Colin Swan and Geno Buckmaster had started out in a new wave band called The Exits. Influenced by Elvis Costello, they released just one single, The Fashion Plague (1978), before calling it a day.
Looking to the burgeoning mod revival scene, and now named the Direct Hits, Colin and Geno donned military tunics and – joined by drummer Steve Warburton initially and then Ian “Griff” Griffiths – honed their craft in South London pubs before meeting Dan Treacy of the Television Personalities, who dubbed Swan and Buckmaster “the Lennon and McCartney of mod” and released their debut single Modesty Blaise, on his Whaam! label.
The single secured the band a devoted cult following.
Their debut album, Blow Up, was released on Whaam! in the autumn of 1984, by which time the group had their own fan club, which published a monthly magazine and gave away badges and several tape-only releases on their own Direct Records label.
In 1986, they parted company with Whaam! and formed their own label for their second album, The House Of Secrets (with new drummer Brian Grover), but when reviews weren’t as favourable as they’d hoped, the group began to flag.
The 12″ EP Snakes And Ladders (1987) was to be their swansong, and a reconfigured line-up played their final concert at a mod “all-dayer” in 1988 with drummer Ralph Millington.
Swan continued performing in a pub covers band. Direct Hits reformed for one-off gigs in 2004 and 2017.
In 2014, Cherry Red Records released a 23-song Direct Hits anthology, Here, There or Anywhere: 23 Mod Pop Classics 1982-1986.
Vocals, bass, keyboards
Ian “Griff” Griffiths