4-11-12 The Nits
Singer Lisa Stansfield born 1966, actor / director Vincent Gallo born 1962; both out of my league.
The Nits were first suggested to me by an employee of the venerable Dutch record shop Boudisque, Eric Heusevelt. I believe he gave me an LP of “New Flat”, sometime in the summer of 1980. The Nits were also to be found on a sampler LP I was also given, “Keihard & Swingend” (on EMI).
With “New Flat”, I could hear it immediately. This Amsterdam band was working with Robert-Jan Stips and Aad Link of Supersister (of The Hague) fame! It’s so very 1980, bright synths – choppy guitars – Beatles-cum-XTC vocals – great songs…instant fan!
I wasted no time in writing a fan letter to this amazing band; they had thoughtfully printed their address on the sleeve of “New Flat”. I believe Michiel Peters wrote back. The next time I went to Holland, I called Michiel – and he introduced me to Henk Hofstede et al. I had already met Aad Link in 1979, when I schlepped down to Trekweg 8 in search of further Gruppo Sportivo information.
I quickly got an original LP of “Tent”, the album right before “New Flat” – at about the time that they were preparing to release “Work”, the album after “New Flat”. Michiel took pity on me, and gave me a copy of their debut LP, “The Nits” – it had been recorded in England, and is a lovely ‘tribute album’ to both The Beatles and Hank Marvin & The Shadows (a theme that would particularly crop up on “Tent”).
So, hipped to The Nits by 1980 – friendly with the band shortly thereafter – and visiting Holland as much as possible. My coterie of friends all got their butts kicked by “Omsk”, their next album – Robert-Jan was now a full-time member of the band. “Adieu Sweet Bahnhof” was Michiel’s swansong with The Nits – by 1986, the band had to be re-invented / re-made / re-modeled.
In the shadow of The Art of Noise “Into Battle”, 1986’s “Henk” was an ode to the PPG / Fairlight’s capabilities. Henk Hofstede was in particularly good voice and their momentum had been steadily building for a couple of years. The EP “Hat” made less of an impression, but the dam finally burst with 1987’s “In The Dutch Mountains”.
After steadily selling albums in the medium thousands, they were now selling lots of records; they named their most successful album after a book by Cees Notenboom, which we all sought out and read.
But my 7 years were up. I turned lots of people on to The Nits. There were some that didn’t even start until 1987! But I had done my dash. I remained friendly with them, but my fandom nosedived after “In The Dutch Mountains” – they were no longer a secret; they were a popular and successful band. The world is a better place because of this.
LP NITS, THE SCRAMBLE NL 910.033
1978 12 TRKS debut, insert
LP TENT CBS NL CBS 84051
1979 15 TRKS original issue
LP NEW FLAT CBS NL CBS 84725
1980 14 TRKS original issue
LP WORK CBS NL CBS 85427
1981 13 TRKS original issue
LP OMSK CBS NL CBS 25364
1983 12 TRKS original issue
LP ADIEU SWEET BAHNHOF CBS NL CBS 25985
1984 11 TRKS original issue
LP HENK CBS NL CBS 26870
1986 12 TRKS original issue
LP IN THE DUTCH MOUNTAINS CBS NL 460071.1
1987 12 TRKS original issue