THE PROFESSIONALS PROFILE
(JULY '80 - AUGUST '82)
With the new line up, (pictured) now managed by John Curd, having to start from scratch, nothing was heard from the group until the June '81 single, "Join The Professionls". The track was a reworking of a Cook/Jones song performed in the movie "Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains".
This apparent lack of activity contributed to a back lash in the music press & a steadily decreasing fan base.
An 11 date tour was announced & promptly cancelled. The reason cited as "re-recording the album is a priority". Virgin's Press Officer Al Clarke remarked, "None of you will be here when the album comes out". Having previously produced the "abandoned" album themselves, Steve & Paul enlisted Police producer Nigel Gray for the task.
October saw the group embark on a U.S. tour plus make a rare U.K. appearance at the "Daze Of Future Past" festival in Leeds.
November & the music press adverts exclaimed, "At Last! The New Album". Entitled "I Didn't See It Coming" the album had finally arrived. Music paper "Sounds" preceded its release by issuing the track "Little Boys" in edited form as a free flexi-disc (coupled with a Gillan track).
Also out was the accompanying single, "The Magnificent".
The album title proved prophetic. On 5th November, Paul Cook, Paul Myers, & Ray McVeigh were badly injured in a car crash in Minnesota, curtailing the U.S. tour & ensuring no foreseeable U.K. dates to promote the record.
The album was greeted with mixed press reviews, with only the "Melody Maker" championing the cause, "I didn't see it coming! But it has & I'm glad 'cos I love it.....there's still an audience for music that's as tough & tight & tuneful as you like." Even one time supporter Garry Bushell gave a luke warm reception in "Sounds". He observed, "The Cook 'n' Jones story has been one long dossier of sparkling potential & abject failure to fulfil it". He blamed Nigel Gray's "tame" production for "castrating the band, leaving only the aptly named single, 'The Magnificent', & the meaty 'Little Boys' to hit the old highs".
Despite misgivings in some quarters, the album packed plenty of the expected punch & did not disappoint fans of the 'Cook 'n' Jones' sound. A 10 track album, only 5 of the Allen-era cuts (albeit re-recorded), made the transition. (Note. Having long since been deleted, "I Didn't See It Coming" was finally given a CD re-issue in April 99. In Japan. It was not until June 2001 that the album had a UK CD re-issue, on EMI).
However, yet another period of inactivity , enforced by the car crash, meant that the album was largely forgotten.
A fully recovered Professionals embarked on a second U.S. tour in the Spring of '82, again ignoring the U.K.. It seemed the group were pinning their hopes on making an impact State-side, where the audiences were proving appreciative. One journalist, present at a performance in Boston, remarked, "Why do people hate The Professionals so much? They're a great, drunken, raucous rock 'n' roll band with very good material, & far from the Pistols cash-in most assume them to be".
Meantime, the band turned down dates supporting The Clash on their American tour at a time when The Clash were hitting their peak in the U.S.. Paul Cook short-sightedly remarked, "Why should we support them, when they used to support us (Sex Pistols)?"
By the end of their 2nd U.S. tour, the catalogue of missed opportunities & unfulfilled potential had taken its toll.As Ray McVeigh, Paul Myers, & Paul Cook (right), returned to the U.K., Steve decided to remain in the U.S. after being threatened by a New York bouncer, that if he boarded an aircraft he would be beaten-up. He initially worked with punk band Kraut, playing on 3 tracks on their album, "An Adjustment To Society" (Garage Records).
By August it became clear that Steve had called time on the band. As he later recalled, "By the time we got back to New York, which was our last date, I said 'I've had enough of this bullshit! I'm stayin'. I'm not going back!'".
Steve's health problems persisted as he was hospitalised in New York during August. It was briefly suggested he may have enlisted Paul to form yet another group in New York, but this was not to be.
and researched by Phil Singleton.