__ You / Count
Catalogue Number - WPG-1
Label - We Practice In A Garage Records
Year Of Release - 1980
|Caroline Persen - Vocals||Mark Kiff - Guitar|
|Chris Eccles - Bass||Richard Smith - Drums|
Vain Aims were: Chris Eccles (bass), Mark Kiff
(guitar), Caroline Persen (vocals) and Richard Smith (drums). They formed in
late 1979, Caroline joining later when they needed a vocalist. Mark, Richard and
Caroline were at school together. They rehearsed in Chris Eccles's garage, which
led to a neighbour complaining to the council.
Previously, Richard & Chris were formerly in a band called The Stains with Francis White on vocals. Francis moved away from Cardiff and The Stains disbanded. Fast forward a few months and Vain Aims were born….
It was very much Richard's band, in the sense that he acted as their Manager as well as drummer. I think it was his idea to record a
self-financed single. The group hadn't written much material at that point - just 3 basic chord structures - so Richard co-wrote "Count"
with his older brother Andrew, who had played guitar in a school band. They needed a B-side and Richard asked me, Paul, to write lyrics for one of the tracks. I had no idea where to start, so I asked him for a subject. He wanted it to be about him getting hostile
reactions for wearing the "wrong" clothes. So I wrote some lyrics and called it "Social Crime". He liked the lyrics, but changed the
title to "---- You" (the dash stands for another word - no prizes for guessing what!), and made it the A-side. I was surprised, because I
thought "Count" was the better song.
They recorded the single in January 1980. I think it cost £200 for recording, mixing and pressing 500 copies - £50 from each band
member. Each then had 125 copies to sell. The average price of a shop-bought 45 in those days was 50p, so that was probably the asking price.
Other titles I remember were "Back To Back Houses", "The Leader", and a slow, intense song in 3/4 time called "Thorns". None of these were recorded, unless any rehearsal tapes still exist, which I doubt. Vain Aims played their one and only gig in April 1980 at the local youth club. As well as the songs mentioned above, they also played covers of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To Be With You" (which The Tourists had recently covered) and Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Placebo Effect".
By early summer, disillusioned by lack of interest in the record, they had broken up. Richard went on to drum for other bands,
including one with Steve Penrose that Caroline added some backing vocals to. The band was called Acute Observations. We wrote some of our own songs, one I remember was called Diving Bell but mostly we did covers. Bands like Talking Heads, Television and Joy Division.
I didn't really think about the record much until I discovered it by accident on YouTube a couple of years ago, posted by someone in France. I don't know how Haine Xistence got hold of a copy (jumble sale, second hand record dealer?), but I mentioned it to Caroline one day, and Cara found it on her phone and posted her comment. Since then, the number of views has increased to several thousand.
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