Scritti Politti History

1956 - 76

Middle of the year - Green (22) and Tom leave Leeds (Green passes his course) and move to a squat at 1 Carol Street, Camden Town, London. Green invites his old school friend Nial Jinks to come down and join the band, and teaches him to play bass in three weeks. Fellow squatter Matthew Kay adopts the role of 'organiser' (booking gigs, etc.), and the activity attracts many people to the squat - as many as 18 (including the band) at one time. 

September - Encouraged by the Desperate Bicycles, a group who have pressed and released their own record, Scritti decide to make their own record. They borrow 」500 off Nial's brother and use cheap studio time for recording. They release a 7" EP, called 'Skank Bloc Bologna', on their own St. Pancras label (St. Pancras is a tube station and area in London). The record is distributed by Rough Trade and the sleeve is a photocopied sheet of artwork by Tom, which features pictures of the band and details of the production costs. They sell 15,000 copies in total, sometimes selling 400-500 copies a week. 

October - Scritti give their first ever interview to Jamming (issue 6). Green soon emerges as the reluctant spokesperson for the group, and becomes popular with the music press due to his political theorising during interviews. 

November - Politically-motivated Scritti begin gigging at mainly punk venues, their first gig being a nervous unrehearsed 15 minutes at Acklam Hall in London. Later gigs will provoke mixed reactions, and some gigs will see many people on stage with the group (as many as twelve in total at one gig). 
Green starts working with the Young Communist League in London. 

December - Green, Tom and Nial go into the BBC recording studios to do their first Peel Session which is broadcasted on the radio in the middle of the month. The tracks recorded are 'The Humours Of Spitalfields', 'Knowledge And Interest', 'Doubt Beat' and '5/12/78' (the date of the recording session). '5/12/78' is actually the same song as '28/8/78', which was featured on the 'Skank Bloc Bologna' 7" EP. 

Scritti support Joy Division and Gang Of Four on a UK tour, but suffers a setback when Green 'collapses' while in a van on the way to one of the gigs. He is completely paralysed and cannot speak for four hours. It is later revealed that acute anxiety has led to depression which caused a collapse of bodily functions (in this case a heart complaint). Green is also told that he's in line for a second heart attack, and starts trying to find a solution for his anxiety through analysis. 

May - Green, Tom and Nial are all ill, feeling the effects of their unhealthy lifestyle. They all recover but the illness has interfered with their gigging period, which was meant to take them into the studio (which has been pre-booked) and finance the recording and release of some more EPs. By their own accounts, they foul up in the studio and only manage to salvage some of it. 

June - Scritti record their second BBC Peel Session which is broadcasted on the radio at the start of July. The tracks recorded are 'Messthetics', 'Hegemony', 'Scritlocks Door' and 'The New One'. 
Rough Trade like they new Scritti material so much (the songs salvaged from their recording sessions and their second Peel Session) that they decide to help them out by lending them the money to finance the two new EPs. 

October - '4 A-Sides' 12" EP is released through Rough Trade. 

November - '2nd Peel Session' 7" EP is released through Rough Trade. It features songs that were recorded for John Peel's BBC Radio One music show. 
Scritti have accumulated a cult following in New York. Fred Maher, a musician with a cult New York band called Material, obtains a copy of '2nd Peel Session' (attracted by the strange band name) and likes the songs very much. Coincidentally, Green has also heard and likes some of Material's stuff. Fred Maher is friends with David Gamson (another New Yorker) and both of them will become part of Scritti Politti, later on. 
Green becomes very ill with pneumonia. His mother and step-father, who have not seen him in five years, read about his poor health in the music press and ask him to return to South Wales to recover. Upon return he goes straight into hospital. 
While in hospital, Green is torn between giving it all up and going back to London to give it another go. He realises that he has a real compulsion to make music, so he decides that he shall return soon to make a real go of it. 

Green spends the year at home with his mother and step-father in South Wales. He is now heavily influenced by R'n'B music, and writes about a dozen new songs which he plans to make into an album. 
He also writes a book about the politics of rhythm and pop, which he intends to use to persuade Tom and Nial that Scritti should change their musical direction to making pure pop music. 

May - After attending a gig back in London at the Electric Ballroom, Green and Ian Curtis (of band Joy Division) sit on the stage talking about their problems long into the night (Green's problem being Scritti's lack of direction, and that he wants to start making pop music). They never meet again. Ian Curtis commits suicide less than a week later, on the 18th. 

End of the year - Green returns to London. Only the main people, Tom, Nial and Matthew, are still around. Green manages to persuade them to follow his new musical direction. Nial is not happy about moving away from the old Scritti political ways but decides to continue. Tom also stays even though a drum machine will now be used for most of the drumming! 
Scritti go straight into the studio to begin work on their debut album. Due to the availability of producer Adam Kidron and the other musicians, and the fact that the songs have not been finalised or rehearsed beforehand, the album will take a long time to record. Adam Kidron introduces Green to ex-borstal North London guys Mike Evoy (or McAvoy) (keyboards) and Joe Cang (who plays the bass when Nial leaves later on). Scritti also take on Lorenza Johnson, Mae McKenna and Jackie Challenor who are three backing singers with West End Show backgrounds. The saxophone on the album is supplied by Jamie Talbot. 

January - Green (24) now works alongside Rough Trade, without a contract, which gives him total freedom to work when he wants. He demands complete control over Scritti's output and artwork. 
A demo of 'The Sweetest Girl' is recorded. 

February / March - 'The Sweetest Girl' demo is included on the first NME compilation cassette, that is given out with the magazine. It results in numerous offers from major record companies but Green decides to stay with Rough Trade, hoping that Scritti can help Rough Trade make it big. 
All of the backing tracks for the other songs for the album are completed. 

Middle of the year - Green holidays in the US. 

August - The debut album is completed but Green decides to hold back its release, as he wants to maximise its chart impact. 

September - Nial Jinks leaves the band. Green asks Matthew to become involved with him and Tom in photo' sessions to keep the band image going. 

October - The title for the debut album has not been decided yet. Green's ideas so far have been 'Stand And Deliver' (ruled out when Adam And The Ants released a song and album of the same name) and 'Junior Gichi', which is American slang for 'sharp and snappy' (ruled out when a singer with a similar name, Junior Giscombe, appears on the music scene). 

November - 'The Sweetest Girl' is released as a single by Rough Trade. It makes the top 5 of the independent charts but only makes UK#64 in the main UK chart. 
Some people believe that the long delay from when it appeared on the NME cassette to now has meant that people who might have bought it, have already obtained copies of the song from the cassette. Green does not agree, saying that this length of time was necessary for getting the shops and music press ready for its launch. 
'The Sweetest Girl' is included in the New York Times top ten singles of 1981. 
Nial Jinks rejoins the band. 

December - David Gamson's 'Sugar Sugar' (a cover version of the Archies' song) is released by Rough Trade (fails to chart). David worked in a New York studio and used free recording time there to create the song. 
While on holiday in London, David is introduced to 'labelmate' Green. They get on very well and decide to go to New York sometime to do one of David's songs which Green will sing on. This turns out to be 'Small Talk'. 

May - 'Faithless' is released as a single by Rough Trade and becomes John Peel's single of the year. It tops the UK independent chart but only makes UK#56 in the main UK chart. 
'Faithless' and David Gamson's 'No Turn on Red' appear on the second NME compilation cassette, that accompanies the magazine. 
Scritti record their third BBC Peel Session which is broadcasted on the radio at the end of the month. The tracks recorded are 'Asylums In Jerusalem', 'A Slow Soul' and 'Jacques Derrida' (the last is a six minute version). 

August - 'Asylums In Jerusalem' and 'Jacques Derrida' are released as a double A-sided single by Rough Trade. It features guest Robert Wyatt on keyboards. 2000 of the 12" singles are released with signed prints in them. The single tops the UK independent chart but just misses the top 40 in the main UK chart, making UK#43. Had it made the top 40, Scritti would have appeared on the main UK music chart program Top Of The Pops, which would surely have pushed the single higher. 
'Asylums In Jerusalem' is based on a book by Nietzche which is about 'houses' of religious freaks around Jerusalem. 
Valuable new demo tapes are stolen from Green's car. 
Matthew given the boot. 
Scritti record their fourth BBC Peel Session which is broadcasted on the radio at the start of the September. Django Bates played keyboards (instead of Mike) and Jamie Talbot played saxophone. 
The tracks recorded are 'Asylums In Jerusalem', 'Gettin' Havin' And Holdin', 'Jacques Derrida', 'Lions After Slumber' and 'A Slow Soul'. 
Scritti also record a mysterious fifth session later on (dates and intended radio show are unknown), which features recordings of 'Sex', 'Perfunktory', 'Confidence' and 'Asylums In Jerusalem'. 

September - The debut album 'Songs To Remember' is finally released by Rough Trade. It tops the UK independent album chart and makes a respectable UK#6 in the main UK album chart. Their are also rumours of re-releasing 'The Sweetest Girl' but this never happens. 
Green is now renting a flat in North London. 

November - Tom Morley leaves the band. 

1983 - 88