The Jasmine Minks
The first Jasmine Minks line-up, 1983
|Origin||Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom|
|Labels||Creation, Poptones, Esurient Communications, Bus Stop, Genius Move, Oatcake|
|Associated acts||The Claim, Television Personalities|
Formed in Aberdeen in 1983, the band were initially a quartet of Jim Shepherd (guitar/vocals), Adam Sanderson (vocals/guitar), Martin Keena(bass guitar), and Tom Reid (drums/vocals). After sending a demo tape to Melody Maker, the band were recruited by Alan McGee to record for the fledgling Creation label. Their first single, "Think!" was recorded for £50 at Alaska Studios, Waterloo. The 4 piece line up was augmented by keyboards from Dave Musker, and the single produced by Joe Foster. The small brown plastic electronic organ was the same one that had previously been used on "Blue Boy" by Orange Juice. Prior to recording, Sanderson had been listening to the Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch EP, and repeated the two note refrain from "Boredom" at the end of "Think!". Later, Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice was to reference "Boredom" and repeat the same two note refrain on Orange Juice's hit single "Rip It Up". "Think!"/"Work For Nothing" was released in March 1984, and reached single of the week status, jointly with The Pastels single that Alan McGee released at the same time.
The band recorded and released their second single, "Where the Traffic Goes"/"Mr Magic", once again at Alaska for a similar budget, with Foster producing again. McGee had the idea to promote "Where The Traffic Goes" by doing a one-day busking tour, an idea which he may have "borrowed" from the Violent Femmes, an American band the Jasmine Minks had supported. They played eight gigs in one day, all on acoustic instruments, were moved on by the police, were invited into pubs, and then went to McGees's club, the Living Room to perform that night’s gig. By then bored with the acoustics, the band played an all-electric set, amps cranked up to the max, with a 1-2-3-4 between each song, Ramones style. The press were there, and the energy surprised them. They received outstanding reviews, and were chosen by the NME as one of the eighteen most hopeful bands in Britain and were invited to play at the NME showcase along with Lloyd Cole, The Triffids, The Go-Betweens, The Pogues and others. Jasmine Minks records were played on national radio, and the band began to attract a good reputation as a live act. McGee gave them over £400 to record a six track mini-album, One Two Three Four Five Six Seven, All Good Preachers Go To Heaven (1984, Creation) and some major labels showed an interest in the band, to the extent of booking them sessions in very expensive studios.
Unfortunately, the NME showcase happened during the National Union of Journalists strike, the music press was heavily involved, and the NME was not printed; In short, there was no publicity for the music event of the year, and the band played to a very sparse audience. The expected boost in the band's popularity didn't happen.
At the end of 1984 the band toured mainland Europe as part of a Creation package including McGee's band Biff Bang Pow! and new Creation signings The Jesus and Mary Chain. The JAMC single "Upside Down" was released while the tour was in progress. When the tour was over, McGee found himself increasingly preoccupied with the rising success of the Jesus and Mary Chain. During this period, the Jasmine Minks recorded a four track EP, inspired by listening to the Buzzcocks "Time's Up" bootleg over and over. It sat on a shelf while McGee was forced to pursue other interests, eventually surfacing as a seven-inch single of "What’s Happening"/"Black & Blue", which was largely ignored by the music press.
Their self-titled debut album was recorded in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on a budget of £600 and released in 1986. The idea had been to record a low budget, high quality song based album, but McGee did not like the finished result and dropped some tracks. Some earlier recordings were used for the album, including the track "Cold Heart", which had originally been recorded during the One Two Three Four Five Six Seven, All Good Preachers Go To Heaven sessions. In 1986 the band recorded their only Peel session. Cold Heart was released as a single in 7" and 12" formats and was NME’s single of the week. It was the Jasmine Minks' biggest selling single. At this point Sanderson left the band.
Shepherd became the lead vocalist and was joined by keyboardist Paul Cooper. Dave Arnold from Kent band The Claim filled in the guitar spot for the Another Age album (1988) and subsequent gigs, with Ed De Vlam performing guitar duties on Scratch the Surface (1989). A permanent guitarist was later found in Walter Duncan from the band's hometown of Aberdeen.
Despite the albums Another Age and Scratch the Surface drawing critical acclaim the band ceased activity for a few years. They reunited in 2000, releasing the album Veritas, before the band signed to McGee's Poptones label for the release of Popartglory (2001). The Popartglory album track Daddy Dog, featuring Scottish Socialist politician Tommy Sheridan as vocalist, was released as the only Jasmine Minks single on the Poptones label.
In 2010 a 4 track EP, "Poppy White", was released on the Oatcake Records label.
The band played a show in London's Borderline venue on 23 July 2011 - their first live gig in London for ten years - and a second at the Lexington on 25 July 2011, both featuring the early lineup of Shepherd, Sanderson, Keena, Reid and Musker, together with David Arnold. They also appeared at the 2012 Indiefest in the original 1984 lineup.
- "Think!" (1984), Creation
- "Where The Traffic Goes" (1984), Creation
- "What's Happening" (1985), Creation - UK Indie #27
- "Cold Heart" (1986), Creation - UK Indie #17
- Pure EP (1987), Esurient Communications
- "Daddy Dog" (2001), Poptones - Jasmine Minks featuring Tommy Sheridan
- "I Heard 'I Wish It Would Rain'" (2003), Bus Stop Records
- "Poppy White" EP (2010) Oatcake
- One Two Three Four Five Six Seven, All Good Preachers Go To Heaven (1984), Creation
- The Jasmine Minks (1986), Creation
- Another Age (1988), Creation
- Scratch the Surface (1989), Creation
- Veritas (2000), Genius Move
- Popartglory (2001), Poptones
- Sendra, Tim. "The Jasmine Minks - The Revenge Of..." Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- Kellman, Andy "The Jasmine Minks Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-10-09
- BBC - Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - Jasmine Minks
- Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 122