Cloudburst (1981–3)

Steve, Keith and Gordon were high school friends in Darwen, Lancashire. They were all very much into music, so it was only a matter of time before they learned instruments and decided to form a band, rehearsing in the school music room.

Early Cloudburst

They recruited local drummer Declan and bassist Howard. And they took the name Cloudburst shortly before their first gigs in 1982 — a series of talent shows. They were remarkably well-received, discovering what it was like to be screamed at by teenage girls. There wasn’t much going on in Darwen in those days!

Live, 1982

Keith had already been experimenting with guitars, electronics and tape recorders, and Gordon had been writing lyrics and tunes. In a series of sessions, they composed and recorded original songs, under the working title The Cloudburst Tapes.

Cloudburst at Darwen FC

Meanwhile, Declan was replaced by Pete (regular sound man Craig also standing in), and they gained a local reputation from their concerts (and merchandise). They gradually introduced Keith and Gordon’s material into the set, to a mixture of puzzled and stunned stares.

Christmas Cloudburst

After more gigs around Darwen in summer and autumn, Cloudburst stopped looking for a reliable drummer, ditched the poseur, and condensed to a multi-instrumentalist three-piece. They ended the year with a series of slightly bizarre Christmas gigs, using backing tape and drum machine, before disbanding in anticipation of incoming exams, under parental pressure.

Storm in a Teacup, 1983

But, while the paint was still wet, Keith and Gordon’s original Cloudburst material was re-recorded as the cassette album Storm in a Teacup, and saw a limited release in early 1983. Another compilation of unreleased demos, The Distortion Factor, was completed later that year.

Although they never gigged again as Cloudburst, Keith, Steve, Gordon, and Craig briefly regrouped in summer 1983 as Albino Dinnerjacket before leaving Darwen for university.


  • Gordon Farquhar – voice, guitar & bass
  • Keith Nuttall – guitars, keyboard & voice
  • Steve Farrell – guitar & bass
  • Declan Donnegan – drums (to Mar ’82)
  • Howard McMinn – bass & voice (to Sep ’82)
  • Pete Meleady – drums (Mar to Sep ’82)
  • Craig Jepson – sound (& stand-in drums)
  • John Parker – lights & visual effects


Reunion, 2001
Reunion, 2001 [L-R: Craig, Gordon, Steve, Keith]

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