Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for August, 2009


Thursday, August 27th, 2009


Sorry we didn’t have an update in August but we’ve more than made up for it this month with loads of new action.


We are always on the look out for great pics of great bands from 1977 to 1985 so please don’t sit on them at home – share them with the outside world. Please email


All the updates below should be live on the site by mid September at the latest – please keep checking back –


New Releases – Worldwide on all digital platforms 31st August 2009.


ARC103 – THE CORTINAS – ‘GBH Demos 1977’


Previously unreleased demos recorded by Steve Street and Ange Peters at the legendary GBH Studios, St.Pauls Bristol in 1977.


Mastered by Steve Street


ARC105 – THE HOMECOMING – ‘Surburbon Bourbon’


Demos from Hope Management Ltd -  Leon Alexander’s band.


The Homecoming came in two parts. The only two consistent members
were Leon Alexander and guitar player Rich Lee. Part one was based
around the songwriting partnership of Leon and Xavier Leret
( who is now a filmmaker and writer; Part Two
came when Xav left to go to Drama School and was replaced by
Vinnie Cannon who went on to become the Authourity on any country
influenced guitar playing joining the Steve Payne band and Martin
Moss & Chrissie Hammond after the Homecoming fizzled out in 1988.
As the dance revolution hit full force
Leon formed The One Love
Foundation from its ashes he is now a MD of The Hope Music Group.


Mastered by Steve Street


ARC106 – SOCIAL SECURITY – ‘Arley Hill’


Recorded in 1977 and never before made available.


These are a collection of very rare demos and radio session tracks lovingly mastered by Steve Street with the full support and input of the 1977 band..


Meanwhile Si had started working in a small independent record shop owned by Bristol’s infamous Tony Dodd. I was sat at home one day minding my own business when Si turned up at my house after work with two singles under his arm; Anarchy in the U.K. and New Rose. He put them on the record player with an evil glint in his eye and a smirk that looked horribly dangerous, he placed the arm of the player on the rotating vinyl and we waited. Is she really going out with him?

And that was it really, from that point on we were fucked…………..


ARC107 – THE MEDIA – ‘Live at Barton Hill Youth Club 1977’


Recorded by Simon Edwards live in 1977 and Mastered by Steve Street.


Released with the permission of Simon Edwards


In the wide open spaces of Clifton live The Media.  Which is fairly surprising, seeing that Clifton is full of OAP’s, trendies and intellectuals.  Not the type of area that a ‘new wave’ band might revolve themselves around.  But it holds one of the best ‘new wave’ bands in Bristol.


The Media are a five piece band, who base their music directly around the guitar and strong tunes.  Their music is extremely energetic and perfect for live performances: in fact, the perfect live band.  The band seem to have a great understanding with each other in their playing and projection of their songs.  The rhythm section is tight and the guitars intermingle beautifully.  The vocals take pride of place: a mixture of the nonsensical, amorous, ordinary and serious.


And that’s all pretty good really, when you realise the band, in its present form, have only been together since February of this year.  The line-up is now, Bob – (vocals, 20), John – (guitar, vocals 20), Nick – (guitar – 20), Rachel – (bass, vocals, 18), and Thos – (drums – 24).  They all look extremely normal; Rachel being a surrogate Siouxsie.


ARC108 – THE PRIMATES – ‘Live at the Dug Out Club Bristol 1977’


Recorded live by Simon Edwards and mastered by Steve Street.


The Line up:

Johnny Britton – Guitar, Voice

John Shennan – Bass, Voice

JJ – Drums

Released with the permission of Johnny Britton.

ARC109 – JOE PUBLIC – ‘Live at Bristol University 1978’

Recorded live by Simon Edwards and mastered by Steve Street.

I went to Cotham School from 1974-1979- it was an awful place academically but an inspirational place if you were a young musician.

There were members of the Cortinas and the Pop Group –two years older than me- and after seeing the Cortinas supporting Television and Blondie at the Colston Hall in 1977 and then seeing band members back in the playground the next day!-I decided that, this was going to be my life.

I was still at Cotham School when this version of Joe Public was formed- but there had been an earlier version with Philip Price (later of the Untouchables) on drums and Julian Griffiths on bass together with singer Kevin Leadbetter- we had done a couple of Steve Street demos and a few gigs courtesy of John Hewitt of New Bristol Records,the highlight of which was supporting Generation X at the Yate Stars and Stripes Club.

We were all at the age when you decide to leave school to get a job or stay on and this is the reason that I lost this rhythm section.

Shortly after this, I met Sean McLusky who had moved to Bristol to attend Bower Ashton Art College-he was stopping people in the street that looked likely to be musicians to invite them to a rehearsal/jam  that he had organised with a view to getting himself into a band.

He ran into myself-a fellow nutcase dressed in a sixties suit on a boiling hot July day 1978 and that was the beginning of a partnership that lasted through fourteen years and several acts (Johnny Britton, Subway Sect, JoBoxers, Sandie Shaw & If?).

Sean quickly recruited bassman Mike Smith who he had played with before in the Midlands- they were both excellent musicians and we became a very tight outfit.

We played wherever we could, and cut two records (Hotel Rooms and Hermans back) before splitting-in those days everyone swapped girlfriends and bands every few months!

I later formed another version with John Shennan (The Spics) on vocals and Geoff Allsop (Glaxo Babies-see what I mean!) on drums and we put out a live recording on The Bristol Recorder.

I was still only eighteen and by now I had played everywhere in Bristol (at least twice) and I felt the need to move on, so when I got a call from (the Bernie Rhodes managed) Johnny Britton (formerly of the Primates) in 1980 inviting me to move to London to play for him, I was off like a hare (still there 29 years later).

Nearly everyone that I had known in Bristol joined me within a year, sadly breaking up most of the bands from that era in the process.

Ten years later in 1988, Kevin Leadbetter was signed to Virgin France under the solo name ‘Euston Jones’ and this line-up reformed in Paris and we spent a hilarious month rehearsing and recording an album.

I am still in touch with Kevin, Mike and Sean-my good mates.

(Rob Marche)

Released with the permission of Rob March and Mike Smith

ARC110 – HEADLINES – ‘Leaving The Island’ep

 Recorded at Sound Conception by Kenny Wheeler circa 1977/78

Headlines was the first “rock” band formed by Martin Moss who had previously
played in the acoustic/folk environment.

The first incarnation was:

Martin Moss, Guitar Vocals.
Harris Northover, Guitar.
Colin Hendy, bass.
Rob John, Drums.
Colin was replaced by Gregg King, who also added Harmonies.

They recorded four tracks at Sound Conception for which they brought in
Guitarist Larry Newman, later of Chase The Fade.
After which Guitarist Mike Kimber was added.

Mastered by Steve Street.

Released with the permission of Martin Moss


Tropical Hearts Line-up(s)Sian


Ellis-Thomas. Vocals.
Ali Daw. Vocals.
Paul Smith. Bass. Replaced by Phil Francis.
John Simpson. Drums, percussion. Replaced by Will Ng. Replaced by Franko
Ted Fitzgerald. Keyboard. (final line-up only)


and Ali were
working on a separate project but were convinced to join.
Paul left for a spell of VSO and was replaced by Phil Francis.
John opted out and later joined Chase The Fade, to be replaced by Will Ng,
who went on to join Head, and was replaced by Franko Tizi.
For the last leg of the band’s existence Ted Fitzgerald was recruited on
Tropical Hearts disbanded after one last push, recording Three tracks at The
Wool hall with
Steve Street
Engineering/producing and a final gig at what
was then called The Studio.
Known musical activities of members:.
Martin Moss. The Whole Band, The Loose String Band and MHW.
Rob Williams. Wise Children, MHW.
Paul Smith. The Whole Band, Kate McLaren Trio.


Mastered by Steve Street.

Released with the permission of Martin Moss


ARC112 – THE DELEGATES –‘Shelter From The Hard Rain’


Now then: 1987, 4 blokes travelled from Pontypridd to set up camp in Bristol to become rock stars.


Pete Gould, (little Pete) Pete Giles (Big Pete), Jon Sharp and Dave Salisbury found various bedsits in the city and set about world domination.


Drinking one afternoon in the Bierkeller, they came across Nick Gutfreund playing pool. He could play saxophone, he also had a company estate car and could build the best combustibles whilst driving. He was in, The Delegates were born.


Mastered by Steve Street

Thanks to Pete Giles for all his help and permission


ARC113 – THE NUMBERS – ‘Alternative Suicide’


Nick McAuley
Angelo Bruschini
Wayne Kingston
Lee Gardener

Bowie influnced new wave – way ahead of their time. The band recorded for Heartbeat Records, regrettably their only output at the time was a track on the Avon Calling LP and another on the 4 Alternatives EP. Angello Bruschini later joined the Rimshots, The Blue Aeroplanes and currently plays guitar with Massive Attack.

This album has been compiled from demos recorded by Steve Street at GBH Sudios and kept by Simon Edwards of Heartbeat Records, we thank Simon for granting permission to use the tracks plus Alternative Suicide and Cross Slide from the Heartbeat back catalogue.

Massive thanks to Wayne Kingston and Angello Bruschini for agreeing to the album being released.

Mastered by Steve Street July 2009

Released with the permission and support of Angello, Wayne and Lee


ARC114 – THE RIMSHOTS – ‘Spitting Out Sparks


It’s a weird feeling writing this biog because for months now I’ve been pleading, begging or just plain asking musicians from the dark era (1977 onwards) to write stories for me to go along side their re releases on the Archive. Some people find it extremely easy others have only got not only writers block but also a COMPLETE MEMORY BLOCK!


Let’s see what I can remember about THE RIMSHOTS.


We came from North Avon as it was known back then in the late 70’s, most of us went to the same school, The Ridings High in Winterbourne. I’d formed the original line-up straight after my school band Mike and The Mole men had split up and we rehearsed in a Scout Hut in Coalpit Heath, funny enough right across the road from Speed’s house who was later to form a great Bristol Goth band – Necromancy…………………


Released and compiled by Mike Darby




There are no new videos this month but we will have Talisman coming your way in the coming months from RPM. If anyone reading this news has any VHS or Betamax videos at home with Bristol bands on them please get in touch and we will digitalise them for you.




Many new pictures added to the individual releases but we always looking for more – please get in touch – we are still working on a book on the scene 1977 – 1984 but we need more fab pics and the input of some of the top photographers in Bristol during that era.

Please get in touch




Amazing stories added from………


BRISTOL BEAT by Martin Elliott


I moved to Bristol in 1976 to attend Bristol Polytechnic or as it is known now, UWE.  I had lived in Devon during my teen years and had promoted bands (mainly school associates) in town and village halls.  I provided the music in-between the bands with my double vinyl decks and 100 watts of power.  One summer gig raised an audience of over 400 people – not bad for a promoter aged sixteen.


So, I was keen to pursue more musical activities on arriving in Bristol.  Attending gigs was vital and gradually I met like minded folk, musicians, record shop assistants and those keen to become local label makers.  The days were exciting since the punk and new wave buzz was having a dramatic effect on the burgeoning local bands and you sensed it might spill over to bigger things.  At UWE I had a DJ Friday evening residency where I would play the new wave favourites – Eddie & The Hotrods, Clash, Jam, Buzzcocks, Dr. Feelgood, local bands such as The Cortinas, Social Security and even slyly interplay fast r’n’b from the ‘sixties (Rolling Stones, Who and Pretty Things) but you still needed the disco favourites to appease the crowd.  So I felt it was time to get back into promoting bands and I needed a venue.  It was the summer of 1979…….



I’ve been promising Mr Archive some words on Fried Egg Records for some months now. I started but couldn’t finish, writer’s block of some kind.  Just how far back do you go in your mind to get to the origins of something you started 30 years ago ?  The wind up gramophone your granny bought you when you were 9 years old. The best concert you ever saw in your life – The Stax Roadshow (Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Arthur Conley, Booker T and the MG’s et al) at the Colston Hall when you were 16 years old ?  the list could continue, mixing love of music and Bristol but it was something posted (Thanks Dave Alex Riddett) on Facebook yesterday that reminded me of what was probably the true spark of Fried Egg Records. Some photos taken at the Ashton Court FREE Festival 1977 of The Crystal Theatre of the Saint’s musical set being interrupted by the ‘Spivs from Space’, a street theatre pisstake of Close Encounters. It was the first time Crystal Theatre had incorporated a band into their theatrical repertoire, one of those seminal moments, and I wasn’t even there…..




PDF Downloads of Daves fanzine featuring interviews with PIGBAG, SHOES FOR INDUSTRY, MAXIMUM JOY,ELECTRIC GUITARS AND TALISMAN






Martin was a key person involved with The Bristol Recorder albums circa 1980 and now books the bands for the Glastonbury Festival




The Wild Bunch / Massive Attack – KEY FIGURE!


Great interview taken from the K7 Records website




The Wild Bunch were a sound system outfit based in the St Pauls district of Bristol, England from 1983 to 1986. The group was renowned for playing sets that drew large crowds on the club scene and had performed shows as far away as London. They performed in soundclashes against other Bristol sound systems. The Wild Bunch’s sound incorporated a wide and disparate variety of musical styles – an unusual thing at the time. Their shows included elements of punk, R&B and reggae, with a focus on slower rhythms and ambient electronic atmospheres that would become a cornerstone of the Bristol sound, more popularly known as trip-hop. They were a key member of what became the Bristol underground scene.



Story written by Pete – Bristol Blues and Roots


Born in the multiracial mash-up of it’s riotous inner city zone St Pauls, Bristol’s music scene fused a potent brew of reggae and punk, wrapped itself in maternal bass for protection and sailed into the future with Smith & Mighty, The Wild Bunch and more……….




Eight new MP3’s added to the site




New information added on the following Bristol Record Labels:









Regretably no new designs this month but we are working on it – please check out for the story so far……





Information added on one of Bristols favourites – THE MOONFLOWERS


BANDS 1979 – 1981


CHAOS UK added:


Chaos UK are an English hardcore punk band formed in 1979 in Portishead,near Bristol. They played fast sloppy hardcore punk rock initially. Consisting of Simon on vocals Andy on guitar Kaos on bass and Potts on drums (although they have been through many different line ups over the years with Kaos and Gabba as the only consistent members). Their lyrics deal with topics such as unemployment, economic recession, drinking, killing babies, distrust of government, the police, and authority in general.






THE BEST OF FRIED EGG RECORDS ( Bristol 1979-1980)


The Stingrays play in Bristol again supporting Subway Sect at The Thunderbolt Saturday September 12th – not to be missed is the other support band – THE PIGS ( They haven’t played together since 1977) check it out at

We are currently working on a series of cd releases for the new year

The Best of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979-1980) sleeve notes by Andy Leighton

Avon Calling 2 – compiled by Simon Edwards as the follow to the now legendary first album

Bristol – The Punk Explosion





That’s all folks.


Mike and the team.


All the updates should be live on the site mid September at the latest


Social Security – Album ‘Arley Hill’ – Released August 31st 2009

Thursday, August 27th, 2009


Simon and myself had met when we were both around 12 years old. We’d both been expelled from local public boy’s schools unable to adhere to the regimes and doctrines of a private education. A career in banking, the military or the city didn’t suit our recalcitrant ways so we were sent to the local comprehensive where we were taught how to be thick.

We loved everything sixties, the clothes, the look, the songs, the bands, the T.V. the films and anything to do with Ealing Cinema.

We loved Mod, The Kinks, The Small Faces, the Who, the rebellion of it all and of course ,we loved the scooters. We were more pod than punk and more monk than mod. All our gear was sixties, AC30 and Selmer amplification, Hofner and Vox guitars, but most importantly Si had managed to get hold of a 12 string Vox pear/tear drop that he’d wanted for years. It made a dreadful noise, but our timing was impeccable.

Yeah we made a record, climbed high in some indie charts and got played by John Peel, but so did every small band in 77 and 78; That wasn’t the point of our journey. We were a tight unit that wanted a laugh and punk was our vehicle, we arrived laughing and we left laughing and we laughed all the way through. We’d always envied the movements of the sixties, the musical genres, the musicians and the memories those pop tunes must have evoked. Little did we realise that the punk movement was going to be our time and that like the kids in the 50′s when they first heard Elvis and the kids in the 60′s when they first heard The Stones and The Beatles, our memories would have equal importance.

…So there we were in the summer of 76, Peter Powell kites, skateboards, stand pipes and drought, the sky was blue and the grass was brown and the winter of discontent was just around the corner. We were kids who’d just left school. These really were the last days of our youth; our salad days. Cider, hash and sunshine, the CSE’s at the local comprehensive had promised us dead end jobs for no money and fuck were they right?

We drifted around getting up to odd bits of mischief, hanging out with other mates who had also failed miserably. Tom was another mate, he played bass and would soon go on to form The Glaxo’s. We spent our time sitting in the sun, smoking hash, drinking cider, drinking tea, swapping riffs off Revolver and waiting for Dan (the Cortinas’ drummer) to get home from school.

We waited for life to become interesting in that hideous purgatory that seemed to exist between the ages of 16 and 18. We seemed to be living in this hideous monochromed, Manichean, world of political and musical stagnation. Boredom pervaded most aspects of our lives. The ennui and the apathy of the everyday seemed to loiter around us like a bad smell. We didn’t want careers and nor did any of our mates. We were desperate for an escape.

Ironically, we’d snuck into Be Bop Deluxe one night, not a great band, way to muso-ish for us, but it was either that or The Good Life on telly. We loved live music and had seen nearly every live band that had come to The Colston Hall since 73. The Small Faces one of the highlights, but that’s another story. The fire exit doors were the weakest in town and we knew the back stage area like the backs of our hands. Tonight though was different. This particular Be Bop tour was projecting Fritz Lang’s Metropolis as a back drop while the band performed their latest album. The music became secondary to the visuals as this intertextual link towards a Marxist representation that highlighted the drudge of the everyday filled us with terror. It became, for us, a huge pre-cursor towards our later introduction to Reid’s agit-prop, God Save the Queen, situationism that apparently existed within early punk. The music was infinitely forgetful, but those dystopic nightmarish images of the underground work force shuffling to work en-masse horrified us.

And then very slowly it started to happen, rumours started coming down the M4 about some weird leather clad nutters into some strange musical genre, not violent, not too musical, just a bit odd. We didn’t really get it at first, it was all hear say based around someone who knew someone else, who had heard or seen something, who had been to a gig somewhere. And then we heard mention of the words Punk rock.

Meanwhile Si had started working in a small independent record shop owned by Bristol’s infamous Tony Dodd. I was sat at home one day minding my own business when Si turned up at my house after work with two singles under his arm; Anarchy in the U.K. and New Rose. He put them on the record player with an evil glint in his eye and a smirk that looked horribly dangerous, he placed the arm of the player on the rotating vinyl and we waited. Is she really going out with him?

And that was it really, from that point on we were fucked.

From the moment Si played New Rose on the turntable we knew what we wanted to do. We’d always had aspirations of playing rock ‘n’ roll and had dabbled with bands in the past, but this genre was different. We loved the idea of anarchy and rebellion, we just didn’t know what anarchy was. Hearing New Rose for the first time was like someone shining a light into a darkened wilderness. The glam rock that preceded punk, only seemed to paper over the cracks of a failing system, a failing government, a failing monarchy and a failing class structure. A French style revolution was unfortunately, out of the question. However, Rotten’s revolution was going to be a movement so powerful even Radio 1 disc jockeys would burn their loon pants. Apparently according to Strummer, the sixties were dead. O’Leary’s tune in, turn on, drop out dogma was to be replaced with a movement of equal influence, if only the punks rode Lambrettas.

And so to form a band. From the early days we played covers from our fave bands: The Who, The Small Faces, The Animals, Van Morrison etc, but we knew in order to take things a little further we’d have to write our own material. We’d read and understood the punk manifesto, we knew what was expected. All we needed were three chords. Some of our songs only needed two, so that saved us a chord for another song where we could use four. Some songs we used minors and others we used sevenths. We were fast becoming punk musicians. Now all we needed was a guitar tuner and most importantly: a gig.

We used to rehearse in this old mansion house over looking Durdam Downs. It was being used as a free school and the kid’s lessons consisted of building dens and smoking hash in the old quarry next to Tiffany’s night club. These kids were feral, middle class kids whose parents still adhered to the free love ethos of the sixties. These flower children of the sixties were junkies, stoners, freeloaders, lesbians and queers. Nutters the lot of them. The head mistress was some freeloading stoner who lived on the top floor of this mansion with her kids. The school cook was keith Floyd the T.V. chef. This was Bristol Bohemia at its height and these kids were bonkers, fucking bonkers. Eco-warriors, vegetarians, tree huggers, flat earthers, feminists and queers and that was just the staff. The parents were worse, this place made St Trinnians look like Eaton. Fuck me, we were rehearsing in Powys square.

There was one ray of light. They employed this old hippie musician that played in a dodgy old hippy band called The Rat Bites from Hell. He lived locally so we bullied him into giving us some guitar lessons at my house, he charged us a quid a week, fucking hippie capitalist. He was a nice guy but he had these porcine features with the sort of chubby face that you wanted to slap. He also owned an old beat up S.G. that we used to drool over. He’d show us how to play songs off our fave albums of the time, unfortunately he left Bristol and went off to London to form another hippie band with his mate who was the drummer from Spooky Tooth. They got signed and released their first single: Lovers of Today. They called themselves The Only Ones or something. We bumped into him after he got signed. He was walking around Clifton with some dodgy blonde on his arm, female as well. We grunted at each other. He clearly didn’t realise what celebrities we’d become!

Our first gig was the back room at the Bear Hotel, the venue must have held at least 30 people, we’d arrived! We did however meet some of the faces that we’d only heard about through local folklore: The kit chaps, Timmy and Lee Williams, Vernon, and Martin. These guys were nutters and we loved them. Tim wrote the local fanzine: Loaded. They supported us a lot they were good people. Check out Vern and Mart’s scream on the Pig’s first single. Possibly one of the finest moments in rock’n’roll history!! Apart from Dan Swan’s drum solo in T.V. families. Dan was 15 years old, outrageous! By chance some journo was at the gig; he photographed us and reviewed the band. We ended up with a photo and review in The NME. Considering how shite we were, this was an amazing stroke of luck. This of course cemented our punk credentials enabling us to crash every worthwhile party in town.

Our second gig was in an old pub in the depths of St Pauls: The B.Q. It was originally called The British Queens, its notoriety exacerbated by its queer clientèle. The Primates were headlining, they were a three piece with two musicians and a drummer. The drummer succumbed to a heroin overdose years later and died. John Shennan and Johnny Britten were two great musicians, they were good blokes too and told us if we turned up with our gear we could support them. So we did and that’s where we met Dartmoor John for the first time. He was called Dartmoor John cos he came from Dartmoor and his name was John. Myth had it that John had been the youngest inmate in Dartmoor Prison.

A Bristolian chancer, poor old John was never the sharpest tool in the shed. With his bleached peroxide hair and his woeful management style, John was doomed from day one. John saw punk as his chance and fancied himself as an impresario. He managed a local band called Verminx with a lead singer who called himself Leon Rebel. The lot of them didn’t last long and disappeared into obscurity. John was an amiable bloke and was happy to let us play as long as we didn’t want paying. We were cool with that, we just wanted to play. We did lots of gigs for John, more through fear than need. The B.Q. really was a shit hole, the sort of place even the hard core punks stayed away from. Suicide got the better of John in the end. What was it with suicide and punks? There’s a song title in there somewhere.

Around this time our singer Pete was offered another gig singing for an outfit called The Stingrays, so he left us. We were a bit dismayed but remained good mates. After a couple of days of soul searching Simon came up with the perfect solution. We recruited Phil who was The Cortinas’ roadie. Things as this point started to get really silly, but progressed in a really positive manner. Thanks to Phil, being in a band became brilliant fun. Phil gave us the confidence to progress to a different level musically though in truth, we were standing on the shoulders of giants who’d stood on the shoulders of giants before them. It was a huge mountain to climb, we knew that from day one. We knew that whatever we were about to achieve or try to achieve we would possibly never emulate our musical heroes; all we could do was enjoy trying and enjoy the journey. Being in the same industry was as good as it was ever going to get and for now that would have to suffice. As a band we occupied that liminal space between insignificance and total incompetence, so we decided we’d have as much fun as was humanly possible.

We tried so hard to write good songs, we robbed and plundered the greats but to no avail. So our agenda was to go to more parties, love more women and laugh more than any other band in town and that is where our success lay, we knew our place and we went for it. We were going to be The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night. The last thing we wanted was to come out of this party as bitter old has-beens.

In the world of good songwriting we were conspicuous absentees. We knew we had a year to make an impact, as it turned out we stretched our fascination to 14 months, but that really was it. There were other really good bands pushing us out of the way, check out Heartbeat’s Avon Calling compilation. None of these bands had existed when we started, yet all of these bands were equally relevant.

As one reviewer wrote, ‘Social Security, the kind of band your mates are in’, yep, harsh as it seemed at the time, that just about summed us up.

The Pop Group offered us a support at The Anson Rooms. I remember they had all this lovely brand new gear, brand new Fender, and Rickenbacker guitars, Hiwatt amplification, newly designed Sonor drums. All their clothes were brand new that week and there was us with all this beat up and battered gear that we’d dragged through the clubs of Bristol and the West Country as we begged and lied in order to play. Maybe we’d missed the point with all this punk nonsense, we thought you were meant to turn up and do it, to grab the moment by the seat of its pants, to sweat through the toil of graft and to enjoy the company of the other ‘real’ bands like The Pigs, The Cortinas and The Glaxos. Bands who were serving out their own hard fought apprenticeships. The Pop group although good mates of ours were snotty little poseurs and needed a slap, they sure in hell weren’t a punk band, or a working band come to that. The Cortinas had worked their bollocks off putting Bristol on the map, we owed it to them to put the Pop Group in their place. That night in The Anson Rooms was going to be war. It may have been their gig, but we weren’t going to stand aside while some manufactured boy band with shiny shoes, shiny guitars and shiny panties stole our thunder.

The Anson Rooms was a venue we really wanted to play, we lived literally two Streets away, this was our home and our territory. By chance, we’d recently started hanging out with an older woman who lived next to Clifton High School. She used to supply us with copious amounts of free drugs and so we moved in and spent most of our free time getting trashed. Because we lived next to the High School, we became very well acquainted with the borders and then the day girls. As time progressed and when they found out we were in a band the girls assumed we were way more established than we were and became wonderfully ‘friendly’. Because most of them were Clifton girls and the gig was in the heart of Clifton, most of the 5th and 6th formers came along. Yet again, a mixture of luck and naivety stood us in good stead. The first bit of luck was the gig, the second was not having to play first. That privilege went to Gardez Darkx who were great as usual.

We went on second and by now, the Anson Rooms was heaving. The place was packed with Students and what seemed like most of Clifton High School. When we went on stage all the girls who’d made it to the front started screaming and shouting, this created such a buzz of excitement that everyone else in the room thought we must be something special. We played a blinder, did about three encores and walked off stage as high as kites. Of course all the girls left cos they had to be home by 10.30. It was only because the venue had been in Clifton Village and at The University Union that their parents had ever let them attend. The Pop Group came on stage after us to a barely half empty room. A few of Bristol’s weirder characters at the front and that was it. Yeah okay, The pop group won the war, but that night the battle was ours. We never did get another support with them.

We were booked to do a gig on the back of a lorry by the Bristol branch of the Right To Work campaign. Huge irony considering we didn’t work, didn’t want to work and had no intention of working. To be honest, the only employed person on the lorry was the drive and he was probably working for cash on the side. The plan was we were going to drive around the job centres of South Bristol playing punk while some retard, spotty, Eaton educated, landed, left wing, University student broadcast his Marxist beliefs and dogma through a megaphone to a poorly educated underclass of unemployed South Bristolians. Hey, it was a gig! We met this skinny, spotty, radical at the University Union, jumped onto the back of a lorry and drove to St Judes to pick up another band and their gear. We didn’t know who this band was, and they certainly didn’t know us. We loaded up the lorry and off we drove, them at one end of the lorry scowling at us, and us at the other end scowling at them. Myth number two dispelled: The punk movement was not a gigantic, hippy type, happy family.

As we drove through Bristol’s former industrial, working class, heartlands, the spotty student started ranting. Right to work this and right to work that, anti-racism this and anti-racism that, this guy was beginning to get on our tits, the more he ranted the more matey we became with the other band. He was another idiot that needed a good working class working over! His accent couldn’t have been more R.P. if he’d tried, he didn’t so much have a plum in his mouth as a plum stuck right up his arse. (He probably got a first class degree, joined the Tory party, and became a M.P. For Henley-on-Thames). This coupled with the bollocks he was spouting began to make us start taking the piss. Within half an hour the X-Certs were our best mates.

The culmination of the days ‘work’ was the lorry driving down Nelson Street, the epicentre of Bristol’s unemployed, while The X-Certs played live, belting out vile, hideous, extremely offensive punk. Office workers hung out of the windows as the sound of Bristol punk echoed around the narrow, medieval streets of town. We stopped outside Bristol’s premier dole office as The X-Certs thrashed out their message to the unemployed. People piled out of the dole office, kids piled out of Mad Harry’s and the coppers up for bit of Seventies style, sweeny-esque agro crashed out of Bridewell police station. It all went off. Coppers everywhere, kids on the lorry, helmets on the floor, the unemployed fighting, the student protesting, but the band played on. Fucking chaos, it was brilliant. It was just like The Tote End turning over Harry the Dog when Millwall turned up mob handed to take on The Gas.

We timed our exit to perfection, grabbed our instruments, jumped off the lorry and fucked off. At a safe distance we looked back and witnessed the mayhem, what a laugh; this was why we joined a band. Everyone was having a brilliant time. We ran home and waited. The late edition Evening Post carried the story. ‘Chaos on the streets of Bristol’, Rock ‘n’ roll!

So there we had it, The Pigs, The Sex Pistols and The Cortinas split up, the party was over. Humour evaporated into a consumerist nightmare where the commodification of punk had Marks and Spencer and their high street accomplices selling punk ideals to a homogenized never land. Top of the pops played the Pistols and Mohicans sold their identities to the tourists on The Kings Road, Individuality was lost, and the rock steady beat moved onto Mod. Strummer’s didacticism was so pseudo, it started to tarnish what was meant to be good fun. I didn’t need to be preached too, I’d been brought up a catholic and could smell bullshit from a hundred meters. I wasn’t in the mood to have some dodgy cockney junkie telling me I didn’t need to hear the call up, that was just bollocks.


Punk evolved into New Wave and the Boomtown Rats got to number one. Sorry mate, this wasn’t why we got into music. We didn’t want to be associated with some dodgy, pikie, tinker telling us our record was ‘the sound of Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle’. The fucking cheek of it, we weren’t that good. Besides, rumours were coming down the M5 about some bands in Coventry and a couple of kids on Lambert Li’s all mirrored up started to look and sound infinitely more fun than Doing The Rat. We needed to catch a fast boat to Cairo, cos an earthquake was erupting. If we hung around this town any longer we’d be stuck with having to listen to the Pop Group, Y? I hear you ask, exactly, so we fucked off. We let The Pop Group and The Wurzels carve up The West Country between them.

(Dom and Simon – Social Security – June 2009)

Talisman Album Reviews

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Takin’ the Strain (Bristol Archive, 2008 [org. released 1982])

Talisman was a multiracial British reggae band that gained quite a following around its home base in Bristol, England in the early ’80s. During this fertile time in UK reggae, acts like Aswad, Steel Pulse, UB40, Matumbi, Misty In Roots and Black Slate were making headlines, while Talisman remained more of a regional draw. Their anonymity wasn’t due to a lack of talent or quality material, though. Their sound is comparable to these more well-known groups, mixing the pop accessibility of UB40 with the UK lovers rock tradition of Matumbi and the more edgy roots of Misty In Roots or early Steel Pulse and Aswad. Takin’ the Strain features three of Talisman’s best tracks: the funky Aswad-y roots of “Ah Wah You Seh,” the harmonic yet politically biting “What a Calamity” and the quirky, digi-synth “I’m Sorry,” which incorporates video game sounds, explosions and all manner of offbeat effects. Also strong is the title track and the soulful Third World sound of “Stride On.” Really, the only misfire is “Burn the Bread,” a cringe-worthy early rap song that earns an “A” for innovation but an “F” for the resulting ear damage. Despite this bump in the road, Takin’ the Strain is a wonderful snapshot of the extremely enjoyable ’80s reggae sound. Rediscovering a group like Talisman is like finding a forgotten $20 bill in your jeans. Now, go use that $20 to buy this album, stat! Learn more at


Track Listing
1. Takin’ the Strain
2. Crime of Passion
3. Lick & Run
4. Ah Wah You Seh
5. Lord of Dance
6. Stride On
7. I’m Sorry
8. Calamity
9. Burn the Bread 

Jam Rock (Bristol Archive, 2008 [orig. released 1985])

Although not quite as strong as Takin’ the Strain, Jam Rock is a strong album that provides a fuller representation of the group’s sound, incorporating pop (“Crime of Passion,” “Lick & Run”), lovers rock (“Call on Me,””Those Problems”) and edgier roots (“Big Ship,” “Look Weh a Gwan”). Strangely, three of the tracks from Takin’ the Strain are repeated here: “Crime of Passion,” “Lick an Run” (AKA “Like & Run”) and “Disco Queen” (AKA “Lord of Dance”). Highlights include the more pure roots of “Big Ship” and the bouncy yet militant “Rock for the Nation.”


Live Bath 1981 (Bristol Archive, 2008)

This live set from Talisman was recorded in 1981 at Bath University and was previously unreleased — an amazing fact, since this could very well be the band’s best album. There are no weak spots to be found on this blistering showcase for the Talisman’s skills. Live will no doubt appeal to the more hadcore roots reggae fans, as it features a darker, edgier sound that Talisman’s studio releases — although there’s still a melodic accessibility to the material. Musky saxophone riffs permeate the atmospheric tracks, giving it an early (pre-”Red Red Wine”) UB40 sound. The song titles — from “Wicked Dem” to “Free Speech” to “Slow Poison” — indicate the heavier mood and lyrical content. “Dole Age,” the group’s first single, has a buoyant singalong chorus that’s subverted by a brilliant sufferer’s message packaged as a plea from people trying to beg their way into a concert that they can’t afford. “Nothing Change” is an atmospheric chant bemoaning, “Every day’s the same: nothing change.” “Free Speech” is an uptempo, urgent track about struggle and oppression. “Words of Wisdom” is a 14-minute tour-de-force warning of false propecies and bridge burnings. Only “Run Come Girl” has more lighthearted, partying lyrics, although it’s still got an edgier sound than most of the group’s other recorded work. Live Bath 1981 is a long lost gift for roots fans. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.


All the above reviews taken from

Takin’ the Strain




Andy Leighton’s Fried Egg Records Story

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I’ve been promising Mr Archive some words on Fried Egg Records for some months now. I started but couldn’t finish, writer’s block of some kind.  Just how far back do you go in your mind to get to the origins of something you started 30 years ago ?  The wind up gramophone your granny bought you when you were 9 years old. The best concert you ever saw in your life – The Stax Roadshow (Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Arthur Conley, Booker T and the MG’s et al) at the Colston Hall when you were 16 years old ?  the list could continue, mixing love of music and Bristol but it was something posted (Thanks Dave Alex Riddett) on Facebook yesterday that reminded me of what was probably the true spark of Fried Egg Records. Some photos taken at the Ashton Court FREE Festival 1977 of The Crystal Theatre of the Saint’s musical set being interrupted by the ‘Spivs from Space’, a street theatre pisstake of Close Encounters. It was the first time Crystal Theatre had incorporated a band into their theatrical repertoire, one of those seminal moments, and I wasn’t even there.


I arrived in Bristol later that year exhausted and burnt out from London where I’d spent the last 2 years editing and publishing that famous anarcho-hippie rag, IT. Previous to that I’d been an independent Record Producer in the good old days when you could make the record, invent a band name, knock on the door of the A&R dept like a brush salesman and sell your record; sort of the reverse of what Simon Cowell is doing today. It was fun at the time, John Peel got it and played most of our novelty output, and my proudest moment was when we sold our summer surfer record to Micky Most’s RAK label only to get swamped out that summer by the Rubettes’ ‘Sugar Baby Love’. Perhaps our surfer record entitled ‘Tuff Little Surfer Boy’ by Truth and Beauty was just too much out of line; The second verse went “If Jesus was to come again, he’d come on a board/ No need to walk on water when there’s surf for our Lord”. Various factors made me decide to ‘retire’ from the music biz after about 4 years. Firstly I’d never been able to take the music biz seriously for any length of time, there were too many assholes involved and I didn’t want to become one of them and finally another record label owner of similar stature to Micky Most had decided to close down his label because it was costing him too much money to buy his records into the charts ! Time to bid farewell to the music biz or so I thought.


I’d become friends with Crystal Theatre a few years before I settled in Bristol. I’d seen a double header of their shows at the ICA in London in 1976 ‘Rooms’ and ‘Ideas are Animals’ and it had blown my mind. A visiting American theatre critic thought pretty much the same. There were only two pieces of theatre worth seeing in London and one of them was the Crystal Theatre she wrote “…they are making these incredible bricks with little or no straw. They receive no funding from the Arts Council and they are all on the dole.” And that was why Paul B. Davies, leading light of the Crystals, came knocking on my door, the Arts Council did in fact want to give them money but wouldn’t do so until they had an administrator, apparently I fitted the bill. Eventually I succumbed to Paul’s pleas and the next thing I can remember is going through the budget for a week long gig at the Festival of Death at a theatre in Rotterdam, Holland. The numbers didn’t add up, The Crystals had incorporated 2 musical numbers into ‘The Secret Garden’, the show they were taking to Holland, and we couldn’t afford to take all the band members at which point Paul turns to me and says you can play guitar can’t you and suddenly I’ve become a guitarist/administrator, the two songs from the ‘Secret Garden’ sound pretty good and a bit punky and there I am again sitting around thinking up names for a band. In the two years since I left the music biz, Malcolm MacClaren, Rough Trade and Stiff Records amongst others had turned things upside down and it seemed perfectly natural to record, release and live the rock ‘n roll dream DIY style.


Some friends of mine, two brothers, Chris and Anthony David owned a basement recording studio off Ashley Road, Sound Conception, which is where we recorded the first Shoes for Industry and Fried Egg single. The resident engineer was Ken Wheeler, drummer with another band , The Wild Beasts, who recorded the second Fried Egg single. I can’t remember who chose the name Fried Egg but I’m pretty sure it was Ken who became a lynch pin of Fried Egg not only as recording engineer/producer but as art director for the label and sleeves. Third single was by The Fans, George Smith’s outfit, through the Sound Conception connection and so on, that’s how it started with Sound Conception as the base of operations. Gerard Langley has written about the Fried Egg output elsewhere so I don’t feel the need to add to his words of wisdom only to say that who would have predicted back in 1979 that of all the Fried Egg Artists it would be Gerard who had the best trajectory and longevity. Not bad for a humble poet. Hats off to you mate.


I’ll also doff my hat to all those promoters of live music in Bristol at the time, mainly Mark Simpson and his never ending Ashton Court FREE Festival benefit gigs that kept all the Bristol bands live and kicking and competing with each other in friendly rivalry. Also those Laurel and Hardy look-alikes , Martin Elbourne and Dave Cohen, President and Social Sec of Bristol University Union respectively, who sent us off round the country on the ‘Be Limp’ tour (crazy name, crazy people). The first gig was at Oxford Poly, rough and tough with gobbing and stage invasions, I remember bouncing for the Spics during their set as the allure of the  Spicettes drew too many admirers on stage. It certainly sharpened up Shoes for Industry’s act and probably the other bands as well with plenty of Spinal Tap memories along the way. And that was probably the key to the Bristol music scene at that time, plenty of gigs and the freedom of expression that went with it. Juan Foote ‘n the Grave predating the Blues Brothers, the Untouchables more energised than the original Dr Feelgood, The Spics with the best Springsteen cover ever, Fire; the psychobilly punk of the Stingrays, the neo modness of Joe Public, the slickness of Various Artists, the danceability of the Art Objects to name but a few. Variety being the spice of life and the best formula for a party and no need to listen to demo tapes when you could see the band live.  Some years later in an interview in Time Out magazine on the release of their second album Massive Attack were asked the question – It’s 3 years since the success of your debut album don’t you feel any pressure ? The reply – ‘No that’s the best thing about living in Bristol, all that bullshit passes you by’. The rest of the world may have taken the view that we all had straw behind our ears but actually we were secretly having a ball, maybe it’s a west coast thing.


Whilst all this was going on Crystal Theatre continued their theatre activities in parallel to Shoes for Industry. We occupied a wedge shaped victorian warehouse building at the Temple Meads end of Victoria Street built in the Bristol Byzantine Style and we used to rehearse and preview our theatre shows there before going out on tour. So it seemed the logical progression to put on gigs there as well. Although I say it myself, at the time it was the best party in town and totally illegal with no music or booze licence whatsoever, a warehouse rave. This is where we got Trevor Horn of Buggles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Seal fame to see Various Artists for the second time, he wanted to sign them and record them. This was the hope for most aspiring record labels to take it to the next level that one of their acts would break out big time. We had no trouble shifting enough records to cover costs and pay for the next release as the indie distribution network was strong and varied at the time. A play on John Peel helped but a spin on Geoff Travis’s turntable at Rough Trade was usually the key and the first port of call, if he took a few hundred you could go up the road to Spartan records who distributed UB40 and say Rough Trade just took x amount and they’d usually take the same. Also a call at Virgin’s import/export company Caroline Records would mean your records could be in New York record stores the next day. We used another export company for Europe and a couple of other London distributors and of course good old Revolver Records in Bristol for Wales and the West and all from the back of my battered Volvo Estate. But the dream remained for a break out band, unfortunately Jonjo of Various Artists turned Trevor Horn’s overtures down and the main chance was gone. I’ve always been fascinated by ‘artistic integrity’ and have nothing but respect for it however perverse it may seem. What you have to remember at all times in the music biz or any form of the arts is that the raw materials you are working with are human beings and there’s nothing so queer as folk. Or, as Jean Paul Sartre said rather more brutally ‘Hell is other people’.


Could this have been the beginning of the end ? Maybe but it was really the state of Crystal Theatre that determined the demise of Fried Egg Records from my point of view. On the eve of their tenth anniversary the funding from the Arts Council seemed to be having a reverse effect, the spark was gone and an implosion was occurring. I can’t remember the exact moment when Fried Egg records ceased to be active, the last single being The Electric Guitars but I can remember the moment when in December 1981, in London at the New End Theatre in Hampstead, I started calling round cancelling the few January dates that were left of the Crystal Theatre’s last theatre tour. Sometimes you just know when a good thing has come to an end and it’s time to move on. What had started out as a bit of vanity publishing, albeit of the audio variety, for Crystal Theatre had turned into a vinyl snapshot of Bristol in the late 1970’s. The fact that Heartbeat and Wavelength were doing the same thing at the same time just proves how strong the Bristol music scene was back then.


It was a couple of years later when I noticed the writing on the wall on the corner of Meridian Place and Park Place in Clifton , a massive colourful Wild Bunch graffiti.  Something fresh was stirring in the Mild Mild West.


( Andy Leighton, August 2009 – Founder of Fried Egg Records)