Trixie's Big Red Motorbike


Trixie's Big Red Motorbike was an indie pop band formed on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, in 1981. They released two singles, one EP and one flexi disc. A vinyl compilation album of their music called The Intimate Sound of Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike was released by Accident Records in 1995. A retrospective album called All Day Long in Bliss was released on Lobby Lud Records in February of 2012.[1] They reformed that same year.

Trixie's Big Red Motorbike
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike performing in Osaka, Japan, July 2012.
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike performing in Osaka, Japan, July 2012.
Background information
OriginIsle of Wight, United Kingdom
GenresIndie pop, twee pop
Years active1981–1985, 2012
LabelsChew Records
Nathan Records
Lobby Lud Records
C-Side Records
In Der Tat
Accident Records
Past members
  • Jane Litten (vocals, keyboards, recorder)
  • Mark Litten (programming, guitar, backing vocals, bass, drums)
  • Ai Matsuda (backing vocals, percussion)
  • Melanie Litten (vocals, percussion, recorder)

Formation and early recordingsEdit

In 1981 telephone technician Mark Litten and his sixth-former sister Melanie began performing cover versions of songs by The Undertones and Marine Girls. At this time they were known as 'Pocket Money'. These early recordings are now lost. Their first original song was "Invisible Boyfriend", and this became their first single under the name Trixie's Big Red Motorbike.[2] This was recorded at "Trixieland"-a box-room in their house on the Isle of Wight. Only 100 copies were pressed, and the record came with photocopied sleeves and no labels.

A copy of the single was sent to BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who played it on his show and invited the band to record a session. On 28 July 1982 they recorded four songs, and these were broadcast on 24 August.[3]

Their second record was the EP Five Songs, recorded in Portsmouth.[4] 500 copies were pressed, and this also came with photocopied sleeves.

Jane FoxEdit

By this time TBRM had become friendly with Jane Fox of Marine Girls, and she was invited to join them for their second John Peel session, recorded 17 August 1983.[5] She also joined them for a recording session at Rod Gammons Sound Studio on the Isle of Wight. At this session three songs were recorded: "That's the End of That", which was released as a 7" flexidisc,[6] "Norman and Narcissus" and "In Timbuktu". Their next single release was "Norman and Narcissus" (Lobby Lud Records).[7] This was the band's first and only entry in the UK Indie Chart, peaking at number 29.[8]

TBRM rehearsing, 1983

Later workEdit

In 1984 a compilation album of Isle of Wight bands was released.[9][10] TBRM contributed two tracks: "When He's by my Side" and "Fairytales". These were the last studio recordings by the band. In 1986 a compilation cassette of various indie bands was released by In Der Tat, a German record company. TBRM contributed two tracks: "That's Quite a Lot" and "I'm Gonna Ride Away", both recorded at Trixieland. Around this time Melanie moved off of the Isle of Wight, and TBRM disbanded. Mark contributed one song "Once I've Seen Him", and played guitars on an EP by Sarah Goes Shopping,[11][12][13] a band formed by Twa Toots leader Sarah Brown. The TBRM song "That's the End of That" was covered by the New York band The Poconos.[14][15][16]

Mark Litten died on 21 September 2015.[17]


Trixieland was a 7'x7'x7' box-room in the Littens' house in Shanklin, Isle of Wight. It was used for recording TBRM's first single and demos. It was also Mark's bedroom.

Mark Litten at Trixieland, 1982

Recording equipment consisted of a TEAC 1/4" reel to reel tape recorder and an Aiwa tape to tape cassette recorder. There were no mixing facilities. The microphone stands were handmade from broom handles. Most tracks were created by first recording the drum machine, guitar and vocal together, then adding instruments one by one; bouncing between the two machines. The instruments were very inexpensive: a simple drum machine, a Westbury electric guitar, a non-Fender precision bass, and various percussion instruments. The sound resulting from this set-up was variable in quality, and should probably be described as lo-fi.

Interviews and reviewsEdit

In 1982 TBRM were interviewed by BBC producer John Walters in Shanklin. Writing in Honey he said "Melanie sings as if doing her fingernails at the same time", and called them "talented".[18] They were interviewed by Alvin Smith for the St Albans fanzine "Wally's Dog" in summer 1983.[19][20] Their flexidisc was issued with this fanzine.

"Wally's Dog" fanzine.

In "Caught in Flux" magazine Mike Appelstein wrote that TBRMs songs were "among the sweetest, breeziest songs I've ever heard, complete with minimal instrumentation, thin/understated vocals, and melodies to die for."[21][22]

In Plan B magazine in 2008 the influential British music critic Everett True described the band as "so twee they were beyond twee".[23]


TBRM signed a publishing deal with Twist and Shout Music, and received enquiries from several independent record companies. However, they never had a recording contract, a manager or an agent. A combination of shyness, lack of business acumen, and a determination to stick to the DIY punk ethos of the time caused them to miss opportunities again and again. Physical isolation from the centres of the music industry was also a problem. Their first two records were sold by mail order, and in the pre-internet early 1980s, most of their contact with the outside world was by post.

Guest membersEdit

  • Jim Bycroft (tenor saxophone, keyboards)
  • Kevin Sparrow (handclaps)
  • Jane Fox (vocals, celesta)
  • Nathan Thomas (speech, sneezing)



Title and Track list Release Date Label Catalogue Number
"Invisible Boyfriend" / "A Splash of Red" 1982 Chew Records CH 9271
Five Songs EP: "Hold Me", "Whatever Happened to the Treetops?", "You Took Him Away From Me", "Trixie's Groove", "One Nation Under a Brolly" 1983 RAM 510
"That's the End of That": "That's the End of That", "As Soon as She's Gone" (by Clive Pig and Lee Valley) 1984 Nathan Records NAT 001
"Norman and Narcissus" / "In Timbuktu" 1983 Lobby Lud Records L100001
Feet on the Street: "When He's by My Side", "Fairytales" plus twelve tracks by other Isle of Wight artists. 1984 C-Side Records C-SIDE 1
The Intimate Sound of Trixie's Big Red Motorbike: "Trixie's Big Red Motorbike", "Invisible Boyfriend", "A Splash of Red", "Hold Me", "Trixie's Groove", "One Nation Under A Brolly", "Whatever Happened to the Treetops?", You Took Him Away from Me", "That's the End of That", "Norman and Narcissus", "In Timbuktu", "When He's by My Side", "Fairytales", "Hold Me (Hands on mix)", "One Nation Under a Brolly (Long version)", "One Nation Under a Brolly (Longer version)", "You Took Him Away from Me (Tea-time mix)", "That's the End of That (Wight noise mix)", Norman and Narcissus (Shanklin version)", "I'm in Love with You (Norton version)". 1995 Accident Records DENT 1


Title and Track list Release Date Label Catalogue Number
Adventures in Trixieland: "Fairytales", "I'm in Love with You", "Hold Me", "One Nation Under a Brolley", "That's the End of That", "Michael and Mandy", "Just a Minute", "Invisible Boyfriend", "Whatever Happened to the Treetops?", "You Took Him Away From Me", "A Splash of Red", "That's the End of That", "One Nation Under a Brolley", "Norman and Narcissus", "In Timbuktu". 1984 Lobby Lud Records LC100004
Reynard the Fox: "That's Quite a Lot", "I'm Gonna Ride Away" plus twenty-one tracks by various other indie bands. 1986 In Der Tat tat 18


Title and Track list Release Date Label Catalogue Number
The Post-Punk Singles Volume 7: "Hold Me", "One Nation Under a Brolley", "You Took Him Away From Me", "Whatever Happened to the Treetops?", "Trixie's Groove" plus twenty tracks by other Post-Punk bands. 2000 07NW0109


  1. ^ "All Day Long In Bliss, by Trixie's Big Red Motorbike". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. ^ Invisible Boyfriend/A Splash of Red. Chew Records. Cat.# CH9271. 1982
  3. ^ "Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - 28/07/1982 Trixie's Big Red Motor Bike". BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  4. ^ Five Songs. Cat.#RAM 510
  5. ^ "Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - 17/08/1983 Trixie's Big Red Motor Bike". BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  6. ^ Trixie's Big Red Motorbike/Clive Pig and Lee Valley. That's the End of That/As soon as She's Gone. Nathan Records Cat# NAT 001
  7. ^ Norman and Narcissus/In Timbuktu. Lobby Lud Records. Cat#L100001
  8. ^ Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980–1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-95172-069-4, p. 238
  9. ^ Feet on the Street. C-Side Records. Cat# C-SIDE 1
  10. ^ "Feet on the Street -Isle of Wight". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Money Speaks Louder than Words" Sarah Goes Shopping, Crystal Clear Records. Cat# CC1002
  12. ^ "sarah goes shopping music, videos, stats, and photos". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  13. ^ "Images for Sarah Goes Shopping - Money Speaks Louder Than Words". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Days are Getting Shorter" The Poconos. Jigsaw Records 1999 Cat# PZL007
  15. ^ "PZL007: Poconos - Days Are Getting Shorter 7" | Jigsaw Records". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Trixie's Big Red Motorbike". 19 October 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  18. ^ Honey Magazine January 1983
  19. ^ "A wee chat with Trixie's Big Red Motorbike" Wally's Dog 1984
  20. ^ "wally's Dog" Alvin Smith 1984
  21. ^ Caught in Flux magazine No. 6 Summer 1997
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Plan B Magazine No. 40 (2008)

External linksEdit

  • Trixieland website
  • TBRM on