In 1978, Stiff took a detour from the BUY series of singles for a set of one-offs. OFF 2 was Ernie Graham’s Romeo And The Lonely Girl and the next single in the series was Solitary Confinement, the debut single from The Members. With an ever-shifting line-up, The Members centred around the musical battle played out between Nicky Tesco, in the punk corner, and JC Carroll in the reggae corner.
With 2-Tone everywhere - to say nothing of The Clash - fusing reggae into punk wasn’t a new activity, but few bands did it with such ease. As the NME noted in 1978, “Of the many rock bands co-opting reggae into their act, few do so with as much love and style as The Members.” JC Carroll told the paper, “My rhythm guitar playing is definitely reggae-based. It’s not the same as blasting an audience with full-on rock riffs. It gets them moving in a different way. But, having said that, we're trying to play reggae in our own style. We're not singing about Jah Love. We're singing about living in Britain…”
Caught in the middle was drummer Adrian Lillywhite, brother of soon-to-be super-producer and Mr Kirsty MacColl, Steve Lillywhite. Their sound first appeared on vinyl as part of Fear of the Streets, a punk compilation and the first ever Beggars Banquet release. They then slugged it out across various releases for Virgin (almost breaking the top ten with Sounds Of The Suburbs in 1979) before calling it a day in the mid-80s. With Nicky Tesco now a prolific music journalist, a Members reunion gig was staged in 2007 - airing both sides of their Stiff one-off - to celebrate various band members reaching their 50th birthdays.