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Memory Lane Bypass

 
Your LIVE MUSIC recollections gathered.
Your questions answered

 Editorial comments are in italic.




I remember seeing Burlesque at St Albans City Hall. The promoter seemed to be going through a phase of booking bands who were slightly different and more interesting than the usual rock bands around at the time - 1977. We had groups such as Split Enz, Supercharge, Kursaal Flyers and Burlesque.

 My memory was being in a crowd singing along to the chorus of "Acupuncture" and thinking that "Lana Turner" was a great song without knowing who she was!

 I saw T&J at the Marquee and didn't really know what to make of them - but like them all the same.

 Someone will realise someday that all these acts defined that particular era.... and will get their material released on CD.

 Steve Fairbairn
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Billy replies:

Interesting!

 Yes, the groups you mention Steve, did have a mutual nod of the head to each other. We toured with the Kursaals and often played with Supercharge or the same venues. There was no 'umbrella' style tag to these sort of bands. We used to announce a different style every few months -  'Armed Forces Rock', 'Afro-Latin-Tex-Mex-Rock', 'Art Rock' were three labels.  But never punk - which is ironic as that is one moniker that lingers around me now. Other curio acts about that time were 'Albertos Los Trio Paranoious' (that's spelt wrong) , 'Ens' from Coventry, a bit earlier there was 'Stackridge' from Bristol. Can anyone recall other curio bands from the mid '70's - early '80's?

 Thinking back to T & J - it was a unique act in those days. There were no other saxophone & guitar acts. Especially on the rock circuit. We were a favourite support act as we only had one tiny amp, but sometimes we used to upstage the main act. Especially remember a review in the NME which much preferred our madness to Bill Bruford's UK Band. Funny that I often bump into Bill on the jazz festival circuit. He is a good man.

 BJ
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Ed adds:

Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias!
C.P. Lee had a knee-length naked woman print manta-ray tie and the insincerest moustache in history. Years before Mitch Hiller sang "I want my royalties" as Sting on Spitting Image, the Alberto's popped up as The PC's doing 'Too Depressed to Commit Suicide,' on the back of 'So Lonely' by The Police. The pained screech was spot bollock. Sample lyric:-

"I watch the lunchtime news read by Leonard Parkin
I may as well go for a swim in a pool with a shark in."


Hi Billy

 I recall you and Ian had a regular gig at a big old pub in St. John's Wood which me and my mate Lee used to come and piss ourselves at regularly. I also have a distant recollection obscured through a drug haze of a gig Burlesque played at the Polytechnic of Central London in New Cavendish Street sometime arround '76/'77. Is this in fact true or am I deluded that I saw you there?

 Clive
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Billy replies:

It was The Crown.
Round the corner from Lords.
Top West Indian bowler fast Malcolm Marshall seemed to be in there most weeks from when Trimmer and Jenkins first played there on the evening of Monday 12th May 1980.
The publican (was he called Robin?) was a smashing geezer and just let us get on with it. Obviously enjoyed it as we seemed to be there most Mondays until the end of the year.
It was a huge room and we had to take a jug round to top up the twenty quid we got over the bar. Me and Trimmer used to argue whose turn it was to go round. I hated doing it, but on a good night (and you could be talking 3 -400 people), we might've taken another 15. Bastards.

 I think we were put onto the gig by Charlie Grima and Bob Brady, two smashing musicians and geezers who had been in Roy Wood's Wizzard. We'd all been working in biggish band put together by the then owner of Brahms & Liszt in Covent Garden. For some reason the band was called The Fucking Greasy Bastards. Charlie and Bob worked the 'non-entertainment licence' pubs as a duo too. I think we did sneak in a few extra players sometimes - ex-Nice drummer Brian 'Blinky' Davison sat in once.

PLC, at 115 New Cavendish Street to be exact, was played on the 19th March 1976, sharing the bill with George Melly. We used to have the same agent and were often sold to colleges as a package. It's interesting to note (or possibly not) that the next morning we headed up to Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancs to begin a 23 day tour. 'Ah', I think wistfully, 'you can't do big runs like that these days'. But then we were probably getting diddly squat wedge. But on the other hand, my diary tells me that on the day of the PLC gig, we started charging VAT. I dunno.... Good days though.

Your drugs must've been shite to still remember such excellent trivia, Clive (or am I talking to myself here?).

BJ
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Clive replies back ...

 Yes, the dealer at PCL wasn't the greatest. He wore green clogs and once appeared on Opportunity Knocks doing Johnny.B. Goode with his mates from up North wearing the very same offensive footwear.

 Soon after your '76 gig punk came along and all these crap punk acts took over the venue. I was in the Law dept. and we shared the building with the Art dept. who all went punk en masse overnight. Seeing a load of art students spitting at a bunch of wankers who couldn't play wasn't my idea of fun. I know it's not too cool to admit you weren't into punk if you were old enough to have been there but what the hell. If all the people who claim to have been at the Pistols gig at the 100 Club were put in a room they'd fill up Wembley stadium five times over.

I also remember the jug at the Crown. I think I might even have dropped a few bob in it myself. I recall your manic strumming and duck-walking across that tiny stage.

I'll email your reply to my mate Lee. It'll give him a memory flash-back.

Really enjoyed your turn on Mr.Jones show last Saturday. Thank God for him or the Blues would be invisible here in London.

(This refers to Billy's spot on the Paul Jones show on Jazz FM - 18/08/01)

If you happen to be a fan of the late great American writer Charles Bukowski then you can watch my 25 minute film, 'Love For $17.50' adapted from his story from South of No North ( look under short films) [try Googling it...Ed] It's about a bloke in LA who falls in love with a dummy he sees in a thrift store window. I think you might need a hi-speed, fuck-off full-on internet connection to view it in normal time. I had to change the music for the web which is a shame as the original version has music by Clifford Brown, Don Preston (ex-Mothers) and the fabulous Cal Lampley Orchestra.

I'll check out your web-site to catch future gigs in my neck of the woods.
Good luck, keep on keeping music non-corperate and fresh and funny and fuck the rest.

 all the best

 Clive Saunders


Well thanks be to the Internet... Google finds Burlesque first go... !!

 I have been living in Sydney since 1979 having left Hounslow for 6 months and really not returning for any decent length of time since then.....can't say I have missed it much....but my musical memories are locked into the period 1970-9.... Alex Harvey, Burlesque, Graham Parker, etc...

My memories of Burlesque are from the Nashville Rooms, Kensington around 1977? And I think at least twice.... cant remember if you were supported or if you were supporting...?  I was around 18-19 at the time...

Vivid memories of laughing and bopping to Acupuncture, Lana Turner etc... Pretty sure I can still bang them out now....great nights on the Fullers ESB....

After many years i got mum and dad to send out my old albums.... Acupuncture being one.... and after several more years I threw the lot out... I can't believe I did that.... where the f*** am i gonna get that in Sydney...

Glad to see you are alive and kicking....what about Mister Trimmer...?

regards
Steve Murphy...


Burlesque - one of the best live bands on the college circuit in the mid seventies.

 Strange - nobody seems to remember the incredible number that the band did - "The Tango." Never recorded - probably only really good as live material - and it took the band ages before they could avoid playing it at gigs...

If any of the guys get a gig in Singapore - please let me know!

Dave Appleton

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Billy adds:-

That's really perceptive about trying to shake 'The Tango'.
He's quite right - we were always trying to move forward musically and show-wise - but the punters always wanted it.


2000


Many years ago the band BURLESQUE released their album "Acupuncture' It was circa 1976/77 and I was madly in love with Ian Trimmer the vocalist - my friends Madeline, Avril and I travelled everywhere in London to see them play!

I had their album years ago but I lent it to my sister (along with my Sex Pistols "Never Mind The Bollocks' album) and I never got them back..anyway, I found a copy of ACUPUNCTURE here in Oz for $3.95 in a 2nd hand shop! What joy!

I remember Ian called me at work once when I was 18 and I was OVER THE MOON! Unfortunately I was Miss No-Personality then and I just stammered and blushed and got rid of him.....waaahhh!!!!

My friend Madeline actually ended up marrying the guitarist Steve Hughes and they moved into our (my sisters and I's) flat in Chelsea when we moved out.

June Bird (aka June Killington)
xxxx

PS: I am attaching a pic of me - I am in the pink t-shirt and denim jacket. Taken December 2000 at an anti-circus demo I organised.

==============

Please pop along and see my latest interviews with Chrissie Hynde, Peter Brock, Senator Andrew Bartlett, Bryan Adams, Daniel Johns, Uri Geller, Vanessa Amorosi, Rikki Rocket & Annalise Braakensiek.

June Bird
ANIMAL LIBERATION, AUSTRALIA

http://www.animal-lib.org.au

==============

 June Bird is an animal rights activist, an author, cartoonist, ex backing vocalist with Adam & The Ants, drummer, stand up comedian and actress.

June lives in Sydney, Australia

... which is the only impediment to immediate marriage the editor can think of,
even if Trimmer did see her first.


I also remember Billy turning out for John Dummers' "sleaze" band True Life Confessions in the early 80's. How come you don't mention it? They were a good laugh, I also was on stage with them on a couple of occasions. We all do things that we regret from time to time. But come on, paint the whole picture. I think that he used to turn up on his motorbike to gigs.

Ev the Dog
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Did he not also have an Ooblee Dooblee Band at some stage? Or was that John Gummer? Billy is far from coy about his history, it's just that there's rather a lot of it. Anyway, you think that's embarassing, did you know he played at Fatboy Slim and Zoe Ball's wedding?


Hi all.

 Way back in the mid-seventies I and my little coterie of pseudo-hippies used to frequent a small, inelegant opium-den by the name of Llanharan Rugby Club a few miles outside Bridgend in South Wales. Every Sunday, instead of the usual bingo, chicken-in-the-basket and organ/drums ensemble, they'd have a rock night. God knows what the locals made of hordes of long haired dope-fiends descending on their small village, but they didn't seem to mind and there was never any 'trouble'. The club had a small dance floor lined either side with long wooden tables. These tables had small shelves underneath which were perfect, in terms of secrecy, for rolling joints. The whole place must have stunk of weed for days after but no-one ever complained. There were some cracking bands there over the year or so that I visited. 'Little Bob Storey' (a French rock n'rolling midget if I remember rightly), 'Factory' (who did a fab version of East of Eden's Jig-a-Jig) and, best of all, Burlesque. I saw them there at least twice and hey blew the place apart on both occassions. I was heavily into Zappa at the time (still am) and 'Bananas' went down a storm. I have this hazy memory of the bass player poncing around in a blue short-trousered sailor suit. Is this correct or did I hallucinate it?

I bought Acupuncture at the time and found Burlesque in a second-hand shop several years later. I still have them both and finding this site has prompted me to dig them out again. Ah, happy daze.

Cheers,

 Brent.
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Billy writes:

That explains why Llanharan Rugby Club was our favourite of favourite gig of all the favourite South Wales gigs we did in 1976-77. Delightful audience.........seem to laugh at all our jokes...........seemed to analyse me guitar solo's with grandiose well thought and measured rationalisations into me ear whilst packing up me gear.

 'How did you manage to replace that broken D string and get a new one on and in tune without being able to hear it (the band going hell for leather with an intense burn out)?'
'Tension,' I said, 'just by feeling the string tension I got it in tune.'

 I did and it was. And  I've never ever done that since.
Llanharen was definitely special.   Or was I too, hallucinating?


At last a mention of Burlesque on the Internet!

 I saw them on the Be-Bop-Deluxe tour in 1976 at the DeMontfort Hall and subsequently the polytechnic, both Leicester. I begged an "Acupuncture" poster from a local record store and it adorned my bedroom wall till I left home.

 In about 1978 I unexpectedly saw T&J near Southampton university supporting ?Bad Manners. I met them after the gig (on the pretext of being from the students' radio station - which was partly true). Billy signed a beer mat for me: a friend back home was similarly mad on Burlesque and I wanted to send him it. Unfortunately Billy wrote in Chinese or similar so I don't know what it said!

 I thought I was the only person left who remembered Burlesque. I stll have "Acupuncture" and a tape (ahem) of "Burlesque". What is Ian Trimmer doing these days?

 Thanks for the memories!
Adrian Wild

Ian Trimmer can be found playing the high society circuit.


From Kevin O'Brien

 I was at the St. Albans show that was recorded for the Acupuncture album. I was actually there to see the Kursaal Flyers (it was in the course of a nostalgic surfing session looking for Kursaal Flyers recordings that I found this page).

 Back to St. Albans. As well as the incredibly different sounds of Burlesque (my ears were not used to such delights) there was the incredible sight of the most enormous gob arc'ing through the air and landing across the strings of Billy's Yamaha guitar - an instrument I ceased to covet for those few seconds. Such was its enormity, the gob damped the strings until Billy took the bull by the horns and gathered up the green mess and extricated it from his 'axe' as I believe those musical types call it. This was when gobbing was the order of the day.

Then many years later, my tastes having expanded widely (though still enjoying all the 'old stuff') I became a fan of Radio 3's Mixing It programme. They played some amazing stuff by some bloke called Billy Jenkins. Being a musical anorak, 'Oh I remember a guitarist by that name', I thought to myself, remembering fondly the aforementioned evening, and even popped on the Acupuncture disc the day after. It wasnt until I saw the man in Wire magazine that I realised it was the same Billy Jenkins! Further proof (as if it were required) came on the BBC2 jazz strand from the 606 club; after identifying the Yamaha there could be no mistake. A truly memorable version of 'Close To You' I still have it on video.

A BIG Watford Love
www.kob.watford.net


From Speednik Abreaction

I was on the music course at Lewisham College (I played the bass for a rendition of the then-popular Freakpower No 1 "turn On, Tune In, Cop Out" whilst wearing a dress and a big straw hat). Nice to see you in the SLP - may come to one of your shows if I can afford it.
  Anyone who can inspire a man (name David Sullivan) to try to play the guitar with a knife is all right by me. Or with a chair as I recall you doing once.


From P.

I have vague (in terms of when and where) memories of a gig somewhere sweaty and crowded.  Mr T has you by the collar, swinging you round whilst you create a storm of noise... but what was that guitar?  My (sadly no longer - too much booze and crazy relationships) friend was sure it's customised appearance - the top appeared to be sawn of so you could hang it closer to your chest - disguised a Woolworth's Starway.  Surely some mistake I say.  Reveal all and make an old man happy.

   Love the gigs in Croydon (last year and the year before?? - the memory's not what it was)  - come again and I'll drag everyone I know along.  That should make for a least three people in the audience.

   keep it up


  From Pete Turnpenney

 Memories of Burlesque

 Windsor Great Park Festival, Summer of '73 or '74. Set closing with an updated version of 'Wipe-out' annouced by Trimmer as 'Wash-out' : this produced wailing objections from Billy (who was replete with large woollen jumper and wellies) The rest is a haze.
 
 


  Also from Pete Turnpenney (after the 15/02/00 gig at the Leicester Comedy Festival)

   Many thanks for tonight (the earth moved). Please, please come back again. Sorry that my audience colleagues were not as strong in number as you deserve. The word is getting round

   (I've been a fawning fan since the Burlesque gig in Windsor Great Park circa 1973/74) .  Yours til the cows come home


From Paul

 yus i remember burlesque playing the marquee in circa 74, wot a gig, could av bin the mothers!!!!.....been a constant fan on of bj and his out pourings ever since...probably he the most underrated genius since moz-art????
fantastic!!

  Paul ran the radio never say die! website, featuring among other things, a cheeky little bootleg of the Suburbia gig at Blackheath Halls (09/02/00).


Whatcha Billy! Just been to see you at the MAC in Brum - excellent stuff!! Saw T&J at JB's Dudley - what a fantastic show and a breath of fresh air at the time! (think we also saw Burlesque up there Got the T&J Live album and Burlesque Acupuncture are they worth anything ? I've been teaching myself the guitar (or trying to anyway) and I think I'm now getting somewhere - would you give me some lessons (for a small fee of course!) What's Mr Trimmer doing at present? Keep up the good work. Regards Jim Lea. 


From Chas Braithwaite

 Somebody asked who did the lighting for Burlesque. In the early days it was Tony Williams, who was sadly killed when the band's truck was in a smash on the M1. There were several crew members over the years, Frank O'Donnell, Bernie Richardson, Dave Prior, Robin Fox and myself. Strangely a colleague of mine recently asked if I had heard of Burlesque as he had just found a copy of Acupuncture at a boot fair !!!

The last ever Burlesque gig was the day of Tony Williams funeral.


From Gary Nicholson (now resident in Winchester)

 Canterbury Christ Church College 1980. Summer Ball.
A wonderful night made possible by me (as Social Secretary) paying extortionate amounts of other people's money to T & J who made the evening extra special. Having said that, a couple of people did walk out on the line 'The Ashes of your sister'. The whole magical summer evening was supposed to have been rounded off (unbeknownst to T & J who were by then heading off up the M2) by the Disney favourite 'Fantasia'. Unfortunately my own megalomania knew no bounds and I substituted 'The Texas ChainSaw Massacre' instead. What a dreadful prat I was. Never mind. I am now older and wiser but still can't work out the chords to 'Happy Heart' and 'You're the girl I want to be with'.


Back in the early 70ís thereís was a group of us who used to watch Burlesque play their gigs in a pub in Bromley, but I donít remember the name. Our group were all from Hustmere school Sidcup. And if any of them visit your site, our names were Andy Reed, Tony Young, Terry Sherwood, & Robin Ashburn.

 You Want You Say Acupuncture


From Bruce Colloff

 Pleased to see the stuff about Burlesque and Trimmer and Jenkins
and looking forward to the responses about those times.
I'll offer my own thoughts in the near future, but in the meantime
I've got a couple of questions.

 What's become of Ian Trimmer?
What was the name of the guy that did the lights in the Burlesque days?

 I am resident in New Zealand now...one of the first people I met over here asked me where in the UK I came from. When I replied Bromley he aked "Do you know Billy Jenkins?"

Ian Trimmer can be found playing the high society circuit.

 Burlesque's sound engineer was Tony Williams.
See Chas Braithwaite's contribution above.


From Andrew Beswetherick

 I remember coming to part of a week-long party at Billy's parents' house, around 1972?
I have a feeling they were on holiday.

 I went on to teacher training at St Mark and St John's College, Plymouth and encouraged the social committee to book Burlesque in 1976. They went down so well they were booked again a year later.

 The last time I met Billy he was living down in Greenwich above the recording studio
at a wharf just along from the Cutty Sark. I think he'd just had twins?
By the way I still think that photo taking off the cover of Ummagumma is very funny.

 ------------------

 Wood Wharf studios was three rehearsal rooms and an art gallery and
Billy lived under it until he moved to Lewisham in 1993.
Billy's directions to Wood Wharf ran thus:-
"Go to the middle of the world. Walk down the hill. Turn left at the Cutty Sark."

 Anyone got any Wood Wharf stories?
 
  Nice memories here at The Greenwich Phantom.



From Dave Yeates

 Yeah, I remember them. In fact I put them on a few times when I was Social Sec at Bromley Tech, once supporting Thin Lizzy. Someone nicked my two Burlesque albums.


From Kay Walmsley Dutton

For me and my circle of Bromley-ites in the mid seventies - Burlesque were our band of the moment. We would go and see them whenever (limited resources allowing!) and wherever (limited transport allowing!) we could. Our easiest options were Bromley College and the long gone Stockwell College and memories of those fantastic gigs are precious in the minds of our group of now (still very much gig-going) forty-somethings, and we often talk about them. I can see, vividly, Billy strumming his guitar until his fingers bled! We used to meet up in Henekey's (what a pub!) or The White Hart in Bromley High Street. Later, when we were on the fringes of the famous Bromley Contingency, I recall spending Saturday lunchtimes trolling up and down The Kings Road - but Saturday evenings heading back to Bromley to seek out where Burlesque were playing........ In the late seventies I spent many a hilarious Sunday lunchtime watching T&J at The Half Moon in sunny Hernia Hill. I also saw T&J at Milton Keynes on the bill with Ian Hunter. My treasured copy of the album "Acupuncture" was 'borrowed' in the early 80's - never to be returned. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Are there any photos in existence from the Burlesque/T&J gigs? I'd love to see them on your web site and feel sure I'd recognise half the audience!

------------------

 Billy is now scratching his crash helmet trying to put faces to the names of members of his audiences down the years.


H. Paul remembers ...

 The Orpington College open-day afternoon gig, wasn't it 1978? In a hall packed with
16 - 19 -year olds, busily adapting to the new factions, (a 6th former with Hendrix and Zappa albums was heretoforth a hippy). "Come blow your nose to Burlesque" read the poster, (borrowing from "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually-Aroused Gas-Mask" from "Weazels Ripped my Flesh.") Visually entertaining and musically chaotic, Burlesque startled them all and went down very well. I was about to jack in my A' levels and got caught popping blues by dinner-ladies innocent enough to believe they were headache tablets.
Turned out they were right.
 

Billy remembers this one as a Burlesque-flavoured jam.



 
 


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