Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Remember the David Essex showcase?



Not surprised really. It was a talent show that ran on British television for several weeks in 1982. The contestants were not the usual X-factor or American Idol style wannabes, many of the acts (perhaps all of them) already had recording contracts (Thomas Dolby and Mari Wilson being two I remember). Each week we were invited to vote for our favourite and the last episode was the grand final featuring all the previous winners.

It was won by Philip Jap and I remember thinking he was a worthy winner destined for greater things: He sounded a bit like David Bowie, did robotic dancing and that being stuck behind a sheet of glass mime thing (stop me if I’m being too technical) and his records were (over)produced by Trevor Horn, the producer of the moment.

It never happened for him but he did have two minor UK hits: Save Us (No 53 in 1982) with it’s too busy bassline so typical of it’s era (mp3 below) and Total Erasure (No 41 in 1982) see video clip from the David Essex Showcase below. After three singles and one album he appears to have vanished without trace – I couldn’t even get a decent picture of him for this post.







30 comments:

So It Goes said...

He reminds me of somebody else, but I can't remember who. However, a great addition to my 80s collection. Thanks, Mick!

Crash Calloway said...

Yay! I've been meaning to play this for a while but the records' just sat in the cupboard and I've never got around to coverting it. I have a real memory of seeing him on one of the Saturday morning shows, possibly Saturday Superstore, and being interviewed after the Save Us video was played which was basically him in leather trousers and nothing else on a crucifix (I exaggerate but you know what I mean) and Sarah Greene trying not to be offended. I remember looking for him a while back and just finding out loads of stuff about the Thompson Twins and Brian Eno - I have a feeling Eno was involved in production somewhere as well. You're right though, this song particularly is so Trevor Horn it's untrue.

Mick said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I like to keep track of what people are reading and downloading on this blog and for a couple of days there seemed to be no interest in Philip Jap. I started wondering if people just saw the name David Essex at the top of the page and closed it down. Things have picked up a bit in the last 48-hours or so. I knew I couldn't be the only person who remembered him.

Crash, the video you mention is also on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkLImrhsNl0

It's listed as Total Erasure but is really Save Us.

Timothy said...

I have Philip Japs LP and the singles with B-side tracks that were not on the album. I also found out through a "101 Club" compilation that Jap was first going by "Philip Gayle"- so I pulled a single produced by Christopher Trevor aka "Kip Trevor", titled Judy In School For Jiving- quite a fun wreckless song along with the B-Side Mascara.

Is anyone aware of any other groups he was in or productions?

I want so much tangible promos and performances by Jap! Anybody able to trade? The best I got is a dvd of Buggles Videos- a dvd(region 1) of 12 vids.

PAUL said...

Yes,I do and i'm still having therapy to this day.
This was British TV at its worst.
Not only did we have to endure talentless no-marks like Captain JJ Waller(an Escape artist?) we had to suffer Essex singing "Me and my girl Nightclubbing "every week.
But who can remember who came 2nd to Phillip Japp...........
Mari Wilson,her of the big beehive.
Thomas Dolby was on it as well i seem to remember.
Great blog you have,but let's keep these Essex memories where they belong..Hidden and/or supressed.

Mick said...

Sorry to give you flashbacks, Paul. I planned a follow-up post featuring Thomas Dolby and Mari Wilson and some of the other acts. Do you remember Miro Miroe and White & Torch? One day when you least expect it they will appear on this blog.

matt said...

I lived in England that year and almost certainly watched the Essex show. Perhaps when I watch the video the memory will come back.

Coincidentally enough, I just got my Philip Jap album converted to MP3 a few weeks ago. I hadn't listened to it for 15+ years. I used to be very fond of it but I can't say it holds up very well; it is catchy but overproduced, and some of the lyrics are laughably nonsensical. But it's fun and some of it works, particularly Total Erasure.

I've been more pleased with the Kane Gang album Lowdown that I also just recovered. It holds up surprisingly well for some reason. You win some, you lose some...

Thanks for the memories.

Mick said...

"Overproduced, nonsensical and fun." Sums it up perfectly, Matt.

SnolifeJade said...

I played in a group with Phil 78-79 and he used the name Phillip Gayle or Gale then. We were called Boudicea and played at pubs around London. We made one demo single called "The Zoo New" if memory serves me correctly. Phil wrote it especially for the session (two hours in a basement studio on a four track recorder), plus a B side which I can't remember the name of. I dont think I kept a copy.

Mick said...

Thanks for a very interesting comment. I’ve never understood why Philip seemed to vanish without trace while many lesser talents kept going for years. I would love to hear that single. It always amazes me the number of times I’ve heard that people don’t own a copy of their own record.

Mark Hodgson said...

Mums, Dads, children... and family pet,

I think there was also a contestant called Nancy Nova and a song called 'No, No, No'.

Philip Jap also did a song called Brain Dance...

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this!

We are working with Phil Japp right now! He is involved in producing a video for us. So he's around and still involved in music.

Fantastic guy. :-)

Mick said...

Thanks for your comment. I really am very glad to hear that. Since I wrote this I have tracked down a copy of Total Erasure and I'm searching for a copy of the album. Serves me right for not buying it back in the day.

He might be interested on the comment left by 'SnolifeJade' in January.

SnolifeJade said...

Just read comments by anonymous
I'd be very interested in what Phil is up to at the moment. For example has he perfected playing the sax yet.

Anonymous said...

Phil's work will soon be revealed!

haven't witnessed his sax playing but he's nifty with a camera. I will ask him about his sax blowing activities, and see if we can get an answer for you.

Keep you posted.

:-)

Joe Hendry Original Art said...

Good grief, a few glasses of sparkly jacobs Creek and an hour on You Tube looking at nostalgic old videos and I find myself here.

Thinking I am a bit sad (in a nice kind of way!), it's great to find others who have a soft spot for stuff like this too. Ihave to admit to not owning either the album or the single but i remembered it well enough to go looking for it.

Anyways, thanks for the memories people...off to hunt for New Muzik, or The Mobiles....but does ANYONE remember The Planets nad the song "Lines"? It seems to exist only in my memory.

Cheers

J

Anonymous said...

Don't recall the Planets, but Lines... If it's the Eddie Maelov & Sunshine Patteson single you're referring to then it's still one of my favourites. I seem to recall it was produced by Gareth Jones - he of John Foxx & Depeche Mode fame. In fact Eddie & Sunshine "played" synths on John Foxx videos from the early 80's. No idea where they are now though...

Anonymous said...

Didn't this fellow have a late-night one-off show on BBC (hosted by Peter Powell, IIRC)?

VKRSblameVTR said...

I've recently talked to Philip Jap and asked him about his work with Hohokam, and I also asked him about his intro. into the music industry.

Phil- Hohokam was just a video direction thing.
As to my progression into music, it was a slow process. I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was a kid and suddenly at 16 (after getting into Bolan, Bowie and LouReed) I decided it would be music...I couldn't play a note. I studied guitar and piano; various styles of movement, including martial arts, and put the lot together and was offered a deal with A&M and Trevor Horn's label ZTT. Trevor suggested I go with A&M but with him as producer...which was a good idea as A&M were massive at that point with bands like the Police and Supertramp.
That's basically how it all started.

Anonymous said...

used to have the planets album......one man band, i remember lines but the big airplay from it was a song called "break it to me gently"

Ed said...

Well, this is a weird one! Reading the comments here, it seems a given that 'Total Erasure' was produced by Trevor Horn. In fact, listening to it myself, it seems almost beyond doubt. Except that on the credits for the vinyl single it says that it was produced by Philip Jap and Jon Field: http://tracklister.blogspot.com/2007/10/philip-jap-total-erasure.html


I looked for some of his songs online because I had a dim memory of Jon Field(who happens to be my dad, lol) mentioning working with a singer called Philip Jap.

As I said, the production does seem like vintage Trevor Horn, but given everything else...maybe it's not. Can anyone clear this one up?

Mick said...

Ed,
I've only got the Save Us single featured in this post. I've just dug it out and it was produced by Trevor Horn, the B-side Oui/Ja was produced by Philip Jap.

You're right about Total Erasure - I just always assumed it was also Trevor Horn. What about the rest of the album? By the way, would that be the 'Jade Warrior' Jon Field?

Anonymous said...

Mick,

"Total Erasure" was produced by Tony Mansfield of New Musik fame. It does sound like something Trevor Horn would do, though.

Check out Philip Jap's entry on Discogs.com for more information:

http://www.discogs.com/Philip-Jap-Philip-Jap/release/1097766

~Ryan

Mick said...

Hi Ryan,
According to the record sleeve Total Erasure was produced by Philip Jap & Jon Field and mixed by 9the great) Tony Mansfield.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

A rock band called Twelfth Night also appeared on The David Essex Showcase - they performed a song called "East Of Eden" which was the B-Side of their then current single, a cover version of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby"

Twelfth Night got sucked into the whole 80's prog-rock revival thing along with Marillion, Pallas, Pendragon & IQ, eventually signing to Virgin/Charisma in late 1985 but were dropped just over a year later. They called it a day in 1987 but reformed in 2007 and have played a handful of gigs since and have reissued all of their back catalogue on CD & DVD

Post-Punk Monk said...

Interesting to read more about Philip Jap as evidenced here. A friend just sent me the 7" singles for "Save Us" and "Total Erasure." Since I'm a big fan of both Horn and Mansfield, I was eager to hear these. I just reviewed "Save Us" today and look forward to hearing more. There's another performer named Philip Gayle who records for a label called Family Vinyard records, but he's younger than Philip Jap, having been born in 1969.

ade said...

I remember Twelfth Night appearing,and if I recall correctly also Cheetah (fronted by Australian sisters Lindsay and Chrissie Hammond) and John Sparkes (Absolutely, Barry Welsh, Peppa Pig) who did a ventriloquist act using a brick and kept a pet wasp in a matchbox.

Anonymous said...

I'm a close friend of Phillip's and though it would be nice to see if people still remembered him. After reading all your comments I'm glad to know he still has his fans and will make sure he reads them! I'm sure he'd love abit of nostalgia! I'd also like to mention that he released his album onto his website so you guys can all listen to that, for free I might add!

UKSleepwalker said...

It seems odd to me that nobody has mentioned 'Talk Talk' who got their start on this prog. Mind you I was totally unaware Thomas Dolby was on it !
I was on this prog myself in a band called 'Afraid of Mice' we got nowhere. But it was my only appearance on BBC TV and so I have been trying to find (Fruitlessly) a video of the show we were on. The only copy the band had of our appearance was accidentally wiped, when the singer used the video to record something off the Telly
Ouch !!
And another thing ! It was also interesting to see how utterly constructed TV shows are. The whole process was tedious and disjointed. It also took David Essex an endless amount of retakes to deliver correctly the most inane dialogue.

Paul Stimson said...

I worked on David Essex Showcase. With Twelth Night, Pookiesnachnburger and The Belle Stars.I still have some photos. I was at The Stones concert at Wembley and it was transmitted for a short while on the large screens a little surreal moment for me. Save Us Philip Japp is a top tune still all these years later, glad he`s still about. David was a top bloke too.