Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for April, 2009

The Pigs Story

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

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





HEAD – ‘Bottled Vintage xxx’

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

This curio will probably pique tainsotterly interest as an early outing by The Pop Groups’s Gareth Sager,here disguised as Hank Sinclair alongside such luminaries as Clevedon Pier (better known as Rich Beale) and Candy Horsebreath.

A ragbag of unreleased demos of variable quality (Spank Spank wanders across the speakers with the authentic sound of tape being mangled),stylistically, it’s all over the shop,incorporating slap bass,perky synth choruses and self-sabotaging titles ‘P.L.H Euro Terra 11′ (endearingly, someone has deemed this the likeliest opening hit), and the Glitter beat of ‘Dig A Hole’.

‘I Am The King’ whips up some splendid big beat funk,rather like Shriekback with a decent singer. Jammed up against MTV-friendly rock (‘Can’t Stop’) are sampling cut-ups from Sager that hint towards a future impatience with the conventions of pop.

(Kid Pensioner – Venue Magazine 24th April 2009)  

KEN LINTERN – ‘Rainbow Ents’

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

 It was 1979 and a chance meeting with Kevin Draper (KGD Concerts) saw me suddenly sitting in an office at No1 Queens Square behind a desk running a Rock Agency, Rainbow Entertainments. Kevin bought it from the previous partners because he fancied the office address, and finding he knew nothing about that side of the business asked me if I fancied running it with him, to be honest I didn’t have a clue either but 15 years as a working ‘pro’ had given me a pretty good start.


Taking over Rainbow meant we booked everything into The Granary, most of the bands into Crockers, handled some almost famous Folk Acts like Mechanical Horsetrough and were constantly being called by London Agents looking for places for their bands to perform, and Students Unions throughout the South West wanting the next big thing for as little as possible.

At that time things were pretty good, I was booking people like Robert Fripp into the Granary and although Les (Pearce) who was the manager at the time, gave me a hard time ‘Robert who, has he got a demo tape….’ it was great fun and I got to see whoever I wanted, wherever i wanted free.


Kevin decided to he needed a more ‘corporate Image’ (strange as he was in charge of flyposting in Bristol) and changed KGD Concerts to Rainbow and run the 2 side by side. At that time we were promoting many really big acts into Bristol, Cardiff, Bath etc, the likes of Squeeze, Flock of Seagulls, Saxon, Hawkwind, Paul Young, OMD, Gary Numan to name but a few. The problem seemed to be that there was no middle size venue for up and coming bands and local bands to really have a bit of decent exposure.

This lead to the regular Tuesday Nights at Carwardines which we promoted as The Rainbow Rock Club placing up and coming bands like U2 (we paid them £300 if I remember rightly would you believe), Stray Cats and Split Endz, they were topping the charts but already contracted so had to appear for a flat fee, we had many local bands playing support and often had 2 local bands to cover the night.

Around that time we also tied in loosely with Andy Leighton and Alison Clout to promote their Fried Egg Record Bands


Unfortunately for me, my share of the profits was minimal (Kevin was a very good business man) and I had been left with a massive VAT bill when my band split, again stupidly it was all in my name so I started hiring out my PA, about 2.5kw, foldback etc which I soon found was great for Crockers, The Green Rooms, I even did Carwardines with it and quite a few other local places, in fact soon I was working 3 or 4 nights a week.

I soon got into a lot of the local bands, although now I cant remember them all but have fond memories of Juan Foote in the Grave, the Untouchables, Joe Public, Various Artists and Art Objects who were all massive around Bristol at that time, there were loads of other bands, but what I remember most is there was masses of talent.

After a year of killing myself with all the gear a guy in Bath made me an offer for the PA and Truck that would clear my debt with said Vat Man and I retired from that side of the business.


Kevin relocated Rainbow to Henleaze as he had decided to get into Video shops and suddenly I was in a poky office above the video shop, I couldn’t stand it and after a few months I left to form my own management company Elephant Management.

I signed the Vice Squad who were in negotiations with EMI, a heavy rock band Shiva who I signed to HM Revolver and a Gloucester Dance act Ron E Was Another One that I signed to Black.


I had a great couple of years before wandering off to sell Fender Guitars for a living because I really liked the idea of a regular salary.


These days I am back to my routes, living happily in Weston, playing cover music for a living and writing and recording during the day………I often wonder what became of everyone, there was so much talent, so much promise, still Neal Taylor did well and found a good job.


Thanks for reminding me about those days.


(Ken Lintern April 2009)



Tuesday, April 14th, 2009



How exactly did a group of cutting edge American urban funk aficionados throw it all away for the three chord thrashings of Hoxton, Brixton and Ladbroke Grove? It had something to do with music but a lot more to do with clothes.


Why break up the Guildhall brother and sisterhood to ape the tabloid tracked burgeoning punk scene like every city with a cathedral, an underpass and a Sunday market? The Guildhall was something special wasn’t it?


Without doubt. Loose tribes had stumbled around the Bristol club scene, indistinguishable from one and other but fiercely loyal to their team or postcode. The big halls like the Top Rank offered room for everyone and we all crowded in, a mass of crushed velvet and the great smell of Eau Sauvage. Hey Girl don’t bother me sang The Tams until one of them side shuffled off the stage, denting only his pride unlike poor Neil Winstone who bounced down most of the stairs because bouncers bounced in those days. But the Top Rank was too inclusive and too spacious and people huddled with their homies  in their favoured corner or with their racial group. And the other above ground clubs were too interchangeable. If it’s Tuesday it’s The Blue Lagoon. Or is it The Top Cat? Either way Seymour or Superfly or someone will be there playing James Brown or Rufus Thomas and a few slow ones at the end. Time to blag of.


People ventured out of Bristol whenever a bank holiday came along, seeking the crack and the next big thing. Newquay was good but Bournemouth was better. Equal distance between Bristol and London we encountered temporary escapees from the smoke in all their finery. Mohair, plastic sunglasses, upside down trousers and the old Puerta Rican fence climbers. We skulked in the shadows, ashamed of our cap sleeve tee shirts and wedge cuts. That was Bank Holiday Monday, by Tuesday we were desperately trying to find pants that narrowed at the bottom. In those days the world wore flares. Your Dad, your history teacher. Prince Philip, Bob Monkhouse and The Pope. Lionel Blair wore flares. London already had Acme Attractions and Johnson & Johnson. We had Millets and a second hand clothes shop in Park Row that smelt bad.


Eventually we found our way to SW whatever and got kitted out and returned home where we sat upstairs at the back of the bus into town and The Guildhall.  It was our own private world below a spiral staircase beneath which you could watch the plastic sandals and winkle pickers come into view descending daintily before the bulk of Bobby Iles or Wendy Clutterbuck. We had our pegs and our latest imports listed from 1 to 50 on a photocopied ASA sheet. Are you ready? Do the bus stop and get off at the one near Bristol Bridge and walk through St. Nicholas market.


You knew everyone there but occasionally a stranger put in an appearance. Mark Stewart came once or twice in pink pegs and wrap around sunglasses. He punk smirked above the older/smaller dancers. He couldn’t/wouldn’t dance. Did he know something we didn’t?


Trousers have a lot to answer for, pink or otherwise. The pegs went from cotton to something shiny and then further out to plastic, borderline fetish.


Alan Jones, ex sax player with South Wales pop soul combo The Amen Corner managed Clobber on Park Street and also in The Haymarket for another Welsh guy called Gerald, until he bought the branch beneath the bus station and called it Paradise Garage after the legendary New York nightclub. He had his contacts and soon some of the clothes we had to go inter city 125 for started appearing on some very appealing pinch faced mannequins on loan from Lloyd Johnson in the Kensington Market. Alan also had a part share in a club in Newport called Rudies and the invite went out to the Guildhall faithful to pay it a visit. It was said to be worth the bridge fee.


Vernon Josafyitch piled half a dozen of us into his Pontiac, longer than the other vehicles used that night but slower and smokier too. Ten years minimum without an air filter.


A mirror reflection of the Guildhall, Rudies was upstairs and that first visit was akin to hitting the Chelsea Village in Bournemouth a couple of summers before. Our kit was wicked, their kit was …well, wicked plus. With knobs on and knobs out. Their trousers had already passed through plastic and landed on tightened up leather. Even (whisper it) rubber.


Steve Harrington we had met a few years before at Wigan Casino but the beret and the adidas bag were gone and the Blackwood accent was soon to follow as he morphed into Steve Strange. Mark Taylor was there and Chris Sullivan, later to front up Blue Rondo a la Turk before running the Wag Club in Wardour Street with Rusty Egan. But the limelight belonged to a guy called Colin Fisher, as did the chain that danced on his cheek linking his earlobe to his nostril. My god they were, they were…well there was no name for what they were except valley boys who had got a march on the Bristol brethren. We had been below our spiral staircase for too long. Something was afoot and it had shed its plastic sandal.


I sniffed the air. I smelt cult. Too young to be a mod, too weak to be a skinhead, I was open to suggestion. But why were they dancing to Donna Summer?


As the leaves started to turn brown the tabloids began to see red. Punk was a New York magazine as well as a ripped up look personified by Richard Hell, bass player with art rock CBGB dwelling, guitar duelling combo Television. Malcolm McLaren, ex Ted co-owner of Sex, way down in World’s End was no stranger to this scene. He had been part of it stylising the New York Dolls through their death throes. Not only could he import the look he could sell the clothes and so punk got wheeled into the west end in a wardrobe on casters, direct from the garment district.


As the red tops cranked up the indignation, the photographs that appeared alongside the rant featured a London face or two but Fisher, Sullivan and Harrington were at the fore. And, surprise surprise, there was a soundtrack to this scene after all. Punks did not do the hustle, the bump or the bus stop (or dance to Donna Summer). They went to see bands. White, British bands who dressed like them. The Sex Pistols were one, The Psycle Sluts another. The former swore their way to notoriety, the latter disappeared somewhere between rumour and myth.


The Guildhall was still stretchin’ out and hangin’ loose in a rubber band with Bootsy but who wants a rubber band when Sex are selling rubber tee shirts for £15? All of a summer sudden the scene below Broad Street seemed tired, repetitive and as conservative as Breezin’ by George Benson, the last album I bought before the debut LP by four Brooklyn would be brothers, The Ramones. You could get punk of the US variety but it was the chill of winter 76 before the UK’s sound was captured on vinyl.


How many of the Guildhall faithful cashed in their funk chips for Soho nights at the Roxy? Hard to say but the vanguard barely looked back once it realised that Bristol, yes Bristol, had a punk band of it’s own.


The Cortinas had played the Ashton Court Festival before the nights started drawing in. They were kids from north of the river and fee paying schools. The drummer was 14. But with shades, skinny ties and part time attitude they ripped it up for the bikers, hippies and more bikers who enjoyed a free festival almost as much as a run down to Cheddar for an ice cream and a punnet of strawberries.


The road to punk was a much more direct one for the band and their followers than it was for those of us who could glare a DJ down for having the audacity to play a funk tune that you could actually buy easily in the UK. They were already listening to white British bands like The Kursaal Flyers, Kilburn and the High Roads, Eddie and the Hot Rods. Pub Rock took a step back and a line of speed, a sideways glance at Patti Smith and the rest of New York loft life and the die was cast.


The Cortinas welcomed the patronage of the former funksters with open arms. Though we had not learned to play guitar like them through terms of private tuition, we were streetwise and more than willing to scare off the beastly boys from school who had taken it upon themselves to quell the birth of punk, as they saw it, in Sneyd Park. We promoted gigs, started record labels and wrote fanzines while our new guitar toting friends flashed for a good while and almost made it. If nothing else they paved the way for a bigger post punk push, led by the ironically named The Pop Group, school friends of The Cortinas but better dressed, Grey shirts done up to the neck one week, cricket whites the next. Where was this sartorial elegance coming from? Singer Mark Stewart? For the real lowdown you would have to ask their first up manager, Paradise Garage owner Alan Jones. He was our Malcolm McLaren, but without the cynicism and with a much prettier wife.


In 2008, Mark Stewart is booked to play the prestigious Meltdown Festival on London’s Southbank with his band Maffia. His many fans from across the new Europe will go to any lengths for a ticket. And if they get the chance to talk with him after the gig and ask how it all got started his response will be the same as it always is. ‘Well, there was this basement pub in Broad Street, Bristol called The Guildhall. It was the wildest scene, the clothes, the dancing. Kit kids. Full on.’


Mark loved funk.






April Update Bristol Archive Records –

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

April Update Bristol Archive


A busy month of new releases with the following hitting all digital stores for your listening pleasure on April 6th…..


HEAD – ‘Bottled Vintage xxx’ – Album –ARC 078


Y … Bristol was ripe for a plucking … but refused to listen until now!

And only now because the Massive Attack road crew are willing to sponsor ‘THE HEAD STORY ON ICE’


THE SPICS – ‘Midnight Girls’ – Album – ARC 089


The SPICS were formed because Nick Shepherd (Yeh, ‘The Clash one’), Johnny Britton and Mike Crawford thought they’d discovered the 50′s listening to Phil Spector, Ben E King and Otis Redding.


THE STINGRAYS – ‘At the Dugout Live 1977’ – Mini Album – ARC 077


Recorded live at The Dug out Club by Simon Edwards of Heartbeat Records fame and featuring the original line up.


Singles from…..


CREATURE BEAT – ‘She Won’t Dance’


ELECTRIC GUITARS – ‘Work’, ‘Health’ and ‘Wolfman Tap’


Plus the start of The Shocwave Records series with releases from…..






We have launched a Bristol Archive T Shirts range. The first batch of designs are available to purchase by following the Merch (T Shirts) link on .


We have designs available from Apartment, The Escape, Shoes For Industry, Talisman, Electric Guitars and many more.


We also have loads of new designs in the pipeline and these shirts will be an exciting addition to keeping the Sounds of Bristol past alive and at the fore front of peoples minds (fingers crossed)  



We’ve added an amazing story from Dave Cohen on Wavelength Records and The Bristol Recorder.


If anyone wishes to add their story, memories of the era, The Dug Out Club then please get in touch …..


New Releases for May…..


We have releases scheduled from the following artists..


Decay Sisters – ‘Live at Trinity Hall 1983’ – ARC076


Essential Bop – ‘Eloquent Sounds EP’ – ARC 094


Europeans – ‘Live at Bower Ashton 1978’ – ARC 095


Recorded Delivery – ‘Russian Roulette’ – ARC 093


The Pigs – ‘1977’ – ARC 0090


The Pigs – ‘Youthanasia Ep’ – ARC 91


The Royal Assassins – ‘Flux’ – ARC 092


Forthcoming projects….


Apartment Album – ‘House of Secrets’


The White Hotel Album


The Long March Album


Colortapes Album


Social Security Album


Delegates Album


Plus many more……………






If you are on Facebook and want to catch up with day to day activity on Bristol Archive Records you can contact and read about developments here…


We’ve recently added two amazing videos from The Escape, ‘The Retrospect’ and ‘Nogo’



Keep checking back as the label and site develop still further into the most comprehensive account of Bristol’s Music Vaults 1977 – onwards.




The Spics ‘Midnight Girls’ ARC 089 – OUT NOW!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The thing with these back catalogue from Bristol Archive Records is they’re not fabulous recordings, but they are reminiscence aids. For me listening to Midnight Girls, it all fits into place, this is why I like the music I do. I’d suffered the early years of progressive music at the hands of a variety of longhaired Robert Plant look alike yoof and I hadn’t liked it, didn’t get it. I was sneaking up to Tiffany’s on non ‘progressive nights to dance to Motown, and here was a band playing James and Bobby Purify’s I’m Your Puppet and Take Me in Your Arms (and rock me a little while) from the Holland-Dozier-Holland stable. This was music I could watch live and dance at the same time.


Mike Crawford was buying 5p Stax and Atlantic from Disc and Tape and The Spics were applying a little punk ethos. They introduced me to Otis Redding’s Can’t Turn You Loose (slightly speedier than entirely necessary) and gave me Land Of A Thousand Dances which set me up for Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave etc long before the Blues Brothers and a whole decade before the Commitments brought them to the masses.

While everyone else was doing Van Morrison’s G-L-O-R-I-A, The Spics picked Here Comes The Night, although actually Lulu did it first, and The Spics threw in a touch of Dockland Settlement/Dug Out influenced Reggae to make it their own.


The title track Midnight Girls written and first performed by Crawford backed by his brother Latif’s, Gardez Darkx at the Stonehouse was the catalyst which enabled Johnny Britton and Nick Shepherd to ask of Mike, ‘d’ye wanna start a band’ and The Spics evolved.


Bus Stop is also one of Mikes’. John Shennan gave us his You and Me and also Wild Boys  which John sang.


The Spics worked because no one was in charge or doing all the work, it was a joint effort and you can hear that in the music, no solo prima donna moments.

My favourite is Fire, discovered via the Robert Gordon version, not Bruce Springsteen and pre The Pointer Sisters who obviously learnt a thing from The Spicettes!


This compilation is  raw, rough round the edges, but there’s some neat guitar, a mint rhythm section, it still makes me want to be a Spicette and it don’t half take you back.


(Gill Loats 6th April 2009)


Radio Interview by Mike Darby March 24th 2009

Saturday, April 4th, 2009


Radio Interview by Mike Darby on Bristol Community Radio March 24th 2009


Heres the Podcast of the radio interview which starts about 3 minutes into the Steve Parkhouse show.


Mike talks about why Bristol Archive Records was started and what the plans are for the future. There are tracks aired from Gardez Darkx and Apartment.




Merely save the 24th March ( 12 o’clock) podcast to your desktop and listen through itunes.