Friday, February 16, 2007

Four Ugly Guys Called... The Battles?

I recently bought the Suede Crocodiles comp on eBay and I thought I'd write down the text on the back of the cover, because I think it could be of interest. If you're not already experts on this obscure Glasgow band? Well, it's written by Nick Low (i.e. not Nick Lowe) of Nostrings Records.

Why change the name from POPGUN to The Suede Crocodiles?
-"Because we've got a single coming out and The Suede Crocodiles is cool!"

The fact was that Popgun fitted Popgun and The Suede Crocodiles fitted The Suede Crocodiles - do you get my drift? Let me explain...

When I first came across Popgun they were playing the legendary Glasgow club called "The Venue" in 1982. It was packed, the band were cookin' and one fan jumped on stage after a storming version of "Happiness Sound" screaming "If four ugly guys frae Liverpool called The Battles or something can make it, then these guys can". That was it, the band consisting of Kevin McDermott (vocals/guitar), Roddy Johnson (vocals/guitar), Ross Drummond (bass/vocals) and David McCormick (drums), were on their way.

There was a buzz about music in Glasgow at that time, Postcard Records had opened some doors for Scottish bands like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, and Nostrings was about to launch some new groups onto the scene. Popgun were pure pop, but The Suede Crocodiles were pop with an edge. The 'Crocs' core featured the songwriting talents of Kevin McDermott and Roddy Johnson, batting riffs and harmonies back and forth across the stage. The reaction to The Suede Crocodiles was instant and their Nostrings Recods release "Stop the Rain/Pleasant Dreamer" followed the label's first release del Amitri's "Sense Sickness/The Difference Is" onto radio playlists across the UK,

In 1983 one of the band's biggest admirers, ex-Haircut 100 frontman, Nick Heyward invited them to support him on his UK tour. The band gathered new fans wherever they went and after the second sellout gig at the London Dominion Theatre the audience erupted when The Crocs encored with "Stop the Rain", this version is featured on this album. The band were now being mobbed by fans and they loved it!

The following year David McCormick was replaced by Alan Cruickshank on drums and the band went into the studio to record "Paint Yourself a Rainbow", "Walking In the Light", "Perhaps Maybe (The Indecisive Song)", and the epic "Great Expectations". A second single "Paint Yourself a Rainbow" was planned but never released as the band split up due to internal tensions. The result was two bands, both called The Suede Crocodiles which continued for a few months, confusing or what! Roddy Johnson and Russ Drummond eventually formed 'The Fourth Room' named after that place one arrives at during a drug fuelled trip. Unfortunately for them they never got out of that Fourth Room and disappeared,

Kevin McDermott went solo and explored the world as an acoustic troubadour, releasing the much sought after "Suffocation Blues" LP, also for Nostrings. Then he formed the Kevin McDermott Orchestra releasing five albums to date, the latest "For Those In Peril From the Sea" available on TULA RECORDS in Scotland. A reworking of The Suede Crocodiles' "Walking In the Light" turned up on the 1991 album Glasgow.

Nick Low (Nostrings Records)

That's it. You can expect more from this record as soon as I've converted into digital format! Actually, as it turns out, Accident (who released the comp) is not a Japanese label. It's just that the Japanese are the only ones who cared about it! The guy I bought it from on eBay is the person who ran the label, so it's based in England. And also, he hasn't given up yet! He's planning some new releases, including a cd reissue of the Trixie's Big Red Motorbike comp. Can't read about it anywhere as of yet, but a MySpace page has been promised.


scruss said...

Do you have contact details for Accident? A Trixie's re-release is way long overdue.

(a Glaswegian in rainy Toronto)

The Rain Fell Down said...

i don't, but you can look for the seller 'ver66' on ebay.



Ken said...

yeah a trixies re-release would be fab

Anonymous said...

these guys were unlucky in that their manager spent all the money on rent boys.

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