Friday, 27 January 2012

1979 Snips wedding, Adam Ant, Lou Reed, Link Wray, 9 O'clock

January 11th Snips and I are at De Lane Lea recording studios in Wembley where he is producing Adam and the Ants 'Xerox Machine', good track. My assistance is largely as chauffeur, although occasional opinion is required. Snips thinks the intro is too long and suggests they cut a couple of bars out, this was not as easy as you might think. Snips asks the Ants who were baffled by the suggestion, 'How do you know how long the intro is?  How many bars do you count?'  'Don't know, it's when Adam nods his head.'  It was a long but productive night and we finish it off with a massive snowball fight in the car park.

We go to see Adam play at the Electric Ballroom in Camden a few days later, I've seen them a few times, it was OK, but not the best.

Brian Holloway, John Bentley, Snips
Snips and I are back out playing, this time we have a scaffolding stage set. The first gig is the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith (23rd January), where I think the photo is taken. It goes well and is nice to be out there again after a few months off. With Mother Superior there was never any time off, now there seems to be quite a lot.

A short UK tour follows, the weather is dreadful, we're booked to play the Mayflower Club in Manchester, we have the perfect combination of blizzard and bus strike, miraculously we arrive on time but it looks like no one else will so decide to cancel it just as a lone punter turns up. We ask him if he wants us to play, or would he prefer to go home while he still can? He's happy to stay and what a fabulous audient he turned out to be, he loved it, clapped and whistled after every number, at the end we all applauded him. What a great guy.

On 16th February we do the Andy Peebles show, including some new songs '9 O/clock', 'Flow my Tears' and 12 O/clock' plus we do 'Music Breakout', I love this song.

Jackie and Snips get married
Things are moving fast, but even I didn't see this one coming - Snips and I are getting married. The first day of spring comes around - it's warm and sunny, many friends and family come to the wedding, various parents, brothers, Jackie Crew, John Bentley, Simon Etchell, Steve Lillywhite, Chasie from Blood Donor is Snips' best man. From the Registry Office we all go back to the Shepherd's Bush flat for champagne and cake from Patisserie Valerie. When the car arrives to take us to Gatwick - we are honeymooning in Lanzarote, (suggested by Lillywhite) we look at the flat that is heaving with drunken guests. Waving goodbye, we wonder what we will come back to. Luckily Snips' mum is there to clear up the aftermath.

 A bit of an, 'are we meant to be this close to the water?' moment on landing - runway on beach.  Although take off even more thrilling - flying straight at the volcano. Lanzarote in 1979 is still fairly unspoilt, fascinating and volcanic. We're having a look round the hotel and find a bunch of English people in the 'TV room' watching 321 in Spanish, I don't suppose it mattered it's incomprehensible whatever language it's in. To make sure we didn't end up in the TV room we hired a VW Beetle and went to see the island, a wild and atmospheric place, black sand, Timanfaya the volcano where you get eggs boiled for free. Eating was tricky though - I was vegetarian, Snips wasn't, rarely could we eat in the same place unless it was pizza. 

Soon it was time to head for the volcano and back to Shepherd's Bush for some married life. We are back in time to see Lou Reed at the Hammersmith Odeon. We've also got tickets for the legend that is Link Wray - at The Venue in Victoria

Jackie, Snips, Mark and Holly

Me and Snips share the same birthday, we have a party in our garden in Shepherd's Bush, my old pal Holly is around and comes with her boyfriend Mark Knopfler...

Jackie with Joe Public
While Snips is planning his next onslaught on the music industry, I need to find some work so I join a heavy metal band called Joe Public (many bands had this name) this line-up was Hutch Hutchinson (guitar), James Covington (guitar), Rob Simons (vocals) and Roger Hunt (drums). We do a lot of rehearsing, but not many gigs after a change of drummer and not much else I leave, was good experience though and left me with a great appreciation for ZZ Top.

Ooh Al Green at The Venue, have to see this and we do. His band has that amazing albino guy on the Hammond and a bodyguard dressed in a black suit who stands on stage to give Al his towel when he feels the need. Me and Snips make our way down to the front and are standing right by the stage. Al looks down at us, points at me and says 'Hot to trot.' I have to assume that the later to be Reverend Green knew of what he spoke. Take me to the river!

The need to have a medium scale bass is upon me and in September I visit the guitar maker Chris Eccleshall, we chat over pick ups, design, types of wood and away he goes. I'm real excited but of course I have to wait.

In October the record company realises what a truly great song Nine O'Clock is and decide to put it out as a single.  We (Snips, Midge, me and Steve Young) record it at Matrix Studios with Midge Ure producing. It gets a fabulous review from Julie Birchill on its release.  The record company pay for a video to be made and Snips comes up with the  idea of just going out on the street, singing the song while being filmed by advertising director Roger Lunn.  They go to lots of well known places in central London - Berwick Street Market, Piccadilly Circus, get chucked out of MacDonalds, the National Gallery and the Tube Station. A wild piece of film.

Snips is given a tour of the EMI pressing plant to be shown his single being produced and while he waits to be given a copy the machine begins firing them out all over the floor. Omen? When the record is ready for release, it gets all sorts of good reviews including the one from Julie, it makes it on to the radio one play list, and played on TV, guess what - there is a screw up with the delivery to the record shops so there is not enough product available - well done EMI.


  1. What a great read Jackie! Maybe worth editing in the Nine O'clock video now that it's up on YouTube. x

    Funny, Kevin and I were at that Link Wray gig... Must have been only a few months before we met you and Steve.

    That night, we met Link Wray outside the Venue (when I say met, I mean assaulted). We stayed there after the show and drank until they pulled the shutters down on the bar. Wandering out onto the almost deserted Victoria streets, one lone figure stood out in near mythical silhouette only twenty feet away from us. He was carrying a guitar case and wearing a full length leather coat, Elvis shades and a fabulous quiff. No road crew, no limo, no big cigars… just the man himself, looking for a cab.

    Kevin wrapped his arms around Link and picked him off the ground while I translated ‘We love you’ from Glaswegian into English for the benefit of our part Shawnee Indian hero from America… R.I.P Link Wray.

    Rumble is the only instrumental ever to be banned by radio.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion David - have added a link to the Nine O'Clock video on youtube and it only took 2 years! I love that Link Wray story btw.

  3. Hello Jackie, your Blog is fantastic! Is there anyway I could contact you via email regarding a writing project I'm working on? I have a few questions you may be able to help me with. I'm happy to provide my email address if you're able to help. Thank you! - Bob