“I was never rock n’ roll, more Ivy League,” said Tweeds left-handed guitarist and vocalist Marc McHugh. The Tweeds name is proof enough, referencing the Tweeds vs. Tudges rivalry that had erupted in the 1950s Connecticut. The Tudges were the greaser set, the Tweeds played the role of socs, and with McHugh donning a tie and jacket more often than a white t-shirt and pomade, he fell into the latter camp.
The earliest incarnation of the group could be found playing most Friday evenings in 1973 at Holiday’s in Westerly, Rhode Island, playing a set entirely derived of covers. Saturday's were reserved for Yale mixers. By 1975 a handful of originals had leaked into their set, four of which were recorded for a 7" EP released on McHugh’s Autobahn label later that year. After a 75% turnover that added rhythm bassist George Godding, guitarist Jeff Mezzrow, and drummer Gordon Wallace, the Tweeds cut “Underwater Girl” in 1977. It would be the closest McHugh’s group would ever come to a hit, selling a reported 8000 copies. At the height of Tweed-fever, sharper looking fans could be seen wearing unbranded badges that pictured nothing but woven tweed.
Run out of McHugh’s bedroom, Autobahn was more hobby than record company, with McHugh using the trunk of his car as the primary source of distribution. “I’d drive down to New York and hit Bleecker Bob’s and Discofile. It was all consignment, and usually I’d spend the meager returns on records.” The Tweeds’ third record would pay homage to McHugh’s obsession. Recorded at The Mixing Lab in Newton, Massachusetts, 1980’s Perfect Fit was twelve inches across but only five songs long. “I Need That Record” and “Hey Baby” make up side A, with “Later Tonight,” “She's The Girl (Who Said No),” and “I’ve Got Rock” stacked on side B. The lead track calls out many of McHugh’s monthly stops; Bleecker Bob’s, Waxy Maxie’s in DC, and Nuggets in Boston, are name checked. For the cover, McHugh jacked Aftermath’s look and printed in magnificent duotone out of financial necessity.
With Autobahn’s frugal budget hampering the Tweeds’ growth, they cut a deal with Don Rose's Eat Records, and with the backing of Nuggets co-owner Scott McClain recorded the Music For Car Radios EP in 1981. Produced by John Delp at Downtown Recording, the Eat 12" is the Tweeds’ nadir, and the EP sold accordingly. A remake of “Underwater Girl” surfaced simultaneously on Autobahn, but by then their fabric was wearing thin. The Tweeds ended rather unceremoniously in 1982. “It had run its course,” said McHugh, “and I didn’t see myself as the kind of person who was going to eat Jolly Green Giant peas out of a can for the sake of art.”
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