(posted by quarsan)
Number One: Can’t Stand My Baby – The Rezillos
There have been some constant pleasures in life and the Rezillos are one of them. Ever since I heard the opening chords of ‘Can’t Stand My Baby’ I’ve been hooked. It is hard to describe the sound, the nearest is putting every crazed early sixties track in a blender, then applying enough volts to awaken Frankenstein.
Never has a guitar sounded so electric.
Helping my enjoyment was Fay Fife – the Mary Quant of punk – and their comic book image brought a sense of fun and excitement to the late 70’s. I got involved in their circle when I was doing some minor stuff with Fast Product, which was run by the Rezillos manager, Bob Last. I really liked Jo Callis, Angel and Simon.
Eugene and Fay were a bit standoffish, but I don’t blame them – I was as uncool then as I am now. nobody could compete with them as they drove around the city in a Messerschmidt bubble car. They were a group that lived a concept full on, full time.
They were a fantastic band to watch, running around the stage like demons whilst a roadie climbed into a dalek and roamed around the stage exterminating everything that moved. They had some classic songs, such as flying Saucer Attack, Good Sculptures and Top of the Pops. Listen to them and feel the excitement of being young.
Check out their debut LP – Can’t Stand The Rezillos
Jo was the only person I have known who kept a dalek in his cupboard. Unfortunately when the band split he was left with massive debts and had been in a deep hole for a long time. He then did something surprising. He joined the Human League, who has also split in two.
The League were looking, unashamedly, for chart success and Jo’s sense of melody and deep knowledge of the history of pop gave him the chance to write some great pop songs. It was also rumoured that the League were also looking for someone to teach them how to play. The first song to show Jo’s writing was ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ where a simple synth riff became a hook that launched an instant classic.
The last time I saw Jo was sitting in his Edinburgh flat drinking coffee and pawing over dalek plans. He told me that he had just had his first royalty cheque for the single. 200k for six months of sales. He was able to pay off all his debts and sort out his parents. Nothing had changed about him, fame just wasn’t what he was after, he just wanted to write great pop songs.
None of this explains why he later wrote songs for Samantha Fox though.