Was this the last band to play live in Chislehrust Caves? Help us find out.
The Caves have a rich history as a venue for live music, with The Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin gracing the caverns before they closed as a music venue.
It is widely reported that the last live gigs were in the late 1970s. But we’ve been contacted by ‘Mags’, the former member of Bromley band 11.53, who played a gig in the Caves on 9 January 1981.
Also on the set for this gig were Five-O, Hepatitis Risk & Real Colmans.
Seven minutes to destruction
11.53 were formed in 1980 by Lee Berwick (vocals), Pete Chavasse (Guitar), Mags (drums) and Tim Wates (bass). Their name came from the nuclear clock during the height of the cold war when it was estimated that we could be only seven minutes away from annihilation.
Inspired by many bands from the punk era – The Pop Group, A Certain Ratio, Joy Division – the group did its first gig at Orpington College on 28 November 1980.
11.53 featured in an article on Bromley bands in The Kentish Times on 31 January 1981. Lee left later in 1981 and was replaced by Nikk Mayer on vocals. They went on to do a number of gigs in Bromley and continued to play until 1982, when the band split. The last gig was at the Freemantle Hall, Bexley on 20 February 1982.
The band released no official recordings, but a large archive of recorded material still exists today.
Lee went on to form the Digi-Dub record label. Mags was an active member of SELMC (South East London Musicians Collective) and founder member of the Latin Jazz group Arriba (1988-1992). He joined the London School of Samba in 1990 and was the Musical Director of the group (2000-07).