Legendary Liverpool club Eric¹s to re-open ON October 1, 1976 a new music club opened its doors on Mathew Street in Liverpool. The iconic club was called Eric¹s and with the backing of Roger Eagle, Ken Testi and Pete Fulwell, it would become synonymous with the punk-rock era. But despite closing its doors after only four years its influence on the music scene was legendary. With early gigs from Blondie, Buzzcocks, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Joy Division, The Police, The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers and U2. It was with the local bands that the club would have its greatest impact as it helped launch the careers of Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Pete Burns, Pete Wylie and Teardrop Explodes. While band members from Big in Japan would later be linked with Frankie goes to Hollywood, the KLF, The Lightning Seeds and Siouxsie and the Banshees. After 31 years the music venue will re-open its doors later this year. Owner and managing director John Lynch, along with musical director Ethan Allen and promoter Lee Butler are hard at work researching every detail of the original club. ³Eric¹s is part of Liverpool¹s musical heritage and we want to return it to its former glory. It¹s being recreated in the image of the original venue but we¹ll have to bring certain things up to date, the venue will have air conditioning and they¹ll be showers for the dressing rooms. Just like the old Eric¹s we too want to provide a stage for talented local bands so Eric¹s can become part of their musical history,² said John. Ethan said: ³Eric¹s was so special because it played music you just couldn¹t hear anywhere else. It wasn¹t just about the punk rock, there was jazz, reggae and folk music. They had performance art and poetry. Craig Charles got his first break there by reading poetry between the acts. We want to make Eric¹s special again.²
FROM THE DAILY MIRROR-
BAY CITY ROLLERS SINGER GAY.
As the singer with squeaky-clean 70s boyband the Bay City Rollers, heartthrob Les McKeown helped fan the flames of Rollermania.
Back then the Scottish pop rockers could barely move without being mobbed by a tartan-clad army of teenage girls – screaming for their favourite Roller, begging for autographs and singing along to Shang-A-Lang.
Those shrieking fans would soon be silenced by today’s shocking revelation that one of their heroes has been living a secret gay life for the past 30 years.
Certainly Les stunned wife Peko. She had no idea he has been meeting strange men for sex throughout their marriage until he admitted it in front of cameras for a TV documentary!
Last year, 53-year-old Les was offered a free place at Passages, a radical rehab clinic in Malibu, California.
His liver was on its last legs after years of him downing two bottles of Wild Turkey bourbon a day. His GP had told him in no uncertain terms he had to quit boozing, or he wouldn’t live to see 2009.
Les’s marriage was also on the rocks because his alcoholism had turned him into “a complete b*****d”.
Rehab was a chance he had to take, especially since a TV company would be picking up the £55,000 bill.
The ethos at Passages is that addiction is a symptom of underlying emotional problems. Initially dubious, Les ended up telling a therapist a secret he had never shared with anyone – not even Peko. He claims that aged 19, at the height of the Rollers’ fame, he was raped by another man.
Les says: “Date rape is the best way I can think of to explain how I was cajoled into a situation through drugs into having sex with another man.
“It happened in America in a hotel room. I was given Quaaludes, a drug for lowering your inhibitions and making you horny. If a girl took it she’d be all over you.
“Afterwards I felt really used and abused. I never told anybody about it, not even the other guys in the band, because I was ashamed.
“Maybe part of the shame was that I’d actually enjoyed it. Before that, I’d always thought I was straight, but what was happening to me was very erotic and I felt pleasure from it.
“Now I think a lot of the shame I’ve felt ever since has to do with the person who did that to me. I hated him.
“I tried to drink it away and push that memory into obscurity. The knock-on effect was that I found myself attracted to men, and now and again I’ve taken action on that.” Pressed to define “now and again”, Les reckons “a couple of times a month” but he later backtracks and admits to a dozen gay partners in all.
He says: “I’ve been a bit of a George Michael, meeting people, often strangers, for sex. Not in public toilets – I’m not big on the unhygienic side of things.
“These days you’d meet online and figure out a place where to meet – your place or mine. I certainly wouldn’t introduce myself as Les from the Bay City Rollers.
“I’d say my name was Les but they weren’t really interested in surnames. We weren’t going on dates, we were just getting together for sex.
“I had a couple of regulars I’d see quite a lot of, but I didn’t have what you would call a relationship with them. It was just meeting the same person for sex.
“I don’t think I ever put myself in dangerous situations and I think I’m a good judge of character. I have had an Aids test.
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“I’d always use protection but sometimes, because of the drinking, I couldn’t remember what I was doing last night and there was that nagging fear: what if? Afterwards there was no guilt or shame, and Peko would be none the wiser.”
Until, that is, his Japanese wife, who he met in 1979, and the couple’s 24-year-old son, Jubei, were flown out to Passages to hear this bombshell for themselves – on camera. Was she angry?
“She was, yeah,” admits Les, who was also unfaithful with other women. “She said, ‘You little s***!’ I’ve kept this secret from her for all these years because I was afraid of losing everything I’d got. But I think she was relieved when I did tell her.
“She told me she did have suspicions about my sexuality. Actually, I think my bisexuality is a minor thing compared to what else she’s had to put up with.
“She did cry when she found out, but she’s been crying for the past 15 years. But she would hardly ever cry in front of me because Mr Nasty B*****d would say, ‘What the f*** are you crying for?’
“Most of the time I just wasn’t around. I’d be in the pub at nine in the morning, come home for a sleep around one o’clock, and then go back around 3pm to see my mates. Mr Drunk would come out and I’d drink to show off. Sometimes I’d pass out in the pub and they’d have to call an ambulance because they couldn’t wake me up.”
On the rare occasions that Les was at home it was, if anything, even worse.
“I never raised my fists to my wife or my son, but abuse doesn’t have to be physical. I can’t believe how absolutely abhorrent I’ve been towards people that I love.
“I would go out of my way to put my wife or my son down any way I could. I would tell her, ‘Just f*** off, you stupid Jap.’
“It was all just me, me, me. You try to destroy other people. You want them to be as f****d up as you are so you try to bring them down. Peko did leave me, but she always came back, she wanted to help me.”
Peko is still standing by him – for now.
“I’ve apologised to Peko,” says Les, who is also repairing his relationship with his son. “We’re going to see how things go.”
Is he worried what the wider public reaction might be to his confession?
He says: “When I agreed to do the TV series I didn’t think I’d end up talking about things like this, but I feel relieved now it’s out in the open. I think it will give me the opportunity to blossom a little bit.
“If you’ve got a secret and you’re a rotten lying b*****d you always have to be careful of your lies. Now that I don’t have a secret I can’t get found out, can I?
“I don’t think you can just spend a month in rehab and be fixed, but I’m about 90 per cent fixed. I’ve had 20 years of being an alcoholic and a secret bisexual, so the other 10 per cent will take a bit longer.
“Since I’ve come out of Passages I had three glasses of red wine one day and I thought, ‘I can handle this’. Then I felt the old darkness coming in and I stopped.
“I do still want a drink sometimes, especially when I’m stressed. But since I’ve been home I’ve not had the inclination to phone anybody and say, ‘Do you fancy a sexual encounter in the woods?’
“Maybe now it’s not a secret it’s not so naughty any more.”
EARLY 90S USA PUNKS-FACE TO FACE TOUR THE UK AND ARE ON THE NEXT VIVE LE ROCK COVER CD!!!
THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE IN BLACK 'N' RED - OUT 9TH MAY 2011 + LIVE AT DINGWALLS, LONDON - TUESDAY 17TH MAY "It all makes for the most exciting, Technicolor racket since Gogol Bordello first hit the UK half a decade ago." (Classic Rock, June 2011) With the release of their brand new album, In Black ?N? Red coinciding with their UK tour, The Urban Voodoo Machine looks set to conquer the country with their unique brand of sleaze-tinged, dark-edged, rockabilly-flavoured, gypsy blues and folk-punk ? or Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop'n'Stroll as the group like to call it! The Urban Voodoo Machine play Dingwalls, London on Tuesday 17th May. ?Using horns, violin, accordion, banjo and multiple percussionists, the band veers into mariachi-influenced blues, whiskey-soaked country rags and punkabilly-style rave-ups.? (The Washington Post) From the gypsy skiffle bop of opener Go East to the boogie woogie attack of Cheers For The Tears (inspired by the true story of P-R Angel?s supposed death!) to the psycho-lover anthem, Rather You Shot Me Down to the stomping Balkan vibe of the album?s first single, Goodbye To Another Year, In Black ?N? Red is another riotous masterpiece from The Urban Voodoo Machine. 2011 looks to be the best year yet for the black-suited, red-shirted, London-based collective who recently received a nomination for the ?Best New Band? award by Classic Rock magazine. For In Black ?N? Red, The UVM once again hooked up with producer Alex McGowan in his Space Eko Studios in London ? as McGowan produced the band?s stunning debut, Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop ?n? Stroll it was an easy decision to make. Led by the darkly charismatic, Norwegian-born Paul-Ronney Angel (the Dingwalls date nicely coincides with Norwegian Independece Day), The Urban Voodoo Machine is a supremely talented collective of London-based musicians who have been bringing the spirit of the carnie to an ever-growing audience of dedicated fans these past few years. Of the new album Paul-Ronney Angel says: ?There are some new sounds and instrumentation since the last album. I?ve dabbled in both bouzouki and mandolin and we?ve had people swinging by to play everything from tuba to cello. We always have a party onstage and our albums reflect that too: joining the party in the studio this time were, amongst others Sami Yaffa (Mad Juana/New York Dolls), Adrian Stout (The Tigerlilies), harmonica god, Son of Dave and, of course, founding member/former UVM drummer Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Revue).? ?The U.V.M. rise above the mere cabaret, by simply being very, very good? (Q) Although officially a 9-piece, The Urban Voodoo Machine?s live shows can sometimes feature up to 12 people on stage. The group play a colourful array of instruments including guitars, drums, fiddle, trumpet, banjo, washboard, upright bass, gong, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, saxophone, tuba, sousaphone and even empty bottles and tie racks to build their own unique and infectious sound. It is this sound that has seen the group invited to play at festivals throughout the UK and abroad including Glastonbury, Download, Hard Rock Calling and Latitude and led to support slots with The Pogues, The New York Dolls, Goran Bregović and Paul McCartney. Revered by London?s underground cabaret scene, The Urban Voodoo Machine started up the legendary, alternative, monthly club night, Gypsy Hotel in October 2006: the massively popular night is still going strong and a couple of times a year the group headlines and sells out this exciting and eclectic rock ?n? roll cabaret. ??a hellacious swing that causes dames to sway and dudes to drink!? (Big Cheese) Anyone who has not yet discovered the arresting charms of The Urban Voodoo Machine is simply urged to do so now?? with the release of their second album, In Black ?N? Red there has never been a better time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------TRACKLIST: 1. Go East 2. Cheers For The Tears 3. S.O.S. (Swim Or Sink) 4. Rather You Shot Me Down 5. High Jeopardy Thing 6. Run for Your Money 7. Lightning From A Blues Sky 8. Off To Rehab 9. Alone In The City 10. Good For You? 11. Heroin (Put My Brothers In The Ground) 12. Goodbye To Another Year THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE VENUE: DINGWALLS, MIDDLE YARD, CAMDEN LOCK, LONDON. NW1 8AB DATE: TUESDAY 17TH MAY TIME: 8PM (DOORS) TICKETS: ?11.50 www.ticketwerk.co.uk <http://www.ticketwerk.co.uk> NEAREST TRANSPORT: NORTHERN LINE TO CAMDEN TOWN UNDERGROUND www.theurbanvoodoomachine.com <http://www.theurbanvoodoomachine.com/>
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