Bristol Archive Records Blog


Here’s an extract from The Primates biography:

And so all too soon The Primates upped instruments and followed the road to London, partly in that ambitious career gambit to ‘make it’, more basically though just to keep the band together, because Jon Shennan was beginning a degree course at London Bedford College in Regents Park.

So the first weeks of Jon’s illustrious academic career were aided and abetted by Johnny, JJ and notorious pal BEN HUNT all sharing Jon’s college room near Regents Park. Not a charming proposition, really, and cue here many dark tales of unspeakable poverty, cheerful hedonism and general degeneracy in a room for one shared by four.

The Primates managed little from that point on…some London connections got made, Bernie Rhodes remained a friend; various gigs were played – support slots, mostly, to bands like Generation X at The Vortex…hardly the pinnacle of rock’n’roll.

Simply hanging out at the famed Clash rehearsal space was also an achievement of its own. The glamour of the place, in all of its dank Victorian squalor, is hard to describe, hard to understand, but it had a glamour nevertheless, and inspired Johnny, for one, towards the life in rock’n’roll that he subsequently took.

But all too soon, game for a laugh as our heroes may have been, the abject poverty and slow progress of band promotion got the better of all concerned and Johnny and JJ returned to Bristol at the end of 1977 and The Primates were no more.

Life went on for all three of our heroes and both Johnny and Jon played in many later bands, initially Bristol-connected and then farther afield.

Johnny joined Bristol punks The Media, then formed The Tesco Chainstore Massacre and The Spics, subsequently moving to London to tour with Orange Juice and then launched a solo career managed by Bernie Rhodes. Johnny Britton is a legend in his own lunchtime, a man of a thousand stories and the subject of a biography to come…

Jon Shennan also joined The Spics and added a brilliant individuality to every band he worked with. Jon’s left-handed bass-playing and genuinely emotive voice gave a definite ring of Macca to him and the last time Johnny recalls seeing Jon was when he dropped round to his London flat in the late ‘eighties to ask if there was a Beatles wig he could borrow because he was about to audition for The Bootleg Beatles…

And JJ, turned himself into a genuine party legend, sadly now not a living one, and he is missed…
Taken from:…/The_Primates_Bio.html

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