Treatment, or Steven John Finney as his parents know him, was
born in Derby but the Rock'n'Roll dream led him to London in
1975. Always a fan of Marc Bolan and T Rex, he spotted a girl
wearing a T Rex t-shirt and struck up a conversation. She said
she got the shirt from Marc's office at 69 New Bond Street so
he popped round and was amazed at how easy it was to approach
the Metal Guru!
Steve & Nikki begin busking around London and going to the early Punk gigs. Steve had a job in the HMV shop and used to wear a plastic padlock and chain he nicked from a Uriah Heep display in the window. Captain Sensible had inherited Sid Vicious' famous padlock and wanted to swap it for Steve's!!! Marc Bolan wanted to know about punk rock and asked Steve & Nikki their advice - he ended up getting the Damned to support him on his final tour and a few good punk bands got their TV debut on the 'Marc' television show..
Steve was spotted by arty film maker Derek Jarman who was starting on his "punk" film 'Jubilee!' Steve had the job of taking Polaroid photos of punks at a Ramones gig to appear as extras in the film. Derek thought his age and posh accent would scare the punks away. At this time Steve had long curly hair which he planned to cut off but Derek made him wait so he could film it. This scene appears in Jubilee and was also used in Derek's anthology film "Glitterbug". Steve also appears in the book burning scene at the end of Jubilee and received a fiver for his acting skills. Steve Strange was also a Jubilee extra and he and Midge Ure were looking for someone to front their notorious 'Moors Murderers' band. Steve was asked but he quite rightly thought the idea was tacky as fuck!
By early '77 Steve had written most of the tracks for his first record and others including his theme song "you're gonna receive treatment' from where his nickname came! Nikki's band the Swell Maps had now made their first single, the classic 'Read about Seymour' on their own Rather Records which was later taken up by Rough Trade records and was a big favourite of John Peel! Nikki thought it would be a good idea to use Rather records to put out singles by other bands and, after hearing tapes that Steve had made on his friend Gary Hill's Revox tape machine, offered Steve the chance. On June 1st 1978 The Swell Maps and Steve went into Spaceward Studios and recorded the Five 'A' Sided Single.
This was one of the best singles of 1978 and although it had all the ingredients of Punk rock, it transcended the three chord thrash associated with punk (it's best song has only one chord!!!) and has a timeless quality. The Bolan influence is obvious especially on the classic Negative Nights with Christine Isherwood's beautifull second vocal! There is also a psychedelic and rockabilly influence, with the backwards guitars and double tracked vocals. The whole five tracks sound like a band having fun!
As well as providing musical backing Swell Maps helped design the cover and each single had a personalised inner sleeve handwritten by either Steve or the Maps or their pals. There was an anagram on the back sleeve - Vet Me Tea Set Rut - which turned out not to be a true anagram of Steve Treatment because they got the "u" upside down! Annette, Nikki's girlfriend at the time, recalls having to type out hundreds of slips of paper to go into the sleeves and make it a competition to "spot the deliferate mistale"
The record sold well and was played in full by John Peel over a number of nights. Steve claimed it outsold the Swell Maps, which is unlikely, and Nikki reckoned that Steve absconded with all the copies for himself! Steve and Nikki did one more recording together but the Maps were now recording their first album and follow up singles so the two drifted apart.
Steve now found himself with a single high in the Independant Charts but without a band and the means to do any gigs (in fact he never did a single live gig untill he formed the Ticket Inspectors in the late eighties.) An old friend Nick Welsh took it upon himself to get Steve a band and by the end of '78 Steve returned to the recording studio for the second single 'Step inside a worn out shoe" and 'Heaven Knows'
The second single was released on Steve's own record label, Backbone, and is another classic! The T Rex influence is right upfront on 'Juvenile Wrecks' with its rolling piano and Bolan-esque lyrics. The other side (only two songs on this one to get more volume!!!) was 'Step inside a worn out shoe', a quirky rocker with trademark double tracked vocals (arguing with each other at the end!!!). Steve was never one to rehearse or re-take tracks prefering to show the song to the band and dive in head first with the recording, so this session also produced 'Change of Plan' and 'Head of a Raven' for his next single which also came out on Backbone in '79. It contains another three tracks of boppin' good tunes but sadly was his last release for 24 years!!!
An album was planned and some major labels had shown an interest but... the musical climate was changing and synthpop was taking over the independent charts, and Steve's album was left in limbo. Some of the tracks recorded for it are among his best such as 'Temperature Change' and 'Carve my name upon your back' but for the timr Steve's recording career was over.
In the eighties Steve's friend Kozzie from Scotland organised a new band called the Ticket Inspectors and Steve made his live debut. Steve's songwriting had matured and there was less T Rex influence and an overall softer sound, though there was always the threat of a fully formed freak-out just round the bend! The band released their cassette only album on Backbone records and although they never really split up, they drifted apart!
Another long period of silence followed but Steve never stopped writing and recording. In 2002 Hyped2Death records in America bootlegged some of the classic early singles on their Messthetics series of CDs. (Messthetics was a mis-hearing of the line in the Undertones 'My Perfect Cousin' - "He's got a degree in Economics, MATHS, PHYSICS and Bionics..." and if your into the most obscure DIY punk fropm the UK and USA you should check these compilations out!" Steve made contact with Chuck Warner from H2D and discussions started about a proper reissue of the early singles.
By coincidence Scottish DIY label 'TOPPLERS' started a Steve Treatment page on their website and were soon in touch with Steve himself who sent up a pile of cassettes of 20 years of unreleased recordings. Plans were formed for Topplers band 'The NoMen' to back Steve on some re-recordings of his best songs but as the band were having so much fun with the tracks they ended up releasing an album themselves of Steves songs. Steve wrote the title track 'The Keys to Talgarth Rd' especially for the NoMen and in most cases their arrangements of the songs take them into areas far away from Steve's originals. By mid 2003 Steve and the NoMen started collaborating on new material with the band recording the tracks in Scotland and Steve adding vocal and guitar in London. A Five A sided CD was the first release and it contained a reworking of "Carve My Name' and four new tracks including the incredible 'Letter to the world'. A Christmas EP and an acoustic album followed swiftly on from this and in early 2004 it was arranged for Steve to come to Glasgow to record the first 7" record on Topplers with the NoMen. Unfortunately the London Border Patrol prevented Steve from leaving the city and the session had to be cancelled. (Topplers released a 7" by Jowe Head, ex of Swell Maps, who had played guitar on Steve's first single!)
2004 was a quiet year musically for Steve and the NoMen but in the fall of 2005 they got together to record a brand new 7" single (Steve's first for 26 years!) and remix, edit and re-record tracks for the "Clear Visions of Grandeur" compilation CD. Steve Treatmen't vitality has not softened with age... like a fine wine, he just gets better! The five tracks on the new single bristle with ideas and bop about like the best of his classic recordings. The sleeve even pays homage to the first single with an anagram of his name that actually works and lots of photos and comments relating to the original masterpiece!
Steve is one of those timeless, undervalued artists forever on the sidelines and those who are lucky enough to know his music love it!!!