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Auto Da Fe

From: Dublin

Active: 1980-89

Style: New Wave

Dutch Lineup (1980-81?):

Lineup (1981-83):

Lineup (1988-89):


In 1970 Gay Woods was a member of Steeleye Span with her husband Terry (ex Sweeney's Men, pre The Pogues). They left to form the Woods Band and later recorded a series of excellent LPs as a duo for Polydor Records through the rest of the seventies. This work is predominantly folk rock. The couple split and Gay pursued her own projects, most notably Auto Da Fe.

Supporitng John Cooper Clarke at The Paradiso in Amsterdam, 13 February 1981

Auto Da Fe was a theatrically-inclined, keyboard/electronics dominated new wave band formed in Holland in 1980 by Gay with new partner Trevor Knight (ex jazzrockers No Buckets and 'experimental jazz fusion' (jazzrock) band Naima). with Wout Pennings (guitar), Karel van Rijn (bass) and Theo Wanders (drums). This band was a radical departure for Gay, who up until that point was strongly associated with folk rock. On relocating to Ireland the core duo was joined by Mark Megaray (AKA Mark Hogan, ex Radiators, Eric Bell Band, Girl) on bass and Robbie Brennan on drums.

Auto Da Fe built a strong following in Ireland based on spontaneous, colourful live performances which they never quite captured fully on vinyl despite the attention and efforts of Phil Lynott. Even so they managed to record two excellent singles, in 1982. Mark Megaray left in 1983 and Phil Lynott filled in on bass for live gigs. One such occasion was captured by the BBC In Concert crew in November 1983 and later released on the Songs for Echo CD in 2001. Robbie Brennan also left later in 1983.

A new lineup toured Ireland (and elsewhere) in 1983: Gay Woods and Trevor Knight were joined by Jimi Slevin (guitar) and the dutch rhythm section of Carel van Rijn (bass) and Theo Wanders (drums) who had already played with the band when it was based in The Netherlands circa 1980-81. This lineup never recorded.

Posters from (1) circa 1982 (2) 10 June 1983 and (3) 8 Sept 1985.

A new lineup emerged in 1984 but the spirit was gone. The band regrouped with a new rhythm section and added a fifth member on lead guitar, altering the bass/drums/keyboards format, and making them sound ordinary. The recordings from this period are more slick but less interesting. Among those who played with the band in the mid-80s are Howard Wilson, Earl Gill Jr, John Stokes and Finn Corrigan (ex Strong Are Lonely, later of Sid & The Stonecrushers / The Boy The Boy and Clark's Gable).

There was a late name change to Operaracket in 1986 before finally disbanding. Operaracket returned briefly in 1988 as a duo of Knight and Woods, playing a completely new set of more experimental material, but this quickly became Auto Da Fe, who played throughout 1988-89. This lineup included William Demange who'd played bass with The Crash, Toy With RhythmThe Fountainhead and Toy With RhythmToy With Rhythm. After the demise of Auto Da Fe and some years gigging in Spain, Demange founded DCFE recording studios in 2002.

The Castle, Galway 11 July 1985

Trevor Knight is now a contemporary composer. Gay Woods returned to Steeleye Span and contines to perform. For a full bio, see her website. See also the Videos page.

Phil Lynott's involvement as producer on their early singles has generated a constant level of interest in the band.

1982 Hot Press Readers Poll Winners


• November November / For Rich People
7" - ADF Records - ADF-003 - IRL - 1982 - pink PS
7" - Rewind Records - 13 - UK - 1983 - purple PS
Recorded Dublin 1982.

Some sources also list the UK edition as Rewind #15 but this was a Q-Tips single. Perhaps there were plans to reissue Rewind #13 for superstitious record buyers a la Raw Records!

• Bad Experience / Lot 3 (instrumental)
7" - ADF Records - ADF-004 - IRL - 1982 - PS
7" - Rewind Records - ?? - UK - 1982 - PS

Notes: Recorded in Lombard Studios, Dublin in 1982. Lineup: Gay Woods (vocals), Mark Megaray (bass), Robbie Brennan (drums), Trevor Knight (keyboards), Philip Lynott (vocals, timpani), Keith Donald (clarinets). A-side produced by Phil Lynott. The B-side was recorded live at Rockall's in Bray on Friday 13th August 1982 with Dave McHale (saxophone).

• Man Of Mine / Auto Da Fe
7" - Rewind Records - 14 - UK - 1983 - PS
Recorded Dublin 1983, with Phil Lynott

• Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart / Cellophane Rain
7" - Red Hot Records - RHS 201 - IRL - June 1984 - PS
Red Hot marketed and distributed by Stoic Records.
Gay Woods - Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart / Cellophane Rain
7" - Rewind Records - 18 - UK - 1984 - no PS
Recorded London 1984. Reached #24 in Irish singles chart.
UK released credited to Gay Woods (solo).

• All Is Yellow - Hot Hot Hot / Frankie
7" - Red Hot Records - RHS 202 - IRL - 1984 - PS
A-side produced by Trevor Knight, B-side by Garvan Gallagher.
Red Hot marketed and distributed by Stoic Records.

• 5 Singles And 1 Smoked Cod
mini-LP - Stoic Records - STILP 1003 - IRL - 1984

Singles compilation which collects all 5 A-sides to date plus one B-side.

• Credo Credo / Blood Into Life
7" - Red Hot Records - RHS203 - IRL - 1984 - PS
Red Hot marketed and distributed by Stoic Records.

• All Is Yellow Hot Hot Hot / There They Stood
7" - Spartan Records - SP18 - UK - 1985 - PS, some on yellow vinyl
7" - Spartan Records - SPP18 - UK - 1985 - car shaped picture disc with cardboard stand
12" - Spartan Records - SPT18 - UK - 1985 - PS, some on yellow vinyl
A-side recorded Dublin 1984, B-side recorded at Slane Castle - 1984
Reached #27 in Irish singles chart.

• Tatitum
LP - Spartan Records - SPLP003 - IRL - 1985 - lyric insert

Recorded in Chester in February 1985 except tracks A2 & A3 recorded at Amazon Studios in November 1984 and track B1 recorded in Dublin in 1982.
The re-recordings of older songs are slicker and more heavily produced.
A1-5 & B4 are re-recordings of tracks previously released as singles.
B1 & B2 were released as singles.

• Magic Moments / Wrong Number
7" - Spartan Records - SP128 - UK - 1985 - PS?

• various artists - RTE Radio 2 Presents In Concert
LP - RTE Records - RTE 92 - 1985
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• various artists - Live for Ireland
2xLP - MCA Records - MCGD 6027 - IRL - 1988
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• Gazette EP
7" - GMN Records - 001 - 1988 - PS
K7 - GMN Records - 001 - 1988 - PS

• Songs for Echo
CD - Hut Records - HUX022 - UK - 2001
Collects two BBC Radio 1 "In Concert" broadcasts.
The second concert features Phil Lynott on bass and backing vocals.

Tracks 1-5 recorded 30.03.83 and broadcast 16.04.83
Tracks 6-12 recorded 09.11.83 and broadcast 03.12.83


We need your help to correct and/or complete this entry. If you can provide more information about this band, have scans, photos or any other memorabilia we can use, or spare copies of any releases, then please get in touch.

See Also: Radiators, Jimi Slevin

External Links: Gay Woods website

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