The (Hammersmith) Gorillas Middlesbrough Rock Garden 1977

The (Hammersmith) Gorillas Middlesbrough Rock Garden 1977
gorrilas The Gorillas made a name for themselves on the London pub rock circuit in the mid 70s, fronted by the manic Jesse Hector who had the most amazing sideburns, was totally crazy on stage and was, by all accounts, a larger than life personality. Jesse Hector formed the Hammersmith Gorillas in 1971 and their debut release was a cover version of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. In 1976, they played at the infamous Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival in the south of France along with The Damned and Eddie and the Hot Rods. They were also getting rave reviews for their gigs in London. I’d read some of the reviews in Sounds and NME, so when we saw that they were playing at the Middlesbrough Rock Garden Marie and I went along. Roger Armstrong recalled their unforgettable live act in the press at the time: “This was rock and roll as she is spoken, yelled, ranted, torn apart and not quite put back together again.” At the time of this gig the Gorillas had released a single “Gatecrasher” and their album “Message To The World”. This was at the time of punk, and the band’s energy had many similarities with other bands of the time. The gig was poorly attended, but that didn’t stop Jesse and co from putting everything into the performance which was as crazy and energetic as I had expected. I always thought that the Gorillas deserved more success and Jesse certainly agreed, declaring The Gorillas to be “the future of rock music”. However, for whatever reason it wasn’t to be, and time passed them by. I’m pleased I got to see them this once, as they rarely played outside London. Hector now works as a cleaner at The Royal Geographical Society, and was the subject of a documentary film in 2008, A Message To The World (Wiki).

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