There is one name closely associated with the history of Berlyn: Maurice Coyne. His claim to fame is the fact that he played alongside Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith in Urchin (who released two incredibly rare singles on DJM in 1977 and 1978 respectively). After the demise of Urchin in late 1980, Maurice Coyne joined Berlyn full-time (for a time he was playing in both bands, Urchin and Berlyn).
The guitarist solves the mystery behind the band's rather strange name: "Berlyn was formed in 1979 by Trevor Walker. The guitarist was a German guy named Tony Schaeffer who, apparently, played with The Scorpions for a short while in their early days. I think that the band name may have come about as Tony was German but I'm not entirely sure."
Berlyn were playing fairly regularly at the Green Gate pub in Bethnal Green, London. From doing the rounds of the London pub circuit, the band got a few prestigious gigs, such as the Hitchin Regal, where they were headlining (next week a band called Thin Lizzy played there as well). As a result, a local radio station was giving the demo massive airplay.
Line up problems troubled Berlyn throughout their career (Trevor Walker and Maurice Coyne always forming the core of the band), in early 1982 the bass player left and Maurice Coyne called an old acquaintance: Alan Levett of Urchin fame. After having recorded a demo in mid-1982, musical differences started to rear their ugly heads and the band did fall apart in March 1983. According to Maurice Coyne it was a terrible waste of talent: "I think Berlyn were capable of great things in my view but we never gave ourselves a chance to show the world. We had four songwriters in the band, so new material was never a problem and some of those songs were, I think, very strong."
Thanks to High Roller Records, you can now judge for yourself. In 2005, the band released their self-titled debut album (HRR 002) with songs like "Streetfights", "Meet You In Hell", "Maniac" or "Judas". The material originates from the band's 1982 demo plus a live-recording from the Green Gate public house (from the same year). Only 275 handnumbered copies of the album were pressed, making it a collector's item straight away.
High Roller Records followed this release with another Berlyn album in 2006 (HRR 004), which was called "This One Bites" (it comes complete with a free full-colour poster). It features eight additional original compositions by the band, again recorded at the Green Gate (in 1983). Numbers like "Tell It", "Saturday Night" or "See You Later" are the living proof that Berlyn would indeed have had a chance to become one of the better N.W.O.B.H.M. outfits, if they had stayed together. There is still enough material in the band's archives worthy to be released, plans for another album on High Roller are being discussed at the moment ...
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)