July – September
We had another line-up change – Matt Pearce was replaced by Mick Auton on drums and we started to look and sound much better. (We also changed our name from The Service to Go! Service). Like us, Mike was from Camberley and he was very cool. Danny remembers seeing him a few years earlier waiting at a bus stop in his school uniform with his hair like Phil Oakey from the Human League. We were really happy to get him to join the band and immediately got some photos taken by Tim Paton. We went to a building site and used the half built houses as our back drops.
(Danny Hagan, Jo Bartlett, Mike Auton and Rudy Carroll)
28 July – 12 August – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and win 5 gold, 11 silver and 21 bronze medals.
After a few rehearsals we went into a studio just off the King’s Road in Chelsea and recorded a couple of tracks for our single. Rudy’s (or ‘Rudi’ as I’ve written on the tape – he had just changed his name from Dom, and I wasn’t sure how to spell it) brother JC (from The Members) produced us. It was our first time in a 24 track studio – previous demos had been done in 8 or 16 tracks, local places.
I decided to send some cassettes off to a few publishing companies. We got a call from James at Cherry Red. We really liked this label as they had released solo albums by Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt as well as Everything But The Girl and of course, the iconic compilation album (which sold for 99p), ‘Pillows and Prayers’. (Years later, Danny would be General Manager at Cherry Red).
James invited me up to their office at 53, Kensington Garden Square for a meeting. Danny and I went up and told him of our plans. He said we could post some tapes out to some big labels using their padded envelopes and they would cover the postage. We sat there all afternoon, drinking tea, chatting, copying and posting out our cassettes.
As a result, we got a call from Virgin Records. Again, Danny and I went up to meet them. We listened to the tracks in the guy’s office and he told me my guitar style sounded dated as I was obviously trying to copy Orange Juice! He said he’d try to see us live and to let him know when our next London gig was. We went home feeling a bit put out.
Before even seeing us play live, Dan Treacy had invited us to support his band, The Television Personalities round Europe in September 1984. We are off the scale excited.
‘The Camberley News’ weekly pop column was written by Adrian Creek.
11 August – Barefoot South African runner Zola Budd, controversially granted British citizenship earlier in the year, collides with Mary Decker in the 3000 meters final at the Olympics, neither finishing as medallists
Danny got his English degree. Here we are on his graduation day, outside St David’s Hall in Cardiff, August 1984.
The European tour was getting closer, we rehearsed loads at my parents’ house and got the set ready.
The European tour poster – 22 gigs in 25 days. The debut Go! Service gig (and therefore Mike‘s debut) was to be in Munster on 6th September.
Myself, Danny, Mike and Rudy met at Farnborough Station at about 6am on September 5th. We made our way by train to Dover and from there via ferry to France. We had our guitars and bags but no drums or amps. We had to make a few more train journeys, across borders to get to Germany and were surprised to see armed guards board the train to check passports. We met up with everyone at the house of Thomas, the promoter of the tour who travelled with us and organised everything. There was another support band, friends of Thomas’s, The Fenton Weills. It was a fresh, damp day, a couple degrees cooler than it had been at home. The tree lined mountain tops were peeping out through the mist. This was my first time outside Britain and I was deeply happy. We all gathered in Thomas’s bedroom, where we either sat on his bunkbeds or stood. About twelve of us. The tour party. When I spoke, Jowe, the bass player in The Television Personalities commented on how good my English was. I explained that’s because I was from Surrey! He had thought both support bands were German. Matthias from The Fenton Weills lived in the town of Altena, North Rhine-Westphalia, next to the town of Nachrodt-Wiblingwerde, where Thomas Zimmerman lived. Thomas was also the organiser of the Creation Records package tour which took place immediately after ours, in 1984.
The first gig – 6th September Munster Odeon
7th September Saabrucken
8th September München Dachauer Strasse
9th September Stuttgart Maxim
On the fourth night of the tour, we played Maxim in Stuttgart. Amazingly, in 2019 I was sent footage from that night. I was 18 and Rudy, had turned 17 the day before. Here are ‘Too Much To Hide’ followed by Rudy’s song ‘ Pick Up The Beat’ which is worth a listen for his voice alone. (By the way, I’m wearing pale jeans – not shorts!)
I’ve kept this TVPs footage until the day I wrote this piece, in 2021 previously unseen – three songs from The Television Personalities also from that night. ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives’, ‘Part Time Punks’ and ‘Where’s Bill Grundy Now?’.
(If you would like to see their complete gig, it is here. )
10th September Liechtenstein Rathaussaal
11th Day off in the Alps / Liechtenstein.
12th September Zurich Rote Fabrik
13th September St. Gallen Aktionshaus Graben
14th September Fribourg Fri-Son
15th September Biel Gaskessell
16th September Nurnberg Komm
17th September Frankfurt Cookys
18th September Day off
19th September Berlin Loft
Danny, myself and Mike only had paper passports and were not allowed to drive through East Germany to get to Berlin. Instead we had to get a flight from Hannover. We slept the night on the ground at Frankfurt Station to wait for the first train to the airport. Didn’t sleep much!
September 20th Enger Forum
September 21st Husby Bei Flensburg Waldgaststätte Bluntschli
September 22nd Hamburg Markerhalle
September 23rd Irgenwo in NRW
September 24th Day off
September 25th Hannover Musiktheater Bad
September 26th travel to NL
September 27th Groningen Vera
September 28th Nijmegen Doornroosje
The last night of the tour. September 29th Dangast bei Whilmhelshaven Kurhaus
And that was that. Three weeks of making music and having a wonderful, life changing time. We boarded a train in Germany, said farewell and headed home. The four of us all bumped into each other signing on in Camberley the next day. We did actually come home with about £500 which we used to open a bank account for the band.
Dave Newton from The Mighty Lemon Drops recently sent me these scanned images from a live recording made on this tour. It seems to be called ‘I Know Where Dan Treacy Lives’. I seem to remember it later getting released on vinyl and being called ‘Look Back In Enger’.
When we returned from Europe, I made this little booklet, which I sent round with a cassette to try and secure some gigs.
At the end of October and into early November, Thomas Zimmerman and the same group of friends promoted the Creation Records Tour, featuring the Jesus and Mary Chain, The Jasmin Minks and Alan McGee‘s own band, Biff Bang Pow!. Dave Evans, also in Biff Bang Pow, generously shared these wonderful photos and memories with me (see all the photos and read more here).
Bobby Gillespie was drumming for The Jesus and Mary Chain and writes about what an incredible tour this was for them in his brilliant book, ‘Tenement Kid’; how he and the other JAMC members felt like a proper gang of brothers. When they came back to the UK, they were all over the music press as their debut single, ‘Upside Down’ was Single of the Week and a live review for a gig in London they had played just before they left for Germany had ecstatic reviews.