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



CRO-MAGS  6.3%

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo by Simon Kotowicz.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When I first arrived in Camden in the mid 80s’ there weren’t any Starbucks or Goth clothes stores. In fact the Worlds End was still called the Mother Red Cap and closed down at the time. No, the key places of interest to a young rocker were the Electric Ballroom, the Devonshire Arms pub and the Rock On Store on Kentish Town Rd, right next to Camden tube station. It was a brilliant emporium of rock n roll, punk, new wave and simply great records, posters and paraphernalia. Of course it’s long since gone, and now is an all-night convenience store but Ace Records (who evolved from the store have released a wonderful compilation album packed with great singles that Rock On used to sell like Vince Taylors’ ‘Brand New Cadillac’ and Rocky Ericksons’ bananas like ‘Two Headed Dog’. Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott sang about the store in ‘The Rocker’- " I get my records from the Rock On Store" and Joe Strummer, the Pogues and many more were regular customers. Below is just a small excerpt from the massive booklet that accompanies the album. Get your hands on it to get the whole story on this legendary record shop – part of Camden history and now from a bygone era.
Eugene Big Cheese



ROCK ON RECORDS was unique as it was probably the first collectors shop in England and possibly the World to stock almost every style of popular retro-music. From day one we stocked, not only the usual mix of rock’n’roll / rockabilly / doo wop / R&B and blues, but also 60s beat, soul, country, ska / reggae, jazz and 50s and 60s pop.

This CD provides a pretty fair sampling of the kind of records we stocked and enjoyed selling over the years. The first stall opened in August 1971 in the back of a flea market just off the Portobello Road. The market was always crowded on a Saturday and I soon discovered that playing great records at high volume was the best way to attract customers. This marketing initiative reached its zenith when I opened up a second stall in Soho Market in August 1974. Roger Armstrong ran it for many years and as the market became a favoured short cut from Trafalgar Square through into Soho, there was a continual stream of passers-by, many of whom became regular customers, having been first attracted by the records being played, again at the highest possible volume. Same thing when we opened the shop in Camden Town, the door was always open except in the coldest weather so that the nourishing diet of rock ‘n’ roll music could reverberate into the street seven days a week. When you’re selling records, nothing beats playing them for the punters to get a sale.

Initially our stock was mostly seven inch 45s, with a smattering of 78s and a few albums. This was mainly for reasons of space as the first Rock On was tiny. The initial unit was about 8 feet by 8 feet with a small counter with boxes of 45s, a record player and some shelves for more 45s.

John and Molly Dove of Wonder Workshop sold their range of unique screen printed T-shirts from an even smaller unit directly opposite the Rock On stall and we enjoyed the shared benefit of the Elvis Presley wallpaper that John had designed, printed and put up on the wall adjoining our two stalls. John and Molly left a few months later (the T-shirts were too avant-garde for the market and they moved on to sell their wares at the legendary Paradise Garage in the trendier environs of Kings Road, before Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood took over). When John and Molly moved out I expanded into their space and the Elvis wallpaper was now officially part of Rock On.

Rock On Records was inspired by a great oldies shop that I came across on my first trip to the USA in November 1970. I was working as tour manager with the Irish power trio Skid Row on their first US tour, which took us to Los Angeles, San Francisco and several other cities, finishing in Boston where we shared the bill with an even heavier band, Mountain, featuring Leslie West & Felix Pappalardi.

We arrived in Boston a week before the gig and I soon discovered Big John’s Oldies But Goodies Land at 687 Washington Street in downtown Boston. Big John’s was a tiny wonderland of retro vinyl, with just a few album racks and walls covered with old doo wop and R&B classic 45s, most of them on reissue labels. This was the first shop that I’d ever encountered that dealt exclusively in old records. Most of the 45s in the shop were a dollar each and Big John had a special deal which enticed you to buy 10 records at a time and get another for free.

And was I was enticed? You bet! Every day I’d drop Gary Moore and the boys off at the Boston Tea Party where they were rehearsing and hotfoot it down to Big John’s. Carefully cross-referencing titles that I’d just read about in Charlie Gillett’s freshly published "Sound Of The City" with classics such as Little Joey Weaver & the Don Juans’ ‘Baby I Love You So’ on Fortune which I’d heard on a local oldies radio show, I’d choose 11 unique slabs of musical history. By the end of the week, I’d decided that I was going to quit showbiz and try to replicate Big John’s shop in London. I’d already commenced mail order, selling old 45s gleaned from various junk shops, and I resolved to combine this new batch of US oldies with my existing stock and go into the retail trade at the earliest opportunity.


When Rock On opened in 1971, although I had been avidly absorbing all I could read and learn about rock ‘n’ roll music for almost 20 years, I was still a relative novice. Charlie Gillett’s deeply informative book, "Sound
Of The City" was my road map to the discovery of many wonderful artists of whose existence I had been previously unaware.

On opening Rock On, my education in music began formally. Thousands of records were passing through my hands every month and I listened greedily to all or at least most of them, country, hillbilly, rockabilly, doo wop, gospel, soul, surf, jazz, British beat, rock’n’roll, skiffle, 60s punk, novelty, comedy, boogie woogie, blues, reggae, ska, psychedelic, weird shit, whatever.

Much of my knowledge came courtesy of some of the customers, who were always keen to share their wisdom. The list is endless, but includes Rob Finnis, Malcolm Baumgart, Jon Savage, Ray Topping, Andrew Lauder, Rocking Rex, Ady Croasdell, "Telephone Terry" Marshall, Roy Carr, Joe Strummer, Lemmy Kilmister, Bleeker Bob, Twink, John Cann, Phil Tricker, Ian Saddler, Paul from Moondogs, Jesse Hector, Larry DuBay and Marc Zermati from Paris, Lennart Persson, John Curd, Bob Sollie, Nigel Grainge, Chris O’Donnell,
Graham Stapleton and many, many others.

One Friday morning, just a few weeks after opening for business, a young man with slicked-back hair, tight jeans, original black suede brothel creepers and a large shopping bag appeared at the counter asking if I had any records by Wee Willie Harris, Screaming Lord Sutch or Vince Taylor. This was Rex Inge or "Rocking Rex", the name he was better known by. In the course of the ensuing conversation, after I had told him that I had nothing by any of these artists he admitted that "Yes, they’re very ‘ard. Used to be able to pick some up a few years ago, but now they’re well ‘ard." Rex was a freelance record dealer operating at record hops in some of the pubs and clubs in the suburbs of North West London, where there was a steady demand for any obscure-but-rocking 45s.

A couple of weeks later, after a couple more fruitless visits, I suggested that perhaps Rex could let me have a list of some of the discs that he was searching for, so that I could look out for them. The following week he arrived at the stall and pulled some examples from his shopping bag that we proceeded to play. This was my introduction to ‘Long Stringy Baby’ by Jimmy Crawford, ‘This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin” by Janice Peters, ‘Hey Miss Fannie’ by Dean Webb and ‘They Call Him Cliff’ by Don Lang & his Frantic Five and many others, including ‘Brand New Cadillac’ by Vince Taylor, which I already had in my own collection, although I’d never heard ‘Right Behind
You Baby’, Vince’s first release on the Parlophone label.

Apart from Rex’s requests, I was becoming frustrated at being continually asked for records that I rarely could supply, ‘Baby Sittin’ by Bobby Angelo & The Tuxedo’s, ‘Sea Cruise’ by Frankie Ford, ‘Rockin’ At The 2 I’s’ by Wee Willie Harris and many others. These 45s turned up time and again on people’s Wants Lists. And so it was around this time, that the idea of starting a small record label first came to mind. I already knew from dealing with the people at Decca and CBS that the major labels were focused only on new releases by current artists and had no interest in reissuing records from the past. I figured that it might be possible to license some of these old recordings for release on 45 by paying an advance and agreeing to press the discs at the record company’s own pressing plant. Shortage of funds and other more pressing matters meant that this idea was to be put on ice for almost four years.

Another regular from the earliest days at Golborne Road was Andrew Lauder. At the time Andrew was head of A&R at UA Records and came in almost every Saturday with Alan Warner, also from UA. Andrew was an avid collector, covering most musical genres, but with a special focus on UK & US groups of the 60s. Andrew was buying, not only for himself, but also for his friend
Greg Shaw, editor of the highly influential Bomp fanzine. In addition to buying considerable quantities of records, Andrew was also bringing in lots of interesting records to trade, including many unusual US 60s punk 45s. Apart from back copies of Bomp, Andrew also brought me copies of Creem, Mojo Navigator, Back Door Man, and other essential US fanzines, all of which I
devoured from cover to cover.

I could go on: about Ray Topping’s first visit to the stall when he discovered an obscure £50 rockabilly record from my bargain box for 40p – after that he wouldn’t stay away! Or Lenny Kaye’s visit in 1973 when he found a London copy of the Link Cromwell single for 40p in the punk box. ‘Why do you have this in here?’ he enquired and when I told him that I thought the rather Dylanesque record sounded ‘kinda punky’. He grinned and admitted that this was actually his first record and that he’d been looking for a copy for several years! Co-incidentally a reissue of this obscure classic appeared on the market less than a year later.

Graham Stapleton and Paul Sanford’s regular visits to trade original Sun 45s for London’s, Joe Strummer’s weekly Friday morning visit to enquire politely whether I’d managed to locate a recording of ‘Junco Partner’ yet. The myriad Northern Soul fans, asking for Helen Shapiro records in the hope of finding the then sought-after ‘She Needs Company’ for its ‘Northern’ B-side. The hordes of teenage rockabillies who lurked, but rarely bought anything and who could only be encouraged to leave by a high volume recital of ‘Little Johnny Jewel’ by up and coming NY punksters Television.

Every bit of this was valuable experience that helped provide a kind of instinctive touchstone for what might or might not be likely to sell, when we went on to start the record label a few years later.
January 2008

I’D HEARD ALL about the Rock On record shop/stall from ‘The Rocker’ by Thin Lizzy so when I actually made it there in 1980 and scored a 12" pic sleeve version of ‘Chinese Rocks’ / ‘Born To Lose’ By the Heartbreakers (I already had the 7" from 1977) it was already legendary in my mind. I hung around the shop a lot in the early 90s while staying at my friend Tim Tooher’s flat in Camden St. We went there nearly every day and hung out, lost in the vast array of classic blues, soul, psychedelia, rockabilly, cajun, funk, punk and country records. We became friendly with Paul the shop manager, who would play us stuff we would ask to hear and stuff he thought we should hear. I remember we used to marvel at the beautiful record sleeves that lined the walls and how we loved looking through the boxes of 7" singles, all originals, all classics. I remember buying "Honky Blues" by Sir Douglas Quintet for £30, an album you’d find nowhere else in Britain and taking it home and loving it. I remember going down to the basement toilet, where Phil Lynott had hung out to do some hanging out myself. I remember Tim buying original Bobby "Blue" Bland albums and us going back to his flat, staying up all night listening to them, loving them, looking at the sleeves, talking non-stop about the music and the people who made it. Imagining ourselves in the deep south of the USA hanging out with the Dixie Flyers, Eddie Hinton, Jim Dickinson, Dan Penn, Alex Chilton and Doug Sahm. Getting to hear Furry Lewis and Charlie Feathers sing up close & real. Getting to meet Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of the Cramps. Some of these dreams came true. I don’t know Ted Carroll but Rock On was his shop and I’d like to thank him for that. A shop ran by fanatics for fanatics. Ace Records carries on the tradition. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.

TRACK NOTES by ROGER ARMSTRONG (with some useful Tediting)

(Amos Milburn, Ann Cullum) EMI Music Pub Ltd/EMI United Partnership Ltd

(Billy Emerson) Knox Music Ltd (1957)

3. SHAKE YOUR HIPS – SLIM HARPO – Excello 2278
(James Moore) Campbell Connelly & Co Ltd (1966)

(Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain, Jerry Huffman) Lark Music Ltd (1956)

(Vince Taylor) Carlin Music Corp (1959)

6. LINDA LU – RAY SHARPE – Jamie 1128
(Ray Sharpe) Burlington Music Co Ltd (1959)

(Roky Erickson) IQ Music Ltd (1977)

(Joe Weaver) Trianon Pub (1956)

(Waylon Jennings) Universal Music Pub Ltd (1975)

10. CAMEL WALK – THE IKETTES – Modern 1003
(Ike Turner) Warner Chappell Music Ltd (1964)

11. BACK IN THE NIGHT – DR FEELGOOD – United Artists UP 35857
(Wilko Johnson) EMI United Partnership Ltd (1975)

Before Punk rock there was Dr Feelgood, looking more threatening than all the spiky haired dudes put together and playing razor sharp R&B. This one features singer Lee Brilleaux on slide guitar and guitarist Wilko Johnson on vocals. Big Figure and John B Sparks holding it down solid at the back. They were a sort of Rock On house band in a way, often doing covers of records that we were selling in the shop, like ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Don’t You Just Know It’, both coincidentally featured on this CD.

12. SO SHARP – DYKE & THE BLAZERS – Original Sound 69
(Arlester Christian) Bug Music Ltd (GB) (1967)

13. SLOW DEATH – FLAMIN’ GROOVIES – United Artists UP 35392
(Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney) Bug Music Ltd (GB) (1972)

(Donald Covay, Erskin Watts) EMI Blackwood Music Inc (1974)

(Pat Zompa, Bernard De Cesare Jr) P And P Songs Ltd (1968)

16. LIGHTS OUT – JERRY BYRNE – Specialty 635
(Malcolm Rebennack, Seth David) Sony/ATV Music Pub (UK) (1958)
(Joseph Arrington Jr) EMI Music Pub Ltd (1958)

(Trad Arr Floyd Soileau) Flyright Music (1959)

(Jackie McCauley, Patrick McCauley, Ken McCloud, Mike Scott, Kim Fowley)
Ardmore And Beechwood Ltd (1966)

(Peter Holsapple) Complete Music Ltd (1978)

(Huey Smith) EMI Music Pub Ltd (1957)

(George Morton) Windswept Trio Music Co/EMI United Partnership Ltd (1964)

(Link Davis) Glad Music Ltd (1957)

24. CAST IRON ARM – PEANUTS WILSON – Brunswick 55039
(Jim Scott, Roy Orbison, Norman Petty) Peermusic (UK) Ltd (1957)

25. MY BABE – RON HOLDEN – Donna 1315
(Ron Holden) Palace Music Co Ltd (1959)

(Willie Dixon) Bug Music Ltd (GB) (1967)

(Billy Wright) Screen Gems-EMI Music Ltd (1957)

28. I’M SO GLAD, I’M SO PROUD – LINK WRAY – Virgin VS 103
(Link Wray, Yvonne Verroca) Copyright Control/Kobalt Music Pub Ltd (1973)

Top 5 from Rock On

Red Hot – Billy Lee Riley & His Little Green Men
Bottle To The Baby – Charlie Feathers
Brand New Cadillac – Vince Taylor
Give Him A Great Big Kiss – The Shangri-Las
Lights Out – Jerry Byrne

‘Rock On’ is out now on Ace Records. Many thanks to Neil Scaplehorn, Roger Armstrong and Ted Carroll.

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b21-10-46  d04-02-09

Lux Interior, front-man of veteran US band The Cramps, died in hospital on 04 February as a result of a heart condition aged 62. His death sent shock-waves through the underground music scene. The Cramps formed in the USA in 1976 and arguably became the first band to bastardise Rockabilly with 60s Trash and fledgling 70s Punk. They soon became legendary through their live performances at venues like CBGB’s in their home country and soon after in the UK and all over the world. They were arguably the first band to use the word ‘Psychobilly’ to describe their music but what isn’t in doubt is the fact that they took the Meteors as a support act on tour of the UK in 1981 and headlined the now legendary gig with The Meteors and Screaming Lord Sutch at The Hammersmith Palais on 22nd June of the same year. The Cramps and The Meteors went in their own direction from then on but it would be hard to deny that The Cramps were part of the catalyst for the UK Psychobilly scene even though they distanced themselves from the genre in recent years. Quite rightly so, as The Cramps were simply The Cramps influencing many bands but nobody would attempt to emulate them. Another two decades of wild shows and decadent, classic, albums were to follow. Anyone who saw the Cramps in recent years will vouch that Lux had lost none of his phenomenal stage presence and ability to completely mesmerise and stun an audience. The Cramps had a talent for genre hopping with fans as well as music attracting them from almost every sub-culture and had become iconic throughout. The fact that Lux had obituaries printed in UK broadsheets alongside the great and the good of country despite only singing on one minor Top 40 hit (Bikini Girls With Machine Guns) speaks volumes for the influence he and The Cramps have had on the music scene. He’s on his way to a journey out of this world, and no doubt enjoying the brand new kick. I would add R.I.P but I doubt it’s as  fitting as give ‘em hell!

Simon Nott


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


JACK RABBIT SLIM ‘From the Waist Down’ 51.1%

ARGY BARGY ‘The Likes of Us’ 32%
THE JIM JONES REVUE ‘The Jim Jones Revue’ 6.4%
GOLDBLADE ‘Mutiny’ 5.2%
THE DAMNED ‘So Who’s Paranoid?’ 4.5%
THE SCOURGE OF RIVER CITY ‘The Scourge of River City’ 0.8%

With over half the votes, UK ‘sleaze-a-billy’ favourites Jack Rabbit Slim prove they’re the kings with the 14 sin-filled tracks of third album ‘From the Waist Down’. With their infectious, low down and dirty mix of rock ‘n’ roll, surf rock and rockabilly, it’s no surprise that it was VLP readers’ favourite album of 2008. Petrolheads and bikini bull-riding babies rejoice!

Vote now for your favourite hardcore band of all-time…

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While Australia ‘70s punk hit the UK with the arrival on these shores of the mighty Saints and Radio Birdman, maybe not enough was ever heard of some of the great bands coming out of the New Zealand punk scene. Bands like the pop punk raw of TOY LOVE, the Stooges loving ANDROIDDS, the industrial strength GORDONS (all hailing from Christchurch),THE (X-Ray Spex styled) SUBURBAN REPTILES, plus the entire cast of the AK79 (Auckland punk comp) album are all worthy of you checking out.

And so, 30 years after AK79’s release, a few of the bands got back together to give it one more whirl, with 2 sold out shows in NZ’s queen city. The Spelling Mistakes, Scavengers, Features, Terrorways and Proud Scum all rolled back the years with songs from AK 79 like ‘Short Haired Rock N Roll’, ‘I am a Rabbit’ and ‘Hate Me Hate Me’ proving these timeless slices of kiwi punk still reverberate.

You should really check out the AK 79 album – and to find out more about the NZ punk scene go to the site of the man who released the original album – Simon
Griggs and his excellent punk filled site –

And look out for a future Vive Le Punk feature on New Zealand’s second wave of punk acts Desperate Measures, Flesh D-Vice and No Tag.
Eugene Big Cheese

See below for photos from the reunion gig. (All photos by Steve Andrews)



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1948 – 2009

STOOGES guitarist Ron Asheton, the man whose thuggishly primeval guitar sound pointed the way for aspirant punk rock axemen the world over, was found dead at his Detroit home on the morning of January 6th 2009. Ron was 60 years old and had been at long last reaping the benefits of his immense influence with the re-formed Iggy and the Stooges.

Ron began musical life playing around his Ann Arbor locale in various high school bands, which included a brief stint with The Iguanas, whose drummer Jimmy Osterberg appropriated an abbreviated nickname from that outfit. Iggy soon abandoned the drums in favour of vocals, joining forces with Ron and his brother Scott and bassist Dave Alexander to form ëThe Psychedelic Stoogesí. Inspired by the bluesí primordial simplicity as well as the no-rules free jazz of Pharoah Sanders, James Brownís cat-on-heat strut and down-and-dirty teenage disenchantment, these neighbourhood greasers were prototype punk both in look and sound. Early gigs were cacophonous exercises in sonic confrontation, the bandís minimalist musical chops  meshing into something exciting, raw and new, a rallying call for social outsiders and highly unpalatable to the mainstream. While lunatic front man Iggy contorted his unbelievable physique and goaded audiences to the limit, Ron provided the appropriate sonic backup with his drumfire power chords, open-string drones and withering wah wah excursions. The guitaristís fondness for Nazi uniforms – symptomatic of his interest in history rather than any ideological wonkiness – only added to the bizarre sense of spectacle and did little to broaden the Stoogesí commercial pulling power.

The Stooges – Ron Asheton (second from left)

After the failure of two astonishing albums for Elektra, the original Stooges lineup folded.  However, when David Bowieís management courted Iggy as a solo artist, the Asheton brothers were called upon to complete a new Stooges line up, this time with new boy James Williamson on guitar and Ron effectively demoted to bass duties. Although this rankled, Ron was at least glad of a gig and together with his brother formed one of the worldís deadliest rhythm sections for 1973’s Raw Power album. However, Asheton became increasingly disenfranchised, a fact that was exacerbated by the rest of the band’s descent into heroin use.  When it finally fell apart in 1974, Ron accepted the news with something approaching relief.

From then on out, Asheton took his guitar to the clubs and slogged away at it, on a low-key level, for decades. He first hooked up with ex-MC5 personnel for the New Order (pre-dating the other New Order by some years), then teaming up with the vampish vocalist Niagara for Destroy All Monsters, and later touring Australia with various former Radio Birdman members as New Race. By this point, the Stooges influence had flourished into a worldwide punk rock explosion, the Sex Pistols famously covering their ëNo Funí and legions of wannabes borrowing Ronís style and licks. Ron saw little financial kickback for all this however, and branched out into small time movie roles.

The Stooges – Ron Asheton (far right)

Ron’s eventual reunion with his fellow Stooges came about through his association with Dinosaur Jnrís J Mascis and former Minutemen bassman Mike Watt. Taking Ron along with them on Jís 2001 tour as The Fog, the group would encore with a brace of Stooges classics. This would develop into a full-length set of Stooges numbers, around which point Iggy broke a long silence in inviting Ron along to play and co-write a couple of tracks on his Skull Ring album. A proper reunion seemed the logical next step and in 2003, the Stooges played their first gig together for nearly 30 years.  At long last, Ron could translate cult status and critical acclaim into decent-sized sold out shows.

Ron Asheton will be remembered as a sweet-natured man with no rock star bullshit about him; possibly he was just too much of a nice guy for the music business. Having trawled the small clubs for years after the original Stooges split, for little more money than his high-school groups earned him, and with precious few royalties from Stooges sales in that time, he carried no bitterness about this when asked about it in recent years.  Ron was generous with his time with Stooges fans, and  never lost touch with the brutal power of that trademark guitar sound.

Hugh Gulland


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On the eve of the release of MOTORHEAD’s twenty third album, ‘Kiss of Death’, back in 2006 Vive Le Punk caught up with the living legend himself: LEMMY…

Entering the Kensington hotel room that is Lemmy’s lair can be a somewhat intimidating experience. Dressed completely in black and already on his second bottle of Jack Daniels of the day ("I don’t get pissed anymore. I just drink it because I like the taste"), the Motorhead frontman is strictly from the no bullshit school of rock. He says what he means, he says it once and you either get with the programme or get out! Luckily for me, discovering the ‘Overkill’ album at an early age and an overall knowledge about all things Motorhead saves me any embarrassment…

Lemmy has certainly paid his dues. What is the worst job the rock legend has ever had? "Making parts for washing machines in a factory. It was unbearable, I just screamed my head off ’til they fired me."
Since the ’60s he’s been living his rock ‘n’ roll dream but his early bands such as Opal Butterfly, Sam Gopal’s Dream and The Rockin’ Vicars were a very different, less aggressive style than what he is famed for. A stint as roadie for Hendrix in ’67 must have been quite an experience too. He then went on to join and enjoy success with the seminal space rockers Hawkwind in ’71.
After being kicked out of Hawkwind in 1975 for "taking the wrong drugs", he formed Bastard, who would quickly be humorously renamed Motorhead, the last Hawkwind song Lemmy wrote. Taking on vocal and bass duties this was his band and would see a list of musicians come and go. The classic early eighties line-up, that saw Motorhead at the peak of their success, was Lemmy (bass/lead vocals), Fast Eddie Clarke (guitar/backing vocals) and Philthy Animal Taylor (drums).

Numerous members, including Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson and Taylor were kicked out at various times because they couldn’t play or didn’t learn their parts. "That’s the unforgiveable", Lemmy states bluntly: "Robbo got the sack because he couldn’t fucking play. For whatever reason, as it happens it was because he was drinking too much, he couldn’t deliver his gig. You can do what the fuck you like, you can snort fucking Harpic for all I care as long as you can deliver on the stage."

Lemmy settled on the current Motorhead line-up of Lemmy, Phil Campbell (guitar) and Michael "Mikkey Dee" Delaouglou (drums) in 1995. His unstoppable musical juggernaut would define the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll with fast, heavy and raw tales of debauchery and carnage.

Back in the late ’70s and ’80s, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and the mighty Motorhead were only a handful of bands that were accepted by both metallers and punks.
"It was because we sounded like a punk band but looked like a heavy metal band! That’s why we were called heavy metal, because we had long hair. Otherwise we’d have been put in the punk bracket. The Ramones managed it. Some people call them heavy metal. I thought we had a lot in common with The Ramones. There was three of us, four of them. None of them had red hair. (laughs)"
As well as his closeness with The Ramones, Lemmy was good friends with The Damned too and he guested on bass on the band’s 1979 cover of ‘Ballroom Blitz’. "The silly rock ‘n’ roll brothers. The Damned were extremely silly, no, well Captain (Sensible, singer/guitarist) was extremely silly. A couple of their bass players became silly or had silliness thrust upon them."

With the recent release of the anthology ‘Lemmy- Damage Case’, some of the best tracks spanning his entire career have been compiled. Lemmy has stuck to Motorhead’s classic sound, despite the rising and falling of numerous trends in music.
"I never paid any attention. I was only interested in my band, the rest of them can go fuck themselves. You have to be like that or you can’t survive it. We never move far out of the mould, we just do the occasional freak out. But we had a good idea at the beginning, why fuck with it? About every eight years it becomes okay to like Motorhead again you know? We seem to be in the middle of one of those little lifts."
In a musical climate where bands shoot themselves in the foot by exploring too many different styles and not managing to develop their own sound, you know where you are with Motorhead. Lemmy doesn’t think much of bands that jump on bandwagons.
"Well you see all these bands that do that and they always fuck up. People just leave them." No one leaves Motorhead, fans are fans for life. Despite this, Lemmy flatly states, "nearly all of our albums are fucking underrated". Who can argue with that?

A track that got them credit was the 100mph punk/metal hybrid and rock classic ‘Ace Of Spades’, released in 1980. "It was just all about gambling. A lot of my songs are like that. Think of a title and then all the clichés I can get in there. I never thought it was anything special that song but everyone else did."
Although when he wrote the song, it didn’t strike Lemmy as being one which could blow up like it did, the 1980 single would go on to become their most famous song. "We were lucky that we got famous for a good song. We got stuck with a good ‘un. Imagine being The Bay City Rollers and having to play those shit songs for the rest of your lives."

With their lyrical content ranging from womanising, gambling and rock ‘n’ roll to anti-religion anthems, Motorhead songs are always about the excessive, sleazier and darker sides of life. "Well it’s no fun singing about the light side," Lemmy reasons. As regards to songs about women and his numerous encounters he simply jokes, "It’s my dearest closest thing, you know? It’s my career actually, music is just a sideline."
His ‘sideline’ has made him an iconic figure and a rock ‘n’ roll hero. "I just happen to be the last one," he claims, smiling.

Lemmy’s own heroes are from a very different era of rockstar. "I go all the way back, I remember Elvis’ first record coming out. That was my first." It didn’t upset the young Lemmy too much that Elvis never played the UK. "He got off a plane in Glasgow for an hour, got back on it and fucked off. Elvis wasn’t the best of them, he was just the best looking. He defined the look of rock ‘n’ roll but we never thought he was the end of it all as far as records went. Little Richard was magic."

Self-proclaimed anarchist Lemmy is still very suspicious about the music industry and is aware that great talents and artists can be conned if they aren’t careful. "This is the only business where you can get cheated this bad by the record company or the management. Although, if it does go wrong, they’ll keep managing you and see if they can get anymore out of you. The Musician’s Union in this country isn’t worth fuck all." Fuck the business, for the booted man in black, it’s all about the music… and the women.

Lemmy has never been one for the white picket fence and 2.4 children. The call of rock ‘n’ roll is just too loud and appealing for him to ever turn his back on. Has he never thought of settling down with a special lady?
"I’ve thought about it. I didn’t do it though. It looks like hell to me. I get bored real swift. I can’t be sitting there looking at the same face over the cornflakes for the rest of my life. I just can’t imagine it. I’m not going to get married and pretend because that’s bollocks. If you get married, fucking stay that way. I’ve just never found anybody who makes me stop looking at all the other birds basically."

Winning a Grammy in 2004 and celebrating their thirtieth anniversary last year has only pushed Lemmy to keep striving for more. One of his tattoos reads, ‘Born to lose- live to win’. There’s still fire (or should that be whiskey and smoke?) in Lemmy’s veins. Thoughts of calling it a day have never crossed his mind.
"No. Never. If you knock it on the head you’ve definitely got fuck all. Stay together and you’ve got a chance."
‘Kiss Of Death’, Motorhead’s 23rd album to date (yes, you read that right) is out this month and sees Lemmy, Campbell and Mikkey Dee back on top form with some classic Motorhead blitzes and a few surprises, such as the whiskey soaked ballad, ‘God Was Never On Your Side’.
With Motorhead’s new album ready to rip, he’s not even taking a breath: "Well I’m doing a solo album right now which has two tracks with The Reverend Horton Heat, two tracks with Skew Siskin, two tracks with The Damned and a track with Dave Grohl. I’ve got another couple to do yet." The as yet untitled solo album is sure to see him doing what he does. Lemmy is rock ‘n’ fuckin’ roll.

Although the power rock trio can now tour in comfort, Lemmy remembers the days of piling into the back of a van for months on end. "I did my van thing. In the back in my sleeping bag with the fucking flash light shoved in your gob trying to read."
Lemmy’s itching to head out with the new material and with more classics than a Ferrari collector. "About seven months a year we tour. I like it. I spend more time on the road than I do in my house so it’s fair I suppose."
"It’s a great life and I recommend it. The taxman can’t find you and the fucking woman with the bad news can’t find you."

And before we know it our time is up and as eight members of a BBC camera crew sheepishly creep into the room to film yet another interview with Lemmy, he wishes me farewell with "Take it easy Eugene". The man is a legend. Long may his glass remain full.

‘Kiss of Death’ is out now on SPV. Motorhead’s most recent studio album, last year’s ‘Motorizer’, is out now on SPV.

Eugene Big Cheese

Deluded do-gooder frontmen and lying politicians make Lemmy’s blood boil…

"Bono is the most insincere motherfucker I’ve heard for a long time. Actually I take that back. I think he’s sincere but misguided. A guy having dinner with George Bush is not my idea of a good lad. Fucking hell. You can find better ways of helping the poor in the world than talking to George Bush. He’s never going to do anything for anyone. Neither is Tony Blair for that matter. That fucking smiling twat. I hate all politicians. From the far left to the far right and everything in between- they’re all lying bastards. It’s like the Irish say, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, you always end up with the government. As soon as they become the government they change."

A brief history of the legend that is Lemmy Kilmister…

1945- Born in Stoke.
1967- Worked as a roadie for Hendrix for six months.
1971- Joined London space rockers Hawkwind.
1972- Hawkwind reach No. 3 in the UK charts with the ‘Silver Machine’ single.
1975- Lemmy is thrown out of Hawkwind for copious amphetamine use. Forms Motorhead.
1980- Motorhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’ reached No.15 in the UK singles chart.
1981- Live album ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’ hits No.1 in the UK charts and Motorhead reach the peak of their mainstream fame.
1982- Motorhead release a cover of the Tammy Wynette classic ‘Stand By Your Man’, with Wendy O. Williams and The Plasmatics. This lead to the departure of Fast Eddie Clarke who felt it was a compromise of the band’s principles.
1984- Motorhead played ‘Ace Of Spades’ on an episode of the sitcom ‘The Young Ones’. Drummer Taylor left after the recording and was replaced by former Saxon sticksman Pete Gill.
1991- Lemmy writes lyrics for the Ozzy tracks ‘Desire’, ‘I Don’t Want To Change The World’ and the hit ‘Mama I’m Coming Home’. Mmm, royalties.
1992- Motorhead release ‘Hellraiser’, co-written by Ozzy and used in the film ‘Hellraier III: Hell On Earth’.
1995- Guitarist Wurzel leaves and Motorhead revert to a trio rather than a quartet for the first time in over a decade and were re-energised. Lemmy celebrated his 50th birthday.
2001- Motorhead’s song ‘The Game’ from the album ‘Hammered’ is started to be used as WWE wrestler Triple H’s intro music.
2004- Lemmy guests on Dave Grohl’s Probot side-project on vocals and bass on the track ‘Shake Your Blood’.
2005- Motorhead pick up their first Grammy Award. It is for their cover of Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’ and wins them ‘Best Metal Performance’. The same year Motorhead and Motley Crue perform a joint encore in Perth Australia of The Sex Pistols song ‘Anarchy in the UK’.
2006- ‘Lemmy- Damage Case’, a compilation spanning Lemmy’s career, and ‘Kiss of Death’, Motorhead’s 23rd studio album, are both unleashed on the world. Lemmy gets stuck into recording a new solo album with a number of special guests

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December 22nd was the 10th anniversary of his death so Vive Le Rock featured the man himself on the cover of our current issue (no. 10, click HERE to get your copy) maps out the musical timeline of the legendary JOE STRUMMER.

Fiery, honest, original. Three words that sum up Joe Strummer. Punk as fuck would be another three. For, while Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols captured the ire and attention of the nation thanks to shock tactics, it was the late great Joe Strummer and The Clash who pushed boundaries, shattered preconceptions, broke rules and quietly crushed the old guard of the ’60s and ’70s into dust. Born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, on the 21st of August 1952, the legacy of Joe Strummer is one that continues to inspire to this day, from the lowliest toilet circuit band to stadium headliners. With the recent release of Julian Temple’s ‘Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten’, we thought it high time to look at Joe’s musical life.

A young Joe visits the second-ever Glastonbury Festival. Mind suitably blown, he becomes a life-long vegetarian and gets himself a criminal record for robbing a pint of milk from a South London doorstep the same year.

Bitten hard by the music bug, a young Joe tries his hand at busking on the London Underground where he starts to feel his way around the frets of a guitar. By Christmas he would find himself living in Newport of all places.

Forms his first band, playing with The Vultures while staying in Newport before moving back to London and throwing himself into the squat scene of the time.

Abiding at 101 Walterton Road, it was no great leap when it came to naming his next ban, The 101ers, who would later be seen as one of the most impacting of bands in the pub rock scene were born, with the aim of raising funds for other squatters.

Playing practically the length and breadth of London and sandwiching in as many benefit shows as they could, the 101ers start to receive glowing reviews in the press.

With momentum building on the back of debut single ‘Keys To Your Heart’, the 101ers play the Nashville Rooms in London, supported by a bunch of little-known street urchins called the Sex Pistols. It was to be another life-changing moment for Strummer. One month later and, following an offer from Bernie Rhodes, Joe had joined The Clash.

The Clash sign to CBS Records and release incendiary debut single ‘White Riot’ and album ‘The Clash’ (Strummer and drummer Topper Headon would later get nicked for spraypainting the motif on a hotel room wall). After heading out and staying out on tour since May Day, Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones decamped to Kingston, Jamaica, deeply immersing themselves in reggae.

Eighty thousand people turn out in London’s Victoria Park for Rock Against Racism and The Clash steal the show, ploughing through a set including numbers from the newly released ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’.

The Great American Assault begins, as Strummer and company hit the United States running for the ‘Pearl Harbour’ and ‘Take The Fifth’ tours before unveiling their career-defining opus and love song to the city that spawned them, ‘London Calling’.

Released in December, the triple album ‘Sandinista!’ splits Clash fans right down the middle as both an overblown exercise in grandiosity and a melting pot of dub, reggae, rock, hip hop and world music.


The Clash play an unprecedented seventeen sold-out nights at Bond’s in New York’s Times Square, while Joe takes a break from music to run and complete both the London and Paris Marathons.

Topper Headon leaves the band, replaced by Terry Chimes for the straightforward ‘Combat Rock’.

With Mick Jones having also parted ways with Joe and co., chopping out his last riffs for the band in Bristol the year before, there is however light at the end of the tunnel for Strummer and partner Gaby, when the couple’s daughter Jazzy is born.

Touring the UK, Europe and the US with a new Clash line-up, Joe visits the grave of Spanish Civil War poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

Playing their final live show in Athens, the release of ‘Cut The Crap’ is followed shortly after by the official announcement that The Clash were completely done.

Presumably burnt out on life in a band, Joe instead explores the medium of film, appearing in Alex Cox’s ‘Straight To Hell’ and ‘Candy Mountain’ in the same year, as well as writing the soundtrack to ‘Walker’. Gaby and Joe’s second daughter Lola is born.

When Pogues guitarist Philip Chevron is taken ill, Joe joins Shane McGowan and company for the Irish songstrels’ UK and US live dates.

Performing live as Joe Strummer and the Latino Rockabilly War before moving to America to start work on his solo album, Strummer also found the time to write a handful of songs for the movie ‘Permanent Record’, which starred a young Keanu Reeves.

Releases debut solo album ‘Earthquake Weather’ and appears alongside Steve Buscemi in Jim Jarmusch movie ‘Mystery Train’.

Stepping into the producer’s chair, Joe mans the desk during the recording of The Pogues’ ‘Hell’s Ditch’ and even takes over vocal duties live when Shane McGowan leaves the band.

Clash best-of ‘The Singles’ is released. Joe and the rest of The Clash reject the obvious cash cow of reforming the band.

Joe splits his time between London, a home in Hampshire and sojourns to Almeria, Spain.

He marries Lucinda, mother of his step-daughter Eliza and becomes enamoured with British musical festivals, soaking up the atmosphere at Glastonbury and Womad and birthing the concept of ‘campfire’ and Strummerville. Also plays piano on The Levellers’ ‘Just The One’.

Joe records new music for the soundtrack to ‘Grosse Point Blank’ and hooks up with Black Grape and Keith Allen for a Top Of The Pops storming performance of ‘England’s Irie’.

Finding a new base in deepest Somerset, the Strummerville campfire launches the Fuji Rock festival in Japan. The idea of The Mescaleros is fermenting while Joe contributes backing music to ‘Kicks Joy Darkness: A Tribute To Jack Kerouac’.

In between rehearsing with The Mescaleros and DJing at various festivals, the radio show ‘Joe Strummer’s London Calling’ begins on BBC World Service, with Strummer as The Controller rolling out everything from ’50s rock ‘n’ roll to Cuban party songs for a worldwide audience who would lap it up for the next four years. Also appears on ‘South Park’ tie-in album ‘Chef Aid’.

The newly-minted Mescaleros, a vehicle for Joe to channel his eclectic band of influences from folk to world music by way of London squats, embark upon their debut tour on the back of album ‘Rock, Art And The X-Ray Style’, culminating in a rousing performance at Glasto.

Strummer makes a further mark on popular culture when seemingly the majority of films and TV shows featured music, be it Clash, solo or Mescaleros, from the man himself, including ‘Billy Elliott’, ‘Complicity’, ‘Daria’, ‘Hanging Up’, ’28 Days’ and ‘Coyote Ugly’.

Inking a deal with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records, the Mescaleros set about second album ‘Global A Go-Go’, and mix up their live set by throwing in a cover of Ramones classic ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’.


The Mescaleros play a benefit show for striking London firefighters at Acton Hall in November that culminates with former Clash wingman Mick Jones taking to the stage with the band for Clash classics ‘Bankrobber’, ‘White Riot’ and ‘London’s Burning’, the first time the duo had played together since 1983. Less than a month later, Joe Strummer dies peacefully in his home in Somerset, the victim of an undiagnosed heart defect at the age of fifty, leaving behind a life and a legacy unmatched.

‘Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten’ is out now on DVD


Created by the friends and family of Joe a year after he passed away, Strummerville is a charity that provides new opportunities for aspiring musicians, offering support, resources and places to play, with the first official Strummerville resource located at London’s Roundhouse (www.roundhouse.org.uk/studios). With plans afoot to open more rehearsal spaces and Strummerville offering quarterly showcases for up-and-coming bands, you can find out more over at www.strummerville.com

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With their striking uniforms and energy domes, mind-bending American new wave music and kitsch sci-fi and surrealist lyrics, DEVO changed the face of modern music and influenced scores of bands along the way. Vive Le Punk digs beneath the strange surface to reveal an intelligent, subversive and exciting band…

Gawkily at odds with the outlaw stance of their punk-scene contemporaries in the late 1970s, Devo’s robotic-corporate-jerk schtick was arguably a hundred times more subversive than any hollow-cheeked black-leather nihilism. Certainly, these Ohio oddballs’ social critique was more carefully thought out; mercilessly satirizing US culture and conformity, Devo undermined the foundations of ‘normality’ with their theatrical stage act and infiltrated the charts both sides of the Atlantic with their itchily memorable electro-rock. While the band’s surface ‘wackiness’ afforded instant commercial appeal, beneath their novelty-act gimmickry, Devo had some controversial and occasionally disturbing points to make.

Devo’s philosophy hinged on the concept of ‘De-evolution’ – the idea that mankind regresses rather than progresses, and is in the process of reverting to an underdeveloped state. This theory was more than mere sloganeering; Devo’s worldview of regression and enforced social conformity was directly influenced by band members’ witnessing of the Kent State shootings in 1970, in which state marksmen had opened up on demonstrating students causing a number of fatalities.

Devo – whose lineup centered around long-term members Gerald and Bob Casale and Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh – honed their act on the underground circuit a few years until a short film they’d produced on the notion of de-evolution attracted interest from Iggy Pop and David Bowie, which landed them a Warner Brothers contract and the production skills of Brian Eno on their first LP, ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!’ Their spastic deconstruction of Rolling Stones staple ‘Satisfaction’ from this record grabbed the public’s attention, as did the provocatively themed ‘Mongoloid’.

The punk period proved a highly productive phase for the band, garnering critical praise and good sales with their 1980 classic ‘Whip It’ making a dent in the top 40. By this point, Devo’s stage show had reached its full level of theatricality, a boiler-suited, flowerpot-hatted troupe giving consumerism and corporate homogeny a thorough lampooning.

Extending their efforts to visual media, Devo’s ventures into music video made for some groundbreaking entries into that field. One early promo introduced the ‘Booji Boy’ character, a grotesque representation of infantile regression who remains in Devo’s live show to this day; a disturbing apparition played by a squeaky-voiced Mark Mothersbaugh in a rubber mask, Booji’s first act as a Devo figurehead was to jam a fork into a toaster in an unsettling don’t-try-this-at-home video clip.

Although the band’s success had slumped by the mid 1980s, Devo’s various members stayed active in musical fields, particularly soundtracks, and the band would reconvene at intervals; a spot on the 1996 Lollapalooza tour was enthusiastically received, and the dates they’ve played this year around a prestige appearance at the ‘07 Meltdown Festival have similarly generated much excitement. While their ongoing influence is proclaimed far and wide, the evidence for De-evolution appears to be all around us at present, so it’s doubly fitting that Devo have cracked out the boiler suits, Booji Boy prosthetics and ‘energy dome’ hats one more time. Devolution is real, spuds!

Hugh Gulland


‘Q: Are We Not Men? A; We Are Devo!’ (1978)

‘Duty Now For The Future’ (1979)

‘Freedom of Choice’ (1980)

‘New Traditionalists’ (1981)

‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’ (1982)

‘Shout’ (1984)

‘Total Devo’ (1988)

‘Smooth Noodle Maps’ (1990)


Download the following…

‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Mongoloid’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Jocko Homo’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Devo Corporate Anthem’ (‘Duty Now…’)
‘The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize’ (‘Duty Now…’)
‘Girl U Want’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Whip It’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Freedom of Choice’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Beautiful World’ (‘New Traditionalists’)
‘Love Without Anger’ (‘New Traditionalists’)
‘Peek-A-Boo!’ (‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’)
‘That’s Good’ (‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’)
‘The 4th Dimension’ (‘Shout’)
‘Are U Experienced?’ (‘Shout’)
‘Some Things Never Change’ (‘Total Devo’)
‘The Shadow’ (‘Total Devo’)
‘(Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew’ (‘Smooth Noodle Maps’)
‘Devo Has Feelings Too’ (‘Smooth Noodle Maps’)


The Aquabats
Weird Al Yankovic
Rage Against The Machine
The Groovie Ghoulies

(taken from www.clubdevo.com)

1. Be like your ancestors or be different. It doesn’t matter.

2. Lay a million eggs or give birth to one.

3. Wear gaudy colours or avoid display. It’s all the same.

4. The fittest shall survive, yet the unfit may live.

5. We Must Repeat.

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




The resounding winner of our Best Ever Damned album poll was Machine Gun Etiquette. Pulling in over half the total votes , the Damneds 3rd album was the first to feature their new line up that included former Saints bassist Algy Ward. A masteriece, and one of the greatest punk albums ever it had it all. Thrash punk (Anti Pope) Punk rock psychedelia (Looking at You), goth punk (Plan 9 Channel 7) and great chart singles like Smash It Up and Love Song.You need MGE otherwise your life ain’t complete!

Vote now for the best UK album of 2008!

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Welcome to the first ever VIVE LE PUNK AWARDS where we salute the kings and queens of rock n’ roll, the good the bad and the sometimes, downright ugly! Vive Le Punk!








GIG OF THE YEAR THE SONICS at the Forum (pictured)/ KILLING JOKE at the Forum









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The murky world of punk rock’s long-lost side projects and spin-offs

“Greater than the sum of their parts”: it’s a stock journalistic cliché, and has been lazily applied to most of punk rock’s chief contenders at some point. Too often however, the put-down has been exacerbated by some-or-other ill-conceived moonlighting gig or a ‘between bands’ project involving the frequently rudderless members of whichever established name. Granted, there’s the odd occasion when such an endeavor has yielded positive results; nevertheless, it’s often a ticket to spin-off hell, and is followed in most cases by a shame-faced reunion of the original band. Here’s a random selection of ‘didn’t-he-used-to-be-ins’ from the punk rock log book, judge for yourselves…

‘Big’ John Duncan, man-mountain guitarist of the formidably-mohawked Exploited at the height of their popularity re-emerged on the music scene around 1987 with this short-lived three-piece outfit, who made a few waves on the live circuit, not least as a support act to Bad Brains, and managed – unlike most other acts discussed here – a major-label album and a single, Crash, that fused psychobilly with JG Ballard, but hardly tore up the charts. Within a couple of years, Duncan could be found strumming away with a pre-Garbage Shirley Manson in Goodbye Mr McKenzie.

As cadaverous lead singer with art-rock-goth trailblazers Bauhaus, Pete Murphy had already waded up to his knees in pretentious twaddle, but had just about got away with it thanks to some cracking singles on the part of that band. Teamed up, post-Bauhaus, with Japan’s Mick Karn, the combination proved fairly poisonous, and didn’t court much good will from either band’s fan base. Murphy wisely ducked out in favour of a moderate level of solo stardom, eventually reuniting Bauhaus some years down the line. Karn’s subsequent efforts you can google yourselves and spare us the agony.

By the summer of 1979, terrace-punkers Sham 69 had enjoyed a high level of chart success, but plagued as they were by right-wing thuggery at their live shows, were deep in the throes of burn-out. Coincidentally, remaining Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, having finished work on the Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle film, were struggling to keep the franchise alive. Front man John Lydon had long since decamped, and bassist and chief gimmick Sid Vicious was cold in the ground. Cue the Sham Pistols, who were unveiled for the encore of one of Sham’s ‘farewell’ gigs, and for the lifespan of about 3 weeks or so proved to be nobody’s finest hour. Sham got back together for another album before splitting in 1980. Cook and Jones, who’d thrown in the towel on Jimmy Pursey after just one recording session, formed The Professionals who lasted a couple of records before heading to LA for an unlikely collaboration with glam rocker Michael Des Barres. As we all know, the Pistols eventually did reform.

An inexplicable one-off between Theatre of Hate/Spear of Destiny front man Kirk Brandon and former Rich Kids drummer and new romantic scenester Rusty Egan back in 1985. Titling the project with characteristic bombast ‘The Senate’, Brandon and Egan reworked the old TOH track The Original Sin. Admittedly this was one of Brandon’s finest songs, but since Theatre of Hate had already done a perfectly decent recording job on it some years before, you may well ask yourself exactly why. Spear Of Destiny resumed activity pretty quickly after.

A stable line-up had never troubled Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s Gun Club, but by early 1985 it really did appear to have fallen apart for the punk-blues pioneers. Drummer Terry Graham had absconded in Paris and Jeffrey seemed to have opted for a solo career. Temporarily high and dry in London, guitarist Kid Congo Powers and bassist Patricia Morrison elected to put something new together, for which Australian vocalist Tex Perkins was mooted as front man. Getting Tex into the UK (let alone keeping him there) proved a whole saga in itself, so the additional task of lead vocals fell to Kid for a short brace of live dates and a French label EP. The project was fairly swiftly abandoned, Kid hooking up with Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, a job he worked in parallel with a reconstituted Gun Club from 1986 through to 1992. Patricia saw out the decade with a high-profile job with the Sisters Of Mercy, and more recently did a sterling job as latter-day Damned bassist.

Admittedly it must have been a tough call for Dee Dee Ramone to stake out his own identity after more than a decade with the brothers Ramone, but you’d be hard pushed to trump this particular musical faux pas, namely Dee Dee’s abortive self-reinvention as Dee Dee King, rapper, which lasted one single and an album both of which are hailed by those unfortunate enough to hear them as a low water mark in bad records. Dee Dee thankfully resumed his career as a rock ’n’ roller, and although he was never reinstated back into the Ramones, kept his hand in with a number of projects before fatally overdosing in 2002.

The closing months of the 1970s saw former New York Doll and Heartbreaker Johnny Thunders in an unenviable state. Record deals and management had evaporated, he was estranged to varying degrees from his former bandmates, and had saddled himself with a very public drug problem that had indelibly marked him down as a bad business bet. Johnny’s only lifeline was the occasional reunion show with The Heartbreakers, and a Detroit date saw his teen idol, former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, hop onstage for a jam. Kramer was hardly riding high himself at this point, having recently done time on trafficking charges. The prospect of a formal collaboration seemed good enough for Thunders to up sticks to Detroit, and as the live bootlegs testify, the pair-off showed real potential. Few things in Thunders’ career would ever run smoothly however, and it all fell to shit within a few short months. An exasperated Kramer blew out a series of NY shows, for which Thunders called on an impressive roster of musical friends to save the night. The ‘Street Fighting’ bootleg captures Gang War on smoking good form, but while it offers a glimpse of what could have been, the stage banter reveals a marked generational mismatch between the two frontmen.


Just prior to the release of Killing Joke’s 1982 album Revelations, rhythm section Paul Ferguson and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover found themselves musically marooned when guitarist Geordie Walker joined truant vocalist Jaz Coleman in Iceland. Youth and Paul announced a new project, Brilliant, but almost immediately, Ferguson himself reunited with Jaz and Geordie, reassembling KJ with new bassist Paul Raven. Youth stuck to his guns with Brilliant who emerged at that year’s Futurama festival as a slightly chaotic but rhythmically intimidating twin-bass line-up with future Cure/Hawkwind man Andy Anderson on drums and former Midnight Lemonboy Marcus on vocals.
Brilliant toured that autumn with Bauhaus and released a couple of singles including the memorable Just What Good Friends Are For, before undergoing a long series of personnel changes which saw future KLF man Jimmy Cauty as one of their number. Brilliant’s eventual hook-up with the villainous SAW production team was not a success story, and the band folded in 1986. Youth carved out a successful production career for himself and has periodically reunited with Killing Joke, whose original line-up toured this autumn.

After the final incarnation of The Clash ingloriously turned its toes up in 1985, bassist Paul Simonon assembled this latino-rockabilly outfit with Gary Myrick on guitar, Nigel Dixon on vocals and Travis Williams on drums. Havana 3AM stuck around for the duration of one album, 1991’s self-titled effort and a near-hit with single Reach The Rock, both of which gained favorable reviews and refuted the long-held journalistic claim that ’Simmo’ had been The Clash’s musical weak link; nevertheless, this never quite propelled them beyond the long shadow cast by the bassist’s original outfit, and Simonon packed up his Fenders not long after to immerse himself in art, an area in which he’s since made a respectable name for himself. The album was reissued this year by Cherry Red.

10) ZIP
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it instalment in the career of Buzzcocks front man Pete Shelley, somewhere between his moderately successful solo career up to about 1985 and The Buzzcocks reunion in 1989. When the three-piece Zip first appeared on a support slot in 1986, Shelley’s identity was consciously played down, (press shots featured the singer crammed into a baseball cap and shades) leading one reviewer to comment suspiciously on the lead vocalist’s familiarity! Zip, who also featured Gerrard Cookson and Mark Sanderson, managed one single in 1988, ‘Your Love’/’Give It To Me’ before a successful and ongoing reunion with The Buzzcocks beckoned.

Hugh Gulland

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Punk legends don’t get any bigger than THE DAMNED‘s very own Captain Sensible, not only a bit of a silly old sausage and all round nice bloke, but also one of the most electrifyingly good guitarists on the planet. It was a pleasure to sit down for a pint with the Captain and Damned keyboardist Monty on the eve of the release of their brand new album ‘So Who’s Paranoid?’ ahead of their appearance at the London Rebellion festival 2008. Here’s what went down.

THE DAMNED: Monty (far left) and Captain Sensible (second from left)

VLP: So you’ve got a new album out. First of all, how come it’s taken so long. I mean it’s been, what, seven years since the last one? I mean, it was quite a long time between the previous one to that too.

Sensible: When we were having that successful period, being on Stiff and Chiswick Records and that, they’d put you in the studio every other week and nowadays people aren’t waiting with bated breath for the next record and we aren’t flavour of the month anymore. We just do it when we fancy it really.

VLP: And you’re doing it on your own label?

Sensible: I think so. I’m not the business person in this band. I haven’t got a clue how it’s working.

VLP: Yeah. You’re just supplying the lead guitar and some vocals and writing songs.

Sensible: Yeah, I don’t know about the business stuff at all. It always—my eyes glaze over and I fall asleep, you know? I start listening to country music on the jukebox.

VLP: There’s always been a lot of different phases of the Damned. Everyone album from ‘Damned, Damned, Damned,’ and then obviously ‘Machine Gun’ was brilliant, and then ‘The Black Album’ and the ‘Strawberries’ was slightly different again. What can we expect on this one?

Sensible: Well, once again, it’s like a completely different album from anything we’ve done before, I think. We don’t really repeat ourselves, and this one, for me, sounds a bit—it’s a kind of jangley, garage, punk, psychedelic album. There’s a bit of 12-string on there, there’s plenty of Hammond.

VLP: So you’ve gone back to the garage style?

Sensible: Yeah. We love that style. I don’t think you can beat it really. Fast guitars and tambourines.

VLP: Yeah I like that garage punk stuff. It’s made a big revival.

Sensible: Yeah. It’s the music that I play when I’m doing my two-finger typing on my computer.

Eugene: But you’ve always liked the psychedelic side of the Damned as well. Is that coming through on this album as well?

Sensible: Yeah. Tell ‘em about Track 13.

Monty: The last track is an eleven-minute freakout sort of Krautrock Hawkwind jam.

Sensible: It’s really not for the faint of heart. Far be it from me to say what the listener should do but personally I would grab hold of the best pair of headphones I could get and listen to this track at a reasonable volume because it really does take you on a mind-bending journey. Mr Vanian’s idea was that we should record the track while we were tripping. We did cop out – we just did some hash cakes. It’s there in its entirety – it’s not trimmed at all. The first take. Whether it’s commercial to do psychedelic freakout jam sessions, I don’t give a flying fuck! The critics aren’t going to get it. No matter what you do you’ll get some stick, so we’ll give ‘em something to really whack us with!

VLP: That’s what music should be about.

Sensible: It is. You know, whether it’s commercial to do 11-minute psychedelic freak out jam sessions, or not, I don’t give a flying fuck cause the critic’s aren’t gonna get it. It is like a rudder-less ship, The Damned, which for some reason or the other always goes in the right direction. And I think we’ve been so lucky in this band to always have had a collection of just fantastic musicians and songwriters, Because otherwise I think we would have lasted one album. Especially when Brian James jumped ship. If we didn’t have the music in us, we would have gone back to the toilet cleaning jobs.

When we tried to get Syd Barrett to produce ‘Music for Pleasure,’ we wanted to marry the punk thing with the psychedelic thing. Bust Syd never showed up. I’d like to grab hold of ‘Music for Pleasure’ and give that a fuckin kick up the jackson. Give that a remix—it’d be brilliant. I’m afraid it just sounds to clean for my taste. There’s too much studio technique on there. You need to strip all that away and accentuate the raw vibe.

VLP: Why do you think The Damned have survived so long?

Sensible: It’s the only thing we can do! I personally would like to see a band like The Damned. The music’s there and you turn up to see the band and you never know what’s going to happen really. Is the stupid guitarist going to have his trousers round his ankles? Is the keyboard player going to freak out and storm offstage, kicking equipment about? The chaos is there, there’s a vibe to it. You never know which Damned is going to turn up!

Monty: Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that everybody’s a bit crazy, but no so mad that we can’t actually do the business.

Sensible: And as we said, the singer is singing better than he’s ever sung. When we listened to the album yesterday, Dave Burke said that’s the best he’s ever heard Dave sing. So for some reason or another, Vanian’s just improving with age. Not that he’s old or anything!

VLP: So Captain, you used to be a toilet cleaner, yeah? Are there any similarities between being a toilet cleaner and the music industry?

Sensible: I remember Dave Robinson said, ‘Music is toilet rolls, play it today and throw it away.’ He wanted the next Damned album to be made out of licorice. You play it once and then eat it. Which I thought was a fairly good idea, cause I like licorice.

I used to like cleaning the bogs though and they did say they’d keep the job open for me as I was quite good at it!,

Monty: They’re keeping the door open for you, you mean!

Sensible: Yeah…There was this turd that just wouldn’t flush and I had to go down to the canteen and get a knife and fork to slice it up. I gave the knife and fork back after a cursory rinse under the tap, put it back in the tray, and the funny thing was the mayor of Croyden walked in, with his entourage, into the café and they took the knives and forks.

Unbeknownst to me, when we played there – going back to the scene of the crime – the road crew bought a hundred bog brushes and they hung them on a wire right above my head on the stage and at the end of the show they cut them down and threw them into the crowd so a hundred people went home with a new bog brush to celebrate my return! Whenever I go back to Fairfield Halls to see bands play I’ll always check the bogs to see if they’re up to the high standard that I left. Job’s still open though – if this album doesn’t sell I might have to go back!

VLP: When you started the Damned, did you think that you’d still be doing it 30 years later?

Sensible: The thing was, when Brian split the band in ‘77, I was so upset that I just couldn’t believe my favourite job had gone the toilet. He arranged this meeting in a pub somewhere and said, “Yeah, I’ve decided to call it a day…I’m forming a new band,” and that’s not really what I wanted to hear. And I had had four or five pints at the meeting as well, so I was staggering about in a daze thinking, what am I gonna do the rest of my life? And I was walking along and I saw this cinema where they were showing ABBA, the movie, and I thought I’d go in there because I was getting emotional. So, I went in and had a quiet blub, with all my punk gear on, surrounded by all these people singing ABBA songs. Strange day that was. But then we got it back together again and we’re still going now. I never thought it’d be going for 32 years.

VLP: I mean bands come and go. The music industry just chews you up and spits you out.

Sensible: I think it does. If you look at the charts, you don’t really realize any of the names and they won’t be around in a year’s time, will they?

VLP: So we were just talking about the old days of the Damned, do you think you’d ever get back with the original lineup?

Sensible: Yeah, it was suggested that we were gonna go out and do something for the anniversary—what was it, 30 years? We were gonna do a few shows. Maybe London, New York, Los Angeles, maybe Tokyo and Istanbul (laughs). But then it started becoming a much bigger thing and Jake Riviera became involved and I started to go, “What’s going on here? This is not really what I agreed to do.”

VLP: Are you not interested in that? Cause obviously something like that, a lot of people would be keen to see.

Sensible: No, I don’t do anything I don’t wanna do. I’ve turned things down, which might have been quite lucrative. Not just that—you know, reality TV shows.

VLP: What was it like being Top of the Pops?

Sensible: I know this sounds cliché, but those were the days. It used to be fun mixing with all the other bands that you wouldn’t normally, like Modern Romance, Marc Almond, Yazoo. In that bar on the top of Broadcasting House or whatever – it was a nice, cheap subsidised bar it was – Lemmy’d be in the corner feeding the fruit machines. It used to be really good up there, nice atmosphere, actors walking around.

VLP: How did you come up with the idea to do ‘Happy Talk?’

Sensible: I recorded a bunch of stuff, but we didn’t have quite enough to finish the album, so we did a cover version of ‘Happy Talk.’ And as soon as the record label heard it, they banged it out as a single. And when I went down to the Top of the Pops, someone in the prop department shoved a parrot on my shoulder. Even now, when I’m walking down the road, people still shout at me ‘Where’s the fucking parrot Sensible?’”

I took my influence from Tony McPhee and Jimi Hendrix. I’m not saying I play like that, but I like the single-note, twiddly, psychedelia solo. Whether that’s punk or not, I dunno. But punk always for me was—the punk rulebook, the first rule says there’s no rules. All punk is, is just do your own thing and be real.

I always thought it was very brave when you see people like T.V. Smith and Hugh Cornwall going out doing acoustic tours. I always thought that was a fairly brave thing to do because if you’re used to standing on stage with a big noise coming out of the kit and the base and the backline, but they do it well, don’t they? That’s proof of a good song if you can play it on an acoustic guitar, and Hugh’s songs sound great.

VLP: What’s the most sensible things you’ve ever done?

Sensible: Well, I go down to the green grocer like everyone else.

VLP: Doing ‘Happy Talk?’

Sensible: Is that the most sensible thing? No. It’s the most unlikely thing really,

For three years after ‘Happy Talk,’ I was staying in top hotels, being driven around in limos. It was absolutely brilliant. I remember we stayed in this hotel in Paris, cause it was number one in France for seven weeks, I was staying on the same floor, in the best hotel in Paris, with the Rolling Stones. That was an experience.

You know, every job’s got its perks. When I worked for British Rail, you get two free tickets to anywhere in Europe plus twelve free tickets to anywhere in Britain and free travel anywhere in your local area, which is fantastic. So that’s perks for that job. When I was a toilet cleaner, you get as much bog rolls as…

VLP: So what’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever done? Come up with something witty.

Sensible: I’m not known for my wit.

VLP: What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done then?

Sensible: I jumped between two buildings somewhere in Europe to get this big flag. We wanted to get this flag and we were absolutely sloshed. And I’m scared of heights as well, so I must have been absolutely sloshed cause I jumped between these two buildings, I suppose about six stories, but I got it. But that was our backdrop after that.

VLP: What can we expect out of the Damned for the next year or two? Should we expect the unexpected?

Sensible: Well, we just wrote the set list yesterday.

VLP: Is there new stuff in the set list?

Sensible: Five out of 18 songs. But it is difficult to write the setlist. There are two schools of thought. One is that you should challenge the audience or give them what they want. We just do what we want.

VLP: Why are you called Captain Sensible?

Sensible: Well everyone had a stage name in those days so we could go down the dole office. Cause if you’re in the paper, “Ray Burns played bass guitar,” they’d wave the music paper at you and say, “Look, Ray Burns, base player of the Damned, you’re off the dole.” But if I would’ve known I’d be doing it 30 years later, I would have chosen a better one.

VLP: What’s your favourite cheese?

Sensible: Cheese! Stinking Bishop! For your readers out there, allow me to recommend very highly Neil’s Yard Dairy in Barrow Market. They’ve got the stinkiest cheeses known to mankind. This one called Stinking Bishop is—I keep it in three plastic bags in the fridge and when people come around I just shove it in their faces.

Eugene: Monty, what’s your favourite cheese?

Monty: I should say Brie or something that’s been fermenting for years.


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Legendary Agnostic Front guitarist steps to the forefront with his debut solo record.

Having been part of the NYHC scene since the early ‘80s, founding AF in ‘82, then playing for Madball before returning to the ‘Front, it’s no wonder that Vinnie Stigma (second from left) has earned the moniker, ‘The Godfather of Hardcore’.

“I left my last job as a long shoreman when I was 25 years old and have been touring the world ever since. I could not imagine doing anything else. I get to see my friends everywhere I go. It’s my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Following a conversation between Vinnie and Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta back in 2003, Vinny has now picked up the microphone and recruited his “good friends” Josh Tilotta (guitar), Mike Gallo (bass) and Luke Rota (drums) to round out his new band STIGMA.

“I felt that now is the best time for me do something like this. I’m still doing Agnostic Front. Roger [Miret, AF vocalist] has a new baby now, so I know he will have his hands full when we’re not on tour. My son is a teenager now. I’ve been through a lot and this gives me the opportunity to express myself vocally. This CD tells you the story of my life, lyrically and musically.”

Musically, the new album, aptly titled ‘New York Blood’ and produced by Jamey Jasta and former Monster Magnet guitarist Phil Caivano, is Vinnie’s most varied work to date, incorporating punk, oi, rock ‘n’ roll and country into his defining hardcore attitude. “This is what I enjoy listening to and I believe that anyone can enjoy this record,” explains Vinny.

“I have two great bands now, a tattoo shop (NYHC Tattoos, 127 Stanton St NY, 10002), good friends and a great family. What else could I ask for? That’s why this new band completes me. And don’t forget I have a movie coming out on Brain Damage called ‘New York Blood’, the same as my record.”

So with a long and impressive musical career, a tattoo shop and a movie about the dark side of life in NY, (not to mention a hilarious video on why you should vote for him to be president!) it’s no surprise that Vinny feels like he’s at his peak.

“Right now I’m on top of my game and I feel better than ever. The time is now and it will be until the day I die.”

‘New York Blood’ is out now on I-Scream.



1. CRO-MAGS The Age Of Quarrell
2. WARZONE – Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets
3. AGNOSTIC FRONT – Victim In Pain
4. SICK OF IT ALL – Scratch The Surface
5. CRUMBSUCKERS – Life Of Dreams
6. MURPHYS LAW – Murphys Law
7. LEEWAY – Born To Expire
9. BOLD – Speak Out

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