Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Great Chiswick release here, Johnny and the Self Abusers practised for one week, and with one original song, they were on stage. It was Easter Monday, 1977.
(They weren't the first Glasgow punk band to play live, they were beaten to it three-piece The Jolt by two nights.)
"Charlie and I only had to do it only once to realise that this was what we wanted. It was all lots of fun. Charlie had a violin, I played the few chords Charlie taught me on the keyboards and we also had a few girls who had made themselves up like Indians out for war, at our request. There was a touch of glamour there. Even then it wasn't punk. No spitting or anything, more like kitsch."
Two weeks later, Johnny And The Self Abusers played Edinburgh supporting Generation X. "Nobody liked us, so we started to practise. John Milarky got money from his parents, and we used it to record a demo." This came to the attention of Chiswick Records, who promised to release a single in August.
In the meantime, The Abusers continued writing and gigging. All of Milarky's songs were filtered out (no-one wanted to play his other compositions such as Toss Yourself Off which Charlie described as trash), and Jim and Charlie became the main songwriting team.
Tensions started to mount between the two groups. This even erupted into fits of fury; one night, Brian McGee threw a wellington boot through Milarky's front window. By July 1977, it was obvious that they had nothing in common. But they stuck together - waiting for the single. They even bought a flat together in October; leading to more riotous behaviour.
By now, fed-up with the confines of punk, and unhappy with the group's lavatorial name ("I began to feel Johnny And The Self Abusers sounded like Big Dick And The Four Skins. I can do without that kind of toilet humour"), Jim changed the name of the group to Simple Minds. This resulted in calls to Chiswick Records to get the name on the single changed - which was in vain. Most of this info came from http://www.simpleminds.org/sm/tree/jatsa1.htm go check it out.


Gargantuan Media said...

Thanks for this bit of rock history, my friend!

Now, for the facts...! Do you know if Pablo Picasso a Simple Minds release or a Johnny and The Self-Abusers track?

I cannot find this 7-inch release on the Amazon or a track listing anywhere.


Frank Miller said...

The Way I Understand it, when Johnny And The Self Abusers, called it quits; Johnny Milarky took half the group to form the Cuban Heels, and Jim Kerr went on to form the Simple Minds. Pablo Picasso was from a session of Demos the Simple Minds recorded early on. Johnny Milarky was allowed back to sing the track since he wrote it. Anyway I may be wrong , but I believe that's the way it went. I have a copy of Pablo Picasso; if you Email me, I'll send it to you. Thanks for the comment!