Forgotten Band Planet
The Telescopes
The Telescopes Band Picture

The Telescopes have reformed, links to external websites for the new stuff are at the bottom of the page.

LINEUP (Creation 90's Version):
Stephen Lawrie - Vocals And Acoustic Guitars
Joanna Doran - Backing Vocals And Rhythm Guitars
David Fitzgerald - Lead Guitars
Robert Brookes - Bass Guitars
Domimic Dillon - Drums And Percussion

Formed in 1987 in Burton On Trent, Stafforshire.
Originally on Cheree records , then US label 'What Goes On' then Creation.
The style of the music differed as they progressed, by my favourite stuff, the early 90's creation stuff, was psych influenced and rather shoegazing sounding.

"Every sound you've ever heard was but a preliminary excercise for the all-embracing maelstrom of The Telescopes"
(Melody Maker, 1989)
"Like mad cultural terrorists, they've taken the norm and fed it through a psychedelic blender. It's all rather jagged and unsettling, the musical equivalent of cackling maggots spilling out through the eyeholes of the beautiful- and is both timely and exciting"
(Melody Maker, 1994)

Telescopes Entry in the 'Guinness Who's Who Of Indie And New Wave':
Quintessential English indie band formed in 1988 by Stephen Lawrie (born 28 March 1969, East Hartford, Northumberland, England; vocals), Joanna Doran (b. Wednesbury, West Midlands, England; guitar/vocals), David Fitzgerald (b. 30 August 1966, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England; bass), Robert Brooks (b. 11 April 1969, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England) and Dominic Dillon (b. 26 September 1964, Bolton, Lancashire, England).

The Telescopes started out peddling a fearsome noise which owed much to the path laid earlier in the decade by the Jesus & Mary Chain. Their first release was a flexidisc shared with Loop and sold with the Sowing Seeds fanzine, after which came two temperamental singles on Cheree records followed by a deal with the American What Goes On label. Unfortunately, after a further brace of singles and one album in 1989, What Goes on succumbed to bankcruptcy, leaving the Telescopes to battle for the rights to their own songs and sign to Creation Records.

The change of label coincided with a change in musical style as the group added lighter shades and harmonies to their intense guitar-based sound, a development which paid dividends when their 8th single, 'Flying' reached number 79 in the UK charts in 1991.

The Telescopes (W/ Jesus & Mary Chain)
10th Sept 1990, Leeds- Reviewed in "Sleep"

Woo! Woo! On come The Telescopes who launch into "Precious Little" with a little abandon. It sounds the better for it and the sound is HUGE for the glorious "Treasure". They've also written some new songs. One of them sounds like the Mission but apart from this unfortunate mis-hap, the rest are, like, proper songs! This meteoric development, being more than welcome, improves their live set no end and putting Richard Formby on keyboards to make lots of swishy atmospheric noises was also a good idea.

The Telescopes, Derby, 1990- In "Sweet Thursday"
They remain a fascinating subject. Some people I know don't like them because of their (so they say) unoriginality sound wise- y'know, all those Bloody Valentine, Loop, Mary Chain, etc comparisons, but I don't think they should be dealt with in this way, analysing musical roots and stuff- I don't really care. The Telescopes don't belong to this world. They belong... elsewhere... In a world created by the imagination- though there is some cross over between imagination and reality... The images they conjure up, of all things dark- fear, anger, suicide, obsession, death, all exist in this world but don't often surface too much.

The Telescopes sound (don't worry, I'm not going to start going on about throbbing guitars and tragic violins- you know what they sound like) is the perfect backing for Stephen's twisted imagination. I'll admit, I think Stephen's probably a fascinating bloke- a genuinely creative person with ideas. He went to art college, but later abandoned art as a form of self-expression (art is as corrupt as anything else- it has rules about how you should do things, conventions, traditions, commerciality- only some of it's about free therapeutic self-expression) and took up writing (ie lyrics) and music.

In a recent interview on 'Transmission' Stephen said that everyone has a darker side (Mother Teresa used to have erotic dreams, you know) and indeed, the Telescopes appeal to my darker side, the side which as a child used to go for walks in graveyards, invent the most horrific stories and still does... Have you ever been totally freaked out by your imagination?.... I recently managed to convince myself that I was going to get murdered. Y'see, some people don't need drugs to have strange experiences. Some people look at Dali's paintings and read about how he was in a hysterical semi-mad state while he painted them and they say "he must have been on drugs". Quite narrowminded, that. Stephen, talking about 'Violence' in the Melody Maker, was asked "What were you on?" to which he replied "I was on nothing! Just fear." Fear, it seems, is a highly creative frame of mind to be in, like depression and confusion (look at Van Gogh for example). Out of negative emotions, great things can grow.

But down there, towards the front of the Dial when the Telescopes are playing, I feel no fear at all. (Maybe it's because I know I'm not alone) I could walk out of the building and fall into a black hole and it would be fun... I'm not scared of the dark anymore.. It's as near to losing control as I get. Flailing in a crowd of sweaty bodies, almost wanting to come out covered in bruises. The Telescopes are a form of escapism- losing control, like in 'Sadness Pale' "You can have your celebrations, no one cares until you die" and 'There Is No Floor' "A hurricane of innocence is carved along the wall". I suppose it might be a bit of a contradiction... but it's almost sadistic.. As the ancient Greeks or Romans, whatever it was, watched Christians being eaten by lions, as people these days watch splatter movies- I like to go down to the Dial to watch Stephen being tortured. He screams and twists and dives to the floor. He vents his anguish and his fears.. he crucifies himself.... Bleed, Stephen, BLEED


Thanks to Keg for this:

NME 27 June 1992
Live review



"We're The Lovebirds - let's HATCH!", screams warbling Lovebird John Stuart, prior to detonating a brace of melody-munching, riff-rogering guitar songs.
After almost a year of fruitless foreplay with a frigid record biz, The Lovebirds have loosened up on the sound front, scuffing their finely honed songs with some ragged-arsed guitar.
The Stones and the obligatory VU are still the closest musical touchstones, though the best moment tonight is the winsome 'I've Only Got Myself To Blame', which builds from a chiming guitar shape that sounds suspiciously like, erm, 'Suspicious Minds'.

While The Lovebirds have taken a trip to Manic Street, The Telescopes have probably passed them going in the opposite direction. The former creators of noise-slashed canvases have, with the relocation to Creation, transformed their bitter pop-pill into something more instantly palatable.
David Fitzgerald swathes matters in a dazzling array of psychosonic shapes, but thrown into the fray are tunes like 'You Set My Soul', using an upright acoustic bass and some loungy twinklings on the old joanna. So, it's a set with texture, where peaks are twinned with troughs, rush is thrust against calm and, for most of the dozen or so numbers, the eclectic approach succeeds.

When the gently strummed intro to 'High On Fire' is crashed by degenerate guitars, and the band flicker beneath a downpour of strobes, all doubts are wiped out. The Telescopes have begun their ascent up the Creation hierarchy.

Jonny Thatcher

Thanks very much to Keg and apologies to the people whose website I plundered for so much of the lyrics and text.
I've spent much time e-mailing them and to no avail!
Hope you like what I've done here!

Also, Jeff's running a site at

And there's the OFFICIAL site :



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