Friday, 12 March 2010
Well they weren't really Punk but they took their chances and played on many a stage with The Buzzcocks & The Banshees. They were John Peel's fav band alongside The White Stripes. Here's a few vids to remind us just how quirky they were and are.
A Short History of Ca Plane Pour Moi
It's complete nonsense of course but very wonderful :)
It must have been good for Sonic Youth to cover it!!
and Vampire Weekend
Even the Red Hot Chili Peppers did it...naked!
And the most bizzare version by Tears, a Swiss group who won their version of X Factor or something like that!
And the English version (much better)
And The Damned of course :)
And Captain Sensible (again!) with The Briefs
And Elton Motello on German TV wearing a T-shirt he could never wear on the BBC
The UK Subs
Its a fact that when the world finally happens to end Charlie Harper ( David Charles Perez ) and the latest incarnation of the UK Subs will be doing a gig somewhere and may it be so." Inspired by the Damned and Sex Pistols, they formed late in 1976 as the 'United Kingdom Subversives', soon shortening their name and playing all the London punk holes through '77. Two songs, including their minimalist classic 'I Live In A Car' appeared on the 'Farewell To The Roxy' album, and after a huge selling indie single in 1978 'C.I.D' they signed to Gem Records. Surprising everyone, they then became one of the most consistently and visibly successful punk bands, with seven consecutive UK Top 30 hits between 1979-81, establishing themselves throughout the world with a heavy touring schedule that continues today." ( from their web site) The early Subs produced a fine set of catchy, chuggy, punk songs. Quite successful too with at least three chart appearances on TOTP.
Singles to look out for: CID / Live In A Car / B1C ( 1978 City), Stranglehold / World War / Rockers (1979 Gem) , Tomorrows Girl / Scum Of The Earth / Telephone Numbers (1979 Gem).
Also the album Another Kind Of Blues (1979 Gem) that collects all these singles in albeit different versions. Selected cuts Crash Course / Lady Esquire and the infamous Does She Suck. After this one more good album Crash Course (1980 Gem). Selected cuts Emotional Blackmail and Organised Crime. 2 Tracks on Farewell to The Roxy album Telephone Numbers and I live In A Car. If you can check out the Gonads single Pure Punk For Row People with the track I Lost My Love To A UK Sub. What a tribute ! Great band live even now as they proceed towards their goal of releasing an album for each letter of the alphabet !
Of all the punk bands the Subs were the one band that I saw endless times between 1978 and 1981 I must have seen them at least 200 times!!
A classic Ruts single. They could have had so much more succes had Malcom not died of a drugs overdose.
Marc Bolan was a real champion of Punk and on his TV show 'Marc' he featured The Jam, The Damned (who he took out on tour with him), Eddie and the Hot Rods and of course the wonderful Generation X
Sound of the Suburbs still sounds great I think. It was a surprise hit for The Members and they had a couple of other hit singles but it was their albums that were excellent: At Chelsea Night Club and 1980 The Choice is Yours.
It is questionable if they were ever a punk band but they were classed in with it. This is their finest moment I think. Couldn't be bothered with all that Working for the Yankee Dollar nonsense that came later!
Eddie Tenpole Tudor is a legend!
Anti-Pasti were one of the more political bands that started to spring up in 78-79. Saw them with the UK Subs a few times and this track is clearly their best.
Hailing from Brighton Peter and the Test Tube Babies probably did more for the sales of Merrydown Cider than they ever did for themsleves. The Jinx was a cracking single as was 'Spirit of Keith Moon'.
A picture tribute to The Damned and what a great live band (must find some live vids)
Cock Sparrer would end up linked to the Oi movement and sadly to a lot of Right Wing Skinheads. This was their second single and is a pretty good cover of The Stones classic.
Henry Rollins singing with The Ruts. Possibly their best single and the last to feature Malcom.
Whereas the Clash stenciled it and sang about it the Fingers lived it. Or did they? Originally a Deep Purple covers band in Belfast called Highway Star. Their future changed when they hooked up with Gordon Ogilvie a journalist who instigated a more radical change. Changing their name in 1977 after a Vibrators song their sound became as raw and uncompromising as their environment and for that matter Jake Burns voice.
First two singles and first album as good as anyone's. Suspect Device / Wasted Life (1978 Rough Trade), Alternative Ulster / 78 Revolutions A Minute (1978 Rough Trade). Album Inflammable Material. Great all the way through. Picks : Johnny Was and Wasted Life.
The more uncharitable would say their best work was ripped off from others. Suspect Device sounds remarkably similar to Montrose's Space Station # 5 and I believe they were sued because of this. The riff from Alternative Ulster is supposedly from a Bob Marley tune and 78 Revolutions borrows from Irish compatriots Rudi's seminal single Big Time. Personally though, who cares? Just hearing the opening bars of Alternative Ulster or Suspect Device still sends shivers own my spine and that's what counts.
Manufactured Romance supported the UK Subs quite a lot back in the late 70's and last year got back together again for the first time in 30 years to play Rebellion 08. I had a great opportunity to interview the band for my myspace page Soundtrack4Life and it it is a good little insight into the band and the times.
Manufactured Romance Interview on Soundtrack4Life
Vice Squad were formed in Bristol in 1979, from the remains of two local bands, The Contingent and TV Brakes. The four-piece group comprised 15 year old Beki Bondage on vocals (real name Rebecca, Louise Bond. The nickname 'Bondage' came from school), Dave Bateman on guitar, Mark Hambly on bass and Shane Baldwin on drums. Their music alternated between straight-ahead aggressive rock and punk with Beki's more melodic singing. However it was her image that would become a potent publicity vehicle for them along with their music.
Beki in particular allowed the rock media to portray her as punk's leading sex symbol, and she did pose topless on one occasion in Sounds. In addition, Beki was featured three times on the front cover of Sounds, as well as twice on the cover of Melody Maker. Other cover features include Punk Lives, Musicians Weekly, NME, Number One, Smash Hits and Kicks. She was perhaps the most popular punk pin-up or her time. However to balance that out she would always where possible as a professed vegetarian speak out on the issue of meat eating.
Unable to secure a record deal during their early months of gigging, the band ended up forming their own Riot City label, through which they released their first single, 'Last Rockers', in December 1980 which went on to sell some 25,000 copies (Riot City went on the produce other bands, one of the better known being Chaos U.K.)
This was followed by the 'Resurrection EP', after which both the band and their label were signed by the EMI Zonophone division. The album 'No Cause for Concern' was subsequently released, receiving muted critical reviews but selling reasonably well, reaching no. 32 on the UK album charts. Seven months later, a second album, 'Stand Strong, Stand Proud' was in the shops (it reached no. 47).
Beki Bondage Interview Pt1
Beki Bondage Interview Pt2
The moment it all changed in the UK. This ground breaking TV performance by The Pistols and the fact that Rotten had given a copy of the single to my sister (she hated it and gave it to me) turned me right around and like so many kids at school I decided I was gonna be a punk.
Their debut album 'Dirk Wears White Sox' perfectly captures what a good band they were. I hated all that Prince Charming stuff, but never tire of this period of their lives.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
James Stevenson was of course part of Chelsea but prior to his joining Chelsea William Broad (AKA Billy Idol) and Tony James were in the band and after sacking Gene October they changed the name of the band to Generation X. 'Right to Work' was a great piece of social commentary and it showed that Punk had something to say. I mean you could never have imagined any band on TOTP's in those days making such an overt political statement (remember the Labour Government was in tatters and Britain was about to get a leader who ruled with an iron fist!).
Defient Pose - Cortinas
Punk had been central in London but once the Buzzcocks had released 'Spiral Scratch EP' and folks had taken the opportunity of seeing the likes of The Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and even The Ramones the new music began spreading it's wings. The Cortinas were from Bristol and this is their finest moment
Sham 69 - I Don't Wanna EP
A lot of folks hated what Sham 69 became but here is their debut EP which was fantastic. Their debut album 'Tell Us The Truth' still gets played in my house. One of the worst things about Sham 69 was the fact that Skinheads started turning up at their shows and began fighting with the Punks. It was always a dangerous thing to go and watch a Sham show. If you managed to get through a show without getting at least hit once by some thug Skin it was a result but it made going to their gigs a thing of fear rather than enjoyment.
I Don't Wanna
Ulster & Red London
I actually love the b-side of this one better ('Man of the Year'). This was their only single before they split. Marco Pirroni who had played with The Banshees at the Punk Festival at the 100 Club and later found greater fame alongside Adam Ant was a member of The Models. Their only other output was a fantastic John Peel Session on 13th July 1977 that included both sides of the single and 'Brainwash' and 'Censorship.
The Killjoys - johnny won't get to heaven
The Killjoys are reverently remembered in Punk circles for this outstanding single on RAW Records. Those who remember them will also tell you that the lead vocalist of this band actually went on to have a number one record! Who is he? Kevin Rowlands who went on to form Dexy's Midnight Runners. It's a shame that they never released anything else because they had some great songs (8 of which were captured on two John Peel Sessions from 1977 & early 1978)
The Flys - Love & Moloatov Cocktail
The Flys signed to Harvest EMI and this is their standout track. Years later it would be resurrected by Die Toten Hosen to be included on their 'Learning English, Lesson One' album.
Patrick Fitzgerald - Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart
Patrick was a bit of an enigma in Punk circles because he played acoustic guitar, had no band and he could actually write some decent songs (Paranoid Ward, Back Street Boys, & the Bingo Crowd to name a few). I saw him a few times, the first being as support to Sham 69 at the Harlsden Roxy where he finished his set with only one string on his guitar as he played scared all night and the Skins were baying for his bllod. Also saw him on a Small Wonder night at the Music Machine alongside The Wall and Crass!
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