Band History

History of Praying Mantis

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  • Tino Troy formed his 1st band with Pete Moore another guitarist.


  • Somewhere around here Tino persuades Chris to join the band who are
    currently called "Junction". The band at the time were playing one off gigs in
    Youth clubs.


  • The band now called Mantis start to get dates in Pubs.

  • The Band record the 3 track demo that would eventually be released in 1980
    as "Soundhouse tapes Part 2" (Part 1 being 3 tracks by Iron Maiden). A friend
    Paul Williamson (who was Lyricist for Johnny Cool and Praying Mantis) advises
    Tino to take the Tape to DJ Neal Kay at the Soundhouse Club.

  • Neal Kay is impressed with the demo and asks the band to play the club.


  • Pete Moore leaves for personal reasons and is replaced by Bob Angelo

  • On 9th November 1979 BBC Radio 1 broadcast a Praying Mantis
    session on the Friday Rock Show. This featured "Captured City", "Lovers to the
    Grave" and "Johnny Cool". Bands doing sessions for the BBC are usually given ½ a
    day to record their tracks in a BBC studio. The session was recorded 31st
    Oct 1979. The recording line-up was Tino Troy, Chris Troy, Pete Moore and Chris
    Hudson on drums.

  • A Mantis Gig at the Marquee Club in London was recorded by someone and is
    available on bootleg. This contains an tracks called "Rock and Rock Fever" which
    I am told is an embryonic version of 30 Silver pieces. I have given both a
    listen and I don't think it is but I am prepared to be wrong.

  • Captured City is recorded for Metal for Muthas with a session drummer who
    only had two and a half hours to learn the arrangement.

  • Late 1979 Mick Ranson joins the band on drums


  • February 15th 1980 Captured City, the Soundhouse tapes part 2
    single is released on Ripper Records. It is dated as 1979 and the Troy's are
    credited by their real surname, Neophytou. It sells 15,000 copies in two and a
    half weeks.

  • The Band tour with Iron Maiden and Neal Kay on a Metal for Muthas tour.

  • Praying Mantis play a gig with White Spirit which is reported in Record
    Mirror on 29th March 1980. The set list at this time includes

    • Johnny Cool

    • Rock'n'Roll Fever

    • High Roller

    • Lovers to the Grave

    • Beads of Ebony

  • Dave Potts played his Debut gig with Mantis at the Marquee in May

  • The "Praying Mantis" single is released on July 4th 1980

  • In July Steve Carroll as second Guitar and Vocals joined the band

  • Mantis play a gig with Girlschool and Vardis which is briefly reviewed in
    the July 26th 1980 Record Mirror . This confirms the arrival of Steve

  • On 23 August 1980 Mantis play at the Reading Festival. The set seems to have

    1. Intro (Land of Hope and Glory)

    2. Rich City Kids

    3. Praying Mantis

    4. Panic In The Streets

  • Bill Ramsay tells me Mantis toured
    with Triumph on the "I Live for the Weekend" UK Tour and got a write up in the
    tour Program. This was the first full tour with Steve Carroll and included
    numbers from the forthcoming Time Tell No Lies album

  • On the way to a gig in Bristol on this tour the Equipment truck overturned
    and Mantis had to borrow gear from the band 3rd on the set that night
    Dedringer. The Mantis set had to be shorten to 30 minutes to fit everyone in and
    the crowd wanted an Encore. Mantis has to just go back and thank them.


  • Rainbow and Praying Mantis both decide they would like to release "I
    surrender" as a Single. Rainbow being the Bigger band get the go ahead. Mantis's
    version has yet to be released.

  • During March Mantis play some gigs with Gamma and some on their own.

  • The Set list for a gig at Mayfair Newcastle on 5th March 1981 was

    1. Intro (The Dambusters music I think)

    2. Praying Mantis

    3. Panic In The Streets

    4. Cheated

    5. Beads Of Ebony

    6. Lovers To The Grave

    7. Children Of The Earth

    8. The Story

    9. All The Day And All Of The Night

    10. Captured City

    No Encore

  • "Time Tells No Lies" was eventually released after a couple of delays by the
    record company.

  • Shortly after the release of the first LP, they recruited Tom Jackson as a
    vocalist and existed as a five piece for several months. Doing more dates in
    June and July.

  • Sylvia Aviani tells me Mantis
    entered the Studio in Nurnberg, Germany to record a second album during the
    summer. Battle Royal was recorded at this time. Jon Bain was sound Mixer and
    also provided additional Keyboards. The Band at the time were

    • Tino Troy

    • Chris Troy

    • Steve Carroll

    • Dave Potts

  • In August Mantis were due to play at the Reading Festival again but got
    stuck in Germany due to a mix up with the Airline company.

  • They play Third on the bill at a Dutch Open Air festival. The headliners
    were Dexy's Midnight Runners!!!!. Second on the bill were Tygers of Pang Tang.
    Mantis go down extremely well.

  • On September 20th Mantis headline an East Anglian Rock festival.

  • In a September Fan club Newsletter the 2nd LP due to be called A
    Question of Time was announced. It was to contain 8 tracks including

    • The Story

    • Battle Royal

    • A remake of Captured City

  • The Release date was expected to be December. Sadly this has still to happen


  • Steve Carroll leaves the Band when the b
  • Mantis play the Marquee, London as a prelude to their Reading Festival
    appearance the set was as follows.

    1. Intro (Visage's The Step)

    2. A Question Of Time

    3. Panic In The Streets

    4. Running For Tomorrow

    5. Nightmare

    6. Raining In Kensington

    7. Give Me A Reason

    8. Cheated

    9. Heartache

    10. Tell Me The Nightmare's Wrong

    11. Time Slipping Away

    12. Enough Is Enough

    13. Turn The Tables


    14. Flirting With Suicide

  • The Turn the Tables singles is released to coincide with the bands
    appearance at the Reading festival in England. It contains Tell me the
    nightmares wrong which was written by Gary Partn who is best know for the Theme
    tune for TV series "Cheers".

  • M.G.MacMillan tells me
    "The Turn the tables EP was originally intended to have four tracks, but only
    Turn the tables, Tell me the nightmare's wrong and A question of time made it
    onto vinyl. The fourth track recorded in those sessions was Give me a reason."

  • Steve Carroll leaves the Band when the band has problems with their
    management company Fireball. The band was basically dead at this point and Steve
    was friends with one of the Managers and did not feel he could carry on.


  • M.G.MacMillan tells me
    "PM were scheduled to record an LP for Jet in early 1983. Although studio time
    was booked, I'm not convinced any recordings took place. The LP was originally
    to be called either Turn the tables or A question of time. There was also to be
    a tour of the U.S. supporting Black Sabbath. However, since Sabbath didn't make
    it over until October, this obviously never took place." This sounds very
    similar to the second 1981 album.

  • Mantis left the Jet label in March 83, and must have metamorphosed into
    Clive Burr's Escape within 6 months. Dave Potts is of course no longer on Drums
    but is instead there Manager. The latter made their live debut at the Marquee in
    London on 17:12:83. The set list being

    1.Intro (Visage's The Step)

    2.The Horn

    3. Fantasy

    4. All Over Again

    5. One Of These Days

    6. Enough Is Enough

    7. Your Number

    8. Raining In Kensington

    9. Woman Of The Night

    10. Romancer

    11. Tell Me The Nightmare's Wrong

    12. Born Evil

    13. Wasted Love

    14. Top Of The Mountain

    15. Turn The Tables


    16. Take No Prisoners

    And the Line up being

    Clive Burr – Drums

    Tino Troy – Guitar

    Chris Troy – Bass

    Bernie Shaw – Vocals

    Don Garbett – Keyboards


  • By the Marque gig of 19th January Don Garbett had been replaced by Alan
    Nelson and the set list rearranged

  • M.G.MacMillan Continues
    in May 84, they were forced to change name because of copyright problems with
    the 'Escape' bit. Here's where somebody has got the wrong end of the stick…it
    was at THIS point that they briefly adopted the name Tigon (not Tygon), which
    also fell victim to legal difficulties. They finally became Stratus in July 84.

  • Stratus recorded a session for the BBC. Oliver Kleem tells me it included
    the following songs:

    • Top of the mountain

    • Enough is enough

    • Take no Prisoners

    • Romancer

  • The band was comprised of Bernie Shaw (v), Tino Troy (g), Chris Troy (b),
    Alan Nelson (K) and Clive Burr (d).


  • Stratus released the Throwing Shapes LP but it didn't get a UK release, it
    was just released on the Belgian Steel Trax label and also had a Japanese

  • On 1st December 1985 Stratus Performed the following set

    • Intro. (The Steps By Visage)
    • Never Say No
    • Gimme Something
    • Enough Is Enough
    • Run For Your Life
    • Back Street Lovers
    • All Over Again
    • Tell Me The Nightmare's Wrong
    • Even If It Takes
    • Top Of The Mountain
    • Time Slipping Away
    • Turn The Tables
    • So Tired


    • Flirting With Suicide

      The Line Up was as the album except Alan Nelson was replaced by Steve
      Mann of Dennis Stratton's Lionheart. It's a very small world.


  • In 1987 Mantis reformed for a one of gig. The line-up was Troy's, Bernie
    Shaw, Dave Potts and Hugh Bestick on rhythm guitar. Hugh was a school friend of
    Tino's and Tino was trying him out but it did not work because he could not
    sing. See The Mantis in the Press page for a review
    of the gig.

  • The whole of this period between the end of Stratus and the start of the
    90's Mantis Tino Troy spents playing in pub bands.


  • April 1990 Praying Mantis reform for a short visit to Japan. They record a
    Tokyo gig which is released as "Live and Last" in Japan and USA.

  • The set with Dianno seems to have been as follows :-

    Starts with Trio of Bruce,Tino,Chris

    • Panic In The Streets

    Dennis appears

    • Change Of Heart

    • Dangerous Game

    • Children Of The Earth

    • Lovers To The Grave

    • One Good Reason

    • Flirting With Suicide

    • Hot Tonight

    Dianno Appears

    • Running For Tomorrow

    • Danger On The Streets (Where Does This Come From?)

    • Wrathchild

    • Murder In The Rue Morgue

    • Remember Tomorrow

    • Phantom Of The Opera

    • Killers

    • Iron Maiden


    • Cheated

    • Running Free


  • Predator In Disguise is recorded and released in Japan. It is later given a
    UK release.

  • Gary Barden sang "Can't Wait Forever", but his version was not included in
    "Predator in Disguise" album. Hence the "On The Subs Bench: Garry Barden , Ten
    out of ten for effort" comment on the album cover. Gary has said his version
    stored somewhere in London. Thanks to Ko Yamada [] for
    this information.

  • M.G.MacMillan tells me
    "Captured city appeared unintentionally on the Heavy Metal records 'NWOBHM'
    retrospective compilation LP in 1991. Credited on the sleeve as 'Ambitions' by
    Dragster, I'm reliably informed that this is a unique version! How this happened
    is a complete mystery, since PM were never signed to Heavy Metal at any point
    and they didn't have the rights to this track. Bizarre, to say the least."

  • On 27th June 91 Praying Mantis appeared on a Japanese TV special.
    They were joined on stage by Dougie White and performed

    • The Horn

    • Children of the Earth

    • Lovers to the grave

    • Flirting with suicide

    • This time girl

    • She's hot

    • Turn the Tables

    • Still want you

    • Time slipping away

  • Promotional Videos are record for "This time Girl" "Border line" and "Can't
    see the Angels"


  • "A Cry for the New world" is released in Japan and the UK. Colin Peel is now
    the vocalist.

  • The Band record a video for "Dream On" in the UK. Apparently it shows a bit
    of "Dennis's pub, when he was doing that" at the begining.

  • Colin Peel leaves the band to perform in a Musical called "Hair"

  • The Originally 1993 Japanese tour schedule was as follows,

    • Fri 27 Aug Club Citta, Kawasaki

    • Sun 29 Aug Moda Hall, Osaka

    • Mon 30 Aug Bottom Line, Nagoya

    • Tue 31 Aug Club Citta, Kawasaki

  • However because Colin Left, it was changed to.

    • Wed 24 Nov Bottom Line, Nagoya

    • Fri 26 Nov Moda Hall, Osaka

    • Sat 27 Nov Club Citta, Kawasaki

    • Sun 28 Nov Club Citta, Kawasaki

  • Probably on 26 May 1993, Chris Tino and Dennis appeared on a TV show called
    Mutoma World talking about the Colin situation and playing Dream on (Chris Lead
    Vox) and A moment in Life (Dennis Lead Vox) acoustically (just two guitars)

  • "Only the children cry" a 4 track single is released in Japan with "Mark
    Thompson-Smith on vocals. Mark is the Vocalist for the Japanese tour

  • The whole band appear on Mutoma World again and perform "A moment in life"
    again with Mark doing the lead but basically as the earlier appearance. Bruce
    just appears for a minor chat and the usual mucking around. A Promotional video
    for "Only the Children Cry" is also shown


  • "To the Power of Ten" Recorded with Gary Barden on Vocals

  • Mantis tour Japan for a 4th time and on 11 & 12th
    November 1995 record two concerts at Club Citta Kawasaki, Japan for use on
    "Captured alive in Tokyo city"

  • A Promotional Video for "Welcome to my Hollywood" is made.

  • The Text of the Japan '95 4 page A4 B/W Program is as follows :-

Praying Mantis return to Japan for their '95 Tour with what must be their
strongest ever line up. Gary Barden, the lead vocalist who features on the
latest album 'To The Power of Ten', now performs for the first time since
playing the Budokan with the Michael Schenker Group in 1981.

Clive Burr, on percussion, formerly of Iron Maiden and Dee Snider's
Desperado, is no stranger to Tino and Chris Troy, as they performed together on
the Stratus project album, 'Throwing Shapes'.

The guest keyboard player on this tour is Michael Scherchen who assisted the
band in the studio during the recording of 'A Cry For The New World' and 'To The
Power of Ten'. His vast knowledge of music and electronic wizardry, together
with his intimacy with many of the songs in the set, have made him the ideal
choice for this tour.

The set list for the shows is certainly formidable with an immense repertoire
from which to choose. Songs are taken from the albums 'Time Tells No Lies',
'Predator in Disguise', 'A Cry For The New World' and obviously, the most recent
release 'To The Power Of Ten'.

The combination of Gary Barden's powerful, melodic vocals, the harmonious
guitar work of Tino, Dennis and Chris, against the thunderous, insistent beat of
Clive on drums produces a unique and exciting sound. Praying Mantis have evolved
over many years and the lineup with it. WE believe we have found the right

Tonight YOU be the judge.


  • "Captured Alive in Tokyo City" is released on Video, single CD and limited
    edition 2 cd.


  • Mantis part company with Gary Barden. The current singer is Tony O'Hora. He
    at least recorded a 5 track Demo with the band Early in 1997. The tracks are all
    Mantis originals with the following titles. Bruce Bisland is also expected to be
    back for the next album although on this demo it was a drum machine.

    • Wasted Years

    • The Messiah

    • Photograph (Later Renamed Best Years)

    • Valley Of The Kings

    • Man Behind The Mask


  • Forever In time album released in Japan on on 16th June 1998
  • Tino Tony and Dennis did a promotional tour for the album and played some
    songs acoustically

  • The Full Band played four dates in Japan. It was the first time the band
    that recorded an album had actually toured it!


  • Demorabilia a 2 CD set of old Mantis and Escape Demos is released in Japan
  • Work began on the Nowhere To Hide album which was hoped would be released
    in Nov 99 but ended up being finished in February 2000.

  • Perform In London and Japan with the Original 1980 Line up of Dave Potts,
    Steve Carrol, and they Troys.

  • The Japanese date was recorded for the Various Artist Metal Crusade 1999
    Live album.

  • The Band privately celebrate 10 years of the core lineup of the Troys,
    Dennis Stratton and Bruce Bisland with a party and short set at Dennis's
    local Pub in London.


  • Nowhere To Hide Is Released In Japan. For once there is no Promotional Trip.

  • Praying Mantis Play The Wacken Festival In Germany
  • They also support Glenn Hughes at the Astoria


  • The band part company with Tony O'Hora and Bruce Bisland


  • The band now consists of Dennis Stratton, Tino Troy and Chris Troy. Work
    beings on "The Journeys goes on". Dougie White and John Sloman are guess
    singers and Martin "Magic" Johnson plays drums


  • "The Journeys goes on" is released.


  • Best Of Praying Mantis is released.


  • Praying Mantis get Damian Wilson (Threshold, Rick Wakeman, Landmarq,
    Ayreon) to guest as vocalist for a 25th anniversary of NWOBHM show. This is
    the first gig played without Dennis Stratton on 2nd guitar.


  • Praying Mantis play some dates in Greece for the first time.
  • They also play at Headbanger´s Open Air Festival in Germany. For this
    gig the band gets Mike Freeland on Vocals and drops the keyboard in favour
    of a second guitarist. Andy Burgess takes this role.


  • Praying Mantis settle the line up play a few more gigs and start demoing the next album.


  • The next album is recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


  • The next album is named "Sanctuary" and is released.

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