Six Great Hastings Pier Music Videos

With the welcome news that Hastings Pier has passed its £500,000 funding target this week, we take a look at six of the best music videos that feature the old structure. There’s still time to buy shares in the rebuild too, with the cut-off point being midnight this Saturday 5th April. Visit http://www.hpcharity.co.uk/ to make your investment.

1. Dollar – ‘Oh L’Amour’ (1987)

An unlikely comeback and final Top 10 hit for 80s hitmakers Dollar, ‘Oh L’Amour’ was a cover of an early flop single by Erasure. Professional irritant David Van Day is better known as a love-to-hate TV personality these days, eclipsing the often wonderful pop he and former partner Thereza Bazar once made. We’re not sure how much influence this video had on Erasure singer Andy Bell’s own move to Hastings.

2. Kingmaker – ‘Queen Jane’ (1993)

Kingston upon Hull trio Kingmaker had a string of hits in the early 90s, falling out of favour with the public just as Britpop took hold. Taken from second album ‘Sleepwalking’, their Top 30 single ‘Queen Jane’ finds singer Loz Hardy rocking the Richard Hawley look a decade early. Hardy later turned up lending a hand on Elastica’s oddball album ‘The Menace’, while Kingmaker reformed without him in 2010.

3. Squeeze – ‘This Summer’ (1995)

Recent subjects of a BBC4 documentary, Squeeze can still pull a devoted audience live, although the cheery ‘This Summer’ turned out to be their final hit single. ‘This Summer’ packs two none-more-90s moments in one, with comic actor John Thomson (then enjoying fame in ‘The Fast Show’) in the video, and a timely cover of Blur’s ‘End Of A Century’ on the b-side. Despite many bust-ups, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have managed to get Squeeze back on the road again.

4. Pullover – ‘Holiday’ (1996)

All but forgotten today, Pullover were huge fun live, as anyone who caught them playing The Crypt in its Britpop heyday may recall. They had three 7”s out on Britain’s indiest indie label Fierce Panda, before signing a bigger deal and reissuing the third, ‘Holiday’, with this video. It got on ‘The Chart Show’, but wasn’t a hit, and the band split a while after. Singer Carol Isherwood is now a music lawyer.

5. The Seahorses – ‘Love Is The Law’ (1997)

Having quit The Stone Roses after their disappointing comeback album ‘Second Coming’, guitar hero John Squire licked his wounds before returning to capitalise on Oasis’ success with the more trad rock of The Seahorses. Fronted by singer Chris Helme, ‘Love Is The Law’ was The Seahorses’ first and biggest hit, but the band weren’t built to last. Helme’s still recording and performing, while you probably caught wind of The Stone Roses’ reunion the other year.

6. Ash – ‘Tracers’ (2009)

Punk-pop titans Ash have a long association with Hastings, playing their first gig outside of Northern Ireland at The Crypt in 1994 and returning to the venue many times, including for their Glastonbury Festival warm-up in 1997 (the year they ended up as late replacement Pyramid Stage headliners when Steve Winwood dropped out). Never short of tunes or fans, they also packed out St Mary In The Castle in 2000. ‘Tracer’ was one of an ambitious series of 26 7” singles (the ‘A – Z Series’) the band released from 2009-2010, a period which saw them playing The Crypt one last time. Hastings Pier had closed down when they shot this video, just a year before it caught fire, making this perhaps the final appearance of the original structure in a pop video.

Stuart Huggett

Stallion Ride Again

Sometimes band reunions happen at just the right time and the re-emergence of Hastings band Stallion may well be a case in point.

For the uninitiated, Stallion were a prog rock band from Hastings who plied their trade during those heady days of the 1970′s. The many members of the band reads like a who’s who of well respected Hastings based musicians. Including the likes of the late Steve Demetri, Phil Gill, Phil Thornton, Roger Carey and Tich Turner, to name but a few.

Stallion’s career spanned nearly the whole of that musically rich decade and they have only now got around to finally releasing their great ‘lost’ album, ‘The Hard Life’.

‘The Hard Life’ is released on Prog-o-Tone Records and contains 11 of the bands tracks, which were recorded between 1974 and 1979.

Back in the 1970′s Stallion played alongside such great bands as Traffic, Curved Air and T-Rex, amongst others. Stallion also played at the Reading Festival and did headline gigs at the Marquee club, as well as being regular performers on Hastings Pier. They also won, outright, the 1976 Melody Maker Rock Contest. No mean achievement.

Stallion have been described by some as one of the great lost bands of that 1970′s Rock music era and you can understand why when you listen to the album. Unfortunately for them, their musical career happened to coincide with the emergence of Punk Rock and we all know how that affected many bands from that era don’t we?

Given a bit more luck who knows where they may have ended up? But, at least we now have the chance to relive those far off days via their music.

I suspect though that they may look a little different to when this photo was taken of one of those sold out gigs at the Marquee club in London:

So why could this be the right time for Stallion to make a comeback?

Well, prog rock is once again in the ascendency and Hastings Pier, a very familiar old stomping ground for the band, is also making a well received comeback.

And now to drive that point home, Stallion are playing their first gig for over 30 years at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, in nearby Cripps Corner, on Friday 6th September.

We’ll be talking more about the festival in a future post, but in the meantime more details can be found here: http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

To get yourself in the mood for this long overdue comeback gig, you can listen to and buy Stallion’s ‘The Hard Life’ by going here:

http://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/the-hard-life-stallion

You can also find out more about Stallion by visiting their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/stallionprogressiverock

Rumour has it that this might not be the last we hear from Stallion as a live band. Wouldn’t it be great if one of their future gigs was back on the refurbished Hastings Pier in 2015?

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Hastings Pier Rises Again

As you may well have seen in the news today, the restoration of Hastings Pier is finally about to take place: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-23699453

Work is due to start any day now and is planned to be completed in the Spring of 2015.

This is great news for the town and I’m certainly looking forward to treading those boards once again.

One other thing I’m also looking forward to is going to gigs on Hastings Pier once again. I’ll admit that I didn’t get to see a huge amount first time around, but have fond memories of those that I did attend.

Most of us are well aware of the amazing amount of musical greats that played on Hastings Pier through the years. From the Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix, from the Sex Pistols to Gene Vincent, the list is a roll call of worldwide musical talent. It would be great if that impressive list can be added to after the Pier re-opens again in 2015.

The published plans do include a facility for gigs/concerts to take place, as you can see both here: http://hpcharity.co.uk/ and here: http://drmm.co.uk/projects/hastings-pier-redevelopment/   

I just hope that what is being proposed are the kind of gigs that so many people remember from their own past and still talk about today.

Personally I also feel that this also needs to include a facility for gigs by original local musical talent and not just as support acts either. This could be a great opportunity to showcase local talent in a high profile venue and it would be a great pity if this was not able to happen for some reason.

Many local bands played on Hastings Pier during its heyday, so why not make that a priority in the future?

Maybe that process could be started by making the first ever gig on the brand new Hastings Pier a celebration of original local music? Now that would be something worth looking forward to.

Let the campaign start here and let me know your own feelings about this.

Andy Gunton,

15th August 2013.

PS: Pierless Music will still be called Pierless Music, even after Hastings Pier re-opens.

Gigs on Hastings Pier

Recently we heard the good news that Hastings Pier was to be rebuilt.

One of the things that most local people miss about the Pier are the great gigs that used to take place there. Well, did you know that somebody is trying to write a book all about those gigs?

The author is a local man called Mark Rymell and he’s been busy researching all the gigs that took place on Hastings Pier for some time now. But, although he’s close to completing his task, he still needs your help to put the finishing touches to his project.

Here’s a message from him:

“Hi, I’m Mark Rymell,

I’ve lived in Hastings for the last 39 years and i am at present trying to put together a book about the many famous and some not so famous bands that have played on Hastings Pier.

I started the project around three years ago and I think that I am now not too far from completion.

Bands started playing on Hastings Pier in the early 1960′s, with the likes of Tom Jones, Cilla Black & the Rolling Stones. Later in the 60′s Jimi Hendrix played there and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barret’s last ever appearance with the band was also on that hallowed stage.

The 1970′s saw the Glam Rock period with The Sweet, Suzi Quatro and Gary Glitter all putting on a show. The heavier side of Rock music was represented by the likes of an early ELO, Hawkwind, Ten Years After & UFO, before the onslaught of Punk Rock, with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Stranglers, & Siouxsie & the Banshees all flying the flag.

The late 1970′s saw the likes of Saxon & Def Leppard playing, while the Mod scene was represented by Madness & The Specials, along with Hastings very own Teenbeats.

Later years saw Levellers, Joe Strummer and finally Nick Cave play.

I have compiled a very comprehensive list of dates and acts, but I’m also after any memorabilia such as ticket stubbs, flyers, posters or pictures, along with any memories people have of going to gigs on the pier etc.

If anyone would like to get in touch with me my email is: mark_rymell@hotmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you”

If you have any info, or memorabilia that might interest Mark and the rest of us, for that matter, please get in touch with him.The more info he has the better and more comprehensive his book will be.

Mark’s forthcoming book is something that i’m certainly looking forward to reading myself and i doubt that i’m the only local person who feels that way.

Pier Less No More?

At last, some good news about Hastings Pier.

If you’ve not heard already, the Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded Hastings Pier a grant of £11.4 million towards the expected £13.9 million cost for the restoration and rebuilding of Hastings Pier.

You can find a statement and a link to a full press release from the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust (HPWRT) here: http://hpwrt.co.uk/

HPWRT have done some sterling work both before and after the fire on Hastings Pier. I had some small involvement with them myself after the fire in October 2010 and know how hard the people involved have worked towards this funding decision.

I’m sure all of the people of the Hastings area would join us at Pierless Music in thanking them for that hard work and wishing them well over the next couple of years. In some ways, this is when the hard work really starts, as the plan is to have Hastings Pier up and running again by the end of 2014.

Anyone with an interest in local music, or music generally, knows that Hastings Pier was once an important venue for live music. It played host to everyone from Gene Vincent to Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols and we hope that those glory days can be revived in some way.

With the recent news that The Crypt is planning to reopen once again, albeit under a different name, it finally looks as though Hastings is going to be put back onto the national live music map once again. It’s about time.

More about that Crypt news can be found here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/a-new-crypt/

Things are really starting to look up for Hastings in many ways, but especially when it comes to original live music. During the brief time that Pierless Music has been around, we have already noticed a real desire and passion for helping to promote both Hastings itself and the original music scene.

It truly looks as though all the various pieces of the musical jigsaw are slowly starting to fall into place and Pierless Music hope that we can be one of those jigsaw pieces.

My only concern is that we might have to change our name from Pierless Music to something more appropriate. If we do, there are far worse reasons for doing so aren’t there?