Dublin band formed in 1985 with Ken Duffy, ex Proles. The original band was a quartet. During 1985 drummer Paul Quinlan was replaced by Gary Sullivan and Josh Elliot (an American) joined on keyboards yielding the second, 5-man lineup. The addition of keyboards (a Vox Continental organ) underlined the bands Doors/Hendrix/Cult influences. They included two Hendrix covers in their live set, "Fire" and "Purple Haze". They were described in Hot Press in December 1985 as "...Vaguely reminiscent of the Yardbirds during their psychedelic phase, this young Dublin band don't really gig often enough to pose a major threat to the cream of the current crop - but when they do!?!"
The Experiment gigged around the usual haunts in the mid-80s (Baggot Inn, The Underground, Belvadere Hotel, UCD, etc) playing support slots to more established local acts like LABF and Something Happens (they finished runners up in the Battle of the Bands to Something Happens at Sir Henry's in Cork one year). Band rehersals were usually at Alan Furlong's Rehearsal studios off Capel Street.
The band contributed two tracks to two sampler albums circa 1986. Both are probably by the 5-man lineup. They contributed one excellent track "Dream In Colour" to the Guru Weirdbrain compilation on Hotwire and "Rainbow Fish" to the first Comet sampler released in January 1987. Despite recording demos, etc, these two samplers were the bands only appearances on vinyl. They suggest that The Experiment were worthy of a release of their own, but it was not to be.
They recorded at least one Dave Fanning session which included "The Burning" and possibly "Rainbow Fish". "Burning" was also performed on TV (not sure which show) inviting comparisons to The Cult. This can currently be found on youtube.
Josh Elliot left in 1986 to concentrate on his studies and was not replaced. Liam Farrington left the same year and was replaced by 16 year old Darragh O'Neill, a highly accomplished player. Mark Venner (later of The Wilf Brothers) became their manager for a short period and organised a gig at the Mean Fiddler in London with Mary Coghlan and Blue In Heaven which was very well recieved.
Ken Duffy left to replace Thomas McLaughlin in LABF in 1988 after which The Experiment presumably folded, with Mark Young & Gary Sullivan turning up in Stano's band in 1989.
Ken Duffy was in Light A Big Fire, who became The Believers and was later in Saville. Gary Sullivan went on to play with numerous bands including The Believers, The Word, Firewater Creed, Stano, Engine Alley, SIC (with Ricky Warwick), Flogging Molly, Colm O'Coisoig (of My Bloody Valentine), Hinterland, Andy White, 60's folkie Donavan and also played all the drums for "Lord Of The Dance". He now lives in Los Angeles. Mark Young now works as a session musician and continues to play with Stano. Darragh O'Neill was pursued by several bands including Blue in Heaven. He played in Stano's band, in Glen Hansard's embryonic Frames, formed his own acoustic band The Hamptons and is now a world renknowned classical guitarist who performs at recitals around the world.
A video of The Experiment performing "The Burning" is or soon will be available on youtube.
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