The Red Guitars were an English indie rock band active from 1982 to 1986 featuring Matt Higgins (drums), Lou Howard (a.k.a. Louise Barlow, bass), Jeremy Kidd (vocals), Hallam Lewis (lead guitar), John Rowley (rhythm guitar) and Robert Holmes (vocals/guitar – replaced Kidd on lead vocals in 1985). Based in Hull, the Red Guitars' first single "Good Technology" was a minor hit, selling 60,000 copies. Their singles "Marimba Jive" and "Be With Me" both reached number one on the UK Indie Chart. Encouraged by a good review of their demo tape in the Melody Maker the band recorded a single, Good Technology, and released it on their own Self Drive label. John Peel played it on the radio and, as a result, Tyne Tees Television filmed them for the Tube and Johnny Marr invited them to tour with the Smiths.
Links To Peel
In an interview with Record Collector in June 2016, vocalist Jeremy Kidd mentioned wanting to release a single on the band's Self Drive label and getting it played on John Peel's show. He also mentioned how his band managed to get hold of Peel to convince him to play their record:
"We worked hard to get the attention of the media. We sent promos of “Good Technology” to loads of DJ’s and journalists and followed them up when we could. With Peel, for example, we knew an ex-GPO telephone engineer and he somehow – don’t ask me how – worked out the number for the direct line into Peel’s studio and one of us – can’t remember who – rang up when Peel was on air and had a chat and, yes, he’d got the record and he was intending to play it. They changed the number shortly afterwards."
Kidd also explained how Johnny Marr of the Smiths was interested in getting the Red Guitars to tour with them after hearing their session on John Peel's show:
"The tour came about because we’d recorded a John Peel session with John Porter who loved Hallam’s African influenced guitar. John had just recorded a session with The Smiths which included that almost African sounding intro to “This Charming Man”. He put us in touch with each other. Although we were very different bands we got on well, and both continued to record with John. When The Smiths went on their first major tour they asked us if we wanted to support them. The great thing was that they didn’t do a buy-on – the usual deal where the support band pays to go on tour. We had some great gigs, and watched them play every night. We got on well and had a great time. I remember them playing a version of “Heartbeat Go!” at their sound check."
Peel interviewed bass player, Lou Howard, on the Sounds Of The Suburbs: Humberside ,broadcast in 1999, describing the cultural scene of Hull.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 1983 Festive Fifty: Good Technology #11
- Fact / Marimba Jive / Paris France / Dive
- Within Four Walls / Shaken Not Stirred / Crocodile Tears / Remote Control
Other Shows Played
- 05 July 1983: Good Technology (7") Self Drive
- 13 July 1983 (BFBS): Good Technology (7") Self Drive SD 006
- 29 November 1983 / Karl's Tape - November 1983: Fact! ! (7") Self Drive SD 007
- 03 December 1983 (BFBS): Fact! ! (7") Self Drive SD 007
- 15 December 1983: Fact! ! (7") Self Drive SD 007
- 28 December 1983: 'Good Technology (7")' (Self Drive) FF #11
- U.K. Buzz: Good Technology
- 20 June 1984 (BFBS): Steeltown (7") Self Drive Records SCAR 010
- 19 July 1984: Steeltown
- 26 August 1984 (BFBS): 'Good Technology (7")' (Self Drive) FF #11
- 23 September 1984 (BFBS): Marimba Jive (single) Self Drive
- 25 September 1984: Marimba Jive (single) Self Drive
- 23 October 1984 / Peel Mid Sep 1984: Marimba Jive (7") Self Drive
- Karl's Tape March 1985: Be With Me (7") One Way
- 16 January 2003: Good Technology (7") Self Drive