Here’s another oddity from the depths of my singles collection. It’s either by Chris Sievey or by The Freshies, depending on how you look at it.
The Freshies, which was Sievey’s band, would go on to become briefly and slightly famous with the fantastic punk-pop single I’m In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Check-Out Desk.
Chris, meanwhile, would go on to become better known as the iconic comedy character Frank Sidebottom. But before that, in 1978, came this, his first release, and the first track, an instrumental called Washed Up, is rather wonderful in its own peculiar way.
And before that, way back in 1971, Chris and his brother hitched a lift to London to stage a sit-in at The Beatles’ Apple Records headquarters and went on to record a session there, making the first of numerous demos that Sievey sent to record companies.
In response he received an avalanche of rejection slips that he later turned into a small book, publishing a second one dedicated to Virgin Records’ rejections alone, before founding his own label Razz in 1974 and releasing a variety of singles, videos and over 60 cassettes.
Around this time he was trying to form his own band called The Freshies, with a revolving door of musicians who included Martin Jackson (later Magazine and Swing Out Sister) and Billy Duffy (later the Cult). They might also have included Johnny Marr, had he not been rejected for being too young when he auditioned… he was only 14 at the time.
Their singles – none of them successful – included a piano-ballad tribute to record collecting called I Can’t Get Bouncing Babies By The Teardrop Explodes. I could have helped, had I known, because I do have that early Cope single.
After Sievey’s death from cancer in 2010, the Freshies reformed for sporadic appearances at tribute events to their founder, sometimes featuring his son Harry Sievey on lead vocals and guitar – until he, too, died in 2017.