Lay Off

At a Greenpeace Benefit gig in early 1989 we played an unrecorded Wedding Present number as an encore; which has a certain irony as they’re known for sticking to a set and not coming back on to play more tunes.

As a change from my usual fair I thought I’d knock out a video for something people might actually be interested in so ‘ere ’tis accompanying the rehearsal cassette from which we worked out how to play the song. Followed by some historical context of questionable authenticity.

The Wedding Present – Lay Off (Rehearsal Recording)

After their years of poptastic success it is now generally forgotten that The Wedding Present started out as an overtly political artists collective and that David Gedge was at one time the latest in a long line of song writers to be hailed as the next Bob Geldof.

For those of us who lived through the Thatcher years there is little novelty in the suggestion that the sound of young Leeds was ideologically driven but it is only the spearhead of the movement who are remembered today for their left wing affiliations; The Gang Of Four.

But even as late as ‘Lay Off’ it’s possible to hear the residual Marxist influence and a burgeoning existentialism, coital, in conflict and accord, as the ostensible railing against the inevitable human costs of capitalism comoglifies to the internal battles of the exo-conciousness.

‘Man must eat or be eaten’ Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora ad quem ad quod’ indeed!

But are the later popgasms that far removed from the earlier three minute manifestos? Are affairs of the heart any simpler than affairs of state? Buggered if I know, I haven’t thought about it.

A Chris Morris Organisation Recording.

All the film footage is from the Public Domain Prelinger Collection at the Internet Archive, particularly ‘Valley Town of 1940’ and the Soundie series.

There’s Life In The Old Gits Yet

Anyone here speak Brazilian?

Whilst wading the web one sunny day in June I came across a mention of The Gits on the Brazilian Take The Pills! blog and after writing with thank yous and a few comments I ended doing an email interview. It’s no longer on line so here it is for posterity.

Filed Under: Marcadores: jangle pop, post punk

Screen capture of an interview on the Brazilian indie pop blog Take The PillsI’m baaaack! Pois é, tive uns problemas com a maldita da OI e fiquei sem internet esses dias todos. Enfim, voltando à ativa (hehe) com mais uma pérola esquecida do jangle pop. Há alguns meses atrás postei um vídeo da banda The Gits, e depois de um tempo recebi um email do Rob Boole, guitarrista desse pop combo de Horsham, UK. Rob me enviou duas compilações com gravações e demos, Golden Hour Of The Gits e Songs For Swinging Shepherds, veja o que ele fala:

[Machine translation: I’m baaaack! Yeah, I had some problems with the HI and I was damn internet these days without everyone. Anyway, back to active (hehe) over a forgotten gem of jangle pop. A few months ago I posted a video of the band The Gits, and after a while I received an email from Rob, guitarist of pop combo Horsham, UK. Rob sent me two compilations with recordings and demos, Golden Hour Of The Gits and Songs For Swinging Shepherds, see what he says:]

The first, ‘Golden Hour Of The Gits’, is an extended version of a compilation I did after a local radio interview bringing stuff together from ‘Men Or Gods?’ and ‘Chris Morris’ whilst the later is our last full length effort, ‘Songs For Swinging Shepherds’, plus a few extra tracks. They are all four track cassette recordings so the quality isn’t wonderful.

Perguntei então se ele poderia me contar mais sobre a banda, como e quando ela surgiu, o porque do nome, essas coisas. Gentilmente, Rob escreveu um ótimo texto com muitos detalhes sobre a história do Gits. Não irei traduzir pra não perder a essência, saca?! Olha o texto:

[I then asked if he could tell me more about the band, how and when it arose, why the name and stuff. Gently, Rob wrote a great text with lots of detail about the history of the Gits. I will not translate to not lose the essence, you know?! Look at the text:]

The Gits – Like The Beatles But Better

Anyone here speak English?

The band started as a reaction to a lot of pseudo psychedelic bands that used to visit our home town of Horsham in Sussex from Brighton. Me and Ben E. Git the bass player were both fans of The Misunderstood who John Peel had originally brought over from America in the late sixties. The idea was to do something like that but it didn’t take long to realise we didn’t have the slightest hope of getting anywhere near it so ended up doing anything we could come up with which was ‘Pure Pop For Pop People!’.

Thinking of influences some folks used to compare us to the Wedding Present because of the fast strumming and though I was generally aiming at somewhere between Edwyn Collins and Eric Clapton the rapid rhytm was actually rooted in seeing the Woodstock movie late one night and the playing of Richie Havens.

I think the band name came from the third chap to join calling Ben a git on occasion, that would be Matt ‘Guitar’ Git. We possibly put more effort into slogans and stage names han the music. I was ‘Dave Evans’ as it mildly amused me to use The Edge’s real name as he didn’t think it rock ‘n’ roll enough.

Our first attempt at finding a singer was to go as far a field as Ben’s next door neighbour who quite fairly thought our early stuff was pretty crap. I only mention it as he went on to reasonable success as ‘The Vessel’ in David Devant & His Spirit Wife.

But then we got Jammie Git in to sing who was actually a drummer so naturally we didn’t make the slightest use of that skill throughout the bands existence and all the rhythm came from Glen Sislea / an Aelsis HR16 drum machine.

Now I’ve hit a bit of an impasse here because we didn’t actually do much of interest or achieve a great deal. We didn’t have the faintest idea of what we should do to become successful and instead of spending time trying to get gigs I was obsessed with working on new songs with the idea that if the Kinks could go from ‘You Really Got Me’ to ‘Waterloo Sunset’ in three years we should be changing all the time. Unfortunately that could tend to leave people confused, the world probably still isn’t ready for such as our attempt at a Cocteau Twins / Mike Oldfield fusion.

So we did a fair number of gigs in the local area and Brighton and could get a few people to turn up to see us mainly on the back of a couple of Radio Sussex ‘Turn It Up’ interviews. They used to use one of our songs ‘Turn Away’ to back their gig guide but weren’t allowed to play us during the day as the word git was a little too risque. I notice that you’ve featured The Brilliant Corners which was one band we supported and another of a similar ilk was The Chesterfields. The only other one I remember is The Man From Del Monte who has also been on one of the Fire Station Records labour of love Leamington Spa series of compilations. We’re due to be on Volume 7 with a never before heard version of J.K. Rant which is cobbled together from a couple of different versions of the tune.

As I’m name dropping we did have Alistar Adams of Test Department guest on bagpipes at one gig after he heard ‘Bottled Delight’ where I’d laid in an old tape of some pipe playing when I couldn’t come up with a guitar solo.

Our ‘biggest’ gig was headlining the Powerhouse in Islington London where such luminaries as The Pixies and Throwing Muses had played. Unfortunately it was on New Years Day and even the traditional one man and his dog didn’t turn up. The fact that we were on with some punk fairies and another mob called Barf Rocko who had a singer who seemed to think he was Rod Stewart circa ‘Do You Think I’m Sexy’ suggested the promoter had just stuck on a lot of novelty acts when it didn’t matter. As always we still played as if our lives depended on it and did get asked for encores from both the front of house and monitor sound engineers!

We packed it in ultimately as we weren’t getting anywhere and people had to get on with their lives.

Bacana hein?! Ah, esqueci de falar que, parece, o The Gits estará no novo volume (o 7) da compilação The Sound Of Leamington Spa com uma versão diferente de “JK Rant”. A compilação será lançada ainda este ano pela Firestation Records.

[Cool huh?! Oh, I forgot to mention that, it seems, The Gits will be the new volume (7) of the compilation The Sound Of Leamington Spa with a different version of “JK Rant.” The compilation will be released later this year by Firestation Records.]

[Videos omitted]

2 Responses to “The Gits (UK)”

popheaven Says: What a fantastic band! The singer’s voice is good. Very Smithesque and jangly. Really like the song “Cut”, I can’t stop playing it. I think I will post it on my blog someday. It’s a just perfect jangle pop long that should’ve been a hit.

takethepills Says: yes, i’m very impressioned with them! really fantastic songs. hey, great idea! you really should make a post about them on your blog. People need to know this band. =D

Take care,