The history of my music career, in my own words!
2020 – Now
Dazzle Rebel: Fringe Rock/Post-Punk/Art Rock/Songsmith. Right now I am enjoying a bit of a creative renaissance. When the first UK lockdown happened I was searching for meaning in life and music came calling. Since self-releasing my debut solo single “Fortitude” in May 2020 I’ve not been able to stop writing new material. I’m back with renewed vigour and this time I’m doing it purely for the joy of creating. No grand masterplan, no pressure, just the music and me.
2011 – 2016
Rock DJ: Performing as DJ Dazzle Rebel. I spent some time on the radio with my own rock show. I was also Creative Director of Home Grown Rock, a not-for-profit organisation that showcased grassroots bands in London, Nottingham and Manchester. This allowed bands such as Massive Wagons to get their first London gig that wasn’t a pay-to-play affair.
2010 – 2011
New Generation Superstars: Trash Rock/Punk. Bass & backing vocals When I moved from London to Nottingham I got a call from AJ Superstar asking if I fancied joining his band New Generation Superstars. After a shakey first audition with the rest of the band, I was asked back for a second which I smashed. AJ asked why I wasn’t still using my ‘Dazzle Rebel’ name to which I said it was because I wanted to distance myself from Red Star Rebels. He pointed out that I’d become known in the underground rock circuit as ‘Dazzle Rebel’ and should really continue going by that name. Besides, Red Star Rebels had gone on indefinite hiatus by that point anyway. I saw his point and once again went by the name Dazzle Rebel. This would be a good call as I short while afterwards I was recognised in Los Angeles. I was in the Rainbow and was asked “hey, are you Dazzle Rebel”? Well, I suppose that’s a story for another time.
I had a great time with New Generation Superstars with highlights including playing Rock & Blues Festival, touring Finland with Vanity Ink and meeting all of the amazingly loyal fans.
However, by the time I joined New Gen I was already pretty burnt out as far as playing live music went. In hindsight, I should never have joined but there was still something in me that wanted to play music. I gave it my all while I was in the band but my personal circumstances (like a 200-mile roundtrip commute for my day job) meant that I was burning the candle on both ends. Something had to give and I decided that the guys deserved to have someone who could commit a lot more time to the band.
I’m still good friends with the guys in New Gen and think their current bass player Jonny Suicide is a much better fit for them than I ever was.
2007 – 2010
Daz Vibrafly: Fringe Rock/Alternative Rock. Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drum Programs. When I left Red Star Rebels I was reeling and wanted to distance myself from the band. I dropped the “Rebel” from my stage name and once again took up the Vibrafly moniker. I only ever released a number of Fringe Rock demos on MySpace, recordings that will never see the light of day again! However, some of the songs that I wrote during that time have since been released on my 2020 Dazzle Rebel double EP “The Attic Transmission”.
2005 – 2007
Red Star Rebels: Glam Rock/Classic Rock/Sleaze Rock. Bass guitar. When Smarty left Surefire we decided that it would be a good opportunity to rebrand the band. We had already been moving more towards a sleazy 80s rock sound and away from Indie Rock, so it made sense to us to change the band name.
We had played a gig with Jonny in London and tapped him up to replace Smarty on rhythm guitar and vocals. Jonny was already fronting his own band and we weren’t sure he’d be up for it but to our surprise, he was. We played around with band names and it came down to either Red City Rebels (my favourite as it was a bit rawer and we had a song in the set called Red City Hill) or Red Star Rebels. In the vote, I was defeated 4-1 so Red Star Rebels became our new name.
We fit more gigs and music into the two years that I was in Red Star Rebels than we had done collectively over the past 10 years. There were many good times, the tours with Brides of Destruction, LA Guns and Gilby Clarke. The festival shows, the studio sessions, the house parties, the TV and film work. All of that was brilliant but I think we were at our best when we toured with Crystal Pistol. We were bloodhounds from hell on that tour and played like we were gonna take over the world.
However, towards the end of my time in Red Star Rebels, there was a feeling that we were beginning to get a little desperate and it was beginning to show. Blacky, Meady, Stevie and myself had spent the past 7 years living in each other’s pockets. Working full-time jobs but still getting together six days a week to make music was beginning to take its toll. Steve was the first to leave and we struggled to find a suitable replacement. After many auditions that varied from timid drummers with little skill through to great rock drummers that had way too much ego (I know, can that be a bad thing? The answer is yes) we managed to find Greg. For reasons that escape my memory we immediately christened him “Rozzy”. He fit in well and he was a good drummer but for me at least, the magic of Red Star Rebels had already gone.
Instead of doubling down on the fanbase we already had we started to alienate them by changing our sound to be more fashionable. We stopped trying to build on our established fanbase and started playing showcases in the hope of getting a record deal instead. I ended up calling it a day in June 2007 after a showcase at Gibson showrooms. I had already mentioned my intention to leave but after that show, I was done. I didn’t leave on amicable terms and there was some bad blood between the guys and me for a few years after I left. Eventually, I buried the hatchet with Jonny over social media and then the rest of the guys a short time after. We met up again in 2019 for some drinks and reminisced about the times we had together. Time had been a healer and any issues we had with each other is now just water under the bridge.
With a combination of bad luck and bad decisions we never fulfilled our potential and for that, I am a little bit gutted. Red Star Rebels should have been a bigger band than we were but our own egos got in our way. We never followed the advice from our (multiple) managers to build our fanbase, self-release music and keep repeating that cycle until the labels came knocking. Hey, hindsight is always 20/20!
- James “Blacky Rebel” Black – Vocals (2005 – hiatus)
- Paul “Meady Rebel” Mead – Lead Guitar (2005 – hiatus)
- Jonny “Jonny Rebel” Amos – Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals (2005 – hiatus)
- Darren “Dazzle Rebel” John Loczy – Bass Guitar (2005 – 2007)
- Steve “Stevie Rebel” Dunn – Drums/Backing Vocals (2005 – 2007)
- Greg “Rozzy Rebel” Ison – Drums (2007 – hiatus)
Brides of Destruction: Trash Rock. Bass Guitar. I got a call one day while I was working around the building site that was Wembley Stadium. “Dazzle, you’ve gotta get your arse home, we’ve got a tour booked, we’re main support… …oh and you’ll be playing bass for the headline band too… …and you’ve got 24 hours to learn the set!” Right. So I sped off home and bought a Brides of Destruction album, the only one I could find in such a short space of time “Here Come the Brides”. The trouble was they were supposed to be touring the second album! I enjoyed my 5 or 6 days as a member of BoD, the guys were great and I had loads of fun on that tour.
2001 – 2005
Surefire: Indie Rock/Classic Rock. Bass Guitar. Surefire, the future of Rock’n’Roll, a real hardworking band. Some of the songs we wrote in those times were musically some of the best work I’ve been part of. Intricate melodic fingerstyle bass one minute then pounding route notes the next. I’ve not played with a band as tight as Surefire. Musically we kicked ass everywhere we went but we didn’t have the most interesting stage show. We would take what we learned in Surefire and bring it up several layers when Surefire became Red Star Rebels.
- James “Blacky” Black – Vocals
- Paul “Meady” Mead – Lead Guitar
- Matt “Smarty” Smart – Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals
- Darren “Dazzle” John Loczy – Bass Guitar
- Steve Dunne – Drums/Backing Vocals
1999 – 2001
Vibrafly: Fringe Rock/Alternative Rock. Guitar & Vocals. I came up with the name “Vibrafly” during a music lesson at school. I had been working on new band ideas but couldn’t find a name that fit. I was well into “retro” 70s gear at the time and my favourite shop was Fly Clothing in Luton. I wanted to incorporate “fly” in the band name but nothing seemed to fit or it had already been done before. Then I was playing around with a new composition on keyboards for my A-level music and noticed an instrument voice called ‘vibes’. It wasn’t much of a leap to combine vibes and fly to create “Vibrafly”.
I got my mate Kev from Delirium and Manifest to switch to bass and recruited the child drummer prodigy Lewis Partridge on drums. The highlight was probably supporting Brian Poole and the Tremeloes with Shelly and Karen Poole from Alicia’s Attic and Ally McErlaine, the guitarist from the band Texas watching on. Sunny days and starry eyes.
- Darren John Loczy – Vocals, Guitar
- Kevin “Kev Mac” MacAuley – Bass, Vocals
- Lewis Partridge – Drums
Farouche: Alternative Rock. Guitar & Vocals. Farouche were the main rivals of Delirium and Manifest, though it was a friendly kind of competition. Delirium finished around the same time as Steve Algar left Farouche so I was tapped up to take his place. Technically Farouche were a better band than Delirium or Manifest were so I saw it as a step up, even though creatively it was no longer “my” band. The songs were no longer mine, they were Andy’s.
I played a few shows with Farouche, the most notable being at Venue 27 in Luton. It was at that show that the idea of forming my own band with Lewis came to me.
- Richard Moore – Lead Vocals, Bass
- Andy Mellor – Lead Guitar, Vocals
- Darren John Loczy – Guitar, Vocals
- Lewis Partridge – Drums
- Steven Algar – Guitar, Vocals (who I replaced)
- Leon Baptiste – Drums (who Lewis replaced about a year before I joined)
1998 – 1999
Delirium: Alternative Rock/Indie Rock. Guitar & Vocals. Delirium always drew a crowd, mostly because we were still at school and they were all our mates! Playing Battle of the Bands Queensway Hall Dunstable (before it was demolished to be replaced by an ASDA) from which performance we bagged a gig at Venue 27, Luton was probably the high point.
The lineup changed often (many of whom I have forgotten the names of) but the core members were Kev Mac and myself. Here are some of the names that I can remember:
- Darren John Loczy – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass
- Kevin “Kev Mac” MacAuley – Drums, Vocals, Guitar
- Ross Enright – Lead Vocals, Guitar
- Martin Riley – Bass, Drums
- Mark Keane – Bass
- Andrew “AJ” Lee – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
- Matt Phipps – Guitar
- Adam “Cheesey” Cheeseborough – Guitar, Vocals
- Adam Hammond – Guitar
1997 – 2000
Northfields Swing Band: Jazz, Swing, Big Band. Guitar. Yes, I was in the school band! But it wasn’t like a normal school band of screeching violins, this was a jazz band and everyone was at a pretty decent standard. We even did a tour each year to a different country. We went to Italy (twice), Holland and Spain while I was in the band.
Being in the school band was awesome as it allowed a slacker like me the perfect excuse to miss the lessons I hated! It was also a great community and I love that it allowed a misfit like me to find “my people”. I’m very grateful for my time in the band, it taught me a lot of life lessons and forged lifelong memories.
1996 – 1998
Manifest: Alternative Rock/Grunge. Guitar & Vocals. Manifest evolved from a number of lunchtime jam sessions when we were still at school. Deciding that we wanted to take things up a notch and needed a ‘proper’ bass player, Kev roped in Mark who was the son of one of his Mums friends. Mark was a pretty decent bass player and things came together pretty quickly once we had him on board.
Our first gig was to be an after-school charity gig supporting another band from school called Farouche. On the night of the show, Ian failed to turn up leaving me to sub on lead vocals. The gig was terrible, mostly because I was absolutely crapping myself.
However, enough people said we sounded good (they were being very kind) and it gave me the confidence to sack Ian (though he’s still one of my oldest and dearest mates today) and take on lead vocal duties. We played a couple more local shows and even managed to bag my very first London gig before we called it a day.
- Darren John Loczy – Lead Vocals, Guitar
- Mark Keane – Bass, Vocals
- Kevin “Kev Mac” MacAuley – Drums, Vocals, Guitar
- Ian “Titus” Rowe – Lead Vocals (never played a show)
Solitary Confinement: New Wave Punk/Grunge. Guitar & Vocals. My first band. We formed at school (Brewers Hill Middle School – now demolished) and were heavily influenced by Green Day. We sounded absolutely dreadful, though we were only just learning our instruments. We got to play in the school assembly a few times, a school ‘talent’ show and even at a parent’s evening once. We also put on our own ‘gigs’ during lunch. Alas, no gigs outside of school though.
- Darren John Loczy – Vocals, Guitar
- Matthew Henkes – Drum Machine, Keys
- Daniel Worman – Keys, Synths