The Tee Vees – War Machine / Doctor Headlove

2nd March 2023 · 1970s, 1979, Music, Punk

I wonder what the actor Colin Salmon (three Bond films, two Resident Evil movies, and lots of telly) thinks when – all right, if – he listens back to the solitary single released by The Tee Vees in 1979.

Colin was the drummer, moving on from the same role in The Friction, the school band he formed in Luton, making him one of the few black men in that first wave of punk.

The Tee Vees were one of the only non-Irish bands (possibly the only ones) to release a single on the Belfast label Good Vibrations.

They had previously been called The Jets (and before that they were The Exiles), whose only recorded output was a 69-second thrash called TV Drink on the Farewell To The Roxy album.

The two songs I can find by them on Good Vibrations are very different from that – and from one another.

Doctor Headlove, released in 1980, has a jaunty ska vibe and Colin may well be playing the trumpet – a theory I have formed only because the trumpet is his instrument and to this day he has his own jazz combo.

The second, and better, song, is called War Machine and has a completely different postpunk vibe, with a driving rhythm, slashing guitars and a vaguely nihilistic vocal chant.

It’s no masterpiece but it’s an interesting obscurity that appeared on an EP featuring four Luton bands, including Salmon’s previous group The Friction, whose repertoire included this strange spoken-word number, Murder.