About The Cathodes

Dave Forward lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Paul Cargill bass, backing vocals
Julian Whettam keyboards
Dan Hadley drums

Dave and Dan at The Spinning Top, 2023 The Cathodes are a four-piece band from the Tameside area of Manchester in the United Kingdom. The band are influenced by the melodies and sounds from the 80s with a small dash of the 60s thrown in. Although a relatively new band, all members have extensive past experience playing both live and recording.


Dave Forward started writing songs in the late 80s and joined local band - Landing Party as a keyboard player. By the mid-90s, Dave had opened up his home studio to a number of local bands and with guitarist - Jon Dean, received some interest from a number of record labels as well as Kennedy Street Management. As part of his collaborations, he was briefly signed to independent record label "Synthetique" and remixed a track for Stress Records in 1996.

Barbara Verrall joined Dave as a keyboard player in the early days of the band and also provided some backing vocals. Barbara left the band in March 2024.

Paul Cargill has been working as a sound engineer, or to be exact, a Senior Sound Supervisor with the BBC for many years. He's worked with many artists and bands in the course of his work as well as working on various dramas with a range of mixing from Kylie Minogue to Choral Evensong to A Question of Sport! He has played bass for several bands and has extensive live experience across a range of venues from The Glastonbury Festival to the local Charlesworth Village Club where he met Dave and Barbara (the original keyboardist with the band) at an 'open mic' evening ran by Dave Downson.

Dan Hadley was the drummer with Delphic, an alternative dance band signed to Polydor and based in Manchester. The band released their first single “Counterpoint” in April 2009 and were shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2010. Dan has also toured extensively across Europe and the USA. As well as appearing at Glastonbury, he has also performed at various festivals such as T in the Park, Reading and Leeds Festivals and Creamfields.

Julian Whettam joined the band in 2024 as a keyboard player. Being the son of post-romantic composer Graham Whettam, he has always had music in his life and went on to study further at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.


The band had been trying to find a suitable name for some time and only settled on 'The Cathodes' two days before the UK lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19. This came after a glance at the band's musical equipment and in particular, the guitar amplifier which contains vacuum tubes or valves. In a valve, electrons flow from a heated cathode to an anode and likewise, music flows like electrons from The Cathodes.


Recordings in chronological order

Mad World - 16th March 2020
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the band have not been idle and decided to record their own cover version of Mad World (originally recorded by Tears for Fears). It seemed very appropriate for the time and this was quickly followed up by an original song called Being Lonely.

Being Lonely - 22nd May 2020
The band chose to record Being Lonely during the lockdown, partly due to the loneliness of lockdown itself which we felt that many may relate to, but also due to higher unemployment figures. Dave wrote the song based upon some of the feelings from a spell of unemployment during the 80s. The video actually features part of the route he took walking to the station after signing on. The walk from the office after signing on would always bring on a feeling of low self-esteem.

Spies - 29th May 2020
Spies was probably the first song Dave wrote and dates back to the late 80s. Only close family had heard it and more recently, his brother Simon requested it to be played by the band at his birthday party in April 2020 as part of a set of songs. The band started practicing the song in January 2020, tested it on a small audience at a local 'open mic' event in February but in March, the party was cancelled due to the lockdown.

The More You Live, The More You Love - 3rd September 2020
The members of the band had been playing at an 'open mic' event in 2019 arranged by Darren Poyzer in Lymm, Cheshire when Dave Townson and Paul Cargill started playing this track. Originally written by A Flock Of Seagulls, it had been one of Dave Forward's favourite tracks back in 1984 so he suggested adding Barbara's keyboards and his vocals to the track. During the lockdown, Dave Townson started work on recording the track and this was mixed by Paul on 3rd September 2020.

Time - 26th September 2020
Time was written in the late 80s by Jon Dean, one of Dave Forward's music collaborator friends. Jon's lyrics reflect on the passage of time and possible missed opportunities with a nostalgic reflection on memories and relationships that have faded but are still held onto. This song features the late Dave Townson on lead electric guitar. This was chosen as the eighth single from the debut album "So Clear" as a dedication to Dave Townson who passed away in November 2023. Without Dave's open mic/jam nights, the members of The Cathodes might never have met! Dave was an amazing guitarist and his knowledge of music was incredible. He was always very encouraging to others and the band have great memories of performing together along with long conversations about music.

Dr Fell - 8th November 2020
The real Dr John Fell (1625-86) was a college dean at Christ Church, Oxford. After expelling the satirical English poet Tom Brown, he offered to take him back if he could translate a few lines of Latin. Brown twisted the translation to read "I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why - I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell". Since then, Dr Fell's name has been used to represent an unaccountably repellent person and the author Robert Louis Stevenson drew on this tradition by including a reference to Dr Fell in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Likewise, The Cathodes song also draws on the negativity of the split personality with these historical and fictional influences. The track has a driving bass line with a massive influence of Trevor Horn's production work. There's a mix of distorted and clean electric guitar sounds as well as acoustic guitar. A mix of keyboards used includes the iconic Roland Jupiter 8 and Juno 60 along with samples from a Fairlight CMI. A separate mix for vinyl was produced on 3rd December 2020 for a compilation album released through Red Manor Records in 2021.

Time (acoustic 2021 mix) - 31st December 2020

Life In Make-Believe - 8th January 2021
Although sounding like a lullaby, it's about someone in a failing relationship who's hiding in their own make-believe world of magical innocence.

White Wedding - 6th March 2021
Our version of Billy Idol's classic track from 1982.

In From The Cold - 10th March 2021
This features the late lead-guitarist Dave Townson. This song was written in 1990 and although finally recorded in 2021, it features some classic analogue sounds from the 80s including the Roland Jupiter 8 and Sequential Circuits Prophet T8 giving the track a classic 80s feel. The inspiration for the lyrics came from finishing late at college and walking to the next train station on many a dark winter's night, just to keep warm.

Light My Fire - 15th June 2021
The classic track by The Doors is a track that we enjoy playing. We decided it would be quite a good exercise to try and capture the original 60s sound as much as possible with our version.

Believe In Me - 14th July 2021
Believe In Me is essentially a song about the initial feelings and innocence of falling in love.

Shipwrecked - 23rd November 2021
Written in 2021, this song can be taken literally about someone who has been taken prisoner by a foreign power after becoming shipwrecked or stranded in a distant country and away from loved ones. A parallel to this would be the fate of the USS Pueblo. Although not shipwrecked as such, the USS Pueblo was attached to US Navy intelligence as a spy ship which was attacked and captured by North Korean forces on 23rd January 1968. This later became known as the "Pueblo incident". The subsequent abuse and torture of her crew became a major Cold War incident. Equally, the song works as a metaphor referring to someone who has a feeling of unrequited love and wanting to be "saved".

North Of England - 2nd December 2021
This song was written in 1984/85 by Jon Dean and was the first song originally recorded by Dave Forward and Jon Dean in the late 80s. The original cassette demo received some attention from Kennedy Street Management and London Records but didn't result in a record deal. A later mix in 1993 was played on BBC Radio Manchester. It's since been rearranged and recorded by The Cathodes. For those with a more technical ear - The intro starts with a NED Synclavier sound with PPG bell sounds along with a Moog Prodigy playing a high-low note transition. This is then followed by a 'funky' keyboard riff played on a Nord Stage 3 along with a Levinson Blade Stat recorded through a Laney Cub amplifier.

So Clear - 7th December 2021
This originally dates back to the early 90s and was written to see how a new acoustic guitar would sound recorded. The same guitar and vintage keyboards were used to record this new version.

Tonight's All Mine - 7th December 2021
This was originally written for a musical with the setting of last drinks at a party. The musical was never finished, but we're sure the drinks were!
"In the early 90s, I was writing music with a friend - Jon Dean and another of my friends suggested writing a musical. He came up with the basic outline while Jon and I wrote the songs. The musical was set around 1905 and the idea was that "Tonight's All Mine" would be sung by the heroine at her hen party where she'd be swept off her feet (perhaps literally) for one last fling before she gets married. I've always loved playing the piano sequence and happened to play a little of it to the band one evening. They suggested the song should be included on our album, perhaps as the last track. I also felt it would fit in well for a certain late night radio presenter who happened to be looking for a song to finish on so it was recorded. I sang the vocal kneeling down and very close to the mic to get a really intimate sound. The piano part was recorded live to keep it as real and human as possible. Paul later added a fretless bass part onto the track."

Being Lonely (The Single) - 9th August 2023
The band wanted to release Being Lonely as a single but felt that as the original recording didn't really have the sound of The Cathodes. They therefore chose to re-record the vocal and add some extra keyboard parts. A Roland Juno 60 pad sound was added to bring more analogue warmth and was also used for an extra lead sound alongside the existing guitar. A Synclavier sound was added on the intro and at the end.

Next Christmas - 24th October 2023
The song was written by Paul in 2022 but as "In From The Cold" was already scheduled for release for the latter part of the year, it was put aside. The band started looking at this again towards the end of the Summer in 2023 and an initial vocal was recorded during one of the hottest days of the year. A few changes were then made to the lyrics and the arrangement as well as some extra keyboards added. The song is basically a wish for a future Christmas where everyone can celebrate in peace, without greed.

Bye Bye Love - 27th March 2024
Originally by The Cars, this song was one chosen by Dave Townson to record with The Cathodes in 2021. The original recording was remixed with extra keyboards added and forms part of the "Empty Rooms" EP.

Empty Rooms - 29th March 2024
Originally by Gary Moore, this was initially recorded by The Cathodes with Dave Townson in May 2020. It was re-recorded in 2024 with Eddie Mooney (from The Fortunes) featuring on bass guitar. This is the title track of an EP recorded as a dedication to the late Dave Townson and contains all the songs he worked on with The Cathodes.




Dave, Paul and Barbara at Charlesworth Music Feasival 2018


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