Artist: Black September

by on 7th April 2017

(Photos / scans c/o Ian Hunter)

Years Active:

1984 – 1988


Ian Hunter (vocals)
Nick Wilson (guitar)
Andy Rugg (drums)
Gordon Barker (keyboards)
Phil Longman (bass)

Paul Kneeshaw (bass)
Colin Holgate (drums)
Will Wardell (guitar)
Tim Allison (keyboards)


Formed in 1984 by Ian Hunter, Nick Wilson, Andy Rugg, Gordon Barker, and Phil Longman and described by ex Pink Noise guitarist, Nick Clay as “goth-lite”, Black September carved out a sizable local following during 1984 and 1985, pulling a full house at the Tower Ballroom after an audacious PR stunt that involved cultivating the rumour that the gig was to be filmed for Channel Four’s seminal music show, The Tube.

Longman, Barker, and Rugg were soon to depart the band, and were replaced by Paul ‘Kneesh’ Kneeshaw on bass, and Colin Holgate on drums. Holgate was notable for the fact that he was registered blind. After being supported at The Adelphi by London punks The Shout, the band’s label, Lost Moment Records, offered a small record deal to Black September. February 1986 saw the release of the double A side 12 inch single “Rainbow Kiss” / “David”, with artwork by The Shout’s front man Leeson O’Keefe.

“Rainbow Kiss” received some credible airplay from Radio 1’s mid evening DJ, Janice Long, before pretty much disappearing. However, around three months later, it reappeared in America, having been played to death by New York station WRUR. The first that Black September knew of it was when the station rang Ian Hunter and asked him to come on air. The song reached number two on the U.S College chart (similar to the UK’s indie chart of the time), and was only kept from the top slot by The Smiths’ latest release, “Panic”. The band continued to plug away for another couple of years, recording a BBC radio session and performing shows in London, but things finally began to fizzle out with the departure of guitarist Nick Wilson. At the somewhat ridiculous suggestion of Russell Webster, owner of Driffield’s Slaughterhouse Studios, the band changed their name to Black Sheep and briefly recruited guitarist Will Wardell. However, this was not before they recorded one last track for Webster’s label, which appeared on the 3LP box set Slaughtered, along with The Mission, The Cardiacs, and various other acts of the time. Their final recording was produced by the legendary Colin Richardson, whose CV now includes The Happy Mondays, New Order, Korn and Slipknot.

In a final odd twist, “Rainbow Kiss” / “David” was quite recently played by Steve Lamacq on his 6 Music show in his regular “Lost 45’s” feature. Lamacq introduced the songs at some length, explaining that he had seen Black September on numerous occasions during the 80s.

The band finally split in 1988, with Hunter joining Stiff Kittens for a while, before then joining Rich Rags. Colin Holgate and Paul Kneeshaw formed a new band called Honeytrap, whilst Nick Wilson spent time as the guitarist for Beverley psychedelics The Mandelbrot Set, and proto Manic Street Preachers soundalikes, Three Mile Island.

(Ian Hunter)


Rainbow Kiss (12″) – Lost Moment Records, 1986

Appeared On

Slaughtered (3LP) – Lambs To The Slaughter, 1988 (track: Blacksheep by Black Sheep)

A Perfect Combination (CD) – [none], 2016 (track: Rainbow Kiss)