Dark Tower was the first band to feature the trio of Mark Crockard, James McCreedy and Mark Armstrong. They would go on to form Motion Pictures and The Biggest Thrill.
Dark Tower first performed in the early summer of 1979 at the 1st Presbyterian Church Hall in Bangor. A wide range of material was played, opening with "Do Anything you Wanna Do" by Eddie and the Hot Rods through "Emerald" by Thin Lizzy and the Clash's "Tommy Gun". The set also included their own material. It was an eclectic mixture. Their last gig was at the end of the same summer and at the same venue. By that stage the band were drawing large teenage crowds and fights developed, toilets were trashed, ambulances called, etc and the Church Hall was no longer available to them for gigs or rehearsals!
Dark Tower became Motion Pictures the following year.
By summer 1980, the Dark Tower trio had recruited a second guitarist in Marty McConnell and changed their name to Motion Pictures. Motion Pictures were a more serious proposition. The band played their own material, influenced by XTC and U2 among others. They played gigs whenever they could, recorded demos, earned favourable reviews in the local press and Belfast Telegraph, and set their sights on a record deal.
They appeared on BBC Northern Ireland with a video for "The Reason" filmed at the Helmsman in Bangor. (see external links below). This was seen by Bankrobbers manager Mark Walmsley who secured support slots for the band with Kajagoogoo (gulp!) at Belfast's Maysfield and Dublin's SFX Halls. The band's fortunes seemed to be on the up. Despite strong interest from CBS Records and EMI, no deal emerged.
Marty McConnell left and was replaced by Brian Irvine. Their demos were played and performed live on Davy Sims Downtown Radio Show. Then Brian left, and despite recruiting Gerry Philips as replacement, the band came to an end in 1983. They came together again later the same year as The Biggest Thrill.
Brian Irvine is now a leading contemporary composer.
The core trio from Dark Tower / Motion Pictures returned in 1983 as The Biggest Thrill with additional guitarist Marcus McAuley. They lasted about a year.
Despite support from Andy Kidd at Belfast's Secret Studios who gave them free studio time and paid for the band to do the rounds of record companies in London nothing came of it. They shared studio time with another band, 10 Past 7 (Brian & Bap Kennedy). The Biggest Thrill's swansong was two performances on BBC NI's Channel 1 presented by the late Caron Keating (see external links below).
The three guys who has started with Dark Tower in 1979 had given it their best shot and after Motion Pictures and The Biggest Thrill they decided to go their seperate ways in 1984. Mark Armstrong joined Carpenter Joe.
Mark Armstrong later teamed up again with Mark Crockard in Brazil, one of Northern Irelands leading live bands (see external links below).