A Brief History of The Shop Assistants

The Shop Assistants formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1983. Initially called "Buba & The Shop Assistants", the first line-up only recorded one 7" single prior to abbreviating their name and shedding some members. The personnel for that first single, "Something To Do," consisted of David Keegan (guitar), Sarah Kneale (bass), Laura McPhail (drums), and Ann Donald (drums), along with Stephen Pastel (aka Stephen McRobbie, of The Pastels fame) and Aggi Wright (aka Annabel Wright, vocals/keyboards). After the first 7" single was released Pastel and Wright left the group, and Alex Taylor became the vocalist of the group.

The band began touring and released two EPs in 1985, The Shop Assistants on the Subway Organization label and Safety Net on 53rd and 3rd, a label co-owned by David Keegan and Stephen Pastel. As their reputation began to grow the band were invited to record a number of sessions for influential UK radio hosts John Peel and Janice Long. In 1986 Chrysalis/Blue Guitar released the single I Don't Want To Be Friends With You and their only LP, The Shop Assistants.

Singer Alex Taylor left the band in 1987 to form The Motorcycle Boy with David Scott on guitar, second guitarist Michael Kerr, Eddie Connelly on bass, and Paul McDermott on drums (the latter three all formerly members of Meat Whiplash). The Shop Assistants would be inactive for the next two years.

In 1989 the group re-formed, with Sarah Kneale taking over lead vocals, David Keegan on guitar, Laura McPhail on vocals and bass, and Margarita on drums. They released two singles in 1990, Here It Comes and Big E Power, both on Avalanche Records. A limited box set version of Here It Comes included a flexidisc with a cover of "You Trip Me Up," originally by fellow Scots The Jesus & Mary Chain. Unfortunately, the reunion was short-lived. David Keegan joined the Pastels in 1990 and the band soon retired once more.

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