1996 saw the release of Why?’s first live album. It was recorded at their annual ‘Jig at a Why? Gig’ event in Shepton Mallet’s Amulet and was called – wait for it – ‘Jig at a Why? Gig’.
Another year, another fiddler.
Jane decided it would be warmer in the Cayman Islands so Why?’s search for a fiddler was resumed.
During the search they enlisted the help of flautist Katy Elliott and fiddler Judith Stephens.
Glastonbury came again – Avalon Stage. Flevo Festival in Holland came – Main Stage and then Greenbelt came – tiny Sinai tent.
As only a small percentage of ‘fans’ could get in, Why? asked nicely for another gig over the weekend. The only slot left was 9am on the Monday morning on the even tinier bandstand.
Why? being Why? gratefully accepted and got on with the task of trying to let people know about it.
Monday morning came and so did 3,000 people. As you can imagine, this was another career highlight for many in the band.
Although Why? kept churning out CDs, it was the T-shirts that were selling by the boxload and at Greenbelt ’96 it seemed you were never more than 100 yards away from someone wearing one.
A lot of 1996 was filled with touring Germany which was quickly becoming Why?’s second home and another highlight came when they supported one of their influences, The Alarm’s Mike Peters at Nottingham’s Rock City.
The year was a sad one however as the sweetest man you will ever know (and probably the best drummer – certainly the fastest) Mark Davis left to go to university. It really was a huge blow to the rest of the guys for obvious reasons, some of which were mentioned only seconds ago – depending on how quickly you can read.
So what with no fixed drummer or fiddler, Why? were yet again on the look out for more musicians.
After trying to think which other bands had a nickable drummer Why? borrowed Eden Burning’s Mike Simpson who only happened to be dating a fiddler Beth Balmer.
So with the band back intact Why? were given the elusive Greenbelt Mainstage slot.
After a few tours of Germany Mike and Beth went on their way and Why? were joined by drummer Andy Davis (no relation to Mark – who had been in another band at the MAYC event years before) and fiddler Ed Harnett (who hadn’t).