In 1977 Stiff Records put together the infamous Live Stiffs tour which was comprised of some their better selling acts at the time: Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Wreckless Eric and The New Rockets, Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop and Larry Wallis’s Psychedelic Rowdies. There were 18 musicians in total, some doing double duty by playing in more than one band. Imagine a punk rock Rolling Thunder Revue with no budget but with a shitload of booze.
The tour was a financial bust but, by all accounts, a rollicking good time. Though, Costello later satirized the tour in his song “Pump It Up.’
Here’s the entire Live Stiffs tour film featuring all the bands on some battered video tape. It’s rare. If you find a better copy somewhere, please send it to me. This version is like experiencing ancient punk rock field recordings or the Motel 6 version of Cocksucker Blues. Rough but fun.
“If it ain’t stiff, it ain’t worth a fuck.”