History of the band

Any history of the band has to start with the man, the legend, some would even say enigma that is Alfonso himself.  No one knows exactly where or when he was born, but if rumours are to be believed he was at the forefront of the Parisian café music revival scene of the 1940’s, helped to break rock n roll in the 1950’s, gave birth to psychedelic folk in the 1960’s, as well as being the master mind behind an avant-garde post modernistic dance theatre group throughout the 1970’s.  Alfonso has always shied from the glare of publicity – and instead allows his mere essence to both inspire and motivate others. Following the untimely, and sudden,  collapse of his dance theatre group, Alfonso disappeared – no one knows what occurred during these “wilderness years”; some say he travelled the old Incas trails, others speculate that he found spiritual relief in Tibet.  Whatever the truth is, he was not heard of again until well into the new millennium. Then, like a fire work bursting in to the night sky, he re-emerged with a vision, a dream, a musical destiny. 

His vision I hear you ask…………..well it was to create a band that would explore the boundaries of musical possibility. But crucially Alfonso would, as he always has done, remain in the background.  The manager, the guiding hand, the driving force – But where to start?

Alfonso made the call to the one person he had always trusted, his cousin Mervyn – and so the band’s story began……………

Mervyn The Magnificent is not only a violinist but for many years has been a leading authority in the little known, but incredibly dangerous art form that is “Double Glazed Surrealism” – his most famous piece, “The Shards of a Broken Reflection” caused shockwaves throughout civilised society when it was first exhibited in the Gorbals civic centre in April 1992.  Mervyn, with his bandaged finger always on the pulse of the art world, was now in hot pursuit of a second band member, and it wasn’t long before he found Leo……………

The Shards of a Broken Reflection” circa 1992
Mervyn attending the first night of the exhibition of his masterpiece- “The Shards of a Broken Reflection” – that had been finished only hours before

Leo The Magnificent, singer and guitarist, is also an inventor that has no concept of the term, “boundaries of reality”.  Just a small selection of his many, some would say genius, but often misunderstood, creations include: a grooming kit for squirrels, left handed screw drivers, modesty shorts for show hamsters and a toupee alignment jig.   But most agree that his finest hour was the invention of the chilli based lubricant – “Balls of Fire” – that helped to put the spark back in to the nation’s bedrooms.  Mervyn and Leo now combined their considerable musical talents and creative visions to start to form the unique sound of ATM.  But next would come a truly heroic addition to the band………..Nathan.

A Squirrel enjoying the benefits of Leo’s grooming kit – it was shortly after this photo was taken that Leo faced the first of several unfortunate law suits

Nathan The Magnificent’s story is one of bravery, adventure and true honour.  Having infiltrated a dangerous gang in Mexico City, in an attempt to free donkeys the gang had been using to smuggle illicit goods, Nathan was forced to go on the run.  Through a combination of luck and cunning fortitude he concealed himself as a maracas player in a moderately successful touring Mariachi band. Eventually he landed on the shores of Britain, and whilst performing in a Mexican Goth trio, “The Maracas of Mercy”, in a late night bar in Milton Keynes’ Latin quarter, he was spotted by Mervyn…………the band now had its percussionist.  As a three piece Mervyn, Leo and Nathan started to forge their combined talents to the delight of audiences………the final piece of the jig saw was about to fall into place……………

The years of being under cover in a Mexico gang take their toll on 34 year old Nathan
Maracas of Mercy – band logo

David The Magnificent was brought up in Soviet Union Russia (his true identity cannot be revealed for national security reasons).  David’s two passions are accordions and antiseptic lotions.  He was able to combine these when he became a member of the Leningrad Soviet Hospital Orchestra – he was in the  4th accordions.  When the iron curtain finally fell David had a choice to make: stay in post-soviet Russia and try to progress to 3rd accordions or make a fresh start in the west.  After failing the auditions for 3rd accordions David decided to head to Britain.  Two decades of playing exclusively for tea dances followed before he finally found his true calling……..Alfonso the Magnificent.

David, moments before his unsuccessful audition for the 3rd accordions – a devastating blow that still haunts him to this day

And so the story comes full circle back to Alfonso………………the man, the legend, the enigma……………..he is always present but seldom visible.  Keep your eyes peeled, for you may just spot him at the next Alfonso The Magnificent gig.