In 1989, long before the invention of the clippers and the hair brush, a group of squatters from Hackney started a folk club. This soon morphed into a band. Hours before their first performance, still with no name and no percussionist, they met Chris, who said he would play the percussion only if they performed under the name the “Tofu Love Frogs”, and so the band was born.
Chris “I will only play in a band if it’s called the Tofu Love Frogs”
Their first gigs, playing their unique mixture of folk, punk and booze; with songs about politics and crime delighted the Hackney underclass. They played mostly in squat parties and a few venues around London. Over the next year Paddy and Chris both bought old buses and the show went on the road. Of course at this time England was full of young people taking to the road and no free festival was complete without the Tofus.
Paddy: “my 21st birthday was at Castle Morton Festival. We played on our own stage and on the Wango Reilly stage. I was tripping so much my feet could hardly stay on the floor”
Over the next few years the line ups changed as did the instruments. The mushy haze that is the past does not allow for a full description of who played what when, but here are some of the main players
Paddy – fiddle and vocals
Chris – bongos then later impresario
Ebe – bass
Mark – Guitar
Nuala – fiddle
Richard – guitar & harmonica
Alan – Mandolin
Mark then left and Glyn played guitar. Then Glyn left and Mark joined again and stayed with the Tofus until they split in 1998 – (apart from one tour when Mark damaged his hand and Kel played the guitar).
Then we had a few kit drummers. They came and went and the order is a bit hazy.
It went something like Andy, then Duggie, Jim then Andy again, then George and finally Goff.
We also had Alicia singing and playing the tambourine, Barry playing Bodhran and Kate playing the whistle
By about 1996 the Tofus were usually a four piece, guitar (mark), bass (Ade), Fiddle (Paddy) and drums (Goff), but often included guests at gigs.
After nine years of playing in squats, festivals and protest sites across Europe the Tofus did their final gig, in a squatted pub for the wake of our roady Guy.