Inca babies


The story of the Inca Babies began in the now-legendary deck access flats of Hulme in Manchester, intended as post-slum clearance ‘cities in the sky’ for young executives but quickly decaying into cockroach-infested concrete flats inhabited mostly by students, squatters, drug addicts and dealers.
The band was formed by Harry Stafford (guitar), Bill Marten (aka Bonney) on bass, Julian Woropay (vocals) and Alan Brown (drums), taking influences from Link Wray, The Cramps, The Gun Club and The Birthday Party. This was an unusual stylistic mixture for Manchester music at the time, more closely associated with Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths.

Their debut single The Interior was released in November 1983 on their own Black Lagoon label and the follow-up Grunt Cadillac Hotel reached number 6 in the UK indie chart in 1984.

(see video of Grunt Cadillac Hotel at The Hacienda)

Vocals Mike Keeble. Guitar Harry Stafford, Bass Bill Marten Drums Alan Brown

Singles chart success bode well for the band: the Big Jugular EP and fourth single The Judge both made the indie top 10, while a number three slot for their debut album Rumble (1985) paved the way for tours of Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Scandinavia.

Inca Babies on the Ferry

Three albums followed in as many years as the band consolidated their sound on vinyl - This Train (1986), Opium Den (mini-LP, 1987) and Evil Hour (1988). Alongside the vinyl releases, the Inca Babies also recorded four sessions for BBC Radio’s John Peel Show between 1984 and 1986.
Despite an ever-changing line-up of drummers and singers around Stafford and Marten, the band released a further six singles. Notably, 1988's Evil Hour featured Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets on keyboards and Hulme multi-instrumentalist Alan Brown of bIG fLAME and The Great Leap Forward was also drummer for a time.
This video shows Mike Keeble and Alan Brown in the line-up performing Superior Spectre at Manchester’s Hacienda.

Among highlights were appearances on German television TV Blau Weiss in October 1986. This video shows the band performing Opium Den with Stafford having switched to vocals, Darren Bullows on guitar and Pete Bogg as drummer.

As musical tastes changed to dance and ecstasy took a toll on the guitar bands of the 1980s, the band folded at the turn of the 1990s. Marten and Stafford re-grouped under a new name ‘Hound God with a Tumour’, all metal percussion and drum loops but swimming against the tastes of the day.
In 2006 Cherry Red released the ’Best of’ compilation Plutonium, and the band reformed a year later recruiting Gold Blade drummer Rob Haynes for a concert in Munich marking the 20th anniversary of the booking agency IBD. The Inca Babies had been the agency's first overseas act.
This line-up performed at several venues in the UK and Stafford began work on a new album before the sudden death of Bill Marten in August 2008. This live in London video shows Bill playing Phantom Track, the opening track of the album he wouldn’t live to see released, Death Message Blues.

Video: Phantom Track live at The Hope and Anchor

Harry Stafford (guitar, singer), Bill Marten (bass), Rob Haynes (drums)

With the band’s future uncertain, former A Witness bassist Vince Hunt, a long-standing friend of both Stafford and Marten, stepped in to complete the album and for dates across Europe in late 2009 and 2010. He continues to play live and record with the band.
This video shows the current line-up in a film for the band’s first single for 25 years, My Sick Suburb.

READ: Swamplandzine’s illuminating interview with Harry from 2010:

All on Black Lagoon Records unless stated. Chart positions shown from the UK Indie Chart
  • "The Interior" (1983)
  • "Grunt Cadillac" (1984) (#6)
  • Big Jugular EP (1984) (#10)
  • "The Judge" (1984) (#8)
  • Surfin' In Locustland EP (1985) (#11)
  • "Splatter Ballistics Cop" (1986) (#24)
  • "Buster's On Fire" (1987) Constrictor
  • 'My Sick Suburb'/Tower of Babel' (2012) Black Lagoon
  • Rumble (1985) (#3)
  • This Train (1986)
  • Opium Den mini-LP (1987)
  • Evil Hour (1988)
  • 1983-87 - Plutonium (2006) Anagram
  • Death Message Blues (2010) Black Lagoon
Incas Peel Sessions:
Grunt Cadillac
Brother Rat   
Superior Spectre
Big Jugular
The Judge
She Mercenary
Cactus Mouth Informer
Blind Man (The Chiller)
Crawling Garage Gasoline
Doomed Locustland
No Sacred Sound
Plenty More Mutants
Opium Den
The Depths

DVD and Video appearances
  • “She Mercenary” on Blood On The Cats (VHS)
  • "Jerico" on In Goth Daze - The Gothic Video (DVD) (2003) Cherry Red
  • “Opium Den” by by Adam T.Burton and Mick Conefrey
Bill Martin

A founder member and mainstay of the Inca Babies from 1982 until his death in 2008, Bill was a sight to behold eyeballing the crowd while chopping out bass lines with his trademark Elvis/Sid Vicious-style curled lip.
For 250 gigs and 25 years Bill was a constant and his legacy lives on, with his bass riffs passed on from his original notation. A great companion, a great character, a great guy to have in a band.
See Bill in action in his final appearances with the band:
to Hope and Anchor video
The Interior live at The Hope and Anchor, London

Harry Stafford (guitar, singer), Bill Marten (bass), Rob Haynes (drums)

Link to Chorlton video
The Judge live at The Blowout in Chorlton, Manchester 2008

Inca babies 2012