THE HISTORY PART I
FLICKNIFE RECORDS was started in October 1980 by Frenchy Gloder and Gina ‘Wild Thing’ Nares.
The very first release was by The MYSTERE FIVE’S and it was titled ‘No Message’.
The Mystere Five’s were in fact THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS (of Wayne County fame) plus Frenchy.
It featured Henry Padovani who was the POLICE’s founder member guitar player (on ‘Fall Out’).
‘No Message’ did very well reaching #3 in the Indie Charts as well as being ‘Single of the Week’ in Sounds and the NME in the same week!
The Mystere Five’s did a second single, ’Never Say Thank You’ and then split up.
Encouraged by the success of these two singles Frenchy and Gina decided to carry on the label.
By chance, they met MICHAEL MOORCOCK at The Marquee, the science fiction writer who had been working with HAWKWIND since the early 70’s.
Michael had a single ready to be released dating from the sessions of his famous ‘ New Worlds Fair’ album.
So in December 1980, Michael Moorcock and THE DEEP FIX released ‘Dodgem Dude’ and it is now a rare collector’s item.
ROBERT CALVERT was the next ex-Hawkwind member to release a single on Flicknife in April 1981.
Entitled ‘Lord Of The Hornets’, it was another Indie chart success for the label and another rare item.
DAVE BROCK, who had always been Hawkwind’s leader,was impressed by the work done by Flicknife.
So, he decided to release the very first track recorded by Hawkwind in 1969 on the label.
Entitled ‘Hurry On Sundown’, it was also the label’s first 12” E.P and it stormed up the Indie Charts hence giving the label a strong ‘underground/rock’ image.
This was furthered by the release of NICO (ex-Velvet Underground) single ‘Saeta/Vegas’ and in 1982,Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix released their second single for the label,with the title "The Brothel in Rosenstrasse".This was a limited edition of 500 numbered singles,each one including a word sheet autographed by Michael Moorcock and it was available only through mail order.The purpose of this release,was to celebrate the publishing of his book "The Brothel in Rosenstrasse". An image of this memorable release can be found HERE and more information on the book can be found HERE .
A string of very successful singles followed including THE BARRACUDAS ‘Inside Mind’, THE SAINTS ‘Follow The Leader’, ERAZERHEAD’s ‘Shell Shock’, HAWKWIND’s ‘Motorhead/Valium 10’ (first Top 75 single entry) in both 7” and 12” formats, THE LONDON COWBOYS (featuring ex-SEX PISTOLS’ Glen Matlock) ‘Let’s Get Crazy’ and various other singles, 12” and albums notably by INNER CITY UNIT ‘Punkadelic’, ‘Trash On Delivery’ (a compilation album that saw the first commercial release from DOGS D’AMOUR) and ‘Stolen Property’ the first solo album from CHARLIE HARPER (UK SUBS) also the label’s first album.
The label first Album Charts entry was Hawkwind’s ‘Zones’, peaking at number 45.
Apart from Rough Trade, Factory, Cherry Red and Mute, Flicknife was the only Indie label to have entered the hallowed turf that is the Top 50.
Moreover, it was one of a very few labels to have entered the Indie Charts with its first ten singles.
‘Zones’ stayed in the Charts for 6 weeks in October and November 1983.
In March 1984, the label had another Single Charts entry with Hawkwind’s ‘Night Of The Hawks’ (seeing a reunion of Lemmy, Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd Langton and Nik Turner with Lemmy saying ‘I’ll do it for Frenchy and the fans’ after swearing that he would never record with the band again) and then a live album from Hawkwind, ‘Do Not Panic’/’Stonehenge’ entered the Charts at number 71.
In November 1985, the label released their best album to date.
Hawkwind’s ‘The Chronicle Of The Black Sword’ was co-written with Michael Moorcock and was supported by a Nationwide Tour of 42 dates that sold out in 4 hours!
Backed up by a marketing campaign designed by Frenchy that earned the label a nomination for Best Indie Marketing Campaign, the album entered the Charts at number 54 and was voted the third best indie album of 1985.April 1986 saw the release of THE ALIEN SEX FIEND 12” EP ‘I Walk The Line’, another massive hit.
1987 started with the release of JEREMY GLUCK (ex-Barracudas) and NIKKI SUDDEN (ex-Swell Maps) legendary album ‘I Knew Buffalo Bill’ and was followed by another Hawkwind album ‘Out and Intake’ that reached #1 in the Heavy Metal Charts.
1988 saw Dave Brock’s AGENT OF CHAOS album reached #13 in the Indie Charts and was followed by Jeremy Gluck’s ‘Burning Skull Rise’ mini-album.
In 1986, SOHO GIRL RECORDS (SG) was started as a dance label for Flicknife Records.
The first release was a single by McDONALD FLAK and the ACK ACK PACK : ’Cortina Boy’.
It did surprisingly well and SG signed a deal with Hedd/Virgin in order to get the band, now renamed SOHO , into the Charts.
The first effort for Hedd/Virgin was a single entitled ‘Piece Of You’/’Blonde On Black’ and again this did very well.
However,the second single ‘Hippy Chick’ went on to be a No7 hit bringing the label a silver and gold single as well as a gold album.
Following this success, a 12” by ADAMSKI’s DISKORD DATKORD called ‘Identity’ (and old X-Ray Spex song) was released.
Once again, it did well-in fact just as well as the SOHO single but going through and indie distribution, it did not chart.
Adamski went on to score a Number 1 single with the song ‘Killer’ (with SEAL on vocals).
So with an album at No.1 in the Heavy Metal Charts, another at No.13 in the Indie Charts and SG doing well, it was a great period for all the labels.
1989 started with the release of The BARRACUDAS’ mini LP ‘The World’s A Burn’ whose first pressing of 2000 sold out in 3 weeks and zoomed up the Indie Charts.
Unfortunately,it missed the Top 75 by 1! That same year, Flicknife started a ‘2 in 1’ series of CD’s.
It meant that on one CD, you got 2 albums. The first one was HAWKWIND’s ‘Zones’/’ Stonehenge ’, then ‘The Best Of Hawkwind, Friends And Relations,etc.
Another notable success, was the compilation album ‘The Travellers Aid Trust’ featuring Hawkwind, Tubilah Dogs, Screech Rock, Nik Turner and OZRIC TENTACLES.
Ozric Tentacles went on to score a No.1 album after a major liked the song on ‘T.A.T’.
The CD came with a 32 page booklet explaining what ‘T.A.T’ stood for and how the album was released to raise money for the Travellers’ Trust after the famous ‘Stonehenge Battles’ between the Police and the Travellers in 1987.
At the end of 1989, THE GROOVY CHAINSAWS, a band formed by ex-Alien Sex Fiend’s guitarist Yaxi, released a self titled 12” E.P.
It did well enough to allow the label to finance the recording of a second 12” E.P called ‘Bad Situation’,which was released in early 1990.
As a special Christmas 1989 project, Flicknife issued a limited number (2000) of boxed sets featuring three HAWKWIND pictures discs (Zones/Chronicles/Out and Intake’), an interview record, a poster and a badge.
The box set was only available from Flicknife by mail order and needless to say, it sold out within four weeks.
March 1990 and 2LOST SONS release their first mini-LP ‘808 Fever’ and attracted a lot of press and radio attention.
They went on to support THE POGUES on a nationwide tour.
April saw the release of the now legendary compilation ‘In Goth Daze’ featuring the Alien Sex Fiend, The Specimen, Play Dead, etc.
Those were all the bands who regularly played the BATCAVE club in the mid-80’s and gave birth to the Goth Rock genre.
To follow that, Flicknife released the album ‘Ave Dementia’ from Goth darlings THE SCREAMING MARIONETTES.
The band had a large following and they went on a nationwide tour to promote this new release.
So at the start of a new decade, all was well in the Flicknife stable.
Too well to last.....