Sunday, April 5, 2009

Style Iconoclast: The Primitives


I don't think that this band got much credit besides "Crash," a song I've found at the many random of karaoke bars here in SF. They had great pop songs, fitted well between post-Smiths/pre-Stone Roses and had a wonderfully adorable lead singer that was one part Grease lightning, two parts Marilyn Monroe and three parts Lagerfeld.


The Primitives formed in the mid-eighties, in the midst of the end of post-punk and when the British independent music scene was moving towards the jangly pop of C-86 and a straight rock n' roll sound, far away from the commercial pop and new wave bands coming from the States. Bassist Steve Dullaghan, adorable guitarist Paul Court and original drummer Pete Tweedie decided that they would form a pop band heavily influenced (both visually and sonically) by the 60s (The Velvet Underground, the Byrds), fast pop punk of the Ramones and the commercial softness of an attractive female singer (with Tracy Tracy).

What is really interesting about her style is that vocally, she sounds very sweet, very girl group pop. But the exterior image is reminiscent of tough bad girls of the 1950s. She almost always wears black leathers (like the guys) and wears lots of hardware (usually over black satin gloves and Chanel-inspired stage wear).

Here is some Chanel from a 1984 issue of Vogue, images that Tracy herself may have been inspired by



Even though Tracy got all the attention, the male counterparts all had great style too (heavy on black leathers, Monkees haircuts, drainpipe tight jeans and pointed shoes. Guys today still try to dress like Lou Reed, but I think this is the closest they ever came).


Paul is still a looker. I think he has since moved on to be a graphic designer (but spins at clubs every so often)


Rumor has it the original drummer Tweedie was kicked out of the band for mistreating Tracy's cat! (though I'm sure it was because he was a terrible drummer. They had to use a drum machine and only let him hit the high hat). I bet the cat wore black too!


Thru the Flowers

Stop Killing Me


Primitives images from and google, 1984 Vogue images from TFS, cat image from google

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