Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Aggravation Place

What do you get if you take the ex-drummer of  ‘60s psych-pop band John’s Children, the manager of kooky glam band Sparks (who had also been in John’s Children), add a guitarist, bassist and a singer-songwriter, throw in boots, braces and cropped hair, blend with some teen rebellion lyrics and top with a publishing deal from Mickie Most at RCA?  The result of that rather interesting mix is The Jook.

This mid-‘70s band comprised guitarist Trevor White, vocalist Ian Kimmet, bassist Ian Hampton and aforementioned drummer Chris Townson and were the brainchild of John Hewlett (he of Sparks management and earlier member of the Smashed Blocked psychsters along with Chris).  Being signed to RCA, who were also home to The Sweet and Bowie, should perhaps have helped this bunch to a higher slot in pop/rock history.  But none of their five singles had any impact on the charts – so who would remember them? My own pre-teen recollections of mid-seventies UK chart music are dominated by Mud and Gary Glitter…

Retrospectively, however, I find the look and the sound of The Jook quite fascinating.  It seems so obvious to me that they bridged a gap between the sparks and glitter (literally) of early ‘70s pop and the stripped-down, hard-edged presence of punk which was soon to follow.  It’s kind of power pop too.

Anyway, I present for you the track, ‘Aggravation Place’ as I like its guitar sound - not dissimilar to that of the Clash’s Mick Jones (the intro could have come straight off the ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ album) – plus there are some Jam-like bits in there to my ears, with one of those great stuttered endings - and, well, it just has a great title and sentiment… I do like this.  I also love the pic of them shown here, looking tough and bored in their bovver-boy style clobber, photographed in very un-glam monochrome against that graffiti-daubed wall. 

I’m not so keen on other songs I’ve heard but overall they seem very much to be an integral stepping stone in the path from glam to punk (see also Iron Virgin’s ‘Rebel Rule’).  In fact, The Jook were quoted as saying in the music press at the time that they wanted “ be masculine but not violent. We just want to have a good time.  We want to cater for working class kids, not just on a visual level, but by giving them the music they really want to hear”  - a sentiment which rings a good few bells with the words of many a punk protagonist.

(‘Aggravation Place’ can also be found on the compilation CD ‘Glitterbest, UK Glam With Attitude 1971-1976’ on RPM Records)


  1. Like it, like it a lot. Always abeen a big fan of Radio Stars, Ellison and Gordon + of course John's Children. The sort of band who would have had residencies down The Marquee on Tuesday nights.

  2. Thanks, John - great that you like it too! I'm a bit hooked on this song at the mo for some reason. I would love to have known what it was like to be a regular down The Marquee, only ever went there once sadly in '87 (just before it moved, I think)

  3. Three words for ya: "Jook rule okay"!
    After seeing their photo way back when in a book of b&w rock n' roll snaps by Gered Mankowitz I was determined to hear more, luckily back then their 7 inches weren't as collectable as they are now and I was not displeased. Kudos for your mentioning Iron Virgin. Have you heard the awfully named "Boobs:Junkshop Glam" CD compilation? There's some lovely stuff in the Jook/Iron Virgin vein on it, and let us not forget Jesses Hector's half a dozen acts as well (Crushed Butlers, Hammersmith Gorillas and so on). And then downunder there's The Coloured Balls (ouch!).....

  4. Hi wilthomer - thanks, and for the other info too - of the things you mention I've only ever heard/heard of Jesse Hector/Hammersmith Gorillas, so I've a bit of catching up to do! Will have to check out that comp (oh dear, what a title, indeed!)

  5. "We just want to have a good time. We want to cater for working class kids, not just on a visual level, but by giving them the music they really want to hear” - I think this lot were taking their cue from Slade. Check out 'Play It Loud' (- first album I ever bought).

    And the Marquee was very hot and very sweaty and the lager was warm and weak and came in flexible plastic glasses. Some things are only really great in hindsight!

    (Just chanced on your v. fine blog and couldn't resist chipping in... sorry)

  6. Thanks for comment, A - feel free! I appreciate it. I know the 'Play It Loud' album and agree about Slade (especially considering their "skinhead" look of that time!) The one time I went to the Marquee it was still memorably hot and sweaty but I can't help but think preferable to 'sit-down and don't move' places?! Or maybe that was just because I was younger then..?! Anyway many thanks for "chipping in" - happy to hear from you!

  7. Yeah 'sit-down and don't move' type places don't really count do they? My favourite venue was the old Roundhouse - had some amazing sunday nights there. It was more like a football terrace than a dance hall...

  8. Hi A - I'm sorry to admit that I've never been to the Roundhouse, old or new! Plenty of experience in the early '80s of down-at-heel little punk clubs in obscure northern towns (I'm a southerner!) but out of more recent London excursions I'm glad I can at least speak highly of the 100 Club and the Metro, now they were nice!

  9. I believe there's a great book yet to be written on the link from Glam to early Punk......:)

    1. I shall look forward to reading it :-)


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