21 September 2007
Martin on Crass reminded me of the first band I was in, which reminded me other things which I can't go into.
Our first proper band was called The Rejected (not randomly chosen - we were once rejected from the school common room for trying to play Dead Kennedys tapes ). Fourth year at school: ties worn with skinny abandon, blazers that were really one button Miami Vice jackets, trousers scuffed at the knees from goal mouth heroics. I had a pair of bright red skin tight cords that smelled of Kaolin and Morphine. At school we looked a little like The Libertines, outside like Russell Brand without a sex addiction (actually, we had sex addictions but only in theory).
We had our own logo and everything and put up posters in underpasses with ambiguous references to Philosophy and Politics - we weren't all that happy with Thatcher, if I remember her name correctly. I can't remember the precise political issues we had but I think it was something to do with her hair not moving in the wind. I've always been suspicious of people like that; give me flyaway Kinnock or Foot any day of the week. I have the same problem with early Sean Connery and George Burns.
We did our own songs, with titles like Mr Average and I Like Fox Hunting and Holiday in Hungerford but we really enjoyed doing Crass and Sex Pistols covers because then our drummer, who for some reason always wore a Russian hat, even when it was hot had to martial himself into something approximating a steady beat and couldn't spazz off into jazz hinterlands. Crass basslines were pretty much the only ones we could play -our bass player made Sid Vicious look like Jaco Pastorius and was all the better for it. His chief ambition was to sling his bass lower than Peter Hook and he was saving dinner money to get a longer strap.
We had twin singers, mostly because neither of us could ever remember all the lyrics. Rather than juxtaposing the vocals like Stars or Prolapse we tried hard to emulate each others voices so that no one would see the join. I can't remember why we did that.
Our guitarist later became an ambient, techno, electro God and, looking back, you could see how that came to be because everything he played sounded crystalline and about ten mph too slow... with the result that the siging always raced ahead of the music, chased quickly by the drummer and then the bass player (on his knees from the first chorus, grinding holes through the anarchee patches in his tie-died tracksuit bottoms)
The sound was like Sister Ray, everyone turning up everything until the drums finally stopped pounding (I can emphasise with the John Simm's Master). It never sounded good. If only the drummer would've ditched the hat.
There's still a tape of those early rehearsals kicking around and someone out there has it... the cover of Crass's 'So What' was sublime - the vocals sounding much better while pitch-shifted from Essex to Somerset, giving off an air of real West Country grievance (The SYSTEM took down our posters in the common room) and sounding more or less like The Subhumans, had they been 15 and trapped by hormonal imbalance and trousers too heavy for spindly legs to move. The shuffle of the average teen-indie kid is only partly necessitated by mental health issues and apathy; most is down to heavy-clothed army trousers stuffed full of teenboy fluff: pen-knives, guitar picks, walkmans, tobacco tins, mushroom gathering tupperware.
The Rejected lasted for three rehearsals.
Next: The Rejected disband due to musical differences and Yeovil gets it's own Neubauten.