John The Postman was, hardly surprisingly, a postman. John and his friends were regulars at the first punk gigs in Manchester. It was at one such gig in April 1977 after a few too many drinks that John decided to invade the Buzzcocks stage, picked up a guitar and decided to terrorise the audience with his version of the rock standard Louie, Louie. Far from being murdered, he actually won a few admirers and after a couple more appearances was actually invited to become the official support to such artists as V2, The Fall, John Cooper-Clarke and The Drones.
Soon John was joined by other musicians and a band (of sorts) was formed for the live gigs. Things improved, sometimes they got paid for appearing!
Flushed with success and beer money, it was inevitable that John would sell out and release a record. It was Manchester’s Bent Records (V2, Notsensibles, etc.) run by The Drone’s manager Dave Bentley that financed this foray into the studio. So in Feb 1978 John and fifteen other musicians got drunk and headed into Pennine Studios in Oldham to record their debut mini album ‘Puerile’. Songs given the John The Postman treatment were Louie, Louie (two versions), Not Right, Kawalski Of The Seaview Has Got The Best Hairstyle I’ve Ever Seen, Flaming Aeroplane and PJ Meetd TD. The introduction to Louie, Louie was by Mark E. Smith of The Fall and was his debut appearance on vinyl.
The album was released in a brown paper bag (to look like a letter) and the first 500 even had a half-penny stamp stuck on. The album was championed by John Peel and other luminaries, keen to see ‘rock music’ hung, drawn and quartered. The album sold an impressive 10,000 copies.
In need of more beer money, John and ten musicians went to Cargo Studios in Rochdale on Sunday, 10th October 1978 and in a few hours completed his second album. The tracks were Gloria, Scunthorpe Blues, A Well Known Jewish Tune and Mahatma Ghandi’s Heartbreakers. Packaged in another appropriately D.I.Y. sleeve the album was another success, selling 7,000. Sounds saw fit to describe John as “neo-legendary and neo-obscure”.
John recorded another album in 1980 which was originally to appear on Mark E. Smith’s Cog Sinister label, before departing to America to work as (you’ve guessed it) – a postman!
‘Puerile’ is packaged with an eight page booklet with sleeve notes by none other than C.P. Lee of Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias.