Spike (musician)

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Background information
Birth nameJonathan Gray
Also known asSpike Gray
Born (1968-02-04) 4 February 1968 (age 50)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
Origin Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, glam metal, glam punk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, harmonica, guitar
Years activeSince 1984
LabelsVarious[ clarification needed ]
Associated acts The Quireboys
Damage Control

Jonathan Gray (born 4 February 1968), known professionally as Spike (sometimes also known as Spike Gray), is an English rock singer and songwriter, known for his times with The Quireboys with whom he has released seven studio albums to date.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

The Quireboys English hard rock band

The Quireboys are an English hard rock band formed in 1984 in London, with strong ties to Newcastle. When the band formed they were originally known as The Queerboys and later as the London Quireboys in the United States and Canada, settling at last with their current name.



Gray was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and grew up in Northern England. At age 17, he moved down to London where, eventually, he would form the rock band The Quireboys with Guy Bailey in 1984. [1] After various tours and singles, Spike with The Quireboys released their debut album A Bit of What You Fancy (1990), which went to number two on the UK Albums Chart. The band gained significant success, but their second album Bitter Sweet & Twisted (1993) did not quite have the impact of the first.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the English Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

Northern England Place in England

Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the northern part of England, considered as a single cultural area. It extends from the Scottish border in the north to near the River Trent in the south, although precise definitions of its southern extent vary. Northern England approximately comprises three statistical regions: the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. These have a combined population of around 14.9 million as of the 2011 Census and an area of 37,331 km2. Northern England contains much of England's national parkland but also has large areas of urbanisation, including the conurbations of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Teesside, Tyneside, Wearside, and South and West Yorkshire.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

After The Quireboys split up in 1993, he played in the United States, in Los Angeles, California, with a band called God's Hotel. He also sang lead vocals on a cover of Hank Williams's country classic "Hey Good Lookin'", with C.C. DeVille from the American glam-metal band Poison, for the soundtrack of the comedy film Son in Law (1993) that starred Pauly Shore.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Hank Williams American country music singer

Hiram King "Hank" Williams was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century, Williams recorded 35 singles that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one.

Spike decided to record in other projects; the first was in 1994 with Darrell Bath of the English rock and roll band The Dogs D'Amour. The recording, Take Out Some Insurance, was an album of covers, featuring songs from old blues artists, and was released under the artist name Spike an' Darrell. [2]

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

The Dogs D'Amour are a hard rock band formed in 1983 in London, England. Over the years the band has had various line-ups, the only constant being vocalist Tyla. Their music has been described as a mixture of the Rolling Stones, the Faces and glam punk.

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals, and the folk music of white Americans of European heritage. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds or fifths flattened in pitch, are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Soon after, Spike moved back to Newcastle and, in 1996, he recorded with another member of The Dogs D'Amour  this time it was frontman Tyla, with whom he recorded the album Flagrantly Yours, under the artist name Spike and Tyla's Hot Knives.

Tyla is an English rock musician, best known for his work with The Dogs D'Amour as well as an extensive solo catalogue. As well as performing vocals, guitars and other instruments, he also illustrates the album covers in his own recognisable style.

In 1998, Spike recorded his first solo album Blue Eyed Soul.

The Quireboys reformed in 2001 with a new line-up and have released six new albums since that time.

Spike's second solo studio album, It's a Treat to Be Alive, was released in 2005, followed by So Called Friends in 2008.

Spike was involved in a fracas with German rock guitarist Michael Schenker in November 2000. This happened after a show at the Newcastle City Hall by the English heavy-metal and hard-rock band UFO. Schenker later admitted he caused the brawl, and refused to blame Spike. The Quireboys have since played on the same bill as the hard-rock band Michael Schenker Group.

Michael Schenker German musician

Michael Schenker is a German rock guitarist who has played in UFO and led the Michael Schenker Group. He was an early member of Scorpions the band co-founded by his elder brother Rudolf Schenker. In the mid-1970s Michael joined UFO, playing lead guitar. He left the band in 1978 to found the Michael Schenker Group. He has rejoined UFO three times, producing an album each time. Schenker continues to perform and record. He has been called "a legendary figure in the history of metal guitar."

Newcastle City Hall

Newcastle City Hall is a concert hall located in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It has hosted many popular music and classical artists throughout the years, as well as standup and comedy acts. Opened in 1927, the City Hall was built as a part of a development which also included the adjacent City Pool. It has since become a venue for orchestras, rock and pop bands, and comedy acts, as well as for celebrity recitals, talks and civic functions.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

In 2007, Spike became part of Damage Control, a British supergroup formed by guitarist Robin George, UFO bassist Pete Way and Chris Slade, former drummer with the Australian hard-rock band AC/DC. The group released a self-titled album on Cargo Records which was generally well received.

Over the years, Spike has also provided vocals for a number of songs on various American rock tribute albums, specifically: the power ballad "Don't Cry" on Uncivil War, a tribute album to the hard-rock band Guns N' Roses; a cover of the rock band Styx's song "Lady" on the album A Tribute to Styx; rock musician Ted Nugent's "Need You Bad" on the album The World's Greatest Tribute to Ted Nugent; and the rock band Bon Jovi's ballad "Living in Sin" on the album Covered Dead or Alive. Spike also collaborated with the American electronica artist David Madden (also sometimes known as DJ Webern and Nonnon) on a version of the English heavy-metal band Judas Priest's song "Rock Forever" for An Industrial Tribute to Judas Priest.

Spike is known to have contributed backing vocals on the following recordings:


This discography documents the studio albums Spike has been a part of in various projects, throughout his musical career.

The Quireboys

God's Hotel

Spike an' Darrell

  • 1995 Take Out Some Insurance

Spike and Tyla's Hot Knives

  • 1996 Flagrantly Yours
  • 2005 Flagrantly Electrically Acoustically Yours
  • 2016 The Sinister Indecisions of Frankie Gray and Jimmy Pallas

Damage Control

  • 2007 Damage Control


  • 1998 Blue Eyed Soul
  • 1998 Live in London
  • 2005 It's a Treat to Be Alive
  • 2008 So-Called Friends
  • 2014  100% Pure Frankie Miller

See also

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  1. Naughty Mickie (n.d.). "Get Ready for a Second Helping of the London Quireboys". Dabelly.com. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  2. Staff (undated). Sonny1968.de "Spike  'It's a Treat to Be Alive'. sonny1968.de. Retrieved 25 September 2013.