Shed Seven

Origin York, England
Genres Britpop, alternative rock, indie rock

Shed Seven are an English alternative rock band, formed in York in 1990. One of the groups which contributed to the Britpop music scene of the 1990s, they never received the degree of mainstream success achieved by the likes of Oasis and Blur. They originally comprised singer Rick Witter, guitarist/keyboardist Joe Johnson, bassist Tom Gladwin and drummer Alan Leach. Johnson was later replaced by Paul Banks.

They belonged to the post-Smiths wave of British musicians such as The Sundays and Marion, with a sound relying heavily on complex guitar arpeggios often in a minor key, and wailing vocals. At the height of their popularity between 1994 and 1999 they had fifteen Top 40 singles and four Top 20 albums in the UK. The band officially broke up in 2003, but reformed for a greatest hits tour in July 2007. Shed Seven have continued to play shows around Britain periodically but have not released a new studio album until in 2017 with the announcement of Instant Pleasures.

Shed Seven formed in 1990 from the ashes of Brockley Haven, a band featuring frontman Rick Witter, guitarist and songwriter Paul Banks, bassist Tom Gladwin, Magnus Thompson and John Leach, brother of Alan Leach. Both Witter and Banks had also previously played together in a band named ENAM, performing to German exchange students in Banks’s front room. The band’s name derived from a railway shed during a return trip to York; as they approached York railway station, they noticed a small shed on the sidings labelled “Shed 7”. Prior to signing a six-album deal[4] with Polydor Records in October 1993, guitarist Joe Johnson left the line-up and was replaced by Paul Banks. The band twice entered the local Fibbers/Evening Press Battle of the Bands competition, twice failing to win, whilst in September 1993, still unsigned, they were voted the third best live act at London’s Inner City Festival. The initial press attention enjoyed by the band came as a result of the positive reviews of their live shows, coupled with complimentary comparisons to The Smiths. In March 1994, an article by Dave Simpson of Melody Maker, charting the aspirations of “the UK’s brightest hopes”, stated that; “…Shed Seven’s beautifully posed, epic music is different. Not so much New Wave of New Wave as post-Smiths, they’re taking the insular bedsit angst of Morrissey’s early music and subverting it with a brash and insensitive sexual narcissism.”

In September 1994, the band released their debut album, Change Giver, entering the UK album chart at number 16 and giving the group their first Gold disc. Despite it spending just two weeks in the chart, the “critically underrated debut album”, which NME declared “an attempted stab in the face of their critics”, gave the band three UK Top 40 singles. As well as enjoying popularity in both the UK and Australia, Shed Seven also found an audience in Thailand, where they managed to beat Take That to the Christmas number 1 spot with their fourth single release, “Ocean Pie”. The following April, “Where Have You Been Tonight?”, the first record to emerge from the band’s collaboration with their new producer, Chris Sheldon, was issued as their fifth single, peaking at number 23 and continuing the band’s chart-placing run. Although the single was “rush released” with the intention of it being followed by a swiftly recorded second album, the band failed to capitalize on the song’s success as it became Shed Seven’s one and only release throughout 1995.

An alternative hits album, The Collection, which in large part featured album tracks and B-sides, surfaced in 2004. In 2005, after many requests from fans, the band eventually released an official post-split album, One Hand Clapping. The ‘new’ material, which would have comprised the band’s fifth studio album, featured unreleased demos of songs that were submitted to, and refused by, Taste Media in 2003. The album was initially released in a strictly limited run of 1,000 copies, although a Japanese version of the album, complete with four extra acoustic tracks, enhanced sleeve notes and complete lyrics, was released in June 2006.

Band members

Former lead singer Rick Witter began a solo career with Rick Witter & The Dukes in 2005. The band played several low-key gigs in Scotland as well as two sold-out shows in York shortly before Christmas of the same year, before embarking on a month-long tour in April and May 2006. Their debut album, The Year of the Rat, was released on 16 April 2007. Alan Leach returned to York, where he teaches drums[9] and is co-founder of SpeedQuizzing LTD who produce smartphone pub quiz software, whilst Tom Gladwin went on to join the Leeds-based pop/dance outfit The Clients with former members of The Dandys. In 2007, Tom formed a new band, People in Airports, with singer-songwriter and guitarist Paul Downes. After leaving Shed Seven, Paul Banks went on to form The Rising, a York-based band composed of Banks, David McKellar (formerly of The 88’s), Rob “Maxi” Maxfield (formerly of Audioweb) and Stuart Fletcher (formerly of The Seahorses and currently with Rick Witter & The Dukes). Banks became a filmmaker, starting his own production company in 2002 he has produced & directed films for the likes of Richard Ashcroft, Faithless and The Script. Joe Johnson teaches guitar[9] in his hometown, and joined a New York-based band named the Black Sours. Fraser Smith is now a London-based record producer and songwriter, currently signed to Notting Hill Music, and has produced and mixed records for acts such as Ian Brown, Hayley Hutchinson and The Yards.


Change Giver (1994)
A Maximum High (1996)
Let It Ride (1998)
Truth Be Told (2001)
Instant Pleasures (2017)