Cloudburst (1981–3)

Steve, Keith, Gordon and Howard 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 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 (sound man Craig also standing in when Pete went AWOL), 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, and condensed to a multi-instrumentalist three-piece, with Steve, Gordon and Keith sharing guitar, bass and keyboard. They ended the year with a series of ambitious and slightly bizarre Christmas gigs, using backing tape and drum machine, before disbanding under parental pressure, for important exams.

Storm in a Teacup, 1983

But, while the paint was still wet, Keith and Gordon’s original Cloudburst material was re-recorded over the Christmas break 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 regrouped in summer 1983 as Albino Dinnerjacket before leaving Darwen for university.


  • Gordon Farquhar – voice, guitar & bass
  • Steve Farrell – guitar & bass
  • Keith Nuttall – guitars, keyboard & voice
  • Craig Jepson – mixing & sound
  • John Parker – lighting & effects
  • Howard McMinn – bass (to Sep ’82)
  • Declan Donnegan – drums (to Mar ’82)
  • Pete Meleady – drums (Mar to Sep ’82)
Reunion, 2001
Reunion, 2001 [L-R: Craig, Gordon, Steve, Keith, Howard]