It was a big decision, Gary Holton mused on his sudden departure from Heavy Metal Kids. And, once he'd made it, there was no way that his mind would be changed. He made sure of that.
Holton's doubts as to his future as a Heavy Metal Kid set in when the band's recent British tour was cancelled after he injured his leg on the opening night, and the ensuing convalesence period gave him time to think about the future. The decision was that the future didn't lie with Heavy Metal Kids.
So he sat down, wrote a letter to the band explaining the position, stuck it in the nearest mailbox, and scarpered off to Devon for three weeks, rendering himself incommunicado, until thestorm blew over.
Holton, the outrageous, outspoken vocalist and frontman of the Kids for the past three years explained his strategy: "The band probably thinks I'm a bit of a c***. But I really don't care. I'm very proud of what the Heavy Metal Kids did, but I wanted to get out of that second division thing and into the top division. I decided I wanted to go a little bit further. I wanted to use the concept of being out-front...whatever it is I am...I don't know...singer, I suppose...to more extremes, and to get the music together as well."
"With the Kids, the music took second place all the time. I wanted to get it really hot but I couldn't do that within the band, so I had to leave. In the end, I didn't enjoy working in the band anymore. It became a ritual. There was a lot of cynicism in the band which rubbed off, and everybody started taking it seriously. I didn't like that. I like to enjoy my work."
Holton, in fact, realised his predicament within HMK when he discovered that three members of Boxer (Ollie Halsall, Tony Newman and Keith Ellis) had been suffering a similar crisis of thought with their leader, Mike Patto, and had also concluded that they too would have to leave the band to fulfil ambitions. The Boxer trio lived in a flat rented to them by Holton's girlfriend. They met and decided to form a band of their own called Stick-Up.
"We're all very ambitious," Holton added. "We're not afraid of working. With the Kids, we were going out like a million-dollar band, with an articulated lorry full of equipment that wasn't really necessary and getting £300 or £400 a gig. There was too much overkill. I'd rather work hard with just the necessary equipment."
"I think I'm capable of the top division thing. It's simply a matter of working it out and controlling it. Musicians like Ollie Halsall, Tony Newman and Keith Ellis don't mess about. But don't get me wrong, I don't look on Heavy Metal Kids as a failure. It was all invaluable experience, a stepping stone to further the old Holton career. We were very good at what we did, but the trouble was that we stayed on that level and didn't move on. I want to be mentally satisfied with my work. It doesn't matter how much you've got in your bank balance...mind you, I'm still going to be an obnoxious little bastard."