Everybody talks about sticking it to the man, but who’s really doing it?
Fed up with local politicians taking money for doing nothing, Belfast punk Petesy Burns has teamed up with academic and author Colin Harper to deliver a stinging rebuke of Northern Ireland Assembly Members. And the song, resoundingly-titled ‘Smash The System’, is surely a rallying call in current times, as relevant almost anywhere around the world as it is in Northern Ireland.
Says Harper, who wrote the song, “The Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed in January 2017, the direct result of the Minister in charge of a botched heating scheme called RHI refusing to step aside while an enquiry took place. RHI will cost Northern Ireland taxpayers an estimated £490-500 million in wasted money.”
According to Harper, between January 2017 and October 2018, the 90 NI assembly members have received £10.25 million in salaries and an estimated £11.77 million in expenses. During that period, one assembly member has received £69,600 extra for his role as Speaker.
“He hasn’t spoken once”, says Harper. “Imagine if all of this was happening in London. It would be a national outrage.”
“I have no connection with punk whatsoever, but the medium felt right for getting the message out about this mess,” he continues. “I’d recently watched a documentary on 1970s Belfast punk legends, The Outcasts and was impressed by band member Petesy Burns’ compassionate anarchist ethos – kindness towards one’s fellow man – and by the energy of his performance. I got in touch and he was immediately on board.”
Credited to Colin Harper’s Bourgeois Fury, ‘Smash The System’ is available now from iTunes, Amazon and all usual digital platforms.
MADNESS return to their House Of Fun weekender at Minehead Butlin’s at the end of the month.
Over the weekend of 30 November-2 December, the Nutty Boys play host to a range of live acts and DJs including MUNGO JERRY, DAVID RODIGAN, CHRIS DIFFORD, HORACE ANDY, GENO WASHINGTON, ADRIAN SHERWOOD, DENNIS BOVELL, JANET KAY, HUEY MORGAN, Bez and Rowetta from HAPPY MONDAYS, EARL GATESHEAD, CHAINSKA BRASSIKA, THE ESKIES, THE SKATA TONES and more….
To celebrate, we asked the band’s longstanding bass supremo Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford for his Top 10 ska and reggae tracks….
“It’s the worst thing in the world to ask a musician his or her favourite tracks. There are normally so many in a musician’s head. Groups and sub-groups of suitable bits of music for every occasion. But asking them to pick ten will elicit hand-wringing on a monumental scale. This list is a touch easier because the brief was to stick to ska and reggae. But I could have drawn up a list for Top Ten of All-Time records – this would have taken weeks, of course. Or a jazz list; a blues list; a punk list. So, here it is – for today – because it will probably change tomorrow or next week?”
‘Eastern Standard Time’ – Don Drummond: “This lovely, lazy and loping tune, by The Skatalites, is really part of the roots of ska. You can hear the jazz influence, which featured in a lot of early ska tunes. Jazz was what this stellar band of musicians was listening to and playing before making this record. You can also hear, unsurprisingly, the Caribbean music as well. A lot of The Skatalites, individually, went on to make important ska and reggae records.”
‘Ali Baba’ – John Holt: “John Holt’s vocal on this track is super cool. He’s singing in such an easy way. This is counterpoint to the lyrics which are fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. John lays out the lyrics in a way which says, this tune is about a heavily psychedelic dream I had but, hey, no big deal. The experts say that this tune is technically ‘Rocksteady’. It also features a really nice horn section.”
‘East of the River Nile’ – Augustus Pablo: “This instrumental has one of my favourite introductions. It could easily be the start of an old film. What follows is a lovely slow groove with minimal instrumentation – where every instrument sounds just right. Then in comes Augustus Pablo’s melodica. Great use of reverb to create atmosphere, helped by some nice dub. This came out in 1977 but could have fitted into any reggae era.”
‘Ring The Alarm’ – Tenor Saw: “Tenor Saw is regarded as one of the great dancehall-style singers. He was working in the early period where reggae was discovering digital music. He’s young and confident on this track and his vocal style and inflections are so good. A brilliant rhythm, as well. Tenor Saw died aged 21 – a massive loss.”
‘Mr Brown’ – Bob Marley & The Wailers with The Upsetters: “Produced by Lee Perry; written by The Upsetters’ Glen Adams and given to The Wailers. It’s the story about a ghost being seen around town. So we get ‘creepy’ sounds and scary vocals. We also get great harmonies from The Wailers. I always think of it as a stand-alone reggae record – there’s not much like it? Just imagine if reggae had gone totally psychedelic?”
‘Cuss Cuss’ – Lloyd Robinson : “This brilliant, driving rhythm became one of the most covered in Jamaica. The urgency matches Lloyd Robinson’s vocal: ‘Get out of my life with your fuss and fight; I don’t want it’. Then up pops an organ hook line. 2’33” of a short, sharp plea.”
‘CB 200’ – Dillinger: “Title track from Dillinger’s superb album of the same name. This brought reggae and dub to the Punks and a wider audience. An album for every collection.”
‘Tunnel One’ – Tommy McCook: “Tommy McCook was one of the founders of The Skatalites and he leads this tune with his beautiful sax playing. Not only can you hear John Coltrane in his playing but you can also hear Miles Davis in the trumpet that follows him. Built on a rock solid rhythm, it’s over too soon.”
‘Sit and Wonder’ – Prince Buster: “This track, I think, is influenced by the Nyabinghi rhythm, which comes from the chants that are used by Rastafarians? It’s certainly one I haven’t heard on many records? Prince Buster delivers a trademark vocal with nice doo-wop harmonies and a cheeky sax part.”
‘All Will Be Well In The Garden’ – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Adrian Sherwood. “A great and intriguing combination. Their work together is so good and you could pick many tracks. Nice mournful horns, harmonica and a sliding double bass(?). Reggae is in a healthy state here.”
THE GODFATHERS have announced a string of UK dates leading up to their annual St Valentine’s Day Massacre show.
The band have enjoyed a boost in fortunes over the last couple of years, following the release of their acclaimed return-to-form album A Big Bad Beautiful Noise in February ’17. Much of that time has been spent touring widely outside the UK, putting dozens of festival appearances and thousands of road miles under their belts.
The five UK dates culminate in their annual St Valentine’s Day Massacre Show – a Godfathers tradition of more than 30 years – at London’s legendary 100 Club with special guests THE DeRELLAS. Full dates are…
8 Feb – Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms tickets
9 Feb – Manchester – Rebellion tickets
14 Feb – Hebden Bridge – Trades tickets
15 Feb – Norwich – The Waterfront tickets
16 Feb – London – 100 Club tickets
LOUISE DISTRAS has just released a video for her brand new single!
‘Street Revolution’ is the title track from a new EP set for January release. It follows on from her debut album Dreams From The Factory Floor from 2015. It paves the way for her forthcoming second full-length, recently recorded in Oakland, California with producers Steve Whale of THE BUSINESS and Ross Petersen.
Louise describes the track as “… a rallying anthem for the new underground movement of working class kids, rising together through music to fight for their future”.
“Having run away from home as a teenager, Musicians Against Homelessness is cause close to my heart,” she says. “We all walk our own warzone path which is only one step away from a situation we can’t control. Music saves lives and supporting Crisis is my way of giving something back.”
Cathc louise on the following dates…
17th Jan – Cambridge, Portland Arms
18th Jan – Nottingham, The Bodega
23rd Jan – Leeds, Key Club
24th Jan – Newcastle, Cluny 2
25th Jan – Guildford, The Boileroom
26th Jan – Norwich, Waterfront Studio
27th Jan – Portsmouth, Edge of The Wedge
29th Jan – Leicester, Firebug
31st Jan – Bishops Stortford, The Half Moon
2nd Feb – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
GENE LOVES JEZEBEL have announced a string of UK dates for the New Year.
The 80s pop-goths, who feature co-founder Jay Aston, alongside guitarist James Stevenson, bassist Pete Rizzo and drummer Joel Patterson, released their most recent album Dance Underwater last year.
The dates, which comprise the band’s first UK tour in over a decade, are as follows…
Fri 11 Jan – The Factory, Manchester
Sat 12 Jan – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Sun 13 Jan – Trillians, Newcastle
Thur 17 Jan – The Fleece, Bristol
Fri 18 Jan – Esquires, Bedford
Sat 19 Jan – Islington Academy, London
Punk legend BRIAN JAMES returns to the stage next month with a very special show in London.
On Friday 7 December, the DAMNED and LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH founder and, let’s not forget, writer of the first ever Brit punk single ‘New Rose’, will play the intimate Nell’s Jazz & Blues club in West Kensington. Performing with his regular trio, The Brian James Gang, he’ll be recording the set for a possible live album.
Vive Le Rock caught up with Brian over a bottle of red to find out what songs inspired him. Here’s his Top 10….
1. ‘You really got me’ – The Kinks “The boss of all riffs, the first I learnt to play and probably the most influential for guitar players everywhere.”
2. ‘Stone Free’ – Jimi Hendrix Experience “The B side of his first single, ‘Hey Joe’, this is the definitive version, with my favourite Hendrix guitar solo. He re recorded it a few times later on, but go for this one. Wild and off the wall, wonderful.
3. ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ – The Who “Sheer musical anarchy, first in-your-face feedback, maniacal drums and guitar. This threw the conventional music rule book in the fire, total attitude, play as loud as it goes.”
4. ‘Do It’ – Pink Fairies “The B-side of their first single, ‘The Snake’, total rock n roll energy. This is the attitude version, don’t bother with any others, these guys kept attitude afloat in England during the early 70’s.
5. ‘I Put A Spell On You’ – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown “From their debut album, Nina Simone’s haunting song turned inside out, a la Screaming Jay Hawkins. What a voice and what demonic Hammond organ playing by the grossly underrated Vincent Crane, timeless.”
6. ‘Sister Anne’ – The MC5 “During the 60s I was a big fan of the groups and artists on Detroit’s Tamla Motown label, then I discovered the MC5, also a Detroit act, and they couldn’t be more different: twin guitars, like double Chuck Berry on speed, machine-gun drums and great rock’n’roll songs. ‘Sister Anne’ is from their third album High Time. If you don’t already have it, then get it.”
7. ‘Boredom’ – The Buzzcocks “This is from the Spiral Scratch EP, which featured Howard Devoto on vocals and sums up 76-77 punk London and particularly the early few months of the Roxy club in Covent Garden, London.”
8. ‘Blank Generation’ – Richard Hell “If ‘Boredom’ sums up early Punk London, then ‘Blank Generation’ sums up the early New York Punk scene. Particularly the club CBGB’s in the Bowery area. A great slightly avant garde sound from the ex Television and Heartbreakers innovator.”
9. ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ – The Stooges “The first of my two favourite singers is Iggy Pop and this track from the Stooges first album is probably the best example of why. Another amazing Detroit band who paved the way for the Punk scenes.”
10. ‘Learning The Blues’ – Frank Sinatra “My other favourite singer, from the Sinatra-Basie album. My parents were always playing Sinatra around the house when I was a kid and it really got in my heart and soul, what an amazing voice and what a powerful band, the Count Basie orchestra was. Recorded in 1962, my advice is to give it a shot.”
Brian’s reissued debut solo album Brian James is out now on deluxe vinyl from Easy Action.
The Resolution Festival returns to London’s 100 Club in January with the usual bumper crop of New Year punk to set you up for the rest of 2019!
Taking place at the legendary venue on Oxford Street from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th of January, you’ll be able to catch some of the UK’s top punk bands, including headliners DISCHARGE, GBH, UK SUBS, THE DERELLAS, ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE, VIBRATORS, SUBHUMANS, VICE SQUAD, DRAGSTER and SLAUGHTER II.
The supporting cast is just as good with appearances from MENACE, THE VARUKERS, THE MEMBERS, Nick Cash from 999, DESPERATE MEASURES (pictured), KNOCK OFF, BLUE CARPET BAND, WARWOUND and more…
JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS are to have their classic live album given the deluxe expanded vinyl format.
D.T.K. Live At The Speakeasy was recorded on 15 March 1977 at the notorious musicians’ hangout on Margaret Street in London’s West End. Fresh from recording their debut album L.A.M.F. for Track Records, the band’s two sets were recorded at the club with the the Maison Rouge mobile studio parked outside.
Initially released on Jungle in 1982, as a 10-track LP. A further five tracks were recovered to complete the whole two sets, and the whole lot were remixed for Down To Kill – Complete Live At The Speakeasy in 2009.
This new version comes on limited edition red-and-white vinyl, with a free CD and a sixteen-page booklet with notes by legendary journalist and Vive Le Rock contributor Kris Needs.
Set for release by Jungle on 23 November, Down To Kill – Complete Live At The Speakeasy is available to pre-order here.
Ranting punk poet ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER has just released a new album with a difference.
Restoration Tragedy sees Attila and his band BARNSTORMER 1649 creating an album fusing the music of the 17th Century with the sounds of ’77 buzzsaw punk, inspired by events just after the English Revolution, when Charles I was beheaded, the country became a republic, the ‘world turned upside down’ and unprecedented radical ideas spread across the land.
This album of ‘Roundhead Renaissancecore’ features numerous early musical instruments, such as shawm, crumhorn, cornamuse, bombarde, shawm and five different recorders, jousting with guitar, bass and drums all played by Attila and the band themselves.
“Growing up and living in Southwick, the port town of Shoreham Harbour in West Sussex, I’ve spent my life next door to the site of a pivotal moment in English history,” Attila explains. “After his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, Charles II travelled south in disguise, chased by the New Model Army, and ended up at Shoreham Port, sneaking off to France in a coal boat called Surprise from a spot 400 yards from where our house now stands. I’ve always been interested in the history of the English Civil War and its aftermath and like many locals, been aware of the story. Completely coincidentally, I’ve always loved early music, have taught myself to play many ancient instruments and believed those simple sounds could be harnessed to the energy of punk in the same kind of way that The Pogues combined Irish music and punk.”
Attila The Stockbroker began performing as a poet in 1980 in Harlow, Essex alongside his mates NEWTOWN NEUROTICS. Since then he has toured widely, playing more than 3,000 gigs in 24 countries, including pioneering shows in East Germany and Albania. His acclaimed autobiography Arguments Yard (35 years of Ranting Verse and Thrash Mandola) was published by Cherry Red Books in 2015.
Restoration Tragedy is available on limited edition gatefold double vinyl and CD from Attila’s website and at gigs. You can catch him on the road at…
10 Nov – SHOREHAM – Duke of Wellington
29 Nov – NORTHWICH – Salty Dog
30 Nov – ASHTON UNDER LYNE – Station
1 Dec – SHEFFIELD – Gardeners Rest
15 Jan – PETERSFIELD – Write Angle
Watch a full Barnstormer 1649 live show from Latest Musicbar, Brighton here.
THE MISSION mainman Wayne Hussey has used downtime from the band to compose and record the score for a stage-play in brazil.
The award-winning As Irmãs Siamesas, which was written by José Rubens Siqueira and features Hussey’s wife Cinthya, is currently enjoying a two-month run at the Teatro Aliança Francesa in São Paulo, where the pair live.
Recorded over a two-month period last summer, Hussey – together with pianist James Bacon and violinist David Milsom – recorded the score for a CD for sale at perfomances. Due to demand from fans, however, a CD is being made available for a limited period through The Mission’s webstore.
Individually numbered and signed, and expanded to feature music not available on the original theatrical release, the CD will only be available for purchase from the store until midnight on Friday 30 November.
“I’ve never made it a secret that I harbour ambition to compose and score for film,” explains Hussey. “Sadly, for a myriad of reasons, I’ve never been presented with the opportunity to do so. So it was with open arms I recently accepted the invitation to write music for a stage play. As Irmãs Siamesas is a Brazilian play written by José Rubens Siqueira and this particular new version is directed by my good friend, Sébastien Brottet-Michel, a French actor who works with the world renowned Parisienne ‘Theatre De Soleil’. The fact that my wife, Cinthya, is one of the two actors in this two women play, the other being Nara Marques, is perhaps why I was offered the job. A little nepotism never hurt anybody.
“The brief was…brief. After conversation with Sébastien we decided the music should be slow – none of the tempos are over 70 bpm – empty and open with lots of space, flexible, unsentimental; music that doesn’t dictate the way an audience should react and feel to the dialogue and action on stage, but interacts with the actors in an unobtrusive way.
“We talked about the setting of the play as being timeless and placeless, rural rather than urban. I wanted to avoid using instruments that were modern, that required electricity, that would place it in a specific time. I thought about ageless acoustic instruments, such as a piano, a violin, and a classical acoustic guitar, that might be found in a lot of homes where the onus is on families entertaining themselves rather than by TV, radio, or, these days, the internet. These instruments became my exclusive sound palette for this project. Muted colours, if you want.
“It’s been a great learning process, and discipline, for me as a musician to compose and make music that doesn’t strive for, nay demand, the listeners attention. In conjunction with the brilliant English pianist, James Bacon, and renowned violinist, David Milsom, we have fashioned a series of adagios that, whilst are a million light years away from the music I usually create, I am so very proud of.”
As much a fan as he is an artist, our mate MICHAEL MONROE enjoys a good cover version as much as the next man, be it Hoyt Axton’s ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ or Creedence’s ‘Up Around The Bend’ in the days of HANOI ROCKS, or the storming version of ‘Kick Out The Jams’ he delivered at Vive Le Rock‘s inaugural awards bash earlier this year.
Michael’s in the UK this week, supporting Wayne Kramer’s MC50 on tour at Glasgow Academy (10 Nov), Manchester Albert Hall (11 Nov), and London Shepherds Bush Empire (12 Nov), so we dragged him out of rehearsals to ask him what his top ten favourite punk covers that he’s recorded are. This is what he told us…. enjoy!
1) The Damned: ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ (on the Peace Of Mind album)
2) Dead Boys: ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To Do’ (on the Demolition 23 album)
3) Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers: ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ (on the Demolition 23 album)
4) U.K. Subs: ‘Endangered Species’ (on the Demolition 23 album)
5) Dead Boys: Ain’t It Fun (Duet with Axl on the Guns N’Roses Spaghetti Incident album)
6) Dead Boys: ‘What Love Is’ (on the Whatcha Want album)
7) U.K. Subs: ‘I Won’t Lie Down And Die’ (on the Whatcha Want album)
8) Dead Boys: ‘Not Anymore’ (on the Peace Of Mind album)
9) Stiv Bators: ‘A Million Miles Away’ (on the Nights Are So Long album)
10) Heavy Metal Kids: ‘Delirious’ (on the Hanoi Rocks Twelve Shots On The Rocks album)
Ace French punks ZERO GAIN have their complete output compiled on a new CD anthology.
The quartet came together in the eastern-central city of Saint-Étienne in late 2013, having all done time in bands like Boxing Elena, Protex Blue, Spit and Perfect Cousins. They released their debut mini-LP Slow Thinking late the following year before contributing to a split LP alongside Torino from Lyon. This was followed by their first full album, Another Soundtrack To The Social War in March ’17.
The 24 track Modern Blues. The First Five Years compiles all the band’s recorded output, up to and including the Going Nowhere EP, released in April of this year.
Former Special NEVILLE STAPLE and co-conspirator SUGARY STAPLE have a brand new video out, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Way Of Life’ is taken from the pair’s new album Rude Rebels which is out now through Cleopatra.
Produced by Sugary and Neville alongside Specials producer Tom Lowry at Planet Studios, Coventry, the album also sees them reunited with another former Specials alumnus, Roddy Radiation aka Roddy Byers on guitar.
“The album was produced with our love of punk, ska, 2tone and reggae, which we mixed into an indulgent sub-culture blend. A bit like me,” says Sugary Staple. “Working alongside Neville on the production was just perfect. He gets me, and he understands where I am at musically and about my promotion of women going for it, regardless of age and situation. We both still have something to say in our productions, while still creating a dancing beat or a sing-along vocal.”
“I felt really free on this production,” adds Neville. “Having the freedom to be creative with someone on your wave-length is really refreshing for me. I love how we celebrate the great musical genres of my 40-year career. There’s a little taste of The Specials in there, a Clash type of punk vibe and even Trojan Records styles. We’ve been touring some of the songs and the fans have gone nuts for it. Great to have my buddy Roddy on board too.”
Rude Rebels is available on CD and limited edition clear black’n’white splatter vinyl from Cleopatra and digitally via Bandcamp.
You can catch Neville & Sugary Staple on tour at….
Nov 10 Bognor – Butlins
Nov 16 Llangollen – Sun Inn
Nov 17 Bristol – Fleece
Nov 23 Skamouth – DJ Party
Dec 01 Hastings – Black Market VIP
Dec 08 Devon (TBA)
Dec 21 Frome – Cheese & Grain
Dec 22 Swansea – The Garage
THE RAMONAS hit the headlines with their brand new video, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The band describe ‘The Daily Fail’ as a tongue-in-cheek dig at the influence of the mainstream tabloid media.
More widely know as the world’s most popular tribute to iconic punk pioneers THE RAMONES, the girls released their debut self-penned album First World Problems in September 2017.
This latest release coincides with the album being issued on limited edition blue vinyl for the first time. It’s available to buy here.
Catch The Ramonas at the following dates…
November 3rd – Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
November 23rd – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
November 24th – Warehouse23, Wakefield (Supporting UK Subs)
December 1st – Anno 1888, Soest, Germany
December 2nd – Rare Guitar, Münster, Germany
December 20th – The Blacksmith Arms, Milton Keynes
December 21st – Louisiana, Bristol
December 22nd – O2 Ritz, Manchester (Supporting The Macc Lads)