Tape Archive: Let’s Drive By The Flys 1979


Let’s Drive by the Flys (1979):Let’s Drive
(396K *AAC+ file)

Added: Energy Boy (submitted by dave p):(576K AAC+) Energy Boy

The_FlysThe Flys were a short lived post punk/mod/power pop band from Coventry, UK who flirted with the late 70’s mod revival in the UK and at this point were but months away from calling it a day after failing to make the kind of dent they must have wanted. I’m unsure if this recording is from a single or an actual John Peel session track (if so its date would be 8th October 1979). It’s a little ‘splashy’ due to the analogue distortions of the cassette medium (TDK Audua tape) being driven at slightly too high a recording level. This track belies their Brit origins and sounds as if leaning to a mix of Brit and US influenced sounds. It’s interesting that there’s a lot of current bands around today (the Strokes, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand etc) who are very much partly a pastiche of that late 70’s Iggy Pop/Ramones influenced sound of the late 70’s.

(*AAC+ music files. Plugin(Win) or compatible player required – Songbird (All) VLC(All)-Winamp(Win)-Quicktime and (bizarrely) i-Tunes will play file at half the audio bandwidth and in mono only)

The Flys on My Space 

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24 thoughts on “Tape Archive: Let’s Drive By The Flys 1979

  1. … and half-speed, which means I can’t confirm which version it is (I suspect it’s the vinyl) without time-consuming and probably unsuccessful conversion. It’s nice of you to post these gems – and I hate to seem ungrateful – but a more readily usable format would be greatly appreciated.

    The first session from Mar 1978’s the one to hear. Any imperfections in your tape are as nothing compared to my barely audible take of that event – truly a band of outstanding promise at its all-time peak. That they didn’t deliver on that promise subsequently is small potatoes – their best speaks for itself.

  2. Hi dave p-thanks for your comments- sorry about the AAC+format but it is primarily about saving space, preserving bandwidth and making accessible to bandwidth restricted users and dial-up (who are still a fair proportion of users)-the free plugins or appropriate players are easily downloadable . I know mp3 is the no brainer but some of the interviews would by 20 meg or more whereas AAC+ can preserve quality (where available) and consume way less space.This track as an example would be 2.5-3Mb in mp3 whereas the AAC+ version is 396k!!!I’m intrigued it’s playing a half speed-it plays fine for me in i-Tunes albeit in mono.

  3. Hi Em,

    396k? That’s a very good reason, thanks for the explanation! Is this why radio streams seem an eighth the size in transmission? I’ll check out that plugin – just worried it may mess up Shoutcast/Icecast streams – any risk?

    My bad, the speed was because it opened in Jet rather than the abominable iTunes – that does play it at the right speed, though with the dullness all too characteristic of that accursed player.

    I think it must be the session – it’s very close to the vinyl but about ten seconds shorter and without the fade. The first Flys Peel to make it online? Very possibly. Let’s hope it’s not the last, there’s so much more worth hearing.

  4. Hello dave p – As I say I know AAC+ is not widespread but it is the most bandwidth friendly. I might give in and do a separate mp3 feed but the space needed will be much larger. It will sound dull in iTunes as it doesn’t decode the extra AAC+ info whereas the plugin will.Re the plugin, it shouldn’t affect shoutcast and other mp3 streams and would only ‘kick in’ when needed for playing AAC+ files and streams such as these and will also be handy to listen to any AAC+ radio streams (www.tuner2.com). Fingers crossed that more Flys stuff pops up.

  5. I can confirm that it is the session! Thanks for sharing a nice find! One of the oomphier of the later songs. A saw them just after the first session 18 months earlier when they were one of the three of four most exciting acts on the planet – the whole set was just a string of 2-3 minute masterpieces.

    Sadly like so many other young bands big-label LP production didn’t do them any favours, unlike the BBC engineers who “would all be slouching around, showing zero interest in the music and reading recording engineer magazines” as The Cravats’ Svor Naan recalled. So that’s the secret to getting the sound right. 🙂

  6. ‘Scuse typos, it’s past my bedtime but there’s nothing like a Flys session to keep me awake.

    Here’s the other track I’ve managed to find from the third session – Energy Boy http://download.yousendit.com/B0DC30D87B409E83 (temporary link – feel free to replace it with a real one). It’s pretty lo-fi, but again offers a glimpse into a great band free of deadening album overproduction.

    So now we have two! There must be more out there somewhere.

  7. thanks for that dave p- I’ll update the file into here asap. Interesting comments about the Beeb engineers secret to recording a good session.I was always a bit hazy on what constituted a session because I don’t think it had to be entirely live and could include a few overdubs but many of the Peel sessions were often superior to the official release (I do remember the Damned’s ‘I just can’t be happy today’ being one example I preferred over the official recording).

  8. Yes, the sessions could involve as much dubbing & production as could be fitted into the time available: in effect the working day that the band & engineers were together, with the producer doing the final tweaks to get everything airworthy – that’s what gave them their immediacy and crispness.

    The big labels didn’t have a clue what to do with most of the bands they’d signed up to keep them from rivals’ clutches: it was the Flys’ good fortune to have their EMI debut classic produced by drummer Pete’s brother (the great final EP was done by bassist Joe too).

    I’m a bit of a session fetishist as you can probably guess – I just love that sparse BBC sound, and hate overproduction. Lots of other bands suffered the vinyl curse, and production nonsense on their 2nd famously destroyed the Banshees. It’s a miracle so many came through relatively intact, but we lost a lot along the way. DIY couldn’t have come soon enough.

  9. Well whatever the Beeb engineers did it often seemed to work as they could often capture the sound of a band better than their official recordings. It’s like those Old Grey Whistle test TV live sessions which seem so well recorded and yet bands would be performing in an empty studio to just a few technicians and yet they capture something special. I know some of the various BBC sessions are often dug up on 6music and the like but it’s a shame so much of it must just be sitting in the bowels of the BBC. Maybe one day Aunty will start offering up more of her music archives.

  10. Oh, if only Auntie would let go. It’s another of my pet peeves actually – the Beeb’s demanding extortionate amounts of small bands to release their sessions for reissue, and only rebroadcasting big-name sessions.

    Hundreds of £ is nothing if you’re Morrisey or The Cure, but it’s a heck of a lot to a guy in Rotherham hoping to shift a couple of hundred CDs for his old bandmates. There really should be a campaign about it, it’s cultural repression of those who by design or misfortune had no recording opportunity other than the Radio 1 studio.

    I’ve mailed the BBC (nicely) about it, but they just ignore it, understandably enough – just another guy with a bee in his bonnet. But worst of all it isn’t even bringing in the money now because those with the $$$ have bought their rights. Does percentage mean nothing to these people? It’s heartbreaking.

  11. You’d think it’d cost more to just store this stuff than open up the archives or make original recordings available on a lease arrangement. Hopefully the Beeb seem committed to making a lot of their TV library archives available online as they digitise it and I guess they’ll need to digitise some of the audio tapes sometime if only to save space.It’s almost the same as old TV footage on YouTube that’s not available to purchase anywhere but somebody owns the rights and would rather nobody saw it and so gets it withdrawn. I understand copyright issues and payment for artists concerned etc but less so when the footage just goes back to sit in a vault somewhere. It’s a great shame if band members can’t get access to their own work. Fingers crossed for greater availability one day.

  12. Remember this band well..Spread the buzz.One of the great bands out of Cov,them and The Donkeys overshadowed somewhat by the likes of The Chords and the Jam..lives in Canada now lead singer…Thanks for posting indeed..

  13. Pleasure..Having a Flys sort after moment..Playing 16 down ep of late,sets the What ever happened to them thoughts going…Love And A Molotov Cocktail up on You Tube..Sister Hazel sister singing..Civilisation still a great track..Thanks again…Get those Peely sesh Flys tunes released,be a good thing..Il push a few buttons myself..

  14. Thanks for posting these 2, guys.
    Brings back some memories.
    Feel free to drop by at myspace…


    All the best

  15. Hello Neil – It all deserves to be heard especially in today’s pastiche sounding music scene so best wishes with your MySpace page.I’ll point to it via my Facebook account too. All the best.

  16. I agree with everything Neil O has to say:
    Feel free to drop by my website:
    And listen to:
    JKpresents…in conversation with Neil O’ Connor, the early years. The Flys and more.

  17. Wow, theflys77to80 is Neil O? Great to know there’s an “official” online presence. As Wheelz says, spread the word – on this showing all three sessions need to be heard. Does any live material survive?

    Listening to the interview now, JK. Re-hearing them just shows each time what a great band they were, for me the perfect bridge between punk and what the powers that be dubbed powerpop. They could teach today’s indie kids a thing or several dozen.

  18. … and I just noticed the Flys got TWO releases nominated for TalkPunk’s “best EP ever”! It makes the sessions’ disappearance all the more incomprehensible!

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