Sunday, May 10, 2009


I was never lucky enough to find one of these years ago, and by the time I finally gave in and circumed to Ebay, the price tag was a little to steep for me. This is a very well done reissue on sing sing records. I believe this is a very limited quantity, as well as the original was. I guess for now this will have to do. I'm going to include this record here because it's one of my all time favorites, and I'm not sure if I'll ever end up with an original copy.
The Zips were born in Glasgow, 1978. John McNeill(vocals/guitar) and Brian Jackson (lead guitar), veterans (at 20) of the Glasgow pub rock circuit, satisfied a yearning to join the punk/new wave explosion, by splitting from previous outfit, Road Angel, recruiting Joe Jaconelli (drums/backing vocals) and Phil Mullen (bass guitar/vocals), and launched as the Zips.
After 4 weeks of rehearsal, they had enough material (a mixture of originals and choice covers) for their debut gig, in a pub called The Peel. Their reputation as an energetic live act, meant that soon they had moved onto support gigs in the City's Art School and Universities.
In an effort to reach an under-18 audience, they also pioneered Saturday lunchtime gigs at the rarely used Custom House Quay bandstand, beside the River Clyde. Many embryonic bands were given the opportunity to support them, in most cases, using the Zip's equipment.
By the end of '78, they had amassed enough original songs to be performing almost exclusively Zips material, and in November, booked a 4 track recording session in the Burns' Howff, in Glasgow.
4 songs (I'm In Love, Over and Over, Take Me Down, Don't Be Pushed Around) were recorded in almost as many hours, and became the basis of their eponymous EP, which was finally released in April 1979, with funding from local record shop owner, Charlie "Hannibal" Hayes.
The Zips EP soon became a favourite of Radio Clyde, and also won favour with John Peel on Radio One. The 500 copies swiftly sold out, but due to delays in retreiving all the monies owed, a second pressing was abandoned in favour of a new single on their own label, Tenement Toons.
Meanwhile, the band had won the Scottish heats of a competition organised by a company called, Vitavox, and appeared in the finals at the Venue, in London. Undeterred at coming fourth of four bands, they used the trip to visit record companies, and although some, Island in particular, were positive about the band's music, no contracts were offered.
Back in Glasgow, they set about planning for the new single, Radioactivity/I'm Not Impressed. It was recorded at Sirocco Studios in Klimarnock, in an 8 hour session in January 1980, and its 1,000 pressing was released on Tenement Toons, in April. This time, funding was by Brian's granny, as a vote of solidarity with the A-side's anti-nuke message.
Although the single received a fair amount of airplay, and despite support slots with, amongst others, Cockney Rejects, at the Bungalow Bar, Paisley, and exposure at CND/Anti Nuke rallies, the single did not match the success of the EP, in terms of sales.
The band were now caught between two movements, New Wave and Ska, and the cracks began to show. Gigs were becoming fewer and far between, and debts were mounting. But Brian's decision to emigrate to Australia effectively sealed their fate. The Zips last gig was on 11th December 1980, at The Sandrianne Hotel, Kilmarnock.
As well as the singles, two live recordings were made. The Atlantis, Clydebank in 1978, and the Sandrianne Hotel, Kilmarnock, in 1980. The Zips are still around, they have a few new releases for you to pick up and enjoy. They are also playing live, if you have a chance go and check them out.

REFERENCES - THE ZIPS http://www.thezips.demon.co.uk/history/index.htm MYSPACE http://www.myspace.com/thezips SING SING RECORDS http://www.singsingrecords.com/index.php

No comments: