Thursday, August 23, 2012

It was hard to believe that I'd managed to secure an interview with Colin Swan of the Direct Hits. Only months before, I had suggested that the existence of Colin Swan and Geno Buckmaster was one of the greatest mysteries of the entire mod revival. Up until that point, friends and I were satisfied with ignorantly listening to their remarkable 1984 album, Blow Up!. We knew nothing of the stories surrounding the recording, but it did little to detract from our enthusiasm for songs like My Back Pages and Ever Ready Plaything.

It was a really pleasant surprise to discover an official online presence. I appreciated that it was more than a mere press release, it really satiated that part of me that loves hilarious anecdotes of messed up band antics: August 1981 - Steve Warburton sacked as drummer for refusing to cut his hair, following a disastrous gig at The Castle in Tooting High Street. This was the night Robbo borrowed a scooter from a mod, and runs into a wall in the pub car park. Talking to Colin revealed even more tales of lunacy, from unreliable drummers to rickety aeroplanes held together with sticky tape. It was great and I just wanted more.

I took the opportunity to ask him how much material was in "the vaults". I was startled with the response, "Oh, about 100 songs..." I urged for an immediate release of everything, just as I would later urge for a re-print their highly celebrated fanzine, The Direct Hits Monthly. Sure, it's frustrating to know that there is so much more material in existence, but then it's incredible to think that almost every band has this sense of history and dialogue. Providing there is a sentimental type in the band, there is this assurance that there is always more material, whether it be stories or demos or even explanations. There is hope that it can all be duly celebrated at a later date.

C&CM Conversations: The Direct Hits
Modesty Blaise
Ever Ready Plaything
Henry, The Unhappy Inventor
Just Like An Abacus
My Car
What Killed Aleister Crowley?
My Back Pages

Download (75.1 MB)


Simon said...

Um, how did I miss this? Blow Up! is one of my all time favourite albums. I featured it back here:

Possibly the only band I would love to hear everything they did. Two proper albums will never be enough. Although Blow Up in isolation is as good as anything by anybody else.

Eleanor said...

Thank you for your comment, Simon! I've been following your blog for ages!

I completely share your enthusiasm for Blow Up! House of Secrets is terrific too.

I also had a look at my friend's Spotify account and there were a bunch of songs I'd never heard of on there... there's always hope for more!

Paul Groovy said...

Loved hearing this interview with Colin.Took me straight back to those nights at the 100 club,at the Regency, great times.The Direct Hits were one of my favourite bands from that time-every mp3 player I have ever owned has always had Blow up on it.says it all really X

Eleanor said...

Thank you, Paul! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview - I can't tell you what I would give to have seen them live back in the day!

I've been enjoying your blog recollections and Sequin Junkies demos too! It seems like you have loads more stories to tell!

Paul Groovy said... nothing to do with the direct hits but you might like this x

Eleanor said...

Fantastic, I just tweeted it! How good is the sound! You must be relieved to have recorded (and kept) it! I look forward to seeing more from the Groovy Archives!

Wally said...

Colin also recorded a cover of TVP's Silly Girl (as the Cult 45"s) for our tribute series