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Thursday, 12 January 2017

45RPM: #123 Teenage Head - The Snakes (1976)

Teenage Head / Lights Out
Dynamite Records (Netherlands)
Produced by Nick Garvey
Released 1976

The Snakes only ever released one single and for some odd reason it was released in the Netherlands back in 1976. I had just read about this a couple of days ago and was very surprised to see it on You Tube, so I thought I'd include it as part of the 45RPM Series.

They also appeared on a compilation from the Dutch Rock and Roll label Dynamite Records called Light Up The Dynamite (DYR 3304). They have two songs on the 1977 album: Have You Seen My Baby, and Little Queenie. The album was reissued two years later on another Dutch label called Magnum Force (MFLP-006).

You are probably wondering why on earth I would be interested in this record? I really love discovering history and connections when it comes to particular records and this Single has some great history. 

The single is produced by Nick Garvey (who also happened to be a member of The Snakes). Nick Garvey's claim to fame is of course that he was the frontman for The Motors (which is the band that followed The Snakes after they broke up).

The remaining members of the band would all become known for their contributions to other up and coming bands in the fairly young Punk & New Wave Scene in the UK in 1976 -77:

The Snakes were:
Robert "Bob" Gotobed (known these days as Robert Grey) - Vocals
Nick Garvey - Guitar
Rob Smith - Bass
Richard Wernham (aka Ricky Slaughter) -  Drums

If you know a little about the Punk & New Wave Scene then maybe those names might be a little bit familiar to you, if not let me explain a bit further:

Robert Gotobed on the vocals would go on to become drummer for Wire between 1976-1990 and then a second term between 2000 and the present day. He would also for a short period of time play with The Art Attacks. He actually played on their first recording Rat City (which would not be the first single from The Art Attacks but rather the B-Side to their second and farewell release in 1979 called Punk Rock Stars).

Nick Garvey had been a member of Pub Rock band Ducks Deluxe alongside Sean Tyla (The Tyla Gang), future Motor Andy McMaster, and lead guitarist Martin Belmont (who had been a roadie for Brinsley Schwarz - Nick Lowe's early band and later to become a founding member of Graham Parker & The Rumour). He left Ducks Deluxe in 1974 not long after the debut album as released and formed The Snakes. I wasn't aware of it before but I read just recently that Nick had been a Roadie for the Flamin' Groovies, and so it must have been a bit like coming full circle releasing one of their most famous songs!

Rob Smith played a few shows with The Art Attacks and vanished off the face of the earth (well not literally we hope!).

Richard Wernham (aka Ricky Slaughter) - would play some shows with The Art Attacks and as a result The Motors played on the same bill as the band. He went full time with The Motors and The Art Attacks got JD Haney (who would later go on to Drum for The Monochrome Set).

The B-side of the single is a track that maybe is better known for the Dr Feelgood version that appeared on the B-Side of Sneakin' Suspicion in May 1977. The first version of Lights Out was released in 1958 by Jerry Byrne.

So many connections from one single...I'm such an anorak that I get excited about these types of things! 😁
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