Forgotten Band Planet

The Becketts
Debbie Johnson : Vocals/Electric Guitar
Michael Chinaski : Vocals/guitar/keyboards
Nick Osbourne : Drums/Percussion
Howard Francis : Bass
Simon Ashdown: Electric/Acoustic Guitars

The Becketts were a West Country band who had quite a number of singles on various labels including Lovely, Bad Girl and Fabulous. There is absolutely nothing about them on the web, nothing in the Rough Guide to Rock and so on...

I think they're bloody great, influenced heavily by the Pixies perhaps, but then, so were Nirvana.....

Taken from the TOO PURE WEBSITE:

"How did the PJ Harvey thing happen?"

Well, that happened at exactly the same time as Stereolab. I got a tape from another West Country band, The Becketts. They played at the White Horse and this guy from the Becketts said 'Here's a band, they're friends of mine from Dorset...they really want to play in London, I think you'll like them...' I remember I thought the tape was really badly presented - really naff cover - a sort of out of focus black and white photo, really bad name - sort of Singer/Songwriter sounding - folky-ness.
It just sat in the box for a few weeks before I even bothered playing it! But when I did play it obviously stood out because it was just not 'indie' and it was at the height of shoegazing... Everyone was shoegazing and Lurching.

Questions By Email (Sorry, lost your name!):

"You don't mention the fact that guitarist Simon Ashdown is actually the son of former Liberal Democrat's Leader Paddy Ashdown, possibly the only notable thing the press had to say about them at the time"

Well, now I have.

"The album, 'Lust' came out not long after that and it really was rather splendid. As a point of note I was told that the cover you found so intriguing is actually an extreme close-up of Madonna's genitalia, or maybe they were having me on."

A whole new reason to find the album..or not - Edmund (FBP)

"'Me and Robert Forster' actually came after, not before 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World', quite a while later (I thought they'd been and gone). Again, another much treasured slab of vinyl. They had now added Debbie Johnson which changed the sound slightly, I'm still undecided whether it was for the better or not"

I certainly think it was, I loved both before and after stuff, but the female vocals gave the music a whole different allowed growth.... - Edmund (FBP)

May 2002:
Martin mailed me to say:
"They were heavily influenced by the Pixies and were mates of a guy I used to work with. The info about Madonna and Paddy Ashdown is true. We used to go and see them whenever they played in London. The comic book stuff is taken from the cult comic 'Love and Rockets.'

Paddy Ashdown had 'Me and Robert Forster' as one of his 10 Desert Island Discs.

One Evening in about 1990-91 they played at the New Cross Venue supporting the Family Cat, first time I saw a FCUK T shirt. A Video was recorded which featured me dancing on the speakers. That was the last I saw of them I think.

Edmund says - the following stuff has been commented on by Michael Paine/(ex-Chinaski) from the band!
So I'll leave it as a rumours/truths thing..

Martin also said: "Their first album actually sold in Smiths!"

Michael: "Rather surprised to hear that Lust was available in Smiths - in fact I very much doubt it."

Martin - Their 'Myth' album was not so successful. Debbie left the band to go to music college. No idea what happened to the rest except that Michael seemed somewhat bitter about PJ Harvey's success and I believe that may have accelerated the band's break up"

Michael - "Debbie was already at music college when the band split. I was far from bitter about Polly's success - rather overjoyed for her actually: she was a good friend then and remains one to this day. If anything the band split because we were all rather tired with it."

Note: Edmund (FBP) Sorry about this, Michael, with hindsight it does seem a tad dodgy to have put someone else's opinions of your feelings...glad to have it cleared up!

Martin - "The cover of 'Lust' is a blowup of Madonna's bush taken from a soft porn mag. I believe it was Playboy but can't be 100% sure. Also it was John Parrish, the Beckett's drummer, who originally supplied the PJ Harvey demo to the industry."

Michael - "John Parish (not Parrish) was our producer - although he did provide drums on two recorded tracks. Our drummer, Nick Osborne, did send a few copies of Polly's first demo out for gigs in the early days, but we're talking a handful of copies; Polly and her manager at the time, Mark Vernon, supplied the industry, so to speak, with demo's."

Right, so there we are!
Glad to help make things clear!
- Edmund

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