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Before They Were WHO: Peter Capaldi in The Dreamboys

Christopher Morley charts Peter Capaldi's early attempts at pop stardom!

The Doctor was a punk rocker! Yes, you did read that right......Peter Capaldi was vocalist/guitarist for Dreamboys, formerly known as the Bastards from Hell, with Craig Ferguson on drums during their days at the Glasgow School of Art.

Rounding out the line-up were Roderick Murray ( guitar) & Temple Clark ( bass, who later became a storyboard artist on films from Harry Potter to Kick- Ass & The Avengers), the band playing early gigs at Edinburgh's Nite Club on bills with the likes of Altered Images & the Twinsets.

Mainstream exposure never quite came their way, though- Capaldi later noting in an interview that:
"We were the only band John Peel never gave a session to in Glasgow. I’ve felt bitter and twisted about that ever since.''
They did at least manage a three-song live EP on St Vitus Records, from a gig at Glasgow's Hellfire Club! It contained the Bauhaus inspired Bela Lugosi's Birthday...

Outer Limits & Shalle We Dance.

A look at the back of the record, though, reveals that Ferguson was not involved in the recording- his place behind the kit taken by Robin Livsey. What else does the man now in charge of the TARDIS remember of his punk days?
''My knitted tank top was very early Frank Spencer. It was a geeky look that David Byrne of Talking Heads pulled off with great sophistication. But I didn’t have an ounce of that. It’s probably got a lot to do with our demise. We played the Camden Palace in London - the big gig at the time. It was empty apart from the two dozen skinheads with Cockney accents spitting at us. We also supported Altered Images in Sheffield. I wasn’t that well travelled back then, so even that was an adventure. I would love to have been a pop star - anyone who says otherwise is a liar. ''

Following the end of the band, Capaldi & Ferguson appeared at a 1981 show by Sophisticated Boom Boom in drag as the Ugly Sisters- the gig organised by Libby McArthur, who had contributed backing vocals on the sole Dreamboys EP:
“Getting him into those frocks was a scream. Everyone was howling with laughter when they came out. Before they went on we were all helping them with their make-up. But Peter was a brilliant artist so he could have done his own face pretty well. He was a force of nature.” she later told the Daily Mirror after her old friend had been cast as the Doctor.

Photographer Andy Mitchell, a friend of Temple Clark's who took pictures on the day, added
“Peter always had a manic sense of humour. Dressing up as an Ugly Sister was part of the Christmas spirit. But you can see he and Craig did it with no half measures. You can see from the outfits, the wigs, the make-up – they took it seriously. Peter was a great personality to have as your singer.”
Wonder if Peter's since read the Sixth Doctor novel Spiral Scratch, named after a Buzzcocks EP- which offers an alternate explanation for his regeneration or Paul Cornell's Virgin New Adventures novel No Future- the title cribbed from the Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen-
Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need.
There's no future
there's no future
No future for you.
It's the final novel in an 'alternate universe' arc which also incorporates Blood Heat, The Dimension Riders, The Left-Handed Hummingbird & Conundrum.

No Future (it's working title was Anarchy In The UK) finds the Seventh Doctor stranded in an alternate 1976- the year, of course, in which punk first took hold of Britain's musical imagination, and the year a young Peter Capaldi was producing Doctor Who fan art...

In reality Capaldi was still dreaming of pop stardom, but in the alternate 76 featured in No Future Bernice Summerfield was the lead singer/songwriter for Plasticine- her fellow band members are Danny Pain ( guitar), Kit ( bass) & Cob ( drums). A gig in Oxford Street brings them to the attention of 'Robert Bertram'- who's actually the Monk masquerading as a music business type. In the aftermath of some nasty business with the Vardans, Benny & Pain later reunite at Glastonbury in 1993, the band coming back together for her wedding to Jason Kane in Happy Endings ( also written by Cornell).

Validation surely for this quote by the late great Lester Bangs -
"At its best New Wave/punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they'll be creative about it, and do something good besides."

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