Quando Quango > Biography > Line-up > Family Tree

Quando Quango in New York City in 1983
Quando Quango in New York City in 1983 (Photo by Kevin Cummins, courtesy of Gonnie Rietveld)

Quando Quango was a joint enterprise between Hillegonda "Gonnie" Rietveld and Mike Pickering. Mike and Gonnie had equal parts in its conception: it was their baby, if you like. Since women are routinely written out of pop history, this is an interesting point.

Gonnie busied herself with programming rhythms, bass lines, chords and hooklines, while Mike was an able poppy wordsmith, with an ear for what would work, a skill he employed well, later, with M-People.

Reinier Rietveld, Gonnie's brother, had a commitment to his band Spasmodique which meant that eventually, by the end of 1983, he left Quando and stayed in Rotterdam. At this time Simon Topping became Quando's percussionist. The Quando team first met up with Simon in New York, where he was training in Cuban percussion for which A Certain Ratio had thrown him out of their outfit in early 1983! It is probable that the first gig in that configuration - Gonnie & Mike with Simon - took place at the famous Paradise Garage club in New York, where both Love Tempo and Atom Rock went down like a bomb.

After Donald Johnson, of ACR, guested live on bass in 1982, his little brother Derek Johnson joined for a while. Derek was from 52nd Street, another Factory act. In 1984 having recruited Barry Johnson (another of the Johnson brothers) on bass the band settled down as a foursome (Gonnie, Mike, Simon and Barry). Barry had been a member of Sweet Sensation (as was Marcel King), which had a hit in the 70s with 'Sweet Dreamer'. After he left, he joined Aswad and never looked back.

Johnny Marr, of the Smiths, guested a few times in the recording studio but never played live with the band. He did a nice Bo Diddley type guitar thang that he hoped none of his Smiths fans would find out about.

Other guests included Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column (without echo), The A Team (Lisa Stansfield's songwriters) on trombones and trumpets, Beverley McDonald of 52nd Street on vocals and Andy Connell of ACR on keyboards.

Quando Quango in 1986
Quando Quango in 1986 (Photo courtesy of Gonnie Rietveld)