A band which may not register with many American listeners (unless you had your ears to the ground and were a regular listener to John Peel, somehow in the early 80s). Came and went in a virtual flash – together since 1978 and broken up by 1981. A band that had a lot of critical praise going for them, even designated “Band Most Likely To . . .” by the Music Newspaper NME.
It wasn’t enough to keep things together – so after one ep and two singles, plus this solitary John Peel session, they called it quits in 1981.
It wouldn’t be so bad if this was an isolated incident – you could chalk it up to bad luck, personality clashes, record company falling asleep at the switch, bad production, lousy management – but no, the life and death of Restricted Code is more the norm than the exception. And that is just the sad fact about the world of music. Especially now.
And most people forget that. Most people forget that the majority of bands together today won’t be together this time next year. It’s always been that way. Restricted Code were much better than many of the bands around at the time – they were respected and encouraged by the Press, they were getting good word-of-mouth going by way of opening for bands like Human League. But they just didn’t make the leap, and it was frustrating – and with frustration you take things out of people, usually the ones closest to you, and in this case, it most likely explains the friction between band members toward the end.
And if there was a formula, a combination, a series of steps a band could take that would ensure their success, they would become an essential element in becoming an artist. But no such formula or combination exists – it’s up to a series of circumstances and flukes – and becoming a success in this business is sometimes more predicated on miracles and circumstances than on talent.
All that said, Restricted Code only managed to do one Peel session and it’s worth a listen if you aren’t already familiar. Luckily, the thing about Music is that there’s a good chance much of it has survived, and that means there’s always an opportunity to make a discovery. So it comes to pass that a lot doesn’t go unnoticed – the nice part of history.