Back in the day when as a teenager I first started going to gigs (early 80s), I was lucky that it was at a musically healthy and vibrant time when Norwich was rivalling Bristol for music and national attention, with the championing by John Peel and plenty of other national DJs, especially for the likes of The Higsons, Serious Drinking, The Farmers Boys et al. but probably my favourite band of that era was the wonderful Vital Disorders. I adored this band and watched them at every opportunity I could, including a packed out UEA LCR on one occasion. Another band I loved at that time was Carl Gustav & the 84s (later the Kamikaze Sex Pilots) featuring the talents of the late Jon Ward on scratchy guitar and politicised lyrics, along with some very witty songs too (I Don’t Wanna Live With Students – in answer to The Higsons’ I Don’t Wanna Live With Monkeys). Like the Vital Disorders who were also able to switch between the witty (T.E.S.C.O.) and the political (Snatcher – in reference to Margaret Thatcher’s school “milk-snatching”) as well as the frenetic and possibly my favourite, the explosive “Prams”. Both bands were able to be relevant, vocal on the issues of the time, and have marvellous fun playing brilliant songs.
So, thanks to the excellent work of Kingsley Harris at Music from the Eastzone – where local music is lovingly catalogued, documented and archived – after some 30 years where I waited, hoped, and then gave up on hearing these recordings he has seemingly unearthed the lot by both of these great bands and collected them in one package which will be released on 31 January as a 23 track CD called A Complicated History. I have just two or three much-played 7″ singles by the Vital Disorders, and somewhere or other an old cassette by the Kamikaze Sex Pilots, I’ll be delighted to hear these songs again.
Kingsley does great things for local music, writing in the local press, maintaining this archive with all the research that goes with it, and now putting out these gratefully received releases. He also put out a superb and diverse compilation CD to accompany the recent Sound & Vision Festival. I cannot wait for this latest release to arrive.
Interview with Suzie, Ruth and Chris on BBC Introducing in Norfolk, about 30 minutes in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01q93yc