The Direct Hits (v.3, 1980-1)
Back down to a three-piece with no lead singer, Paula Pierce suggested that Jim Schuster try singing based on his excellent backing vocals. As it turned out, Jim sang Paula's songs quite well and the band had a "new" lead singer.
In November 1980, Jim Earl (formerly of Yonko and The Pilasters) put up an ad at Rhino Records in Claremont ("guitarist looking for a '60s-style band"). Paula saw the ad and gave him a call. Paula went to his house, they talked, played together and Paula gave him a tape of Direct Hits songs.
Affable and good looking, Jim E. (as he was dubbed to eliminate confusion with Jim S.) came with his Fender Mustang to the Pomona Mall practice room and joined the band as rhythm guitarist after one session. The first show was a birthday party in Covina shortly after John Lennon's murder. At Jim Schuster's behest, The Direct Hits learned The Beatles' You've Got To Hide Your Love Away for the show. Other new covers were Fortune Teller (Rolling Stones-style, rather than The Who) and The Who's Dylan-inspired Much Too Much which illustrated shifts in the band's sound.
Jim E. played only two more shows with the bandCathay de Grande and a triumphant show at The Troubadour with The Last. In the Spring of 1981, Jim E. was accepted into UC Berkeley and had to leave the band (later, Jim E. played guitar in San Francisco's Pimpslap for four years).
During this period, Jim Schuster was struggling to play bass and sing at the same time. Jim E. had to play bass while Jim played rhythm guitar on a couple of songs that just weren't doable for Jim. The parting was bittersweet, as the band was sorry to see Jim E. go, but it easily solved the problem of moving Jim Schuster to rhythm guitar. Fortunately, a bass player was waiting in the wings.
Unfortunately, we have no pictures or tapes of this version of The Direct Hits. People did take pictures during live shows, so if you're one of them, please contact us!
The Direct Hits (v.3, 1980-1981)
Action Now (v.2 1983-1984)