What could be more Stiff than this? A 7” bearing the slogan “Artistic Breakthrough – Double B-Side!”? The B-sides in question were Styrofoam and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, two tracks of raucous pub rock from guitarist and vocalist Sean Tyla, backed by Ken Whaley (bass), Bruce Irvine (guitar) and Mike Desmarais (drums). Released in 1976 it was Stiff’s fourth single.
The pub rock scene may have been peaking at the time of Styrofoam, but Tyla had more than paid his dues. He’d roadied and then played in Help Yourself, before joining the renown Ducks Deluxe. Time Out lauded Ducks Deluxe, Keith Richard offered them a record deal, they tore up the Old Grey Whistle Test stage and, when they finally released a single, it was banned by the BBC. Perfect Stiff artists in the making!
When the Ducks inevitably imploded, some members went to join The Motors and others to Graham Parker and The Rumour, while Tyla formed Tyla Gang and moved to Stiff. There he recorded Styrofoam and produced other acts including Nottingham’s Plummet Airlines. But he didn’t hang around long, leaving the UK soon after for California and collaborations with the musical Monkee, Mike Nesmith. In October 2007, just as this box set hits the shelves, the story comes full circle as Ducks Deluxe return to the stage for a gig at the 100 Club to celebrate their 35th anniversary.