1980: Early Doors
Venereal and the Diseases, an early incarnation of James, play their first ever show at Eccles British Legion in March. By December they were known as Volume Distortion and supported good friends The Fall at Manchester Poly’s Cavendish Hall.
1981: Resting Daahling!
Jimmy, Paul and Gavan spent most of this year getting their act together and preparing for a demo recording session with Jenny Ingham on vocals to be recorded in the new year.
1982: Gaining A Voice
By March the lads were going under the name Model Team International (so called because Paul nabbed some t-shirts branded with this moniker from a model agency his girlfriend worked in, showing an early merchandise awareness that was later to bear many fruits). They spot Tim dancing at a Manchester University disco in and ask him if he would like to dance for them. Tim, too drunk to answer, awakes the next day with a phone number written on the back of his hand. He rings it, makes his live debut at Sheffield Leadmill and the rest is. . . . .
It was around this time that Jim and Paul started to expand their playing ability by asking local guitar player Larry Gott to show them ‘some stuff’.
By August the band name James is adopted. They debut at Darwen’s 21 Club advertised as “James (Not A Poet)” and Tim started the show by reading a poem.
In November they supported New Order at the Hacienda, an event captured for posterity in ‘A Factory Outing’ (Fac 71).
1983: Good Gigs Get You Noticed
Intrigued by the rushes of James playing ‘Stutter’ for the live video ‘A Factory Outing’, Tony Wilson (R.I.P.) arranged for the band to once again support New Order, this time at Liverpool’s State Ballroom in March and by August James were recording their debut single for Factory at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. Jimone EP (Fac78) was released in November. Despite being single of the week in both the NME and Sounds it only sold 1000 copies, 2 of which were bought by a young man called Johnny Marr and his chum Morrissey.
In between all this James managed to record the first of many John Peel sessions for Radio One and rounded the year off with a critically acclaimed show, supporting their now stable mates New Order, at Brixton Academy, their first major London appearance.
1984: Luck Of The Irish
Ah 1984! The year that saw Larry Gott join James as a permanent member. (He and Paul only shared the stage for one brief gig at DeVilles in Manchester. nb dave haslam dj’d)
Also the year they recorded The ‘James II’ EP at Strawberry 2 Studios, bought a sleeper van, met their future manager Martine AND got invited by Johnny and Morrissey to join The Smiths on a nine-date tour of Ireland. Not a bad year all in all.