Coventry outfit The Flys had their roots in self-confessed hippy band the Midnight Circus, formed in 1974 and named after a track from the Pretty Things’ LP Parachute. Actually, though you ought to whisper it….a lot of 1977 punk bands were the exactly the same. After all they mostly were musicians or fans to start with anyway, ones that wanted to feel part of the music scene but felt rejected by it for one reason or another. Neil O’Connor, the band’s leading light, set things in motion by giving schoolkids Neil Freeman and Joe Hughes guitar lessons. Soon the beginners had picked up enough for the three of them to start a band. The Midnight Circus laboured away through local gigs and recorded a demo tape, which the band’s new manager Chris King (brother of Pete, who had taken over the drum spot from Paul Angelopoulos) sent to a few major labels to little response.
here were a couple of crucial turning points for the Midnight Circus in 1977. The first was Neil attending a Clash gig in Birmingham and the other was being befriended by a punk rocker called Adrian, who turned the band onto the Damned and Buzzcocks. By the summer the group was rebranded as the Flys, reasoning that their abilities and interests brought them into line with the punk wave.
Adrian had a contact with Pete Shelley and got the newly christened Flys a support slot for Buzzcocks’ Coventry gig in the autumn, which led to them becoming the Buzzers’ tour support. This firmed up interest from EMI, who ironically were one of the imprints that passed on the Midnight Circus demo tape. Before signing up with them though the band put out their own independent EP Bunch Of Five, with a quintet of their punchiest songs.