Before The Wee Cherubs’ now legendary single, Dreaming, was recorded in October 1983, there were pre-Wee Cherubs bands operating in Scotland. Rare recordings have been captured on Messthetics 105, due for release in January.
The liner notes of that CD tell us:
"Paul Quinn and Martin Cotter had played together since 1974 and in late 1978 they joined Glasgow University classmate Brian McNair in the International Spys."
"The Alleged were pals, and watching them made me want to join in. We called ourselves The International Spys [sic], after a line from an Anaïs Nin novel. That wasn't very punk, and neither were we, with our ripped T-shirts and tight jeans set off by dodgy moustaches and mascara. By then we were 'new wave', aspiring to the post-punk sounds of Joy Division and Wire more than the thrash of Sham 69. My personal favourite [song] was 'Things To Do Tonight', a tasteless tale of a teenage serial killer performed while wearing a white rubber suit of the type worn by Glasgow council sewage workers and a stocking over the head. Nice." They recorded a rough demo at Brian's house, including his 'Baby Don't Go'. "In the best tradition of rock'n'roll, The International Spys self-destructed at the Doune Castle one night, with an on-stage stramash involving the obligatory mad drummer, a moody lead guitarist and me as a slightly up-himself front man. Cymbals were tossed, noses split open, and Doc Marten-shod feet aimed wildly (and ineffectually) at heads. The audience clapped and cheered, assuming it was part of the act."
"Next band for Paul and Martin was the Radio Ghosts, with Iain Bain (they were already chums with Iain's brother Hector from the Alleged/Apes in Control). Martin's 'Falling Into Darkness' comes from a late '79 demo recorded in Iain's bedsit with a drum machine. 17-year-old Craig Leslie had been drumming with a youth jazz orchestra, and joined in time for their New Year's Eve '79 debut, which they followed shortly with their only 7" (with Paul's 'My Room'), on Positive Noise's Statik label. They recorded regularly through the next 2 1/2 years in an ever-widening (and more sophisticated) range of postpunk styles -as reflected, perhaps, in the title of their 1982 mini-LP, Handfuls of Everything.
"After the 12", Martin split to form Wee Cherubs with the drummer from the Insects and Christine Gibson ex-Rapid Dance. The Cherubs put out an extremely scarce indiepop 45 on the Bogaten label (run by Hector Bain and Ali McKenzie of the Alleged), recorded a half-dozen demos, and morphed (much more successfully) into Bachelor Pad, adding Willy Bain (also ex-Rapid Dance) and Tommy Cherry.
"The rest of the Radio Ghosts became the short-lived Sgt. Pluck with keyboardist Paul Piacentini. But Iain took a job as a book editor, and after Craig left, the two Pauls carried on as lush-pop shoulda-been-stars, The Bamboo Shoots (who released only a cassette EP). Quinn moved south in 1986 and reunited with Iain as A Tune A Day (who had a self-released 45 in 1987)...All three Bains later played in the Bain Brothers Band, till Hector quit and was replaced by... Martin Cotter!
"If that's not confusing and incestuous enough, there were three Paul Quinns on the scene: one briefly sang for the Jazzateers then led Bourgie Bourgie and collaborated with Edwyn Collins. Another Quinn spent the 1990s drumming for Soup Dragons and Teenage Fanclub, then met Ryan Currie through Ian Anderson of the Commercials(!) and formed the Primary Five (and Paul Quinn no. 4 was in Saxon)..."
Thanks to Chuck Warner at the hyped2death label for supplying his comprehensive liner notes, above, to this latest Messthetics release.
The CD includes The Radio Ghosts' lead track, My Room(written by Martin Cotter and Iain Bain) from their ep, and a demo, Falling Into Darkness, as well as Rapid Dance's b-side, Hidden So Well.
The Radio Ghosts’ one release, 1980's Say Hello To The World of Love ep!!, also features Author (“inspired by Breakfast of Champions”) and Actor, both written by Martin Cotter, which I’ve uploaded.
Rapid Dance’s 1982 single was headed by Fragments Of Youth, my pick of these related bands' releases, which I’ve also uploaded.
A demo by The International Spys, Film Of Your Death, is included as a bonus mp3 on Messthetics 105.
Be sure to visit hyped2death and pick up some releases.