Keeping it tight
The Tights were one of Worcestershire's original punk bands in the 70s. Now they're back together and gigging again.
The Tights were one of Worcester's original punk bands, releasing two singles in 1978 for the Cherry Red label.
As four of the few punks in Worcester, after the explosion of the movement in 1977, it was natural that they would get together and form their own band.
The lack of any punk scene in Worcester meant that the band were soon forced to move to London to seek success.
So, the band left Worcester for the capital when aged just 17, but despite some good reviews - a combination of bad luck and a lack of industry contacts meant that they were never signed.
The Tights at their reunion gig
A review of their single 'Bad Hearts' in the NME in 1978 said:
"These Dada doting lads from Worcester professing an antipathy to punkettes sound like they'd be well at home down the Vortex."
But the band couldn't get any gigs at legendary venues like The Roxy and The Vortex, and as the punk scene slowly fizzled out, they were frustrated by their inability to break through, and split up.
Recently, over twenty-five years after their demise, The Tights reformed for a gig in Worcester and are now writing new material and looking forward to returning to play in London.
The Tights - Interview
Guitarist Robin Banks fills us in on the history of the band, what it was like being a punk in Worcester and the reunion of the group:
Tell us about how you formed?
I remember Barry Island striding down my road bass guitar in hand, looking like a man on a mission. The next thing I know ‘we're a punk band’. By the end of the day we'd written a couple of tunes.
We needed a singer and a drummer. Malcolm Orgee was the only punk in Worcester at the time, he looked great. 'Can you sing?' we asked him. Rick Mayhew joined the gang, because he could play fast.
What was it like being a punk in Worcester in 1977?
It was great, but scary, we might just have well of been from Mars when we walked down the street. People stared, laughed and jeered. You could get hassle for just wearing drainpipes, imagine that! There was only one Ted in Worcester, our main grief came from Soul Boys and Bikers.
Was there any kind of scene at all?
Soon after we played live, bands like The Vendettas formed.. Mike Crisp was the singer, we loved them...
Cherry Red Promotions embraced the punk scene and put on bands like The Damned, Stranglers and Wire at the Malvern Winter Gardens.
What were your best gigs?
The most memorable gig was when we all headed up to Barbarella's in Birmingham for an all-dayer. It was probably the first time we'd seen more than four punks at one time.
Of the bands I can remember playing were The Killjoys, The Banshees before they were signed, Johnny Thunders, and The Worst - they were great two-chorders! We came up with the name at that gig, inspired by a girl who wore stink bombs for perfume and had ripped up fishnet tights.
Malcolm from The Tights on stage
Were there any punk venues in Worcestershire?
There were no 'Punk' venues in the area, our manager Andy Jolly had to convince pub landlords there would be no trouble at the gigs we put on.
We supported Wire and Dr Feelgood at the Winter Gardens, and played any bar in the area that would have us. Barry (bassist) did a sound check at the Winter Gardens in his school uniform as I remember.
The Green Room in Worcester was our main hang out, now Drummonds, which was the perfect place to have our reunion in.
You seem to have had quite a bit of success with your releases in 1978 - excellent reviews.... So what stopped you breaking through and making the step up to the next level?
Location I guess, we realised we had to get ourselves down to London to take it any further, which we all did in late '78.
The last gig we did was at the old Marquee on Wardour Street. We were all holed up in a very dodgy hotel in Earls Court. I met this punk there who played me Gary Numan's 'Are Friends Electric '. From that moment on I realised music was changing...Big Time... We split shortly afterwards.
Why did you make the decision to get back together?
We've all remained friends, punk was honestly over so quickly, the average age of The Tights was 17 at that time. The reunion was spooky, everything just fell into place again. We just want to play live as much as we can.
You can listen to all the latest music from across the two counties on the Friday Session, every week from 7pm, on BBC Hereford & Worcester.
last updated: 16/01/2009 at 23:03
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