AS THE sad news of the death of Alex Taylor, singer of fuzzpop legends The Shop Assistants and The Motorcyle Boy, reverberated around the indie music world, peers and contemporaries paid tribute on social media.
RIDE said, via their Twitter portal Ride – The Network: “Sad news about Alex Taylor … a small but significant part of the early Ride story,” and shared a photo of an early two-track cassette from a private Christmas party at Oxford’s Jericho Tavern in 1989, at which Alex fronted the soon-to-be shoegaze stars and sang a covers set of (mostly) Blondie songs. You could dine out on having been at that gig …
East London noiseniks THE WOLFHOUNDS offered “a belated RIP … never knew her but loved her folky vocal tones.”
Mick Derrick of PROLAPSE said: “[I] really can’t believe Alex from the Shop Assistants is dead. This was the first band I discovered for myself. Loved them and was totally in awe of them. Alex was a goddess.”
The BMX BANDITS‘ Duglas T Stewart said: “I’ve just heard that apparently Alex died 15 years ago and somehow it’s only being reported now. Somehow this seems even sadder.”
JESUS JONES commented: “It really doesn’t get any better than ‘Safety Net’, it’s an absolutely PERFECT song. RIP, Alex x”.
Oakland, California’s indiepop imprint SLUMBERLAND RECORDS commented: “Super sad to hear about the passing of Alex from Shop Assistants. A big musical inspiration and I can’t really imagine there’d have been a Slumberland w/o the Shoppies.”
Coventry’s fellow travellers in peroxide fuzzpop THE PRIMITIVES said: “Often wondered what happened to Alex from Shop Assistants/Motorcycle Boy. No word even when [the Motorcycle Boy] album [came] out last year. Goes without saying that The Shop Assistants sound had a big impact on us early on.”
But perhaps the most evocative tribute came from THE DARLING BUDS‘ Matt Gray, who recalled them shining a light into a gloomy Glamorgan night on the Newport band’s Twitter feed: “The only place to go on a Saturday night in 84/5 was Nero’s, Cardiff’s grim goth disco that occasionally hosted a live (usually terrible) band. Except on one Saturday when the Shop Assistants turned up.
“Bauhaus and ASF [Alien Sex Fiend] had to be paused while this young Scottish band with their tiny stand up drum kit set themselves up … they looked nervous as the goths retreated to the shadows and the few of us who’d just bought Safety Net eagerly crowded around.
“As soon as they set up they were off and it was bliss. Two minute stabs of slightly out of tune, slightly shonky pop brilliance.
“The switch from drums to xylophone for ‘Somewhere in China’ was the coolest, and for the time, the most audacious thing I’d ever seen. That song still give me shivers.”
Rest in peace, Alex Taylor.