The Gorillas

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The Gorillas
Also known as The Hammersmith Gorillas
Origin Hammersmith, London, England
Genres R&B, punk rock, hard rock
Years active 1974 – early 1980s
Labels Penny Farthing, Chiswick, Raw
Associated acts The Cravattes, The Rock and Roll Trio, The Way of Life, The Mod Section, Crushed Butler, Helter-Skelter, The Jesse Hector Sound, The Gatecrashers
Members Jesse Hector
Alan Butler
Gary Anderson
Matt McIntyre

The Gorillas (originally named The Hammersmith Gorillas) were a rock group from Hammersmith, London, England formed in 1974, and fronted by Jesse Hector, who played high energy rock music.

History[edit]

Jesse Hector (born in 1947, in Kilburn, northwest London, England) played in bands from the age of 11, first the Rock and Roll Trio, and then the R&B-influenced band the Cravats.[1] Cravats bassist Adrian Stambach joined mod outfit The Clique in 1963. Hector reformed the Rock and Roll Trio before starting two more short-lived bands, the Way of Life and the Mod Section, and went on to form the proto-punk band Crushed Butler in 1969 with drummer Darryl Read and bassist Alan Butler. After a brief flirtation with EMI Records, the band was renamed Tiger, until Darryl left to join the glam rock group Dizzy, then they changed name again to Helter-Skelter. With the addition of drummer Gary Anderson, the band became the Hammersmith Gorillas, taking their name from London's pro-Castro activist group the Hammersmith Guerillas.[1]

The band's debut release was a cover version of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" on the Penny Farthing label, produced by Larry Page, and timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the original release.[1][2] They then signed to Chiswick Records, recording two singles for the label, and building a loyal fanbase, before moving on to Raw Records.[3] In 1976, they played at the Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival in the south of France along with the Damned and Eddie and the Hot Rods.[2] After two more singles in 1978, the band's debut (and only) studio album was issued, Message to the World.[4]

Hector was noted for his extravagant sideburns, and was a keen self-publicist, declaring the Gorillas to be "the future of rock music".[3] He was influenced by several dead rock stars, and several tracks on the band's album were performed in the style of his heroes, including a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" and "Going Fishing" performed in the style of Marc Bolan.[3] They returned to Chiswick in the early 1980s for the "Move It" single, before splitting up after Butler died from injuries sustained in a horse riding accident. Hector continued to regularly perform live around London, working with a new band, Jesse Hector & The Sound, in the early 1990s, with bassist Kevin White and drummer Gilles Baillarguet.[1][3][4] The band issued a single in 1991, "Leavin' Town" on the Clawfist label.[1] When the group split in 1993, Hector assembled a new band, the Gatecrashers, named after a Gorillas single, contributing to several retro-garage rock compilations and releasing an EP in 2000, Keep on Moving.[1]

Later Hector worked as a cleaner at the Royal Geographical Society, and was the subject of a documentary film in 2008, A Message To The World, directed by Caroline Catz, which was shown as part of the Raindance festival, and at the Barbican as part of its "Pop Mavericks" season.[5]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "You Really Got Me" (1974) Penny Farthing (as the Hammersmith Gorillas)
  • "She's My Gal" (1976) Chiswick
  • "Gatecrasher" (1977) Chiswick
  • "You Really Got Me" (1977) Raw
  • "It's My Life" (1978) Raw
  • "Message to the World" (1978) Raw
  • "Move It" (1981) Chiswick

Albums[edit]

  • Message to the World (1978) Raw (reissued with bonus tracks, 1998, Damaged Goods)
  • Gorilla Got Me (1999) Big Beat (credited to the Hammersmith Gorillas)

Gorillas tracks are also included on the Jesse Hector retrospective collection Gorilla Garage: The Jesse Hector Story (2005) RPM Records.

Crushed Butler's recordings were compiled by Darryl Read on the Uncrushed album in 2005 by RPM Records.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ankeny, Jason "Jesse Hector Biography", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
  2. ^ a b Korpar-Migrenne, Philippe (1998) "JESSE HECTOR & THE GORILLAS – The Story", Damaged Goods Records
  3. ^ a b c d Larkin, Colin (1992) "Gorillas", in The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  4. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Gorillas", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  5. ^ "Rockumentary Celebrates The Genius Of Jesse Hector", The Quietus, 26 September 2008

External links[edit]