The Flys – not to be confused with another band from the late 90s, this one was around from 1976-1980. Had two albums out, a handful of singles, and the brother of singer/songwriter/actress Hazel O’Connor as one of the founding members.
Early on they were opening for Punk legends The Buzzcocks and self-released their first ep, which in turn got them noticed and a deal with EMI. Their first EMI release came out on January 20, 1978- the ep, Love And A Molotov Cocktail was critically applauded and hailed as the “first undisputed classic 45 of 1978”. They soon released their first lp, Waikiki Beach Refugees in October of that year. Again, to critical applause.
In October of 1979 they released their second album, Own – also to critical praise. However, none of their releases charted – and in the eyes of EMI were considered unsuccessful and they soon switched to Parlophone to issue their final ep.
Soon after, founding member Neil O’Connor left the band to join his sister’s band and The Flys soon disbanded.
Like so many bands throughout the years – critical praise and good word of mouth wouldn’t do much if the material doesn’t sell to an audience. And unfortunately, in the case of The Flys, they had good press and they were doing all the right things (opening for Psychedelic Furs and The Pretenders early in their career), but it didn’t equal selling albums or singles to any appreciable level. So the label grew disinterested and the band grew discouraged. Not that it doesn’t happen all the time – but it happens most of the time. The other problem the band had was figuring out just exactly which genre they best fit into. Considered half-Punk and half-Pop, it was a tough sell for audiences clearly divided in one genre or another.
This session, recorded for the legendary John Peel was one of their rare recorded performances – sadly, aside from this and their official releases, not very much else exists on them. So it’s hard to make an accurate assessment of the band based on a little over 11 minutes worth of session material.
They were one more band making a bid for recognition during the wildly fluctuating 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, they didn’t stick around long enough to see their just deserts arrive – and maybe they never would have or maybe they quit just as something was about to break for The Flys – but as is so often the case, we’ll just never know.
Crank it up and enjoy.