Before The Dream Faded

A rough history of the band with the occasional detour into matters contemporary.

An over reliance on the West Sussex County Times back issues and in particular its Sound Wave column which revolved around regular gigs at Champagnes nightclub in Horsham means that information is far more scarce after the closure of that venue in the middle of 1989. (With the Internet having been a source of information about new bands for twenty years now it’s perhaps difficult to either remember or imagine the importance local newspapers, radio stations and fanzines had).

Some dates are a best guess but are usually accurate to within a couple of weeks. There will be a certain amount of overlap with the pages elsewhere on the site to avoid hiccups in the chronology. There’s quite a lot to add yet.

Song posts are dated to the nearest month and chord names should only be taken as a guide.

This is a work in progress which I’ve been pottering along on for some years with a fair bit to do yet. There may be problems with links as I move posts and pages across from the previous Gits website.

A Heady Whirl

The first Gits gig at Champagnes on Tuesday 9th February 1988 where we supported Whirl.

WHIRL – LOST (Demo 1986 – Especially Yellow fanzine)

The local West Sussex County Times review read thus,

Headliners Whirl were their usual boisterous selves. A Mad rush of guitar noise and a couple of catchy melodies characterised their brief set.

With a BBC session, a single and a tour in the near future things could be rosy for the Brighton popsters.

The Gits UK garnered this praise,

With two of three undeniably good songs to their credit there are real signs of talent in this unassuming four-piece.

And some memories of that from Rob,

We just about salvaged the gig by finishing with a song me and Matt had come up with a couple of weeks before, Eventually. I remember this as Jim’s amour of the time laughed heartily at it when I played them the demo. I believe she may have got her comeuppance in some later lyrics.

In Local News…

A vandal proof musical toilet could replace Cowfold’s present lavatories.

And possibly the only Whirl information on the web.

Orange

Supporting Orange at Champagnes in Horsham on Tuesday 5th April 1988.

ORANGE – ICE CREAM I SCREAM

From a preview in the previous week’s County Times Soundwave column.

Formerly called The Underpants, Orange are Malcolm Docherty (one time Purple Person) and Nick Odle (ex-All The Daughters)…Certainly Orange are one of the best Crawley groups around at the moment, their warm melodies, strong tunes and glittering guitars making them the ideal dance band. Polished and slick, it’s music without fuss. Go along.

[The Gits] motto is “Pure pop for pop people” and by and large they lived up to this when they made their début at the venue in February. Then they played a fistful of cracking songs, full of pace and character, the only detraction from an otherwise good performance being a lack of rehearsal. This has no doubt been rectified and audiences can now look forward to a sparkling show

In Local News…

The top selling singles in Horsham that week:

The Fatback Band – I Found Lovin’
Mel & Kim – Showing Out
Bros – Drop The Boy

Malcolm and I had previously had a brief musical flirtation in Fixed Vision and after The Gits finished, Nick Odle and Jim joined forces to form Kvetch.

Malcolm has kept up the good fight until this very day with such vehicle themed bands as Hillman Minx and La Honda.

Caught between pop and a hard place.

Hillman Minx – Heavens Above (1997)

I want to get right back to nature and relax

A rum do

I See Stars – la Honda ft RUMER

In latter years he has seen the light.

Church of Malcolm at Communion Bar

In a remarkably tenuous link Malcolm played Oberon in a Collyer’s College production of A Midsummers Night Dream that was performed on a Horsham Town Twinning trip to Lage in Germany where me & Ben of the Gits first got to know each other and why the band are listed as characters from that play on the Retrospeculative.

As per Saxelby’s Parched Derivative addendum to the revised 7th Edition of the Rules any correctly identified Noel Coward reference will count double except during the July of a Leap Year.

As Seen In Brighton

Our first trip to the seaside towards the end of May 1988 to support The Chesterfields and Ever at the Richmond in Brighton which later became the Pressure Point before being closed a few years ago.

The rear cover of a Chesterfieds showing the band in high spirits, if black and white

The Chesterfields – Goodbye Goodbye

The very pink front cover of a Chesterfields single with instruments and hearts drawn on it in black and whiteA favourite of Uwe at Firestation Records who released The Gits Retrospeculative, The Chesterfields from Yeovil had a number of Top 20 Indie Chart hits from the mid to late 1980s. They were certainly better known than the scant amount of information about them online would suggest. Indeed as their biography on LastFM puts it:

For a while, the Chesterfields’ charming, jolly guitar pop, was very much in vogue.

Second on the bill that night were Ever from Crawley.

EVER – CAROUSEL – Rare unreleased Ep (Playroom discs 005 – 1988)

To my ears Ever had a sound and style that was their own and fantastic songs that would sit in the top 10 alongside The Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen – I was a fan basically – but sadly the A&R men weren’t really interested in those things.” Jonny Dee, Manager, in 2012.

And a from a review of the Gits:

With performances as energetic and professional as this, The Gits are fast becoming a much respected and popular local band.

A completely unbiased appraisal from a friend of the band who later wrote the sleeve notes of the CD compilation.

Ben E. Git on the proceedings:

All I recall about the Chesterfields gig is I slept through their set and being told they heard me snoring between numbers. Which is a shame as I rather liked them.

In Local News…

English Mature Cheddar Cheese £1.39. per lb
Fresh Pork Chops £1.09 per lb
Standard Frozen Turkey 52p per lb
Pampers Ultra Maxi Plus pack of 40 £6.99
at Tescos.

Note for younger readers: Pounds or lb were an imperial unit of measurement used by cave men before the invention of the internet when dinosaurs roamed the suburbs.

A Brace of Hollands

In which we support a brace of Hollands, Christopher & Richard, at Champagnes nightclub in Horsham on 9th August.

The Squeeze sound crept into some of their songs but there was very little overlap with big brother’s music. It took a few songs to gain the approval of the Champagnes crowd who were reluctant to boogie at first.

And us,

Looking good on stage these days seems to mean outrageous clothes, hardly any clothes or sexually derived dancing, but The Gits took their inspiration from the classic black and white romance movies of the Forties when smoking was fashionable.

Black and white photo of The Gits in Concert at Champagnes Horsham showing Jason holding a lighter up to a cigarette in Jim's mouth

The following is a live recording of The Greatest Gift and Naff Song with Jason and Matt from that period, possibly even this gig. There is a certain amount of deviation from the author’s preferred text and I appear to have cut my solo out of the second number so I assume it was awful. It would have been captured on Chris’ Sony Professional Walkman portable cassette recorder.

I couldn’t find any of Twinset’s tunes but here’s most of the line up in a previous incarnation performing as B Sharp on early 80s kids TV. (With the all time great Whites Lemonade advert at 4.02).

Or at least until the video went missing off YouTube.

Vox Pop

Photocopy from microfiche of No Geraniums in the West Sussex County Times looking suitably indie whilst posed around a park benchFrom the segment in the West Sussex County Times Soundwave column asking local music fans their opinions.

Sarah Horner a 20 year old business law student from Guildford Road in Broadbridge Heath will never forget one of the more successful bands from the past, No Geraniums. She describes them as ‘brillant’ and would like to see them back together and playing at Champagnes.

No Geraniums – 1000 Splinters To My Heart (1987)

Vox Pop

Photocopy from a microfiche of Paul Byrne in the West Sussex County Times of 26th August 1988 sporting a fetching tweed jacketFrom the segment in the West Sussex County Times Soundwave column asking local music fans their opinions.

The growth in manufactured music has killed off the local music scene according to a Horsham drummer. Glyn Owen, a 20 year old student from Irwin Drive who plays with Ever. ‘The new music from people like Rick Astley has been successful so it can be admired, but it is all the same’. ‘Of the bands around here Spiralhead are quite a decent band to watch. They are the first new thing around here instead of the same old indie stuff’.

Ultimately the onslaught of ‘the new music’ led Glyn to seek solace in easy listening and joining The Mike Flowers Pops.

SPIRALHEAD – I'M ON FIRE (Byrne, Szec, Stonehouse) LIVE 1988

The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Collyers College Horsham

With Spiralhead, Loveless, This Idiot Glitter & The Happy Potato Band

Horsham’s five top bands played at Collyer’s Sixth Form College on Tuesday in a music spectacular that attracted around 300 people.

West Sussex County Times

SPIRALHEAD – Knife (Byrne, Szec, Stonehouse)

When Spiralhead hit the stage it was if another hurricane had hit Horsham.

Andy Szec adopted his usual position at the back, looked down at his bass guitar and that was the last we saw of him as his hair flopped over his face.

Third Band on This Idiot Glitter are lucky to be one of the few modern groups with a good drummer rather than a Japanese box of tricks

Glen Sisela the Gits Alesis HR16 drum machineWhich shows how little they knew as we actually had an American box of tricks!

We have video evidence of this event.

Turn Away omitted as we really screwed it up.

It would appear that this performance was during the bands ‘cool’ period. Unfortunately nobody told me.

In local news…

The Blue Aeroplanes play at Champagnes next Tuesday

The Punter

Review of the Gits cassette 'Chris Morris' in the Brighton magazine The Punter

Review of the Gits cassette 'Chris Morris' in the Brighton magazine The PunterBased on the release date of the Gits Chris Morris cassette and the review of the 14 Iced Bears album below it this appearance in the Brighton magazine The Punter was probably at the very end of 1988.

Mike Bradshaw, the reviewer, was a presenter (and engineer) of Radio Sussex’s Sunday evening local music program Turn It Up and can now be found at Totally Radio.

I never really got the Smiths comparison as the only thing I can think of in common was that Johnny Marr also liked Nils Lofgren. All my attempts to work out how to play their songs ended in dismal failure, which was actually a huge advantage of the pre-internet era when TAB books weren’t so common. You couldn’t easily just copy someone and had to develop your own style through trial and error, particularly if like me you were completely self taught.

They may have spoiled repeated listenings of the cassette but the clips between songs paid off yet again by catching peoples attention.

It would appear that it came as some surprise to The Gits.

This recording was made at the hub of Horsham’s alternative music scene, The Bear Public House, and is most likely from early January 1989. The first voice is Adrian De’Ath of No Geraniums & The Loveless with later accompaniment by Chris, Ben, Rob and Jim of The Gits.

In Local News…

Horsham / Crawley band Bitter are back on the gig scene with a new vocalist. The man on the keyboards Alan Stubbs said she was called Nicola but he couldn’t remember her last name.

And Then There Were Three

With Jason heading to RADA and Matt to Oxford University (I forget which College) the “new streamlined “Thatcherite’ Gits” took to the stage of Champagnes night club in Horsham just before Christmas 1988 to support Crawley’s Bobby Scarlet who would later morph into Spitfire and achieve a modicum of success. Perhaps significantly they wore leather trousers.

Bobby Scarlet – White Pearl

Also on the bill were Groove City 5 about whom I remember nothing, which is still more than the Internet reveals.

In the West Sussex County Times the week before Ben put the readers minds at rest.

In the past, people have thought our songs were about James’ problems but they are observations of other people. He is not going to kill himself after the show.

Joining our heroes on bagpipes for a rendition of Bottle Of Delight was Alistair Adams of Test Department about which Ben remembers thus:

After the bagpipe gig, Al Adams said. “that was great, I’ve not played with a normal band before”. Only time I’ve heard us called that!

I did have a recording of this performance but unfortunately / thankfully it’s gone missing so here is an example of Test Department’s oeuvre.

And one featuring bagpipes.

Test Dept. – Cha Till Sinn Tuille

This would have been Alistair Adams second performance in Horsham that year if Union issues hadn’t prevented him touring with a production of Macbeth that played at the local Arts Centre. I only have vague recollections of the gig but that piece of trivia I remember with clarity. It’s a funny thing memory.