Smile

I discovered recently that there is a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history right under my nose, here in sleepy Sale. This advert for Smile Recording Studios, ‘the friendliest in the north west’ no less, used to operate in the cellar of a house near where I live. As in, I can see it from where I’m typing this and with a good throw could hit it with a tennis ball. In 1975 Manchester’s premier punk band recorded a demo there, 4 tracks of high octane proto-punk from Slaughter And The Dogs. Only £6 an hour too. I have been tempted to go and speak to the owners and ask them if I can have a look in their cellar for the distant essence of music history, to see if any lingering remains can be found.

Slaughter were a formative influence on members of Joy Division, The Smiths and The Stone Roses to name but three local bands fired up by Wayne Barratt, Mick Rossi, Brain Grantham and Howard Bates. Run by Steve Foley, who started in his parent’s home in Salford on a two track, Smile relocated to Upper Chorlton Road, Whalley Range, a couple of miles away. What do we get for our trouble and pain? Whalley Range. On a comment thread somewhere, Steve lists the bands who recorded using the facilities at one of his studio set ups- Salford Jets, The Alarm, Frantic Elevators, Fast Cars, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Martin Hannett and St Winifrid’s Choir (although a user of Smile reports that the studio drum kit was ‘truly shit’). But, still, Slaughter And The Dogs, across the road from my house. Wonderful.

Cranked Up Really High

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Boot Boys

I’m reading Tony Fletcher’s new biography of The Smiths at the moment. The early chapters are pretty good on late 70s and early 80s Manchester. Wythenshawe’s Slaughter and the Dogs crop up frequently; as one of north west England’s first punk bands who supported the Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, as the big boys of Johnny Marr’s teenage locality and after the departure of vocalist Wayne Barrett briefly as the band for Morrissey’s early ventures as a singer. Mani says they’re his favourite band also. A version of Slaughter continues to perform at punk festivals. This is 1978 punk rock, as it was received in the largest council estate in Europe.

Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone?