Thanks so much to Gilly for this lovely interview. The great Pitkins released three 7″s in the mid nineties and were one of the few bands that carried the classic indiepop sound through those difficult years for our music. Check them out on myspace, they had many top tunes!
++ So alright, let’s go back in time. When did The Pitkins start as a band?
I joined the Pitkins in 1995 but I think they had been playing for a few years before that.
I knew the drummer very well so when their female vocalist left the band he got me an audition. My singing in that audition was awful ! I’m still not sure why they let me join. ( perhaps they felt sorry for me and put it down to nerves! ). About a year after I joined I asked my Friend Lorna to come and Play violin and shortly after that we got a second guitar player.
++ It was a big band! Was it easy to work with so many different personalities and characters? How do you remember the creative process of the band?
Altogether there were seven of us in the band. This proved difficult when we only played on small stages. There was never enough space for us or the equipment.
++ Why the name The Pitkins?
I believe the name was taken from a film character called ‘Mr Pitkin’
++ Who were Jawbone Records? How did you end up signing to them and releasing 3 singles? How was your relationship with them?
After a couple of years doing gigs and not getting anywhere we decided it would be fun to make a single. Our lead vocalist ollie set up the Jawbone label and we recorded it at noisebox studios.
Reece the guitarist did the artwork and we released it. I was amazed to find it was well received. It was played on radio one a couple of times.
The second single wasn’t very good and didn’t get much attention. I have to confess I hated it ! . Our third single was my favourite but sadly it didn’t sell well or get any radio play either.
Despite poor sales we were getting a good name for ourselves and had a good following. Trouble starting brewing soon after that. A relationship had begun between two of the band members and this caused a bit of a divide in the group. However we carried on and secured a promising gig in London.
++ Were the 3 singles all of your recorded output?
If you are looking for other material there is a song called distraught on a compilation record that was given away free with a local fanzine called ‘totally wired.’ I think (but I am not sure) that it was on the Noisebox label. You might be able to hunt down a copy on Ebay.
++ Oh yeah, was The Pitkins your first band?
The Pitkins was the first proper band I was in . ( I sang in a band a few years previous to that but we split up before we had even played a gig!)
++ I just put “Johnny Gets the Girl” on my turntable. Great tune! Who is this Johnny guy? Is it based on a real person? Also I’m wondering what does “BST”, the second song from your 2nd single, stands for?
By the way BST stands for British Summer Time . I’ve no idea who Johnny was based on. You would have to ask Ollie about that one as he wrote the songs.
++ So when and why did you call it a day?
The final blow came when the drummer suddenly announced he was going to quit. His wife hated the band and didn’t want him to go to London or spend any more time with us. That was the end of the Pitkins. I was gutted but good drummers are hard to find so we just called it a day. (The drummers marriage didn’t last long after that!)
++ What did you do after? Did you continue making music?
I really missed being in a band so many years later I joined up with Massey singer Ian and his friends and we formed ‘The Foster kids.’ We have made a fantastic Album which I am so happy to be a part of . Now we are all getting so old we only play the odd gig . I still enjoy it though.
++ Any nice plans for this upcoming summer?
Today I spend my days looking after my three year old son and obsessive gardening (sounds so dull doesn’t it!). My plan for the summer is to win the local gardening competition.
++ One last question! Tell me a secret skill Gill has that not many know?
I don’t really have any secret skills but I am hoping to train as an Opera singer soon. I am keeping that quiet because I fear I may be rubbish!
++ Thanks again so much! Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for your interest in the band. I thought it was long forgotten and unloved. It is nice to know that somebody appreciated what we did.
The Pitkins – Over and Out