Where was I again? That’s it – I was doing a series on lesser known punk bands from the early 80s. I’m now going to get the series up & running again (I hope). It’s been derailed by a variety of things, starting off with my trip to Blackpool, so it seems appropriate to start again with imho Blackpool’s best punk band. The Fits were formed in 1979, many years before Blackpool became the official holiday destination for the UK punk scene. They were influenced by the early punk version of Adam & The Ants, but didn’t have the ability. But this was punk after all, and limited ability didn’t stop them having a go. Despite some dodgy early recordings they persisted and went onto release a handful of classic records.

The Fits first release was an EP called “You Said We’d Never Make It” and maybe they shouldn’t have. Plodding, amateurish, clichéd, it reaches a nadir with the mod-bashing Odd Bod Mod , (“I still get people shouting “Odd bod mod” at me when I go back to Blackpool, and I still blush” – Mickey Crudge, interviewed in Ian Glasper’s book Burning Britain) The EP still has it’s fans, although apparently not the band themselves.
Next up was the Think For Yourself 7”, featuring the still rough but much more energetic Burial.

The band were now signed up to punk/metal label Rondolet and an album was required. The result was the “You’re Nothing, You’re Nowhere” LP – fine if you like amateurish, badly played punk and naive teenage snarling, although again the band were not entirely happy. I quite like it, as the review in Sounds stated its “convincingly hostile”, but its best in small doses.
Things soon improved quality wise. After some line-up changes the band released one more record for Rondelet, the defiant Last Laugh EP. It was produced by Knox of The Vibrators which no doubt helped give it a more powerful sound – and it’s better than any record The Vibrators released after the 1978.

The Fits were never especially pc – they once auditioned bassists by the novel method of seeing how long they could sit through a porn video. This makes it all the more surprising that they next hooked up with none other than the gurus of punk right-on-ness Crass to release the Tears Of A Nation 7”. A visit to Crass’s farmhouse commune (“they all went outside to watch a hedgehog pass by” – Micky Crudge – The Fits Punk Collection sleevenotes) resulted in an agreement to release the Fits’ next 7”. Tears Of A Nation came out in 1983 and is widely regarded as their classic. A slow but powerful track, that suggests they’d been listening to Killing Joke, with painfully honest lyrics about the problems of being a punk band in 1983. If I was to quibble about this record it would be that it’s not about the “tears of a nation” at all but “frustrations of a Blackpool punk band” doesn’t sound as dramatic so I’ll overlook that.

After their brief involvement with the earnest, commune-dwelling politicos what would be the next move in The Fits’ eccentric career? Becoming  mates with a certain Peter & The Test Tube Babies of course. They were the only other band to sign to Test Tubes’ shortlived Trapper Records, and even occasionally borrowed each others’ band members for gigs. The Fits released a split 12” with Test Tubes and a couple of singles for Trapper. By this point they were moving in a poppier direction, listening to their stuff from this period you might  apply labels such as new wave, indie, or alternative as easily as punk. There are still some fine tracks though, particularly Achilles Heel, which in a typical error of judgement was wasted on the the b-side of their Action single. Another good track that I recently discovered on youtube is Everything, which I presume is from the second album that they started recording but didn’t finish.

The Fits petered out in the mid-80s. Like many similar bands it seems that they no longer fitted in with an increasingly aggressive and thrash-obsessed punk scene, but there was no breakthrough to a wider audience either. Whatever the reason The Fits have only just reappeared with a fine performance at this year’s Rebellion, despite dropping  some of their best known songs in favour of songs they hadn’t actually released the first time round! Still shooting themselves in the foot!

24 thoughts on “BACK TO NO FUTURE – THE FITS

  1. Didn’t find anything really special or noteworthy about the music (although i didn’t grasp the lyrics except for the second one). But somehow it was exactly what i felt like listening to at the moment! Thanks.

  2. I think The Burial was actually my favourite but I could not understans a word in it, but I feel better knowing you find it difficult also ! ! !

    I really enjoyed the post and the series is really interesting. Thank you for posting it ! ! !

      • Burial

        Late for work got to change your boots
        When you get home you’ve passed her once
        Better hurry up you’ll never get there
        What did you think when it was all happening
        Going to fast on your pride and joy
        All your acquaintances are now your best friends
        All the village loved the gory details
        In the pub that night

        Even the press get in on the act
        They can’t even get it right (x2)

        90 Miles and hour he’s gone
        90 Miles and hours he’s gone gone he’s dead

        All the old ladies pushing and shoving
        To see who’s gonna get there first
        To eat his flesh and drink his blood
        It’s all served up in a big silver cup
        Then out to the graveyard to have a good look
        If you hurry up you’ll get a good view
        A big wooden box with lots of brass on
        Then all compare all the flowers

        To see how much Mrs Jones has spent
        But it’s too late dear Franco’s dead (x2)

        90 Miles and hour he’s gone
        90 Miles and hours he’s gone gone he’s dead

        90 miles and hour

  3. Tears of a Nation reminds me of Black Flag and early Siouxsie in the rhythm section, not sure why, but that’s usually a good sign. Last Laugh is quite enjoyable. Never heard of them before, so thanks for another interesting and informative post. Look forward to the next one.

  4. I should know more about The Fits but I always used to get them confused with another Blackpool band called the Zanti Misfits. And I was too busy being post-punk to listen to punk. A shame, I like their sound now but would probably have been put off by the vocals back then. I remember the seeing The Fits painted on a wall somewhere around Talbot Road. Not much to be frustrated about in Blackpool back then, especially not for me.

    • Zanti Misfits is a name I’ve heard a lot but to the best of my knowledge I’ve never heard them. I know they were on Clay Records, home of Discharge, GBH, and English Dogs but were nothing like them. Maybe I’ll google them just out of curiosity.

    • Hi Fuel.. it was a great place yeah, we were a couple of years ahead of the Zanty Misfits and they were definitely more art school than us. I think being 17/18 or 19 is frustrating. Mind you looking back i thoroughly enjoyed being that frustrated. we did feel held back and perhaps that is what it was all about for us. We were never revolutionaries, we were more emotional really.

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