<http://www.damagedgoods.co.uk/> Surprise! For Christmas this year we're giving you a brand new song called 'Book Club'. For nowt. Totally free. And you don't even have to get us anything in return. You don't have to, although it would be nice. So for the record we'd like some Cheese, smellier the better, a new pair of slippers and maybe a scalectrix set. CLICK THE COVER FOR YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD <http://damagedgoods.greedbag.com/subscribe/> You can also get it from any of these sites: www.natjohnson.co.uk <http://www.natjohnson.co.uk/> myspace.com/natjohnsonband <http://www.myspace.com/natjohnsonband> Enjoy listening to it whilst atop your very own christmas tree, or sitting in a chair, it's up to you. Special thanks go to Emily Gunn on violin. In other free download news, visit www.rorymcvicar.co.uk <http://www.rorymcvicar.co.uk/> and get 'The Only One', which features Nat on backing vocals. As always, check www.natjohnson.co.uk <http://www.natjohnson.co.uk/> for up to date news on gigs etc. Their next couple of shows see them in Warkworth, Northumberland on 2nd Jan for the Out of the Trees Festival and then in Sheffield on 16th Jan as part of a weekend of music saying farewell to the beloved local venue The Shakespeare. And lookout for Nat's second single from Roman Radio which is 'Wasted' and will be out in March following the Wonderful Emergency single, on 7" & Digital with a exclusive b-side 'Padre Volante' (Damgood347) <http://damagedgoods.greedbag.com/nat-johnson-and-the-figurehe/> And you can still get the album on LP & CD too <http://damagedgoods.greedbag.com/nat-johnson-and-the-figurehe/> Thanks for all your support in 2009 and lookout for new releases from Holly Golightly, Fabienne Delsol, Billy Childish, Cute Lepers, Cyanide Pills and lots more...
The Vibrators celebrate the release of their cracking new album-Under the Radar by playing the 100 Club in London on Jan 1st-new years day. They will be supported by the Bermondsey Joyriders-former Cock Sparrer guitarist Gary Lammin’s new band.He also has a new album in the can. Also on the bill are Johnny Throttle and burlesque dancers. Get down to it-its a great way to start 2010!!
West Hams finest-the mighty COCKNEY REJECTS celebrate 30 years tomorrow night -and will be playing Badman, Im Not A Fool and all their anthems at-
Circus tavern, purfleet ». Lineup: Cockney Rejects, The Warriors, Superyob, East End Badoes. Date: 19/12/2009.
Look out for their documentary film-East End Babylon which is being shot right now.
OI OI OI!!!
VOODOO¹S TOO OLD SAYS EX-PISTOL! Former I¹m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here star and Country Life Butter campaigner John Lydon has refused to have The Urban Voodoo Machine open up for him on the grounds of them being too old! The message to the UK promoter who tried to sell the UVM as support act to Lydon¹s Public Image Ltd was clear, he stated ³young bands only!² The Urban Voodoo Machine are a London based ³Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop¹n' Stroll² collective, who¹s up to 12 member strong line-up, has a combined age of well over 400 years! The UVM¹s frontman, Paul-Ronney Angel is aged 37, 16 years Lydon¹s junior! 53 year old ginger mop top Lydon started his career with the Sex Pistols under the name Johnny Rotten, a name he clearly still tries to live up to! The Sex Pistols stole their sound from the New York Dolls, a band The Urban Voodoo Machine played support to only last week. The Urban Voodoo Machine¹s debut album ³Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop¹n'Stroll² is rated no 38 in Classic Rock Magazine¹s Top 50 albums of 2009, Lydon has not released any new albums with either of his 2 projects this decade. What a fucking rotter! PIL is touring the UK this week. For more information on The Urban Voodoo Machine contact Gavin Carroll firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:07821336976 Visit www.theurbanvoodoomachine.com <http://www.theurbanvoodoomachine.com/> for info on shows they are actually playing and more gossip. THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE - Purveyors of the finest Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop n' Stroll since 2003.
John Lydon has accused Radiohead and Coldplay of not caring about their fans and being "soulless". Lydon, currently gigging with a reunited Public Image Ltd., said that both bands are more bothered about money than anything else. "Coldplay and Radiohead bug the hell out of me because it’s so soulless," he said. "They don’t care about you. They care about lining their coffers." He went on to say that neither band knew "about heart and soul" and that they "don’t know about people dying, living, aspiring" (The Sun).
Public Image Ltd Live December 2009
Birmingham, 02 Academy, Tuesday, December 15th 2009
Leeds, 02 Academy, Wednesday, December 16th 2009
Glasgow, 02 Academy, Friday, December 18th 2009
Manchester, Academy, Saturday, December 19th 2009
London Brixton, 02 Academy, Monday, December 21st 2009
London, Electric Ballroom, Tuesday, December 22nd 2009
London, Electric Ballroom, Wednesday, December 23rd 2009
Dropkick Murphys announce April UK tour dates Announce April 2010 UK tour dates ³(DKM) never, ever disappoint in the live environment and tonight is absolutely no exception Š Whether it be the rambunctious assault of Ten Years of Service, a stirring Fields of Athenry or inviting at least one hundred people onstage for a traditional set closer Skinheads On The MBTA, the Murphys showcase just why they have earned the reputation of being one of the greatest live bands on the planet. Tonight, that reputation is justified. And then some.² Kerrang live review ***** ³Al Barr and co. sound nothing short of immense, and their delight is obvious as the crowd go utterly nuts, roaring themselves hoarse for the likes of Boys On The Docks and The Gauntlet.² Big Cheese live review ***** Dropkick Murphys have announced that they will be touring the UK in April 2010. Famous for their incendiary live performances, the band¹s annual Live On St Patrick¹s Day gigs in Boston, MA, have become so popular that in 2005, they sold an unprecedented 12,000 tickets for six shows, shattering the venue sales record originally held by the legendary Ramones! Tickets for the UK shows are on sale now, and cost £15.00 for all the regional shows, £17.00 for the London show, and £18.00 in Belfast. All ticket prices are subject to a booking fee - http://www.artistticket.com/link/?s=dropkick+murphys <http://www.artistticket.com/link/?s=dropkick+murphys> Mon 12th April GLASGOW, Barrowlands Tue 13th April NEWCASTLE, O2 Academy Wed 14th April LEEDS, O2 Academy Thu 15th April MANCHESTER, Academy Fri 16th April BIRMINGHAM, O2 Academy Sat 17th April NOTTINGHAM, Rock City ** Sun 18th April LONDON, Brixton Academy Tue 20th April BELFAST, St. George¹s Market ** Please note that this is an over 14¹s show. For all other shows, under 14¹s must be accompanied by an adult. Formed in 1996, Dropkick Murphys have evolved into one of the most beloved punk-inspired bands in the world. In 2006 they secured the lead track (³I¹m Shipping Off To Boston²) in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award winning film "The Departed", and have sold over 1.5 million albums in the US alone. They will be releasing a live album/DVD in the spring. More details to follow Š www.cookingvinyl.com <http://www.cookingvinyl.com/> / www.dropkickmurphys.com <http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/> / www.myspace.com/dropkickmurphys <http://www.myspace.com/dropkickmurphys>
13th Floor Elevators
A live helping of original 60s psychedelia
Compiled from the best of the live recordings of the Texan psyche-pioneers, Psychedelic Circus presents the Elevators in their on-stage glory, a snapshot from the trippy underground of 1966/67. The Elevators took a bluesy strain of garage rock as their staple ingredient but worked a mind-bending lysergic warp into their sound. The sensory trail they mapped out has proved a decisive influence on acts as diverse as Television, Radio Birdman and Spacemen Three, and heard here in its raw live setting, their ongoing appeal is plain. This set includes fine versions of Monkey Island, Fire Engine and Levitation and not least, that perennial garage-band staple, You’re Gonna Miss Me.
Second album from this Reno punkabilly three-piece.
Cobra Skulls’ 2007 debut album ‘Sitting Army’ was one of the most exciting punk albums of the year so the follow-up is eagerly awaited. Their ‘King Kurt in a fight with Against Me!’ sound is given a more punky leaning on the 17 tracks here. Classic rock ‘n’ roll guitar licks add a new dimension to their sound and the trio’s rousing call-to-arms choruses and pounding rhythms are spot on again. The only thing missing is the humorous lyrical slant of the last album, in favour of a more overtly political attack. If you like a heavy dose of rock ‘n’ roll with your punk rock then this is for you.
New material from ‘90s pop punkers.
Scousers Crocodile God began peddling nifty pop punk in 1992, racking up some impressive releases, before splitting in 2000. They reformed six years later, and now, hot on the heals of Crackle’s ‘Two Weeks’ CD that rounded up all the band’s back catalogue, here they are with seven new songs, plus three old demo tracks. I’m happy to report that Crocodile God still sound like Green Day with wind behind them and a rocket up their collective arse – what a pretty mental picture. The demo tracks are interesting to hear but rough as hell and mainly demonstrate that, although all the key ingredients were there, the band just needed a good studio.
DANGER’S CLOSE/DESTRUCTORS 666
Destructors 666 and friends. Again.
Rowdy Farrago’s quest for world domination (or at least to swamp the planet in CDs) continues unabated, and this time Destructors 666 team up with Ipswich outfit Danger’s Close. They are, basically, a sturdy and able rock band with some intricate touches, but the male and female vocals have an unappealing, hectoring edge. Destructors 666, meanwhile, return to the original Destructors’ back catalogue, covering ‘Nerve Gas’ and ‘Sewage Worker’ (as an unlisted extra track, clocking in at just 33 seconds). They also give us a new song entitled ‘Saturday Night (Let’s Fight)’ plus a decidedly odd cover of ATV’s ‘Action Time Vision’.
THE DURANGO RIOT
Underground riff-rock gem from the woodlands of Sweden.
Adding more substance to the plethora of Swedish bands showing themselves to be more than competent rock ‘n’ roll purveyors are The Durango Riot, whose debut full-length belies their infancy. The Durango boys’ delectable mix of grunge, indie and plain ol’ rock penchant for big and simplistic guitar hooks puts them in the same league as QOTSA and Open Hand. The darker moments hint strongly at early Cooper Temple Clause, with ‘Drivers’ incorporating harmonica to add another mystical layer to their moody rock. All in all, ‘Telemission’ is another piece of evidence that when it comes to music, those Swedes are an embraceable bunch of arty perfectionists.
EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING
EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING
Aussies influenced by The Stooges. What could go wrong?
Once the initial confusion and minor shock has worn off, this racket becomes listenable. This is ECSR’s debut album, first released Oz-side in 2006 and now let loose on the British public for all to hear. Heavily influenced by the likes of the Stooges, the Troggs and other such punk-influencing luminaries and with a garage rock ethic to back it all up, this is oddly compelling, if uninspiring, punk/garage rock. ‘Get Up Morning’ sets the album up perfectly – listen to it and you’ll know whether or not you’ll like the rest of the album. Simple.
IN WHAT WAY
(Paper + Plastick)
‘90s indie rock worship from Buffalo, NY.
Influenced by the likes of The Lemonheads, Gin Blossoms and The Pixies, this trio certainly has an ear for an infectious melody. Featuring current and former members of The Exit Strategy, The Grail and Lemuria, their experience and songwriting skills shine through on this organic and catchy second full-length. While the vocals veer a little too close to Morrissey on ‘The Fall Man’, the female backing vocals add a beautiful depth. The upbeat acoustic sing along ‘Comb’ and the warm guitar tones of ‘Cubist Camo’ are cheery, breezy highlights. This is nothing thrilling but it’s a solid and honest take on a classic sound.
Dave Grohl’s rock giants do the ‘best of’ compilation thing.
With Christmas coming up it’s ‘greatest hits’ time but this seems a little redundant. You should own the Foo Fighters albums already but if you’re only familiar with their hit singles, then this could be for you. With a CD including 13 huge hits and fan favourites, from ‘This Is A Call’ to ‘Long Road To Ruin’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ to ‘Breakout’, as well as two new songs – the almost AOR ‘Wheels’ and ‘Word Forward’, as well as an acoustic version of ‘Everlong’. The accompanying DVD (and book) with the deluxe edition includes music videos and live performances but this is mostly a solid retrospective rather than anything more. Amazing songs though.
SIGNS OF INFINITE POWER
Eleventh album from stoner rock veterans.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the approach that Californian punk-infused desert rockers Fu Manchu have taken on their new album. Compared to their heyday of ‘In Search Of…’ (1996) and ‘King Of The Road’ (2000), ‘Signs Of Infinite Power’ is merely a solid record rather than anything exciting. While old-school fans may appreciate the band sticking to their guns with the likes of the scuzzy, laid back rocking of ‘Gargantuan March’ and ‘Bionic Astronautics’ and it’s admirable that they haven’t tried to force a new direction into their sound, it’s still a little disappointing that this record seems lacking a spark. Powerful but not infinitely.
LIVE FROM AXIS MUNDI
New York gypsy punks with a live CD/DVD set.
If you’re a fan of Gogol Bordello then this is a must-have. As well as capturing their live culture clash at New York’s Irving Plaza in 2007, music videos and bonus episodes on the DVD for the first time, the CD collects unreleased tracks together. With fan favourite ‘Troubled Friends’, ‘Stivali E Colbacco’ from the ‘Super Taranta!’ sessions, an instrumental version of ‘Immigrant Punk’, six tracks from their March 2008 BBC sessions and more, this CD/DVD set is a great mix of live material and rarities that gives plenty to the fans to make it a more than worthy release. Wear purple and watch and listen to this.
Six String Bandit
Doyley and all-star mates cover some classics.
The follow-up to last year’s Guitar Slingers collaboration is an on-going project as Diablo head-honcho Doyley continues to record any rockin’ luminary that gravitates anywhere near his studio. The list this time includes Koefte (Mad Sin), Liz (Deadline), Nigel Lewis, and Jeroen Hammers (Batmobile) as well as some of the best instrumentalists in the current rockin’ scene. This album is excellent, although pretty much all the songs are covers so in content it’s slight weaker than the barnstorming previous one. But don’t let that put you off, these are great artists reworking classic tracks. Album three is already underway so watch this space.
GRIME AND PUNISHMENT
(Thirty Days Of Night)
Fun thrash punk with a carefree attitude.
With a title like that you know this is going to be slightly tongue in cheek. With “slob life” noted as one of Headcase’s influences, you could say that they could be quite hard to categorize. Take thrash punk with plenty of crossovers, and this is what you’ve got: a comical quintet made up of pipe-smoking and Frosty Jack cider drinking lads, who deliver an energetic EP consisting of five tracks that speak about zombies, partying and being grimy. Very fitting. ‘Grime and Punishment’ opens with ‘Bottoms Up/ Pipe Down’ which sets the tone for the duration of the EP; fast paced and infectious is definitely their method. Ending with the title track to seal the deal, these guys really are headcases… in a good way.
Always Looking Forward
Fun-loving ska from bonny Scotland.
Infectious and overflowing with energy, The Hostiles are Scotland’s answer to that ‘90s Gainsville ska punk sound we’ve come to know and love, with brass and bratty lyrics abounding on this debut album. Although not widely known outside of their northern territories, the six-piece are no novices when it comes to the big leagues, having played shows with Leftover Crack in addition to an upcoming Mad Caddies support slot. With tons of material still waiting for the studio, don’t be surprised to see a lot more of these rowdy rudie pipers in the near future.
Rowland S Howard
Former Birthday Party guitarist breaks a long silence
It’s ten years since Rowland S Howard last broke cover with some new material, so no prizes for the work rate. For its tardiness though, Pop Crimes finds the post-punk legend with his instincts sharply honed; clambering the chasm between the darkest blues and the bittersweet dramas of sixties girl pop, Howard wrenches the sound of frayed nerves from his battlescarred Fender Jag. Trading verses with HTRK’s Jonnine Standish on Girl Called Jonny, the artist stakes a claim as a disreputable modern-day Lee Hazelwood, an impression born out on cuts such as Ave Maria or Wayward Man. The title cut itself is a masterpiece of lurching distopian dread underlined by Rowland’s signature guitar twang. It’s too long since we last heard this; here’s hoping the old reprobate stays motivated.
THE MASTER ALCHEMIST
(This Is Music)
London psych metallers get scuzzy.
One thing you can’t accuse this three-piece of being is generic. With their sludgy, scuzzy guitar sound (using only a three stringed guitar!), the high-pitched soul-sounding vocals of Chan Brown and aggressive drumming make this a thrilling and refreshing debut. Heavy in a way that’s not tired and overplayed, this album is bursting with a raw energy and imagery of wizards, dragons and fantasy subjects. ‘Spells Of Deception’, ‘Conjure War’ and ‘Evil Forest’ are all highlights. Recorded on analogue in four days and played entirely live, this is one trip that fans of Hawkwind and Monster Magnet have to take. The Invasion has begun…
Classic Stiff album with bonus tracks and bonus DVD.
It gets top marks because you couldn’t wish for a better value package than this. Of course you have to like King Kurt to like but there are plenty of reasons to love the sax honking, guitar twanging bequiffed madness. This was the album that launched the early ‘80s King Kurt phenomenon that even bothered the UK pop charts and culminated in an appearance on Top Of The Pops. The messy, infectious nature of King Kurt is captured here in all its glory, both with the album and 7 bonus single tacks, including the bombastic ‘Wreck A Party Rock’. The DVD features really rare footage, proving why they’re legends almost 30 years after their formation. Nuts!
THE LAWRENCE ARMS
BUTTSWEAT AND TEARS
Chicago punks celebrate 10-year anniversary with anthemic EP.
Over the last decade The Lawrence Arms have released five albums of dual-vocaled gritty yet melodic punk. With their latest full-length, 2006’s ‘Oh! Calcutta!’, arguably their finest effort to date, this EP (the idea and title of which was thought up when the band formed) lives up to that high standard. ‘Spit Shining Shit’ and ‘Them Angels Been Talkin’’ are energetic and gritty blasts, ‘The Slowest Drink…’ is slightly more introspective and ‘The Redness In The West’ has a country influenced opening. Digital only track ‘Demons’ sounds like a track from Brendan Kelly’s side project The Falcon. Not many bands sound this fresh and exciting ten years in. Kudos guys.
LE RENO AMPS
TEAR IT OPEN
Glaswegian rockabilly punk rock excellence.
The debut album form four-piece Le Reno Amps comes as a refreshing slap in the face. ‘Outlaws’ jitters and smashes whilst telling of inevitable destruction. If the Cramps met Green Day, ‘Outlaws’ would be the result. This album plays out in two ways. The first is the Johnny Cash folk-stomp of ‘If You Want A Lover’ that matches tight harmonies with dark messages and clanging bass. Route two is the balls out, Proclaimers pissing on the White Stripes rock of ‘The Gilded Road’, which sounds like a ho-down in the deep South. It’s rare for a band to make upbeat anthems sound dangerous and still fun, yet Le Reno Amps do exactly that.
(Thirty Days Of Night)
Harmonious heavy hardcore.
This five track EP may be another hardcore release but it’s definitely not the same old bullshit you’ll hear time and time again. ‘Carcaroth’ opens with ‘The Paper Over The Cracks’, a three-minute instrumental that will leave you craving for more. ‘Stonehill’ produces a raw rage that fans of Gallows will enjoy, ending with the ironic lyric “I need silence in my head” as they batter their instruments and shred their voices. The intensity of Lonewolves’ onslaught is nothing short of staggering. The changing tempo of the crushing guitar solos is what keeps the album’s black heart beating. This EP is definitely music to my ears.
Masters Of Reality
New album from Chris Goss’ psychedelic legends.
It must be almost 21 years since the highly-revered Masters Of Reality unleashed their debut album to much critical acclaim. Frontman Chris Goss has since produced stoner rock legends like Kyuss and QOTSA, so it’s unsurprising that the Masters are only now releasing their sixth album. ‘Pine’ is a tripped out journey through desert and sky, twisting via ‘60s psychedelia and the Palm Springs desert rock scene. This album will no doubt appeal to fans of Hawkwind, Cream (of whom drummer Ginger Baker was once a member) and getting stoned. An odd record that is a bit of a square peg in a round hole, it’s interesting enough to devote your time to.
She Put The Baby In The Microwave
(Stroked And Bored)
And they fucked a zombie and wrote a gay love song for Nick 13!
This is twisted and brilliant. Mutilators hail from San Francisco and have embraced the essential element that is missing from a lot of modern psychobilly – humour. The title track is hilarious and ‘Gay Love Song For Nick 13’ isn’t giving the great man a hoot as you might presume. ‘I Fucked A Zombie’ is pummelled along with a glorious slap bass with just the right tempo to perform that sick act. Thankfully it doesn’t rely on gimmicks and shocks, that’s just an added bonus in an album brimming with great psychobilly tunes. Track this down!
WINDS OF OSIRIS
Debut full-length from gritty Leeds hardcore rockers.
What happens when you get a band that seems to love the rawest of classic metal and rock as much as feral punk and hardcore? The mutated snarling beast that’s born as a result is The Plight. Despite taking a few songs to find their feet, with the first couple of tracks stumbling along, before they stand tall and proud with the likes of the groove-laden hard rock of ‘Into The Night’ and the instrumental ‘70s love of ‘Lifted To The Sun’. From then on you get elements of doom, prog, metal and hardcore that gels brilliantly and is pretty fresh. Like Sabbath and The Bronx in a punch up, The Plight are fighting dirty.
SECOND LONG PLAYER RECORD
Junk shop glam artifact recently uncovered
One of many never-made-its of seventies pop, David ‘Kubie’ Kubinek has a long and convoluted discography behind him, of which this 10-song set seems to be a hitherto missing piece. Recorded at Trident Sound in 1974 with no subsequent release, the master tapes then disappeared forever. This release was remastered from a cassette copy and doesn’t sound too bad for it. The Rats seem to have straddled the divide between 70s rock and bubblegum glam, and on evidence of this recording may well have gone further; Second Long Player is hardly the classic lost album the sleeve notes would seem to suggest, and there’s nothing here to equal their ace Turtle Dove 45, but for an also-ran it’s an interesting enough slice of pop history with a certain period charm to it.
THE BERLIN SESSION
(Do The Dog)
Ska kings strike back with a new singer.
After the announcement that vocalist Sharon Devenish was leaving the band, the future of trad-ska warlords Rebelation seemed set for undesirable change. Fortunately, fellow Do The Dog patron Ruby Taylor has stepped up to the mark and this 5-track mini album is the first evidence of this brand new partnership. Recorded over two days during 2008, The Berlin Session captures the band at their most spontaneous and as usual, their trademark rocksteady style is delivered with aplomb. Taylor’s addition is more than welcome and her crisp, soulful harmonies dance alongside the reggae riddim in perfect cadence. A perfect addition to a lazy afternoon and a teaser taste of brilliant things to come.
HELL IS EMPTY
Bleak second album from Baltimore’s hardcore punk bruisers.
Recorded with the mighty J. Robbins (Against Me!, Modern Life Is War) in their hometown, if you’ve ever watched a season of ‘The Wire’ you’ll understand why this Baltimore-based bunch aren’t the cheeriest guys. Themes of desolation, disillusionment and self-loathing abound on ‘Hell Is Empty’, which sees vocalist Rob Sullivan at his darkest lyrically, with his raw, gravely (yet still clear) vocals grating against downbeat but melodic hardcore music. This album sees the band up their game with a record that fuses hardcore, punk and rock into a snarling beast that will appeal to fans of all these genres. Highlights over the 10 ten tracks include the declarations of despair ‘Dead Weight’ and ‘Solitary’ and the confrontational ‘Two Words’. Embrace the negative.
LIVE AT THE BBC
Priceless early Slade, live and very loud.
Slade’s glitter rock heyday may have guaranteed them a household name but, prior to their stomp-along hit singles, there was an unacknowledged backlog of material from their formative years. This gives a rare insight into the band’s development, from late-‘60s live-circuit contenders to glam rock ‘70s chartbusters. Through the stylistic meanderings of their early BBC appearances, their live energy is apparent, not to mention their increasing confidence in their own material; originals such as ‘Dirty Joker’ and ‘Raven’ are early indicators of Slade’s massive potential. By the time of the live set on disc two (1972), the hits are coming thick and fast, and Slade have truly found their identity.
Welcome To The Nightmare
Excellent darkness from sunny California.
The Stellar Corpses play a very American take on psychobilly. The standards of a whacked-the-hell-out-of slap bass and rockabilly guitar are there in abundance but there is a definite AFI-esque horror punk crossover going on here. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the label that they are on. Big choruses and sweeping arrangements are coupled with deeper than your average psycho lyrics, whilst not smothering the rockabilly undercarriage. If this was given the airplay it undoubtedly deserves Stellar Corpses could easily find their fan base much wider.
(Not On Your Radio)
One of the finest UK punk albums in years? Quite possibly.
Standing proud in the face of today’s abundance of pop rock bands and side-partings, Newport’s Strawberry Blondes are resolutely punk rock to their very core. Influenced by the likes of The Clash they’re also immediately identifiable as a UK band, from their accents down to their gleeful mixing of genres such as punk, hardcore, ska and reggae. Bringing to mind the feel good vibes of a Rancid album, ‘Fight Back’ (the follow up to
‘Rise Up’ flits between rough and ready street punk anthems such as ‘Goodbye Inspiration’ to groove heavy, head-nodding reggae numbers. Not content to plough the same tired furrow, the Blondes have aimed for the stars with their second album – and reached them with ease.
AGENTS OF THE UNDERGROUND
Californian punk veterans celebrate their 20th anniversary in style.
It’s crazy to think that these seminal metal-infused skate punks have been around for so long. This is their seventh studio album and it’s their strongest album for some time. While 2007’s ‘Blackhawks Over Los Angeles’ sounded like they were resting on their laurels, tracks such as opener ‘Black Crosses’, ‘Ghetto Heater’ and ‘The Fever And The Sound’ show that they’ve rediscovered their urgency and infectious melodic punk sound. Melding the speed of 1996’s skate punk classic ‘Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues’ with the musicianship of 1998’s ‘Twisted By Design’, while playing down the metal influence that often ruins their sound in my opinion. Melodic/skate punk fans rejoice, Strung Out are back to their best!
The Best Of Western Star Psychobilly Vol 1
Rocking and varied taster of right here, right now.
I’m not sure why this is on Step 1 and not Western Star but, whatever the reason, it’s a decent sampler of what is being pumped out of Alan Wilson’s studio week in, week out. There are 19 tracks here, ranging from Lord Sutch covers from old-school legends Frenzy and The Sharks to the steaming fresh songs from the likes of The Eyelids and Henry and the Bleeders. There are 18 artists strutting their stuff. The Frantic Flintstones’ closing stomper ‘Westerland’ is little short of epic.
MAINSTREAM MUSIC IS SHIT
Ska punk comp bursting with underground energy
Another riotous release from Manchester’s A-1 ska punk machine That’s Not Skanking, ‘Mainstream Music Is Shit’ marks the label’s second pick-and-mix record and features a generous 37 tracks of independent and unsigned bands from all over the UK. From their own homegrown punk fare like Stand Out Riot and The Fractions, to the cream of Do The Dog (and others), like Jimmy The Squirrel and Rasta4Eyes, and just a whisper of psychobilly from The Hyperjax to top it off, there’s little more to ask from this ambitious release. This clearly shows that the fires of the underground are still burning strong. True punk rock talent in its rawest form.
SAINTS AND SINNERS
Genre-spanning punk rock comp from Germany.
Preserving Germany’s unrivaled reputation for the world’s best punk ‘n’ roll are Wolverine, a record company conceived in 1992 with now over 150 sleazy releases under their belts. ‘Saints And Sinners’ is a 21-track showcase of their finest fare, with sounds changing from paddy-punk to horrorbilly and from swing to ska in pleasing succession. Notable tracks include ‘Revolution Radio’ from new UK signees Strawberry Blondes, along with Pipes And Pipes (AKA the European Dropkick Murphys) with their salty ode ‘City By The See’, but to be honest, pretty much every track is a winner in its own way. This writer may have fallen in love with Wolverine, and it’s only partly due to the name!
WORN IN RED
IN THE OFFING
Virginian hardcore rockers with powerful debut.
Hailing from the seemingly rich punk scene of Richmond, VA, this album is full of the kind of raw, throat shredding post-hardcore that you know is absolutely blistering live. You can’t argue with a debut album that’s as intense and passionate as this. The likes of ‘When People Have Something To Say’ and ‘Mise En Abyme’ combine intricate musicianship, melodic guitar lines and driving rhythms with incredible, gravel-gargling screamed vocals that naturally fit the music’s ebb and flow. Fans of Planes Mistaken For Stars, Attack! Vipers! and Glass And Ashes should definitely check this out. Turn it up to full volume and listen until your ears bleed.
THE LEGAL TENDER TOUR
SHIHAD, THE LIVING END, AIRBOURNE, LUGER BOA
Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand
The Living End
With four of down under’s hottest live bands teaming up for the eight-city Legal Tender New Zealand tour it was a great chance to see just how good rock ‘n’ roll is these days in NZ and Australia. Kicking off the night were LUGER BOA, formed from the ashes of NZ acts the D4 and Sommerset and they get the crowd worked up with 20 minutes of glammed up, high energy rock ‘n’ roll before AIRBOURNE follow up their Sonisphere triumph by slaying the crowd with the likes of ‘Runnin’ Wild’, ‘Blackjack’ and ‘What’s Eatin’ You’. The only new track they previewed was ‘Born To Kill’ which wasn’t exactly a departure from their debut, but if it ain’t broke… THE LIVING END never disappoint live and Chris Cheney remains one of the best guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll. Oldies like ‘Prisoner Of Society’ and ‘Second Solution’ mix well with the heavier new numbers like ‘White Noise’ and ‘Raise The Alarm’ and they end their set with Chris literally climbing Scotty’s double bass in a brilliant finale. The Living End simply rule! Catch em’ on their U.K tour in December. New Zealand rockers SHIHAD are celebrating twenty years as a band, and in that time they have come close to cracking the US but due to a brief change of name to Pacifier due to the September 11th attacks they didn’t quite get there. And that’s a shame because what Shihad do best is big anthem, chorus-packed rock, and with an arsenal of huge songs like ‘The General Electric’, ‘Comfort Me’ and the heavy as a death in the family ‘Empty Shell’ they have the 1800 fans here tonight blowing the roof off the town hall. With a new album and tour due to hit the UK in May, maybe its time for you to check out Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins’ favourite band.
Words/Photos: Eugene Big Cheese/Matthew Stead
Heavy Trash / Gin Palace
Lexington, London, 16/09/09
Coinciding with – rather the being part of – the Not The Same Old Blues Crap season of punk rock blues gigs, tonight’s show was nevertheless in full accordance with the Blues Crap ethos of low-down rockin’ delights. North London three-piece Gin Palace soften up the crowd with their sozzled high-impact blues noise. Jon Free prangs out his crash-test chords while vocalist Meaghan Wilkie fixes the front row with a mischievous glare while declaiming the virtues of ‘Kicking On’, Australian parlance for ‘Knock ‘em back’ in case you’re wondering.
The evening’s main draw Heavy Trash comprises ex-Madder Rose and Speedball Baby guitar man Matt Verta Ray and Jon Spencer of Blues Explosion fame. HT seem to have set their parameters more-or-less within the city limits of fifties rockabilly. There’s a strong whiff of hair-oil in the air, and while Spencer’s more familiar on-stage mode – an overstimulated white James Brown – appears to have been toned right down, he’s still throwing enough ‘68 comeback moves to maintain the magnetism. Heavy Trash bring it right back to Sun Studios’ basics; the rhythmic whip-crack of a Slingerland snare, the organic thump of a stand-up bass, sprung reverb and glowing valve tubes. Spencer and Verta Ray revel in the undimmed thrill of vintage rock’n’roll tones, the authenticity of this music at its moment of post-war inception. A history lesson it might be, but it’s one that bears repeating, and in the hands of Heavy Trash, the spirit’s tangibly alive.
Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds
100 Club, London, 29th November
With a resume bragging stints with the Cramps, the Bad Seeds and a long association with Jeffrey Lee Pierce in the Gun Club, Kid Congo’s status as six-string foil to the greats is beyond argument; as a front man in his own right, he’s been a little longer coming forward, but with his current outfit the Pink Monkeybirds now touring their second album Dracula Boots, it’s a role he seems increasingly comfortable with. In their coordinated bolero jackets and red silk shirts, the Pink Monkeybirds are a vision of south of the border cool, fully in keeping with the Congo charisma. With his toothily angelic take on the street-hip slouch of a barrio hustler, Kid’s on winning form, dusting the front row with handfuls of glitter between numbers with that sleazy-soulful grin on his chops. The set doesn’t shy from Congo’s illustrious past; Gun Club staples such as Sex Beat and For The Love Of Ivy are pulled out of the hat at strategic points, and the recently-departed Cramps man Lux Interior gets a respectful salute with a spirited Goo Goo Muck. Kid’s own material meanwhile follows a Latino-punk groove, over which Congo’s guitar tone – a ghostly splice of feedback and tremolo – conjures desert winds and lost spirits. The sonic spookiness peaks on a sublime instrumental take on Jeffrey Lee’s Mother Of Earth, from which Kid slams into the lascivious grind of La Historia De Un Amour, before wrapping up the set with a jubilant I’m Cramped. We don’t got too many originals left, but Kid Congo still has his instincts sparking, and for that I’m happy.
THE KING BLUES
London Camden Electric Ballroom
Entering the Electric Ballroom, we’re immediately greeted by the sight of a man distributing leaflets and asking us to sign a petition: bring the troops back home from Afghanistan. It’s immediately clear that this was all the KING BLUES doing, liberal-minded punks that they are.
On stage a wooden music box sits alone playing ‘London’s Burning’. Not quite the introduction one would expect from any band, but it works, proof positive that popular acclaim be damned: Itch and the boys don’t confirm.
Storming the stage and erupting into song, the atmosphere can only be described as electric while their lyrics could be described as pure poetry. Combine this with energetic ska, fused with acoustic folk and you’ve got yourself a room full of people either happily bouncing or skanking. We’re treated to a great selection of tracks, including ‘Lets Hang The Landlord’, ‘I Got Love’ and ‘Save The World Get The Girl’. The mood is toned down; dangling fairy lights contribute to a beautiful performance of ‘Underneath This Lamppost Light’, proving the ability of frontman Itch when it comes to delivering with just his ukulele and incredible voice. Swaying arms and beer cans unite as the whole crowd sings the refrain of “You look beautiful tonight”. This soon ends as ‘My Boulder’ begins, and to everyone’s astonishment, Itch welcomes “My boys from Enter Shikari” mid-song. It’s a crowded stage, but both an epic collaboration and performance that leaves everyone feeling gob smacked. Itch thanks the crowd and enthuses: “We’re fucking overwhelmed. Thank you so much.” If anything, we’re overwhelmed; tonight’s performance is nothing less than superb, and unforgettable. The King Blues are on top of their game and showcase British talent at its best.
Words/Photos: Chloe Gillard
BIG CHEESE PRESENTS
STRAWBERRY BLONDES, MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE
London Camden Barfly
They may be young bands, but it’s nice to see a healthy age range making up the audience at this up-and-comer Sunday night buffet. Punk rock is top of the menu and served up for starters are MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE, a talented Blackburn four-piece who are heading for high places. They’ve already shown their colours on this year’s Warped Tour (not to mention on the follow up compilation) and though tonight’s crowd may be a teensy bit smaller, the band’s performance is clearly no less passionate. Punchy, brash and garnished with old-skool integrity, this support slot provides the perfect aperitif, quickly setting juices flowing. Our main course arrives a couple of drinks later, in the form of STRAWBERRY BLONDES, and it’s evident from the first taste that we’re in for a treat. Comprised of a satisfying medley of anthemic punk and roll tracks like ‘Goodbye Inspiration’ and trumpet-backed ska songs like ‘Beat Down Babylon’ and ‘Rip It Up’, the Newport threesome deliver the set with silver service, however it’s clear that something is lacking with this latest nouvelle lineup, which if you want this critics opinion, could definitely use a fourth helping. The final dish of the night comes from those West Coast curs THE BRIGGS, a rowdy bunch of scoundrels with six releases under their belt and though little of the band’s early material makes the cut this time, a fresh batch of shanties from new album ‘Come All You Madmen’ is enough to fill anyone’s plate. Jason LaRocca’s phenomenal guitar work and the swarthy vocals of his brother Joey make a winning combination, most notably in tracks like ‘Oblivion’ and ‘This is LA’ and by the end the crowd are stuffed to bursting: truly the night’s piece de resistance! But though tonight’s portions have been generous, the presentation faultless and the quality of the highest caliber, this is one patron still left hungry for more. Perhaps a kebab is in order on the homestretch?
Last month we asked:
WHO WAS THE BEST BAND FROM THE PUB ROCK ERA?
DR FEELGOOD 43.7%
EDDIE & THE HOT RODS 39.5%
THE 101ERS 9.2%
KILBURN & THE HIGH ROADS 6.7%
KURSAAL FLYERS 0.8%
Now vote for who you want to see reform in 2010!
This month, thanks to our friends at Helter Skelter, we have a couple of copies of the book ‘Poison Heart: Surviving The Ramones’, written by Dee Dee Ramone (with Veronica Kofman). Telling the story of the Ramones man’s chaotic, crazy life, it’s an incredible rock biography.
To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, just answer this easy question:
WHAT INSTRUMENT DID DEE DEE RAMONE PLAY FOR THE RAMONES?
Answers to email@example.com
I first met Steve Lamacq at an Action Pact gig in the early eighties. We’d been exchanging our respective fanzines (A Pack of Lies and So What) for a while beforehand, both of them championing the emerging ‘new punk’ scene of that time and featuring the likes of Chron Gen, Newtown Neurotics, the Partisans and the aforementioned Action Pact. It was a time when once every other week you could stroll into your local record shop, pick up 5 new punk singles and at least 4 of them would be as good as Sounds had told you they were. Yet its a time which is often underrated for UK Punk, especially with regard to some of the smaller bands, despite Ian Glasper’s attempts to redress the balance with his excellent ‘Burning Britain’ book.
Lamacq of course went on to be a well respected NME journalist and then Radio One DJ, co-hosting the extremely influential Evening Session from 1993 to 1997 with Jo Whiley and then presenting the show on his own up until 2002. Nowadays he hosts a three hour late afternoon spot on 6Music five days a week, which features a fair smattering of punk records, and a new music show on Radio 2 every Wednesday night. However, nearly thirty years on Lamacq’s heart remains unashamedly immersed in Punk Rock and especially that early eighties period when we both hit the age of 16 and looked to bands, and punk, to help us change the world.
"I think the lead in for that period was definitely the Cockney Rejects" he states in a central London boozer between radio shows "Some forms of Punk were evolving into a more new wave type sound but the Rejects were about as raw as you could get and were the inspiration for a lot of groups from that time. I remember going on holiday with my family up north and my first holiday treat was a copy of Sounds which had Stinky Turner on the cover. They did a Peel session which included ‘East End’ and I think that session saved me from having a heavy metal phase!"
Lamacq started his fanzine in 1981, inspired by legendary Ipswich zine ‘Harsh Reality’, just as punk was fracturing into a number of interesting pieces. But it was the rapidly expanding new punk scene which caught his eye, and ears, with its voices of a generation slightly too young to have experienced punk in 1976 but wanting to play their part in it as they came of age.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are Steve Lamacq’s top 10 UK punk singles from 1981 to 1984.
SPECIAL DUTIES – COLCHESTER COUNCIL/VIOLENT SOCIETY
"I grew up near Colchester and it was great to have a band nearby writing about how they couldn’t play anywhere locally. They tried to do a launch gig for this single in a multi story car park to prove the point and it was shut down by the police. There was a re-issue as well as the original, both of which are good, but the original is better because it was produced by Howard Wall from the Lurkers, who nobody has seen since!"
"The controversy which surrounded singer Steve Arrogant (note Specials Duties released the ‘Bullshit Crass’ single which sparked a lot of hostile debate in the punk world) sometimes overshadowed some of the songs but they polarised opinion which is one of the things that punk should do. If you listen to their early stuff its very much in the vein of Stiff Little Fingers and Steve Arrogant was so well versed in early punk. This single is a great, gritty piece of punk pop."
THE SAMPLES – DEAD HERO
"One of the reasons you start a fanzine is that you’re desperate to make friends. Another reason is that its like Christmas every day when the postman delivers and the Samples were one of the first bands to send me a demo, of this single. It had that really guttural voice, the way he growls ‘Dead Hero’, it was so passionate. Brilliant. I think they only ever released one single. There were so many singles coming out on No Future and Riot City that quality control wasn’t always the best, if you could stand up on a stage in Bristol they’d release a single, but within that context singles like this stood out."
THE PARTISANS – BLIND AMBITION
"All three tracks on this single are great. I interviewed the singer at the 100 Club and saw them live quite a few times. Instead of being angry, which the Partisans were when they started and recorded their first album, Blind Ambition expressed an insecurity which for me as a teenage boy away from home for the first time at college resonated quite a lot. The studio side of their second album is fantastic. One of them went on to be in Transvision Vamp."
ICON AD – LET THE VULTURES FLY EP
"I wanted to have a least one single in the ten that had pay no more than 99p on the cover and this did. I know nothing about them except that they must have come from Yorkshire because at the end the singer speaks in a Yorkshire accent the line "So we say let the vultures fly cos we’re not ready yet to die" which is the worst sentence construction in the world but a great record, with an iconic black and white sleeve. It was between them and the Lost Cherrees but the best of the Lost Cherrees came later on. I followed the Lost Cherrees around quite a lot, so much so that I once saw them in a pub in Gravesend on a Tuesday night which looked like it was in an oil refinery!"
GBH – NO SURVIVORS
"There are certain records which start scenes and I think this single was really important. You can trace huge wadges of punk back to that record, everyone goes back to that record. Its only a couple of minutes or so long. Like a lot of those singles on Clay Records you put it on and its gone and you have to put it on again. There’s no let up from the start to the finish. I didn’t really get into a lot of GBH, though Snuff did a great cover of ‘City Baby Attacked By Rats’, but that one single is a perfect piece of punk music."
ACTION PACT – SUICIDE BAG
"You forget how much of a problem glue sniffing was at that time. If great pop songs give you an idea of what was happening in the landscape around them then Suicide Bag was a very necessary single. I remember hearing Peel play Action Pact a lot but it wasn’t until I saw them live that they really made sense. They wrote some really good songs, particularly on their second album. By this point punk was splintering all over the place. There were the anarcho factions, what was going to become hardcore and the slightly more cerebral punk which was being championed by Zigzag Magazine and Mick Mercer in his Panache fanzine with bands like Action Pact and Dead’s Mans Shadow and of course….."
NEWTOWN NEUROTICS- KICK OUT THE TORIES/MINDLESS VIOLENCE
"A number of bands were doing things in a similar vein but around the time of this single the Neurotics started to really make sense. I don’t think their singles represent their best material by any stretch of the imagination. And its weird to pick a single which is almost a slogan when Steve Drewett was very good as a lyric writer but this was such a bold statement. The Neurotics were more like the Beatles, with their harmonies, but sometimes you do have to hit people over the head with a hammer and this was the most elequant anti Tory punk song. Mindless Violence was also a brilliant depiction of things which were going on. It was ridiculous going to a gig where everyone had gone to see the same band and people would end up kicking shit out of each other. "
RED LONDON – STEN GUNS IN SUNDERLAND EP
"One of the things I love about this record is its really trebly. It was mixed by Attila the Stockbroker, who’s lost a lot of the top end of his hearing, so the first thing he does is turn up the treble. I’m the same. ‘This is England’, from the EP, is an incredibly eloquent soulful song. Its very patriotic but not in a right wing way. Its saying I’m really proud of where I live but I’m very disappointed how it is, almost in a pre-Billy Bragg way. An ambitious lyrical topic. One of the interesting things from that period was that there were a lot of people in the punk scene who seemed to like old school northern school whereas these days the ska influence is very big. The whole idea of sten guns in sunderland was very exciting."
THE UNDERDOGS – EAST OF DACHAU
"Having had something on No Future I wanted to put in something on Riot City and this is the record. I think this was amongst the first bundle of records I ever received free when I was doing the fanzine. I got home from a geography field trip and they were waiting for me. I put this on and again it was ambitious lyrically, he was questioning what was happening in Russia. It was their only single, its got a real force about it, very convincing vocals and again a touch of early SLF. Looking at the sleeve it gave you the impression they were partly a Riot City punk band, part anarcho punk and partly a straight down the line punk band which Garry Bushell would have liked. Great record."
PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES – THE JINX
"I could have picked some of their earlier stuff but The Jinx is better. The amount of nights I used to go and see Peter and the Test Tube Babies and they were possibly the scariest gigs I’ve been to because of the presence of racist skinheads at some of them. I used to go with my mate Maggot who loved the Test Tubes even more than I did. They were musically ambitious and also entertaining. Its hard doing humour in punk rock but they were one of the bands who got closest to pulling it off. Maggot tells this brilliant story of going to see them in Norwich where the bouncers made everyone take their laces out of their DMs on the way in to try and prevent violence and it worked perfectly in the gig. But the bouncers just put the laces in a big box outside so when everyone came out there was a big fight over who got the right laces!"
ANDY PEART’S TOP 10
Newtown Neurotics – Kick out the Tories
The Violators – Gangland
Action Pact – Suicide Bag
Chron Gen – Outlaw
Animal Farm – Model Soldier
Nuclear Socketts – Play Loud
The Samples – Dead Hero
The Partisans – Blind Ambition
The Dark – The Masque
The Outcasts – Magnum Force
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Jeff ‘Stinky’ Turner was only 15 when, along with his brother Mick, he crashed onto the nation’s TV screens with his band THE COCKNEY REJECTS and lit a worldwide street punk revolution. After releasing the awesome but modestly titled album ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 1’, followed by a second and third, as well as a run of chart hits, they took a new hard rock direction and it all went a bit pear-shaped, with the band splitting a mere five years later. But it seems you can’t keep a ‘Reject down and next month sees the band out on the road headlining the Concrete Jungle Festival and releasing the rather tasty, brand new album ‘Unforgiven’. Big Cheese caught up with Jeff and Mick at an Irish boozer on Holloway Road to get their story, in their words…
THE (POWER & THE) GLORY DAYS
Jeff: “Me and Mick first formed the band, we blagged the bass player who was going out with me sister. We didn’t have a drummer and we hadn’t even played a gig when Mick went up to see Gary Bushell and told him we were this new band and he liked the name. The next thing Jimmy Pursey (Sham 69 vocalist) was on the phone. We started off big time doing twenty four tracks at Polydor studios after only ever having sung into a little tape recorder. After that we got signed to Small Wonder Records to make our first EP, ‘Flares And Slippers’, which sold fabulously well. We started the band in March ’79, by the end of October ’79 we’d recorded ‘I’m Not A Fool’ (second EP) one Sunday afternoon and in the next two days we had five record companies fighting for our signatures – Warner Bros., Polydor, Decca… I think we was gonna go with Polydor but then EMI stepped in with a big offer. That was it, we was away, signed and we’d only ever played four gigs. I appeared on ‘Top Of The Pops’ at fifteen years old.”
Mick: “The emphasis was on the songwriting and if we wouldn’t have thought it was worth a carrot, we wouldn’t have ever gone for it. We liked what we was hearing obviously, especially the first time we walked into a big mainframe studio like Polydor and listening to what we was capable of. We’d earned this contract and we’re worth our weight, you know?”
Jeff: “There was a lot of bands coming through but we was more influenced by the older, first punk bands like The Ramones, The Clash and all that – still the great ones for me. Even though our sound moved on, Mick’s guitar sound had a sound all of its own. They was good, poppy songs, even though there was shouted lyrics, because we didn’t know anything else, and big choruses. But it all seemed to gel and before we knew it, ‘Volume 1’ (1980) had been made, bang, and we’re into the Top 50, then the Top 30 and we stayed there for weeks and weeks.”
OI OI OI!
Jeff: “In a newspaper there was a review of one our gigs in Leeds and it said ‘the only words I could muster between songs were ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’ and we thought that was really funny. So we thought we’d write a song called ‘Oi, Oi, Oi’. All of a sudden it was this big fucking movement! It’s still going and I still am.”
WAR ON THE TERRACES
Mick: “In a way the football stuff did kill the band because things were a lot more fractionalised then. Everybody had their little firm and obviously West Ham’s was possibly the naughtiest. It weren’t something we designed it just happened. With the likes of Iron Maiden going out there, the original plastic hammers, they’d play Leeds and say ‘We’re West Ham, you’re Leeds, let’s party’, and like a bunch of fuckin’ doughnuts we’d go up there and say ‘We’re West Ham, who fuckin’ wants some?’ (laughs)”
Jeff: We was very caught up with the firm and the football thing. We enjoyed the football/fighting thing at the time but it was more tongue-in-cheek than it is today. I’ve gotta say that ‘cos I’m covering my tracks and not saying ‘I was a little football hooligan’. I was one but that’s the way it was. We was all kids at the time and when we’d done the song we knew Maiden was gonna get shot down and we didn’t give a shit. Really it was a statement that we’d done that. It was about how in the future this is what you’re going to find, it’ll be more and more ‘when you look out on the terraces, smile breaks your face, and the younger generation will be here to take your place’. That was our statement that it happens. We’ve withdrawn from it but it will go on forever and ever.”
Mick: “It was so fractionalised and violent in them days but now you play a gig and you see all of the old top faces from Chelsea, Millwall and Arsenal and everyone has a drink together. (laughs)”
EAST END KIDS
Jeff: “It’s a very passionate part of London. Obviously it’s changed now with the redevelopment and a lot of people have moved out to Essex and Kent and that but it was a good place to grow up in. It was like any inner city area but we chose to write a lot of songs about where we come from. There’s a lot of history, with the docks being bombed in the war, the Kray twins, Jack the Ripper and stuff like that.”
Mick: “Part of the heart has been torn out of it but that’s progress and that’s the way it goes. You can’t do anything about it. I remember when I was a kid and we used to watch the old black and white telly and seeing the news and it seemed that our neck of the woods was always on it. What is it about the east end? Why is it always on the news, for the worst reasons obviously? I still live there. It has helped our comeback, because you get a lot of your Green Days and Blink-182s who have been citing us as an influence. Then young kids will come and check the old boys out to see what they’re all about and they seem to like it.”
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Jeff: “Basically it was a long, drawn out affair, how it really ended. We were sacked from EMI in 1981 for an incident when I had to go to the Old Bailey for a trial, but nowadays I would have been a hero for it. The thing is with people like this Doherty geezer, he’s a scumbag for one. We never injected heroin or stuff like that. But what anthem did he ever write? Not one. Then obviously the Southall thing happened with the Oi! riots which was nothing to do with us but we got tarnished with it. We got sacked from EMI and just got involved with the wrong people but I think we had a great heavy rock album with ‘The Wild Ones’ (1982), which was maybe too radical a departure at the time. We should have gone one stage at a time but we went from there to there because we had a lot of people round us like UFO and Black Sabbath saying, ‘This is the way you should go. It’s like rock ‘n’ roll heaven out there. Get to LA, shag loads of birds and play stadiums’. We were still young and we got in with a manager who was the absolute sumbag. We was smoking a lot of dope, getting depressed and we was skint. Five years after that we pulled ourselves out of our houses to go to America and do this tour that was a disaster. We were shot. It was like a prizefighter on his last legs. It never worked out.”
TIME FOR A COMEBACK
Mick : “It all started when I was sitting up late one night and I recognised these chords coming out of this Levis advert and I thought ‘Fucking hell, I know that song’. (laughs) I was pissed at the time and I rang Jeff up and said ‘Fuckin’ hell, The Clash got a hundred grand for doing ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’. We’re on a fuckin’ roll here, let’s see where this goes from here’. Never mind we only got about £1500 for that but then someone approached us to do a record so we recruited our good friend Tony Van Frater from Sunderland’s Red Alert on bass. We got Andrew Laing, the drummer, also from there, and we went out and we played one gig in northern Spain. We went out there and it was absolutely packed to the rafters, they went crazy and we fuckin’ loved it! We thought ‘Come on, how bad can it be? Let’s go for it’ and, touch wood, it’s gone from strength to strength. It’s still a great buzz.”
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Mick: “Green Day say we influenced them. Lars (Rancid) came over last year and we recorded some stuff for him. It’s an honour for him to say that because I think Rancid are a really good band. We’ve got them on the new ‘The Kings Of Street Punk’ compilation album, out in July, and we hope to do something in the future, maybe in the States.”
Jeff: “This is a rock-pop album but it has very Cockney tones, with songs like ‘Alright Bruv’, ‘Come See Me’ and ‘Big Time Charlie’. We obviously wanted to make a mix between the rock and the Cockney punk thing. I think this is the album we should have made after ‘The Power And The Glory’ (1981). It’s very well produced. We tried to make every song have a big, fuck off strong chorus. Obviously when I was fifteen, writing about being in a police car and them saying they were gonna put me away, you can’t do that stuff again.”
Mick: “We’ve always based what we’ve done around sing-alongs and I think, in many ways, this is a back to roots album for us. It’s still got the big choruses, the big chants, the guitar solos going on and all the rest of it. We spent a lot of time trying to get this right and we had in mind that we could not put out another metal album. We didn’t want to so we took the pedal off and we’ve actually had fun making this album. If you listen to ‘The Power And The Glory’, then this is the natural follow on to that. It’s almost like Steve Jones’ guitar sound. The thing with the Rejects is we was never a fast punk band, we had one or two tracks that were fast, but most of the stuff was mid-paced, like The Pistols or The Clash stuff. With every record, even since ‘Volume 1’, we’ve always paid a lot of attention production-wise. We never left it to anyone else which was the best bit ‘cos then we’d be in the and out of the studio in three days.”
Jeff: “‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ is the ultimate punk album because everything breathes. It’s proper rock music to me.”
ON THE STREETS AGAIN
Mick: “Obviously with our new label to run, we’re going to take some new bands along. Not necessarily punk, we’ll be looking at rock as well.”
Jeff: “There’s one band called The Usual Suspects and I think they’re gonna be big. They are like a cross between The Kinks and The Streets, they have a lot to ‘em. We was lucky enough to sign them up.”
Mick: “Our label’s called GNR Records and we have several releases coming out. We have The Usual Suspects’ EP coming out, ‘The Kings Of Street Punk’ compilation with the likes of Rancid, The 4 Skins, Bad Manners, and it’s all new stuff as well. Loads of different stuff.”
COCKNEY REJECT: THE BOOK
Mick: “There’s a screenplay being written at the moment of the book and that’s looking good at the moment. It’s a good story.”
Jeff: “There’s been a couple of drafts of the screenplay so far and obviously it’s gotta go back because it’s not 100% right yet and we won’t get let anything come out unless it’s right.”
Mick: “We don’t want to be misrepresented. Thing is, you’ve got bands these days that grate on us because they have this gangster stance. We all know people we just don’t talk about it. That’s the way to do it. If you talk about it it means they’re not really the real deal.”
US OF A
Mick: “We’ve got some good friends over there. Joey that drums for Queens Of The Stone Age is a good friend of ours. Joey’s going to do it through their people and hopefully we’ll do it right because there’s no point going over there half-cocked and playing two or three sporadic gigs and ending up with nothing to show for it because of poor promotion. We want to get over there and get it absolutely spot-on with a twenty or thirty date tour or something.”
The ‘Rejects wear their hearts on their sleeves and are proud of their music, their neighbourhood and their beloved West Ham United. In the cynical world of the music industry their honesty is a rarity. Bless ‘em!
The Cockney Rejects single ‘Fists Of Fury’ is out now on iTunes.
‘Unforgiven’ is out now on GNR Records.
Eugene Big Cheese
The year in shock!
R.I.P: Rockers we lost this year
Ron Asheton: The Stooges’ napalm guitarist
Lux Interior: The one and only Cramps frontman
Stephen Wells: UK writer extraordinaire
Edward Woodward: Callan, Equalizer, The Wicker Man – first class UK actor
Willy Deville: Mink DeVille NYC bluesman with the masterful voice
Billy Lee Riley: 1950s Sun Rockabilly legend
Andrew Martinez: Nekromantix Drummer
Best reformation of 2009:
The Specials: Do the ***** dog indeed!
And who might reform in 2010?
Adam And The Ants: If Adam’s on the mend, lets have some Ant music with Marco and Chris!
The Jam: Paul Weller is back on speaking terms with the others apparently?
The Professionals: 1,2,3,4!! Join Cooky and Joneseys Professionlas.
Generation X: Will Billy n’ Tony King Rock once again?
Talking Heads: Face it – David Byrne is crap by himself!
The Feelgood Factor
Vive Le Punk sits down at the bar for an Introduction to Pub Rock and a brief history of the Canvey Island Kings of R and B, DOCTOR FEELGOOD.
When you hear the words Pub and Rock together now, you may create a mental image of the regulars jamming away at their 30 year old instruments to a half empty bar, but what you might not now is that Pub Rock once sold thousands of albums and was played in venues much bigger than your local boozer.
Whilst the glory days of this once small but celebrated scene may have been over for a long-time we do owe it a great deal of debt for the way its shaped the music world as we know it today. This rebellious movement, that was partly created as a middle finger to the over produced, over populated mainstream music of the its time, would go on to create some of the greatest loved musicians and bands in musical history.
Bands like Slade and The Stranglers all plied their trade in the early days Pub Rock, which was at its peak in the late 1970’s with its back-to-basics style of hard rock and rhythm and blues. Also, bands who would go on to make a name for themselves in the first wave of British Punk such as Eddie And The Hot Rods and the U.K Subs were first seen sweating it out in the pubs of North London, Essex and most notably Canvey Island, which was the heart of the no nonsense Pub Rock scene. You may also recognise the names, Ian Dury and Joe Strummer, the former played for a band called Kilburn And The High Roads and would go on to play with The Blockheads and even have an acting career, the latter played with The 101’ers before going on to form a rather successful band by the name of The Clash.
Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson
Although a shadow of its former self, the true spirit of this music is still alive, with a number of the bands from the legendary era still jamming today. Some said Pub Rock was the Punk before Punk, and the band that epitomised this was Canvey Island’s own Dr Feelgood. Headed up by lead singer Lee Brilleaux and Mr Pub Rock himself Wilko Johnson, they were the staple band of the scene and the one that defined everything it stood for. Still touring, drinking and rocking today, this band have gone down as the land mark band of the movement. With a documentary film about the band set to hit cinemas early next year, you can now experience what the classic days of Pub Rock were all about through the eyes of the people who made it what it was and what it still is.
20 Point History of Dr Feelgood.
- The band formed in the middle of 1971
- Their name is a slang term for the drug heroin and for doctors who are prepared to over prescribe drugs to patients.
- They hail from Canvey Island in Essex and they arose from the ashes of former band The Fix And The Roamers.
- Their 1976 live album, Stupidity, reached number one in the UK, this was their only chart topper.
- They released their first four albums in the U.S. but never gained a fan-base across the pond. They would not release another album there.
- Original guitarist Wilko Johnson left the band in 1977, after suspected conflicts with lead vocalist Lee Brilleaux.
- Johnson was temporarily replaced by Henry McCullough whilst the band searched for a permanent replacement.
- John ‘gypie’ Mayo joined the band in in 1977 as the permanent replacement for Johnson.
- Punk began to take over in the later part of the 1970’s leading to most Pub Rock bands to break-up with the notable exception of Dr Feelgood.
- They would never be as popular as they were with Johnson but did achieve a top-ten hit single with 1979’s ‘Milk & Alcohol’.
- Mayo left the band in 1981, and a period of frequent line-up changes ensued.
- The rhythm section was solidified in the mid 1980’s with Phil Mitchell on bass and Kevin Morris on Drums.
- On the 7th April 1994 original member and lead singer Lee Brilleaux died of Lymphoma, but before, insisted that the band re-unite and keep playing
- They re-united first with vocalist Pete Gage and later Robert Kane.
- They commenced touring again in 1996.
- An annual event would be set up to commemorate Brilleaux’s death, raise money for the Fairhaven Hospice and celebrate the band music. It is held on Canvey Island and has not missed a year.
- In April 2007 Robert Kane celebrated his 1000th gig as front man of the band.
- They continue to play across the world and in 2008 played in the UK, Austria, France, Greece, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
- Film director Julien Temple has finished work on a documentary about the band called Oil City Confidential, it covers the early years of the band and includes memories of original members John Martin, Wilko Johnson and John B Sparks.
VIVE LE REVOLUTION!
Vive Le Punk’s top ten albums of the year (in no particular order ’cause they’re ALL good!)
The Wolfmen – MARRIED TO THE EIFFEL TOWER (Howl)
The Cute Lepers – SMART ACCESSORIES (Damaged Goods)
Magazine – LIVE AND INTERMITTENT (Wire Sound)
Rancid – LET THE DOMINOES FALL (Hellcat)
X-Ray Spex – LIVE AT THE ROUNDHOUSE (Year Zero)
Urban Voodoo Machine – BOURBON SOAKED GYPSY BLUES BOP AND STROLL (Gypsy Hotel)
The Living End – WHITE NOISE (Co Op)
The Jim Jones Revue – HERE TO SAVE YOUR SOUL (Punk Rock Blues)
The Specials – LIVE AT THE MOONLIGHT CLUB (2 Tone)
WRITERS’ TOP 5s
1) The Drones – HAVILAH (ATP)
2) X-Ray Spex – LIVE AT THE ROUNDHOUSE LONDON 2008 (Year Zero)
3) The Singing Loins – UNRAVELING ENGLAND (Damaged Goods)
4) The Tropics Of Cancer – INTRODUCTION TO A RUMOUR (MGO)
5) Magazine – LIVE AND INTERMITTENT (Wire Sound)
1.The Mutilators – SHE PUT THE BABY IN THE MICROWAVE (Stroked and Bored)
2.The Coffin Nails – THE DEAD DON’T GET OLDER (Greystone)
3.The Astro Zombies – CONVINCE OR CONFUSE (Drunkabilly)
4.Thee Crucials – GIVE ME…A KEG…OF BEER (Kaiser)
5.Various – MAINSTREAM MUSIC IS SHIT (TNS)
1) Teenage Bottlerocket – THEY CAME FROM THE SHADOWS (Fat Wreck)
2) Dear Landlord– DREAM HOMES (No Idea)
3) Propaghandi – SUPPORTING CASTE (Hassle)
4) Chuck Ragan – GOLD COUNTRY (SideOneDummy)
5) The Shitty Limits – BEWARE THE LIMITS (Boss Tuneage)
1.The Bomb – SPEED IS EVERYTHING (No Idea)
2.Propaghandi – SUPPORTING CASTE (Hassle)
3.Ravonettes – IN AND OUT OF CONTROL (Fierce Panda)
4.Cute Lepers – SMART ACCESSORIES (Damaged Goods)
5.Flipper – REISSUES (Domino)
Eugene Big Cheese
1) Rancid – LET THE DOMINOES FALL (Hellcat)
2) New Model Army – TODAY IS A GOOD DAY (Attack Attack)
3) Teenage Bottle Rocket – THEY CAME FROM THE SHADOWS (Fat Wreck)
4) The Damned – SO, WHO’S PARANOID (The English Channel)
5) The Vibrators – UNDER THE RADAR (Captain Oi!)
Killing Joke – THE GATHERING PART ONE (Killing Joke)
Magazine – TOUCH & GO ANTHOLOGY 02.78 – 06.81 (Virgin)
New York Dolls – ‘CAUSE I SEZ SO (ATCO)
Gallows – GREY BRITAIN (Warner Bros)
Anti-Flag – THE PEOPLE OR THE GUN (Side One Dummy)
1. Pama International – PAMA OUTERNATIONAL
2. Rancid – LET THE DOMINOES FALL
3. The Skints – LIVE BREATHE BUILD BELIEVE
4. The Specials – LIVE AT BRIXTON ACADEMY (Sunday Times giveaway)
5. Madness – THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN & HELL
A veritable punk rock legend, Mike Ness recently celebrated thirty years of SOCIAL DISTORTION by hitting the UK on tour for the first time in four years. We caught up with the man himself to talk past, present and future…
“WE WERE JUST KIDS of seventeen starting a band. I mean, we didn’t really think we would live this long. The best thing that I remember about the music scene back then, on a Tuesday night we would go down to the Star Way in Hollywood and see Fear and The Blasters. Two completely different bands, but they were from the same scene. You could see Levi and Rocketts and the Go-Gos. It wasn’t so labelled; it was all kind of one scene. I like that because you could be in your leather jacket, and this guy could be wearing a sharkskin suit. We were all friends, stereotypes hadn’t come in yet.
“We weren’t even old enough to drink and we would sneak backstage when The Clash would come and we would help ourselves to their beers, and they would come and be like, ‘Who are you guys?’ ‘Just your fans’.
“My favourite period is still the first wave, where you had Johnny Thunders, even the British bands like Generation X, even the Pistols… They’re all blues based rock ‘n’ roll music. They were very musical and it was years before hardcore. The problem I saw with hardcore was it got violent with punks fighting punks, I didn’t understand that. And, all of sudden the quarterback of the football team shaved his head and was singing in a band, it got too easy.” |
“Well I’d already grown up with The Beatles and The Stones. That was imbedded me, and I was already into Ziggy Stardust and T-Rex before I ever heard the Pistols. So it was a natural evolution. All of us wanted a little bit more guitar, just a bit little more guitar, then I heard the Pistols and the Ramones, oh there it is. Also, the Pistols sounded how I felt inside. Coming from a broken home by the time I was seventeen I had all this repressed stuff and it all came out.”
“You’ll see the show tonight and we’re obviously better than we were thirty years ago. We’re better musicians, healthier, smarter, and you know, we’ve got some wisdom behind us, so you know, it’s been an interesting evolution because most bands peak out on the first five years and in ten years they’re doing reunions.”
“I obviously brought American roots with punk rock into Social D but I always thought I could never cross that line, like I could never bring in a fiddle player. I always felt a little boxed in. It was something I always wanted to do, it was very liberating, it showed people another side of me, and this year we got tour it in the States for the first time in eight years. It was mainly to let people know we’re still serious about it.”
“It’s just finding the time. We’re going to be in the studio in December recording for Social D. I don’t know if either [Social D/Mike Ness material] will be full LPs though. We’re kind of thinking now in these days it would cool to go back old school, back to the EP, so then people don’t have to wait a year for twelve finished songs. You can release seven, then release four more, put together a video, whatever. This way it allows our fans to not have to wait, we don’t have to wait.
“It would be nice to come back to the UK maybe next summer. I don’t want to promise, but we’re here now to break the trend of not coming. We were here four years ago and I still feel four years is too long, but it was better than ten, and now I want to skinny it down to one or two. I would like to come once a year if I had my way.”
‘Sex, Love And Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is out now on Epitaph
*ALBUMS OF 2009
*COCKNEY REJECTS CELEBRATE 30 YEARS OF RUCKING!
*DEATHS IN 2009
*SOCIAL DISTORTION-MIKE NESS SPEAKS
*WHI WILL REFORM IN 2010?
*DR FEELGOOD-OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL
AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!!
*ALBUMS OF 2009
*COCKNEY REJECTS CELEBRATE 30 YEARS OF RUCKING!
*DEATHS IN 2009
*SOCIAL DISTORTION-MIKE NESS SPEAKS
*WHI WILL REFORM IN 2010?
*DR FEELGOOD-OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL
AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!!
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