Of all the subcultural spores dispersed by the shockwave of Punk, the odds for a Brit-Pop, Jam-style Mod Revival sound germinating in a land-locked city in central Florida had to be tremendously slim. However, despite this low probability, the lack of tube stations at midnight and/or Eton rifles, or any type of local supporting scene or infrastructure, life finds a way. It also didn’t hurt that Comets guitarist and lead vocalist and songwriter, Mich Shields, was himself actually Anglo and not just an Anglophile and thus did not have to fake his English accent.
Educated in and inspired by the London Mod scene, Mich Shield began working up sets of material with drummer Brian Johnson and bassist Harry Burns in 1980. The nascent Comets were also lucky to have veteran music publisher and promoter Edward Clark Sanford catch wind and take in one of their earliest rehearsals. Impressed by what he saw and heard in person as well as by a demo recording cut by the group at the Bellamy Brothers studio, Sanford decided to manage and market The Comets; creating Orange Records and issuing the first Comets single, ‘See It In Writing’ b/w ‘Living The Answer’ in 1981.
MICH SHIELDS: ‘The Comets clearly did not fit the mainstream of the day, nor were we an obvious regional or local act by comparison to much of what was going on around us. Our fortunes, however, in terms of finding our audience changed when upon arriving to rehearse in Ed’s basement one day, we were greeted by Ed who had several radio charts from colleges located in various places around the U.S. “College radio loves The Comets,” Ed proclaimed. We were getting airplay and heavy rotation on several stations. We soon came to the realization that college radio was our thing.”
Following a final single on Orange, ‘Big Business Jokes’ b/w ‘Help Me,’ in 1983, this is how The Comets story sat for nearly 40 years. Unfinished, until now. With this compilation containing all of the group’s official releases along with many unreleased recordings collected in one place, many being heard for the first time since the invasion of Grenada, the Comets show what they themselves always knew – they were at least a half a length ahead.
MICH SHIELDS: ‘Again, much like the name, The Comets would come and go quite quickly in the grander scheme of things. A vibrant vision, deemed by many as “fast, fresh, electric and loud” that make its mark in a fleeting moment, in the distant sky.’