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Topplers Records: Home of The Official Steve Treatment website



What's New?

12/10/2019
Hello! This is the brand new home for the Steve Treatment site and also for what is left of Topplers Records! There might be a few glitches but we'll sort them out soon...

 

10/10/2019

Ready to launch? This beta version is up for testing purposes.

28/08/2019

New website started today. Still transferring files from the current site so it might take a while before everything is up and running!

Steve Treatment was a pioneer of the DIY Punk scene in the late 1970s and his records sound as fresh today as they did back then. Unlike the punks of his day Steve’s influences weren’t the Stooges or the New York Dolls; he turned to his hero Marc Bolan for inspiration. In 1978, with the help of his friends The Swell Maps, he made one of the best singles ever, the “Five A Sided 45”. He  released two more 7” singles but by 1979 his recording career took a long break and it wasn’t until early this century that Steve started releasing new material again either as solo acoustic performer or with electric backing by Scottish band The NoMen. 

In the summer of 2015 an LP was released of Steve Treatment’s original records along with unreleased tracks from the late seventies. At the same time Topplers Records released a "Best of" compilation containing his recordings from 2003 - 2015. Sadly these two retrospective albums came out just at the end of Steve's life; he died in his London flat in August 2015 at the age of 57.

The Swell Maps 1978The Swell Maps 1978

 

Steve Treatment, or Steven John Finney as his parents know him, was born in Derby but the Rock'n'Roll dream led him to London in 1975. Always a fan of Marc Bolan and T Rex he spotted a girl wearing a T Rex t-shirt and struck up a conversation. She said she got the shirt from Marc's office at 69 New Bond Street so Steve popped round and was amazed at how easy it was to approach the Metal Guru! 

Nikki Sudden, of Swell Maps, also hung about Marc's office and the pair of them were invited to a T Rex gig at Great Yarmouth where they became friends and declared that they to would one day be as big stars as Marc Bolan! Steve & Nikki begin busking around London and going to the early Punk gigs. Steve had a job in the HMV shop and used to wear a plastic padlock and chain he nicked from a Uriah Heep display in the window. Captain Sensible had inherited Sid Vicious' famous padlock and wanted to swap it for Steve's!

with Marc Bolanwith Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan wanted to know about punk rock and asked Steve & Nikki their advice - he ended up getting the Damned to support him on his final tour and a few good punk bands got their TV debut on the 'Marc' television show.

Steve was spotted by arty film maker Derek Jarman who was starting on his "punk" film 'Jubilee!' Steve had the job of taking Polaroid photos of punks at a Ramones gig to appear as extras in the film. Derek thought his own age and posh accent would scare the punks away. At this time Steve had long curly hair which he planned to cut off but Derek made him wait so he could film it. This scene appears in Jubilee and was also used in Derek's anthology film "Glitterbug". Steve also appears in the book burning scene at the end of Jubilee and received a fiver for his acting skills.

Steve Strange, later of New Romantic band Visage, was also an extra in Jubilee and he and Midge Ure were looking for someone to front their notorious 'Moors Murderers' project. Steve was asked but he quite rightly thought the idea was tacky!


 By early '77 Steve had written most of the tracks for his first record and many more including his theme song "You're gonna receive treatment" from where his nickname came! Nikki's band the Swell Maps had now made their first single, the classic 'Read about Seymour', on their own Rather Records which was later taken up by Rough Trade and was a big favourite of John Peel! Nikki thought it would be a good idea to use Rather records to put out singles by other bands and, after hearing tapes that Steve had made on his friend Gary Hill's Revox tape machine, offered Steve the chance. On June 1st 1978 The Swell Maps and Steve went into Spaceward Studios and recorded the Five 'A' Sided Single.

This was one of the best singles of 1978 and although it had all the ingredients of punk, it transcended the three chord thrash associated with punk (it's best song has only one chord!!!) and has a timeless quality. The Bolan influence is obvious especially on the classic Negative Nights with Christine Isherwood's beautiful second vocal! There is also a psychedelic and rockabilly influence, with the backwards guitars and double tracked vocals. All five tracks sound like a band having terrific fun in the studio!

Nikki Sudden and Steve TreatmentNikki Sudden and Steve TreatmentAs well as providing musical backing Swell Maps helped design the cover and each single had a personalised inner sleeve handwritten by either Steve or the Maps or their pals. There was an anagram on the back sleeve - Vet Me Tea Set Rut - which turned out not to be a true anagram of Steve Treatment because they got the "u" upside down! Annette, Nikki's girlfriend at the time, recalls having to type out hundreds of slips of paper to go into the sleeves and make it a competition to "spot the deliferate mistale"

The record sold well and was played in full by John Peel over a number of nights. Steve claimed it outsold the Swell Maps, which is unlikely, and Nikki reckoned that Steve absconded with all the copies for himself! Steve and Nikki had one more unreleased recording session together but the Maps were now doing their first album and so the two drifted apart.

 


Christine Isherwood, Steve Treatment, Nikki SuddenChristine Isherwood, Steve Treatment, Nikki Sudden

Steve now found himself with a single high in the Independant Charts but without a band and the means to do any gigs (in fact he never did a single live gig untill he formed the Ticket Inspectors in the late eighties).

An old friend Nick Welsh took it upon himself to get Steve a band and by the end of '78 Steve returned to the recording studio for the second single 'Step inside a worn out shoe" and 'Heaven Knows'.

The second single was released on Ste

ve's own record label, Backbone, and is another classic! The T Rex influence is right upfront on 'Juvenile Wrecks' with its rolling piano and Bolan-esque lyrics. The other side (only two songs on this one to get more volume) was 'Step inside a worn out shoe', a quirky rocker with trademark double tracked vocals (arguing with each other at the end!!!).

Steve was never one to rehearse or re-take tracks prefering to show the song to the band and dive in head first with the recording, so this session also produced 'Change of Plan' and 'Head of a Raven' for his next single which also came out on Backbone in '79. This third 45 also contained three more tracks of boppin' good tunes but sadly was his last release for 24 years!!!

An album was planned and some major labels had shown an interest but the musical climate was changing and synthpop was taking over the independent charts, so Steve's album was left in limbo. Some of the tracks recorded for it are among his best such as 'Temperature Change' and 'Carve My Name Upon Your Back' but at the time Steve's recording career came to a halt.

The Ticket Inspectors CassettesThe Ticket Inspectors Cassettes

In the eighties Steve's friend Kozzie from Poland via Scotland organised a new band called the Ticket Inspectors and Steve made his live debut. Steve's songwriting had matured and there was less T Rex influence and an overall softer sound, although there was always the threat of a full volume rockin' freak-out just round the bend!

The band released their albums on cassette via Steve's Backbone records and almost every tape is different as new recordings were added along with live tracks and even Steve's old singles were added to fill up space. The first line up of the band recorded but never gigged and a second version of the band still featuring Kozzie started gigging around London and even got a spot at the '93 Glastonbury Festival.  


 

Another long period of silence followed but Steve never stopped writing and recording. In 2002 Hyped2Death records in America bootlegged some of the classic early singles on their Messthetics series of CDs. (Messthetics was a mis-hearing of the line in the Undertones 'My Perfect Cousin' - "He's got a degree in Economics, MATHS, PHYSICS and Bionics..." and if your into the most obscure DIY punk from the UK and USA you should check these compilations out!" Steve made contact with Chuck Warner from H2D and discussions started about a proper reissue of the early singles.

By coincidence Scottish DIY label 'TOPPLERS' started a Steve Treatment page on their website and were soon in touch with Steve who sent up a pile of cassettes featuring 20 years of unreleased recordings. Plans were formed for Topplers band 'The NoMen' to back Steve on some re-recordings of his best songs but as the NoMen were having so much fun with the tracks they ended up releasing an album of Steves songs themselves. Steve wrote the title track 'The Keys to Talgarth Rd' especially for the NoMen and in most cases their arrangements of the songs take them into areas far away from Steve's originals.

By mid 2003 Steve and the NoMen started collaborating on new material with the band recording the tracks in Scotland and Steve adding vocal and guitar in London. A five A sided CD was the first release and it contained a reworking of "Carve My Name' and four new tracks including the incredible 'Letter to the world'. A Christmas EP and an acoustic album followed swiftly on from this and in early 2004 it was arranged for Steve to come to Glasgow to record the first 7" record on Topplers with the NoMen. Unfortunately the London Border Patrol prevented Steve from leaving the city and the session had to be cancelled. (Topplers released a 7" by Jowe Head, ex of Swell Maps, who had played guitar on Steve's first single!)

Hyped2Death/Munster LP 2014Hyped2Death/Munster LP 2014In the fall of 2005 they got together to record a brand new 7" single, Steve's first for 26 years! Steve Treatment's vitality had not softened with age... like a fine wine, he just got better! The five tracks on the new single bristled with ideas and bop about like the best of his classic recordings. The sleeve even pays homage to the first single with an anagram of his name that actually works and lots of photos and comments relating to the original masterpiece!

Other low key CD releases followed and there was always a Christmas special sometimes coming out as early as October if Steve couldn't wait for the festive season to begin! In 2015 Hyped2Death records in collaboration with Munster Records from Spain brought ot the definitive vinyl album of Steve Treatment singles from the seventies along with unreleased tracks from the same period which would have made up the Steve Treatment album if one had ever came out at the time.

Toppler Records brought out a retrospective album of Steve's newer work spanning 2003 to 2015 and planned to release a 'concept' album about the Mods and Rockers battles in the sixties that Steve had been writing...
Sadly, just as these two albums were released, Steve passesd away at the age of 57 in his flat at Talgarth Road in London.

Steve is one of those timeless, undervalued artists forever on the sidelines but those who are lucky enough to know his music love it with a passion.


The NoMen's tribute to Steve TreatmentThe NoMen's tribute to Steve Treatment


The NoMen's have an album containing 19 cover versions of Steve Treatment songs recorded between 2003 and 2015. Some of Steve's best known songs are covered as well as many of his brilliant compositions that never really got the exposure they deserved. This was a labour of love for The NoMen and we think Steve Treatment would have loved it! More info and samples from this album can be found at the NoMen's BandCamp page. All the profit from this CD will go towards the up keep of SteveTreatment.com

Steve Treatment on SpotifySteve Treatment on Spotify 

'Vacuous Foodstuff' have put Steve's recordings with Topplers Records online via Spotify, iTunes  and other music platforms. The first digital album is Steve's "Clear Visions of Grandeur" which is a compilations of tracks recorded between 2003 and 2005 and contains many of his finest songs from this period including all the tracks from his 'comeback' single in 2005 as well as some of his Christmas songs.
 The "Picked Apart On Tape" box set compiles Steve's solo acoustic home recordings. The "20 Golden Greats" album features the best recordings with The NoMen. All are well worth a listen!

STEVE TREATMENT ON SPOTIFY