Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike were an indie pop group that were formed on the Isle of Wight by brother and sister Mark and Melanie Litten. The group, as well as Melanie (vocals, recorder) and Mark (songwriter, guitar, bass, drum machine), also consisted of Jim Bycroft (sax, keyboard) and latterly Jane Fox (backing vocals), who would go on to join the Marine Girls.

Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike only recorded a handful of records, and just two singles, a flexidisc and an EP in their original lifetime, each in a lo-fi, twee pop style and very limited qualities. They have all, however, gone on to become highly sought after collector’s items.

The group, which split up in 1985, reformed earlier this year in a new line-up that features Mark and his fifteen year old daughter, Jane Litten (songwriter, vocals, keyboard, recorder, percussion). They released in February a compilation, ‘All Day Long in a Bliss’, which features everything that they have released to date, and also have a new album planned for early next year. They have also recently toured the world for which they raised the funding to do so through PledgeMusic.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to Mark Litten about Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike’s reformation.

PB: Where did the name Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike come from?

ML: One of my favourite bands back then was the Rezillos. That name popped into my head one night and I think it was inspired by the imagery in their songs. But it doesn't mean anything except Trixie's Big Red Motorbike.

PB: How did you all meet?

ML: Well, I met my sister the day she was born! Jim Bycroft, who sometimes played keyboards and sax with us, was a work colleague. We first met Jane Fox when she came down for a summer holiday on the Isle of Wight. I met my daughter in the hospital on the night she was born.

PB: Do you know how collectable your releases are?

ML: Yes. I can't afford them unfortunately. And I have never seen the first single. ‘Invisible Boy’, which came out in 1983, for sale anywhere. I've got just one copy of that. We did a hundred copies of the first single, a thousand of our next release, the ‘5 Songs’ EP, which came out in 1983, and two thousand of our next single ‘Norman and Narcissus’, which also came out in 1983. There was also an Isle of Wight compilation album, ‘Feet on the Street’ for which we recorded two tracks in 1984, and a 7” flexidisc, ‘That’s the End of That’, which came out at about the same time, but I'm not sure how many of those that they pressed.

PB: How rock ‘n’ roll is the Isle of Wight?

ML: Well, there's the Isle of Wight Festival itself, the Bestival and Level 42 and the Bees. But still not much interesting new music I think. I live in Japan now, so I'm not sure. There's really only one band from there worth listening to, I believe.

PB: Have you ever toured and how have you found the dates you recently played?

ML: We never toured back in the eighties. There was no money for that, and Melanie and I were both incredibly shy. I'm a bit more cocky now though, and Jane loves to be on stage, so we are playing as often as we can. It's one of the things I like to do most. We've done both acoustic and electric shows this year, and I think the best was in Hamburg in September.

PB: How did ‘All Day Long in Bliss’ come about?

ML: About a year ago I realised that the Trixie's archive was a complete mess. Loads of illegal and horrible-sounding MP3s drifting about, any vinyl you could find was way too expensive, and nobody knew anything much about what we did back in the eighties.

So I gathered up all I could find and put it all together in one place. ‘All Day Long in Bliss’ started as a download-only album, but then I was able to do a CD with a nice booklet. I love it. The sound is much better than I thought it would be, and it feels like a satisfying end to Trixie's first phase. Although I would like to release the covers and BBC stuff we did too someday.

PB: And why did you decide to use PledgeMusic for your recent tour?

ML: PledgeMusic is good, I think. It's a way for bands to raise money for a new album, tour etc. It's not holding out the begging bowl; anyone who chips in gets something of appropriate value back. We funded the first bit of our summer tour with help from our fans, and they got some exclusive goodies. Save The Children got a bit of cash too. I recommend it to any poor artist with a decent amount of fans.

PB: Did you do any Peel Sessions. If so do you have any fond memories of Peel?

ML: We did two Peel sessions, in 1982 and 1983. He was the first DJ to play our records, but he could never say our name right on the air.

PB: How would you describe your sound and would you say it has changed much in your history?

ML: Well, it's always melodic but it's not always easy on the ear because we are a bit slap-dash with our playing and recording. The basic Trixie approach hasn't changed much. We kind of ride around in one huge circle, stopping off for a bite of acoustic here, some noisy guitars there, taking a little side road to where the drum machines live, then back to our recorder and tambourine hideout.

The album we are working on now will probably have an "acoustic" side, and an "electric" side, seven songs on each. It should be fun.

PB: What are your future plans?

ML: The album should be out early next year. Then we want to play as often and as widely as we can...

PB: Thank you.

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