New York hardcore legends Sick Of It All hit Londons Forum tomorrow as part of the Big Cheese sponsored Persistance tour. Other bands include H20, Terror, Born From Pain and Discipline. It kicks off at around 4.30 pm. See you down the front!!!
Vive Le Punk has a copy of the new Too Tough To Die: A Tribute to Johnny Ramone DVD to give away. Filmed just two days before his death and hosted by Rob Zombie, this is the live gig held as a tribute to the Ramones guitar legend and features a star-studded cast, including members of Rancid, Blondie, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, the Dickies, the Sex Pistols, as well as Marky and Tommy Ramone and Henry Rollins.
To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, just answer this easy question:
Q: NAME THE FOUR MEMBERS OF THE CLASSIC RAMONES LINE-UP
Send your answer, name and address to email@example.com
CRO MAGS JAM
The Nike Theatre at Montelban Theatre
Los Angeles, USA
Original Cro Mags vocalist John Joseph made his long awaited West Coast appearance with his all star Cro Mags Jam Band at the Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore book release show. A packed room eagerly awaited the tattooed front man to throw down the old school hardcore jams, and they definitely did. The band featuring guitarist A.J. Novello (Leeway), drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains, Hazen Street, Madball, Cro-Mags), and bassist Craig Away (Sick Of It All) delivered the goods, punching away at all of the classic tunes and keeping the crowd moving throughout their set. Joseph introduced many of their longtime friends in the crowd, including Lord Ezec (Skarhead/Danny Diablo) and Toby Morse (H20), dedicating songs to them and speaking about the positive message behind hardcore. They played many favorites including ‘We Gotta Know,’ ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ and ‘Hard Times,’ with Morse and friends joining in the fun. They showed that despite the drama behind some of the members’ relations, the Cro Mags are definitely a huge part of shaping hardcore and heavy music in today’s scene. Nobody should ignore this fact.
LOVE AND A .45
London Camden Purple Turtle
The overly excited Monday night crowd at the Purple Turtle were out with good intentions, if not in droves. Most people were there to see the final night of the Luchagors’ UK tour and expectantly waiting to see if Amy Dumas, ex-WWE wrestler ‘Lita’ could put on a decent punk show. Support came first from Londoners LOVE AND A .45 who are currently tearing up the punk scene with catchy songs and gravely honesty – just don’t call them Paramore as one punter learnt the hard way!
The LUCHAGORS form a tight unit and are musically exactly what I wanted to hear – there are no weak links in this four piece from Georgia. Naming her band after a wrestling move, Dumas isn’t trying to shy away from her roots, but also doesn’t give out any attitude – she’s as happy playing to a Monday night punk crowd as anyone, no bodyguards and no bullshit. She also surprised me with her voice – I thought it might be all gimmick and no substance, not so. They finished on standout track ‘March Of The Luchagors’, a rallying cry to come on in and have a good time.
While they might have dropped off the radar of mainstream rock fans over the last few years, Sweden’s finest continue to draw more than respectable crowds due to one reason and one reason alone: when it comes to providing a soundtrack for dancing, drinking and screwing (all three not necessarily done on the premises this evening although we couldn’t say for certain), Dregen’s mob still kick out the jams in mighty fine fashion. Support act CRUCIFIED BARBARA did the j-o-b, looking good on the stage and pulling off a credible version of Motorhead’s ‘Killed By Death’, even if they did look a little rabbit-in-the-headlights-esque. Ploughing through a set packed with greasy riffs, moob-vibrating bass and glaring aggression, the BACKYARD BABIES prove that they can still more than cut it, slice it and stab it live, even if their recent releases have never matched the brilliance of ‘Total 13’. And even so, as we leave sweat-drenched and beer-stained, we can even forgive them that.
Business as usual from Aussie rawk legends.
Let’s be honest, when it comes to AC/DC albums, would you prefer the band to merry toddle off for a few years to emerge proudly clutching a four CD album of freeform gabbacore and jazz funk interludes that consist of Angus Young playing the kazoo with his scrotum or came back with another round of granite solid songs with the word ‘rock’ in them, played at a million decibels and packed full of solos, blazing riffs, Brian Johnson’s dust ‘n’ bones pipes and lyrics about girls and the bad things he’d like to do to them given half the chance? Thought so. More of the same, but when the same’s so damn good, who’s complaining?
ANOTHER MUSIC IN A DIFFERENT KITCHEN / LOVE BITES / A DIFFERENT KIND OF TENSION
Sumptuous two-disc reissues of these pop-punk must-haves.
4/5 / 5/5 / 4/5
A near-faultless string of 45s between 1977 and 1980 has immortalized Manchester‘s Buzzcocks as the definitive punk rock singles act, but they could easily cook up an album’s worth of pop punk delirium. These reissues unite their original albums with the associated singles, b-sides, demos, radio sessions and live cuts. The evolution from the jittery, three-chord teen angst of ‘Another Music In A Different Kitchen’ (1978), through the more assured delivery and songwriting of their breakthrough ‘Love Bites’ (1978) and the powerchord-propelled ‘A Different Kind Of Tension’ (1979), shows how they consolidated their reputation as purveyors of catchy punk rock.
DESTRUCTORS 666/MARCH TO THE GRAVE
Spite and sniggers on this half ‘n’ half EP.
This is a welcome split from Stamford’s March To The Grave and new incarnation Destructors 666 (formed from the Destructors). Both acts donate a good mix of piss-take old school punk and horror-tinged GBH speed. It’s a shame to see March To The Grave with a smaller share of the record, but the three tracks provided are a laugh riot, especially opener ‘Bad Bob’. Destructors 666, a darker reanimation of their former selves, offer a few solid Destructors classics, a cover and new track ‘Hey There God Dammit’, which is presented in the band’s signature brutal approach. Let’s hope we soon see more of both bands.
DIE! DIE! DIE!
Well-titled if they added ‘broken’ at the end.
The blurb that came with this likened them to musical luminaries, along with plenty of words of praise about Die! Die! Die! such as, “New Zealand’s finest avant-garde punk band”. As you can imagine I was almost drooling as I put this in the player. Sadly the swirling, artsy punk noise that ensued was pleasant enough to begin with, but soon became tedious and at times downright dull. It would be unfair not to say it had its odd moment where there was a glimmer of hope that it might perk up, but it only disappointed again.
C I V I L W A R
Minneapolis punk heroes smooth their rough edges.
‘Midwestern Songs of the Americas’ (1998) and ‘Versus God’ (2000) are two punk classics in my eyes. So I was surprised when this long-awaited fourth album (six years since their last record, ‘Situationist Comedy’) didn’t instantly blow me away. This is a poppier, more polished album, with Erik Funk’s cleaner vocals dominating and more mid-paced, straightforward tunes than in the past. The melodies are huge on sing-along ‘Gainesville’, but it’s on more urgent tracks like ‘Like Eye Contact in an Elevator’, with (elsewhere sadly absent) duelling vocals, and ‘The Art of Whore’ that they do what they do best. Not D4 firing on all cylinders, but a definite grower of anthemic, melodic punk.
UK82 punks’ defiant return.
You gotta hand it to Stoke-on-Trent punk legends Discharge, they pretty much invented hardcore back in 1982 with the release of their seminal ‘Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing’ album and indie chart hits like their ‘Why’ EP. In fact, up until Discharge steamed in, Britain and punk rock in general had simply never heard the likes of ‘Ain’t No Feeble Bastard’. Re-ignited since 2001 with the Varukers’ Rat on vocals, ‘Disensitise’ is the band’s second album since reforming. Titles like ‘Spoils of War’ and ‘Ignorance Your Surrender’ signal it’s business as usual, with thundering drums, searing speedcore riffing and apocalyptic war cries. Sounding like they would still slaughter most of today’s hardcore contemporaries with a single riff, Discharge still won’t let the bastards grind them down. And that’s good enough for me.
Yank/French split album.
As far as I can make out, this split between all-girl San Francisco outfit Fabulous Disaster and French crew Octoons has been released as a joint effort by several labels, including Cider City, Felony and Brokenheart, but the sleeve is none too clear on this point. The four tracks by Fabulous Disaster, who split up last year, are a punchy mix of punk/sleaze rock that gives the likes of the Donnas a run for their money. Them’s the breaks. Octoons are impressive at first, assaulting the eardrums with a potent blend of hardcore and metal guitar, but they disappear down a dark alley of widdly guitar solos and impenetrable tempo changes. No, I’m not sure what that means either.
GRAHAM DAY & THE GAOLERS
Seminal Medway garage rocker unleashes another belter.
Formerly of the legendary ‘80s garage band The Prisoners, as well as subsequent bands such as The Prime Movers, Planet and The SolarFlares and more, Graham Day is back with more of what he does best. The underrated UK hero of garage rock returns with his new band The Gaolers, joined by members of US band The Woggles. On retro blasts such as ‘Begging You’, ‘Pass That Whiskey’ and the raucous ‘Wanna Smoke’, they blend melodies with choppy guitars and see Day’s sublime song writing shine through again. Forget the White Stripes, if you want to hear how garage rock should sound then this is a pretty damn good place to start. A delicious brew.
IT’S A LIVING
Canadian puck-rockers skate into play with a live release.
Nomeansno’s belligerent alter-ego have somehow managed to throw together a live album between rink side scuffles, and the result is pretty much as expected: slushy. Amid the slurring and hockey banter however, there are some salvageable tracks and pretty hilarious interviews, all delivered in the band’s off-the-wall Ramones style. Classics like ‘Hockey Song’ and ‘Joe Had to Go’ stand out and there’s even an unreleased track, titled ‘Cabbage in a Bag’. The bonus DVD, entitled ‘All Grain Brewing With Johnny Hanson’ features tips on how to make your own ‘rockin’ ale’ from scratch, plus some live videos thrown in for good measure. Belch!
THE WILDEST CARD
The third album and the best yet.
The Hyperjax have been doing the hard yards touring over the last few years but it has paid dividends with an extremely impressive third album. There are some cracking songs on here, with some excellent guitar work and catchy sing-a-long choruses, that could well propel them into the higher stratosphere of stardom that they sorely deserve. The whole package is hugely impressive but a special mention has to go to the outstanding double bass playing that weaves the whole ensemble together and really makes the album.
HARMONY AND DISSIDENCE
Foos guitarist Chris Shiflett’s mod punks hit the bulls-eye with second album.
Jackson United’s 2004 debut ‘Western Ballads’ was a solid effort but ‘Harmony and Dissidence’ is a big step forward. Featuring Chris’ brother Scott (Face to Face) on bass, Doug Sangalang on guitar (ex-Screw 32, Limp and more) and Foos bandmates Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins providing studio drums, ‘Harmony…’ is sharper and more infectious. The urgent political new single ‘21st Century Fight Song’ gets things off to a great start, ‘Undertow’ shows reggae influences and a darker edge is shown on ‘Trigger Happy’. Second single ‘White Flag Burning’ is a soaring, punchy sing-along and ‘Stitching’ is a new mod anthem. The Foo Fighters may be on a break but Jackson United are on fire.
You know those annoying people that insist on getting their guitars out at parties?
There are some great singer/songwriters doing acoustic albums at the moment. For it to work the listener has to identify with the songs and the singer, otherwise it all becomes a bit like being force-fed a student’s self-pitying blog while he strums a tune on his guitar and hums a tale of lost love. Well that’s what Joey Cape’s (frontman of skate punks Lagwagon) new album sounds like, all dribbling with dubious lyrics and no entertainment value. No that’s unfair, the first song does mention the Ramones. Then it’s dull as dishwater until halfway through the last track, ‘Home’, where it kicks in all too late. Maybe just start there.
PAIN IS HER GAME
Blast off with this German punk n’ roll debut.
If Lemmy, Brian Setzer, a case of Jim Beam and a ‘Punk-O-Rama’ record were locked in a room together for a week, then Johnny Rocket could well be the end result. Despite their German heritage, this rock ‘n’ roll quartet sound like they just crawled home from some backwater Arkansas bar; playing a fusion of rockabilly, blues and biker punk. 11 tales of booze, babes and bust-ups make up this debut release. Each track is angry, throaty and written with fun-loving guile. And if that’s not enough, check out the cheeky snaps of pin-up vixen Fuel Durdan featured in the album booklet. Well, I do declare!
LONG TALL TEXANS
Re-release of Brighton psychobilly trio’s finest hour.
Brighton’s Long Tall Texans are veterans of the ‘80s psychobilly scene and are still a big draw on the live circuit. ‘Saturnalia’ was originally released in ’89, when the genre was moving on from the increasingly clichéd B-movie/horror schtick. It kicks off with the controversial ‘Get Back, Wetback’, which examines the treatment of ethnic minorities in the old West, resulting in them becoming the target of ill-informed accusations of racism. Other long-time live favourites included are ‘Cairo’ and a cover of the Golinsky Brothers’ ‘Bloody’. Two decades on, it stands up well without sounding dated and is highly recommended for newcomers to psychobilly. The sleeve notes by some reprobate called Simon Nott are well worth a look too.
COMPLETE JOHN PEEL SESSIONS
Howard Devoto’s post-Buzzcocks masterstroke.
A pivotal punk rock figure, one-time Buzzcock Howard Devoto was unwilling to stick to genre constraints, instead riding the movement’s energy with Magazine. Their consistently challenging output over the course of three years is neatly condensed in these sessions. From ‘Touch and Go’s opening chords in 1978, it’s plain that Devoto and co. could deliver where their contemporaries struggled to promise, with an intensity and needling tension that are arguably more pronounced here. 1979’s ‘Permafrost’ is majestically unsettling, even with its “I will drug you and fuck you” refrain edited for broadcast purposes, and ‘Song From Under The Floorboards’, from 1980’s superb ‘Correct Use Of Soap’ LP, is Magazine’s most wondrous ‘pop’ moment.
MORE MONEY LESS GRIEF
Young upstarts from Peckham show us how it’s done.
Raucous and with more than just cheeky cockney swagger, The Metros pack a punch with their debut album, sounding like Bugsy Malone crossed with Ian Dury. As well as indie rock they unleash infectious funk punk that thrashes its way through tracks like ‘Last Of The Lookers’, that are at once jaded and celebratory of the teenage generation of sexual adventure, excess and friendship. There’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour to boot. Having supported The Streets recently, they deserve success for creating such an original and witty take on the somewhat tired ‘indie’ genre.
Wash your mouth out with something fresh.
For a self-proclaimed ‘ska/pop’ band, it’s a massive surprise to the ears to be greeted by grinding electro beats. In fact, it’s mostly cheery, sing-along pop-induced tunes that are vaguely reminiscent of UB40 – which is a good thing I’ll have you know. It’s feel good music at its best. ‘That Girl’ is so undeniably happy that it’s irresistible and difficult not to bop along, despite the clichéd lyrical focus. Mouthwash proudly walk the line between Specials-style ska and electro-pop, with melodic vocal lines that stay the right side of gritty. ‘What I Don’t Know’ even features blazing guitar lines and booming vocals but is so catchy it could easily see them break into the mainstream.
COME OUT FIGHTING
The real deal in Irish folk punk.
If you are a fan of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly and you’ve not heard this, you want to get a move on down to your local CD outlet. This compares to that duo like any So-Cal Dickies wearing punk outfit do to The Clash. This is full on and in your face aural assault by a six-piece fronted by Leeson O’Keeffe who used to be a member of Shane MacGowan’s Popes. The live shows are rumoured to be legendary and if this is a toned down example of them, then they must go off in a big way. Fourteen tracks to knock your socks off.
Scorching rocksteady the way it should sound.
The sultans of riddim No.1 Station, along with label mates Pama International, are among the ripest crop of newly emerging UK trad-ska outfits. If you like your music oozing with soul and a Jamaican sound, then look no further. There are succinct horns, ethereal harmonies and rocksteady floor-fillers aplenty on this new release from premiere roots merchants Rockers Revolt and a nice mix of vocal styles, including guest spots from Ms. Moretti and MC Boss, complete the album’s non-instrumental tracks. Check out the haunting dub ditty ‘Player Hater’ and the summertime skanthem ‘Alpha Skank’ and you’ll release exactly why Mark Lamarr called No.1 Station “the UK’s premiere ska band”.
NORTH SIDE KINGS
US hardcore band excel at delivering every cliché in the tuff guy book.
Whether or not you like this CD very much depends on whether or not you think generic tuff guy hardcore is either a) a joke or b) really good fun. If you fall into the former category then turn away now, but if you sit the latter, and the idea of a band who sound like all the usual suspects (Hatebreed, Terror, Knuckledust) rocks your world, then you’re guaranteed to enjoy this album. Although the pseudo-gangster lyrics of the likes of ‘Street Trash’ and ‘Nice Girls Finish Last’ might require you to disengage your brain partially to enjoy them, ‘Suburban Royalty’ is a blast.
Vintage live album from Durham’s punk figureheads.
Finally available in their entirety, the two shows represented on this twin CD set, Thames Poly in 1978 and Newcastle City Hall in 1979, both see Ferryhill’s finest in sparking live form, albeit at very different stages of their career. The Woolwich gig sees Pauline Murray and boys riding high with debut album ‘Moving Targets’, undoubtedly the group’s finest moment and a landmark punk release. By October 1979, Penetration are playing for the history books, effectively signing off at their last hometown gig with a blistering career run-through. Around all too briefly in their original run, Penetration were a blast of unsullied idealism, and the adrenaline kick of their live shows is evident here.
Nice ‘n’ sleazy.
Currently on tour with the Stranglers, Isle of Man’s Poison Hearts may not be startlingly original, but they know how to hit you where it hurts. Jonny P’s drums pound most impressively, Paul Confused’s guitar chuggs and soars and Mark E Moon’s vocals alternate between earthy bombast and metal shrieking. The band tear through 13 tracks that take in street punk, early NY sleaze, Motorhead-style riffing and all conceivable points in between. Nice production job as well, and you even get a stick-on tattoo. Well, I got about ten – does that count as a bribe?
ONE MAN SKA EXPLOSION
(Do The Dog)
He’s back for more…14 tracks more.
Mr. Blake has his heart in the right place when it comes to his music. With the artwork of his second solo album a tribute to Trojan and his uplifting ska ditties, it’s promising. But, as always with ex-Whitmore man Mr. Blake, his downfall is his voice. ‘10ft Wall’ is one of the few tracks that he manages not to force his vocal style into a constipated growl and mostly sticks to a pleasant soulful tone. That said, the album isn’t horrifying, with plenty of surprises; such as with a gritty guitar intro of ‘Easy Come Easy Go’. This will keep some ska fans happy, it’s just a shame about his voice.
THE CRIME HAS COME
Thrashing Teutonic skate hardcore.
You gotta love this band’s name, it instantly cast a smile across my face. This, their second album, is a furious thrash metal artillery of sixteen breakneck songs in the vein of fellow Germans Spermbirds, plus a sprinkle of classic crossover
thrashers like Nuclear Assault. The guys have their tongues firmly stuck in their cheeks throughout tracks like ‘Run From The Cops’ and ‘Sin and Tonic’ race by with an unnerving ferocity harking back to the eighties. The only downside to Scheisse Minelli is that they are a little bit of a one trick pony, with little variety to be found from their thrashing blueprint. That aside it’s all good clean fun!
THE DIVIDING LINE
Crossover thrashers decimate everything in their path.
Short Sharp Shock (SSS) really live up to their name on their new album as they blast through 20 songs. ‘Purple Reign’ is possibly the most breathlessly fast thrash song ever created, the effort taking its toll on vocalist Simon Fox as he pants like he’s run a marathon at the end of the song. Another highlight is ‘Sk8+Destroy’, which features skaters Geoff Rowley and Howard Cooke on gang vocals. But these Scouse crossover thrash artists offer slight a slight breather from the pummelling with a couple of instrumental tracks. The riffs are heavy, the vocals vitriolic and super fast, and ‘The Dividing Line’ makes for a great punky, thrashy party.
STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS
UNTIL WE’RE DEAD
Crust/punk/ska super group pick up the baton from Leftover Crack.
Star Fucking Hipsters are a who’s who of the NYC squat punk scene, featuring vocalist Sturgeon (Leftover Crack), drummer Ara Babajian (The Slackers), guitarist Frank Piegaro (Degeneracy, Ensign, Fanshen), bassist Ula Beeri (ex-World Inferno/Friendship Society) and vocalist Nico De Gaillo. Originally conceived around the time LOC worked on their ‘Deadline’ split with Citizen Fish, the band carry on where those songs left off. While Sturgeon has lost none of his angry vocal delivery (nor any of his socio-political lyrical bite), it’s often tempered by Nico’s more dulcet tones, like on ‘Only Sleep’ and ‘This Wal-Mart Life’. Therefore, this band is very much a natural progression from LOC.
PRIME CUTS / THE ART OF REBELLION / LIGHTS CAMERA REVOLUTION & STILL CYCO AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Timely re-issues of a clutch of Suicidal’s classic albums.
4/5 / 3/5 / 4/5
It only seems fitting that some of the Venice Beach legends’ later material is dug out of the archives for the nice digipak-style re-release treatment. ‘Prime Cuts’ is a ‘best of’-type affair and only falls short of a 5/5 because tracks from their first two albums are re-recorded and fail to capture the venom of the originals. ‘The Art Of Rebellion’ is one of their last as a ‘metal’ band and lacked their usual punch. ‘Lights Camera…’ on the other hand is one of their finest, and a re-recording of their seminal self-titled album in the shape of ‘Still Cyco..’ makes it a tasty little double set. Anyway, buy ‘em all if you know what’s good for you.
LIVE FROM LONG BEACH
TSOL’s swan song. Or not.
“Right, so this is the end, after twenty five fuckin’ years of this.” So sayeth TSOL singer Jack Grisham on stage at The Vault, Long Beach, California, on 25th November 2006, one of the band’s two ‘farewell’ shows that weekend. It was quite a coup for Chris Valdez’s Bristol-based label Cider City to release this CD, capturing the legendary band’s final outing, but then TSOL rather spoiled things by reforming only months later. Some people have no consideration. Oh well, this is still a top notch 25-track round-up of the band’s finest moments, powerfully delivered, crisply recorded and chock-full of Grisham’s witty asides.
Pop punk master class from John Peel faves.
Firing out of Derry, Northern Ireland, the Undertones are only rivalled by the Buzzcocks as the masters of the 3-minute pop punk masterpiece. Swirling harmonies, Fergal Sharkey’s creaky vocals, and the O’Neil brothers chiming guitars still sound great on this 2 CD, 56-track collection of live, demo and studio tracks from their first 2 album period. And so, ‘Teenage Kicks’ may be John Peel’s favourite song of all time, but the likes of ‘Jimmy Jimmy’, ‘The Love Parade’, ‘Family Entertainment’ and ‘My Perfect Cousin’ all deserve to be in the top 100 punk songs of all time too.
BIKES ‘N’ LEATHER – ROCKIN’ AT THE ACE
The motorbike-themed rockin’ tribute to the Ace Café.
If you like rock and motorbikes (who doesn’t?), then you’re going to love this. The idea is to celebrate the legendary Ace Café. The mixture is fairly eclectic – ranging from new recordings by legends like John Leyton and ‘70s classics from Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers to psychobillies The Guana Batz. There are 20 tracks in total. The booklet gives a history of the bikers’ favourite greasy spoon, as well as a personal journal by veteran BBC rocking DJ Geoff Barker. Seasoned collectors may well have a lot of these tracks but if not you can be assured that it’s all great stuff.
WESTERN STAR PSYCHOBILLIES VOL 3
More great psychobilly and the like.
This is the third in the ‘Western Star Psychobillies’ series and it’s probably the best yet. Most of this material is still hot from the studio. For example, The Eyelids were only brought to Western Star’s attention in April but here they are with three great tracks boding great things to come. Other stand outs come from The Rock-It Dogs, the Hyperjax and Henry And The Bleeders. The majority of this collection is by refreshingly new talent, though Chuck and the Crackpipes and Frenzy get a look in too just to keep the young pups in check. By far the most disturbing track is ‘King Sperm’ by Popeye’s Dick, but don’t let that put you off!
VIVE LE PUNK reveals the results of last month’s poll…
WHAT IS THE GREATEST DAMNED ALBUM EVER?
MACHINE GUN ETIQUETTE 50.8%
DAMNED DAMNED DAMNED 23.5%
THE BLACK ALBUM 8.7%
MUSIC FOR PLEASURE 8.2%
GRAVE DISORDER 2.7%
The resounding winner of our Best Ever Damned album poll was Machine Gun Etiquette. Pulling in over half the total votes , the Damneds 3rd album was the first to feature their new line up that included former Saints bassist Algy Ward. A masteriece, and one of the greatest punk albums ever it had it all. Thrash punk (Anti Pope) Punk rock psychedelia (Looking at You), goth punk (Plan 9 Channel 7) and great chart singles like Smash It Up and Love Song.You need MGE otherwise your life ain’t complete!
Vote now for the best UK album of 2008!
Welcome to the first ever VIVE LE PUNK AWARDS where we salute the kings and queens of rock n’ roll, the good the bad and the sometimes, downright ugly! Vive Le Punk!
REFORMATION (well partly) THE SPECIALS
REISSUE OF THE YEAR KILLING JOKE ‘FIRE DANCES’
BAND OF THE YEAR COCK SPARRER
BEST NEW ALBUM BY AN OLD BAND THE DAMNED ‘SO WHO’S PARANOID?’
WELCOME BACK AWARD THE SKIDS (pictured)/ PENETRATION
BEST NEW BAND THE JIM JONES REVUE
BEST OLD ROCK N ROLL ACT THE SONICS
GIG OF THE YEAR THE SONICS at the Forum (pictured)/ KILLING JOKE at the Forum
HOW THE FUCK IS HE NOT DEAD YET AND NOT ONLY THAT STILL ROCKIN LIKE A MAD MAN? JERRY LEE LEWIS
DEARLY DEPARTED BO DIDDLEY
FLOG THAT HORSE! WORST OLD BAND STILL GOING THE MISFITS
DAYGLO NEW WAVE AWARD X RAY SPEX AT THE ROUNDHOUSE
HE’S A LEGEND CHARLIE HARPER (U.K SUBS)
BEST SKA ACT NEVILLE STAPLE
BEST PUNK ACT STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
BEST PSYCHOBILLY ACT TIGER ARMY
Rocking into Londons Forum this saturday, Rebellion ids the last big punk show of the year. Headliners the Damned are joined by a brilliant supporting cast including Johnny Moped, Penetration, the Yobs, Goldblade, U.K Subs, TV Smith, Radio Stars, Picture Frame Seduction, 999 and the reformed 70s punks the Shapes/. It all kicks off from 12.30. There are still tickets available. For more info go to www.rebellionfestivals.com
Well actually Darby Crash-lead singer of L.A punk legends died 28 years ago on Dec 7th 1980. RIP Darby. Of course the Germa are now reformed and still playing in the U.S without him. If you know of anyone from the world of punk, rock n roll or new wave that has passed away let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
PLAYING AWAY FROM HOME
The murky world of punk rock’s long-lost side projects and spin-offs
“Greater than the sum of their parts”: it’s a stock journalistic cliché, and has been lazily applied to most of punk rock’s chief contenders at some point. Too often however, the put-down has been exacerbated by some-or-other ill-conceived moonlighting gig or a ‘between bands’ project involving the frequently rudderless members of whichever established name. Granted, there’s the odd occasion when such an endeavor has yielded positive results; nevertheless, it’s often a ticket to spin-off hell, and is followed in most cases by a shame-faced reunion of the original band. Here’s a random selection of ‘didn’t-he-used-to-be-ins’ from the punk rock log book, judge for yourselves…
1) THE BLOOD UNCLES
‘Big’ John Duncan, man-mountain guitarist of the formidably-mohawked Exploited at the height of their popularity re-emerged on the music scene around 1987 with this short-lived three-piece outfit, who made a few waves on the live circuit, not least as a support act to Bad Brains, and managed – unlike most other acts discussed here – a major-label album and a single, Crash, that fused psychobilly with JG Ballard, but hardly tore up the charts. Within a couple of years, Duncan could be found strumming away with a pre-Garbage Shirley Manson in Goodbye Mr McKenzie.
2) DALI’S CAR
As cadaverous lead singer with art-rock-goth trailblazers Bauhaus, Pete Murphy had already waded up to his knees in pretentious twaddle, but had just about got away with it thanks to some cracking singles on the part of that band. Teamed up, post-Bauhaus, with Japan’s Mick Karn, the combination proved fairly poisonous, and didn’t court much good will from either band’s fan base. Murphy wisely ducked out in favour of a moderate level of solo stardom, eventually reuniting Bauhaus some years down the line. Karn’s subsequent efforts you can google yourselves and spare us the agony.
3) THE SHAM PISTOLS
By the summer of 1979, terrace-punkers Sham 69 had enjoyed a high level of chart success, but plagued as they were by right-wing thuggery at their live shows, were deep in the throes of burn-out. Coincidentally, remaining Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, having finished work on the Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle film, were struggling to keep the franchise alive. Front man John Lydon had long since decamped, and bassist and chief gimmick Sid Vicious was cold in the ground. Cue the Sham Pistols, who were unveiled for the encore of one of Sham’s ‘farewell’ gigs, and for the lifespan of about 3 weeks or so proved to be nobody’s finest hour. Sham got back together for another album before splitting in 1980. Cook and Jones, who’d thrown in the towel on Jimmy Pursey after just one recording session, formed The Professionals who lasted a couple of records before heading to LA for an unlikely collaboration with glam rocker Michael Des Barres. As we all know, the Pistols eventually did reform.
4) THE SENATE
An inexplicable one-off between Theatre of Hate/Spear of Destiny front man Kirk Brandon and former Rich Kids drummer and new romantic scenester Rusty Egan back in 1985. Titling the project with characteristic bombast ‘The Senate’, Brandon and Egan reworked the old TOH track The Original Sin. Admittedly this was one of Brandon’s finest songs, but since Theatre of Hate had already done a perfectly decent recording job on it some years before, you may well ask yourself exactly why. Spear Of Destiny resumed activity pretty quickly after.
5) THE FUR BIBLE
A stable line-up had never troubled Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s Gun Club, but by early 1985 it really did appear to have fallen apart for the punk-blues pioneers. Drummer Terry Graham had absconded in Paris and Jeffrey seemed to have opted for a solo career. Temporarily high and dry in London, guitarist Kid Congo Powers and bassist Patricia Morrison elected to put something new together, for which Australian vocalist Tex Perkins was mooted as front man. Getting Tex into the UK (let alone keeping him there) proved a whole saga in itself, so the additional task of lead vocals fell to Kid for a short brace of live dates and a French label EP. The project was fairly swiftly abandoned, Kid hooking up with Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, a job he worked in parallel with a reconstituted Gun Club from 1986 through to 1992. Patricia saw out the decade with a high-profile job with the Sisters Of Mercy, and more recently did a sterling job as latter-day Damned bassist.
6) DEE DEE KING
Admittedly it must have been a tough call for Dee Dee Ramone to stake out his own identity after more than a decade with the brothers Ramone, but you’d be hard pushed to trump this particular musical faux pas, namely Dee Dee’s abortive self-reinvention as Dee Dee King, rapper, which lasted one single and an album both of which are hailed by those unfortunate enough to hear them as a low water mark in bad records. Dee Dee thankfully resumed his career as a rock ’n’ roller, and although he was never reinstated back into the Ramones, kept his hand in with a number of projects before fatally overdosing in 2002.
7) GANG WAR
The closing months of the 1970s saw former New York Doll and Heartbreaker Johnny Thunders in an unenviable state. Record deals and management had evaporated, he was estranged to varying degrees from his former bandmates, and had saddled himself with a very public drug problem that had indelibly marked him down as a bad business bet. Johnny’s only lifeline was the occasional reunion show with The Heartbreakers, and a Detroit date saw his teen idol, former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, hop onstage for a jam. Kramer was hardly riding high himself at this point, having recently done time on trafficking charges. The prospect of a formal collaboration seemed good enough for Thunders to up sticks to Detroit, and as the live bootlegs testify, the pair-off showed real potential. Few things in Thunders’ career would ever run smoothly however, and it all fell to shit within a few short months. An exasperated Kramer blew out a series of NY shows, for which Thunders called on an impressive roster of musical friends to save the night. The ‘Street Fighting’ bootleg captures Gang War on smoking good form, but while it offers a glimpse of what could have been, the stage banter reveals a marked generational mismatch between the two frontmen.
Just prior to the release of Killing Joke’s 1982 album Revelations, rhythm section Paul Ferguson and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover found themselves musically marooned when guitarist Geordie Walker joined truant vocalist Jaz Coleman in Iceland. Youth and Paul announced a new project, Brilliant, but almost immediately, Ferguson himself reunited with Jaz and Geordie, reassembling KJ with new bassist Paul Raven. Youth stuck to his guns with Brilliant who emerged at that year’s Futurama festival as a slightly chaotic but rhythmically intimidating twin-bass line-up with future Cure/Hawkwind man Andy Anderson on drums and former Midnight Lemonboy Marcus on vocals.
Brilliant toured that autumn with Bauhaus and released a couple of singles including the memorable Just What Good Friends Are For, before undergoing a long series of personnel changes which saw future KLF man Jimmy Cauty as one of their number. Brilliant’s eventual hook-up with the villainous SAW production team was not a success story, and the band folded in 1986. Youth carved out a successful production career for himself and has periodically reunited with Killing Joke, whose original line-up toured this autumn.
9) HAVANA 3AM
After the final incarnation of The Clash ingloriously turned its toes up in 1985, bassist Paul Simonon assembled this latino-rockabilly outfit with Gary Myrick on guitar, Nigel Dixon on vocals and Travis Williams on drums. Havana 3AM stuck around for the duration of one album, 1991’s self-titled effort and a near-hit with single Reach The Rock, both of which gained favorable reviews and refuted the long-held journalistic claim that ’Simmo’ had been The Clash’s musical weak link; nevertheless, this never quite propelled them beyond the long shadow cast by the bassist’s original outfit, and Simonon packed up his Fenders not long after to immerse himself in art, an area in which he’s since made a respectable name for himself. The album was reissued this year by Cherry Red.
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it instalment in the career of Buzzcocks front man Pete Shelley, somewhere between his moderately successful solo career up to about 1985 and The Buzzcocks reunion in 1989. When the three-piece Zip first appeared on a support slot in 1986, Shelley’s identity was consciously played down, (press shots featured the singer crammed into a baseball cap and shades) leading one reviewer to comment suspiciously on the lead vocalist’s familiarity! Zip, who also featured Gerrard Cookson and Mark Sanderson, managed one single in 1988, ‘Your Love’/’Give It To Me’ before a successful and ongoing reunion with The Buzzcocks beckoned.
Punk legends don’t get any bigger than THE DAMNED‘s very own Captain Sensible, not only a bit of a silly old sausage and all round nice bloke, but also one of the most electrifyingly good guitarists on the planet. It was a pleasure to sit down for a pint with the Captain and Damned keyboardist Monty on the eve of the release of their brand new album ‘So Who’s Paranoid?’ ahead of their appearance at the London Rebellion festival 2008. Here’s what went down.
THE DAMNED: Monty (far left) and Captain Sensible (second from left)
VLP: So you’ve got a new album out. First of all, how come it’s taken so long. I mean it’s been, what, seven years since the last one? I mean, it was quite a long time between the previous one to that too.
Sensible: When we were having that successful period, being on Stiff and Chiswick Records and that, they’d put you in the studio every other week and nowadays people aren’t waiting with bated breath for the next record and we aren’t flavour of the month anymore. We just do it when we fancy it really.
VLP: And you’re doing it on your own label?
Sensible: I think so. I’m not the business person in this band. I haven’t got a clue how it’s working.
VLP: Yeah. You’re just supplying the lead guitar and some vocals and writing songs.
Sensible: Yeah, I don’t know about the business stuff at all. It always—my eyes glaze over and I fall asleep, you know? I start listening to country music on the jukebox.
VLP: There’s always been a lot of different phases of the Damned. Everyone album from ‘Damned, Damned, Damned,’ and then obviously ‘Machine Gun’ was brilliant, and then ‘The Black Album’ and the ‘Strawberries’ was slightly different again. What can we expect on this one?
Sensible: Well, once again, it’s like a completely different album from anything we’ve done before, I think. We don’t really repeat ourselves, and this one, for me, sounds a bit—it’s a kind of jangley, garage, punk, psychedelic album. There’s a bit of 12-string on there, there’s plenty of Hammond.
VLP: So you’ve gone back to the garage style?
Sensible: Yeah. We love that style. I don’t think you can beat it really. Fast guitars and tambourines.
VLP: Yeah I like that garage punk stuff. It’s made a big revival.
Sensible: Yeah. It’s the music that I play when I’m doing my two-finger typing on my computer.
Eugene: But you’ve always liked the psychedelic side of the Damned as well. Is that coming through on this album as well?
Sensible: Yeah. Tell ‘em about Track 13.
Monty: The last track is an eleven-minute freakout sort of Krautrock Hawkwind jam.
Sensible: It’s really not for the faint of heart. Far be it from me to say what the listener should do but personally I would grab hold of the best pair of headphones I could get and listen to this track at a reasonable volume because it really does take you on a mind-bending journey. Mr Vanian’s idea was that we should record the track while we were tripping. We did cop out – we just did some hash cakes. It’s there in its entirety – it’s not trimmed at all. The first take. Whether it’s commercial to do psychedelic freakout jam sessions, I don’t give a flying fuck! The critics aren’t going to get it. No matter what you do you’ll get some stick, so we’ll give ‘em something to really whack us with!
VLP: That’s what music should be about.
Sensible: It is. You know, whether it’s commercial to do 11-minute psychedelic freak out jam sessions, or not, I don’t give a flying fuck cause the critic’s aren’t gonna get it. It is like a rudder-less ship, The Damned, which for some reason or the other always goes in the right direction. And I think we’ve been so lucky in this band to always have had a collection of just fantastic musicians and songwriters, Because otherwise I think we would have lasted one album. Especially when Brian James jumped ship. If we didn’t have the music in us, we would have gone back to the toilet cleaning jobs.
When we tried to get Syd Barrett to produce ‘Music for Pleasure,’ we wanted to marry the punk thing with the psychedelic thing. Bust Syd never showed up. I’d like to grab hold of ‘Music for Pleasure’ and give that a fuckin kick up the jackson. Give that a remix—it’d be brilliant. I’m afraid it just sounds to clean for my taste. There’s too much studio technique on there. You need to strip all that away and accentuate the raw vibe.
VLP: Why do you think The Damned have survived so long?
Sensible: It’s the only thing we can do! I personally would like to see a band like The Damned. The music’s there and you turn up to see the band and you never know what’s going to happen really. Is the stupid guitarist going to have his trousers round his ankles? Is the keyboard player going to freak out and storm offstage, kicking equipment about? The chaos is there, there’s a vibe to it. You never know which Damned is going to turn up!
Monty: Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that everybody’s a bit crazy, but no so mad that we can’t actually do the business.
Sensible: And as we said, the singer is singing better than he’s ever sung. When we listened to the album yesterday, Dave Burke said that’s the best he’s ever heard Dave sing. So for some reason or another, Vanian’s just improving with age. Not that he’s old or anything!
VLP: So Captain, you used to be a toilet cleaner, yeah? Are there any similarities between being a toilet cleaner and the music industry?
Sensible: I remember Dave Robinson said, ‘Music is toilet rolls, play it today and throw it away.’ He wanted the next Damned album to be made out of licorice. You play it once and then eat it. Which I thought was a fairly good idea, cause I like licorice.
I used to like cleaning the bogs though and they did say they’d keep the job open for me as I was quite good at it!,
Monty: They’re keeping the door open for you, you mean!
Sensible: Yeah…There was this turd that just wouldn’t flush and I had to go down to the canteen and get a knife and fork to slice it up. I gave the knife and fork back after a cursory rinse under the tap, put it back in the tray, and the funny thing was the mayor of Croyden walked in, with his entourage, into the café and they took the knives and forks.
Unbeknownst to me, when we played there – going back to the scene of the crime – the road crew bought a hundred bog brushes and they hung them on a wire right above my head on the stage and at the end of the show they cut them down and threw them into the crowd so a hundred people went home with a new bog brush to celebrate my return! Whenever I go back to Fairfield Halls to see bands play I’ll always check the bogs to see if they’re up to the high standard that I left. Job’s still open though – if this album doesn’t sell I might have to go back!
VLP: When you started the Damned, did you think that you’d still be doing it 30 years later?
Sensible: The thing was, when Brian split the band in ‘77, I was so upset that I just couldn’t believe my favourite job had gone the toilet. He arranged this meeting in a pub somewhere and said, “Yeah, I’ve decided to call it a day…I’m forming a new band,” and that’s not really what I wanted to hear. And I had had four or five pints at the meeting as well, so I was staggering about in a daze thinking, what am I gonna do the rest of my life? And I was walking along and I saw this cinema where they were showing ABBA, the movie, and I thought I’d go in there because I was getting emotional. So, I went in and had a quiet blub, with all my punk gear on, surrounded by all these people singing ABBA songs. Strange day that was. But then we got it back together again and we’re still going now. I never thought it’d be going for 32 years.
VLP: I mean bands come and go. The music industry just chews you up and spits you out.
Sensible: I think it does. If you look at the charts, you don’t really realize any of the names and they won’t be around in a year’s time, will they?
VLP: So we were just talking about the old days of the Damned, do you think you’d ever get back with the original lineup?
Sensible: Yeah, it was suggested that we were gonna go out and do something for the anniversary—what was it, 30 years? We were gonna do a few shows. Maybe London, New York, Los Angeles, maybe Tokyo and Istanbul (laughs). But then it started becoming a much bigger thing and Jake Riviera became involved and I started to go, “What’s going on here? This is not really what I agreed to do.”
VLP: Are you not interested in that? Cause obviously something like that, a lot of people would be keen to see.
Sensible: No, I don’t do anything I don’t wanna do. I’ve turned things down, which might have been quite lucrative. Not just that—you know, reality TV shows.
VLP: What was it like being Top of the Pops?
Sensible: I know this sounds cliché, but those were the days. It used to be fun mixing with all the other bands that you wouldn’t normally, like Modern Romance, Marc Almond, Yazoo. In that bar on the top of Broadcasting House or whatever – it was a nice, cheap subsidised bar it was – Lemmy’d be in the corner feeding the fruit machines. It used to be really good up there, nice atmosphere, actors walking around.
VLP: How did you come up with the idea to do ‘Happy Talk?’
Sensible: I recorded a bunch of stuff, but we didn’t have quite enough to finish the album, so we did a cover version of ‘Happy Talk.’ And as soon as the record label heard it, they banged it out as a single. And when I went down to the Top of the Pops, someone in the prop department shoved a parrot on my shoulder. Even now, when I’m walking down the road, people still shout at me ‘Where’s the fucking parrot Sensible?’”
I took my influence from Tony McPhee and Jimi Hendrix. I’m not saying I play like that, but I like the single-note, twiddly, psychedelia solo. Whether that’s punk or not, I dunno. But punk always for me was—the punk rulebook, the first rule says there’s no rules. All punk is, is just do your own thing and be real.
I always thought it was very brave when you see people like T.V. Smith and Hugh Cornwall going out doing acoustic tours. I always thought that was a fairly brave thing to do because if you’re used to standing on stage with a big noise coming out of the kit and the base and the backline, but they do it well, don’t they? That’s proof of a good song if you can play it on an acoustic guitar, and Hugh’s songs sound great.
VLP: What’s the most sensible things you’ve ever done?
Sensible: Well, I go down to the green grocer like everyone else.
VLP: Doing ‘Happy Talk?’
Sensible: Is that the most sensible thing? No. It’s the most unlikely thing really,
For three years after ‘Happy Talk,’ I was staying in top hotels, being driven around in limos. It was absolutely brilliant. I remember we stayed in this hotel in Paris, cause it was number one in France for seven weeks, I was staying on the same floor, in the best hotel in Paris, with the Rolling Stones. That was an experience.
You know, every job’s got its perks. When I worked for British Rail, you get two free tickets to anywhere in Europe plus twelve free tickets to anywhere in Britain and free travel anywhere in your local area, which is fantastic. So that’s perks for that job. When I was a toilet cleaner, you get as much bog rolls as…
VLP: So what’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever done? Come up with something witty.
Sensible: I’m not known for my wit.
VLP: What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done then?
Sensible: I jumped between two buildings somewhere in Europe to get this big flag. We wanted to get this flag and we were absolutely sloshed. And I’m scared of heights as well, so I must have been absolutely sloshed cause I jumped between these two buildings, I suppose about six stories, but I got it. But that was our backdrop after that.
VLP: What can we expect out of the Damned for the next year or two? Should we expect the unexpected?
Sensible: Well, we just wrote the set list yesterday.
VLP: Is there new stuff in the set list?
Sensible: Five out of 18 songs. But it is difficult to write the setlist. There are two schools of thought. One is that you should challenge the audience or give them what they want. We just do what we want.
VLP: Why are you called Captain Sensible?
Sensible: Well everyone had a stage name in those days so we could go down the dole office. Cause if you’re in the paper, “Ray Burns played bass guitar,” they’d wave the music paper at you and say, “Look, Ray Burns, base player of the Damned, you’re off the dole.” But if I would’ve known I’d be doing it 30 years later, I would have chosen a better one.
VLP: What’s your favourite cheese?
Sensible: Cheese! Stinking Bishop! For your readers out there, allow me to recommend very highly Neil’s Yard Dairy in Barrow Market. They’ve got the stinkiest cheeses known to mankind. This one called Stinking Bishop is—I keep it in three plastic bags in the fridge and when people come around I just shove it in their faces.
Eugene: Monty, what’s your favourite cheese?
Monty: I should say Brie or something that’s been fermenting for years.
Legendary Agnostic Front guitarist steps to the forefront with his debut solo record.
Having been part of the NYHC scene since the early ‘80s, founding AF in ‘82, then playing for Madball before returning to the ‘Front, it’s no wonder that Vinnie Stigma (second from left) has earned the moniker, ‘The Godfather of Hardcore’.
“I left my last job as a long shoreman when I was 25 years old and have been touring the world ever since. I could not imagine doing anything else. I get to see my friends everywhere I go. It’s my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Following a conversation between Vinnie and Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta back in 2003, Vinny has now picked up the microphone and recruited his “good friends” Josh Tilotta (guitar), Mike Gallo (bass) and Luke Rota (drums) to round out his new band STIGMA.
“I felt that now is the best time for me do something like this. I’m still doing Agnostic Front. Roger [Miret, AF vocalist] has a new baby now, so I know he will have his hands full when we’re not on tour. My son is a teenager now. I’ve been through a lot and this gives me the opportunity to express myself vocally. This CD tells you the story of my life, lyrically and musically.”
Musically, the new album, aptly titled ‘New York Blood’ and produced by Jamey Jasta and former Monster Magnet guitarist Phil Caivano, is Vinnie’s most varied work to date, incorporating punk, oi, rock ‘n’ roll and country into his defining hardcore attitude. “This is what I enjoy listening to and I believe that anyone can enjoy this record,” explains Vinny.
“I have two great bands now, a tattoo shop (NYHC Tattoos, 127 Stanton St NY, 10002), good friends and a great family. What else could I ask for? That’s why this new band completes me. And don’t forget I have a movie coming out on Brain Damage called ‘New York Blood’, the same as my record.”
So with a long and impressive musical career, a tattoo shop and a movie about the dark side of life in NY, (not to mention a hilarious video on why you should vote for him to be president!) it’s no surprise that Vinny feels like he’s at his peak.
“Right now I’m on top of my game and I feel better than ever. The time is now and it will be until the day I die.”
‘New York Blood’ is out now on I-Scream.
VIVE LE PUNK’S ESSENTIAL NY HARDCORE ALBUMS:
1. CRO-MAGS The Age Of Quarrell
2. WARZONE – Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets
3. AGNOSTIC FRONT – Victim In Pain
4. SICK OF IT ALL – Scratch The Surface
5. CRUMBSUCKERS – Life Of Dreams
6. MURPHYS LAW – Murphys Law
7. LEEWAY – Born To Expire
8. GORILLA BISCUITS – Start Today
9. BOLD – Speak Out
THE CORTINAS were Bristol’s only major first wave punk band, and boy, were we proud of them, even if they did go to that bloody Grammar School. Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Nick Sheppard (lead guitar), Mike Fewings (rhythm guitar), Dexter Dalwood (bass) and Daniel Swann (drums) started their short career in 1975, when their average age was just 15, playing R&B covers. They picked up on the emerging punk scene quicker than most, certainly than most of us Bristol yokels, and simply sped up a lot of what they were already playing, but also added new, more overtly punk songs of their own, though the R&B influence was always present.
Their break came when they supported the Stranglers at the Roxy on 22 January 1977, which came to be after Sheppard had approached Hugh Cornwell when the former Bristol University student was visiting friends in the city. The band then played the club quite regularly, and one result of this was the Cortinas signing to Miles Copeland and Mark Perry’s Step Forward label.
The classic singles ‘Fascist Dictator’ and ‘Defiant Pose’ were the fruit of this union, and the band went on to appear on the front cover of the April/May issue of ‘Sniffin’ Glue’, then in July record a fine John Peel session. Impressive or what?
The Cortinas were snapped up by CBS, but sadly, at that point, it all went a bit wobbly. The 1978 album ‘True Romances’, and accompanying single ‘Ask Mr Waverly’, both sounded pretty weak, to punk ears at least, as the band returned to their R&B roots, but by its release the band had to all intents and purposes split, only coming back together for two shows to promote it. Then, the Cortinas were gone for ever.
Or were they…?
Well, yes, actually. But now, out of the goodness of their hearts, the Bristol Archive label have unearthed two previously unreleased sets of material from the band – pretty exciting stuff for fans.
The first, ‘For Fuck’s Sake Plymouth’ was recorded in, of course, Plymouth, and captures the band at the peak of their powers in 1977. The sound quality isn’t perfect, but the band belie their tender years to deliver 13 songs as powerful and intense as most of their contemporaries, with Valentine’s hectoring vocals and Swann’s busy drums beating the initially subdued, polite crowd into submission, helped by a super-speedy rendition of ‘Fascist Dictator’. Essential stuff.
The second, ‘Please Don’t Hit Me’, contains the 12 demo tracks that Miles Copeland used to score the band their CBS deal. It would be nice to say that these tracks pulsate with punk rock fury, and it was only the interference of the monster major label that ruined them on the album, but sadly that’s not the case. For the most part they are jaunty but unremarkable R&B songs, and even the more lively punk tracks like ‘Further Education’ and ‘Have It With You’ lack the inspiration of the earlier singles.
Still, with both albums newly remastered and accessible for the first time after gathering dust for 30 years, this is pure punk gold. Unfortunately, they are only available as downloads, though we are assured that if sufficient interest is shown, they may eventually appear on CD.
For now, go to www.bristolarchiverecords.com
Where Are They Now?
Nick Sheppard, of course, played guitar with the final line-up of the Clash (see pic below), which is sometimes dismissed as a short-lived footnote in the Clash story, when in fact the post-Mick Jones outfit lasted for about two years and toured all over the world. He formed the excellent band Head, with Gareth Sager, formerly of the Pop Group and Rip, Rig & Panic, but for a long time now has resided in Australia and is still a working muso.
As far as I know, the only other Cortina to have continued working in music is Daniel Swann, who moved to San Fransisco and played with Sneetches before going behind the scenes working with the likes of Green Day, Offspring and Rancid.
Jeremy Valentine is now a sociology lecturer at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. It would be a cheap jibe to mention the Cortinas song ‘Further Education’. Ah well.
Dexter Dalwood studied at St Martins College of Art and the Royal College of Art and is now a renowned painter whose works have been exhibited in New York, London and Liverpool.
Sadly, the trail of Mike Fewings runs out after he played with Essential Bop shortly after the Cortinas’ demise.
RUBELLA BALLET RELEASE NEW 24 TRACK CD ON OVERGROUND RECORDS
‘Anarchy In The U.V.’
Rubella Ballet formed in 1979 by Sid Ation (Flux of Pink Indians) on drums, however, the nucleus of the band came from the famous Crass gig where the Crass invited the audience to use their equipment and finish off the evening doing their own thing as they wanted and left the crowd in charge, so Sid got up on the drums and his girlfriend Zillah Minx grabbed a mic.
The band have become infamous for their different and innovative style of music and the shock value of wearing ultraviolet day-glo clothes to brighten up London’s east end, dark, violent, poor, ghettoized, drug dealing, working class shithole that they lived in into a different land as everywhere they went people smiled and laughed instead of wanting to kill them.
Rubella Ballet who are still fronted and managed by Zillah Minx who has, with all her friends around the world, created the whole Day-glo Death Rock punk scene.
Anarchy In The U.V. includes two unreleased tracks, their debut cassette tape Ballet Bag (1982) , the 4 track 7" EP Ballet Dance (1982), their debut album At Last Its Play Time (1985) and the 12” version of Money Talks (1985) all digitally remastered and packed in a 12-page booklet designed by Sid and Zillah.
Napalm/ The Night Russia Died/ T/ Belfast/ A Dream Of Honey/ Newz/ Slant & Slide/ Me/ Krack Trak/ Blues/ Exit/ Ballet Dance/ Unemployed/ Something To Give/ Intro/ Love Life/ Tangled Web/ TV Scream/ Death Train/ See Saw/ Games Of Life/ Trial 13/ Twister/ Money Talks
MORRISSEY HAS ANNOUNCED DETAILS OF HIS NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES.
UK LIVE DATES FOR 2009
NEW STUDIO ALBUM “YEARS OF REFUSAL”
GETS RELEASE – 16TH FEBRUARY 2009 ON POLYDOR/DECCA
SINGLE “I’M THROWING MY ARMS AROUND PARIS”
RELEASED 9TH FEBRUARY
ALBUM ARTWORK REVEALED
Morrissey has announced three UK live dates for May 2009 when he will play London’s Royal Albert Hall on the 11th and two nights at Manchester’s Apollo on 22nd and 23rd.
Tickets for all three shows go on sale today, Friday 5th December, at 10am (see ticket info below).
Morrissey’s new studio album “Years of Refusal” will be released on 16th February 2009 on Polydor/Decca, preceded by the single “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” one week prior. The single will be supported by two new songs “Because Of My Poor Education” and “Shame Is The Name”, the latter featuring additional vocals by Chrissie Hynde.
The UKs fave street punks Deadline hit the road for Xmas shows this weekend at -Glasgow Rockers 4th, Halifax the Shay 5th and Camden Underworld the 6th Dec. They are currently working on new songs for the next album.
Check out our new December issue-live this Friday the 5th Dec. And look out for our first everVIVELEPUNK awards-celbrating the best of this years punk and primal rock n roll!!
76 Manchester punk legends hit the road on their Another Bites tour in Jan 2009.
For the very first time, they will be playing our first two albums only.
Former Ramones drummerMarky Ramone has said that despite claims, producer Phil Spector didnt hold a gun to the band’s heads while they were making1980s’ ‘End Of The Century album’.
According to rumours Spector held the band hostage at gunpoint during fraught recording sessions. He told the NME though
"There were no guns pointed at anybody," "They [guns] were there but he had a license to carry.
"He never held us hostage. We could have left at any time. We had the keys.
In the video Marky Ramone also talked about the clash in political ideals he had with his bandmates, describing Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone as "fanatics".
He said, "I’m a Democrat, Joey was a Democrat. Johnny and Dee Dee were staunch, avid right wing conservative fanatics. Our political views were definitely different."
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