The Chaps

The Chaps are a bunch of hirsute reprobates armed with all manner of improbable musical instruments who will quite simply not leave me alone.

'Cleg' - Guitar/Mandolin

'Cleg' - Guitar/Mandolin

Joel - The Bass

Joel - The Bass

Phil - Drums/Percussion

Phil - Drums/Percussion


'Cleg' Guitar/Mandolin

Some dispute surrounds the exact time and place of birth of 'Long John' Clegwin Chrystonymous Matthew Ignatius Cleghorn (nee Aeltrecht). One prominent historian asserts that he was born in Iran in the 3rd century BC, but estimates vary wildly. He is mentioned briefly in the Bible (Matthew 12:16- And Jesus said unto Cleg "What key are we in?"- and again in Revelations). For his part, Cleg is remaining tight-lipped. "I haven't got a clue" he says enigmatically. What is known is that he spent several hundred years wandering Asia, Africa and the then undiscovered continent of North America, information which came to light only recently when a 2000 year old Native American cave painting was discovered, depicting Cleg falling into what is now Lake Michihgan. During his global travels, he experimented with early Jazz rhythms by banging different coloured rocks together, and remembering the sounds each one made. He came to England at around the same time as the bubonic plague, and began designing a prototype guitar with fifteen strings and a bewildering variety of soundholes- designs which he now claims were plagerized by Antonio de Torres sometime during the late 1800s. He was briefly married to Queen Victoria, but the marriage was dissolved after only three days. After his ejection from the english monarchy, he settled in Colchester and opened an apocethary to finace his musical experiments. His first guitar was completed in the late 1880s and this very instrument forms the centrepiece of his private museum, which is housed in a disused colliery in Northallerton. His early musical collaborations reads like a who's who of music. From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who he describes as "A bit of a tosser" to Ludwig van Beethoven ("A total gimp") Yehudi Mehnuin ("Muppet") Maria Callas ("Silly Cow") Glenn Miller ("Speccy Tosser") Frank Sinatra ("Didn't trust him- his eyes were too close to his nose") Miles Davis ("A dickhead") John Lennon ("Beardy- Weirdy") and Freddie Mercury ("Nice suits") to name but a few. He steadfastly maintained that as soon as he found a band worthy of his talents, he would stop insulting people. When he met Richard in a school playground, he knew he had found a kindred spirit. "The early music we wrote together is the best stuff I've ever done" He claims. "Unfortunatley I've forgotten most of it" Cleg is frank and candid about his music and his influences- "I don't really know" he said recently. He is currently living in a mud hut on Saddleworth Moor. He has large hair.


Joel The Bass

Joel Asparagus Ermintrude Vagabondo Lolipop Helicopter Roberts III was found in a cardboard box outside a stationers shop in Birmingham in the summer of 1974 by a family of travelling Hungarian trapeze artists.
His formative years were spent in a variety of Morrocan prisons due to a bizarrly complex plea bargain made by his adoptive Great-great-grandfather during a fraud trial in the late 1830s. It was during this extremely unusual time that he first discovered his love for music.
"The other prisoners would often bang makeshift items of cutlery on their cell doors or the floor, and howl with anguish" he recalls with a smile.
"I remember thinking to myself that I was with an incredibly talented crowd of people" On his return to England aged seven he settled in Manchester and was immediatley drawn to the Double Bass because of it's ruinous frequencies and potential as a weapon of mass destruction.

His early experiments involving a Double Bass large and loud enough to level major cities were thwarted by the Geneva convention but undettered, he joined a variety of local bands, including The Puppysqueezers, Idiot Olympics and The Druids of Nixolydia.
Early shows with The Puppysqueezers were an unqualified success, consisting mainly of random notes, spoken word monologues, and a fifteen-piece percussion orchestra.
"The 'squeezers were a great band" says Joel. "We were into free-form, so the music, although highly complex was completely unrehearsed. In fact, I didn't actually meet some members of the band until several years after we'd split up" And split up they did, in 1990 after an appearance at the Twisted Spleen festival.
"We were playing our encore, and suddenly I realised that one of the guitarists had swapped my Bass for a Cheeseplant- throughout the whole gig I had been playing a large and unwieldy houseplant instead of a Bass and no-one had told me! I can laugh about it now but at the time I went beserk" Joel remembers. That was the final straw, and the 'squeezers went their separate ways.
Joel kept the cheeseplant, however.
The Druids of Nixolydia reverted to a more traditional style. "Gigs would often involve us wearing masks and staring at the audience in silence for several hours until they just went away" says Joel. It was during his time with the Druids that he met Richard, and an immediate (if unconventional) alliance was formed. The pair began writing songs by post, which although time consuming led to the compostion of much of the bands future material. Drawing on his many and varied musical influences and experiences, he was able to bring a unique perspective to the music he and Richard were writing. "I could hear things that other people couldn't. Nor would they want to." The writing partnership flourished and with the addition of Phil, the three formed and quickly dissolved a number of musical collectives. Only when Cleg was located did things fall into place. Joel is philosophical about his musical career thus far. "I honestly couldn't give a fuck" he says. Joel lives in Manchester with his cat and his collection of ridiculous headgear. His favourite smell is green.


Phil Drums/Percussion

Despite Philip Arthur Montague Helicopter 'Phil' Howley's exotic name, his beginnings are somewhat mundane. Born in Haiti in 1962 to a mother of Icelandic/Guatamalan origin and an Australian Aboriginal father of Brazilian/Nepalese extraction, he became famous as the robot R2-D2 in the film 'Star Wars', before playing for several years alongside Pele in the Brazillian national football team of the 1980s. A brief stint in politics saw him defuse the Cuban missile crisis (at the age of four) and bring an end to the cold war. He then decided to pursue a life of crime and several high profile bullion heists and diamond thefts are attributed to his infamous 'Gang of Six'. It was around this time that he fought and almost killed Carlos the Jackal during a nine hour bare knuckle boxing match, an incident which, he says, instilled in him an almost psychotic devotion to physical pain. He has wrestled with most major world leaders but has yet to be bested. He claims that Fidel Castro "put up quite a fight" but he was eventually battered into submission. After re-uniting East and West Germany by single-handedly tearing down the Berlin Wall, he set off for the middle east, and forced Yasser Arrafat and Colonel Ghaddafi to play each other at tennis. The game was abandoned after a contentious line call, and peace remained elusive. A brief foray into the world of business saw him inventing the home computer as we know it and founding Microsoft, then giving the entire company to his good friend Bill Gates as a birthday present. He then bought the US stock market, and sold it to a Brooklyn tramp "For a joke". It was around this time that he eradicated smallpox and polio and began work on a cure for cancer, which is still hailed as the most revolutionary advance in science this century.

Shunning several Nobel prizes for medicine and science, he has recently discovered nine unknown Shakespeare plays as well as a collection of sonnets, which have revolutionised the worldwide perception of the english language. After sealing the hole in the ozone layer and developing the electric car, he decided to retire from public life at the age of 22 and devote himself to his collection of clocks and his drumming. He moved to Stockport but says he can't remember why. "There was a good reason, but I've forgotten it" he says. After turning down overtures to become the British Prime Minister, he then refused offers to join the reformed Led Zepppelin, The Who and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. His urge to play music led him to Richard Barry and the Chaps, however, where he feels "comfortable". He still has some contact with international events- he recently mediated between the warring factions in Kosovo, and effectively ended the conflict in Angola. He lives in Stockport along with several thousand other people. He is a non-smoker.

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