SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #270: THE REZILLOS

This is an alphabetical run through of singers and groups from Scotland from whom there is at least one song on my collection of vinyl and CDs, failing which there will be something located on the hard drive of the Villain Towers laptop.  The fact there was nothing previously by The Revillos tells you all you need to know in that regard…..

The Rezillos, a coming together of students attending the Edinburgh College of Art, were in existence between 1976 and 1978.  The break-up was initially very messy, but their record company allowed two key members – Eugene Reynolds and Fay Fife – to be released from their contract with the proviso that they couldn’t use the band name.  Thus, The Revillos came into being, staying together until 1996 (!!).  Fast forward another five years, and The Rezillos reformed, still going strong today.

From the band’s website:-

The Rezillos ripped into the rock scene through a shared love of Sixties Garage Rock, the Spectoresque Girl Group voice of The Shangri Las injected with their inimitable molten attitude and created their unique left-field brand of punk rock and roll. The speed at which they gathered a following took the band by surprise.

The Rezillos off-kilter three minute sparkling pop gems and a unique visual style was steeped in a culture of bad boys, bad girls, bad movies and great rock and roll. Their independent debut single, “I Can’t Stand My Baby” shot them to underground fame initially via airings on John Peel’s radio show. Their follow-up classic singles “My Baby Does Good Sculptures”, “Top of the Pops” and “Destination Venus” signalled critically acclaimed milestones for the band. The Rezillos recorded their landmark album “Can’t Stand the Rezillos” in New York’s fabled Power Station studio, immersed themselves in the local music scene and dropped in during downtime to play a gig at CBGB’s, the hub of Punk Rock music. The album reached the top 10 in the UK album chart and is lauded as a punk classic.

The Rezillos gave two legendary performances on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” and did the same on the music showcase programme “Top of the Pops” where in keeping with band’s ironic take on pop culture, they played their hit single of the same name satirising the show. The Rezillos single hit the Top Twenty and their album charted alongside. The same year they released a live album; “Mission Accomplished… But the Beat Goes On”.

The band had a meteoric rise, made a seminal album and stamped their unique identity on an unsuspecting public. Much to their fan’s anguish, The Rezillos had hit the too much too soon button and abruptly ceased.

As I don’t have anything by the band post that first break-up, nor anything from the 21st Century reincarnation, I’ll stop right there.  I will say that Can’t Stand The Rezillos, a mint condition second-hand copy of which I picked up a few years ago for a bargain price, remains a fun listen and a great reminder of the fast nature of much of the music I was listening to in great quantities in my mid-teens. I’ve also got this non-album single on 7″ vinyl, the follow-up to Top Of The Pops; I was sure it was also a chart hit, but it seems it stalled just outside The Top 40:-

mp3: The Rezillos – Destination Venus

It’s that much loved mesh of the sound and look of B-52s, The Cramps and Devo, but with broad Scottish accents and a less-stylish fashion sense.

Fun fact.  Fay Fife’s real name is Sheilagh Hynd, and her stage name is the answer to a question…….

Fay (but with the spelling of ‘Fae’) is the local dialect version of ‘from’ while her home town of Dunfermline lies in the historical Kingdom of Fife, located on the other side of the Forth Estuary, north and east of Edinburgh.

JC

3 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #270: THE REZILLOS

  1. A band that remains woefully under rated. Can’t Stand … is a superb LP and I’m also a big fan of The Revillos, Midnight.

    I did not know about the fae Fife story but will now claim I’ve always known.

  2. I have been devoted to Rezillos/Revillos worship since 1979. Impressive for an American, yeah? It was down to my friend chasinvictoria having their live breakup album [mostly present of “Can’t Stand The Revillos”] and the majesty of “Top Of The pops” had stuck in my brain pan. A year or two later, I bought the “Dindisc 1980” compilation, and there were two cuts by the post-split Revillos. My mid-80s, I was starting down the path of buying records by mail order, and I made it my first goal to start collecting every thing I could get my hands on by the band[s]. White label promos. Press kits. The lot.

    When they reactivated in the 90s with The Revillos I was amazed. When they reactivated in the 00s as The Rezillos [complete with a post0HUman League Jo Callis] I was astounded! When I saw they were having their first American tour in 2002 with a date in Washington D.C. …the night before Simple Minds also played the Capital City, I was flabbergasted. I didn’t let the fact that I had been unemployed for a year at that time stop me from going. It might have saved my sanity, truth to tell. It was a High Holy Scots Rock Pilgrimage that this acolyte made and it WAS GOOD! I can’t believe that 22 years after their break up and another 14 after I started collecting their releases, that I was able to actually experience The Rezillos in the well-preserved flesh!

    These days I actually have Fay Fife in my contact list. Who would have believed that 40 years ago? Given the slow pace at which The Rezillos seem to work, she’s opted to create her own band project, The Countess Of Fife with Allan McDowall [ex-So You Think You’re A Cowboy] as they explore that wonderful Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood of tough Country Pop vibe where their debut album is cooking for a release later this year.

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