Ippo Rock City Part 2: Perfect Daze

Now it starts to get complicated.  Following on from my post about Extreme Noise Terror, it is only right that I should move on to Perfect Daze.  You see, back in the early to mid 80s, the ‘scene’ in Ipswich was beginning to become pretty vibrant.  The community of people who had been turned on to music by the punk ‘explosion’ [which is an awful term, but it suits my lazy style] had now started to realise that they too could get up on stage and play.  The natural weeding out process was well underway, and some quite talented people had begun to emerge.  [The time is summed up very well in this piece by legendary Ipswich scenester, former Daze bass player and Parrot Record shop guy, Jim P]. We’ve already talked about folks like Phil and Dean who went on to form ENT.  But in the same community, there were others doing music, albeit in a different style.

Fast forward to the end of the 80s.  Mark and I are sat in the Old Times pub in Ipswich cradling pints of Guinness with Wolfie, now bassist of Perfect Daze.  He has been in bands for years, despite being young, and was a member of the nascent punk outfit known as ‘The Sustained’ before being recruited to play bass guitar, vocals and occasional violin with the legendary Stupids.  This tenure had not lasted beyond the first album, whereupon he had joined the already well established Perfect Daze.  Like ENT, their line up had changed several times already, with members of both bands moving around in a free transfer type situation.

I first saw The Daze, as they became known, at a gig in, well I guess 1984.  I had picked up the details from a classic photocopied flyer pasted in the window of Parrot Records, and the line up was Adrenalin, Perfect Daze and the Babysitters.  The former two bands originated in Ipswich whilst I think the Babysitters, in truly international style, came from Colchester.  All the bands, as I recall, were visually and musically influenced by the same sources of inspiration – Hanoi Rocks, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and of course Wolfie’s beloved Ramones.  I have found some old photos from that gig on MySpace, and I have added the URL to this page, for which I apologise if this causes a problem.  But they show the general idea – it was a classic gig, and I remember being quite taken aback that these guys weren’t dressed in the at the time standard uniform of leather jacket, ripped jeans and docs.

Now, if you are below a certain age, you may not know that the ultra successful music industry dude who runs Domino Records in London is one Lawrence Bell.  You may also be unaware that “Lorenzo’, as he was formerly known in his Ipswich scenester days, was the lead singer of Perfect Daze, above.  That’s him in the hat and sunglasses, looking every inch the rock’n’roll dude.

The Daze played a set that was pure rock’n’roll.  Apart from the aforementioned influences, each member was seemingly into a different type of music, which made their overall sound quite diverse.  Darren Olly, the original drummer who went on to become Pig Killer in Extreme Noise Terror, was a punk kind of guy.  Dazzle, who these days seems to have become a fine photographer, hit the drums and Col took care of guitaring duties, and later on when Jim P had left [to form Panorama in Black] they were joined by Wolfie on bass and John ‘Scruff’ Ellis on guitar, Scruff being a pal of Wolfie’s and younger brother of one of the Adicts.

Col and Dazzle eventually left, and an equally glam influenced drummer by the name of Timmy took over the vacant drum stool.  It was in this new slimmed down line up that the Daze would find relative success.  They signed to the seminal Vinyl Solution label who were based in London at the time, and continued a respectable gigging schedule in East Anglia and beyond.  By this time, Wolfie’s fanzine, the legendary ‘Smashed Hits’, had become the unofficial mouthpiece for the band, although we at Rip It Up interviewed them a couple of times I think!

Output wise, the Daze produced one of those records that can only be described, in true Garry Bushell style, as ‘seminal’.  The ‘Bubblegum‘ ep, rVinyl Solution’s first 12″ release in 1987, was five tracks of the most delicious pop punk, with the catchiest choruses and loaded with hooks.  They proved themselves to be equally good live, with a tight sound despite inevitable hard drinking.  I still have some blurry snaps hidden away under the stairs I think, from one of the many gigs we attended at The Old Times or some other obscure Ipswich pub.  By the late 80s, the indie movement was growing strong with guitar bands such as Mega City 4, Senseless Things, Perfect Daze and many others finding exposure in the music press.  Friendships grew with these bands as they were more and more often billed on the same night at a venue, and gigs were traded with the likes of the Senseless Things who had a similar sound.

The next ep on Vinyl Solution, ‘Regular Jailbreak‘, was released a year later in 1988 and heralded a slightly rawer, harder sound which I for one welcomed.  It seemed more in tune with their live sound, whereas Bubblegum was, as its name suggests, a little too polished and poppy.

The band was, by this time beginning to feel the stress of other commitments, as Lawrence for one was already involved in setting up record labels [his first, as far as I remember, was Head Eruption records, which released Extreme Noise Terror’s first LP, ‘A Holocaust in your Head’ in 1989.  Who would have imagined that in a decade, he would be the head honcho at one of the biggest alternative labels in the world?  Lawrence finally realised that his interests lay in the music business and the band folded, with Wolfie and Scruff going on to form Lovejunk.  A retrospective CD was released by Boss Tuneage records, which effectively scoops all their releases up into one record and is a good value way of getting the Daze’s career in one dose.

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