Bob Machin | August 2008
Hey, just came across your really rather fabulous site and was amazed to find my most formative years captured in glorious colour (and prose).
The Airtight Garage arrived in Brighton in the summer of 1979 and quickly set about plotting a route to the top (aka a Friday or Saturday night gig at the legendary Alhambra). Some kind of Nuggets-style garage rock was the general style though whether this was evident to the average listener was less certain.
Intensive rehearsal at the Vault led to early gigs at the Alhambra and regular gigging through 1980 and '81 at all available Brighton venues till the band split for all the usual reasons, musical differences, inter-personal loathing etc., in summer '81.
Midweek headliners and weekend supports seemed to be the usual pattern; lots of gigs with Midnight & the Lemon Boys, the Ammonites and the Vandells amongst others, some bigger gigs at the Pavilion Theatre and some kind of charitable function at the Dome was as high as the Garage ever climbed up the greasy pole of rock and roll stardom. Singer Ian Marchant (Trapper from the Test Tube Babies' brother) went on to form
Newhaven’s finest, The National Game, then to fame and fortune as a cult novelist and entertainer.
Paul Hazel was in the vanguard of 90s British techno and now lectures in Interactive Digital Media at Swansea University.
Bob Machin joined retro beat group The Starbeats and formed psychedelic balladeers The Loving Kind with sometime pop-genius Eamonn ‘Fast Eddie’ Barrett. He later played with good ole boys Chris Anderson (ex-Lemon Boys), Speccy Dave from Daddy Yum-Yum and Mike Lance from behind the bar in The Greys, in Country shitkickers The Colorado Beatles.
A few vivid memories:
Early gigs at the Alhambra, completely clueless. Sea at your back, audience full of passing skinheads in front of you. Bricking it, frankly. More skinheads trying to break down the door at the Vault at Friday night rehearsals. Skins didn't seem so cute then.
Life before electronic tuners.
Alan, the greatest ever driver and soundman, to whom everyone was 'shaggers', or, if he was fond of you, 'shags'. “Think you might need to tune up
a bit there, shags”.
Having to pay a £2 deposit for a bogroll at ,again, The Alhambra.
Attrix and Rick, who became a great friend in later years and who I still miss greatly. Maybe the nicest guy I ever knew and I'm filling up a bit typing that.
Not making it on to Vaultage 80 but Rick giving us a page in the calendar (November, if memory serves) out of pity.
Meeting Bob Marley outside the Alhambra in July 1980, on his way from the Brighton Centre to the Afro Club...
Happy nights at ‘The Greys’ in later years with Rick, Nick Dwyer, 'Big Chris' Anderson and many other old Brighton rockers.
Great days, and more bands should have been bigger, but in those days it seemed that no-one broke out of Brighton. Maybe because no-one really wanted to...
• Airtight Garage mp3's can be found on the punkbrighton jukebox