ELECTRIC CHAIRS

Imagine my glee when this bit I wrote on the Electric Chairs debut album was published in this months’ Record Collector for their monthly “Vinyl Fetish” column. It really is a very cool album!

Research shows that our musical taste is usually formed at around 11-13 years. When I was at that tender age, I began visiting thrift stores, attracted by endless piles of junk, dodgy books, crappy records and, at times, their downright seedy atmosphere. It was in such a store, in 1980, that I bought the LP Rock and Roll Resurrection by Jayne County. It was probably the cover, featuring Jayne in a rather compromising liaison with a microphone stand, combined with the cheap price tag, which did it for me. In those pre-internet days, I had to rely on tatty second hand copies of the NME to learn more about Jayne County. It was only then that, with some shock, I found out Jayne was in fact Wayne; a transvestite with an impressive history in music and theatre. Born American, Wayne moved to England in the late 70s when punk broke loose. Forming an English live band, Wayne gained interest with live shows of a somewhat explicit nature. Eagerly snapped up by punk-wannabees label Safari records, I read about Wayne’s 1978 debut album, which was titled Electric Chairs (“because it sounded punk”, Wayne later said). But finding a copy in the early 80s in the Netherlands proved to be impossible; it seemed no one knew about it and if someone actually did, they didn’t like it one bit. And thus this elusive album became the stuff of legend to me. I needed a copy to satisfy my curiosity, but all my effords remained fruitless. Imagine my disbelief when, one inconspicuous Saturday, whilst shopping with my parents, I noted a tiny record stall at a second hand fair. Tucked between James Last and Neil Diamond, I finally found my, extremely battered, copy of the Electric Chairs LP! It was my first ever true “find”, indicating the start of, what appears to be, a life-long addiction to collecting vinyl. Needless to say, the punky sleeve, with the unsettling psychotic picture the band had intended for the front, safely tucked away by Safari on the reverse, worried my parents. But I didn’t care and, after parting with only two Guilders, I went home happy as a peach. Over the years I collected several pressings of this album (from Japan, New Zealand, USA, Germany, France, Spain as well as a UK test pressing), but I played that first copy until I’d literally worn out its grooves.

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