Steve Marsden, a member of legendary New Zealand 80s punk band  the Androidss died in Auckland last week from cancer. Along with his twin brother Eric, Steve will be remembered for playing some of the most high energy punk  and rock n roll New Zealand ever saw. The Androidss released one Top 20 single-Auckland Tonight/Getting Jumpy and were well known for full on covers of Stooges songs. He will be much missed. A tribute gig will be held. 

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The first VLP of our regular gig nights at South Of The
Border, 502 Old St, Shoreditch,
East London is on April 9th w/ THE FABULOUS PENETRATORS (read their interview on this months Vivelepunk) and
support from
JOHNNY THROTTLE (ex Parkinsons)and THE HATEFUL . DJs Hugh Gadgit and El Prez.For more details
check out and

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On Friday 17th July, London’s Victoria Park will see the return of England’s pop royalty as Madness bring Madstock to the East End. With a full supporting cast, this is the first Madstock of the new century and follows their sold out Christmas 2008 tour (including an amazing night at the O2) which saw The Guardian celebrate ‘the longest run of classic singles of any band since the 60s’. Lead singer Suggs is looking forward to what is sure to be one of the biggest shows of the summer:

“Madstock for us is musically, socially and geographically our homecoming. There is no other day like it, for us, our families and for the people that come to see us.”

Madness are one of the most important bands in UK music history. Their incredible run of hit singles beginning in the late 70’s are part of the nation’s consciousness. No band’s back catalogue deserves its place in the treasured musical archive of Britain more than this. Few bands can lay claim to the kind of immediacy that Madness’ classic singles possess and, 30 years since their debut single, ‘The Prince’, the seven remain a vital part of the cultural lifeblood of the country.

As with the Christmas tour, Madstock will be a chance for fans to hear the classics but also an opportunity to hear tracks from the forthcoming new Madness album, ‘The Liberty Of Norton Folgate’, due for release in May of this year. The new album, the first from Madness since 1999’s ‘Wonderful’, saw The Guardian in that same review bestow critical acclaim on the new material noting that ‘their touch hasn’t deserted them’.

Tickets are priced at £35 (subject to booking fee) and are available from the band site at Details of the full supporting cast will be announced shortly

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World famous punk venue the Bridgehouse has some great punk weekends lined up. Details are-
Sunday 12th April 2009
Entry £10
Doors 3pm til late

Abrasive Wheels (Leeds)
W.O.R.M. (Chesterfield)
The Smears (Nottingham)
Dun 2 Def (Midlands)
Near The Knuckle (Buckingham)
Danger’s Close (Ipswich)
Freedom Faction (Cambridge)
First Wave (Leicester/Northampton)

Bridge House 2, Bidder Street, Canning Town, London E16 4ST
Advance Tickets:

Sunday 3rd May 2009
Entry £10
Doors 3pm til late

Deadline (London / Kent / France)
Bovver Boys (Aachen, Germany)
Small Town Riot (Hamburg, Germany)
The Detectors (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
Gimp Fist (Darlington, UK)
Eastfield (Lancaster, UK)
All Flags Burn (Sheerness, UK)
Born To Destruct (Cambridge, UK)
The Rom Rats (Romford, UK)

Bridge House 2, Bidder Street, Canning Town, London E16 4ST
Advance Tickets:

Saturday 9th May 2009
Entry £10
Doors 7pm til late

Left For Dead
Rebel City Radio
Criminal Class
Coventry Punks hailing from 1979

Bridge House 2, Bidder Street, Canning Town, London E16 4ST
Advance Tickets:


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The Rebellion festival is pleased to announce 2 more Headline acts for this year. They are KILLING JOKE and FLOGGING MOLLY.

KILLING JOKE are confirmed to headline the Empress on Sunday 9th

Full original line up Jaz, Youth, Geordie, Big Paul

FLOGGING MOLLY are confirmed to headline the Empress on Thursday 6th

Check this awesome live band from California who are on SideOneDummy.


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The Living End were ‘surprise’ support band for The Stray Cats at their Melbourne gig last week. As an extra special touch, life-long Cats fan Chris Cheney delighted the audience by getting up to play along side Brian Setzer during the encore.




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In what has to rank as one of the most unlikely developments in rock, the awe-inspiring primal force of the Jesus Lizard will return, briefly, in 2009.  The original line-up of David Yow, Duane Denison, David Wm.  Sims and Mac McNeilly will reform for a very limited series of live dates in 2009, starting with the All Tomorrow’s Parties event

dubbed The  Fans Strike Back in Minehead, UK on May 9 and 10. Added to this, the band have confirmed a one-off show at London’s Forum on 11th May.

These shows will be the Jesus  Lizard’s first since disbanding in 1999 and the first in twelve years to  feature the original storied quartet. As anyone who has experienced the  Jesus Lizard live can attest, they

are one of the most intense and visceral musical assemblies to ever stalk a stage.  This fleeting reunion offers an incredible opportunity to either be blown away all over again or to immerse yourself in the sweaty power and driving mayhem for the very first time.

In celebration of this event, Touch and Go Records will reissue four full-length releases from the Jesus Lizard this autumn though the exact release date is yet to be confirmed. Remastered recordings of /Head/, /Goat/, /Liar/, and /Down/ will be available on both LP and CD, all with expanded packaging and liner notes.  Bob Weston is heading up the remastering process with Steve Albini, the  original session engineer, sitting in.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.


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VIVE LE PUNK reveals the results of last month’s poll…



CRO-MAGS  6.3%

With over half the votes, you voted pioneering Bay Area political punks the Dead Kennedys as the greatest hardcore band of all-time and, with classics such as ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ and ‘Holiday In Cambodia’ on their CVs, it’s not hard to see why. Check out VLP next month for more on the mighty Dead Kennedys!

Vote now to have your say on who are the real kings of psychobilly…


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February 12th

The disembodied voice of Howard Devoto cuts short a wordy recorded intro, explaining away the band’s highly anticipated reunion with ‘There’s This Woman I Need to Impress’. Drummer John Doyle, keyboardist Dave Formula and bassist Barry Adamson materialize from the shadows, with dapper guitarist Noko filling the shoes of the late John McGeogh, and the insistent stomp of ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ blows away the decades and dispels all need for further explanations. A leisurely figure in half-mast trews, Devoto appears perfectly at ease considering his long absence from the scene. What follows is a near flawless coast through Magazine’s back pages, classic after classic – ‘Because You’re Frightened’, ‘Rhythm of Cruelty’, ‘Permafrost’ – dispatched with panache. Noko executes those McGeoch guitar lines admirably, while Adamson delivers sinewy basslines with uber-cool nonchalance. The set hits a new level with the urgent groove of ‘20 Years Ago’ which sequences immaculately into the giddying ‘Definitive Gaze’. The classic single ‘Shot By Both Sides’ kicks pure adrenaline with its needling guitar riff and the final encore, an amped-up cover of Beefheart’s ‘Big Dummy’, closes proceedings on an unmatchable “never thought I’d see the day” type of show.
Hugh Gulland

Sick Of It All by Nick Mann

December 11th

Four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon is definitely not the optimum time for a gig to start, and it’s no surprise early acts WAR OF AGES and DISCIPLINE are missed by many – this reviewer included. The venue’s still far from full as Dutch outfit BORN FROM PAIN (3/5) bully their way through a set that’s high on aggression but low on originality. There’s some serous Hatebreed-worshipping going on here, and even though their on-stage enthusiasm gets a few hyped-up individuals down the front moving, there’s not enough real quality to drag their set above the realms of average-ness. Mediocrity remains the order of the day with Germany’s HEAVEN SHALL BURN (2/5), who also do little to leave any lasting impression with their one-dimensional brand of metalcore. It’s not until TERROR (4/5) take to the stage, that the crowd actually seems interested in what’s going on, and the Los Angeles bruisers up the ante from the off, inciting the first real crowd activity of the night. With just half an hour to play with, it’s good to hear them only dropping in two songs from this year’s ‘The Damned, The Shamed’ effort, leaving space for crowd faces like ‘One With The Underdogs’ and ‘Push It Away’. Fast, furious and straight-to-the-point, they’re pretty much awesome from start to finish.
The feeling that the night was actually getting going was reinforced from the moment H20 (5/5) took to the stage and deliver a consistently great set of super-positive hardcore that’s tailor-made for bringing a smile to the face. Despite a rubbish sound mix, the anthemic nature of their material shines through, right from opener ‘1995’ via the likes of ‘Everready’, ‘Thicker Than Water’, an ace ‘Guilty By Association’ and cleverly dropping Fugazi’s ‘Waiting Room’ into the middle of ‘Five Year Plan’ – it’s all fist-in-the-air, shout-along fun and their set ends far too soon. Thankfully, their departure from the stage merely paves the way for fellow NYHC legends SICK OF IT ALL (5/5). It might actually be impossible for SOIA to deliver a duff set, because tonight is – as ever – pretty much flawless. Right from the proto-mosh of ‘It’s Clobberin’ Time’ through to newer songs from last album ‘Death To Tyrants’, they’ve always remained hard-hitting but anthemic, angry but fun, and their set tonight offers up all of that and more. Twenty years into their career, and SOIA are still the hardcore band to see live.
Words/Photo: Nick Mann


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We have 2 tickets to give away for April’s Gathering of the 1000s festival! Simply tell us the name of the anarcho punk legends who are putting the show on. Easy huh?

And we have a set of 3 cds courtesy of Weinerworld to give away. They are the Live At CBGBS series-and are live sets from H20,THE QUEERS, and the SICK FUCKS. Simply tell us what city the famous CBGBS club was in and you will get all 3 cds.

To enter any competition email us at
Good luck!


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FEBRUARY RECORD REVIEWS (12 reviews inside)

Bristol second wave punks’ collection of late ‘90s material.

This double disc round-up of tracks recorded for the seminal Vinyl Japan record label is a real treat for fans of Chaos UK. One disc has the whole of the ‘Heard It, Seen It, Done It’ album (originally released in ’99), including three bonus tracks, and the other features the King For A Day EP, the Kanpai EP, the Making Half A Killing mini LP, the split Dangerous Study single and rare cuts from the Punk’s Not Dread covers compilation. With many of these releases deleted this is a great chance to get these 35 tracks of raw and raging UK hardcore punk. Fuckin’ have it.
John Damon

(Household Name)
Second album from Exeter melodic punks almost lives up to its title.

The Cut Ups return with the follow-up to 2006’s ‘Paris Street in Ruins’ and it’s a grower that hooks you in . While the Bouncing Souls influence is still strong and some songs are too basic, such as the opening title track, ‘The High and Mighty’ is a more varied album than their debut. Upbeat anthems such as ‘Die Lieber Zimmer Auf’ and future live favourite ‘These Bones Were Built On Rice’ mix with more restrained tunes such as ‘I Know It’s OK’. These infectious sing-alongs are sure to raise a smile from fans of the Souls, Against Me! And Leatherface. Pick it up and catch them live.
Ian Chaddock

Debut full-length from Leeds crossover crew.

In the wake of the success of Municipal Waste there have been plenty of wannabes coming out of the woodwork looking to jump on the bandwagon. However, Leeds’ Deal With It sound so energised and dangerous that they’re more likely to ram the bandwagon off the road and torch it than jump on it. With the speed, crew shouts and aggression of hardcore combining with the blazing guitar solos and darkness of metal on tracks like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Streets of Rage II’, this is a bleak and pissed off album that looks to the ‘80s for inspiration. With a wild frontman and live show and awesome cover art by the legendary Ed Repka, what’s not to love?
John Damon

Extensive retrospective of the late Jeffrey Lee.

A visionary in marrying punk rock’s attitude with the blues and other traditional American musical forms, Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s reputation seems to have undergone a posthumous resurgence lately. This four-disc collection starts with a well-chosen 17-track career overview, and ventures from there into the labyrinthine live archives, charting shows from the band’s myriad line-ups – from the drunkenly anarchic to the downright sublime. Along the way neglected pearls are uncovered, such as a 1980 romp through Bo Diddley‘s ‘Gunslinger’, some ultra-rare solo live recordings and some broadcast-quality cuts from Gun Club’s consummate performances at Lyon in 1990 and Utrecht in 1992.
Hugh Gulland

Neat debut album from Canadian chaps and chapette.

It’s normally easy to lazily pigeonhole a band, but Hot Panda have been compared to the likes of The Talking Heads and Daniel Johnson. Throw in some garage, pop, an accordion, vocals that could be from a distant relation of (a female) Fred Schneider of the B52s and finally sprinkle on some Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer and you have the genre that these Canucks should be crammed into. We have to settle for describing them as jaunty pop rockers with genuine personality to their music, a sense of fun throughout the record and an infectiously upbeat way of looking at things. Definitely worth a listen.
Ian Dransfield

(In The Red)
Fuzzed up garage car wreck.

If your taste is a frenzied, head-mashing garage rock that bangs sounds into your ears with the aid of a nail gun then this is for you. Although you’re aurally pummelled for the most of the time, you get an almost sinister break as the tempo slows down. It’s sickeningly beautiful how these slower songs are the most evil. They conjur up the same feelings I would imagine a poor, hooded wretch gets when he thinks he’s reprieved only to realise the sound he can hear is the executioner sharpening his axe. The whole thing ends in a blaze of almost sing-along glory. I only hope you get that far.
Simon Nott

Swish reissues of ‘80s UK anarcho punks’ first two albums.

Melksham’s Subhumans were an integral part of the early ‘80s UK anarcho scene, bursting with politically charged, heartfelt lyrics, and fierce commitment to the cause. But former Mental vocalist Dick Lucas could always maintain an easy balance between diatribe and easy-going humour and a palatable tune was never too far away. Here you get nicely remastered reissues of their 1983 debut ‘The Day The Country Died’ and the following album ‘From The Cradle To The Grave’. Both come in snazzy digipaks, with a neat poster and lyric booklet, and both provide ample evidence of just why the band are still revered.
Shane Baldwin

Brand New Cadillac mans’ retrospective.

He may have come from Uxbridge but 50’s rock n roller Vince Taylor modelled himself as the Hollywood rot rod rocker after living in California during this teenage years. Heading back to the U.K to try his luck in the rock n roll pond, he never quite made it. However he did write possibly one of the greatest British rock n roll songs of the 50’s, the damn near perfect ‘Brand New Cadillac’, included here and made famous by the Clash.’Jet Black Machine’ is another highlight but its all fairly standard stuff. Poor old Vince went downhill after falling inlove with LSD and doing one too many trips, ending up bonkers and believing he was god!! The closing track, ‘Rock n roll station’ is especially disturbing showing Vince had definitely lost his Cadillac and his marbles by 1976!
Eugene Big Cheese

‘Verbed-out garage stompers from Dublin quintet.

Carrying the authentic whiff of garage grease before it, The Things’ debut offering wades up to its neck in the mucky waters of rock ’n’ roll, particularly that of the black leather and bad vibes strain. It’s a mess of rockabilly reverb, creaky frat-shack Farfisa and the V8 throb of Motor City guitar rock. ‘Outrun The Law’ is gleefully reminiscent of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, while the work of The Cramps comes to mind elsewhere, as on ‘Make Her Cry’ with its swamp-stomp guitar twang. These boys aren’t inventing anything new here, but they do their well-chosen reference points a great deal of justice and it makes for a pretty satisfying trash-rock rave up.
Hugh Gulland

(Kosher Kitten)
Silly and rude but quite fun.

As you can guess from the band name, album title, the fact that its introduced by porn star Ron Jeremy, and song titles like ‘Love Cream’, ‘Lick You To The Core’ and ‘Triple X Sex’, these are recordings of newly discovered religious baroque works by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, penned by the great man circa 1700. Oh, alright, it’s a lot of smut by some dirty scamps from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Good smut, mind, with pumping drums, pounding guitars, thrusting drums… ahem. Well, I think that’s enough of that.
Shane Baldwin

New album by battle-scarred Danish veterans.

The Zero Point formed in 1979 and are one of Denmark’s most enduring punk bands, having been reformed (with a new line-up) by singer Steen Thomsen in 2002 after splitting in ‘87. Since then The Zero Point have been more active than ever. Despite being a fan of the band since way back when, I only clocked them live for the first time last year, and was impressed with their hard-hitting brand of tuneful street punk. And that’s just what you get from the veterans on new album ‘Shameless Self Promotion’. It’s classy, well produced fare and they close with a storming ‘Chinese Rocks’.
Shane Baldwin

Bone-shakingly good horror punk/pop!

Having been a band for over a decade, this spooky Liverpudlian quintet certainly have a bloodthirsty following and it’s no surprise when you hear their third album. Mixing surf guitars, unhinged organ and devilishly good harmonising, their mix of rock ‘n’ roll, horror punk and pop should see them finally get the recognition they deserve. Zombina is on fine form and her vocals are passionate and distinctive. Like the mutant child of the Misfits and the Shangri-Las, tracks such as the dangerously infectious ‘Evil Science’, the biting ‘Raised In Hell’ and the atmospheric ‘Flaming Skull’ prove that they must have sold their souls to the devil to get this good!
Rachel Owen

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South London anarcho punks CONFLICT have been kicking against the pricks for thirty years now and are about to celebrate the fact by playing their Gathering of the 1000s show in London in April with a host of other great punk and rock ‘n’ roll cats. Vive Le Punk got mainman Colin on the phone!

VLP: How did Conflict form? When and where?
“Conflict formed in Eltham south east nine, originally as Splattered Rock Stars in 1979.”

VLP: When you started Conflict did you think that you would have such a big political and social impact?
“Not at all, in fact it is still hard to take in.”

VLP What were things like back in the early days of the anarcho scene?

“Fresh and exciting springs to mind, sadly a lot of this freshness is now lost in the second wave of anarcho groups – most say the same stuff packaged differently.”

VLP: You havent always been the most popular band with the authorities. Any funny stories spring to mind?
“Still going on at present so hold on this for now, only yesterday we received more unwelcome attention.”

VLP: Just how hard was it to keep the band going with the police on your back?

“It was the force (excuse the pun) that fuelled the engine as such.”

VLP: What do you think of punk in 2009? What do you think of Britain in 2009?

“I have a great feeling about new groups such as those we are playing the Gathering with and feel that these fresh faces are the future. Britain is exactly the mess I knew it would be.”

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Photo by Simon Kotowicz.

VLP: Who are you , where are you from, and why are you fabulous?
"Hello, we are The Fabulous Penetrators and we are based in East London, though we are all from different countries, which would be France, England, Portugal, Scotland and Ireland. As  we are quite shy and unassuming people we’re reluctant to talk about our ‘fabulousness’ but I guess it has something to do with our striking beauty, masterful musicianship and horse-like stamina."

VLP: You seem to be a worldwide phenomenom, playing a lot of gigs in Europe?
"Well, we were prevented from travelling outside of the UK for a number of years due to a mixture of visa regulations and  motion sickness, so it’s nice to finally get a chance to plough fresh pastures if you will. And also, thanks to the power of the internet, it’s only taken us four days to become a worldwide phenomenon…"

VLP: Who would your dream guests be to  invite around for a sherbet?
"I suppose a liquorice lady really."

VLP: What phonographic records do you have available?
"We’ve just released our debut single, which is a double B-side 45RPM Phonograph record on Stag-O-Lee Records out of Germany. We prefer to deal with Germans as we can then go to Germany, which isn’t half as horrible a place as The Sun makes it out to be. We’ll be releasing another 45 in April/May, with an album appearing sometime in the late Summer."

VLP: What’s the best thing you have ever penetrated?
"Well, probably Glastonbury (5 times in 3 days!), but we also Penetrated the fuck out of New Years Eve once where we did it 4 times in one night."

VLP: And the worst?
"We never fail to please. But a strange man I know (vaguely!) in Ireland got caught making love to a donkey once. He claimed that he was taking a piss and the donkey backed into him. He also said it wasn’t very good."

VLP: Where can the general public expect to be penetrated at next?
"Well, we’re off to Porto and Stuttgart for some shows next week. Our next event in London is at Club Ugly @ The Social on 3rd March. We tend to play as much as possible, so best is to keep an eye on our Myspace."


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Recently reformed , the MEMBERS are back to play at the Vive Le Punk festival in Leamington Spa in April. We take a look at the history of this classic band.
From the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s, THE MEMBERS successfully (and not so successfully) created a reggae infused punk rock living. Pushing them to limits and constantly changing line-ups, but underneath it all they were a good band, so let’s see how they managed it…

– Punk rock band, The Members were formed by Nicky Tesco in 1976 in Camberley, England.

– After being caught by a studio owner typing up a song at a London party, Nicky was asked to bring his band to the studio and do an audition.

– Nicky didn’t have a band so he quickly recruited a few band members; Gary Baker (guitarist), Steve Morley (Bassist) and Clive Parker (CP Snare)

– The line-up quickly changed as Morley and Parker were ejected from the band due to friction on a school trip! Morley was replaced by Chris Payne, and Parker by Adrian Lillywhite.

– Clive Parker went on to join several different bands, one of which (The Planets), supported The Members at the Camden Centre and Moonlight Club.

– Nicky Tesco later requested that Jean Marie Carroll, aka JC Carroll, join the line-up for his writing abilities. This added more friction to the band and Tesco-Carroll became the “leaders” of the band.

– After recording several demos, ‘Fear on the Streets’ became the first recording to be released. It was featured on the first punk compilation made by Beggars Banquet. The track was produced by Steve Lillywhite’s brother.

– In 1978 The Members officially released their first single – ‘Solitary Confinement’. This, because of the JC Carroll’s influence on the band, had a more reggae than punk sound to it.

-Eventually Gary Baker left the band, which left only Tesco and Carroll from the original line-up. The pair then recruited, what would be the final line-up; Nicky Tesco (vocals), JC Carroll (vocals & guitar), Nigel Bennett (guitar), Chris Payne (bass) and Adrian Lillywhite (drums).

– In 1978 the band signed with Virgin Records and in ’79 they recorded ‘The Sounds of the Suburbs’ with Steve Lillywhite’s helping hand. This was their best known song in the UK.

– The next single, ‘Offshore Banking’, didn’t have the same success and coursed diverse responses around the world.

– 1979 saw the release of first album, ‘At the Chelsea Nightclub’. Although it was tipped for the top, it didn’t do nearly as good as it was expected to.

– The follow-up album, ‘The Choice is Yours’ (1980) also managed to sink without much attention. Luckily for them, the band had gained enough success in the US to keep them going.

– 1983 saw the release of their last album, ‘Going West’, recorded without a recording deal. The album featured the successful single, ‘Working Girl’.

– After their last tour of the US in ’83, Tesco left the band and went on to appear in a few films by Aki Kaurismaki. He also worked with fictional band the Lenningrad Cowboys, recording a couple of songs.

– The Members broke up soon after Tesco left. In 2006 they briefly reformed for a birthday party for JC Carroll with Gary Baker on guitar.

– Nicky Tesco now works as a music journalist for the magazine, Music Week. He also regularly appears on 6Music’s Roundtable.

– The Members performed a reunion gig at The Inn on the Green, on January 26th, 2007. This was to celebrate the 50th birthdays of Chris Payne, Nigel Bennett and Nicky Tesco’s wife.

– Presented by Phill Jupitus, the gig featured all the songs from At the Chelsea Nightclub along with several other hits.

– February 2009 saw the release of ‘International Financial Crisis’ – the re-make of 30 year-old song, ‘Offshore Banking’. It was released through Smash the System Recordings.

– Throughout 2009, JC Carroll and Chris Payne will be touring as The Members with the odd appearance from Nicky Tesco and Nigel Bennett.

– Between 1978 and 1982, The Members released 8 singles and 4 albums.

– And in total there have been 10 members of The Members throughout their lifespan as a band.

‘International Financial Crisis’ is out now on Smash the System.

Sure to be the finest old-school festival of the year, the first VLP festival will be punk and proud. Taking place at the Leamington Assembly on April 26th, ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE will headline with the line-up completed by UK SUBS, THE MEMBERS, 999, THE LURKERS, VICE SQUAD, THE VARUKERS and SECTION 13. Doors are 3pm-11pm  and tickets are £20 from the box office at 01926 523 001 or at Vive le punk! More on the festival in next month’s Big Cheese.

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THE NEW YORK DOLLS‘ rise from the ashes may have been one of rock ‘n’ roll’s least likely reunions, but the band’s prodigious return to form – consolidated in 2006 with a new album – has proved an unexpected hit. In the wake of a storming performance on the Jonathan Ross show, guitarist Sylvain Sylvain gives Hugh Gulland a Doll’s eye view.

WHAP!!!! "I just slapped Jo Jo’s butt!!!" Sylvain chortles, bandmate David Johansen’s monkey ass proving too tempting a target as the vocalist shimmies past our table mid-interview. As the two surviving members of the original Dolls – bassist Arthur Kane dying within weeks of their comeback at Meltdown in 2004 – David and Syl continue to carry the torch for the band that gave 1970s punk its whole raison d’etre, finally delivering the first new Dolls material in 30 years with the album ‘One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This’. An impromptu butt-slap seems symbolic of the pair’s tarty rapport, but it hasnít always been this way; when the band originally split, communication wasn’t so easy.

Syl: "That’s why we broke up in 1975. We had a terrible miscommunication problem! And we were just beginning to get accepted. And we said screw this! A lot of people think that we threw away a million dollars, I dunno about that, but for Arthur Kane, he really had it the toughest out of us all."

"The reason why I think we took so long to get back together was we were all successful individually. With us we all had individual groups – I had the Criminals, I had my RCA career in the early eighties, I kept on playing, I kept on producing, I was very much involved. I wrote songs with Johansen, I wrote songs with John (Thunders), I would work with everybody and I had a band with Jerry Nolan, The Ugly Americans."

Nevertheless, the loss of the Dolls was a bitter blow, an unresolved hurt for the bandís former members for many years:

"Of course I always dreamed. For me, when the New York Dolls broke up, it sort of left me, but I never really left the New York Dolls. I mean, in all my career, you can trace it down, I was always a New York Doll. Live shows, albums – rock ‘n’ roll to me is something that should drive you nuts, when you hear that cool song, it should drive you mad, you gotta take off all your clothes and run down the High Street naked! When your mother comes home, she says ‘WHAT???’"

It’s this untainted love for rock ‘n’ roll that’s kept Syl afloat through the intervening years – the man positively buzzes with enthusiasm for his craft – and probably accounts for the freshness of the new material.

"Jack (Douglas, producer), he gave me the biggest, nicest compliment, which was that I still have ‘one foot in the Brill Building’. The famous building on Broadway and 49th Street. That was the music building at the time of Shadow Morton, Carole King, Leiber and Stoller, Phil Spector, and they call it Tin Pan Alley. When he said that to me, I was like, oh man, David, he’s got the gig!"

There’s a couple of newies that sound like spiritual descendents of older songs, for instance ‘Dance Like a Monkey’ sounds like a response to ‘Stranded in the Jungle’, and also a sly dig at creationism?

"I came up with that one, what I was trying to say was, (whispers) I really wanted to hear David – he might not wanna hear this, but Iíll tell you! I wanted to hear him do that ‘Dance like a monkey, child!’ ’cause he’s basically a monkey himself, it’s been said! But then we had this conversation together, I’d speak to David and he knew all about it, in the States – it’s a real bad thing, it’s separating us, which is, there’s a God, and basically the bible, which is replacing science. In the South, in Alabama and places, all you need is your parents’ signature not to take science and then you go to bible class!

With the rekindled interest of the past couple of years, the Dolls are as close as they’ve ever been to the mainstream; one of the more interesting documents has been the DVD of Bob Gruen’s 1970s footage, ‘All Dolled Up’, which shows the notoriously hard-living Dolls in a surprisingly innocent light.

"You see Johnny Thunders without heroin. That was before he was turned onto that, you know, to the needle – oh my god, that’s really what killed our band, more than alcohol, ’cause I think alcohol we would have sort of survived. Maybe being bitter bastards."

Do you think people fail to appreciate the Dolls weren’t always these guys living this dark, debauched existence?

"The handing down of stories through the years – some guy tapped me on the shoulder once, he said ‘I saw pictures of the Dolls having sex together on the internet!’ I said ‘Please! What website???’. It starts with a kiss, and it’s that pillow/telephone talk kind of hand-down. ‘Wow, they were kissing’, ‘they were feeling each other up’, ‘man, they had no clothes on and they were kissing’, ‘they were actually penetrating each others’ butts!’"

"Of course we’d like to play it up. You know what? As a performer, you bring everything that you ever know – if you got a nice tush, you fucking bring that up there! Why not? You’re gonna need everything when they boo your ass off the stage, you gotta turn that boo into a fucking standing ovation and after a while, you get that way! The point Iím trying to make is, you gotta turn them on, even if they hate your fucking guts, that’s what’s gonna make you a great performer."

"You can’t just let Pro-Tools or your producer do it for you – when you go on stage, and your tape falls apart and you stand there like a fucking idiot, because you don’t know anything about performance. You gotta learn your craft! The best way to learn your craft is: Perform, perform, perform, perform!"

‘One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This’ is out now on Roadrunner records.

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