It was another busy night at The Nag’s Head on Thursday 4th August 1977 with the visit of Scotland’s comic strip punk outfit, The Rezillos. The appearance of The Jam at The Town Hall a few weeks before had stirred more interest in the ‘new wave’ scene and this was the first chance for many to venture down the London Road and up the stairs into the Nag’s Head loft. They would not have been disappointed.
The Rezillos formed in Edinburgh in late 1976 but waited until well into 1977 before venturing south. Their ‘London Tour’ of July and August that year took in Bridge House, Canning Town (24th July), The Vortex (25th), Greyhound, Fulham (26th), Man in The Moon, Chelsea (27th), Roxy, Covent Garden (28th), Nashville,Kennington (29th), Dingwalls, Camden (30th), Double Six, Basildon (31st), Rock Garden, Covent Garden (1st August), Golden Lion, Fulham (2nd), Music Machine, Camden (3rd), Nag’s Head, High Wycombe (4th) and Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington (5th).
The Nag’s Head inclusion in that list of iconic pub and club venues is further proof that its reputation was on the up – and mainly thanks to promoter Ron Watts and his small band of helpers.
The Rezillos’ line-up at the time included Faye Fife and Eugene Reynolds (vocals), Jo ‘Luke Warm’ Callis and Mark ‘Hi-Fi’ Harris (electric guitars), Dr. D.K.Smythe (bass) and Angel Paterson (drums).
Watts, commenting on the Rezillos in his 2006 autobiography – 100 Watts – a life in music, said:
“Their singer, Fay Fife, had an interesting habit. She’d sort the business side of the gig out while getting undressed, so we’d be talking money while she was in an extremely lewd state of undress. Whether she thought it’d take my mind off business or not, I don’t know, but she had a good band and although they never sold many records – in fact, they spilt up during their first major tour – the Rezillos’ music has stood the test of time more than most of their contemporaries. It still sounds fresh today.”
It’s well documented that The Rezillos were not the usual template ‘punk’ band of the time. Rather than sing about politics and other social issues, their influences came more from 1960’s Garage Rock and the Glam Rock scene of the early 1970’s.
Their first single, ‘Can’t Stand My Baby’, backed by Lennon/McCartney’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ was recorded in June 1977 and released on Sensible records around the same week as their Nag’s Head appearance.
The success of the single led them to being signed by Sire Records – where the joined the likes of US punk icons, The Ramones and Talking Heads. The follow up single, ‘(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures, with ‘B’ side, ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ became their debut release on Sire in October 1977.
All those songs would have been in the set-list at the Nag’s Head gig in August 1977. Other songs in their repertoire at the time included Fleetwood Mac cover ‘Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonite’, Dave Clark Five cover, ‘Glad All Over’, plus classic originals, ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ and ‘Top of the Pops’ – the latter would be released as a single in July 1978 and despite poking fun at the BBC show of the same name, the single’s success saw them brighten up the TV screens.
“Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hi-fi”
Top of the Pops – lyric extract
Can’t Stand My Baby – audio of first single – released August 1977
And the ‘B’ side, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ –
Did you see The Rezillos at The Nag’s Head in August 1977? Maybe it was your first time there?