Life Support

Life Support - About You - the penny Drops - State of mind brief view on Youtube

The band Life Support was one of the reasons Deadbeat started, the others were to get into clubs, gigs and get free records. Create a fanzine, plug the band, a very simple concept. After we interviewed Roddy Frame in issue 5 the Band got dumped. Hilary's drawing of Siouxsie Sioux for issue 6 was outrageously good and the fanzine was bigger than the band who became affectionately known as Vile Rapport, a much better name I'm sure you would agree than Life Support. That was quick. Simple as that. Practices were abandoned in favour of visits to the Dance Factory, and the stationery shops for white letraset. The band continued and as blots on the St Andrews and Dundee landscape go, Vile Rapport were a big one and we enjoyed every minute. The band had many different drummers and guitar players but the Fat duo of Al 'make up the lyrics at each gig as ah see fit' and Si 'spitting, splattering and battering the bass ' to "The Penny Drops as the Mushroom Rises". When the single was finally released in 1984 on Heads Together, the public were delighted to find they received 99p back in change every time they bought one.

Ironically when Tucker joined the band on guitar they had the potential to record something reasonable so they split up in 1986 around the same time as Deadbeat disintegrated. Nothing like a wedding to spoil a party! Rich 'man of' Steele and Al would front up a duo called Platform 99 in the Sutton Arms, by Barbican Tube station in 1987 but this dead cat didn't bounce long.

So 25 years later in St Andrews to celebrate the demise of both Life Support and Deadbeat we'll be meeting with Dr Jim Salisbury to listen to his stories about being 50 and managing the band all those years ago. The interview was simple. Do you have a car? You'll be our manager then. When we drove down to JJJs in Galashiels Jim was also adept at being the debt collector as our dubious club owner decided we weren't worth a penny, something we'd told him before we left St Andrews. It was a an excellent gig by our standards but when one old geezer asked for the band's P.A. to be turned down so he could hear the racing commentary from the Craven Stakes, we knew we were toast. We've yet to find the venue or who'll be supporting us, but it'll appear hear by September 2011.

The orignal line up of Dave Porter, Derek Anderson, Mark Reihill and Dancin Al didnt last too long and when Simon Kettles replaced Derek, Dork (in Oirish) could concentrate on being Deadbeat's Roy Terre, while Hilary Smart and Susan Grahame added some singing. Dave's drumming fired the first 10 song demo tape along before he disappeared not long after and Gav Duncan came in to be followed later Dougie and then Ross Bradford. When Mark moved to London, Rich took over on lead guitar to be followed by Tucker. Such are the stories of many bands, Vile Rapport slipped from obscurity to oblivion quietly and tremendously successfully. Si subsequently found a band that were prepared to practice and can be heard regularly with Carbona not glue.

This Vile Rapport (TVR) are bound to reform for a gig in 2017 under their adopted name, fondly remembered just like the music....

Life Support recorded 3 other demo tapes as well as releasing the single. 10 songs were recorded in 1982 - an album - Noise with Poise - then another 4 songs before the 3 songs for the single. Finally Fall from Grace" was recorded in 1985 - four tracks. full details below.

3 tracks showing Life Support's distinctly unique and confused style. From the dark brooding love song About You, through the nuclear wasteland of 'the penny drops...as the mushroom rises',to a throwaway teenage kicks arrangement, State of Mind the band were rarely restrained by their influences, more their instruments.

"About you" starts with sharp guitar, then poppy bass before heavy snare, adds a wee scare, a hint of the darkness to come. "I felt I sensed the worst, the day that I met you, you radiated something special, a sort of instant gloom...". Its not a love story. The complete opposite of The Police's "every breath you take". This is the song of a man being stalked, then trapped and powerless to evade. He shouts but you feel the voice is suffocated. Unlucky Pal, you've no chance is what this reviewer thinks.

The only link between 'About You' and 'The Penny Drops' is the despair you feel for the character. The Penny Drops starts with heavy rising bass before "a loud bang, alarm bells ring" and the drums are smashing you ear drums. "The penny drops as the mushroom rises" tells the story of a lonely survivor and wanders into the era that gave us Trainspotting. The drugs culture in the late 70's and early 80's saw Edinburgh one of the homes of AIDS. This song clearly compares the imagined post Nuclear landscape to the carnage being reaped by Thatcher on communities in Scotland. Its a song that could've made the Trainspotting sound track.

State of Mind is a return to simple songs in C, F & G. Two verses, two chorus, middle eight and a final chorus. Easy on the ear and so derivative of Teenage Kicks, but good for it.


Not many bands gave 99p change from a £1 - we did!!



No comments:

Post a Comment