortuitous timing, being formed by Dave Owens (vocals) and Gary Owens (guitar), Cam Campbell (bass), and Karl Reti (drums) just in time (late 1979) to be swept up by the initial, deafening hubbub surrounding the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.

Immediately signed, almost sight-unseen, by major-label Polydor, the group, whose raw but focused attack bore resemblances to Motörhead, Sweet Savage, and Weapon, recorded their 1980 debut album, interestingly named The Witch Of Berkeley, live at a hometown gig, then were sent out on the road in support of Girlschool and no less than the mighty Black Sabbath. Neither of these experiences aided record sales much, however, and following just a few more releases for Polydor (1981's No Fun After Midnight EP and a Russ Ballard-penned single I'm The One Who Loves You),

A II Z was rather unceremoniously dropped. Internal dissension had also taken root by this time and the Owens siblings had in fact dispensed with their original rhythm section to work with new bassist Tony Backhouse and drummer Simon Wright (future AC/DC) on that final single. But the rejigged quartet's new and more commercial AOR direction obviously failed to bear fruit, and by the middle of 1982, A II Z was no more, guitarist Gary Owens having joined the similarly ill-fated Tytan.