Hot Rods/Members – Live

Reviewed in the NME, 7 April, 1979

Eddie And The Hot Rods
The Members


“The high posing macho, the costumes, the lights… the lights changing in time to the music! I consider that to be an insult to peoples’ intelligence.” – Tina Weymouth, NME, July 1978.

Eddie and the Hot Rods have plenty of big bulbs stacked behind their amps these days. Flashing, dazzling red, blue and orange, a row of blinding white floodlights – and they all change in time to the music! Rainbow a go-go! How impressive!
By the end of their show there is enough wattage being burned onstage to take Blue Oyster Cult through the recording of two dozen triple live sets, enough pretty colours to fill Old Trafford with Rasta album sleeves.
But, sadly, Eddie And The Hot Rods themselves are not a very bright or particularly colourful aural proposition these days. And no amount of gloss can disguise this was a pitifully perfunctory rock ‘n’ roll show, played out by a band of artistically redundant dinosaurs. It was remarkable only in its sheer, numbing mediocrity.
What was once greasy R&B is now no more than bludgeoning bombast.
The Hot Rods tread wearily through awfully affected, overblown originals (‘Media messiahs’ and ‘Power And The Glory’) and then ruin great songs like ‘Gloria’ and ‘The Kids Are Alright’; totally swamping the original, receptive brilliance of the latter, for instance.
Barrie Masters’ renowned gymnastic frontman antics have much the same effect as the light show – they do absolutely nothing to relieve the boredom. Besides, someone who has to rely on much macho cockrock postures is never going to be the new Olga Korbut.
And I used to queue regularly outside the Marquee only three years ago to lap up the same band.
In 1976, the Hot Rods, more than any other band at the time, first lured me away from the suburban disco-floor to rock gigs in the capital. But times change, values too, and Eddie And The Hot Rods were always doomed to be too short sighted a proposition for these ears.
Take it or leave it? The Rods should knock it on the head.
The Members, by way of contrast, were great.
They played a truncated set and seemed all the stronger for it, highlighting the best tracks from the album along with ‘Offshore Banking Business’, reggae that is felt not fashioned, and the spirited here-comes-the-weekend thrash of ‘Goodbye To The Job’ before finishing up in Larry Wallis’ ‘Police Car’ with X-Ray Spexer Rudi Thompson on searing sax.
With The Members. though, it is not so much the songs, crisply evocative thumbnail sketches that they are; it’s the way they sing ’em. Make no mistake, the kinetic feisty Members – when a few strictly personal internal problems have been resolved are going to be enormous, and deservedly so.
Then their only problem will be whether to become tax exiles or stick with inshore banking business.

Adrian Thrills

Nico/JCC/Jock Scott

From the NME, 2 February, 1985

Nico/John Cooper Clarke
Jock Scott/Rythmic Itch

Nico – desperate, soporific, croaky old Nico – is, basically, the Salford of Johnny Clarke’s sickest fantasies: she drains you, nags you, relentlessly bores you, makes you redundant. The best you can do is try not to notice. Occupy your mind with something else. Watch people watching her, watch them being mesmerised by lack of purpose, movement, anything. Queueing up as a state of mind.
And the songs? What are they like? Come on, you tell me. I asked Lemmy, who was wandering about, to tell me. He said the songs were like Auschwitz set to music. Me, I think that’s going a bit far. Music? Get out, this is more than music, more than the lack of it, more than the support act, Rythmic Itch, could cobble together in a lifetime of neat little melodies and sweet little hair-dos.
In contrast, John Cooper Clarke’s sharpened up on his Jimmy Savile impersonations to the point of eeriness (and what a contrast – imagine Nico pretending to be Jimmy Savile). Between non-well-worn oldies he gives us the even more familiar guys-and-gals banter, one point for the year, two points if you can remember the title of the song, and hows about that?
Cut the cack, jack. Better-oiled than I’ve seen him, he unravels the usual scabrous verses – ‘Beesley St’, ‘Nothing’, ‘Twat’, ‘The Pest’ and so on – at such a rate that you’re always struggling to catch up, to make sense. Focus on a phrase, grasp its meaning, and others will ricochet around you, hit you in the face, make you laugh.
Basically: salford’s a dump; dull, daft, rotting, full of damaged, deranged people who have no understanding of the technology which shapes their world. Also, a woman goes to the doc, says she has a farting problm, not that they smell, you understand, but the noise is so embarrassing and the doc says do one then and she does and he says I’m going to have to operate and she says what on my arse and he says no on your nose
And so to the evening’s pinnacle, a poem by Jock Scott at his laconic best; pointless, rubbishy, hilarious: ‘The Wag Club’. “Last night I went to the Wag/I took a bird home for a shag/and afterwards I had a fag.” nasty one, Jock. So why laugh? BUT WE DO.

William Leith


Don Drummond

This poem by Anthony McNeill (1941-1996) mourns Skatalites trombonist Don Drummond.


for the D
‘To John Coltrane: the heaviest spirit’
from Black Music, LeRoi Jones

may I learn the shape of that hurt
which captured you nightly into
dread city, discovering through
streets steep with the sufferer’s beat:

teach me to walk through jukeboxes
and shadow that broken music
whose irradiant stop is light,
guide through those mournfullest journeys

I back into harbour Spirit
in heavens remember we now
and show we a way into praise,
all seekers together, one-heart:

and let we lock conscious when wrong
and Babylon rock back again:
in the evil season sustain
o heaviest spirit of sound.

Anthony McNeill