Album out in May !
We were the Pigs, a garage band that got lucky – but not that lucky. We formed in March 1977 and we disbanded in March 1978. In those twelve months we hit a few high notes and we hit a few bum notes.
High note: first rehearsal, first garage, Henbury.
Ricky was a guitar player, so he plays drums. Kit was a bass player, so he plays guitar. Nigel has never touched an instrument before, so he plays bass. Eamonn is the front man. He has the best shades.
High note: second gig, 23rd June at the Progress.
From now on, we have Vernon and John on board as management. We’re seventeen/eighteen and we’ve played two gigs – we definitely need management. We’ve moved on to our second garage, at Rick’s.
High note: third gig, Exhibition Centre, the very next night.
The previous day, the Stranglers were involved in a punk wars incident in Cleethorpes. Now they have to cancel tonight’s gig, probably the biggest punk gig Bristol has seen so far. Support act the Cortinas will have to fill the Stranglers’ shoes.
The Vernon connection pays off immediately and we get the call – from Sea Mills pub to second on the bill at the city’s top venue in just 24 hours. In Eamonn’s case the call reaches him at work; he assumes it’s just a helpful mate providing an excuse to bunk off early. It’s only when Rick pulls up outside his house, bits of borrowed drum kit hanging out the car window, that he twigs it’s for real.
We loved the Cortinas, we respected them. It was after we saw them at the Granary the previous winter that we knew we had to get a band together. They definitely had a massive influence on us. But tonight it feels like we blow them clear off the stage. Decades later we’d be looking back and saying this was one of the best nights of our lives. It couldn’t get any better. And it didn’t.
High note: supporting Generation X at Chutes.
Miles Copeland is in the audience. He wants to record us and release a record.
High note: August 12th at Sound Conception 4-track studio.
It’s been about 20 weeks since we formed, we’ve written maybe 12 songs and played 6 or so gigs. Now we’re recording our whole set. As it turns out, most of this stuff won’t see the light of day for 30 years. Copeland chooses the four tracks for the EP that’s going to launch a new Bristol record label. They call it New Bristol Records. Yeah.
Low note: while we’re playing at the Dugout, somebody gets stabbed upstairs in the corridor.
High note: our garage days are over, now we’ve discovered the Crystal Theatre. A great place to practice and if it ever starts to seem like work, there’s props to play about with and the dumbwaiter for death-defying rides.
High note: we play at the Bamboo and totally rock the place. A live recording is made. The poster reads: ‘Have yourself a flaming good Xmas’.
Low note: We should have been supporting the Sex Pistols back at the Bamboo the next day. The gig is sold out. But the club – owned by future yachtsman Tony Bullimore – burns down overnight.
High note: At last the record comes out (complete with wrong speed printed on the label) and John Peel plays it seven times. One time he says “This is the only track I’ve heard that sounds as good at 33 as it does at 45” and plays Psychopath very slowly. Another time he says “Punk bands get accused of political posturing” and plays National Front are Fascists.
High note: supporting the Cortinas at the Locarno, with Social Security also on the bill. We get to play London’s glamorous Marquee club with the Cortinas too – but forget the soundcheck, lads, Marianne Faithfull’s recording a TV interview. Speaking of glamorous, we plug the EP with a brief live performance at Siouxsie Sioux’s Barton Hill gig.
Low note: The Rainbow agency finds us some weird gigs.
This one sees us in Luton. “Why aren’t you dancing?” “Cos you’re crap”. But National Front gets the place leaping about, punching the air and yelling the title. Shame they’ve got the wrong end of the stick so far as the message is concerned. They want us to play the song again as an encore. Then we leave in a big hurry and a borrowed guitar gets left behind.
Another low note: topping the bill at the legendary Roxy club in Covent Garden, but the spark has definitely gone out so far as this place is concerned.
Lowest point of all: we don’t know it but we’re travelling to our last ever gig.
The venue is an agricultural college in deepest Essex. We drive past our number one fan on the M32. His thumb gets him to the gig despite this cock-up, but by now we’re all wondering if it’s worth it. The last few months have convinced us that the ride is finished. Somebody’s pulled the plug out and the buzz has drained away. That’s it, it’s over… for the next thirty years.
High note: It’s 2009 and Mike Darby wants to release everything we ever recorded on his Bristol Archive label. If only we could get our hands on that live tape from the Bamboo… But if we have to settle for putting the demo from August 1977 and the EP up there, that’s fine. Just one more low note: we can’t find Nigel. If you’re out there, Mr Winky, please get in touch; it’s time to turn round and face the audience.
Dedicated to Jonathan Clark and Vernon Jozefowicz, two lost friends of the band.
Luca Piccione art design
Seng-gye Toombs Curtis for photos