Sunday, 24 August 2014

The X-Men,.......Trash Legends ! (Reform for a one-off gig).

Bloody awful picture, anyone have better ?
Well, well, well.....What a treat !  I'm quite excited by this ! The fabled X-Men, who for me are the archetypal band of that uniquely British phenomenon that was 'Garage Trash' are reforming for a one off gig at the fifth Pompey Rumble in November (2014), the 8th to be exact.
In the early and mid-80's this label was given to a raft of bands that weren't strictly 60's Garage revivalists, they weren't Psychobilly and they most certainly weren't purist Rockabilly BUT a lot of the sensibilities and influences all came together creating not only the unique visual spectacle of  be-quiffed, rockabilly styled guys belting out 60's garage classics to crowds of shirtless psychos and turtle necked mop tops but the use of the Double Bass to drive scorchers originally done by the likes of the Electric Prunes (The Vibes, Clapham South Escalators) Love, The Modds (X-Men), Emporers (Sting Rays) and a plethora of others.
Dig up a copy of 'I Was A Teenage Cavemen' and you'll have a set list of some of the originals that these guys plundered and gave their various treatments to. (More on this subject later).

Reads like a set list at a Vibes gig !
 Back to the X-Men, forming around the tail end of '81 in their first incarnation and made up of Mark (various pseudonyms) Stollar on vocals, Tim Hosking (Brother of Mark Hosking from The Sting Rays) on Bass, Tom (Thumb) Cullinan on Drums and Miles Aldridge on guitar. Here's a link to them doing a cover of the Sonics 'The Witch' sometime late '82 :  

Over the five years or so that The X-men were active the line up was expanded to include a couple of female backing singers, the girls joined the band (probably) sometime in 82 one of which, Debbie Green (Yes, she of Headcoatees fame) would occupy the drummers stool at times, Sue Feighery being the other addition, both of whom are given dual vocal and percussion credits. Miles left the band following them recording a session for John Peel (4th Sept 1984), produced by Mark Radcliffe, they recorded 4 tracks 'The Witch' (The Sonics), Little Girl (Syndicate of Sound), Extremental (X-Men) and another self penned ditty 'Count Von Black', none of which have seen an official release (although they're on youtube) Someone might like to let me know if it was the Peel Session version of 'Little Girl' which appeared on Meltdown on Media Burn ?  Miles was replaced by Tom Cullinan (and Debbie Green took the sticks) following their signing to Creation Records and after their first release (Cre 006) in 1984, the fabulous 'Do The Ghost' backed with 'Talk' (Miles also did the artwork for this single).

First single for Creation Recs 1984, also comes in Blue & Orange sleeve.
The second, and last, vinyl outing for Creation was the equally brilliant 'Spiral Girl' with the flipside being 'Bad Girl' (of Zackery Thaks fame) Cre 013, 1985. A pounding, rhythmic stomper of a song but obviously out of sync with the Creation vision (Think Primal Scream, Pastels etc)

2nd and last single from The X-Men, 1985.
Not sure if there was an album in the pipeline but The X-Men were under contract including publishing with Alan McGee and no album ever came about, to get around this it was proposed to them by Stan Brennan of Media Burn (You NEED to own everything on this label) that they do an album of covers.

For Pussy Lovers Everywhere.
The 6 track mini album that came out in 1986 entitled 'Lillies For My Pussy' (MB 011) would be the last time that anything of consequence would be released and there is still no collected output or compilation on any format. The tracks were 'Hard Coming Love' (United States of America), 'Don't Break This Heart of Mine' (? & The Mysterians), 'Ballad of You, Me and Poohneil (Jeffersen Airplane), 'You I'll Be Following' (Love), 'Can't Help Thinking About Me' (Dave Bowie & Lower Third) and 'Leave This House' (The Modds), this last track being truly amazing for it's scuzziness, although it must be said that for sheer trash value it doesn't come anywhere near the amateurishness of the original.....Listen to it below !
 Obviously, no-one can talk about the X-Men without the subject of Mark's quiff coming into play...Now how to approach this subject of, how shall we say, 'Quiff' envy ?  Well, you can forget that eejit from the 'Stray Moggies' (I never liked them)....for truly amazing, gravity defying quiffs it would be hard to beat the monster sported by our boy Mark at the time, I can only think of two who could have been in contention (The Leningrad Cowboys don't count either !) and that would have been Bal of the Sting Rays or Sparky from Demented Are Go.....quite handy his name came up as it allows me to seg in nicely what I wanted to mention next, namely the Pompey Rumble V (five). As I mentioned earlier, The X-Men are reforming for a one off gig at the aforementioned all-dayer on the 8.11.2014 (for our friends in the US that's the 8th Nov, so you haven't missed it yet !). I have it from an excellent source that it's the original members with one exception and that being Tom Cullinan who is being replaced by the guitarist from Mark's current band the Brighton based 'Wampus Cats'......I'll post a bit about the line up and info during the week.

Click Me !!!
 Playing as The X-Men for the first time since 1986 !!!


  1. ... Lot's of decent photos on their new facebook page

  2. Oh & it was not the peel session version of little girl that appeared on the media burn comp, I think it was a track they recorded during the the mini lp session

  3. Very cool....hadn't seen those before, Thanks Charlie ! (what's your email ?) I spend way too much time on your Youtube posts.

    1. send me a message on youtube or on the facebook page, don't really wanna post an email address here (where it's public)