Sing Sing Records
SLEAZE "S/T" LP
14th June, 1975. It was a studio, a proper studio - just like the ones the proper bands recorded in. At least, it was the nearest I'd ever been to one and now my band Sleaze, that had so far had to make do with playing support slots at local clubs and discos - as well as the occasional "headline" gig in local school halls - was about to record some of our songs, just like a proper band. Torquay in the mid seventies was not the easiest place and time to have a band, particularly a band that performed all its own material. The only group that anyone knew who'd ever made it out of this tourist backwater in the South West of England to any kind of international success was a rock band called Wishbone Ash, and the local audiences wanted to boogie away their evenings to music like that - or live bands playing covers of Status Quo or Free - not us, with our peculiar lengthy songs that sounded like a crossover between glam ˆ la Bowie or Cockney Rebel and prog bands like Genesis or Van Der Graaf Generator. Around these parts, such pretensions were frowned upon. But here we were, determined to get our music down on record whether anyone was interested or not. The family of our rhythm guitarist owned a large house in nearby Newton Abbot and for the preceding months had tolerated us taking over their music room for regular rehearsals. We were tight, we'd played a few gigs and now it was time to make a record. I'd spotted an advert in the local paper for a recording studio in Torquay being run by an ex-BBC engineer that looked like it could be what we needed. Even better, the studio could be hired for just a short period rather than a whole day, which made it just about affordable. We set up our equipment, the engineer placed the microphones and recorded a few minutes to check the sound, then we put the whole album straight onto tape, song by song, playing live with no overdubs. Two hours recording time, twenty pounds for the lot, plus another half hour for the engineer's time splicing the tracks together, and the price of the two reels of tape. All in all, the Sleaze album cost the princely sum of £38.88. We went on to press up fifty copies onto vinyl, most of which we gave away to family and friends. If we'd been a bit more savvy, we might have pressed more copies and tried to sell them at gigs, although as it turned out the band wasn't to play many more of those. To be honest, we knew that this record was to be more of a swan song than the launch of a career. I'd gone to Torquay Polytechnic at the end of summer 1974, straight out of school, to take a year-long Art Foundation course and had been spending most of my time forming and playing with Sleaze rather than doing the course work, but the fact was that the college year was nearing the end, and soon the individual band members would be going their separate ways. In addition, I'd met a new girlfriend in the art department and not only did she have the same Iggy and New York Dolls records in her collection as I did, she'd shown an interest in learning bass guitar and wanted me to teach her. Within a year we'd moved to London together and started rehearsing a new band, she'd changed her name to Gaye Advert...and the rest is history. I was no longer a solitary musical rebel pushing against a door that refused to budge. I was one of a multitude of rebels who felt the same way I did. This record is the sound of that rebellion trying to find its way, the door creaking against its hinges - a year before punk exploded, the door finally blew open and the music scene changed forever.