The night Sigue Sigue Sputnik supported us

Matt says: “Transmusicales is an annual music festival held in Rennes, Britanny, with the final evening showcasing up-and-coming British talent.”

“In December 1985 it was The Forest Hill Billies’ first gig in France. That year the line-up included Doctor And The Medics and The Fine Young Cannibals. The headline bands on the final night were Sigue Sigue Sputnik, The Woodentops, The Red Skins, The Unholy Trinity and us.”

“I remember working out the details of the tour in the Chandos pub in Brockley. We were to be headlining and the ‘Sputniks’ we’re on before us. The first part of the evening went smoothly, with fine performances from The Redskins, The Unholy Trinity and The Woodentops. Once the Sputniks were on stage they appeared to have had a few problems syncing the sequencers with the two drum kits and the audience just didn’t seem to appreciate the techno-psycobilly sound, which would come across much better on their subsequent album. It was an exciting show and they were doing their best – but it didn’t last long..”

Here’s the actial Sigue Sigue Sputnik gig, watch till the end as chaos ensues!

“The thoroughly wound-up crowd started throwing FULL cans of beer at them! One of the band threw a monitor and a microphone-stand back! There was blood, the CRS (riot squad) turned up and added more excitement into the mix, it was chaos!. The event led to the introduction of plastic cups at all subsequent Transmusicales festivals.”

Cleaning up after Sigue Sigue Sputnik! Transmusicales, Rennes, France. There’s Slim on the left and Matt looking for a broom.

“I remember looking on and thinking ‘gawd, we’re next!.’ Us and the other bands had been chucked out of the backstage area while the Sputnicks were trying to re-negotiate their contract for more money (which they got).”

“We got back in to the dressing room after the Sputniks finished a short set of 20 minutes and somewhere there’s a cassette recording of us backstage discussing whether to go on or not. The stage was a mess and we had to clear it up before we went on! Fortunately for us we got the crowd on our side and they loved it. The other bands were great, specially the Woodentops and the Unholy Trinity.”

Violence et Passion! Transmusicales, Rennes, France

“The trip across the channel, 12 hours on the night boat, was sponsored by Brittany Ferries. I remember myself, Styx and and the other Billies trying to make conversation with Martin Degville and Tony James of the Sputniks, with their outrageous haircuts, and them not being very conversant. They were jaded punk rockers by then, as opposed to us being fresh-faced and eager, with our checked-shirts, black Levi 501s, Doc Martin shoes and flat-tops, although looking back we were all relatively quite young in 1985”

“We got to Rennes and, being France, the first thing the organisers asked us was: ‘Vous avez mangé?’ (‘Have you eaten’)?! We couldn’t believe it and replied ‘non’!. The band and entourage all tucked into a 3 course lunch with wine, coffees and Cognac. For us it was our first time in France and the fantastic reception we got led to many more great experiences there!”

See more archive footage from France >

Similar Posts