The had a newsletter, a great backdrop, a whole set of original material, loads of great equipment. The New Model Army of Kirkcaldy - Sacristy.
(Sacristy, L-R Pete Murphy, Andy Carr and Sandy Allan. The St Andrews Church Hall gig July 15th 1985)
I have hugely fond memories of hanging around with these guys in the summer of 1985. I had been at in the same year at school as Mark Carr (second drummer of the Crucified Brains) and his brother Andy Carr had formed Sacristy in 1985, with his school friend Pete Murphy. Andy played bass and guitar and sang. Pete played guitar and bass. I just found out that Steve Bell also played guitar originaly.
Pete was a great guy and a great musician, I think he was in the school orchestra - a completely closed part of school to me! He played a kind of jazzy guitar, using effects and chords that I had never heard of before - but I liked it particularly when he swapped over to play bass - he was a real original on the bass, unique style.
I remember that Sacristy would start out their set with Andy on bass and Pete on guitar, they would have the both of them on guitar in the middle of the set and would play a version of "The Cramps" - "You got Good Taste", with the two guitars and no bass (just like the Cramps).
The rest of Sacristy was comprised of Ross Anderson on drums and Sandy Allan on (of all things) saxophone! The sax, alongside Pete's jazz influences, gave the band a real distinctive sound. Also, from the beginning, their set comprised almost completely original material - these were songs heavy with political meaning!
I remember one that went something like: ".....and the leaders are free, and we've got to fight, fight, fight for the rest of our lives....". Heavy at the time, although I'm sure most of the political sentiments in the songs would seem spectacularly naive to us 40 somethings these days.
(Sacristy at the Strathern Hotel August 6th 1985, supporting Blue on Shock. Pete on bass and Andy singing)
Sacristy used to practice at St Andrew's Church Hall on St Brycedeale Avenue - they seemed to have the run of the place as I remember. This was just down the road from my first flat (2 Sang Place) and we used to hang around and watch them rehearse all the time in the summer of 1985 and the band used to hang around our flat afterwards. I also remember a lot of parties and drinking down the Heritage Bar on the High Street.
I'm a bit fuzzy on the number of gigs they played - the newsletter below has a picture of Andy Carr singing in front of a "Blue on Shock" backdrop, so they must have supported them. There is also a mention in the newsletter of a support slot they played for Political Asylum at the Skittle. Certainly, the only gig I can remember is where I took some of the pictures that are on this page and where the MP3 was recorded - it was in their old rehearsal space of St Andrews Church Hall, referred to in the newsletter (for some reason) as Kamikaze Kreed.
I have no memory of the Sweat Hoggs, who they were, or what they played, but the Crucified Brains played a great set. Sacristy played a complete set - but, really it was just a glorified rehearsal as I don't remember the gig being advertised at all, they just played for friends and family. But they had a great backdrop on the day, the they got all dressed up, and it looks like they had a smoke machine, or dry ice!
(Sacristy, L-R , Andy Carr, Sandy Allan and Pete Murphy. The St Andrews Church Hall gig July 15th 1985.)
The newsletter is a great touch. It indicates that it was "issue 1", but I doubt if there was ever an"issue 2". Imagine, well before the years of cheap desk top publishing, sticking that lot together with letterset and typewriters, and going down the local "pay as you go" photocopy place and getting them copied. We would never have the patience for that sort of thing!
The list of equipment is mainly exaggerations by the way - the "Gibson Guitar" that is listed in the Newsletter and you can see Andy playing in the smaller pic above, was actually mine and it was a dreadful piece of shit I bought from Johnny Venters in Sound Control when I wanted something cheap to learn guitar on. I think the "Roland Synth" was Cameron's.
There are a number of clues in the newsletter about why the band were so short lived. They were active in the summer between School and whatever followed after school. That was a great tradition, the summer gap - I loved mine and the one the year after! I don't think kids today have this luxury. Ross Anderson went off to join the air force, Sandy Allan went over to Edinburgh university, Pete Murphy took a year out (I think) and did voluntary service overseas, then moved to London.Only Andy stayed in Kirkcaldy, he attended the Drama Studies course (in the same year as actress Sharon Small, as I remember).
There was a tape of both the Crucified Brains and Sacristy sets at this gig at St Andrews Church Hall, only the small fragment below has survived the 1980's vortex. The main tape was borrowed by Andy Carr sometime in the Autumn of 1985, and never given back. The photos above were also borrowed and not returned by Andy - the images you see above were resurrected from the original negatives, which explains some of the distortions on the photos. The smaller photo is actually one of those frustrating features of the old 35 mm cameras. There used to be often a bit of film that would allow you to take a photo right at the end of the reel, this would show up on the negatives, but the film processor would not print it.
(Sacristy at the Strathern Hotel August 6th 1985, supporting Blue on Shock. Pete on bass and Andy singing.)
It was not until the advent of negative scanners, that you could finally see these photos - you can see this is an "end of reel" 35 mm photo, because of the numbers on the print, this was a sticker they used to put over the film at the end of the reel. Money was so tight in those days that I could only afford to take one or two photos, so I was always hoping to get the most out of my film - at last we can see the end of the reel photos!
(Sacristy at the Strathern Hotel August 6th 1985, supporting Blue on Shock. Steve Bell on guitar.)
The MP3 below is actually both bands (The Crucified Brains and Sacristy), playing together at the end of the set. This recording was on a different tape and therefore survived the 1980's vortex. Andy Carr makes a rather lengthy announcement at the beginning. Ross and Mark Deas (of the Crucified Brains) are both playing drums. It must be Chez (of the Crucified Brains) on the bass as he breaks into their "signature tune" Wipeout, in the middle. Sandy Allan is pretty prominent on sax - I think Andy Carr and Davie Brown (of the Crucified Brains) are playing guitar, I don't think Pete Murphy is playing on this.
Last I heard of Pete Murphy was a long time ago, he was working for the BBC in London as a sound engineer - I remember seeing his name coming up on the credits of some programme or other. Sandy Allan played for many years in Craig McMurdo's "That Swing Thang", I know not what happened to Ross. Andy is now a Production Manager for Scottish Youth Music Theatre: http://www.scottishyouthmusictheatre.org/
Of course, it would be great to get the tape back if it still exists, it was a yellow BASF C90, as I remember.........
01 Johnny Be Goode (with Sacristy)
I'm grateful to my old friend Andy Carr for getting in touch after all these years and providing a ton of new material on the band. He has also provided some clarifications that my poor old brain had forgotten: "There was a second version of sacristy. Myself, bobby nicholson (family shampoo) and brian lietch (inside eva?) I think mark played drums for us too. Also a guy called James duncan on keyboards".