Acid Tapes was started by Alan Duffy sometime during 1983 and with the help of such friends as Colin Hill and Nigel Cross (and magazines like as Bucketful of Brains and High on the Pyg Track), he began to release and promote a series of tapes featuring some of the best unheard psychedelic/pop music around at the time. The label soon gained respect and began to flourish, with a wide variety of music put out on cheap, easy to obtain, lovingly packaged cassettes.
I first encountered the label when I was given a copy of "Everyday Heroes' by Paul Ricketts. It wasn't long before I was a regular customer, buying up the complete back catalogue. I was running a local music magazine in Calne at the time, called Mardenbeat, and inspired by Acid Tapes, I started my own tape label, featuring local bands, and called Mardentapes. Also, with partners 'Rustic' Rod Goodway and Paul Ricketts, I had began work on recording a tape which we hoped Alan would release on the label. We had heard "Trip Up!" by The Palace Steppes and thought that we could do something similar. Thus it was that The Tryp was born. This was in 1985, and when completed, the album, "My Brain Collapsed" was sent to Alan and finally saw release on the label in early 1986.
By this time word was filtering down to Calne that Alan was closing down Acid Tapes to concentrate on putting out vinyl under the name Imaginary Records. This was a bit of a blow because by the end of 1986 I'd just finished a debut tape of songs by my new band Stormclouds titled "It's Raining Still", and Rod Goodway had completed his new project: "Two True Believers" by The Jellymonsters, and we were hoping that these would also appear on the label. Meanwhile I released them on Mardentapes, sending copies to Alan with view of a release on Acid Tapes. He wrote back saying he loved the packaging of the tapes (but hadn't played them yet) and would I like to take over Acid Tapes? I of course said yes.
A week or so later I received a giant package of cassette masters, tape covers and labels. It took me almost a month to sort everything out. There were quite a few master tapes missing, so, as I had the complete back catalogue myself, I used my copies as masters. This will explain why some of the earlier releases, most notably the compilations (such as Advice from A Caterpillar, Little Creepy...., Everyday Heroes etc) are not of the best quality. No money changed hands, nor did I receive any information on any of the bands released on the label. There were hardly any cassette labels left and Alan didn't even forward a list of his customers. All this was bad enough, but Alan's loss of interest in the label had meant that in the past year he'd only released one tape (coincidentally "My Brain Collapsed" by The Tryp) and Acid Tapes had pretty much been run into the ground.
So, with my first batch of releases, I was basically starting Acid Tapes from scratch, hoping that there was still interest out there. I had a few tapes of unreleased material which Alan had sent me and I put these out, along with some new, original material (and the above mentioned tapes by Stormclouds and The Jellymonsters) in the Summer of 1987. I also put out the first issue of Try Acid! a catalogue/magazine listing all the new releases on the label, plus news and reviews. And from there it's just one small leap for a slimy toad to today.
The label was eventually closed in August 2015, and so ends an era....
Acid Tapes