Who were those unmasked men, what were they doing on Radio Sussex and what were these ‘gigs’ of which you speak?
The Core Four
If you happened to leave the radio on after listening to the Sunday afternoon cricket commentary on Radio Sussex in the 1980s then you may have chanced upon ‘Turn It Up’ an alternative music show.
About the only thing you’ll find out about it by wading the web is that the BBC Radio 1 presenter Jo Whiley started her career there but it was rather more important than a biographical footnote. It was the hub of the County’s music scene.
For a local band of the era it was the best chance of getting the exposure required to get gigs, particularly in Brighton where it was based. For anyone looking for new music it meant you could find out about unsigned acts and go to a concert with a reasonable expectation that you would get to hear something worth listening to.
Of course it wasn’t bland enough for the newly created BBC Southern Counties which assimilated Radio Sussex in 1994 ending real local radio coverage in the County.
So here’s an attempt at adding to the detritus floating on the interwebs and give a small insight into a fine radio institution with a look behind the scenes from March 1989.
Unfortunately some Gits keep getting in the way.
Top Ten Sussex Bands Of 1989
As voted for by the listeners of Turn It Up on Radio Sussex
I did the P.A. for these folks when they played in Horsham on one occasion. I remember their manager saying it was the first time he had ever heard the vocals.
I demand a recount! The Bobby Scarlet votes shouldn’t have counted towards their tally. But then again perhaps we should make allowances what with them having to live with the stigma of coming from Crawley.
Their singer can be seen here joining The Gits onstage. Finding any Loveless has not been helped by the later release of an album of the same name by a popular Irish beat combo.
The Levellers, BBMFS, Cheyene*, & ?lantis
(Can’t quite hear the start on the tape. Atlantis would seem likely but I don’t like to count my rabbits before they’re hutched)
I wonder what happened to them?
* I recently found a reference to Cheyne Dance playing the Zap Club in Brighton. Could they be in any way related?
‘I can remember the halcyon days
We leapt on stage
Though we couldn’t play
Furthermore we had nothing to say’
Having spent some time in the library finding reviews and interviews in old copies of the local newspaper, as well as wading the web for information about bands we played alongside, the extra information is making this section a bit unwieldy so anything Gits gig related will ultimately make it’s way to the Annals.
Our first gig on 9th February 1988 at Champagnes in Horsham.
The local paper reported it 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.”
Some Whirl info can currently be found here.
Champagnes on Tuesday 5th April 1988 where we supporting Orange
‘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’
After The Gits knocked it on the head, Nick Odle and Jim joined forces to form Kvetch. Malcolm Doherty went on to become a lumninary on the London music scene including such bands automobile themed bands as Hillman Minx and La Honda.
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.
“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.’
Ben E. Git : “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.”
This was definitely at a venue just off the road along the beach in Brighton and down some steps, The Escape Club?
Ah yes, the hair.
Well if I actually watched my own videos I would have known from the first of the Radio Sussex interviews that this was indeed the Escape Club on 28th March 1989 with The Grooveyard also playing.
The Brilliant Corners
Also at the Richmond I think. My entire evidence of this is a vague memory of the band thinking up a really bad joke for the night that ended ‘Takes Brilliant Corners!’.
Further investigation reveals it was was the night before:
A bit tenuous as they were the headline act at a small festival in Wisborough Green whilst we were way down the bill.
I’ve have two memories of it: I had written some spiel for the program which proved too taxing for the organizers spell checker and Ben’s bass amp packed up early on but the monitor engineer was remarkably on the ball and he whacked more through the monitors in no time.
So thank you unknown sound engineer and may your favourite crisps always be on special offer.
A.K.A. Any Old Rubbish
The Gits Drank
They wouldn’t have been seen dead drinking the so called King & Barnes beers which are now made in Dorset.
Bottle label and drinks mat courtesy of sadly departed Beer Essentials Horsham.
You would often find The Gits partaking of the aforementioned beverage at the hub of Horsham’s independent music scene: The Bear
The review and ‘407 Things You Didn’t Know About The Gits’ were both from a Brighton magazine ‘The Punter’.
The Horsham Music Scene Incestuous Surely You Jest?
This diagrammaticalised infocational covers up to just before the formation of the Gits. It notably omits Jammie and Chris T’s HPR (Horsham Progressive Rock) which pre-dated the Jackalsons. Also missing is Jammie and Andy Penman’s The Hanging Tree (later just the Hanging) which immediately preceded das Gits. Of course the aficionados amongst you will already be aware that the last great Horsham supergroup is absent as Jon E. Parker & The Sessionaires didn’t form until after the demise of the subjects of this very website.
You may note the name of one Mikey Georgeson Esq. who later became The Vessel of David Devant & His Spirit Wife and one Piers Hernu of this parish who had a large part in the rise of the ‘lad mag’ in the 1990s. Pretty much everyone else ended up as homeless alcoholics or tea addicts.
1977 Six Million Dollar Man Annual
Part of the fabulous prize package The Gits gave away on their second radio appearance.
From when we were really desperate for things to put on website.
You may well have stumbled here looking for the American band of the same name and era who we like to refer to as The Gits (USA). And if you didn’t…
As mentioned on the front page, The Beat Merchants from Horsham. One of several local bands who started playing Rhythm & Blues after the Rolling Stones appeared at St. Leonard’s Hall on 3rd August 1963.
The quote from the top of the Live page is from ‘Satellite City’ by Orange Juice taken from the ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ LP of 1982.
And the band me and Ben wanted to emulate when we started The Gits, The Misunderstood.
That idea lasted a good five minutes. You can’t get the psychedelic pedal steel guitar players you know.