APRIL RECORD REVIEWS

ACTION BEAT
THE NOISE BAND FROM BLETCHLEY
(Truth Cult)
Sonic experimentalists from the land of concrete cows.
2/5
Milton Keynes based Action Beat are a (mostly) instrumental art/noise outfit not a million miles away from the likes of Sonic Youth and The Boredoms. They have a penchant for experimenting with sound, but they’re astute enough to keep things reasonably melodic, so as not to make their music completely inaccessible. They’re a loose collective of available musicians and, when playing live, can feature up to four guitarists, some bassists and between one and four drummers! There are snippets of Killing Joke, The Pixies and Fugazi in their chaotic sonic melting pot. They’re an acquired taste but if you like your music off-kilter this may be for you.
Lee Cotterell

A DAY TO REMEMBER
HOMESICK
(Victory)
Florida beatdown pop punk favourites drop third album.
4/5
Opening with an accapella beatdown before bursting into a real one, opener ‘The Downfall of Us All’ shows why ADTR can mix hardcore guitar work and huge pop punk melodies (not to mention a flutter of handclaps) better than most newcomers. This seamless combination continues throughout all 12 tracks and this is the band’s most solid and infectious album to date. If ‘NJ Legion Iced Tea’ doesn’t make you sing along and ‘You Already Know What You Are’ doesn’t cause you to start a moshpit in your room, then you should probably check your pulse. Not original but more hyper than a kid with ADD filled full of Red Bull.
Rachel Owen

…AND YOU WLL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
THE CENTURY OF SELF
(Richter Scale/Universal)
Art-rock monsters return for outing number 6.
3/5
AYWKUBTTOD have continuously dumfounded critics (and fans) with their melding of punk, art-rock, prog and desert rock. From their self-titled debut to the acclaimed ‘Source Tags & Codes’, the sextet have honed their sound. ‘The Century of Self’ is a typically bold statement from the Texan titans, with songs like ‘Halcyon Days’ and the poptastic ‘Fields of Coal’ standing out. However, it all feels a little too laboured to be up there with their best work and in parts reminiscent of the dull My Morning Jacket. A shame, elsewhere ‘The Century of Self’ really is rather good.
Rob Mair

BELL X1
BLUE LIGHTS ON THE RUNWAY
(Bellyup)
Pleasant Irish boys return.
3/5
You may have heard these guys covering ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ on a popular phone network commercial a few years ago or if you live in Ireland, where they’re apparently massive. Signs seem to point to this album being the one that gains them a wider following. The opening is a mellow, ‘80s tinged track with fantastic, quirky lyrics such as, “Like the ribs of a broken umbrella, sticking out of a bin”. ‘The Great Defector’ channels Talking Heads, maybe a little too much, but is still enjoyable. Paul Noonan’s impressive vocal range on ‘Light Catches Your Face’, is a brilliantly memorable ballad. A genuinely interesting band who are well worth a listen.
Tracey Lowe

BILLY CLUB SANDWICH
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
(Rucktion)
Gold plated ghetto hardcore, fool!
4/5
Despite the suckapunch vocals and visceral guitars, I can’t help but smile whenever I hear Billy Club Sandwich: I mean who doesn’t love gangster hardcore? This 8 track EP follows in the bands usual frantic style, with lyrics ranging from the standard NYC angry topics to hip-hop spits about life in the hood. It manages to balance a fun style of heavy punk with all the brutal concussion of metalcore. With 3 bonus videos included and a lyric guide with regular, cracker and Spanish versions (just in case your struggling with the lingo), this little release is a 24-carat gem in the career of the Bronx’s most badass hardcore collective.
Tom Williams

BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY
BEWARE
(Domino)
Audio drop-outs on promo copies are a very annoying thing. Except in this case.
4/5
The Bonnie one returns with yet another album of love, despair, hope and regret. A haunting mixture of Americana, folksy-punk and more, ‘Beware’ manages to be as uplifting as a slow-paced, thoughtful album could be. The familiar warble of the Prince is as relaxing as it ever was, especially on tracks such as ‘Death Final’ and ‘You Are Lost’, and is backed up by some wonderful guest vocalists. The flow isn’t even broken up that badly by the constant “this is a promotional copy” interruptions that Billy personally litters the album with. Yes, so they won’t be on the retail version, but shut up. Good stuff.
Ian Dransfield

CHRIS WOLLARD & THE SHIP THIEVES
CHRIS WOLLARD & THE SHIP THIEVES
(No Idea)
Hot Water Music vocalist goes back to roots (rock).
4/5
Many punk vocalists are turning their hand to self-indulgent acoustic side-projects these days but, as always, Chris Wollard side-steps convention and comes through with a truly immersive record. Mixing the early ‘90s influenced electric power-pop of infectious opener ‘No Exception’ and ‘All the Things You Know’ with the majestic, upbeat alt-folk/country of ‘Reason in My Rhyme’, ‘In the Middle of the Sea’ and the catchy ‘Oh Whatever’. While the odd track, such as ‘Up to the Moon’ lacks a solid hook and chorus, these 10 drawled tracks are full of soul and passion for music. Another triumph for Chris Wollard.
Ian Chaddock

CHUCK & THE HULAS
ALL GOOD PIRATES GO TO HAWAII
(Western Star)
Honolulu rock ‘n’ roll party.
4/5
I don’t know what it is about albums by Chuck Harvey, he gets away with what nobody else could. The genuine drug and booze battered lunatic of rockabilly has recorded an album of songs loosely based on fun and frolics in Hawaii, mostly classic songs just covered in Chuck’s inimitable fashion. There’s a smattering of reggae, rockabilly and country performed on double bass, ukulele, lap steel and ‘unprotected’ sax. ‘Remember You’re A Hula’ is even a loosely veiled 1970s kids TV programme theme tune! It’s a summery party album and it’s out while the snow around Western Star studio is a foot deep.
Simon Nott

DEFEATER
DEFEATER
(Bridge Nine)
Massachusetts hardcore with plenty to deliver.
4/5
Defeater originally released their self-titled debut album on Top Shelf. Top Shelf is owned by a Bridge Nine employee and the label wisely decided to pick ‘Defeater’ up and give it a wider release. This intelligent band’s album works best listened to as a whole and heralds a vital new force in the hardcore world. The music is hardcore without being clichéd, displaying fresh variety both in atmosphere and style. There are aspects of traditional hardcore but also more experimental leanings too. Overall, it’s a clever and cohesive piece of work. It’s definitely worth reading the lyrics book as well because the album is essentially an involving novella about one man’s travels.
Paul Hagen

DER FLUCH
IM DORF DER VERDAMMTEN
(Fiendforce)
Cult German gothabilly band’s comeback album.
3/5
Der Fluch (‘The Curse’) are hailed as the godfathers of German gothic rock in their homeland. They originally formed in 1981, recorded one album, split shortly after before rising from the grave, recording three more and calling it a day again in the early ‘90s. Cult status meant they wouldn’t stay dead for long, culminating in a return to the stage at the world’s largest goth festival Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 2007 and prompting them to re-record a bunch of their classic tracks along with three new ones. The result is an album which should appeal to fans of Rezurex and Zombina and The Skeletones. It’s all sung in German though, sprechen sie Deutsch, anyone?
Lee Cotterell

THE EXPLOITED
LET’S START A WAR/LIVE AND LOUD!
(Anagram)
Mohicaned Scots maniacs get a double-disc reissue.
3/5
This Exploited collection isn’t essential, consisting of the band’s third studio album from late 1983, the last to feature the mighty Big John Duncan on guitar, with Link Records’ ‘Live And Loud!’ compilation of live tracks from various gigs, with various line-ups, and variable results. Still, even if ‘Let’s Start A War’ didn’t match its illustrious predecessors on the material front, it showed that Wattie still had plenty of fire in his belly, and the live comp is fun, in a ragged sort of way. As always with these Anagram reissues, there are plenty of bonus tracks and great sleeve notes.
Shane Baldwin

FAKE PROBLEMS
IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE
(Side One Dummy)
Riotous indie-punk-folk mash-up generally hits the spot.
3/5
Though they were last seen in the UK supporting melodic punks Smoke Or Fire, Florida’s Fake Problems draw from an altogether wider musical palette than simply keeping it fast and loud. The super-posi titled ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’ comes across like the bastard offspring of The Hold Steady and Against Me! (circa ‘New Wave’), with a touch of Flogging Molly. When it works, it’s great – creating a party atmosphere on record. It’s just when things get a bit too quirky, as is the case on ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ and ‘Level With The Devil’, that they begin to lose their charm slightly.
Nick Mann

THE GUILTY PLEASURES
WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?
(Radio Controlled)
North Western punks unleash rousing political debut.
4/5
Hailing from the Lancaster/Manchester area, this three-piece are inspired by the likes of Anti-Flag, Rancid and Bad Religion and their first album is full of the kind of raging yet melody-filled modern politi-punk that would make Leftover Crack proud. With all three members providing gritty vocals, exemplified on opener ‘Fear, Hate, Lies, Deceit’ and infectious guitar lines, such as on the title track, this raucous and ragged bunch have the raw sound of the genre’s veterans (many of whom they’ve already shared a stage with) with the youthful power of the new wave. Catch them at Rebellion Festival to see what they’re fighting for.
John Damon

HENRY AND THE BLEEDERS
OUT OF CASH, OUT OF LUCK, OUT ON BAIL
(Western Star)
A driving license was sacrificed in the making of this album.
4/5
Henry and the Bleeders are one of the better of a whole host of young bands popping up to play rockabilly inspired music. While a lot of them are pushing the boundaries and getting involved in sorts of unholy and incestuous genre inter-fucking, H&TB are more than happy to belt out their take on the genre in a more traditional manner, with stomping songs about drinking. The album nearly didn’t happen at all after shenanigans at a local pub, a police helicopter and being generally naughty boys – read the cuttings in the sleeve!
Simon Nott

JOHN PLAYER SPECIALS
IDENTIFICATION EP
(Do The Dog)
Sweet and soulful stylings from Wigan youngsters.
4/5
Softly does it with the debut release from these Northern boys. In fact it’s such a gentle record that all five tracks pass by without too much of a tempo change or a wee bit of aggression. But this is melodic two-tone ska and they do it very well. With lead vocalist Jordan providing a very tuneful and soothing voice to the EP that at times feels like he might be holding back, especially on one of the darker tracks ‘Identification’, hinting that he has the ability to deliver more power. It’s all very promising but feels cautionary. However, it’s a lovely record that’s likely to make you wish it was summer already.
Sarah Cakebread

THE LOVED ONES
DISTRACTIONS
(Fat Wreck)
Philly soulful punks unleash EP of originals and covers.
3/5
The Loved Ones have released two quite different albums on Fat Wreck – 2006’s energetic ‘Keep Your Heart’ and last year’s more Boss-influenced ‘Build & Burn’. This new EP should keep fans happy until the next album, but it’s hit and miss. Of the three originals, ‘Distracted’ isn’t bad (with the Hold Steady’s Franz Nicolay on keys) and ‘Spy Diddley’ was recorded in their early, faster days. The acoustic Springsteen classic ‘Johnny 99’ is ruined with an electric interpretation but the reworkings of Billy Bragg’s ‘Summer Town Revisited’ and Joe Strummer and the Mescalero’s ‘Coma Girl’, as a pop punk tune and a campfire sing-along respectively, are pretty inspired efforts. Roll on album three.
Ian Chaddock

MAGAZINE
TOUCH AND GO: ANTHOLOGY 02.78 – 06.81
(Virgin)
Two-disc career spanning collection from the newly reformed post-punks.
5/5
While Howard Devoto’s chilly lyrical preoccupations and his band’s angular arrangements may have sat Magazine rather awkwardly among their contemporaries, thirty years down the line their intense musical vision can still provoke a sharp intake of breath. This adroitly selected two-CD rundown balances the choice extracts from Magazine’s four studio LPs, with single tracks including the knife-sharp swipe at punk conformity that is ‘Shot By Both Sides’ and a smattering of rarities including a vein-popping take on Captain Beefheart’s ‘Big Dummy’. As overlooked and misunderstood as Magazine have been over the years, Devoto and co. boast an impeccable back catalogue, one that affords fresh revelations on each listen.
Hugh Gulland

THE METEORS
KINGS OF PSYCHOBILLY: A 5 DISC CAREER RETROSPECTIVE
(Cherry Red)
Royals of the wrecking pit since 1980!
5/5
Ever wondered who was first responsible for taking the rockin’ spirit of the ‘50s and twisting it into the tortured, blood-spewing screams of psychobilly we know and love? For diehard fans, only one band can come to mind. Almost 30 years old and more demented than ever, The Meteors were there at the beginning – scratch that – The Meteors are the beginning. This 81-track retrospective picks all the choicest gory morsels from their career, right up to the present. The sleeve notes include a comprehensive history of the band via an interview with long-time member Mr. P. Paul Fenech. A must-have for any self-respecting gangrene greaser.
Tom Williams

THE ONLY ONES
THE ONLY ONES / EVEN SERPENTS SHINE / BABY’S GOT A GUN
(Sony)
Pristine reissues of the lost legends’ original albums.
5/5 / 5/5 / 4/5
The definitive band-out-of-time, the Only Ones flourished briefly but brilliantly between 1976 and 1980, pancaking messily in 1981 after a marked lack of commercial success, all the more paradoxical considering their much lauded 1978 single ‘Another Girl Another Planet’. The song was no fluke either – over their first two albums, the Only Ones delineate their own particular twilight world of gloom and glitter, Peter Perrett’s bewitching songs delving deep into emotional torment and forbidden love. If the final album is the sound of the Only Ones falling apart, it takes a band this good to make career burnout sound so stylish.
Hugh Gulland

PROPAGANDHI
SUPPORTING CASTE
(Hassle)
Canadian punk favourites unleash again on fifth full-length.
4/5
Having set the bar so high with their previous albums, most bands would struggle to keep the quality up. Not Propagandhi. ‘Supporting Caste’ is another behemoth that again stunningly melds hardcore punk, skate punk, huge melodies (‘Human(e) Meat’ is a sing-along with a great guitar solo at the end) and an obvious love of metal (most evident on crunching opener ‘Night Matters’ and the raging ‘This Is Your Life’) to jaw-dropping effect. There is a slight feel that the band are holding back and it lacks the urgency of the mighty ‘Today’s Empires…’, but it’s still a powerful and welcome return from one of Canada’s finest.
Ian Chaddock

PUSH THE GHOST
LISTEN UP!
(Scratched)
Aggressive? Check. Punk as fuck? Check. Set to be one of this year’s top bands? Double check!
4/5
This is pure punk rock spit and grit that comes tearing out of your speakers with this EP from the perhaps less punk rock Grimsby. Anthemic and frantic, ‘Listen Up!’ is a high-speed cocktail of Anti-Flag, Lagwagon and H20. It’s a mixture of ten dirty spirits in a big old jug that’ll knock you off your feet and leave you feeling the effects for weeks after. ‘Fnfg’ is a stand out track, invoking the melodic punch of Strike Anywhere. This is the kind of record that makes you want to go to a gig and get the living shit kicked out of you.
Sarah Cakebread

THE SEWER RATS
RAT ATTACK
(Bitzcore)
Excellent mash-up of all that’s good in punk.
4/5
The Sewer Rats’ debut album hits all the right spots from start to finish. The intro is by Mad Sin man-mountain Koefte De Ville but, apart from the use of the double bass, that is about all the nod there is to psychobilly. This platter owes much more to Social Distortion and Rancid. There’s plenty of snotty sneer in the songs, some heroic guitar riffs and double bass that actually contributes to the finished article, as opposed to being a visual prop, which all adds up to an album that should be tracked down and played loud.
Simon Nott

THE SHAKING HANDS
THE SHAKING HANDS
(A.D.D./Kiss Of Death)
Fist-pumping street punk from Gainsville, Florida.
3/5
You read it right, street punk from Florida and not some wannabe Hot Water Music or Against Me! band! The Shaking Hands mix up ingredients from the punk fountain of youth, both new and old. Bits of the Clash, Youth Brigade, early Rancid and a little Bouncing Souls-style chant-alongs all go into the broth. This 11-tracker won’t set the world alight in the originality stakes but it’s played with passion, precision and has some damn fine choruses, like the rousing ‘A New Reason To Rise’. Overall The Shaking Hands deserves to be sought out if you like your punk stomping and raucous.
Miles Hackett

THE SKIDS
THE ABSOLUTE GAME
(Captain Oi!)
Tasty re-issue of the Dunfermline punkers’ anthemic third outing.
4/5
Originally released in 1980, The Absolute Game was the final Skids album to feature Stuart Adamson’s stirring guitar work, but while his longstanding writing partnership with vocalist Richard Jobson would shortly fall apart, the Skids’ third saw the two riffing powerfully on each other’s input. One of the finest guitar talents of the UK punk era, Adamson fires off melodic volleys to Jobson’s semi-historical mini-epics. The album’s high points – opening track ‘Circus Games’, with its Slade-style kiddie-chorus, the captivating ‘Woman In Winter’ and ‘Arena’s masterful outro – arguably eclipse the band’s earlier, and better-remembered, hit singles.
Hugh Gulland

SPECIAL MOVE
CURSE OF THE BLACKWATER
(Rucktion)
The hardcore elite take a deep breath and dive.
4/5
Chelmsford beatdown merchants Special Move are back to deliver their unique eclectic style of musical pain and aural destruction. Despite forming over ten years ago, with their original heritage hailing back to the mid-‘90s UK hardcore explosion, ‘Curse Of The Blackwater’ marks the band’s second full-length release and hits harder than the spin kicks in the face it’s bound to instigate. Without any loss of their trademark vehemence and cruelty, ‘COTBW’ marries angry and lyrically innovative vocals with equally angry drum blasts and choking guitars. A full-bodied and blistering release with a tangy metallic aftertaste.
Tom Williams

THIN LIZZY
STILL DANGEROUS
(Thin Lizzy Productions)
What can you say…?
4/5
I normally avoid reviewing live albums because, let’s face it, most of them are shameless cash-ins or merely serve to satisfy contractual obligations. It would also be impossible to review this record without mentioning ‘Live and Dangerous’ (which this new record predates), considered by many to be a contender for one of the best live albums of all time. I am a huge fan of Thin Lizzy and this record captures probably the most effective line-up in brilliant form on the 1977 ‘Bad Reputation’ tour when the band were still buzzing from success. The editing is pretty brutal but you can’t fault it other than that.
James Batty

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POLL RESULTS

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

WHO ARE THE REAL KINGS OF PSYCHOBILLY?

THE CRAMPS 45.1%

THE METEORS 24.9%
MAD SIN 22%
TIGER ARMY 5.2%
NEKROMANTIX 2.9%

With almost half the votes, the seminal US band The Cramps were innovators in psychobilly and garage punk. One of a kind, frontman Lux Interior will be sadly missed, having passed away in February due to a heart condition. RIP Lux and all hail The Cramps!

Vote now for who you think will rock Rebellion Fest hardest in August…

 

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WIN IGGY POP BOXSET

WIN IGGY POP ‘WHERE THE FACES SHINE VOLUME 2’ CD BOXSET FROM EASY ACTION RECORDS!!!

We have 2 cd boxsets of the brilliant new Iggy Pop ‘Where the Faces Shine Vol 2’ set to give away. It is a 6 cd, one dvd set with a magnificent 32 page full colour booklet. It contains live, demos and video tracks from Iggy’s ‘80s period when he had people like Steve Jones, Alvin Gibbs and Nasty Suicide playing with him. It ******* rules!! Simply tell us the name of the Stooges guitarist who recently passed away. Answers to info@vivelepunk.net

And to check out the boxset – and other classic quality punk and rock releases go to www.easyaction.co.uk
 

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THE GRIT

The hottest band in the U.K right now to combine punk, ska , rockabilly and more – THE GRIT are the real deal. With new album ‘Straight Out The Alley’ out next month on People Like You, you can also sample them on a free CD from April 22nd with this month’s Big Cheese magazine. (www.bigcheesemagazine.com)

VLP:How and when did the Grit get together?
“Me (Louis Ville, guitar) and Big Lou (vocals) moved to London in 2002 and started The Grit then, but the band didn’t really take shape until 2004 when little man kurt (double bass) joined the band.  It was around 2005 when the band became an established touring band, releasing records and shit like that!”

VLP: So what’s different on the new album?
 “We went a bit more full on with our influences in styles other than Punk rock, delving into ska, rockabilly and country, and we’ve experimented with new instruments in the tracks- brass, mandolin, Uke etc. But it’s still essentially a punk rock album, and better than the last album!”

VLP: What bands do you look to for influences?
“It’s wide ranging really. We’ll always look to The Clash for inspiration, plus old favourites like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, and then you’ve got more recent influences like The Slackers, Rancid and Kings of Nuthin’.”

Where can we see the Grit next?
“The Underworld in London on May 10th, and then around the UK throughout May. Check our myspace details for more! Cheers!

www.myspace.com/thegrit

 

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DUANE PETERS

THE MASTER OF DISASTER!

DUANE PETERS is a Californian punk rock warlord and skate punk legend. Whether he was world famous winning skate comps in the 1980s or later on rocking with his various bands like the U.S. BOMBS, DIE HUNNS or the DUANE PETERS GUNFIGHT, Duane has always skated and rocked hard and reckless. Duane sums up everything about Californian skate punk and all here at Vive Le Punk and Big Cheese magazine salute the dude. What follows is a Big Cheese interview Eugene El Prez did with Duane from Big Cheese’s archives back in
1997. Fuck yeah maannn!!!!!!!

THE LIFE AND DANGEROUS TIMES OF DUANE PETERS

DUANE PETERS IS THE MAN. HE’S ALSO A SKATEBOARDING LEGEND. A SPONSERED PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDER FOR OVER 20 YEARS, HE INVENTED MORE TRICKS THAN HE CAN EVEN REMEMBER AND VIRTUALLY DEFINED VERT SKATING IN THE LATE 70’S AND 80’S.
FIRST EVER TO THE FULL LOOP (LOOP OF DEATH), HE RIPPED APART POOL COMPETITIONS AT A TIME WHEN THE COMPETITION CONSISTED OF THE ALVAS, ALBAS AND ALAN ‘OLLIE’ GELFAND.

He’s been shot, stabbed, fucked up along the way, ripped off by the skate industry, but he still doesn’t give a fuck. He skates hard and lives it every day. He’s stayed true and lives for skating now as much as he did more than 20 years ago. The term ‘keeping it real’ was made for Duane Peters. He currently has 3 boards out on Milwaukee’s Beer City Skateboards and has just toured the UK for the first time with his old-skool styled West Coast punk band The US Bombs, who are signed to Tim Armstrong from Rancid’s Hellcat Label.

Duane was one of the first skaters to ditch the California surfer look way back in the day and get all punk rocked up (probably helping to invent the term ‘skatepunk’ along the way) and it’s been a long, crazy outta control ride ever since. It was a real privilege to meet one of my heroes from the pages of Skateboard magazine and Duane didn’t let me down. He was real cool.

BC: So how was it skating back in the old days? It must have been a magical time.

DP: It was cool for me. It was really great when I got on Santa Cruz with Steve Olsen and Steve Alba, we kinda fuckin’ just took everyone on and nobody fucked with us, and we fully loved it like that. We were down with punk rock and you better not fuck with us. Everybody were robots, the Varibots (Variflex), the Powell guys, we laughed at all of them. We got through it and never fell into the industry crap. I still talk to Olsen. When I was leaving we were trying to hook up for a session and when I get back hopefully we’re gunna, but Alva, he’s still skating good, Salba was still ripping so it’s like fucking cool. I’ve got a good crew, and now that the Vans park is open we’re set. We skate Chicken’s pool, drain it and really get into it. We’ve got a couple of mini ramps.

I’ve got a boy that’s 14, a boy that’s 12. Both my sons skate, both are in punk rock bands, both are A-students. My 18-year-old nephew sings in a band called The Worthless and he skates. It’s really cool ‘cause I didn’t make any of them do any of it. They’ve just fallen into it.

BC: So what tricks did you invent?
DP: Oh I dunno, a bunch of slides, the lay back rollout. I did the full loop 20 years ago. It really amazes me that Tony Hawk (who also recently did a full loop) came up with the same dimensions as me. He’s a computer fuckin’ wizard and that fuckin’ idiot (he’s so) worried about trying to hide and make himself look like the first one to do it. If he asked me I would have told him that he should make the pipe 18 feet, you know like 4 feet bigger would have done the shit. I don’t like to talk to that guy. I have nothing in common with him and he’s a total screwy.

BC: What matters more in skating, style or technique?
DP: Style and aggression. I like to do tricks too and probably have about 12-14 tricks I made up behind me. I don’t really give a fuck what anyone’s doing. I pick up my board because I don’t want to go to the gym, I don’t want to be a fat pig and I’ve been skating my whole life. The only thing that makes me feel good about myself is to skate, fuck my chic play punk rock. It’s the only things I live for.

BC: What’s the best skating you’ve ever seen?
DP: Oh shit, who’s my favourite skater right now? I change ‘em all the time. But I guess Chris Senn. I he’s a really great all-round skater. I’d probably go with him as my favourite skater.

BC: Did you ever make any money in skateboarding?
DP: No we didn’t get a lot of money. We didn’t sign contracts-they burned us. Yeah you know it was a family thing and we never got sales statements. They would buy me a bottle. I lived in garages. I did TV interviews and they couldn’t believe I didn’t own a car. I had bought all my band their equipment because I felt guilty having any money at all. I’ve been playing music since I was 17 in punk rock bands ya’ know so…it aint been about that anyway. It would be fuckin’ nice buy ya’ know, c’mon. If you’re about something else I think you’re gunna let yourself down I’ve been doing it for so long that I mean, I had nothing for so long. That’s why my band grows so slowly because we’ve all had nothing and we’ve never got anything from punk rock. All those other bands laugh at us because we don’t know how to do our taxes. We’re all bullshitting around and fuckin around and they don’t understand why we’re not paranoid. We’re just like we’ve never had anything so any little thing to us is great. We’re over here in England. We’ve all been playing music for 20 years, none of our guys except Jonny now who is in a band (he’s been in a couple over here) and Chip my  drummer’s been over here. But me, Kerry and Wade have never been over here.

BC: So who are you sponsored by now?
DP: Beer City, Independent Trucks, Dogpile for a while. I just…I don’t ever stay in touch with anybody ‘til I get a band. Beer City is just a skate guy and his mum. They have a couple of people who come into the warehouse every now and then. It’s really personal, I mean, I see them go totally out of their way for me. I used to skate for Think and it was like being on a major label. You’re on the shelf and I felt like they only had me on there because maybe they felt sorry I didn’t get anything in the past, so they’re giving me little bits here and there and I’m the old fuckin authentic guy that they can’t have you know? And they’re running ads of me when I was 17. It’s like; you know what motherfucker come watch me skate now I still fuckin’ rip!  Well, fuck you guys. These guys were calling me saying, “What are you doing with them? Ride with us, we know you’re ripping. We’ll try to get a loop built for you and have bands pay for it.” Fuckin’ I was gonna try and (this was like 2 years ago) do the Evil Knevil thing ‘cause I was so pissed about [Tony] Hawk not owning up to where he learnt it. I mean, he’s the editor of Skateboarder and there’s all this powerplay shit that I just don’t wanna deal with it. I just don’t have the time, I’m too old to sit around and worry about all the little politics and shit. A lot of them aren’t even having fun anymore, they’re so worried about being sponsored and the video shoot and this and that…I watched a street contest and I was not enthused because they fall all the time.

BC: Yeah man, we just used to skate this real shitty ramp, nails and patches everywhere, flying down this hill into this homemade rough as fuck bowl.
DP: Fuckin stunt man shit, that’s what I like! There’s such a thrill of watching, that “is he gunna make it?” Now it’s not very spectator. Even I just watch it and go wow that was really great, alright I’m for it, can we leave? You did that backwards and it was like, yeah wow, well who cares. No, he flipped it three times not twice. Oh yeah, wow. This is what it’s come to and there’s no guitars in the background. It’s [makes electronica noises] I can’t go skate to that [drum and bass]. It’s like kryptonite. It would suck all the life out of me.

BC: You got into punk when you began skating?
DP: Well, 1977 was when we started listening to it. I cut my hair in ’78, 4th July 1978 me and my best friend made the move and [we] just got the fuck kicked outta us for being different in California. All of a sudden our friends disowned us. We were totally on our own. Even Jay Adams, who is a very good friend of mine, came up and says “I thought you were cool man.” I had white hair, a fuckin’ trenchcoat and bleached my eyebrows. He’s all, “I thought you were cool man, you’re a fuckin’ freak now.” It’s like, man. And then I saw him six months later. He brings Jim Muir’s little brother, who ended up being Suicidal Tendencies singer, he was a little kid. They all showed up at Macy’s Hall and that’s how it was. It was like everyone’s putting it down and the next week they’re punk too.

BC: You’ve had some pretty well-documented drug problems.
DP: There was a long drug haul, but man, I don’t know. I don’t have nothing to say about it other than you know, I’m a stupid kid and I fell into stuff. I tried to tell a lot of my friends who fell in the same way, once you pick up a needle man expect at least a 10 year habit if you don’t die of it in the meantime, because it’s something I didn’t believe. I’ve learned the hard way in fuckin everything. I’m always ending up in jail and on the street. It took everything I owned and struggled with it for about 8 years trying to quit it. I’ve got a lot of friends that have died or gotten fucked up. It’s sad because they’re not even themselves. I look at them from the other side now going “wow that’s not even him. I hope he comes around again.” There’s nothing you can say to them, there really isn’t. I smoke weed every now and then and then I try not to drink. I’m struggling with that now but it’s been a couple of years now that I’ve been done with the needle and about a year before I was actually over it. It about a year of like constant mind fucking. I can’t imagine even poking myself now. It’s back to where I was when I was 18 and I want to stay there because I know the consequences.

BC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
DP: I’ve gotten away with so much more than I should have gotten away with. All the little bits of time I’ve done- I just can’t stand doing three hours.

BC: You mean jail?
DP: Year, about a year ago with my guitar player Chuck we got busted for drinking public in New Orleans. We were thrown into the prison and they were going to lose us in the system because it’s under the old law when they got it from the French so it’s very, very corrupt. We got in there and the blacks in the south do not like the whites at all…there’s nothing you can do. So it wasn’t fun. Our road guy got us out-I guess it was like three hundred bucks a piece and they paid it off. I had six years joint suspended on my last bust and I had to do three years probation. Those three years if I had stolen like a candy bar I’ve could been put away. It’s way too fanatical in LA now. You can’t even smoke in a fuckin bar there now! I can’t wait ‘til they start turning all the fuckin’ tolls on the East Coast into checkpoints. I’ll be waiting for it-the slow takeover!

BC: You know, you’re pretty much of a survivor
DP: I don’t really like to think of it like that. I just like to think of it as getting through shit, you know? Just breaking through new ground and in the end just trying to just trying to fuckin learn from your mistakes. I think if you get through all that shit maybe you can start doing better

BC: Do you think punk rock is getting too commercialised these days?
DP: I don’t know. I think a lot of bands that are nothing about what we’re about are getting a lot of fuckin’ hype, but that’s all bullshit. A lot of them I watch just fuckin’ come and go. We’re just on the slow route instead.

BC: So what about the US Bombs sound? It’s kind of got an old-skool flavour to it
DP: We try to stay real traditional because that’s all we listen to, but we also cover new ground and cross it with tunes that are fuckin’ out there. We have certain guidelines that we stay in and it’s gotta be music that we really love otherwise forget it. I’m not gunna play stuff because it’s popular.

BC: Describe the US Bombs
DP: Average fuckin’ kids man. We’re just trying to have fun in the end. We work to try and not really have to work you know and we’re true to what we’re into. Just try to keep on rockin’ every fuckin’ night. We’ve gotta keep writing new stuff and always try to make the new record better than the last. That’s pretty much about it. It’s getting better all the time, it’s slowly getting better. We’re finally over here. They shut us down a couple of times.

BC: What’s next for you?
DP: We’ve got a new record all done called The World, the single comes out in April. We’re gunna keep touring, try to get on some skatepunk tour so I can skate all day and rock with my band at night.

BC: Sounds like the Warped Tour?
DP: Yeah, we did it. I just really like hated that thing but I don’t know, it’s getting so big. I skateboard and there is supposedly a skatepunk thing over there. They gave us five shows and they had us open up, so it’s like 12 o’clock in the afternoon. The crowd is about 90ft away from you. It’s just a nightmare. The sun is on your face and it’s like fuck it man. That’s bullshit. I don’t feel real about it. It’s just too much commercial crap that bothers me. So we kinda went there and left.

Eugene Big Cheese

 
 

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HISTORY OF CALIFORNIAN PUNK

STAY GOLD

From The Dickies and The Germs to Green Day and Rancid, there is a long and illustrious HISTORY OF CALIFORNIAN PUNK. Vive Le Punk takes a closer look at the dirtier side of the Golden State…


The Dickies

The roots of Californian punk can be drawn right back to 1976-77. Influenced by the raw energy of the Ramones, the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols and the Clash, the first wave of Californian punk bands emerged from a vibrant glam rock scene in the early ‘70s, much like in New York and London. In the blossoming Los Angeles scene, seminal acts X, The Dickies and hardcore punk pioneers such as Black Flag and The Germs formed, to name just a few. The Germs, led by wild frontman Darby Crash and including future Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear, released their debut single ‘Forming/ Sexboy’ in ’77 and is considered by many to be the first LA punk record.


The Germs

Meanwhile in San Francisco, a more experimental but no less vibrant scene was growing with bands such as the Nuns, the Avengers, the Mutants and Flipper, some of which mixed the power of punk with new wave and synth rock influences. However, this scene’s most famous sons were without doubt the Dead Kennedys, who formed in 1978 and went on to unleash a seminal mix of hardcore, art punk and politics, with the distinctive vocals of Jellio Biafra and guitar work of East Bay Ray. Debut album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’ (1980) is one of the most influential Californian hardcore punk albums ever.


Black Flag

From 1979-81, the older, more fashion conscious Hollywood punk scene was being replaced by the aggressive, often violent, hardcore punk scene. The Orange County and San Diego scenes were particularly infamous, with suburban punks and police regularly clashing at gigs. The documentary film ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’ (1981) by Penelope Spheeris tracks this change and features live footage of LA hardcore favourites such as Circle Jerks, Fear and the aforementioned Black Flag, the Germs and X, to name just a few. In 1981 the LAPD Chief of Police demanded that the film not be shown in LA again. The film has become a cult classic and a fascinating view of the West Coast scene. From the early to mid-‘80s, hardcore punk was at its height of popularity in California, with seminal bands such as the Minutemen, TSOL and the Descendents finding a growing fanbase. With Ronald Reagan in the White House, many bands focused on political lyrics and imagery, much like many punk bands did in recent years to rally against George W. Bush. Hardcore also began to diversify, with bands incorporating influences such as garage rock (Angry Samoans), surf rock (Agent Orange) and metal (Suicidal Tendencies, DRI) into their sounds.


Descendents

The mid-‘80s saw bands such as the Descendents and The Vandals start to birth pop punk and this came into fruition by the end of the ‘80s in the San Francisco Bay Area and northern California. A raw mix of energy and infectious melodies, this sound was played by Ramones-loving bands in the area, such as The Mr. T Experience, Crimpshrine, The Groovie Ghoulies and many more, with lyrics more focused on girls and fun than the politics of the earlier hardcore bands (most of which had split by this time). LA’s Bad Religion released their first album, ‘Suffer’, in 1988, an album still considered by many punk fans as one of the finest US punk albums of the ‘80s and has influenced many bands who came after it. Fat Mike once called it “the record that changed everything”.


Jawbreaker

As well as these pop punk acts, by the early ‘90s punk bands such as AFI, American Steel, Samiam, Jawbreaker and Operation Ivy (featuring a pre-Rancid Tim Armstrong playing ska punk) were also blowing away local crowds. At the centre of the blooming underground pop punk scene in the Bay Area was Lookout! Records and 924 Gilman St., a DIY venue which refused to book bands signed to major labels.


Lagwagon

In the LA and Southern Californian areas, bands such as Guttermouth were breaking through and skate punk was beginning to gather momentum, with a scene including the likes of Strung Out, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, Ten Foot Pole and Pennywise. Fat Wreck Chords, owned by NOFX’s Fat Mike, was at the centre of this fast-paced yet melodic sounding punk.


Green Day

Following Social Distortion’s major label deal and minor hit self-titled album in 1990, with their mix of punk and rockabilly, a punk trio from Berkeley in San Francisco would explode into the mainstream. Rising from their Gilman St. roots, Green Day signed to Reprise Records (pissing off some early fans who accused them of ‘selling out’) and released major label debut ‘Dookie’ in 1994, singles such as ‘Basket Case’ and ‘When I Come Around’ made them the biggest punk band in the world, with their songs all over radio and videos on MTV.

A couple of months later, Orange County’s The Offspring enjoyed similar success with their third album ‘Smash’, but this time the album was released on an independent label – Epitaph Records, owned by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. ‘Smash’ is the best selling independent album of all-time, being certified as multi-platinum.


Sublime

With this exposure of the exciting Californian punk scene, bands such as Bad Religion (‘Stranger Than Fiction’), NOFX (‘Punk In Drublic’) and Rancid (‘…And Out Come the Wolves’ saw their mid-‘90s albums certified gold or platinum and secured the position of Epitaph Records as the largest independent label in the US. With the Californian punk scene hitting mainstream popularity in its mid-‘90s heyday, LA area ska punk acts such as Sublime, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish and No Doubt, as well as San Diego punk ‘n’ rollers Rocket From The Crypt and punk bands like Face to Face and The Aquabats, all enjoyed success. Labels such as Kung Fu Records (owned by members of The Vandals) and Nitro Records (owned by The Offspring’s Dexter Holland) were all founded in the mid-‘90s and would go on to release records by a wide range of punk artists.

The next wave of Californian pop punk exploded in the late ‘90s, with San Diegan jokers Blink-182’s breakthrough third album ‘Enema of the State’ selling over 12 million records worldwide. With a humorous approach to music videos and a polished, fun sound, Mark, Tom and Travis were three friends on a rollercoaster ride of popularity. They released another two albums before splitting in 2005, with Mark and Travis forming pop punks (+44) and Tom taking on the ambitious sprawling rock sound of Angels and Airwaves.

Having been founded by brother and sister Richard and Stefanie Reines in 1996, Drive-Thru Records took pop punk into the 21st century, with albums from bands from all over the US enjoying some exposure, including Californian bands such as Home Grown, Something Corporate, Finch, Rx Bandits and, more recently, Hellogoodbye.


The Ataris

Bands such as The Ataris, mixing emo and pop punk, became popular in the early ‘00s and Hellcat Records (owned by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and founded in 1997) grew into a nucleus for a new wave of old-school-loving Californian punk rockers. Bands such as the Transplants (featuring members of Rancid and Blink-182), the Distillers, F-Minus, Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards and the Nerve Agents were some of the Californian bands, amongst an impressive roster of US and foreign bands, who helped Hellcat develop a dedicated base of mohawked fans. Avenged Sevenfold became popular in the early ‘00s by taking the energy of punk rock and applying it to a metalcore sound.

With West Coast punk as strong as ever, 2009 is set to see the eagerly awaited return of two of San Francisco’s most well-loved bands, in the form of Green Day and Rancid’s new albums. Also, after many months of rumours, Blink-182 announced their reunion earlier this month at the Grammy Awards in LA and announced online that a new album and world tour would follow this year. It seems the future of the Californian music scene is golden…

Ian Chaddock

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DEAD KENNEDYS

VLP readers voted them the best hardcore punk band of all-time recently. San Francisco’s DEAD KENNEDYS mixed experimentation, hardcore and provocative and sarcastic political commentary to create a sound all their own in the early ‘80s. Big Cheese caught up with their legendary guitarist East Bay Ray last year to hear from him how it all happened. Here’s the article that resulted, followed by the rest of the interview which was formerly unpublished. Nazi Punks Fuck Off!!!

“The place we played the most was the Mabuhay Gardens [where they played their first gig in July ‘78]. The interesting thing is that on the bill, there’d be an art band, a pop band and a punk band, all drawing different crowds, so there’d be this kind of intermingling of ideas and directions. There were about two years there where there was a lot of artistic input.”

Having formed in 1978 when East Bay Ray advertised for band members, Dead Kennedys certainly benefited from this Molotov cocktail of “ideas and directions”, including Ray’s pioneering use of surf guitar sounds with hardcore punk. Even amongst the members there were different influences that would lead to the band’s instantly recognisable and individual style.

“Klaus [Flouride, bass] had a collection of ‘70s jazz and Spike Jones and [Jello] Biafra [vocals, ‘78-‘86] wanted to make garage music. I kind of listened to different stuff, Pink Floyd and Jimmi Hendrix. I didn’t really listen to ‘70s music that much: I listened to ‘60s music in the ‘70s.”

“I really like song structure the most and combining it with the sounds was kind of my job in the band. We wanted to do more than three chords. I think everybody in the band was like ‘Okay, let’s try to make it a little bit different’, just for our own amusement, and luckily it turned out a lot of people liked what we did.”

Earning a reputation and a dedicated following from their explosive and theatrical live shows, powerful debut single ‘California Uber Alles’ was unleashed in 1979 on Ray’s own Alternative Tentacles Records label and, in true DK style, went straight for the throat politically, attacking then governor of California, Jerry Brown. The same year, Jello Biafra ran for mayor as a prank, and came in fourth! The debut single was followed by 1980’s classic humour-filled ‘Holiday in Cambodia’, ‘Kill the Poor’ and ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ (a UK top 40 hit single in ’81!). Their debut album, ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’ is a landmark hardcore punk release.

“[For ‘Fresh Fruit…’] We had a very low budget so we did a lot of pre-production, which is practicing in the studio basically, and we did it on a sixteen track two-inch. There’s actually a 25th anniversary edition out with a DVD in it of the documentary of the making.”

Satirising the conservatism and violence of American life on early fan favourites such as ‘Let’s Lynch the Landlord’ and ‘I Kill Children’, the band’s sarcasm was misinterpreted by far-right political groups who became interested in the band.

“The skinhead thing came later, probably when the music scene fractured. We do a lot of sarcasm, but we didn’t really have a skinhead following. We have ‘Nazi Punks, Fuck Off’ which is about that but with the later single ‘Kill the Poor’, we understood that some right wing party in Spain used it in their add. That’s not what we meant: it was misinterpretation. Sarcasm’s hard to translate.”

You’d think that the brave move of ‘Nazi Punks, Fuck Off’ may lead to several clashes between neo-Nazis and the band, but Ray explains that trouble usually came from elsewhere.

“Sometimes six of them [Nazi punks] would come to a show and try to start stuff but usually the crowd would tell them to cool it. The only time there was really violence at our shows was when the police twice tried to close them down for no reason.”

“One was in Long Beach, LA. The police department decided they didn’t like the look of people and actually tear gassed the hall. We were in the back, but people came running out the front and the police just hit them with batons. As far as we know there was no reason for the police to get involved.”

“The other one was in California and they decided to close the show before we even got to the place, so when we get there, there’s about a hundred cop cars and the kids went a little crazy. But like I said, there was nothing going on until the cops decided to step in. Basically unprofessional, incompetent police work. They were both really police riots but the press said ‘punk riot’ because the police are feeding the newspapers.”

These clashes with police at DK shows were probably because of the band’s refusal to accept authority figures and their willingness to stand up for what they believed in.

“Punk rock has a spectrum,” reflects Ray. “At one end you have your Sid Vicious types and at the other you have Johnny Rotten, the smart intellectual one. Dead Kennedys were much more on the Johnny Rotten end of things than the fist in the air punk scene.”

Despite Jello Biafra’s departure (and the ensuing lawsuits between him and the band), as well as another couple of singers who have come and gone, Dead Kennedys still have the same attitude as back in the ‘80s, fighting against corrupt, greedy world leaders and organised religion every step of the way.

“We’ve had Christianity for 2000 years, is there more peace in the world? Maybe it’s time to try something different. I mean, Adolf Hitler was a Christian. The weird thing is, things are scarier now than when the band started.”

Back in those early days of DK, the band had an incredibly strong DIY ethic… and that hasn’t changed.

“You have to understand it was different in the United Kingdom [in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s]: you had The Sex Pistols and The Clash on major record labels. In the United States there were no punk bands on a record label. The Ramones were kind of the only one, but they never got as big as they thought they would.”

“We’re not on a major label now but we just got a gold record in the United States and two in the United Kingdom. Most of the punk bands who have gold records from back in the day are all on majors and we weren’t. We’ve always been on independent and we’re still on independent, so it’s been a struggle. But it’s DIY and we never compromised the music.”


Dead Kennedys last year – East Bay Ray far right

Having toured the UK in May, East Bay Ray explains, “we’re still around, still doing our stuff.” What happens in the future is unsure, due to the recent departure of founding member Klaus Fluoride for medical reasons, the band’s songs and beliefs are as strong as ever.

“Our basic theme is ‘think for yourself’, Ray stresses. ”We don’t tell people what to think.”

Ian Chaddock

PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED INTERVIEW MATERIAL

-We mentioned the fascism.  With ‘In God We Trust’ it was kind of attacking religion.  How much do you think religion is to blame for the state of the world at the moment?

EBR: Just to be clear, there’s a difference between organised religion and spiritual values.  I’m not opposed to spiritual values and I have them myself, but organised religions tend to perpetuate themselves.

-In a way the world needs Dead Kennedys now more than ever.

EBR: Well, it’s hard to believe music changes anything.  Like Christianity, we’ve been around for two decades and it’s not any better.  I’ve kinda lost faith but you can change individuals.  At every show someone comes up and says ‘You’ve changed my life.  You helped me through.

-Do you think it’s important to get all of the troops out of there?

EBR: Yeah, I do.  If anybody is serious about national security, our money shouldn’t be spent on armies but it should be spent on alternative fuels, particularly oil.  Most of the oil is in the middle east and the middle east and the west don’t get along.  We need to get off oil and instead of spending 500 billion dollars, invest in university research.

-It’s scary with organised religion.  The positives can be distorted

EBR: Exactly: power corrupts.  They get power and then they get more interested in survival than propagating the truth and that happens with almost any organisation.  I wouldn’t say religion has caused more deaths than relieved.  It’s funny in the United States: take the earthquake in San Francisco, all the TV evangelists came out and said ‘They’re punishing the gays’.  But in the Bible Belt in the south there’s been river floods and hurricanes, but where are the people saying ‘They’re getting punished for being too extreme.’  It just doesn’t happen.
 

-As a guitarist, you’re really respected for what you’ve achieved and your sound has really influenced a lot of people.

EBR: I’m in guitar hero 3 and I’m actually gonna be in guitar hero 4: it’s kinda bizarre.  I didn’t know we were in it until Christmas.

-That’s gotta be quite cool, that you’re involved in something like that?

EBR: As I said, since we’re independent we don’t have a big promotion budget like EMI or Warner Brothers.  Kids’ll play the pop tunes or the heavy metal tunes and then they’ll get down to Dead Kennedy’s and be like ‘Oh wow, this is interesting.’  It’s like our way to get on the radio.

-With your guitar sound over all the albums, especially like Frankenchrist, it just seems like you’ve drawn on a whole variety of different influences.  Is that something that’s always been important to you, to draw on everything you’ve always liked, rather than one kind of sound?

EBR: I don’t know how conscious that was.  It was just basically having fun and trying something different.  Frankenchrist is very kinda psychedelic, with a lot of echoes.  I was just trying to surprise myself and make the music interesting.  Make the familiar sound different and the different sound familiar.  You’d make a melody line that’s really pretty but then always put an off note in it, like a beauty mark amid the pretty part.  Contrast always sounds better.

-What do you think about the state of punk today?

EBR: Well I still like Green Day.  But there’s a lot of pop punk bands that are kinda worrying and not that interesting.  It’s like anything else: 99% is crap, 1% is good.

-Is the underground still going strong?

EBR: No, not in San Francisco, unfortunately.  Most of the clubs have switched to DJ’s.  San Francisco thinks it’s a cultural capital but musicwise, they need more clubs.  Austin, Texas has more clubs, Portland, Oregan… One of the reasons Nirvana came up in Seattle in the early 90’s is because they were playing for 300 people.  When you’re playing for your friends and ten people, it’s kinda hard to be inspired to write songs.  I can’t say that in San Francisco, though:  everyone’s all like more San Francisco than thou.

-Finally, are there any new or local punk bands that you’re particularly excited about?  

EBR: Not at the moment.  I changed a bit last year, so now I’m listening to other kinds of music.  Most musicians that I admire listen to all kinds of different music: that’s how rock n’ roll was created.  Somebody listened to country, blues and gospel and mushed them together.  When I play with bands, I say ‘Don’t just listen to punk bands, listen to other stuff.’  It’s more interesting.

-Have you been inspired or influenced by some stuff that you haven’t been in the past?  Any fresh stuff? 

EBR: Actually, some of my best song writing comes from listening to the 60’s country singer Merle Haggard: his phrasing is as good as Frank Sinatra’s.  This is gonna sound silly, but someone gave me a collection of CDs of non hit tracks of Blur.  I was only familiar with their hits, but they were trying different sounds and songs, it was actually interesting.

-Are the police better with punk bands now than they were back then?

EBR: Yeah.  I think certain police departments in different cities are a little more professional.  I remember one time we played a show in Germany and underneath the stage were twenty police officers, but they were just sitting there playing cards.  They were there in case something happened but they never came out the room, nothing happened and they went home.  In Manhattan the police department are used to seeing everything, so they don’t get involved unless they have to.  They don’t need to create work for themselves.

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MAGAZINE

RESUBSCRIBED

Hot on the heels of their sold out, brilliantly received reformation gigs, Vive Le Punk takes a look back at the story of Manchester post punks MAGAZINE.

The highly acclaimed post punk band of the late ‘70’s, Magazine went from line-up to line-up, hitting the big time and unbeknown to them (at the time at least) influencing some of today’s biggest names. With an avant-garde twist, it seemed only right that Radiohead would cover a hit, but let’s see how they made such an impression on today’s music…


Magazine in 1977

-After leaving The Buzzcocks back in early 1977, Howard Devoto went about starting his own band and here came the birth of Magazine.

– April of the same year saw the band taking its form, when Devoto met then art student John McGeoch, who became the band’s guitarist.

-Soon after they welcomed Barry Adamson (bass), Bob Dickinson (Keyboards) and Martin Jackson (previously of The Freshies) on drums. Together they formed the first line-up of Magazine and signed to Virgin Records.

-Rafters, Manchester 28th October 1977 gave them their first live gig!

-From a background of classical and avant-garde music it seemed that punk wasn’t right for Dickinson, and so in late ’77 he left the band.

-After Dickinson’s departure the band released their debut single ‘Shot by Both Sides’ in early 1978 which was the only guitar-bass-drum sound similar to punk they produced. It was written by Devoto and the Buzzcocks Pete Shelley.

-Not long after another addition to the band was made. Dave Formula, who has previously played with St Louis Union, joined the band as the new Keyboardist.


Magazine in 1978

-‘Shot by Both Sides’ saw the band land a good position in the UK Top 50 and a place on stage at TV’s hit show, Top of The Pops back in February 1978 where they performed such single.

-In June 1978, Magazine burst out with their debut album ‘Real Life’ which reached 29 in the UK charts. They soon set out on the road to tour the album.

-After the tour was complete, Martin Jackson left Magazine in late July and was briefly replaced by Paul Spencer who played with them across Europe and on a selection of TV appearances.

-Then during the ‘Real Life’ tour Spencer quit to join The Speedometors. Soon to be replaced by John Doyle in October and stayed put.

-Second album, ‘Secondhand Daylight’ was released in 1979. Their sound having progressed to a more experimental synthesizer allowed McGeoch, Adamson and Formula to join electronic project, Visage, releasing the single ‘Tar’.

-Devoto decided to change producers after the release of the second album, rigging in Martin Hannett. Who went on to produce the 3rd album, ‘The Correct Use of Soap’ in the same year (1980).
 
-Not long after the 3rd album’s release, John McGeoch had had enough of the low sales and the lack of guitar playing songs, and decided to call it a day! He went on to join Siouxsie and The Banshees.

-John was then replaced by Robin Simon, who’d previously been in Ultravox. That line-up toured across Europe and Australia, recording their next release, the live album ‘Play’.

-Simon made some initial recordings and rehearsals for the Magic Murder and the Weather album, including co-writing the song "So Lucky", but he left the band before the album was released so that he could record on the John Foxx solo album The Garden.

-Once again, Magazine was without a guitarist, so Devoto called in his former college mate, Ben Mandelson. The line-up was sorted and then completed the recording of 4th album; ‘Magic, Murder and the Weather’ (1981)

-Unfortunately, just before the release of the album, Howard Devoto decided to quit the band. And the following year the first compilation album was released (‘After the Fact’ 1982).

-The band gradually dispersed after this, with Adamson collaborating with Visage, The Birthday Party and Pete Shelley. Formula continued with Visage and later joined Ludus. Mandelson then joined The Mekons, and Doyle became a part of The Armoury Show in 1983 along with McGeoch.

-After a brief solo outing and two albums with Luxuria   Devoto quit music to become a photo archivist until a collaboration with Buzzcocks   produced the Buzzkunst album in 2002.

-Late 2008 the decision was made, and the band made plans to reform for the occasional night. And in Feb 2009, the band hit the road again with Luxuria guitarist Noko taking McGeoch’s place as he passed away in 2004.


Magazine in 2009


-Over the years there have been a total of 11 members, but only Devoto, Adamson, Formula, Doyle and Noko playing for the reformation.

-Along with Radiohead covering ‘Shot by Both Sides’, Morrissey (an acquaintance of Devoto) also covered a hit; ‘A song from Under the Floorboards’.  Many other bands have gone onto cover Magazines hits, one of which (Mansun) performed their version of ‘Shot by Both Sides’ for the late great John Peel.

-Magazine’s 2 cd compilation ‘Touch and Go’ is out now on EMI.

Faye Oliver
 
 

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BLOCKHEADS BACK!

THE BLOCKHEADS
‘STARING DOWN THE BARREL’
“Given the times those ancient Blockheads sound more here-and-now than anyone…”  Uncut
 
“Dury would be proud.”  Mojo
 
“The trademark funk/rock/music hall/ska fusion of old mucker Derek The Draw has …got the great man [Ian Dury]’s knack for vivid social commentary nailed too.” Big Cheese

 “This is a record which will thrill Blockheads fans of all ages and demonstrates this ensemble have lost none of their passion and spirit. Ian Would be proud.”  Subba-Cultcha

 
30 years after their million-selling number one, ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’, with the late, inimitable Ian Dury, The Blockheads will release their new album, ‘Starring Down The Barrel’, on 6th April. 
 
The Blockheads are one of the UK’s most inventive, distinctive and influential bands who, along with Dury, recorded some of the most memorable songs in the British pop cannon: ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3’ (also a hit in 1979), and the aforementioned ‘Hit Me…’, as well as five celebrated albums: ‘New Boots & Panties’ (1977), ‘Do It Yourself’ (’79), ‘Laughter’ (’80), and ‘Mr. Love Pants’ (’98) and the posthumous ‘Ten More Turnips From The Tip’ (2002).
 
The line-up for ‘Staring Down The Barrel’ features original members Chaz Jankel, Mick Gallagher, Norman Watt-Roy and Johnny Turnbull, plus Dylan Howe and Gilad Atzmon – both of whom played on and have been with the band since ‘Mr. Love Pants’ – and, on lyric and vocal duties, Dury’s late minder and friend of 10 years, Derek The Draw, who wrote all the album’s songs with Jankel.
 
‘Staring Down The Barrel’ features 10 new songs, pondering and exploring prescient themes of our time, including: financial collapse and selfishness (‘Roll Over’, ‘Greed’ and ‘Dirty Money’), the state of the environment (‘Prophet Of Doom’ and ‘Elegant Style’), those that fall out of society (‘George The Human Pigeon’), and urban decay (‘No Go Central’); with a raggle-taggle collection of Machiavellian villains, vagrants, desperadoes, eccentrics and   other outsiders and deceivers. These sobering issues are shot through with humour and juxtaposed by The Blockheads’ unique brew of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, music hall, soul, funk and tight grooves, fomenting an album for the feet as well as the head.
                                                                                                                      
The band continue to inspire the work of other artists: the album’s artwork was designed by Dury’s former Art Teacher, and Pop-Art genius, Peter Blake. Amongst younger artists, the likes of Jamie T – who included two of the band’s album sleeves on his ‘Panic Prevention’ album artwork – and Lily Allen have expressed their love for The Blockheads.
 
Since 2002 the band have rarely been off the road, playing literally hundreds of dates a year. To celebrate the release of ‘Staring Down The Barrel’ the band will begin a 14-date UK tour on 1st April, with a London show on 30th April, where they’ll be joined by their original saxophonist Davey Payne.
 
April
Wed. 1st            Cambridge:        The Junction – 01223 511 511
Wed. 8th            Teweksbury:      The Roses Theatre – 01684 295 074
Thu. 9th  Brighton:           The Old Market – 01273 736 222
Wed. 15th          Basildon:           Towngate Theatre – 01268 465 465
Fri. 17th                           Wakefield:         D.N.E
Sat. 18th            Harrogate:         Ripley Blues – 01423 860 340
Sun. 19th           Gateshead:       The Sage – 0191 443 4661
Wed. 22nd          Swindon:           The Wyvern Theatre – 01793 524 481
Fri. 24th             Stevenage:        Gordon Craig  Theatre – 08700 131 030
Sat. 25th            Southampton:    The Brook – 023 8055 5366
Sun. 26th           Sheffield:           The Boardwalk – 0871 230 1095/ 0114 276 7093
Thu. 30th            London:             Electric Ballroom – 0207 485 9006
 
May
Fri: 1st                           Cardiff:  The Globe
Sat. 2nd Southend:         The Palace Theatre – 01702 351 135
 
 

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NEW COFFIN NAILS

The Coffin Nails have a new album being released officially at The Satanic Stomp in Germany over Easter. The old school Psyhcobilly stalwarts have got new blood pumping the rhythm in the shape of Kris Passmore aka Broughton Hackett of Rock-It Dogs fame who has been whacking the tubs since Christmas and does the honours on the album.

Simon Nott

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A.F.I FOR READING

San Francisco hardcore crew A.F.I will play this years Reading and Leeds festivals. They are currently recording their new album-after completely scraping the initial recordings. Anti Flag and Against Me have also been announced for Reading and Leeds so far.

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