The Moonlight Club, 19-11-82
A few weeks ago I found a cassette tape, hidden deep inside a bag which lives at the back of a seldom opened cupboard. I could just about read its faded label, C-Saim Live at The Moonlight Club, 19-11-82. The cassette tape was a TDK AD C-90.
It's not in any way, shape, or form, a good recording, it's at times painfully awful...but for me it's...so...
...I found a cassette player and inserted the tape, knowing that for the rest of the evening I'll be reminiscing about that particular gig, which surprisingly, despite the amount of time which has passed, I still remember quite well...I think.
The Story of that night, as I remember it...
C-Saim were a band I played with back in the early 80's, a three-piece outfit and alongside me were the effervescent Bryn Daniels on bass and axe-meister general Andy Bennette. Bryn and Andy shared the vocals, for me the only words I ever uttered on stage were my 'count in's' (and even they randomly sped up and slowed down). We worked bloody hard playing 100+ gigs a year and making numerous recordings (we sadly never managed to capture our live energy in the studio). There's bit and bobs about us around on the internet, mainly due to some difficult to explain Japanese bootlegging of our songs and the fact that a German record company picked up on our one and only single and released it on a compilation CD, The Sound of Leamington Spa Vol:3, around 2004. I haven't seen Bryn or Andy for so many years, communication has been no more than the occasional e-mail but Bryn jumped in to help me with a difficult situation last year, top man. In your youth playing in a band is like having a girlfriend, you have your tiffs, eventually break-up, but the friendship and respect hopefully always remains, you'll never forget those people you shared, stages, studios and long nights driving along country roads with. These guys played such an important part in my formative years, I owe both of them so much.
So, this gig...The Moonlight Club was in West Hampstead, most of the big acts of the 70's and 80's passed through the doors of this venue, Joy Division, U2, The Clash, The Specials to name but some and playing there was always a big deal for us. Before you played the 'Moonlight' you had to do a couple of gigs downstairs in a smaller venue called The Starlight Rooms..to prove something or another, but I'm not exactly sure what, talent maybe? Anyway, we always took two or three coach-loads of supporters to gigs in London, which promoters liked and so did we as it probably made us at least 50p on each 'much sought after' coach ticket. Of course we traveled down to London in style, among the drum cases and amplifiers packed tightly into one, or other, of our two Ford Transit walk-through vans, you couldn't be a proper gigging band without at least one these vehicles, they were as much a sign of intent as any Gibson guitar, or Premier drum kit. Our transits were special, very special, old mattresses above the cabs, one of them even had deck-chairs fitted instead of seats...the other was so coated in cooking fat, left over from its previous life selling burgers and chips beside the A6, it was truly disgusting...it was all very Rock and Roll. Brilliant.
Anyway, I remember being given this tape, which you can hear below, after the gig, the front of house engineer recorded it straight from the desk and he must have had a brand new delay to play with as its effect appears on every song, although I was told that this wasn't actually apparent during the gig. This show was one of a few we did to promote a compilation album we appeared on called Lend an Ear 1992 (which in itself was a disappointment due to some very bad mastering). We had two support acts that night, Diving Club and a brilliant Watford based reggae band called Bone, who I remember used to play a song about President Reagan which included a line I always loved “ ...They vote you in, then try to shoot you out...”
A couple of days before this performance we'd done an interview with a new music paper called Soundmaker, so we were quite excited about the prospect of the national exposure we were about to get. They also came and reviewed the gig, the only quote I can find from it is “......... C-Saim came on to a rapturous welcome, and their dynamic professionalism soon demonstrated exactly why they had the headline...” I must actively try and seek out more recordings and press from these (what were essentially exciting times for a small provincial town boy) days.
Listening back all these years later, I'm struck with the energy we had and the fact that despite some setbacks during this particular gig, which I'll explain later, we actually had a brilliant time playing. So here's how I remember it all song by song.
Only Yesterday...was a song taken from the aforementioned album, the engineer obviously forgot to switch on the cassette recorder until about halfway through (so missed our rapturous welcome!). One thing is very apparent, that is the fact that we didn't ever warm up properly, as can be heard with some of the vocals and a few of my dropped beats. Our warm up was generally a few pints of beer and some outrageous piss taking. If only I knew then what I know now...
White Lies...I liked this song and we're beginning to get into it, although I can tell that I'm a little nervous, I’d just spotted Dee C Lee and Shirlie Holliman at the bar with the Clash's manager Bernie Rhodes which didn't help matters. Bryn is beginning to get annoyed with a member of the audience, more on this later.
Out Of My Depth...good to hear that I was even anti-celebrity back then! We're beginning to get into our stride now...This song so needed to be produced properly, dreadful structure, but I love Andy's guitar playing. I wonder what he uses as a plectrum now? Sixpenny pieces must be so difficult to find.
Don't Be Fooled...the engineer goes over the top with his new toy again, another song I really liked, it was great to play, especially if the audience was on your side, by this time I'd forgotten about the 'starry bar' at the back and was beginning to become aware of a battle Bryn was having with a blonde spiky haired punter at the front...it also sounds as if I tried to finish a bar before everyone else...shhhh, no one will notice!
I can't remember what this song was called...but another anti-celebrity song influenced by two people I knew back then, one in fact did go on to become a well known TV actress...Today as I sit here and I can't believe I was actually still thrashing the life out of my kit with barely a break up to now...
Once Upon Ever After...again without time to catch a breath straight into this song, which included the immortal line “and don't forget to cancel the milk!”... I so wish this was a better recording. I'm still not sure what row Bryn was referring too in his introduction, was it the one I'd had with my ex and my new girlfriend earlier in the evening? (I still feel awful about that, sorry Ali!)
Johnny's Stripey Jumper...this was an amazingly popular song, I'm not entirely sure why. Great fun to play though. I also wish I had a copy of the studio recording of this song and despite Bryns introduction it was never our next single, we left the record company shortly after this gig, which we did by faking a car crash and getting the papers to write about it, a long story for another day! I'm just thinking how we always worked hard in rehearsal making sure all of stops and starts were as tight as they could be...in fact, basically, we just always worked hard, in between (being very naughty boys and) faking news stories.
Won't Be For The Last Time...some great tuning again on this number (!) and the bass stops altogether in parts. The reason for this is that it kicked off between Bryn and the blonde spiky haired punter. The reason for this altercation being that Bryn and Andy had cowbells attached to their mic stands and each had a drumstick placed in them, what had happened throughout this gig and up to this moment is that the blonde spiky haired punter had kept stealing Bryns drumstick, now not a particularly big deal in the grand scheme of things but a huge deal for us. Bryn, if I remember correctly, decided to put a stop to this and was undertaking a drumstick tug-o-war with blonde spiky haired man and to be perfectly honest there was only going to be one eventual winner, Bryn. “Sorry about the problem” he tells the audience before the next song, but I suspect everyone was actually quite enjoying it.
Famous Faces … the song which required the drumstick! By this time I think our concentration had gone a little and we needed to get back on track. This is one of two songs which Andy played his guitar with a drumstick too.
General Custer....A song I frequently screwed up if I remember correctly, the last 'charge' part where we all go a little demented was great if the crowd went with us. All I really remember about this song is that Andy seriously used to abuse his guitar with a drumstick which of course was another thing which didn't help his tuning at all despite the fact that the last moment actually requires a guitar which is in tune. What did we ever do about this? The answer to that question is nothing...all that ever happened (in performance, or rehearsal) was that the three of us just always winced at this point, why we never ever changed the ending of this song to rectify that problem I'll never know. Also, we decided to end the set with it! If only I knew then what I know now...
Our encore on this occasion was ESP, a song we'd recorded a few weeks earlier in Wild Willy Barretts/John Otways studio in deepest darkest Buckinghamshire. Bryn name checks Radio 1 DJ Mike Reid who we'd done a gig with sometime before and who we'd all found just a little bit strange (something I will not elaborate on right now)...I’m wondering if this was maybe also around the time he refused to play 'Frankie Goes To Hollywoods' Relax on his radio show...This was the one song I used my beloved Syn-Drum on and despite my best efforts you can hear that I don't ever get the setting quite right...oh well, par for the course really.
As we leave the stage I love the way the audience sing (for those who remember Mike Reid's Radio 1 jingle) Mike Reid, Mike Reid, 275 and 285, Mike Reid, Mike Reid, National Radio 1...no doubt he would have found a reason to ban us too...but I quite like the fact that a common anti-Mike Reid bond was formed that night if nothing else.
...with the gig over we went back to our dressing room/toilet and Peter Griffiths, the man who looked after my drum kit and who, along with our driver Michael Gaisford, always made sure we were always well looked after (and more importantly in the right venue in the right town) came into the room and told us not to venture out front, apparently the venue was now full of Special Branch Police Officers looking for blonde spiky haired drum stick stealing man who, as it happens, was armed...Bryn, he had a gun! I wonder of the police waited until the end of the gig on purpose?
Now I work in environments where excellence is always strived for and you know sometimes I just miss getting up on stage, thrashing some drums and having a blast with a couple of mates, screw the perfection, lets have a good time...
Finally, does anyone happen to know what the song is which is played when we leave the stage?