Inspired by the legendary Creation Records from Glasgow, great labels were springing up all over the U.K. and releasing 7″s by indie guitar bands. There was the wonderful 53rd and 3rd also from Glasgow, set up by Stephen Pastel and releasing records by The Shop Assistants, Talulah Gosh, B.M.X. Bandits and The Vaselines. There was Dreamworld Records from London, run by Dan Treacy from the Television Personalities who had The Mighty Lemon Drops, 1,000 Violins and my band, Bluetrain.
Bristol had a couple of great labels, Sarah Records, who in 1987 had only released one song so far, The Sea Urchins ‘Pristine Christine’, and The Subway Organisation, run by Martin Whitehead. Martin also had his own band, The Flatmates, whose debut single ‘I Could Be In Heaven‘ was released in 1986.
I was working in Our Price Records and I was collecting all these various 7″ singles. They would come in a wrapround paper sleeve inside a plastic outer sleeve. Creation Records had started this as far as I knew, and to be a proper indie label, that’s how you released your 7″ singles.
Here’s a fab live clip of The Flatmates performing ‘I Could Be In Heaven’ in 1986.
In April 1987 The Flatmates released their second single ‘Happy All The Time‘ and we booked them to appear at The Buzz Club in June of that year.
Support came from North Of Cornwallis, who featured the marvelous Lester Noel. Lester had previously been in Grab Grab The Haddock with ex Marine Girls Jane and Alice Fox. The Marine Girls had been Tracey Thorn‘s band and were included on the celebrated Cherry Red Records ‘Pillows and Prayers’ compilation album. So we knew Noel already had a great indie past. Out of interest, Noel would actually have a great pop star future as lead singer of Norman Cooke’s Beats International, he would have a number one hit with ‘Dub Be Good To Me‘.
Back in 1987, this is how he and his band sounded.
Also on the bill were The Word Merchants who I have a feeling came from Oxford, but I stand to be corrected!
We were also putting acts on in the bar of the West End Centre. Free to see, as the ticket got you into the main hall to see the other acts. It meant we got people coming who didn’t buy a ticket but came to hang out at The Buzz Club bar. It really made for a great atmosphere. The Caretaker AKA Giles who I worked with at Our Price was a solo singer, guitarist. He would later move to Manchester and stay with Reni from The Stone Roses, but that’s another story….