THE REACTIONS – ABOUT
THE REACTIONS were formed in 1999 by Andy Rayner and Brian Lewis who had been working together as an acoustic duo, About Time 2. Feeling the urge to strap on the electric guitars again, drummer Martin Soar was cajoled out of premature retirement and the band line up completed with the arrival of rhythm guitarist Peter Scott.
The band worked solidly until early 2016, when Brian sadly had to retire due to severe hearing problems. Not wanting to upset the chemistry that had worked so well in the past, the remaining members decided to soldier on as a 3-piece. The set list was completely re-jigged, with the band concentrating their efforts on the three-part harmonies that have become their trademark sound. The transition worked too, as the band has been as busy ever and has been re-booked in just about every venue they have appeared in.
Andy Rayner (bass guitar and vocals) was classically trained in both vocals and piano as a child whilst Martin Soar (drums and vocals) was the son of a pro big band drummer. Meeting at primary school, it wasn’t long before they formed their first band, the interestingly named Gay Abandon. At the age of 17 they were playing together professionally in a soul band, The New Jason T Sound.
A couple of years later and they were getting into some serious progressive rock – together again in an outfit called Savory Duck (the best unsigned band in the land according to The Record Mirror!) But despite some excellent demos for Phonogram Records made at Strawberry Studios, the band remained unsigned as Johnny Rotten and Co. arrived and anything that wasn’t punk was instantly dropped.
Undaunted, the pair went back to where the money was, forming cabaret group Curiosity Shoppe and then function band Mahogany, who played 650+ gigs and were then given a contract with cruise line P & O. Martin then decided to take a break whilst Andy continued – back into rock with The Predators and then with 60s band, Silver Lining where he met Brian.
Peter Scott (guitar and vocals) grew up in a musical household and under the heady influence of artists such as Buddy Holly and The Beatles, he was playing professionally from the age of 15 with the Rochdale based Phantoms. The band worked hard, 5 or 6 nights a week for a number of years, but eventually Pete realised that band wages weren’t going to pay a mortgage or support a family. So it was back to night school, knuckling down to get the qualifications that would eventually lead him to becoming MD of one of the country’s biggest property companies. The guitar came out again though, playing mainly for charities with The Rock & Roll All Stars. When their singer left at short notice, Andy was drafted in as replacement. The two hit it off immediately, and it wasn’t long before Pete was persuaded to join the recently formed Reactions.