Ah Yes, The Hair

Photograph of The Man From Del MonteIn a rare outing without a video camera in tow The Gits (UK) next supported The Man From Del Monte and The Grooveyard at The Escape Club on 28th March 1989.

I remember The Grooveyard when they played in Horsham but not from this gig. No doubt we were still recovering after giving our all for the minor placings.

Luckily a quick trip to Cloudberry Records explains amongst other things why I used to get them confused with Blow Up as some of the same people were in both. Here they are in the flesh a couple of years later:

THE GROOVEYARD 'I Shouldn't But I Do' 1991

Photograph of The Man From Del Monte

I fair little better with the Man From Del Monte. I recall walking into The Escape Club as they sound checked, t’ singer Mike West sat on stage waiting for some technical difficulty to be sorted out, but that’s yer lot. To be fair I’ve nothing from the rest of the band either so you can sit back and consume a little music from the headliners without prejudice:

Man From Delmonte – My Love Is Like A Gift You Can't Return

Mike West still plies his trade from a base in New Orleans though there’s no mention of his past indiscretions with The Man From Del Monte on his website so I shall crib from LastFM…

The Man From Delmonte formed in Manchester, England, UK in 1986.

The band’s members were Australian Mike West (vocals and acoustic guitar), who used to be seen around Aflecks Palace with a little dog, Sheila Seal (bass), Martin Vincent (guitar), and Howard Goody (drums).

They released 3 singles on Ugly Man Records: Drive Drive Drive, Water in my Eyes and (Will nobody save) Louise. Water in my Eyes had the honour of being the cheapest video ever shown on ITV’s chart show at the time of Michael Jackson’s Video for his Thriller single that had cost a reputed 1million US Dollars.

The band formed part of the pre “Madchester” movement, enjoying much local success at gigs in the Manchester area although failed to go on from their local popularity to achieve the commercial success of contemporaries James.

The Man From Delmonte Live 1989

I’ve a suspicion it was after this gig we introduced the limit on pre-gig drinks for Ben the bass player; one pint of brown & bitter, the Gits tipple of choice. That we had put the effort into deciding on an ‘official’ drink but had no plan for success perhaps explains a lot.

Radio Sussex Turn It Up Interview

Having found out that the local music program had played us in recent weeks we made contact was made and we headed off to Brighton on a Sunday afternoon for the first of two interviews on the program at Marlborough Place.

The Gits (UK) – Radio Sussex Turn It Up Interview Part 1 (1989) [in BBQ]

The Gits (UK) – Radio Sussex Turn It Up Interview Part 2 (1989) [in BBQ]

A little about the interview, Turn It Up and Radio Sussex here.

We’ll have to thank Jimmy Young for the appearance as it was partly the out-take of him, amongst others, that were on the Chris Morris cassette that picked the interest of the shows presenters.

Der Anfang vom Ende

Greenpeace logo of animals, plants and humans hand in hand on a planet earth of about twenty metres in diameterOn 2nd February 1989 the Gits in a rare headlining slot were joined for a benefit concert in aid of Greenpeace by The Perfect Shade and former Ever guitarist Pete Whittick who, if I remember correctly, counted himself in aloud on every number despite being solo.

As Ben put it in a preview article a couple of weeks before,

Seriously, if you are going to rape the environment, you are going to rape your children. I made that up myself

This was the first gig of Chris Morris’ short tenure with the band before I idiotically ousted him for not wanting us to play at a gig he’d organised. Though we hadn’t peaked yet that decision might well be seen as the beginning of the end for the band.

This happened:

And what would be £500 today was raised.

We got the usual review,

If audience reaction alone is a good indicator of a band’s ability then the Git’s were excellent, for they had a large section of the audience boogying wildly. But it must be said The Gits did seem to know a lot of their audience personally.

So knowing quite a lot of the audience in your home town and actually deigning to interact with them rather than act as untouchable rock gods counted against us, as did people enjoying the gig. It’s lucky the same reviewer never had to suffer the Beatles at the Cavern. Strangely the same audience turning up to see the people they knew in other locals bands never warranted a mention.

In Local News…

Willie Austen will be appearing at the Limeburners on Wednesday 15th February 1989.

If you missed that one you will be pleased to know that as of August 2014 he still plays there regularly.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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)

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.