Thursday, 30 September 2010

A POTTED HISTORY OF LIXX

This is the final item in the present music theme that's been running for the past few weeks, so thought I'd bring it to a close with a big burst of rock 'n' roll pyrotechnics!
The history of Lixx covers most of the 80's, throughout which were many line-up changes - the exception being the band's 2 linchpins - Jo Doll on vocal and Steevo on drums.
They began their glam metal journey as the Dum Dum Boys in 1983, which included a debut gig at the Tayside Bar.
They added a touch of Gothic darkness to their sound in 1984 when they changed their name to Circus Of Hell. One gig at the Bowling Alley saw them play alongside The Glitter Band!
Still in 84, the short dabble into Goth was ditched and they got back on the glam rock trail when they became Lixx, gigging at new venues in town like Fat Sams.
They moved to Edinburgh in 1986, settled for the longer lasting line-up of Jo, Steevo, Stuart on bass and Nazz on guitar and started touring up & down the country in true rock band tradition - yes it was the transit van and service stations life style - with plenty fun and mischief along the way!
This lead to Lixx signing a deal with Fast Forward Records and they released a mini album called "Loose On You" in 1988 - mixed and mastered at Abbey Road Studios no less! Around this time the band's Dundee gigs were at places like, Cafe Rock, Chevvy's and Baxter Park.
They were pretty well known now and were regulars in the music press, including the more specialist mags such as Kerrang and Metal Hammer.
Lixx also had a track showcased on a UK compilation album called "Best Of British Steel".
They changed their sound as they entered the 90's, added Ian on guitar and were transformed into Sons Of The Shaking Earth - taking them to journeys end a couple of years later.
The photos above follow the band's time line -
Top is the Dum Dum Boys at the Tayside Bar - 1983.
Next is Circus Of Hell - 1984.
3rd one is Lixx at the Bowling Alley - mid 80's.
Followed by Lixx at Dundee University - mid 80's.
Then inside Abbey Road Studios with Jo & Steevo - 1988.
Finally, a fine pro shot of Jo Doll in action - 1989.
So, to play us out of September, here is a track from the Lixx album - a song called "Plain Jane".
Big THANKS to Joe Ogilvie and Brian Wilson


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

THE JUNKIES IN COLOUR - EARLY 80'S

It's The Junkies again - only this time in glorious technicolour!
We've had a bit of a confab behind the scenes as to where the band may have been entertaining the masses on this occasion, and think we found a clue - the rock posters on the wall !
Based on this evidence, we've all agreed to half guess that it may be the Centre Bar - the wee alcove area beside the stairs.
If anyone begs to differ - fire away!
The downside to the photo is that Maggie died quite a while ago.
A guess as to when the photo was taken, well one of the posters in the background is for UFO, and they played the Caird Hall in 1980, so it could possibly be from around that time.
Thanks again to Drew Ramsay

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

PLASTIC FLIES - DUNDEE UNIVERSITY - 1982

Sid Gripple gets in a wee tizzy after going to see Glasgow band, The Plastic Flies, along at the University sometime back in 82.
In this Cranked Up review, he can't quite make his mind up whether he likes this band of Clash clones, or not. There are pros & cons all the way through the write-up.
After doing battle with himself, he seems to have settled for giving The Plastic Flies a tentative thumbs up.
You may need to click on the image to read the large version.

Monday, 27 September 2010

THE RAINMATES INTERVIEW - 1988

Pete Hood shares a chubby with The Rainmates for an interview he did with them in September 1988.
The duo were - Alison Burns, vocals, and Derek Thomson on keyboard.
They originally started off doing session work for Danny Wilson before teaming up together as The Rainmates.
They'd only been on the go for a few months at the time of this interview but even then had high hopes for commercial success in the future.
Click onto the item to read the large version.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

80'S CENTRE BAR POSTER

1986 is the year that is missing from the date on the poster.
Two bands on the night for this Centre Bar gig (downstairs in the Tay Hotel in Dock Street ) - Thee Rockin Shebang Sisters and The Rock Lobsters.
Although I'm familiar with both band names, my powers of recall on this occasion have deserted me, so if anyone can give the lowdown on the bands or gig, feel free to enlighten us in the comments.
Now, is that curvy creature, Diana Dors or Divine??!!
Big thanks to Drew Ramsay

Saturday, 25 September 2010

COLOSSUS - DEMO TRACK - LATE 70'S

Time to whip the old air guitar out from it's invisible case!
Colossus were a prog-rock heavy metal band, on the go in Dundee in the late 70's. Played locally around venues such as the Bowling Alley, Laings, Queens Sunday Club and even the Caird Hall.
As with this kind of music, good musicianship is pretty fundamental and they were all very talented chaps who could do the biz live.
Can't recall all of their names now but I remember Pete Caithness had a cool Gibson Les Paul (gold? red?). The drummer was technically very good too and was rather partial to dropping in little fancy flourishes when in full flow.
They were all rather clean cut guys, not quite the hairy rockers associated with this music back then. In fact, a common opinion around 78/79 was that this style of music was on it's last legs because of punk, however, just as this viewpoint was taking hold, along came a counter movement called the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and injected some fresh energy into the scene. As a consequence, Colossus were one of the bands who appeared on an album released in 1980 called "New Electric Warriors" showcasing some of the NWOBHM acts that were springing up around the UK.
I don't know what happened to Colossus after that, they just seemed to have vanished! Perhaps they opted for a life of domestic bliss rather than risk the rock 'n' roll rollercoaster ride!
Anyway, here below is a track of theirs taken from a demo tape they made in the late 70's. A composition called "Magnificent 13 Subway Patrol" - a song about New York's Guardian Angels.
If anyone can help fill in a few details about the band, feel free to drop the info in the comments.
Thanks to Bowling Alley DJ Brian Wilson


Friday, 24 September 2010

BETTER BACKWARDS - FAT SAMS - 1988

I missed out on Better Backwards when I departed early '87 so don't know much about them other than what's in this article from Street Life mag.
It's a write-up of a gig they played at Fat Sams on 17th January 1988. A good appraisal it is too, with reviewer Pete Hood getting fairly worked up about their performance!
The band on the night were - BRIAN LINDSAY, vocals - MIKE BROWN, bass - ANTH BROWN, guitar - MARC HAMILTON, keyboards and BARRIE GIBSON, drums. Why are drummers always last on the list?!
Anyway, you'll need to click onto the image to read the enlarged version.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

THE SENATE'S DUNDEE CONNECTION

In the late 60's, The Senate were one of the finest soul bands to come out of the UK. The outfit was made up of some Glaswegians, a Fifer and a couple of Dundonians - namely, Robbie McIntosh and Mike Fraser.
Robbie joined The Senate in '67, toured extensively and recorded a couple of live albums with them. The band had such a good reputation, they were often chosen to back top r&b singers from the USA when they were on tour in Europe. One such name was Ben E King, who, as a consequence of working with the band, ended up writing & producing a single specifically for The Senate. It was called "Can't Stop" and was released in '67.
The 2 live albums were
The Senate - "Sock It To You One More Time"
Garnet Mimms - "Live" (as his backing band)
Mike Fraser, who was keyboard player in local bands The Syndicate and The Vikings in the mid 60's, teamed up with The Senate in late '67. When he was with them, the band were based in Italy for a while and they made a further 2 albums - not particularly Senate-like material however. For contractual reasons, they had to do 2 sessions of pop song covers - not the sort of thing they were known for, but the albums were released in Italy.
Despite sharing the bill with popular acts such as The Spencer Davis Group, The Senate split around late '68.
To follow the path Robbie took after The Senate, you can read yesterdays item.
Mike Fraser went on to join Mal & The Primitives, and has since worked with many international artists - such as, Chuck Berry, David Sanborn, Garnet Mimms, Duane Eddy, Ben E King, Amii Stewart, AWB, and soundtrack genius, Ennio Morricone. Wow...hows about that then!
Mike decided to live in Rome, and is still there working in the music biz today.
The top photo is Robbie & Mike at Glasgow railway station in 1968, making their way down to London.
The other 2 are The Senate in action in Italy in 1968. Robbie on drums, Mike on keyboard.
But that's not all - there was a 3rd mysterious Dundee guy in The Senate. When the band's singer/guitarist, Alex Ligertwood, left, in came Dundonian Jim McAra to replace him. It was only for a short stint though, and unfortunately, I don't have any info on Jim as to what he did after that, other than later on, he was in Mafia back in Dundee.
To give you an idea what The Senate sounded like on their own, here below is the opening track from their live album. A track titled "Sock It To 'Em JB" - where James Brown meets James Bond!
Big thanks to Mac and Mike Fraser


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

ROBBIE McINTOSH ON DRUMS - 1950-1974


 
It could be said Robbie McIntosh was born with a touch of star quality, because in his case, he was the son of an American movie actor called Bonar Colleano. The film star was on location along at Barry Buddon, had a wee fling with one of the local lassie's, and 9 months later - Robbie!
He was brought up in Broughty Ferry as a youngster, then moved to Kincardine Street up the Hawkhill in his mid teens.
He took up drumming while at school (Harris) and found himself gigging locally while still aged 15. He was in The Sapphires and The Syndicate, but it wasn't long before he was attracting the attention of the big boys, which lead to the next step up, a residency across at The Auld Hoose in Tayport. He was also with local acts the East Coast Jazzmen and The Poor Souls, for a short time.
Robbie's first major move was when he joined Scotland's top soul band, The Senate, in 1967, an outfit that were in demand across UK and abroad.
He then followed that with a short stint in The Primitives, and then afterwards was drumming for a French group called The Piranhas. It was when he was with them, he was spotted by ace r&b organist, Brian Auger, who promptly got Robbie to join his band, Oblivion Express, a period of time which included plenty live gigs, recording sessions and TV appearances. Robbie then left the band around 1971, and after doing some session work with the likes of Steve Marriot of the Small Faces, he teamed up the the guys who would become the Average White Band in 72. Robbie is mostly remembered for his time in AWB, a time which was still relatively short, because as a consequence of downing a spiked drink at a party in L.A., he died, on this very day in 1974.
AWB's story is already well documented on the net, so no need for me to go any further.
Robbie's gravestone (above) is in Barnhill Cemetery.
The top photos are of Robbie in full flow with Brian Auger's Oblivion Express taken at the Roundhouse in London.
I have a couple of AWB tracks running elsewhere on Retro, so thought I'd delve back to the 60's when he was in The Senate. As well as going down a storm as a band in their own right, they were often called upon to back visiting r&b singers on tour from the States. One such singer was Garnet Mimms, who ended up recording a live album with the band, from which this single, below, was released in 1967, when Robbie was only 17.
It's called "As Long As I Have You", a record which has gone on to be a bit of a collectors item with the Northern Soul fraternity!
Big thanks to Mac and JG


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

SOUL KISS CLUB - 1986

The Soul Kiss Club used to put on music events along at the Tayside Bar on the first Sunday of every month, and to let everyone know what was going on, they brought out their own wee mag.
The one here is for Sunday 2nd Feb 1986 when they had 3 live acts to showcase - the bands on the night being - The Finks - a mystery female trio and The Shebang Sisters.
There was also to be a SKC "special event" later in Feb featuring Boo-Hooray and Cattle, but this show was scheduled to take place at the Rep.
Some of the other acts who have appeared under the SKC banner have included - Bob Phillips - The Brothers Wine - Alison Burns - AAGA - Joe Public - The Ashen Heart - Steve Knight & Chris Marra - Gary Clarke's Country Extravaganza, and many more.
One of the bands they had in store for their March shindig was Immortalised In Plastiscene (deliberate wrong spelling?).
Anyway, plenty of performers there to test your memory!
There is also an ad for a midweek fashion show happening at Fat Sams on 12th Feb, organised by The Wardrobe shop in Whitehall Crescent and Jack & Irving Hairstylists in Commercial Street.
Lots of other info tucked away in there, so if you fancy a proper read, just click on the items to enlarge.
Many thanks to Drew Ramsay

Monday, 20 September 2010

PIGS ARE CUTE - TAIWAN - 1981

When Pigs Are Cute recorded 3 tracks down at Inner City Sound studios in 1981, 2 of them ended up on the Dundee Compilation Cassette the following year.
This song below called "Taiwan" was the missing 3rd track and hasn't been heard since it was recorded.
There is a kind of uneasy feel to the song, a hint that someone evil is looming over you - just the same as when countries don't get on.
This was also the big track the band used to close their set with.
So see what you reckon to this rare moody PAC opus.
Many thanks to Craig

Sunday, 19 September 2010

SAVAGE PENCIL v VOCIFEROUS BIRO - 1980

Following on from yesterdays Scrotum Poles poster where I mentioned the work of Savage Pencil (Edwin Pouncey) - I managed to track down an example of his cartoon strip in an old Sounds mag I have from 1980. It was based around the weekly antics of his weird music biz creatures and was called "Rock N Roll Zoo".
Below it, however, is a parody of the strip by mystery cartoonist Vociferous Biro, also drawn in 1980, and appeared in the very first issue of Dundee fanzine, Cranked Up. This one was called "Rotten Roll Zoo", and in it, exposes the strange goings-on along at Radio Tay!!!
Click on images to enlarge.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

SCROTUM POLES FAREWELL GIG - 1981

The Tayside Bar was the place to be on 19th June 1981, as this was where the Scrotum Poles played their final gig.
As well as the band live on stage, they also presented their short film "The Epitaph".
And if that wasn't enough entertainment, there was Major Longhorn on DJ duty.
The item underneath the poster also refers to the farewell gig and gives a brief overview of the band's history. It appeared in local fanzine, Le Sinistre.
Getting back to the poster - see the cartoon characters - well they are a take-off of creatures drawn by Savage Pencil (aka Edwin Pouncey) who had a cartoon strip in music paper, Sounds, at the time. You can tell it isn't a Savage Pencil original though because Oor Wullie is stuck in the middle of the freaks looking as if he wants out of there!!
Thanks to Drew Ramsay

Friday, 17 September 2010

S...... POLES RADIO INTERVIEW - 1980

Let's go back to 1980 and find out what's on radio...
(Twiddle knob)...Radio 1...Tommy Vance...naaaaaah...Radio 2...Richard Baker...oh sod off...skip past Radio 3 & 4...oh ho, what's this...flippin' heck it's Scrotum Poles guitarist Colin Smith being interviewed on Radio Tay!
Well even if the presenter did seem to be a bit unprepared, it was typical of the kind of chat that cropped up on local radio back then.
A speedy round-up of the band's activities then back to the show!
They don't use the word "Scrotum", so I assume they must have deemed it too strong for Dundee's housewives at the time!!
Big thanks to Craig


Thursday, 16 September 2010

SCOTT PRESTON OF REVOLT

Here's a familiar face (and jacket) from Dundee's punky past - it's Scott Preston.
The photo is from around 1980 when he was roadie for the Scrotum Poles. In fact this is him having a wee rest during one of their practice sessions.
Scott himself ended up fronting a band called Revolt a couple of years later.
The item under the photo is from Cranked Up, and features Jock Ferguson in a witty mini interview with Scott and the rest of the lads in Revolt - Jojo, Segs & Spike.
Don't dare say they're "a punk band" though or you're in for it..!!
After Revolt he was in Under The Sun.
Scott died in 2006.
Big thanks to Craig

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

FRICTION - DEMO TRACK - 1979

Dundee band, Friction, sparked into life in summer 1979.
They played serrated, urgent, alternative pop, in a style which was becoming more popular around the 79/80 period with the arrival of Scottish record labels like Pop Aural and Postcard.
The band were - Stef Murray on vocals - Wendy Hart on bass - Derek Hannon & Rod Sturrock on guitars and Scott McKinlay on drums.
Their first gig was across in Newport in August 79, then it was straight into the deep end supporting The Revillos when their second gig came around a month later. As a consequence of this, they got to know The Revillos/Rezillos, who put them in touch with Tony Pilley who had a recording studio in Edinburgh called Barclay Towers. Well when I say studio, it was the guys flat and the recording equipment was set up in his kitchen! Anyway, it was good enough for The Rev(z)illos and so Friction got in on the act too, and recorded & mixed 3 tracks, all in one day!
They went on to gig for another year or so before the band came grinding to a halt, but not for long though because the same line-up renamed themselves All The Rage and they were up & running again. This took them up to around 1982ish, when after a couple of tweaks to the ATR line-up, were transformed into Waiter Waiter.
Below is a track from Friction's kitchen session, recorded in November 79. It's an energetic little number called "Backwards/Forwards". All being aged around 18 at the time and not having much dosh, they didn't manage to get this down on vinyl, and so the 3 session tracks have remained unheard since then. Good to know the tape survived 30 years tucked away in the attic mind you!
You may like to know Stef and Scott along with Ross Mathieson, are still playing & recording together, this time under the name of Stoor.
Before you skite off, give this one here below a wee blast and relive the sound of young Scotland from 30 years ago - when we were the bee's knees!

Many thanks to Scott.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

VIC PETERSON OF THE PETERMEN - 1968

Scottish folk duo, The Petermen, were Mike Petrie from Glasgow and Vic Peterson from Dundee.
They formed in 1967 when Vic was only 17, not long after leaving Kirkton High, it would seem.
You can read a wee bit about them above, which is taken from the back of their album cover.
They made only the one album, released in 1968, but managed to recruit the services of The Strawbs as session musicians in the process!
It was a short lived venture however, as the 2 split in 1969.
In the early 70's, Vic teamed up with Diana Shearer and formed Juniper Green, cut a couple of albums and were stars of Opportunity Knocks!
Getting back to The Petermen though, here below is quite an amusing track from the album. It's called "The Buildings" and is about being forcibly evicted from your home. What's funny about it is the fact that it having been recorded in the 60's, they mention getting kicked out of their tenements to move into the "new" multi's that were springing up - but of course nowadays, it's the people in multi's who are being kicked out.
Michty meh!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - DUNDEE - 1982

This was a really cool gig to be at - Echo & The Bunnymen at the Marryat Hall on 4 May 1982.
It was the final stop in a mini tour of Scotland that kind of went off the beaten track and under the radar of the mainstream music press.
Those in the know, however, were treated to a very relaxed performance from the band, sometimes seeming like they were still in rehearsal mode!
There are a few photos up on Flickr from this very gig...
here's a link - Bunnymen in Dundee
 
Also on the same night was a new local band called, Just Little Boys.
The snappy review above comes from Dundee fanzine, The Voice.
It's a brief account of their moment on stage which they say was a rather indifferent, uninspired set, getting a big thumbs down as a consequence. The reviewer also seems to think their singer, Jackie McPherson, was in the line-up more or less for eye candy purposes!
Strangely, I can't remember anything whatsoever of Just Little Boys.
I wasn't "too drunk" because I can recall the Bunnymen ok.
I didn't arrive "too late" because I can recall all the dancing to the records played over the PA, before the show.
So was it that the band were indeed "too dull" to register?
Can anybody put in a good word for them?
 
You may need to enlarge the review to read.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

THE JUNKIES AT THE TAYSIDE BAR - 1981

Did ya get a good wee buzz scrolling through that lot?
This impressive cascade of images catches The Junkies in full flow at one of their gigs down at the Tayside Bar, probably around the 1981 period.
It's amazing how fresh the pictures look 3 decades on. You'd think they were just taken 3 weeks ago!
For some reason, the Tayside Bar looks quite cavernous in black & white, but as a lot of you will recall, there was hardly any room to move at the area allocated for bands.
Top-notch pics though!
This is a good opportunity to accompany the photos with another track of theirs.
I put up a downtempo tune last year, so this time out I thought I'd go for a song which is more the kind of thing they were known for - an upbeat, sleazy, rock "n" drawl number called "Pretty Boys".
Big THANX to Drew Ramsay
 

Saturday, 11 September 2010

THE ALTERNATORS - NO ANSWERS - 1978

The Alternators formed in 1976 and had in their line-up ; Martin Geldart (bass) - Wayne Hutton (drums) - Colin Warnock (guitar/vocal) - Louis O'Neil (keyboards).
Their punk based material got them supporting bands such as The Ramones, Skids, The Stranglers...and on one infamous occasion when they were the support for The Rezillos at the Marryat Hall, an altercation took place between the 2 bands during rehearsals resulting in Colin Warnock decking Rezillos singer Fay Fyfe, and so needless to say, no home gig for the guys that night!!
The Alternators did come close to signing a major record deal in London, but it fell through, and shortly after that they split.
Incidentally, Billy MacKenzie once had a short spell singing in the band in their early days.
There does seem to be a slight Stranglers influence on the track below, with a touch of the Dave Greenfield keyboard sound, but it does have a chorus which was typical of the kind of punky records from that era.
You can see the poster for this single (released in January 1978) in the photo above, and it also completes the trio of records released on the Dundee NRG label, all of which are now up on Retro Dundee.
 

Friday, 10 September 2010

DUNDEE LASSIES MEET WALKER BROTHERS - 1966

Here are local lassies, Margaret Stibbles & Jean Shepherd, bunching up with the fabulous Walker Brothers in 1966.
1967 was the year the group actually split up to go their separate ways, so the Dundee duo just managed to catch them while they were still a pop pin-up act.
It's amazing how many musicians have since gone on in the following decades, to name-drop the Walker Bros as having been a major influence. Mind you, they did belt out some real classy pop records in the mid 60's - with Scott Walker then branching off to create music afterwards which seems to come from some kind of higher sonic plane.
He even manages to look cool in a duffel coat!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

DUNDEE LASSIE MEETS PRETTY THINGS - 1965

It looks like this picture was taken through net curtains - but ignoring the poor quality, in amongst there is Dundee lass Pat Whitton mingling with The Pretty Things in 1965.
The Pretty Things were are a mighty fine band. They started off in the early 60's doing really tough & gritty versions of R&B songs, but come the late 60's, they changed with the trippy times, went all psychedelic, and passed the acid test with flying colours!
In their case, they even brought out a record called "LSD".
The naughty things!!
Anybody catch them play in Dundee?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

DUNDEE LASSIES MEET AMEN CORNER - 1968

Here's a cosy wee scene from 1968 - pop group, Amen Corner, are cornered by 3 Dundee fans, Sheena Doig, Pat Brown and Dorothy Patterson.
The band were regulars in the charts in the late 60's, but this photo was taken a year before their only #1 hit "If Paradise is...", a classic piece of pop.
Despite the group's success, they split around 1970ish and vocalist Andy Fairweather Low (far left) went solo. In fact I'm sure somebody told me earlier this year that Andy was performing in Dundee.
Not sure which venue the band played in 1968 though - the Top Ten Club perhaps?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

CUTHBERT'S ROLL VAN - 1971

This ad featuring a Cuthbert's delivery van is from 1971.
As you can see in the ad, their Sunshine Bakery was based in Ure Street, but their vans were everywhere!

Monday, 6 September 2010

STEVENSONS LAUNDRY VAN

The picture of Stevensons laundry van is dated 1966.
Their ad below it is from 1970.
During this period, their main base was at 222 Hilltown, but by 1974 that address disappeared and their branch at 173 Perth Road then became the main hub.
My uncle used to drive a Stevensons van in the early/mid 60's era and so as a consequence, I've had a hurl in one!