We can usually count on Stiff Records to make news, and this month there's lots of it. From humble beginnings in August, 1976 selling their records by mailorder and in a few British record shops, they have now signed a U.S. distribution deal with Columbia Records, apparently one which involves no small sum of money. Besides the regular Stiff crew headed by Nick Lowe, The Damned, and Elvis Costello, also part of the deal is Graham Parker and The Rumour, who are managed by Stiff bosses Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson. We'll have details on upcoming Stiff releases in the States next issue.
That's not all the Stiff news. The "Stiff's Greatest Stiffs Live" tour we told you about last month gets underway October 3 at High Wycombe Town Hall, outside of London. Featured acts are Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and his band The Attractions, Ian Drury, and Wreckless Eric. In typical maverick fashion, a live album recorded at the first gig will be ready to go on sale four nights later when the tour moves to Bath University! It will be budget priced, and will only be sold at concerts on the tour, so don't get your hopes up about getting a copy. Nick Lowe's first solo album, Wireless World, will also be released the first week of October. Ian Dury's first LP for the label is New Boots and Panties.
There is still nothing new to report about the upcoming Sex Pistols album, other than that it will almost certainly be released in the U.S. at the same time it comes out in Britain. An American label deal has not yet been set, however.
British Arista is putting out Path Smith's single, "Gloria"/"My Generation," as a 12" disc. A small new label, Illegal Records, is releasing "Animal Justice," a three song, 12" EP by John Cale. This is Cale's first recorded work in two years. Chiswick has a new EP by Radio Stars, called "Stop It." Another small new label, Labritain, has released a single by 999, "I'm Alive"/"Quite Disappointing." After this the band appears headed for U.K. United Artists where they will join The Stranglers, who are also managed by Dai Davies. Beserkley Records has their first British signing, The Tyla Gang, formerly with Stiff. The Gang is led by guitarist Sean Tyla, formerly with Ducks Deluxe, and the rhythm section comes from The Winkies. The first single is "Dust On The Needle." Also defecting from Stiff is The Adverts, now on Anchor. The band is seeing some chart action with the single "Gary Gilmore's Eyes."
On the album side, Chiswick has released the first from Motorhead. (This band was also with Stiff, but not for long). United Artists has a new one from Dr. Feelgood, Be Seeing You, produced by Nick Lowe. A single, "She's A Windup," has also been released.
The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, which lost guitarist Tim Renwick earlier in the year, have a new one on CBS, Down To Earth (not to be confused with the new Barclay James Harvest, Gone To Earth). The Sutherquivs have yet to find a replacement for Renwick so will go on their fall tour with substitutes. Helping out on guitar is Alan Ross, who led the band Ross, which did two LPs for RSO several years ago. On bass will be Tex Comer (ex-Ace), and on keyboards is the well-traveled Mick Weaver, who was most recently with Andy Fairweather-Low.
The Kursaal Flyers, who have also been hit by some personnel shifts recently, have a new live album, Five Live Kursaals. Time will tell if this becomes their first U.S. release out of four British albums. The Movies, which used to be Joan Armatrading's backup band, have their second album, Double A, on GTO Records. Do not confuse this band with a band of the same name which recorded an album for Arista last year. Warners has a live Ralph McTell album, Ralph, Albert, and Sydney, which as you may have guessed, was recorded in London and Australia.
Virgin has released the double set Gong Live, which will probably not be released in the States. Charisma has a new one from Van Der Graaf Generator, The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome. It seems that the band's days with Mercury in the States are over, but don't count out a U.S. release sometime this fall. Van Der Graaf has added violinist Graham Smith, formerly with String Driven Thing.