By 1979 the pressure that tear bands apart started to mount - pressure to pay the rent, pressure to pay the recording and rehearsal studios, pressure about future direction, and trying to balance personal and professional lives. The band was split on a decision to move to England. Joining a Stiff Records tour with Elvis Costello and Ian Dury would have meant losing day jobs and apartments, and leaving girlfriends behind, and the band sadly skipped that opportunity. Gus Martin (Marty) was fired, and replaced with Randy Blitz. Marty had lost his way as a drummer. He couldn't reconcile his naturally flamboyant style with the demands of studio recording and the simple beats that were often needed. Marty had a wonderfully reckless style on the early recordings, which gave way to an overly guarded approach under the influence of Eric Dufoure. The other musicians had moved up to that next level, and needed to make that change. The band also parted ways with co-manager Barbara Bothwell and producer Eric Dufoure. Just Water signed with Sid Bernstein, hoping some of his Beatles magic and legendary connections would open up doors. Sid was charming, full of the most entertaining stories, but ineffective. Then after nearly seven years, Just Water just stopped playing. No-one can remember a definitive fight or even a band meeting when they agreed to break up.
Mitch was determined to carry on, and still had his spare but effective 4-track home studio dubbed "Dancik Plant". Mitch often introduced his songs to Just Water by playing his demos. Mitch recalls that "at the time that Just Water broke up as a band, I was still hanging onto Just Water as a concept. I didn't expect that we'd all get back together, but a reworked version of Just Water was still a possibility that I considered." Mitch's last batch of demos consisted mostly of songs written for Just Water. These included "Big Kids" (which was performed when Randy Blitz was on drums), "Too Old for the Kids", and "I Got Your Mother Down". When the band broke up, Mitch started to polish up these demos, so they could be used to find a record or publishing contract. Mitch called his first post-Just Water batch of demos The Rift as a sarcastic play on their first album title The Riff. The next batch of demos was called Holocausts In Your Sleep and had an edgier direction. Mitch recorded nearly every day for months, knowing that as soon as he dismantled the Dancik Plant studio, he would be moving to England without the funds or connections needed to continue recording demos.
Mitch planned a new life in England, which he considered to be a more fertile environment for the music he was making. The axis of punk had crossed the Atlantic from NYC to London. Mitch's Hiwatt amplifier and a crate of clothes were shipped to his friend Gordon Chilver's house in Tooting, London. Then Mitch boarded a discount airline with his two favorite guitars, and landed at Gatwick airport. Mitch arrived for what the English call a "work to rule" incident at the airport, where instead of an outright strike, the customs officials follow every rule for every arriving passenger, which has the effect of grinding things to a halt. Instead of the typical screening process, Mitch was whisked away to a security briefing room and asked why he was coming to take jobs away from the English. Along with a bunch of French punks in full punk regalia, Mitch was given a choice of "which country do you want to be deported to". The French punks suggested that they could all go to Paris, and then onto Ireland, where the "work to rule" was not being enforced. Mitch wound up in Paris, still lugging two heavy guitars, and over a twenty-four hour period of international phone calls, had worked out a flight to Dublin and a plan to take buses and ferries to London.
Mitch landed in Dublin, still without sleep since leaving NYC 48 hours ago, and approached the immigration officer with the usual "here for holiday" story. Mitch was immediately whisked away to another security briefing room and told that he was being held for violating Irish immigration laws. It turned out that even though this was way before countries had their computer systems linked, the Irish and the English had agreed to watch out for a great influx of musicians without work papers. Mitch recalls that "I was so over-tired and angry that I snapped and started demanding my rights, which of course didn't exist. Like a scene from a movie, agents were telling me "You're in Ireland now, lad. The great United States can't help you".
Mitch was told that he would be deported, but that due to the time it takes to do the paper work, he would first need to stay awhile in the main Dublin prison. "I was now at 72 hours without a moment of sleep, being escorted to a cell at Dublin prison, and my guitars were taken as a security precaution because I might hang myself with the strings! I remember the cell distinctly. The lights remained on, and it had a small slat in the door where food could be passed through. A red-headed Irish kid who was sweeping the hallway started speaking to me through the slat. He let me know that he was THE famous Dublin Car Thief, who had been in prison five different times, and each time on the day he was released, he immediately started stealing cars again. He was truly proud of his records, and decided that my pathetic story of being arrested for trying to get INTO Ireland was the funniest thing he'd ever heard. I finally got some sleep, and was awoken by the guards, letting me know that I needed to eat breakfast in the mess hall."
"To put this in perspective, remember that at this time music and songwriting was my life. That night in the cell, I had already started to write the lyrics to a song called "Car Thief". Here I was in a situation that was simultaneously a nightmare and a songwriter's dream. Well, the next thing I know I am standing with a tray of breakfast slop in the mess hall of Dublin prison, and the most incredible scene unfolds. Just like in that Clint Eastwood film about Alcatraz, all of the inmates start banging their silverware on the table, and I know it has something to do with me! I now have a choice to make. I can either look for the guards to save me, or sit down somewhere in this sea of clattering Irish criminals. They had the most incredible Irish faces, each etched with a thousand stories I wanted to hear. I decide to walk straight into the middle of the mess hall towards a free seat at an otherwise full table. Suddenly, it's all voices buzzing, and no more silverware. Evidently the car thief had already spread my story around, and everyone was dropping by my table to tell me about their relatives in NYC. I collected more than 100 business cards of Irish bars in NYC, with names & phone numbers scribbled on the back. I was determined to call every one of those phone numbers when I got back to NYC. But unbelievably, I was asked to hand over those business cards to the guards before I could leave the prison."
Later that day, Mitch was released to the custody of an Irish immigration officer, whose job was to escort and accompany Mitch until Mitch was on a plane leaving Irish soil. "He escorts me out of the prison with other armed guards, and then asks me if there's anything I want to do before my plane takes off. Without hesitation I say "I've always wanted a Guinness at St James Gate". The officer's face lights up and says "I know just the place, lad. It's the closest pub to St James Gate, the very first stop for a Guinness to arrive from the brewery!" Over a couple of pints of Guinness and those thin little things that pass as ham sandwiches in Ireland and the UK, we become fast friends. Our four-hour pub lunch winds up with me - the punk rocker that just got out of Dublin prison - giving him - the upstanding immigration officer - advice on raising his wayward boys who have evidently moved on from Guinness to more exotic drugs. After being introduced to Tiny, a local hero who drinks his first seven pints of Guinness without stopping, my new officer pal drove me to the Dublin airport and then sat next to me on the flight to Cork. He boarded the next flight from Cork to NYC, but left as the doors closed, satisfied that there was no way for me to escape back onto Irish soil. The threat of Mitch Dancik stealing a gig from an Irish punk had been eliminated."