Artist: The Criminals

by on 18th April 2020

Years Active

1981 – 1982


Norm Kirby (vocals)
Mick Buxton (lead guitar)
Lawrence Abel (bass)
Duncan O’Connor (drums)

About The Criminals

The Criminals were formed early in 1981 when two ex members of Animation, Norm Kirby (lead vocal) and Lawrence Abel (bass guitar) joined forces with Mick Buxton (ex Mental Block) on lead guitar and Duncan O’Connor on drums, a Salford lad who had settled in Beverley.

The name they chose to go under was The Criminals, being blissfully unaware of the existence of the New York outfit formed by Sylvain Sylvain with the same title (there was no Google back then). Another similarity with the “other” Criminals was the musical influences of Glam Rock and Punk Rock.

The band soon worked up a live set comprising the original songs of Lawrence Abel, with a couple of Bowie and Velvet Underground covers thrown in. They made their live debut in June 1981 at The Grovehill Hotel in Beverley.

They didn’t waste any time getting into the recording studio and in June 1981 they cut the Lawrence Abel compositions “No Pleasures” and “Criminals Of This World” at Ken Giles’ studio in Bridlington. These tracks were released as a 7″ single on their own Crush Records label as a ploy to gain record label attention – rather than just being one of the many thousands of cassette tapes that a record company would receive. No record label attention was forthcoming, but hey, they had a record out!

The Criminals were in constant live action for the next eighteen months, playing regularly in Beverley and at the main Hull venues of the time – Humberside Theatre, Welly Club and the New York Hotel. They also made the trip to the legendary Pips in Manchester. The band also recorded a three track demo tape in November 1982, again at Ken Giles’ studio in Bridlington.

There weren’t many more hard working bands in Hull at the time but it became evident that the name The Criminals hadn’t done them any favours. They were not the hardcore punk band that many punters would have expected. This was most glaringly obvious when supporting Vice Squad at Hull Tower in April 1982. The band were showered in a hail of spit, and not the complimentary kind either!

After a gig at the Gilberdyke Railway Hotel in December 1982 the band decided to make a fresh start. 1983 brough a change of name, with One Of The Waiters being the chosen moniker. But that’s a story for another day… [or you can just click the link and read it now! – Ed]

(Norm Kirby)


No Pleasures / Criminals Of This World (7″) – Crush Records, 1981