Nine Below Zero are an English blues band, who have a cult following throughout Europe, and were most popular in the period between 1980 and 1982.

Career

The band was originally formed in South London in 1977, by guitarist and lead vocalist Dennis Greaves. Taking bassist Peter Clark with him, they recruited Kenny Bradley on drums, and vocalist and harmonica player Mark Feltham. They originally called themselves 'Stan's Blues Band', and for two years built up a local following in London clubs.

In 1979 while playing at The Thomas A'Beckett pub in the Old Kent Road they accepted an offer from former musician Mickey Modern to manage them, and it was he who persuaded them to change the band's name to something sharper. Greaves chose Nine Below Zero after the Sonny Boy Williamson II penned song. At that time Modern was a musician signed to A&M Records, after producing the band's demos he persuaded A&M to give him a record label with which to launch this band's career. Modern named the label M&L Records.

Under Modern's creative direction and production, the band went full-time, and in 1980 released their first album, Live At The Marquee, which was recorded on 16 June 1980. By which time Stix Burkey had replaced Bradley on the drums. By the end of that year they were one of the most popular club attractions in London, pulling in audiences from other genres, particularly the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, attracted by their high-energy fast tempo sound. They headlined at the Hammersmith Odeon and featured respected bluesman Alexis Korner, a long-time champion of new electric blues talent.

In 1981 they released second album, Don't Point Your Finger, produced by Glyn Johns. Johns complained the bass was too basic for the new songs, so taking his advice the band subsequently replaced bass player Clark with Brian Bethall. There was a period when Nine Below Zero were on TV almost weekly. They appeared on The Chris Tarrant Show, South Bank Show, O.T.T., the Old Grey Whistle Test, and The Young Ones as well as supporting The Kinks and The Who on tour. Nine Below Zero performed "11+11" on the first episode ("Demolition") of the BBC Television comedy series, The Young Ones. Don't Point Your Finger climbed to number 56 on the UK Albums Chart.

Their third album, Third Degree, contained "11+11" written by Greaves and Modern, however the album was poorly received causing the band to argue, the record company got wind of the unrest and dropped them and interest in the band evaporated.

However, the album was their highest placing appearance on the UK Albums Chart, spending six weeks within and reaching number 38. Nevertheless, the band decided to split, although Bethall later had some success with The Blow Monkeys whilst Feltham went into session work, most notably for Rory Gallagher. Modern often put the idea to reform Nine Below Zero to Arnold but the latter was managing The Truth and considered Nine Below Zero as a move backward. However, with IRS Records interest in The Truth waivering in 1990 Modern persuaded Feltham and Greaves to reunite for a tenth anniversary gig.

Modern also persuaded Arnold who now worked at Harvey Goldsmith Ents to promote the band at the Town and Country Club, which they did to a sell-out success. Suitably encouraged, they decided to stay together, with Gerry McAvoy and Brendan O'Neill (ex-Rory Gallagher's band) added on bass and drums. In 1992 Feltham left due to musical differences and was replaced by the session harp-player, Alan Glen. Feltham subsequently returned in 2001 and the band have continued to tour and record, still popular in part, due to having developed a cult following.

In 2005, their track, "Go Girl" was included in the Of Hands and Hearts: Music for the Tsunami Disaster Fund compilation album.

In 2007, Nine Below Zero performed two acoustic concerts, producing the DVD Bring It On Home, including a live CD. Legendary blues guitarist Gary Moore joined the band on stage to promote the DVD.

In August 2008, Nine Below Zero appeared at the Rhythm Festival in Bedfordshire and later opened for Chuck Berry at The 100 Club.

In 2009, the band started working towards a show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Live At the Marquee.

A chance meeting with Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze resulted in an offer to record a new album that Greaves and Feltham had been writing all year. The offer was gladly accepted and the band went into 45 RPM studios in London to record the highly acclaimed and self-penned It's Never Too Late - their first collection of new songs since Refrigerator. European tours followed and Jools Holland and Paul Jones asked the band to guest on their shows.

With the critical acclaim of It's Never Too Late, they were approached by Glenn Tillbrook again in 2011, this time to make a new record together under the name of The Co-operative. All was finished in July of 2011 and one track, the Lennon & McCartney song "You Never Gave Me Your Money" was used on a Mojo magazine special celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the release of the Beatles album Abbey Road. The band played a few dates with Tilbrook as a rehearsal for a mini tour in 2012.

The end of 2011 saw Gerry McAvoy play his last show for Nine Below Zero and pursue a new solo career.

2012 saw the return of Brian Bethell who played on Third Degree and who was a natural replacement. The new line up started performing in January with shows in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, as the band enter their 35th year.