Many thanks to Zoot Piranha for sending me the demos that Steve Bearsdley made of Smartees songs all the way from New York City!
I can't think why Steve did it; Zoot says we were looking for another drummer to stand in because our existing drummer Ricky couldn't do the gigs. But I think I might also have left the band by then; who knows? It was before I really wrote songs; Thrush was there but Let's Make Up!, which I wrote with Tracy, wasn't.
The Smartees was the band that I was in between Joby and the Hooligans and The Chefs. It was started by Joby, who wanted a band like The Monkees, and it had drifting personnel. I played bass, Steve and Carl played guitar, Tracy and Joby sang, and Ricky played drums. People used to leap on stage from the audience and join in with the singing, which I remember enjoying a lot; there was a darker side because there were a lot of collapsing relationships in the band which is probably why the content of the songs moved from the political to the personal.
Zoot reminded me of just how busy The Piranhas were as a band back then- endless gigging with no break. I don't think they ever really got their due as a band. At early gigs, Madness used to come along and beg for a support slot, but the Piranhas manager wouldn't let them do it for some reason. You can definitely hear the influence on Madness of the early Piranhas explorations of reggae rhythms. Isn't that strange? Madness are seen as one of the quintessential examples of the processing of reggae by a young British band in the late 1970s and early 1980s, yet it was a little Brighton band that provided a lot of the inspiration for that.
While we are on bands... I went to see Offsprog One's band Royal Limp last night at a Dalston warehouse event that was really good fun. There were lots of artists playing and Royal Limp played a short, neat set that revealed a lot of progress since the last time I saw them about a year ago. they were much tighter and more direct and the new song was brilliant. They play songs very heavily influenced (to these ears) by the dronier side of the Velvet Underground; one audience member described them as 'not as miserable as The Fall', which they definitely aren't. Andy, the lead singer has a very amenable stage presence, for a start, and to these ears The Fall sound like chaos of the most pretentious order. Sorry if you're a Fall fan reading this, but I used to teach a PR person who worked for Mark E Smith and anyone who directs nastiness at working people in manual trades is a rat, a prat, a gnat and a tw.... well you get my drift. Not fair game.
Back to the positive side of things: Andy says they are due to do some recording soon and that's very good news.
Ok, ok, ok, back to marking essays, which I've been doing in one-hour chunks ever since 8.30 a.m. this morning. Could this be counted as a spiritual Sunday activity? I don't think so. Tell you later.