Interview - Tony Perfect of Long Tall Shorty
Guitarist Tony Perfect -aka Tony Morrison- was a member of Long Tall Shorty (one of the bands that played most regularly at the club at the time) and Angelic Upstarts. He was a witness of a time in the history of the Marquee Club when riots were a usual business, bottles would fly onstage, bands would get banned to play and club managers would run away from menacing drummers. It was also a time for new and fresh sounds, much excitement and lots of adrenaline. Tony talks to us about his memories on the mod and punk scene at the Marquee club.
- What is the first image that springs to mind when you hear the words "Marquee Club"?
Same as everyone else, the sticky floors and cheap beer!!
- Do you remember the very first time you ever visited the club?
Yes, it was when I played there in January 1979. I had been at school and my mother said there had been a phone call from the Angelic Upstarts manager. I was in Long Tall Shorty although at the time the band was called the Indicators. Jimmy Pursey from Sham 69 called us Long Tall Shorty after he saw us supporting the Upstarts in Surrey and invited us to record a 45". The Invaders were supposed to be playing that night with the Upstarts but had pulled out of the tour and we were offered the last few dates. This was the first one we did. The gig is billed on this web site as "Purseys Package", Angelic Upstarts and The Invaders.
- Was Long Tall Shorty originally formed with ex-members from The Tourists, who had a residency at the Marquee in 1978?
Ah no, Long Tall Shorty was formed from a band called Ben E Dorme and The Tourists. It was a school band, not The Tourists with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.
- In 1979, you joined Angelic Upstarts and you played at the Marquee just two days after your last show at the club with Long Tall Shorty. Is that right?
Nearly. I joined the Upstarts in January 1982 and yes, my first ever gig with them was two days after my last gig at the Marquee with Long Tall Shorty.
- The Invaders and you played at the Marquee in February 1979. They were also supposed to tour UK with you but they decided to drop it. What happened with them?
You are talking about the tour I mentioned above before I joined the Angelic Upstarts. They were getting a lot of abuse every night and decided not to finish the tour. My band the Indicators did the rest of the tour!
-You are considered one of the most important bands of the mod revival in the late 70's. At the time, do you remember feeling like being part of a mod scene?
Yes, we were unashamedly a mod band, I was one of the first mods in the UK. We really thought it was going to be more important than the punk scene!!
-As a member of the audience at the Marquee, which bands or gigs do you remember especially?
I used to go to the club 5 or 6 nights a week and I saw some fantastic bands there, Generation X, The Alarm, Slade, UK Subs, The Chords and the Purple Hearts, Nine Below Zero, etc...
- Which are your personal memories about London's punk scene during the late 70's?
Lots of violence and being very poor!
Long Tall Shorty at the Marquee Club
- In February 1980, Long Tall Shorty headlined the bill at the Marquee and soon later Mark Reynolds and Jimmy Grant left the band. Can you remember that particular gig?
Yes, we just had our first 45" out on Warner Brothers and we really thought we were on the verge of super stardom, LOL. It was an odd night, lots of fights and two people got stabbed as well. I remember our manager saying the sound was terrible too.
- In August that same year, Long Tall Shorty played at Reading Rock festival, which was organized by the National Jazz Federation and the Marquee club. During your show there was a celebrated riot in the audience. At the time riots seemed to follow you wherever you played. Did the riots happen spontaneously or is something that you would provoke?
On this occasion, we did promote it because the Reading festival was very rock orientated and we were a mod band therefore the audience were never going to like us so we thought we might as well have some fun instead!
- You were also banned from the Marquee club because of a riot at the club. Do you remember how it happened?
Our drummer had an argument with Nigel (Hutchins), the club's manager and chased him out into the street. All I remember is Nigel running past shouting, "Tony, this is the last time you'll play here".
- So, is that your wildest memory from the Marquee days?
It was certainly the worst time, I used to play there every month, about 25 times in total and lots of my friends went there so being banned was very upsetting!
- In February 1982, Angelic Upstarts returned to the Marquee club for the last time. Can you remember that particular gig?
Yes, this was the first gig I did as a member of the Angelic Upstarts but we did play there a few months later. There was a riot at the second gig when about 300 skinheads who weren't allowed in, tried to break the doors down.
-You also played other important clubs from London's punk circuit, such as the 100 Club. How different was the atmosphere between these other clubs and the Marquee?
The Marquee was the best place by far. It had a great layout and Everybody used to go there whereas the 100 Club wasn't as important.
-Some punk artists such as Siouxsie Sioux and the Sex Pistols used to claim that the Marquee was "a stinky place" because it was "just a business place stack in the past". What do you think about it?
I just think it was a really great club, I had many good nights down there both playing and watching. The only problem was it used to close at 11 so you were always looking for somewhere else to go afterwards.
-What did you do after the split of the band in 1982? Did you play at the Marquee with any other group?
-Do you remember drinking with other bands at the Ship pub?
Yes, the Ship was another hang-out for bands and I spent many nights there but don't ask me to remember who with, there were far too many people around.
-The dressing room of the Marquee was legendary for it's graffiti welcomed walls. Did you ever leave your signature on it?
Yes I did, many times. I would also like to mention, even though the dressing room was really small and dirty, it was always a great buzz to hear the DJ announce your band, open the door and step out onto the stage to a huge cheer.
-Did you ever visit the Marquee club or keep in touch with people from the club after your last concert there?
No, I did see a few of them when the club moved to Charing Cross Road but I only went there a couple of times as it didn't have the atmosphere of the old club.
-What did you think when you heard about the demolishing of the original building at 90 Wardour street in the 90's?
I thought it was a national disgrace to be honest. It should have been preserved for eternity.
-Have you ever told your children about the Marquee club days?
Not really, they like rap music and watch videos and listen to CDs. They wouldn't understand how important it was to someone like me.
-If you had to define the effect that the Marquee club had in your life or in your musical career, how would you put it into words?
Well, because I loved all the bands from the 1960's it used to amaze me that I was playing where Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Yardbirds had played because it was pretty much unchanged from those days. I'd say during the 1960's and '70's, it was the most important club in England for a band and I am honoured to have played there so many times.
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