About Ijax Allstars

Memories from Stu | Memories from Hoppy

Stu (guitar)
Alan (guitar)
Lou (vocals)
Rob (bass)
Neil  (guitar)
Andy Taylor (vocals/Mellotron
Hoppy (drums)
Terry Tetlow (bass)

Featured two tracks on
Vaultage ’79,
Ijax used to practice at Davigdor Road which had musicians all over the house. Neil, Alan and Lou lived upstairs while Dave from Flesh and the Lillettes lived downstairs, plus the long-suffering Mrs Saxby, bless her heart.

Tony from Flesh lived there at one time and Paul Roundhill. Are you out there guys? Music was always being made at any hour of the day or night and it was a great place to be. Ijax recorded most of their stuff so there must be some old tapes out there.

If anyone has any photos of the band please email us and we can continue to build this page

Dave Cheesybits | December 2008
Only saw them once. Thought they were great. That was probably the first ska band that I'd ever seen. It was certainly the first time I'd ever seenanyone using a Melodica instead of a keyboard in a band. There was another (softer) reggae band who practiced just up the road from me (Bedford Place or Norfolk Square) who I think were called Natures Way.

They were a bit timid about mixing with the punks but the SATCB played with them at least once at a disastrous gig at Acklam Hall (under the Westway, Notting Hill) organised by the infamous Paul Roundhill (where is he now [and more importantly, do I want to know?]). Only three people turned up and they left after ten minutes. Also on the bill was either Nicky and the Dots or Fan Club, I can't remember.

In the end we ended up playing to each other though I seem to remember that certain members of Nature's Way were reluctant to do so but were swayed by other members of the band. I heard that one of their brass players went on to form/play in Pigbag but this may be untrue - perhaps you can confirm/deny this? Dave Cheesybits. www.cheesybits.com
P.S. Anyone that wants a Smeggy and the Cheesybits badge can now buy one from my

range of obscure badges here. Please note:
This is not a plug. Thanks for the plug. DCB

Nick McGerr | February 2008
I think you’ve got this one all wrong. I’ve got a brilliant live tape i made of them at the Executives / Woody & the Splinters free gig in Hollingbury and it sure wasn’t the line up you have in that pic. Terry Tetlow, who is Brighton’s best loved ska musician, will tell you all about it (get him a drink). Andy Taylor, who is no longer on the planet, starred on vocals and mellotron.

Ijax were more ska/bluebeat than dub reggae but could do it all including a massive One Step Beyond way before Madness. If you know how to get hold of Caroline Casswell (Brighton Uni/South East Arts Video/ “Reel Time” - Brighton Library) I’m fairly certain she can put you in touch with the festival organizer and may have a copy of the tape. Neil was in “High Time”. N.
PS: when did Executives release Shy Little Girl (as loved by J.Peel) ?

Alan Hall | February 2008
Ijax Allstars photo looks like the New Regent bottom of West Street to me. I've attached our gig
image for comparison. Alan (Emma Sharpe)

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More about Ijax Allstars by Stu from the band

Stu | June 2009
Further to the e-mail from Hoppy and referring to the photo of Ijax all Stars, I’m Stu (the big feller on the left) and I think it was taken at the New Regent. I remember those times like this: About the time that Alan, Lou, Neil and Hoppy were gigging as ‘Ijax all Stars’ me and a mate called Tony were running a club called The Third World in Seaford. At the same time we were helping a P.A. hire company run by another friend. 

Tony and I went to The Crown in Hailsham to help set up. While there I exchanged phone numbers with Hoppy because someone had pointed out that he played drums in a reggae band. Anyway, Hoppy had broken his arm so we set up a rehearsal with the rest of the band (Ijax). I can’t remember where this was but I hope Al, Lou or Neil will get in touch to fill in the gaps.

We hit it off straight away, wrote a couple of songs there and then and started gigging using a cheap little drum machine. We had the name ‘The Sole Destroyers’ for a while and had a fun time but ended up reverting to ‘Ijax’ again.  I have some cassettes of rehearsals at Davigdor Road which I am trying to get converted to WAV’s or MP3 files so if it’s OK with the others I’d like to post some tracks on this or a related site.  There are loads more stories to tell but space is at a premium.  Feel free to get in touch with me at:  stuartmusic@live.co.uk . I’d love to see all of the band again so get in touch Lou, Alan, Neil and Hop!

During my spell with Ijax there was always a friendly rivalry with another Brighton reggae band called Idrenes who evolved into One Drop.  When Ijax came to a leisurely end I was gagging for more so formed another band with more local mates (Jim, Sue, Kev, Sue and a variety of drummers). 

It was a similar situation to early Ijax as we wrote a set of material first with a drum machine then added a drummer when we were ready to gig.  We were called Inspiration and did some good local gigs, one of which was as support to One Drop at the Richmond.  When this band petered out I found out that One Drop had split, due to musical differences I expect, ha ha!

Drums (Ken), Bass (Rob), Guitar (Paul) & Percussion (Colin) remained intact so Tony and me sort of blagged our way in and when we had bonded and rehearsed a set we went out as Bass Culture. We had some great support gigs, supported Jah Warriors at Jenkinsons, Misty in Roots at the Top Rank and Barrington Levi at Sussex University   Good times, good gigs, good mates and a good giggle was had by all but all good things come to an end. And so, on to Vibe Tribe. More mates, a different Tony, Mark and Heather (from Inspiration), similar drum machine and regular Saturday all night sessions saw a massive amount of writing and recording.

We looked for a drummer and a singer (I vowed never to hit the road with a drum machine

again) and when found, played some good gigs which included The Hare and Hounds and the Crypt at Sussex Uni.  Once again the axe fell as the singer did the dirty and formed his own band, taking one of our keyboard players with him and the drummer left to travel around India.  Bah, Humbug!

Next, Ken and Rob, drums and bass from Idrenes, One Drop and Bass Culture, got in touch with a view to doing something.  We had a lot of jams with various personnel and settled with I.P. and Theresa on vocals with Kens daughter, Kim, providing a wicked take on rapid D.J. styling. Once more, got a set together, did gigs, game over 1996-ish.

Done little in the way of music since but am getting twitchy and need one final fling before I’m incapable of standing up for 90 minutes.  Any possible recruits for a Ska and/or Reggae line-up contact me at stuartmusic@live.co.uk

This short extract is by no means complete and lots of interesting/amusing incidents took place along the way.  Anyone involved in any capacity in my musical history is welcome to fill in the multitude of gaps that time, space and dodgy memory have left! Cheers, Stu (the big feller on the left).

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Yet more about Ijax Allstars by Hoppy from the band

Hoppy | January 2009
Hi punkdaddy. Came across the web page for Ijax Allstars via Google (Vaultage ’79) as I was looking to see which tracks we put onto the album – I knew Reggae Rumble was one but couldn’t remember the other one and wondered if a ref existed to the album; lo and behold, it did! Even more surprising was the link to Ijax – fame at last, ha ha!! First of all, just to put the record straight regards the photo and confirm Nick McGerr’s assumption, the line-up is, I believe, a later incarnation The Sole Destroyers (although I’m not sure where the venue is), and yours truly (Hoppy, drums) is not in the photo – maybe I was hidden/hiding (camera shy), or perhaps had even left by then?

The big feller on guitar is Stuart and the bass looks like Rob, with Alan in between, Lou on the mic, and Neil far right. To give you some history on the Ijax Allstars, I had moved to Hurstpierpoint from the Maidstone area in 1973 and knew Andy Taylor from there – the only person brave enough to frequent the G Ranch in Maidstone (a mid 60s to early 70s mod/skinhead all-night club, although in truth we only really looked intimidating) sporting long hair and wearing a kaftan! – who had by then moved to Brighton (Havelock Road). Through Andy I got to know Terry Tetlow, who had also come down from Maidstone, and who, along with Andy, had an abiding interest in Reggae music.

Move forward to 1977, by which time I had moved to Burgess Hill and become close friends with Alan and Lou, who then shared a cottage in Albourne. We would often spend time listening to Reggae music, in particular Lee Perry along with loads of other vinyl I had back then. With one thing leading to another,

Alan suggested we might get together with a friend of his (Neil) and mess around with some stuff of our own, loosely based on the tunes we were then listening to.

So from there, Andy and Terry got involved and we began playing either in the living room or at the cottage with a home-made bass (Alan), lead guitar/saxophone (Neil), rhythm guitar/vocals (Terry), melodica/percussion [much of it home-made] (Andy), and hi-hat and snare/vocals (yours truly), plus a WEM Copycat and a spring reverb unit (with Pete Ladd coming in soon after to oversee the echo/mixing side of things) – and as was noted, most of our stuff was recorded, even back then, although I’ve no idea where any of the tapes are now, if they even still exist.

At this time the notion of a band proper hadn’t really been in the frame but as these things always seem to take on a life of their own, the point duly arrived in early 1978 where this began to take shape, essentially through a link with the Executives (I think I have that right), who offered us support slots at their gigs in Brighton – and if my memory serves me correctly, our debut was at the Alhambra sometime around March.

Needing a name for the band, Andy used to have a piece of card in his hat with Ijax written on it, which Lee Perry had scrawled on the wall of his wrecked studio (Black Ark) amongst other bizarre stuff, and which seemed wholly appropriate – Allstars signifying that we were essentially an instrumental band (aware, however, that vocals were still needed to some extent in order to maintain audience interest, and which Terry and I used to share, although AT would add a few toast-type bits here and there). It soon became necessary to practice

more often than once a week, and the basement at Davigdor Road was eventually put into use by fixing carpets to the walls and ceiling, as much to lessen the impact for dear old Miss Saxby as anything else, although it did prove useful insofar as our sound was very echo orientated, and thereby eliminated any feedback together with improving sound recording. It was also around this time that Lou began to get more involved with the band, even on occasion adding flute into the mix, as well as some vocal harmonies and the odd lead.

Towards the end of 1979, we returned to the studio and recorded a demo track, based on an old Lee Perry rhythm, which was then presented to a number of labels but without success – although after the tape had been reluctantly given to a then leading label (which shall remain nameless), a subsequent record (which shall also remain nameless), with a suspiciously similar bass line, reached Number 1 early in 1980. It was around this time that Terry decided to quit the band, while later in 1980 I also decided to call it a day, from whence the band, in name at any rate, more or less ceased to exist – although the later but short-lived Sole Destroyers did include Alan, Neil, Lou and myself.

So there you have it in a nut-shell, or at least as best as I can remember. While I apologise for any glaring omissions I may have made, any discrepancies are the result of the mists of time (and herb) but I think that’s pretty close to the actuality. Furthermore, it remains one of the most interesting and enjoyable periods of my life, with heartfelt thanks going out to all those who supported us during that time, and wish you all the very best both now and for the future. Peace and love. Hoppy

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