Disc

The Untouchables

Keep On WalkingARC047

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The Untouchables - Keep On Walking - Single

 

Featured Track

The UntouchablesThe Untouchables

Keep Your Distance


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  1. Keep On Walking
  2. Keep Your Distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking The DogARC117

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  1. I Can Tell
  2. Keep It Outta Sight
  3. Boom Boom
  4. Rokette
  5. Lucky 7
  6. Cheque 7
  7. Cheque Book
  8. Talkin 'Bout You
  9. Walking The Dog
  10. She Does It Right
  11. I'm a Man
  12. You'll Be Mine

The album we believe was recorded live in SAM Studios by Steve Street in 1978 or 1979.

Mastered by Steve Street 2009

 

 

 

The Untouchables

Jerry Clements, aka Jerry Tremaine, whilst in his final year at Cotham Grammar school, assembled what might loosely be described as a group with the enigmatic moniker 'The Same' that included Pip Trenchard on bass (later of The Gas Taps) and ginger-haired drummer, Paul Hollywood (part of Bristolian post-psychedelic milieu spearheaded by Magic Muscle) who insisted on pulling a pair of tights over his face and chewing fake blood capsules whilst drumming.

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Unlikely beginnings to what would become one of Bristol's most popular live acts, but wholly in keeping with the flourishing New Wave ambience.

The band's repertoire was a mish - mash of R&B standards and Dr Feelgood covers played with enthusiasm rather than any observable known musical technique. A three-piece band consisting of bass, drums, and Jerry on vocals and very recently -purchased Woolworths guitar, it was Jerry's discontent with the one chord he had learnt, and a desire to concentrate on singing, that led him to ask brother, Marc Clements, to join the band as guitarist.

untouchablesMarc's progress with the guitar had been as rapid as Jerry's had been with his singing and playing harmonica, and so it seemed like an obvious move to have Marc take on the role as guitar player.

The brothers were strongly influenced by Dr Feelgood, whom they'd both seen at the Colston Hall in 1975/76, leaving them with a lasting impression (John McLean of The Bones was also present at this same gig and was inspired in much the same way). The Feelgood's visual abandon - short hair and thrift-shop suits, combined with an economic and somewhat blistering musical attack - seemed entirely in keeping with the moment, and so it was decided, without really saying as much, that this was to be the band's direction.

Pretty soon a drummer that was a little less Keith Moon and more 'Big Figure' was required, as well as a more consistent bassist.

Bedminster lad, Phil Price, had recently been playing with an early incarnation of Joe Public and, having parted company from them, accepted an offer to drum for the brothers Clements in what they were now calling The Untouchables.

An old school friend of Marc's, Paul Straker, took over on bass duties for a number of gigs before being replaced by Will Hitchings, at the time an ardent admirer of Lemmy's dulcet tones.

And so we arrive at the definitive Untouchables line-up of Jerry Tremaine (vocals/harp), Marc Clements (guitar), Will Hitchings (bass) and Phil Price (drums).

 

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It is not unfair to say that when you went to see the band in '78 you were basically getting Dr Feelgood's stage act circa 1975. It's equally fair to say that punters left an Untouchable's gig feeling equally as knocked out and euphoric as if they had seen the Feelgoods, which is what it was all about really - to convey that same sense of visceral excitement that the boys felt back in '75.

Marc - "The Feelgoods played a kind of souped-up rhythm and blues, drawing on black R'n'B from the fifties and sixties. Jerry and I had grown up in a household where this kind of music was played all the time, and I think the Feelgoods reawakened all that somehow and made us want to delve back further into the origins of this kind of music".

untouchablesThe Untouchables could be seen regularly at what was, at the time, a city full of small-to-medium size venues including Crockers, The Greenroom, Trinity Hall, The Dockland Settlement, The Granary, The Western Star Domino Club, The Anson Rooms, The Bear, The Bunch of Grapes (Hotwells Rd) and The Glen, as well as appearances for several years running at the Ashton Court festival.

Marc - "The Ashton Court festival we played in 1978 bore little resemblance to the present day festival; the ambiance was far more bohemian and relaxed in a whatever happens, happens kind of way than the sponsored all ticket event we're familiar with now".

"Mark Simpson had a lot to do with the organisation of it, and seemed to like the band a lot. He'd give us a rough idea of when we could play and we'd roll up to the little stage constructed out of what looked like half-inched scaffolding poles and we'd do our thing. I seem to remember us playing twice that year as someone didn't turn up for their slot".

1979/80 were particularly fruitful years for the band. Having been asked to support Ginger Baker's Energy at Trinity Hall, the boys were asked to back Baker's group on several dates in London - a period which saw them headline at Camden Dingwalls, The Marquee in Wardour Street, The Bridge House, The Kensington and The Nashville Rooms.

Baker's manager at the time, Roy Ward, later remarked that it was one of the few occasions that he'd seen Ginger actually leave his changing room to check out a support band.

untouchablesAlso around this time The Untouchables recorded a single for Andy Leighton's local record label Fried Egg. Recorded in London, the single contained two original compositions by Marc, and was produced by Wilko Johnson whom Jerry had got to know through what was becoming a habit of striding into the changing rooms of artists he wanted to meet.

Jerry - "I just went backstage and introduced myself...told Wilko I was a harp player ....any chance of doing a number? He looked at me with a bemused expression and said oh yea?...lets hear ya then...so I gave him a blast....bemusement turned to amazement. He told me later that he was stunned a kid of my age could play harp like that...so I played 20yards behind in the encore and we've been friends ever since".

In 1980 the band went on a European tour with label mates Shoes for Industry and Various Artists. Lasting several weeks, the tour zigzagged across Germany and Holland and by all accounts did its utmost to live up to the requisite degree of Rock'n'Roll excess.

Marc - "The highlights of the European tour for me was John Schofield and Jerry's one round Thai kick-boxing bout that was abruptly brought to an end by the intervention of the crew; and turning around on stage one night to see our drummer, who was extremely drunk, pass out and fall off the back of the stage.....good times".

The Untouchables never had a game plan of any description, but they had a lot of fun along the way and, as the 80s rolled on and the tyranny of the synthesiser loomed on the horizon, having been together for four years, they played one of their last gigs at Glastonbury Festival.

UntouchablesMarc - "We were all quite young, and it was all really only a matter of seeking the excitement of getting upon stage and playing music we loved in front of people".

ENCORE

On May 9th 2008 Julian Temple filmed Jerry singing with the original Feelgood line-up at Southend as part of the annual Lee Brilleaux memorial.

Temple is putting the finishing touches to a documentary about Dr Feelgood intended for the small screen this winter.

By all accounts Jerry's performance with the band moved all and sundry and transported everyone back to the Feelgood's heydays.

The whereabouts of Phil Price are unknown to the author. Will Hitchings is now a sound engineer, and Marc Clements can usually be seen performing at The Prom, Bristol, in one of several bands that includes The Bones, Los Yanquis, The Loose String Band and his own group The Highliners.

FIN.

 

Produced by Wilko Johnson
Originally released on Fried Egg Records

 

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More Untouchables Photos: John Spink