[Editor's Note: The following post was contributed by Ian. Contributions are welcome and appreciated. Thanks Ian! - E.A.]
The Smirks played their first concerts in Manchester in late 1977, but by January 1978 they were spotted at the Stiff Records talent show. The band quickly picked up a management deal, and recorded a session for the John Peel programme in April 1978.
By then, they had signed up to Beserkley Records, and before long released their first single, "OK - UK". Whether a US West Coast record label appreciated a single with the words "California holiday gets on my wick" would later become apparent. The boys continued an extensive touring schedule round the country, playing gigs with famous names like Devo and John Otway.
In the summer of 1978, they played at two festivals in the Netherlands, their only concerts outside England. Simon and the band campaigned for the continuation of live music against the onslaught of disco and the closure of many pubs where live music was played. Although there was serious intent to the campaign, the name "Smirks against Travolta" was also a gentle parody of "Rock against Racism", which the group also supported. The publicity stunt at the London premiere of "Grease" resulted in the arrest of their guitarist, but the case against him collapsed in court.
After the release of their second single "Rosemary", they went into the studio to record their first album, but it was never released as their relationship with their record company, itself struggling, deteriorated. This left the band out of pocket and with no product and no contract. Accordingly, they went out on the road again, promoting a self-recorded EP called "American Patriots" on their own label. The band's sense of humour continued in the face of disaster as they named the tour "Seek Employment".
More touring and more dancing took the band through the rest of 1979 and the first half of 1980, but as it became apparent that success would elude them, the band broke up. Mike went on to some success with The Freshies while Simon now fronts a jazz band. Their bassist now presents an indie music show on a Manchester community radio station.
The Smirks were:
Simon Milner - lead vocal and guitar.
Neil Fitzpatrick - lead guitar and vocals.
Ian Morris - bass and backing vocals.
Mike Doherty - drums.
Go to the download page to get The Smirks - "American Patriots"