“Two Humps are the reason I left Genesis—that and the fact that Phil Collins is a wanker...”
Two Humps is an English tribute band that can now play almost all of the first track off The Snow Turkey. Every member of the band is named Andy, apart from Colin.
If it survives for long enough, every rock group, no matter how crap, cannot avoid the formation of 'tribute bands'—amateur clusters of under-achieving middle-managers, united only in a passion for the original group and an inability to play their instruments. (Even the short-lived Jeff Buckley spawned a tribute band—i.e. Radiohead.) But the very existence of Two Humps suggests that this phenomenon may have got out of hand, as the band is a tribute to band which is itself a tribute to a band you may not have heard of.
Two Humps claims to be the only Dromedary tribute band within ten miles of Biggleswade. (They are available for gigs, but not this Thursday, as Colin probably ought to attend a Parents Evening at his son's school. The rest of the week looks iffy too, and depends on the band raising sufficient funds to pay for a replacement gasket on Andy's Ford Transit, which has been impounded by Dunton Auto Repairs.)
Readers unsure as to the provenance of Dromedary, or more accurately, do-ro-me-da-ri, may need reminding that this is itself a tribute to the 1970s second-division English prog-rock band, Camel. Dromedary was created in Yokohama in 1993 by a group of ex-pat schoolboys who mistakenly believed that Camel were quite good.
The 2003 World Tour of West Bedfordshire—'Careful with that Flute, Doreen'
Founder Members of Two Humps
Prior to their first break-up, Two Humps consisted of:
- Andy Hersden (bass and accounts), originally from the Hatfield and the North tribute band, Bristol & West. Before joining the band, Andy survived a brief tussle with the law when he was prosecuted for selling illegal downloads of John Cage's seminal track 4'33". After a period of canny legal bargaining, he narrowly missed a spell in prison by admitting the lesser felony of 'selling an unauthorised copy of Brian Eno's '2/1' with the volume turned down' —an offence that normally carries the minimum tariff of either 20 hours of community service or two hours with Bryan Ferry (whichever seems the longer).
- Andy Honey-Hill (acoustic bass, logistics and narcotics), a stalwart of Campavan, the Caravan tribute band.
- Colin Stodmarsh (fretless bass, litigation), one-time roadie for National Health tribute band, BUPA. Still does sound-checks for the sob-rock tribute band LloydsTSB James Harvest. Five years ago, a promising career as a professional footballer ended when Colin refused to play weekends and evenings.
- Andy Lenet (guitar, keyboards, mellotron, Moog synthesizer, flute, saxophone, excuses and percussion), out of Pierre Moerlen's Gong tribute band, the initially named Andy Lenet's Pierre Moerlen's Gong, later changed to Andy Lenet's Gang. 
Musicologists have noted that each of these tribute bands was based upon a group from the Canterbury scene, prompting some to ask if there was perhaps a Chaucerian link between Biggleswade and Canterbury. It is well-known that pilgrims from the North of England would, on their way to [Jerusalem]], stop off at Biggleswade for sausage and chips. But there is no record of anyone from Canterbury ever bothering to visit the Bedfordshire area, leading some to believe that all Midlands folk have primeval Kentish yearnings.
The Band's Entourage:
Two Humps were briefly accompanied by Portia, herself a one-woman tribute to the Hawkwind dancer, Stacia. Urging herself into a tea-induced frenzy, Portia took to imitating Stacia's naked dancing style. However the fans were less keen to witness the misguided judderings of this 57-year-old mother-of-three, particularly during some of the up-tempo numbers, and she was asked to leave soon after the band acquired its 'Two Rumps' nickname. 
Soon after her departure, for a period that the band now call their 'Pink Summer of 2004', Portia's self-appointed replacement was Timothy, a Two Humps fan who followed the band from gig to gig and claimed to be on a nude walk of South Bedfordshire on behalf of the 'Free the Ferret' charity. As a consequence, some pubs refused to book Two Humps, and so Timothy very nearly put the band out of business. The band was saved only by Colin's entrepreneurial flair, when he placed an advert in the Huntingdon Gazette, supposedly from Timothy, asking if there were any groups who actually wanted a nude male dancer. No-one replied to the ad. So Colin replied himself, pretending to be Hugh Dunton-Evans, organ grinder of Von Der Groff Incinerator, an Oundle-based tribute band to Mud. Utterly taken in by the reply, Timothy marched off up the A1, wearing just his Nikes and a Byrry Trypnylla tee-shirt.
Ever the opportunist, Portia took to selling CDs of whale songs over the Internet, which many believed were more exciting than Dromedary concerts. In this endeavour she thrived, until an expert from the Jacques Cousteau Centre for Going in the Sea Without Getting Your Hair Too Wet proclaimed that "Yes, zee sounds zey ur indeed ver bootiful but not whales. Non, zey ur dolphins!".
The Office of Fair Trade stepped in. Now a grandmother, Portiab can be seen most Tuesdays at Spangles Rhino, where she does the difficult after-lunch slot as a pole-dancer. In a recent interview, she claimed her flatulence problem was almost completely behind her.
- a. Byrry Trypnyll was a minor heavy metal band of the 1980s, named after the headmaster who expelled one of the band's heroes.
- b. In some documents, her name is recorded as 'Portlia'.
Behind every great band, there is a great manager. Behind almost every rubbish band, there is Simon Cowell. A long way behind Two Humps, there was, for a brief period, Gerald Bossock.
The band never met Gerald face-to-face until after his resignation. But so attractive was his promise of worldwide video coverage and online ticket sales, that they readily agreed to Gerald's fee of £1,000 per quarter. It took the band two months to appreciate that Gerald had done no more than set up a YouTube account and sell three tickets via eBay.
After tracking him down, they discovered Gerald was a 15-year-old boy from a local public school who had exploited them as an appendix to his GCSE Business Studies project report. Gerald did not even like the music of Two Humps. (In that, he was completely normal.) Before Gerald could be sacked, he discovered girls and resigned. But he left one valuable piece of advice - when tickets to see Two Humps are more expensive than for Camel, it's time to quit.
Two Humps' support for Good Causes
Despite their busy schedule, Two Humps have always found time to save the world. Two Humps believe it essential that they constantly seek out causes which not only have been overlooked by others but also are likely to attract a big commercial sponsor.
Their historic 'Save the Whaler' gig still holds the record for being the loudest inland concert to benefit the cetacean processing industry. As a result, Andy Lenet was able to hand over a cheque for £28.40 to unemployed blubber workers.
The band also said they would contribute 20p for every Two Humps track downloaded from a particular Russian Internet site. Their accountant—i.e. Colin's Mum—tried to intervene when it was put to the band that they received no revenue whatsoever from the illicit site for each download. But Colin's Mum's sister, Doris, said that a promise was a promise, so the commitment still stands. As a result, the band lost 60p in the first year of the offer alone.
But the following February, sacked child/manager Gerald Bossock stumbled upon the offer while conducting research on the Internet for his GCSE in Gynaecology. Spotting an opportunity for revenge, Gerald spent his entire Christmas money downloading their music, at 1p a track, from www.BorisPop.ru. His £40 investment caused Two Humps a loss of £800 they could ill afford, forcing the band into receivership. (For more on the band's re-mortgaging and management buyout, see Financial Re-structuring.)
This episode prompted the band to start the charity 'Home Taping Isn't So Bad After All' , in part because the band had stopped trying to understand computer technology after Colin's Commodore 64 had given up the ghost.
Shortly after, the usually sensible Andy Lenet was victim to a stunt run by prime-time TV show 'You've Been Stupid'. Essentially he was filmed on Beeston High Street being invited to make a monthly payment to spoof charity Green Peas. Andy eagerly agreed, believing it to be somehow connected to Jamie Oliver's School Dinners campaign. Not even a picture showing the supposed Green Peas' boat The Rainbow Worrier, blatantly helmed by Zippy, George and Bungle raised alarm bells. He was hooked. When shown a month later on national television, Andy appeared to take it all in good spirit, although some said he still looked slightly confused about the whole thing, unsure as to whether it was the events on the High Street or the TV show itself that was the con. We may never know but he has yet to cancel the standing order.
The band's financial re-structuring
Students of finance may prefer to avoid the next paragraph, which is a video transcript marking the return of Andy Honey-Hill to the band after a non-musical three months as an associate with the Bedford Consulting Group.
- Colin: "What do you mean -- 'The band should have a Business Process Management strategy.'?"
- Andy: "It's just that if we're going to stand any chance of improving our process efficiency, we've got to ..."
- Colin (interrupting): "Andy, we're a band. We're artists. We don't do efficiency."
- Andy: "Look, if Genesis can have an enterprise process architecture, then so can we. We've got to focus on our productivity."
- Colin: "I hate Phil Collins."
- Andy: "Yes, but he could teach you a lot about Component Re-use."
- Colin: "What? You mean nicking other people's songs?"
- Andy: "Well, that could be part of it ..."
Such is the intensity of life on the road or in the studio that the enforced intimacy can cause band relationships to break down. Countless bands have fallen out or even split up as a result of one member sleeping with the girlfriend of another, or of borrowing batteries for an effects pedal without asking.
In late 2003, such a set of events befell Two Humps, the antagonists being Andy Lenet and Colin Stodmarsh. It started innocently enough, with Andy arranging a babysitter so that he and his wife could take part in the local pub quiz. Unknown to him, they had inadvertently poached the babysitter normally booked by Colin, who was also planning to attend the quiz.
A desperate Colin managed to find a last-minute replacement for the girl but arrived late at the Quiz and had to make do with a table by the toilets. Disadvantaged by not being able to hear the questions properly, Colin and his wife came last. Further salt was rubbed into their wounds by Andy winning the £50 prize.
The band survived the babysitter double-booking—just—but when Andy's application for an allotment was turned down by the parish amenities sub-committee (of which Colin was chairman), observers predicted a backlash. Matters quickly escalated: Andy arranged for Colin's wife Maxine to be excluded from the local book club on the trumped-up charge of being a slow reader. Colin responded by letting down the tyres on Andy's son's bike when doing his paper round.
When four tonnes of freshly rotted horse manure arrived unrequested on Colin's driveway, he had no choice—he rang Andy's mum, Cynthia. No stranger herself to the music industry—she had been turned down several turns as a dancer for Pan's People on the grounds of poor personal hygiene—Cynthia made the ultimate threat: Andy would have to help his father set up wireless broadband.
Andy backed down, mumbling a forced apology to Colin, witnessed by their mothers. Colin accepted, subject to the proviso that he would keep the manure, which he sold at a profit to the other allotment holders. Two Humps would live on, older, wiser and slightly smellier but forever destined to help out their parents with trivial PC issues. Neither party, however, has admitted to drawing facial hair on the band's Fish-era Marillion poster that was a major feature within their practice studio, despite only Colin and Andy having keys to the garage.
The Subsequent Lawsuit and Break-up—'A to HH: I am the Only One '
Gigging hard, the band found themselves invited to support the Magma-influenced band, Smegma, who sang lyrics written in a made-up language, Toby-ah. Unfortunately their first night at the St. David's Hall, Cardiff, turned out also to be their last, as the 'made-up language' turned out to be nothing more than badly slurred Welsh. The locals took offence, and Smegma seemed hopelessly outnumbered by the ten members of the audience, until Two Humps stepped in, led by the semi-clad Portia.
Four of Colin's fingers were broken—by a jealous Andy Hersden, as it happened—but his bass technique was in no way lessened. Smegma abandoned the tour but Two Humps drove on. Farsightedly deciding to be the world's first carbon-neutral tribute band, they set off in Andy's Ford Transit, now equipped with roof-mounted solar panels and a pair of wind turbines attached to the wing mirrors.
Three miles out of Biggleswade, the sun went behind a large cloud, the breeze dropped and the vehicle ground to a halt on the A6001 to Langford. The band walked home, abandoning the van and all their gear. Fortunately (and uncharacteristically), Colin had arranged excellent 'new for old' insurance which the band interpreted all too literally in tough negotiations with the Beeston Life Assurance Company (now part of the Prudential, incidentally).
Demanding and receiving modular synthesisers and an electronic drum-kit, they survived briefly under the moniker Nectarine Nightmare. They released the poorly received live album, Rick O'Shea, a homage to the landlord of their local Irish theme pub.
The writing was on the wall and the band, disheartened by their run of bad luck, stumbled briefly on until their children left home and it was no longer necessary to spend Friday and Saturday nights away from the world-class bickering of family life.
Colin Stodmarsh goes solo
In a fit of pique, Colin went temporarily solo. Only one song is in existence: Modern Rock'n' Roller, a lament to the life of a pop star. The lyrics are as follows :-
- Let me introduce myself, a famous rock ‘n’ roll singer.
- But many years ago I felt real bad - I had been through the wringer.
- I went to see the doctor, he looked inside my head.
- He said: ‘You need a makeover. Why not paint your bedroom red?"
- "My opinion is you're tired, from hollering and shouting.
- Relax and get some colour cards or finish off some grouting."
- I bought a groovy power tool with an attachment just for sanding.
- It’s really good, it has transformed the oak panels round my landing.
- I’m a modern rock n roller,
- I'll rock until I die.
- But when I have a moment,
- I'll do some DIY
- When the garden gets too cold, it couldn't be much neater.
- Because I went to B&Q and bought a nice gas heater.
- When the band all come around, we pass days in hell raising -
- If the neighbours said we were too loud I’d get some double glazing
- Although I have a stunning house and a much-improved property,
- My handiwork has tired me out.
- I feel all limp and floppy.
- It’s all down to my doctor and his medical inspection.
- I think all this damned DIY has ruined my er3ct1on.
Suffice it to say, the song did not trouble the singles charts and Colin returned, shame-faced, to the band.
Discography, including Bootlegs and Pirate CDs
- 1. Pete Frome. Rock Family Trees.
- 2. Gramophone. Stereo Review Guide to Nude Dance Music