I saw them open for Black Flag and Joe Perry. I was also at the Monmouth benefit show when I was still too young to drive. They were pretty awesome.
Secret Syde- “A Hole Where A Pocket Should Be” (1983)
Sometimes the most interesting bands come from the strangest places. You wouldn’t really expect to a find a band who probably had posters of Joy Division, The Cramps, and Pink Floyd up in their rehearsal space coming out of Long Branch, New Jersey. Throw in the fact that said band found little audience in their own country but a huge following in the Netherlands, and the story starts to get just a little strange. Say hello to the pride (OK, I’m stretching it a little there) of “The First Seaside Resort”, the Secret Syde.
They quickly became notorious (or legendary, depending on how you look at it) for their raucous live shows which hearkened back to the days of the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” events. There were go-go girls and trippy light shows, things that stood them apart in the era of A Flock Of Seagulls. Their music also didn’t really find a place in the overall scene of the early ’80s. They were post-punk, but they didn’t wear black and mumble at the audience between songs. New Jersey and New York City were in the grips of electro-pop and the beginnings of hardcore.
The band tried to get along. They opened up for Black Flag as well as Joe Perry (during his short-lived exile from Aerosmith) in an attempt to have as broad an audience as possible hear their music. They struggled for attention in their own country but they caught the ears of programmers at the BBC, who put their debut album (“Hidden Secrets”) on rotation. It filtered into their World Service division and caught fire in the Netherlands. The band’s second album, “Erebus”, was recorded but never actually pressed up and the band split in 1985.
The band’s cult remained faithful, “Hidden Secrets” became a record collector’s wishlist item, and in 2009 lead singer Jon Davies reunited the original members and finally got “Erebus” pressed onto CD. There was talk of a potential third album but as of yet nothing has surfaced.
Here are some clips of the band in their heyday (to give you an idea of what the fuss was all about) from a 1983 Monmouth College radio station benefit.