Conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe were born in 1956 and spent their childhood with their father and older sister in an isolated cottage on the windswept shores of L'Estrange Head on the east coast of England. Their mother died shortly after the twins were born and local gossip suggests that it was the sight of her infant sons that killed her. Like many stories told about the Howe twins, this one is not true. It is true, however, that after their mother's death during childbirth, their father took his unusual family to a remote corner of the country to keep them from the public eye. It is also true that when the twins reached the age of 18 in 1974, their father sold them to the musical impresario and former Vaudeville child star, Zak Bedderwick.
Following their removal from the family home, the Howe brothers were taken to Bedderwick's country house Humbleden Hall, where, under the patient tutelage of musician Paul Day (formerly of the ill-fated Chris Dervish band, the Noize), and the firm hand of band manager Nick Sidney, they began to rehearse their act.
While the good-natured Tom quickly picked up chords on the guitar, Barry, the ad hoc lead singer, was less biddable. Nick Sidney discovered that a smack in the face would usually keep the more difficult twin in line. Barry often sported a black eye. While at Humbleden, the Howe brothers' musical progress and daily lives were filmed by an American documentary-maker, Eddie Pasqua (a loyal student of D.A. Pennebaker and close friend of CBGB’s Hilly Crystal), who captured them and their band, the Bang Bang, rehearsing what was to become their signature tune, "Two- Way Romeo." The camera also followed the boys in their most private, unguarded moments: eating together, sleeping together, bathing together and frequently, trying to escape Nick's abuse and Eddie's prying lens together.
Word of the secret rehearsals at Humbleden soon reached the outside world and brought journalist and former girlfriend of a rock casualty, Laura Ashworth, eager to write about the exploitation of the 'disabled' Howe brothers. Pretty Laura was rudely informed that her theme did not interest the twins but it was immediately obvious that she, Laura, did. Very soon, she had become a fixture in the studio, her tape recorder as ubiquitous as Eddie's camera. Under ordinary circumstances, Barry, the odd-man-out, might have carried his bitterness away to brood alone. Tragically, attached as he was to his brother, Barry had no choice but to become intimately involved when Tom and Laura fell in love.
Their romantic rivalry sparked the brothers' creativity and they soon had a repertoire of songs to perform as well as Zak Bedderwick's blessing to cut a record. In timehonoured fashion, the boys began to increase their drug and alcohol intake. Barry shaved his hair into a modified Mohawk. They scrawled cryptic lyrics and drew elaborate obscenities on the walls of their bedroom. Before long, they were ready for their debut in a London pub.
In the cramped back room of the King's Head, the audience jeered as the brothers took the stage. To all appearances, the Bang Bang's cute frontmen couldn't keep their hands off one another and this was the wrong place for that kind of show. But the doubters were silenced when Tom struck up the chords and Barry spat out the first words of their opening number. The ripple of excitement that accompanied a glimpse of the thick ribbon of flesh connecting Tom to Barry and Barry to Tom confirmed Zak Bedderwick's intuition: the Howe twins were going to be huge. They not only looked good. They not only sounded different. They were seriously f***ing freaky.
Fame, as ever, came with a price and the ghostly vestige of a third, malign twin began to rear its ugly head....The twins quickly descended into a twilight world of envy and betrayal. Had Laura Ashworth really written to a surgeon to investigate the possibility of separating Tom from Barry, Barry from Tom?
A final gig ended in mayhem. As the twins' hostility escalated, they disappeared back to their family home and very soon thereafter, came to a grisly end when Tom finally took the matter of separating himself from Barry into his own hands. It was left to the supporting players in their lives to piece together the story of the Brothers of the Head's rock ‘n’ roll rise and fall.