Razor Sharp today are a five-piece band, very well known in North Norfolk for their lively (if not always strictly accurate) rendition of many standard rock, pop and R&B numbers from the 1950s to the present day. However, their name harks back to an earlier, golden, period at the Paston School. It came about in this way.
In the late 1970s and 1980s a very well-known band in the whole Norfolk area was Denim. Their drummer at the time of the breakup was Martin Richmond, a very gifted drummer and singer from Sheringham, a friend of John Stables and through him, Nigel Digby (see Canis Strange). When Denim split, Martin joined forces with another gifted Sheringham musician, Carl "Cookie" Woodrow, who may actually have been in Denim towards the end, this point needs to be verified. They linked up with guitarist Phil Goff and formed a band called Close Shave. By the early 1990s this unit had also broken up, leaving Carl at a loose end.
In order to make pin money or get free drinks at pubs like the Robin Hood or The Two Lifeboats in Sheringham, Carl recruited John Carley from Cromer on drums. Readers may remember John from his long stint working at Jarrolds, Cromer. Together they busked through many rock and pop standards, under no particular name. Billings remembered are "Rosemary and Garlic" and "The Very Poor Band". In 1992 Phil Moy (previously of North Walsham band Fallen Heroes who were also known as Razor Sharp for a time) appeared on the scene and became the bass player. Looking for a name, the coincidence of the Close Shave name prompted the adoption of Razor Sharp, a name from Phil's days at Paston, and yet a logical development of the previous name.
The chief reporter of The North Norfolk News, Richard Batson, was recruited as a temporary lead guitar, and the band played a very good gig for the Jarrold's dinner dance at Blackfriar's Hall in 1994. To do the PA for this gig, the band hired Nigel Digby, who was impressed by their simple but effective playing. He had been asked to bring his guitar, and guested on a couple of numbers. Richard only being a temporary member, Nigel was drafted in permanently as lead guitarist .
At first it was not easy for the new Razor Sharp. Gigs were not very frequent, as the music scene had hit a lull since the active days of the '80s, and many North Norfolk venues had got out of the habit of having bands, preferring discos or at best duos (many still do!). Fortunately the rise of new guitar bands in the mid-1990s "Britpop" boom halted this decline, and it was to Razor Sharp that Bob Brewster of The Crown Inn (Sheringham) turned, to inaugurate his now famous and well-known gig nights on Wednesdays and Sundays. The band also joined an Agency, and so from an average of one gig a month, the band was able to buld up to two or three. Admittedly, some of the gigs were tedious, such as dinner dances at The Stakis (now The Hilton) at Norwich Airport, but it was all work.
As all four members had employment of one kind or another, it wasn't easy organizing rehearsals, but gradually the set was increased, with some ambitious numbers. Occasionally the band over-reached themselves, but it must be remembered that only Carl and Nigel had been professional or semi-professional musicians before, so it was a steep learning curve for the other two.
The band recorded several promotional CDs, remaining faithful to Richard at Purple Studios. The first CD was recorded at the original premises in Yarmouth, subsequent ones being at Trowse. NO attempt was made to publicise these CDs, as they were for fans of the band and to leave at new venues.
The band's biggest coup was to become friends with Doctor Feelgood, John having visited the Feelgood's annual event on Canvey Island several times, and assisting with merchandise at gigs. Doctor Feelgood were at this stage reformed after the premature death of Lee Brilleux, but the personnel were the same that had backed Lee for many years, with a new singer.