From Luton

 

 

   

Original Terminal / The Iceburn

Catalogue Number - GV1002

Label - Good Vibrations Records

Year Of Release - 1979

Quantity Pressed - ????

 

The Jets in Brief

 

It could be said that 'The Jets' started life in a two up two down terrace house in Hibbert Street, Luton. It was number 34 to be precise, but if you go round there today don't expect to find one of those blue plaques above the door, that particular building was knocked down many years ago. In those days we had called ourselves 'The BB Exiles' which later would become simply 'The Exiles'. With the front room decked out in egg boxes to help suppress the sound we were soon driving the neighbours to a point where they were likely to commit multiple homicides, we then moved operations to the relative safety of a scout hut (or whatever it was) which was sited at the edge of the Marsh Farm Estate, now known more famously for the large scale riots that took place in the summer of 1995. Our first gig at Dunstable College saw us booed off stage after just some 2 or 3 numbers, but all that energy and adrenalin was just too much, like some hapless band of predictable hard core druggies we were instantaneously hooked. Under 'The Exiles' guise we were to eventually record our first demo at Strawberry Studios, Stockport and arrived just one day after the 'Bay City Rollers' had vacated the premises. With many of their young (female) fans still milling about outside, we could easily be forgiven in those days of extreme naivety, for thinking we were already halfway there.

 

To cut a long story short, we were to become 'The Jets' some years later, establishing ourselves locally around the time 'The Clash' had gigged at The Queensway Hall. To be fair, by the time The Jets appeared on the Farewell to the Roxy Club recording, the line up had evolved a little as had both our direction and style. My recollections of the Roxy Club itself are rather hazy. Maybe it was the smoke or the immensely stale air. It was dark, dirty, damp and incredibly sweaty. When you played you got spat on in a frenzied like manner by some of the weirdest looking spike haired freaky arse mothers this planet has ever seen, and in all the filth people could be found shagging each other in the piss soaked toilets too. But yes I suppose the place did have a distinct kind of electricity about it. The punk bomb had not only gone off right inside the Roxy but hey, you could still smell the cordite. Think our first gig there was an audition night Wednesday when the entrance fee was a reflective 50 pence. The other band on the bill that night was called 'Nazi' though I got a feeling they didn’t turn up (they were invading Poland or something), and the gap that night was filled or so evidence suggests by a band called 'Spanker'. Later we were also on the Farewell to the Roxy tour starting off from the Glasgow Apollo. It is not really important as to why we eventually pulled out. Lets just say that 'Kevin St. John' was the sort of guy who was either going to shag you or screw you, the only difference being that one thing involved your arse, the other involved your appearance fee. Maybe it is simply my age and increasing cynicism but perhaps a question more pertinent to the time would be that if the Roxy was so initially central to the punk era and its inception. Then how much of a contribution was actually due to 'St. John’s' Freaky Young Thing driven libido? Can’t remember too much about the other bands, the 'UK Subs' though did look the part and gave the impression they’d be sticking around for a while and apparently they did. We also managed one or two gigs up the road at the Vortex where on one occasion we appeared on the same bill as 'Siouxsie and the Banshees'. Sorry but all that peculiar eye brow stuff did bugger all for me.

 

Live at the Roxy Club:

 

Wednesday 23/11/77: 'Spanker', 'The Jets' - Adm. 50 p.

 

 

Sunday 25/12/77: 'Peroxide Romance', 'Plastix', 'Raped', 'Open Sores', 'Blitz', 'The Tickets', 'The Goats', 'Wrist Action', 'UK Subs', 'The Jets' & 'The Streets'.

 

Monday 26/12/77: 'The Tickets', 'Billy Karloff and The Goats', 'Blitz', 'The Jets', 'Plastix'

 

Monday 2/1/78: Recording of 'Farewell To The Roxy' - Adm. £1 each day or £2 for the three days. These bands played: 'UK Subs', 'Billy Karloff and The Goats', 'The Crabs', 'Plastix', 'The Bears', 'The Tickets', 'The Red Lights', 'Acme Sewage Co'., 'The Streets', 'The Jets', 'Blitz', 'Open Sore', 'XL5', 'The Pitful' (who played so awful that none of their songs could be used on the album, that's the reason why UK Subs got two numbers on it). Or so the legend goes.

 

'The UK Subs' in fact were not the only band to get two numbers. The manic 'TV Drink' number was ultimately so incredibly short that no one seemed to notice when it ended and a song called 'Dreg' began, (incidentally also about Luton). If anyone listens to the track they’ll notice 'TV Drink' comes to a halt one minute and 9 seconds in. As the music restarts, Gerry (the then vocalist) declares “This one got right up the governors nose last night” the song called 'Dreg' or 'Dreg Town' (or whatever it was called) had in effect already begun.

 

If I remember correctly the line up that day was as follows:

 

GERRY - VOCALS PHIL SMITH - GUITAR
JOE - GUITAR REGGIE - BASS
JUSTIN B. - DRUMS

 

 I think this was probably Gerry’s last gig too.

 

I can’t speak for the others in the band at that time but for me our association with 'Terry Hooley' the Good Vibrations impresario was to be a considerably more indelible experience than anything at the above mentioned Roxy. 'Terry Hooley' was the guy behind the success the 'Undertones' (of Teenage Kicks fame) were to experience, he proved to be a man of great character and sincerity. It will come as no surprise to many that even today, current references to his efforts of nearly 30 years past are varied and numerous. He also had an unusual party trick where he would remove his glass eye and splosh it into a pint of beer. He helped us with a number of pressings and organized a few dates in Northern Ireland along with accommodation in his own home where once the late 'John Peel' had also been a guest.

 

I remember the general sense of in quietude as our trip up there began, like we were embarking upon some precarious almost unheard of but undoubtedly little travelled musical pathway to God knows what. It was after all, that Ulster, globally infamous for its hoards of balaclava clad paramilitaries, for bombs, bullets and an apparent insatiable lust for sectarian bloodletting at every opportunity. Normally for ourselves these things were only ever observed through the bubble like safeness of television glass. However, there was also much excitement too and in equal measure, for myself especially as we were also seemingly following in the footsteps of such then contemporary greatness as 'The Clash'. Their 1977 concert at the Ulster Hall in Belfast City Centre turned into a riot after the RUC lost control of the crowd and started beating punks up outside the gig. Think that was the reason we ended up doing ours at the Uni. Even a trip to the local fish and chip shop could prove a perilous move. It is hard to imagine now but way back then just ordering a sausage in batter with a mainland English accent nearly became our undoing. But even more mentionable, the atmosphere inside the bars with their respective histories and heavily fenced around entrance ways were to make the Roxy feel like your average mainland pre school nursery, and that was just in the context of going for a beer!

 

Amongst other appearances on Good Vibrations were: "Original Terminal" as 'The Jets' and "Doctor Headlove" as 'The Tee Vees'.

 

Eventually the 'Jets' became the 'Tee Vees' though no one would get away with a name like that these days, everyone would think it was a bunch of guys with gender issues. When I eventually vacated the drum seat it was taken over by the good looking and immensely talented 'Colin Salmon' who quite recently it was rumoured, very nearly became the next James Bond. Obviously you’d have to ask someone else for anything that took place from there on.

 

In years gone by and on a local level I’d often be asked about some sort of bad blood that supposedly existed between 'The Jets' and local heroes 'UK Decay'. To be honest I personally don’t remember sensing that any tangible animosity existed at musician level. In any event and within the scheme of things, it is about as important now as Attila the Hun’s last shit, or possibly even less important than that.

 

 

Justin 2006

 (Previously drummer with The Exiles - The Jets - Tee Vees)

 

1977 Gigs Good Vibrations The Tracks

 

 

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