Before Johnny And The Self Abusers,
Charlie were constantly inventing band names
and putting budding musicians together. "Me and Jim were in bands that were really just
like me and him and sort of friends, and we had all these different names - we changed names every three days."
It wasn't just thoughts and talk - they also performed. Their first gig was playing in front of a group of five year old orphans.
The first documented band of the period was
Biba-Rom! - which featured the same group of school friends (Jim,
Brian McGee and
Tony Donald) who would later make up part of
Johnny And The Self Abusers and also end up as the first line-up of
Simple Minds #1.
The first vocalist was Eneas Mullen whilst Jim was both singer
and manager. When Eneas left the band, Jim continued on vocals
Whilst the majority of the line-up went onto Johnny And The Self Abusers,
Eneas Mullen set up a record label whilst
Joseph Donnelly later played bass in The Silencers.
Like the early days of the
Abusers, Biba-Rom! were a covers band, taking on
Patti Smith, Cockney Rebel, David Bowie and Lou Reed.
And the name? "... there was a band at that time called Be Bop Deluxe and
I think we said we can't use be Bop but Biba was
close enough and Rom just because it sounded a good fit! Simple as
that really!" - Eneas Mullen, 26th February 2015
"...The bio reveals that Joe Donnelly was previously in The Silencers. However
prior to all of that, Joe who went to Holyrood School, was also in our first ever band BIBA ROM. (A glam rock outfit that
rehearsed often in the basement of Brian McGee's mother's house - but only
played one gig) also featuring absolute original Minds -
Charlie Burchill and yours truly." - Jim, 30th November 2016
It didn't last long - they left school and
Charlie hitchhiked across Europe.