Always had that je ne sais quoi Irritating little combo with no plans to reform The most fun you can have with your shoes on
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Newsletter 1 - Oct/Nov/Dec 1978

First off, thanks for your interest in the Smirks and also an apology from us for not writing back to you sooner or individually. There are just too many for us to cope with, though many of you will have perhaps received letters from us in the past, we thought that we could get a reply to everyone sooner by doing a standard letter. So hope you don't mind too much! That said your letters are great to read and are real morale boosters especially when anyone gets Travoltadepression (more of that later). So keep up the letters! Some of the information in this first newsletter will be familiar to many of you but we have got to fill in the gaps for the few who don't know the whole story so far. Here goes...

The Smirks are Simon Milner (lead vocals and guitar), Neil Fitzpatrick (lead guitar and vocals), Ian 'Mog' Morris (bass guitar and vocals) and Mike Doherty (drums). The band owes a great deal of its highly individual style of music and presentation to the streets of Paris. Simon and Neil ran out of money in Paris (on their way to Australia!) aarly in 1977. They then took to busking on the streets, metros, clubs and in trains. If you listen carefully to Streets which is the flip side of 'OK-UK' (BZZ17) you can hear the full story.

They finally left Paris after having established themselves as the richest buskers in Paris, and returned to Manchester. October 1977 and the Manchester music scene had dramatically changed. Ian took them to see some of the new groups most of them imnressing them tremendously (esp the Clash) since they all had the same thing they had - loads of energy. They immediately bought electric guitars, recruited Mike (who had been drumming with the Nosebleeds) and Mog of course provided bass. They did their first gig together as The Smirks at the Globe Inn in Salford on 10 December 1977...supporting a fire-eating stripper!

They were in great demand from then on and were invited to perform at the Stiff Records Talent Competition on Jan 5, 1978 at Erics club in Liverpool. They were offered several contracts immediately and finally went for Beserkley, to whom they signed in March 1978.

They then did their first tour sunporting Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias in March and then another tour in May supporting John Otway and Wild Willy Barratt. Their first single OK-UK was finally released in June. In August they went to Holland with Greg Kihn's band and played at Gronigen and then with The Boomtown Rats and The Darts at the Rotterdam free festival.

In September the Smirks began their first national tour which took them through to November and the release of their second single 'Rosemary'. That brings up to date, with the band at the Workhouse Studio in London recording the first album. It will have "about 14 tracks" and is scheduled for a February release. They are co-producing the album with Laurie Latham who works on the Ian Dury recordings.

Unfortunately a last minute change in recording plans meant that a planned Xmas tour had to be scrapped and rescheduled for Feb. Sorry! But next time we plan to take in Scotland, Wales and hopefully Ireland. If you know anyone who wants to book the band get them to phone Bob or James on 01 439 9096.

Watch out for...

Smirks on TV on Tues 5 December at 4.20 on 'Get it Together' they will be doing both Rosemary and Up eh Up, watch the dancing. (check local press for any last minute alterations)

No final date allocated for 4 tracks which have just been recorded for the Kid Jensen show, see Radio Times or listen! Tracks include Rosemary, Up eh Up, Julie and Streets.

Features in Melody Maker and Record Mirror.

Radio 4 on Jan 2, 1979 Yes Radio 4 have done an hour long documentary on the Smirks under the title "It's Hard Work this Rock 'n Roll". Just heard that it will go out at 8pm on Jan 2.

Smirks Against Travolta

Well, well, lots of activity here. As you will all know by now the band went down to London to stage a protest about the presence of Travolta at the premiere of Grease at Leicester Square. Travolta in a word sums up the blight of non-live disco music which is unfortunately still running amok in this country (and elsewhere). The man couldn't do a live gig or even sing for that matter. And he was challenged to do so at Leicester Square, to no avail. The Smirks played live music, danced, gave out badges and Smirks Against Travolta manifestoes. Simon was arrested by the police and charged with 'wilfully obstructing the free passage of the highway'. On the day of the hearing the police didn't even turn up to defend the charge so it was dismissed!

The costs were high though (legal fees, expenses for witnesses etc) and we are recouping some of these through the sale of badges. Still available from us at SAT, 182 Oxford Road, Manchester 13 they are 10p each plus sae; or from Better Badges, Box 99, 286 Portobello Road, London W10.

The other way to help don't just boycott Grease etc...go to gigs, Keep Music Live!

Now it's Your Turn

Can you help us? Yes! By

Well that's all for this letter. If you want to get the next Jan/Feb news­letter please send a stamped addressed envelope (postage on 600 letters costs a lot). If you know of anyone who would like Smirksinfo tell them to send a sae. If you want to drop us a note we're still at 182, Oxford Road, Manchester 13. Oh, by the way ideal Xmas presents...we've still got some 40" x 30" (102cm x 76cm) black and white posters or 30" x 20" (76cm x 51cm) colour posters. Both are 50p plus LARGE sae. And seeing as this is a Xmas issue...have a good one from all of us, and hope you have as good a year as we're going to have! Hope to hear from you again, bye, from

Simon Mike Neil Mark

Image Oct/Nov/Dec 1978 Jan/Feb/Mar 1979 Apr/May/Jun 1979

Text Oct/Nov/Dec 1978 Jan/Feb/Mar 1979 Apr/May/Jun 1979

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