Elvis and his band go live!

1 Jun
With Gregg Geller and EC - 12.77 end of tour party NYC

End of tour party at Ukrainian Ballroom, New York. L-R: Eileen Schneider (Columbia press), Gregg Geller (A&R) Columbia Records, Hope Antman (head of Columbia press), Elvis, Dick Wingate (EC’s product/marketing manager at Columbia). Pic courtesy of Dick Wingate.

Excerpt from Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

The raw power of this new group was unleashed for the first time on Thursday 14 July at The Garden, ‘The South West’s Top Rock Centre’, in Penzance. For just £1, those who were there got to see the historic first public performance by Elvis Costello and his new band. Headlining was sometime cross-dressing American punk Wayne County (later Jayne County) and The Electric Chairs, who were just months away from releasing their fabulously trashy 45 (If You Don’t Want To Fuck Me Baby) Fuck Off. Staff from Alexander Street had made the long trek to catch the showcase gig, crammed into a van and sitting on furniture they had brought from the office. Some of them had to restrain holidaymaker Captain Sensible from leaping on the stage mid-set to jam with Costello and crew. “The whole idea was ‘destroy’,” comments Pete Thomas. “It was all about going on stage and flattening people. Costello was Mr Angry. I don’t think he was really. I think it was sort of expected. In retrospect, he is a really clever bloke and he’d dropped it. ‘Right, we’ve got The Jam, we’ve got the Sex Pistols, we’ve got The Clash. We can fit into this.” Adds Bruce Thomas: “He [Wayne County] was going, ‘Who are you guys?’ and we said, ‘This is our first gig’, and he said, ‘Fuck!’.”

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