Cardiff band, formed 1976, feat : Russell Young (voc, bass, gtr, keys), Tony Barnes (gtr, bass), Len Lewis (drms), Mickey O’Connor (gtr).
Orig. started as a duo Do You Want This Table (named after an overheard random comment by a stranger), who played only one gig, The Windsor Free Festival in 1974, supplemented by Alan Hughes (bass).
Relocated to London, shortened name and signed to Virgin in 1976, releasing 7″ Do The Standing Still {Classics Illustrated} (1977), a critically acclaimed, innovative, guitar-heavy, rather crazy single with surreal lyrics which were basically a list of Marvel Comic titles.
Although fitting in with and somewhat defining the rising ‘punk’ sound of the time, this song was actually first recorded as a demo in 1975. Intending to be a studio band, record company pressure saw them reluctantly become a popular, exciting and warmly received live act, accompanying and often upstaging bands such as XTC, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Wire, Radio Stars and The Police, while getting rave reviews in the music press. An uncompromising stance and arty stroppiness saw them split with Virgin over promotional disagreements and sign to Chiswick in 1978, releasing a 7″ Sex Cells (1978) about the sexual appeal of schoolgirls only appearing when you’re no longer in school yourself.

Another musical leap forward, this single acquired the ‘best bass guitar performance of 1978’ award from punk fanzine Black Steam!
In 1979, Tim Cox (gtr) replaced O’Connor and Richard Rae (drms) took over from Lewis. Cox was replaced by Tony Lowe in 1979, Barnes by Rod Fogg in 1980 and Rae replaced by Dave Regan from Local Operator in 1980.
Policy of playing increasingly bizarre, undanceable, uncommercial and, it has to be said, unpleasant material led to frequent and frustrating line-up changes and the band finally ‘avant-garded itself out of existence’ in 1982 after Young and Regan recorded a single, Yes, which was shelved after the split.
The line-up of Young, Lowe and Regan also recorded a single Abstract Art under the name of Flying Colours, released on No Records in 1981 as a favour to record company boss Andrzej Sojka, the dance producer who discovered Level 42. Do The Standing Still (Classics Illustrated) currently available on the 4CD compilation 1! 2! 3! 4!, which features the definitive 100 punk/new wave singles from the UK and US recorded between 1976 and 1979. (See also John Stabber).

Download this single (click pic above or watch vid below) courtesy of Last Days of Man on Earth blog.

Russell Young speaking in 2005 to Jason of US magazine Alternative Press (thanks to Scott Lee Andrews for this)
Thanks for thinking of The Table! I think, because of the ‘You Never Heard’ bit in your chart title, it would have to be Sex Cells, as this, to my knowledge, is never on any punk compilations, whereas DTSS is on quite a few. In fact, there’s a 2CD best of Chiswick Records compilation, which has Radiators From Space b-sides on it rather than that single, which at the time was one of their best known releases. I don’t know why – maybe they just hated us! Anyway, here’s some info about both Table singles.

”Do The Standing Still (Classics Illustrated)”
Written by Russell Young, Tony Barnes & Len Lewis.
Personnel : Russell Young (bass,vocals), Tony Barnes (guitars), Micky O’Connor (guitar), Len Lewis (drums). Produced by Tony Barnes & Russell Young. Recorded on the Virgin Mobile Studio (24 track).

This was an amalgam of the various interests of myself and Tony Barnes and fitted in with our ‘philosophy’ of doing stuff that couldn’t dance to and 2. had weird lyrics. The main part of the lyrics were taken from Tony’s list of the titles of his Marvel Comic collection, with the names of a few Marvel artists thrown in. The word ‘now’ added to the end of some lines was lifted from sixties surf music where it’s used quite a lot, particularly in the work of Annette Funicello, I seem to remember. Remaining lyrics were abstract gibberish, basically, and the last line ‘The disco is full of sweaty bodies, but my bedroom is full of dead bodies’ was a haiku-like poem of mine we slammed in there. ‘Do The Standing Still’? Tony and I used to go to discos to pick up girls. Frequently, if they agreed to dance with us, they’d look bored as fuck and just chat to each other like we weren’t there. As revenge for this, we used to ask them to dance and, once the music started, we’d just stand there, looking at them. Not a recipe for success, but it amused us at the time! Ultimately, the song is about nothing – something that would be difficult to achieve if you were doing it intentionally, I imagine. The bass riff that starts the song was lifted >from the ‘Danger Man’ theme music (known as ‘Secret Agent’ in the US). Tony’s mad solo in the middle eight was lifted from another one of our songs as DTSS didn’t originally have one. Virgin Records, who had been rejecting our summer holiday demos for some years, insisted we get a drummer and we found Len through mutual acquaintances. It turned out, though, that he had time-keeping difficulties and the finished single is a composite of two takes – one with a good first half and one with a good second half. I can’t tell where the splice is now, though. As we’d only been used to recording on cheap home tape recorders, we went a bit mad on the 24 track and the vocals are all triple tracked and there’s about ten guitar tracks. We never saw ourselves as a single producing entity and were quite surprised when it became Single Of The Week in the New Musical Express when it was released. Mickey never signed the contract with Virgin and was really only there to help us out with live appearances, though he did play on this single (the more conventional sounding lead guitar bits). Most of the instruments used had to be rented for us as we didn’t really have much good gear. We left Virgin shortly after as we weren’t pleased with their promotion for the record and they wouldn’t pay our ‘buy on’ fee for a European tour we’d been offered with The Saints. The song was originally called Classics Illustrated, after the comic. Len didn’t really have a hand in the composing – we were just being generous and cool!

‘Sex Cells’
Written by Russell Young & Tony Barnes.
Personnel : Russell Young (bass, vocals, Hohner Pianette), Tony Barnes (guitars), Len Lewis (drums).
Produced by Tony Barnes & Russell Young. Backing track recorded at Pathway Studios (8 track). Overdubs and mixing at Regent Park Studios (16 track).

Due to my unhealthy habit of shouting lewd comments out of the van window at passing schoolgirls on our way to gigs, Mickey O’Connor suggested I write something about that, rather than our usual stuff, which he found rather pretentious and abstract. ‘Sex Cells’ is the result, though he left before we recorded it. I was always curious about the fascination with schoolgirls that post-school males have (you don’t refer to them as ‘schoolgirls’ and drool over them when you’re actually in school yourself), so I guessed it had to be something to do with lost youth, and that’s what the song is broadly about, though I did try to make it funny at the same time (like the lyric ‘Upper chest regions that are convex’). I can’t imagine that a song like this, with all its connotations, would be considered for release now! The song structure is rather strange (verse/verse/chorus/bridge/middle eight/chorus/chorus) but that’s just how it turned out – there was no masterplan, I just couldn’t think of lyrics for a final verse. After the line ‘And I know this has been done before’, there’s a little riff on the Pianette. This was a reference to Argent’s track ‘Schoolgirl’ from their first album, which heavily featured the Pianette (Yes – We were closet prog rock and psychedelic fans!). Len didn’t get his ‘writing’ credit this time, you’ll notice, as we were fed up with him. Chiswick didn’t really care what we recorded and didn’t hear the song and its b-side until it was all finished. Despite good advance orders, though, it didn’t sell very well due to a total lack of promotion on Chiswick’s part. By this time, Tony and I had rather given up on Len’s drumming abilities and just played together and let him follow along as best he could. This is why it sounds tighter than DTSS (also, we’d been gigging) and why the drums are shoved right back in the mix. Like DTSS, the vocals were multi-tracked and also vari-speeded, which I found tended to make my voice sound better (I was only singer by default – no-one else could do it!). I still didn’t have a decent bass and used Nick Lowe’s, which was hanging around the studio – this was the first time I’d used a proper long scale bass, using small scale ones before. As on DTSS, Tony played a Gibson SG. The title was just a pun on the phrase ‘Sex Sells’ and I wrote the title on the picture sleeve in little sperm cells. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

Do The Standing Still (Classics Illustrated)
Where where where monsters dwell, now/ Where creatures roam/ Monsters, monsters on the prowl, now/ Creatures on the loose/ Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah/ Oh no no no no no/ On my windowsill in the morning/ I can hear the wild geese calling/ Do the standing still.
A house there was/ Within this tortured land/ The mark of the madman/ The gentleman’s name is Doom/ Lee and Ditko, Jack Kirby/ Oh baby baby baby baby/ With a blinding flash and a deafening report/ The pigdogs they cometh and to me they snort/ Do the standing still.
Behold! A distant star/ Lo! There shall be an ending/ Well, there are worlds within worlds/ And so it ends/ The disco is full of sweaty bodies/ But my bedroom is full of dead bodies/ Doing the standing still/ Do the standing still.

Sex Cells
I shoot across the street to walk past girls/ (And I know this has been done before)/ But I want to touch them – suck/lick/tease/ And it’s not a recent discovery.
As you get older, the younger they become/ Innocence attracts – I look at their thumbs*/ Their breasts poke out, they’re so – Oh, God!/ Certain smells, I sniff certain smells/ And it’s not a recent discovery.
I’m obsessed with a mad desire for sex/ Upper chest regions that are convex/ I’m obsessed with a mad desire for sex with schoolgirls.
Ooh – the sweet perfume/ the darkened room/ mid afternoon/ hat, tie and scarf. She holds a hockey stick, gripping hard, we start to laugh. Now – there’s quite a lot to be done on this, it’s going to take some time. All I ask is a sign from the past – you’ve got to give me a sign.

*originally ‘bums’! We should have stuck to the original lyric, in my opinion!

(also check out Tony Barnes’ excellent Blog)