Graduate (band)

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Origin Bath, England, United Kingdom
Genres New wave, mod revival, ska
Years active 1978–1981
Associated acts Tears for Fears
Past members Roland Orzabal
Curt Smith
John Baker
Steve Buck
Andy Marsden

Graduate was an English new wave/mod revival musical group formed in 1978,[1] in Bath, England. They were only very mildly successful, and broke up by 1981. They are today best known as being the initial recording vehicle for future Tears for Fears members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, who found major international fame in the 1980s and 1990s.

Band history

John Baker and Roland Orzabal were at school together and performed as the "Baker Brothers" in local pubs and clubs from 1977 aged 16. The name Graduate came from the fact that they used to open shows with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson", which was featured in the movie The Graduate. They were introduced to Drummer Andy Marsden by their first manager Colin Wyatt who ran a local Musical youth group of which Andy was a member. Steve was also found by Colin Wyatt playing piano at a local Nightspot in Bath and for a while they played with various Bass players until Curt was offered the role. Roland and Curt had played in a youth club band called Duckz when they were 14
In 1979, Graduate signed a publishing deal with Tony Hatch who subsequently offered the group to Pye Records. Graduate recorded their debut album Acting My Age at Crescent Studios Bath in January 1980. The first single "Elvis should play ska" reached number 82 in the UK charts in April 1980 (whilst band were on 33 date UK tour supporting Judie Tzuke) although it fared better in Spain reaching the Top 10 and the band travelled to Spain twice in 1980 to do TV and promotion work.[2] John and Roland were conducting a Radio interview in Madrid when they learned of the shooting of John Lennon in December 1980.
The band undertook a gruelling tour of Germany in Oct/Nov 1980 having to drive hundreds of miles between gigs with no Roadies, this was the main reason given from Roland for quitting on their return. At this time he did not see his future as a live artist and wanted to concentrate on writing. Curt also left the band at this stage.

Graduate also appeared on UK TV during 1980. They performed "Ever Met a Day" on children's TV show Runaround for Southern TV in Southampton. They also appeared on two episodes of RPM rock for BBC Bristol playing 3 songs on each show "Live".

Graduate continued into 1981. They replaced Roland and Curt for a short while with Darren Hatch ( Bass) son of Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, and Nigel Newton on Guitar. they played a handful of local and London gigs and carried on the relationship with Pye/PRT. They recorded a number of demo's with Ian Stanley in mid 1981. John and Steve became busy with European Promotional work with The Korgis and so Graduate fizzled out.

In 1981, Orzabal and Smith went on to form the acclaimed new wave band Tears for Fears.[3]

Andy Marsden played drums on the original Single recording of Suffer the Children.

John Baker later joined The Korgis, a band featuring members of Stackridge.

John joined Roland again in 1993 singing backing Vocals on the UK and US hit "Break It Down Again".

Andy and John still to this day play in a Covers band "The Meanies" alongside former Graduate manager Glenn Tommey and James Warren of The Korgis.

In 1979, Graduate visited Cambridge for May week, staying at St. John's College with band member Steve Buck, and playing an open air gig at a birthday party for the self-styled Peter Counsell-Farquhar and William d'Arcy Symonds. "Graduate - they were fantastic" - William Symonds 2014.


  • Roland Orzabal - guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
  • Curt Smith - bass, synthesisers, occasional lead vocals
  • John Baker - guitar, occasional lead vocals
  • Steve Buck - keyboards and flute
  • Andy Marsden - drums


Year Album UK Notes
1980 Acting My Age - Debut studio album. Remastered with extra tracks in 2001.
Unreleased Ambitions - Cancelled before completion. All tracks can be found on the 2001 expanded remaster of Acting My Age
1991 Graduate - German-only release featuring many of the tracks from Acting My Age but with two different versions of the song "Shut Up" and the song "I See Through You" from the unfinished "Ambitions" album.


External links