The Friday Club 7″ sold for almost 100 GBP. Let’s see for how much this one goes for, as it is quite rare too, and was listed for a price I can’t match: 45 dollars to start. The great “Lupe Velez” 12″ is going for 45, plus 12 dollars for postage, quite a deal, huh? Not for me sadly. So far, playing the lottery every weekend, hasn’t really worked. I dream of having a huge record collection with all the songs I like. Is that much to ask? Well… I would love to buy an island too, sometime in the near future. Why not? An indiepop island, can you imagine? It’s a bit unrealistic, I know, but there is a word called wishes and another called dreams. So why not dream and wish? Let’s start by dreaming today about this brilliant Aussie band. Suddenly I have their only release on my hand. The Lupe Velez 12″ purple cover invites me to know more… so who is this lady that shares name with the pop godess (Marianthi dixit!) from Pipas?
Tempestuous Mexican actress Lupe Velez parlayed her voluptuous figure and tireless energy into a south-of-the-border musical comedy career before she was 20. In 1926, Velez moved to Hollywood, where she secured a role in The Music Box Revue and was featured in a handful of Hal Roach two-reelers. Her first major role in a feature film was as Douglas Fairbanks’ fiery vis-à-vis in The Gaucho (1928); she made her talkie debut in D.W. Griffith’s Lady of the Pavements. In 1933, she married Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller, a union distinguished by loud, headline-grabbing public spats; they were divorced in 1938. The following year, with her career in the doldrums, Velez starred in an RKO programmer called The Girl From Mexico; this led to the popular Mexican Spitfire series, in which the irrepressible Velez was teamed with rubber-legged character comedian Leon Errol. She returned to Mexico in 1944 to star in Nana, which was not the success she hoped it would be. In December of that year, Lupe Velez killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
Right! So the band took their name from her as well! Interesting, even though I’m still impressed about her being Tarzan’s wife! But let’s turn the page, it’s not about the king of the jungle and the monkeys. It’s about the Mexican Spitfires. But it seems most people don’t know them or care little as I’m not aware of any blog that have written about this eighties Sydney band. But the surprise comes when you do find that there is a whole Wikipedia entry. Here are some interesting bits and pieces.
The Mexican Spitfires were a Sydney, Australia based indie rock/indie pop band formed in suburban Strathfield in the Strathfield Municipality in the mid 1980s.The band formed in 1986 and the original line up consisted of Tim O’Reilly on bass and vocals, Michael Quinlan on rhythm guitar and vocals, Stephen McCowage on lead guitar, Price Conlan on drums; however, O’Reilly, Quinlan and McCowage had previously played together in the psychedelic 1960s styled indie-pop band Prince Vlad & the Gargoyle Impalers.
In July 1986, The Mexican Spitfires played their first gig to a packed audience at the Lismore Hotel, located on Pitt Street in Sydney. They were discovered by Red Eye Records that same night and were subsequently signed to a record deal by that label. The band’s debut 6-track 12-inch EP Lupe Velez was released in 1988. The EP was produced by Jon Schofield of the Coloured Girls, engineered by Phil Punch, and featured the extraordinary keyboard talents of Russell Parkhouse (ex-The Riptides). The first EP was an immediate success on the independent charts, moving straight into the top 5 in Sydney and scoring the band significant airplay on 2JJ (now 2JJJ), particularly for the songs Sydney Town, You Can’t Run and Town Hall Steps. Lupe Velez received favourable reviews in English musicmagazine NME and in the Australian music press.
After the success of their debut, The Mexican Spitfires returned to the Electric Avenue Studio of Phil Punch to record their second 6-track 12-inch EP Elephant during 1989 and 1990. Unfortunately, that EP has not been released in any format.
Wow! Another unreleased gem in indiepop along the lines of Candlestick Park or Two People’s LPs Will we ever have the chance to see these tracks on a proper release? I think that a CD compiling both EPs would be fantastic! It would have a total of 11 songs including, from the first 12″, Sydney Town, You Can’t Run Forever, Ivy Street, Town Hall Steps, Rookwood; and from the second, Roy, Fallen Down, Long Time, She, Desperate Ways, Just Like Any Man. And tell me, wouldn’t this be a sweet, sweet dream?
If you have any info on the the band or their whereabouts, please share!