The Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UKThe Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UK

Formed: Wishaw, Scotland, UK

Band Bio / Lineups / Discography

Trouser Press: Small wonder the Jolt was written off as a Scottish Jam clone. The mod trio of singer-guitarist Robert Collins, bassist Jim Doak and drummer Iain Sheddon had — what a coincidence! — the same label, producer, image, type of name and sound. They even played shows together in Glasgow. The Jolt's album shows they could work up a good sweat, but the material is strictly two-dimensional, not a patch on even Paul Weller's most derivative early work.

Garry Bushell, August 1978: The Jolt are a group that it's easier for the average Sassenach to admire than understand. They have tenacity, spirit, and above all the nifty knack of knocking out energetic, modern Rhythm & Blues with choons. They are undoubtedly the best thing to come out of Scotland since the road to Newcastle.

This outfit from Wishaw never escaped accusations of being Jam clones and split up in 1979 in relative obscurity, with most of the band retiring from the music biz, disillusioned. Those Jam comparisons were, to be fair, unavoidable: both bands had three members, were on the same label (Polydor), had the same producer (Chris Parry), the same publisher (And Son Music) and the same choice in cover versions. They also wore suits. What they did not have, however, was a songwriter of the class of Paul Weller, or even close. Their songs were perfectly good, but also clearly second division.

The Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UKPolydor Press Kit, 1977: Two university dropouts and an ex-journalist go to make up The Jolt, Scotland's first new wave band. All from tough industrial backgrounds, the three old schoolmates pooled together the strands of broken, unwanted careers to forge the spearhead of the New Wave movement across the border. The band, who are Jim Doak (19), bass and backing vocals, Robert Collins (20), guitar and vocals and Iain Shedden (20), drums come from Wishaw and Shotts, two small towns near Glasgow which grew up around the iron and steel industries. After leaving school Jim and Robert went to Glasgow University while Iain realised a childhood dream by becoming a journalist on a local weekly. It wasn't long before the two students became disillusioned with the educational treadmill. "It was a complete waste of time" says Jim. "It was totally pointless trying to get paper qualifications for jobs that were not there anyway". After two years Robert and Jim dropped out of their respective Arts and Science courses for the ever increasing dole queues, before joining the Civil Service tax department for a few months. It was about this time they got together with the idea of forming a band.

This would be around September 1976 we're talking about now, and over the next few months the group built up a loyal, ever-increasing local following, playing twenty Saturday gigs in twenty consecutive weeks at the Crown Hotel in Wishaw.

Iain, as told to Garry Bushell: When we'd first get there, there'd be half a dozen guys playing pool. We'd go on in the main hall, which was empty, and start playing and then you'd see these heads popping round the door while we were on, and people saying, "Have you seen this?" The following week there'd be a few more.

Jim, as told to Garry Bushell: Part of the whole thing was that it was different, it was getting in the papers. People thought, 'Ah, an actual punk rock group here, in this hotel, let's check it out, see what the fuss is all about'. Me and Iain learnt to play our instruments virtually from scratch, it was like a baptism of fire.

Despite this, the band realised that they wouldn't get anywhere in Jockland, so that summer they moved to London, played high profile support slots with The Stranglers and, yes, The Jam, quickly secured their deal with Polydor - a four-year contract with a £90,000 advance - and in October released the shouty You're Cold! / All I Can Do, a great punk single in my opinion, but one that band was unhappy with.

Robbie, as told to Garry Bushell: The guy who produced it was under the delusion that it was still '76, and you could do things roughly and cheaply and it'd still work.

They followed this a few months later with a boring version of What'cha Gonna Do About It (with Collins on harmonica). A third single, I Can't Wait came out in July '78, along with a surprisingly good LP, The Jolt. None of these were big sellers.

The Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UKThe Jolt - LP Advert 1

In September 1978 The Jolt expanded to a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Kevin Key (ex-Subs), possibly in attempt to deflect Jam comparisons, but then they went and recorded a Paul Weller composition ('See Saw') on their final release, the Maybe Tonight EP. They split up soon after its release.

The Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UKThe Jolt, Wishaw, Scotland, UKThe Jolt - LP Advert 2

As noted, drummer Iain Sheddon carried on making music, first as a member of mods Small Hours, then The Saints and The Primevals (among others). Bassist Jim Doak finally finally got back into the biz in the 2017 when he formed The Elevator Mood. Key surfaced briefly in the early '80s with The Primevals (but not at the same time as Sheddon).

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Lineup 1 (Summer 1976 - September 1978):

Robbie Collins - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Jim Doak - bass, vocals
Iain Shedden - drums

There was a fourth member right at the start, but his identity remains unknown at this time.

Lineup 2 (September 1978 - Summer 1979):

Robbie Collins - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Jim Doak - bass, vocals
Iain Shedden - drums
Kevin Key - guitar, vocals

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DISCOGRAPHY

Singles & Albums

The Jolt - You're Cold! / All I Can DoYou're Cold! / All I Can Do (7", 1977)

The Jolt - What'cha Gonna Do About ItWhat'cha Gonna Do About It (7", 1978)

The Jolt - I Can't WaitI Can't Wait (7", 1978)

The Jolt - The JoltThe Jolt (LP, 1978)

The Jolt - Maybe Tonight Maybe Tonight (7", 1979)

Various Artists

20 Of Another Kind UK LP 1979 (Polydor): No Excuses

The Best Of 20 Of Another Kind! UK 2xLP 1989 (Castle): No Excuses

On Target! - 20 Direct Hits From The Mod Revival UK CD 1997 (MCI): See Saw

Millions Like Us (The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977-1989) UK 4xCD 2014 (Cherry Red): See Saw

Big Gold Dreams - A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989 UK 5xCD 2018 (Cherry Red): See Saw

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You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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