The Mysterious Wheels – named by Andrew’s young son who had an obsession with wheels – have been going in various forms and under various other names for over 30 years. Led by singer, songwriter, Pogues drummer, Andrew Ranken, they began as a busking band, playing in the portico of St James’s Church in Covent Garden, just before the area was developed into a shopping centre. A full drumkit, portable amps, sax, would be assembled on a Saturday and they would earn enough in an hour to go for a meal at the now sadly defunct Centrale cafe in Cambridge Circus. That was about 1981, the band at that time known as The Operation.
Andrew’s success with the Pogues interrupted play for a while, but the group – smaller now, with Andrew, and brothers Joe and Simon Korner at its core – never went away, and soon reconvened, playing their favourite blues and r’n’b and country songs. The line-up shifted here and there, but when Tom Anthony – another Lewes emigrant and friend – joined the band, the rhythm section was complete. With Paul Seacroft now on guitar, and Dylan Bates on fiddle, the band played gigs across London, with a fairly regular stint upstairs at the Priory pub in Stockwell.
In the past year, joined by guitarist John Roster replacing Paul Seacroft, and minus the fiddle, the band is increasingly busy, with a monthly residency in Stoke Newington, and gigs elsewhere.