THE GREATEST DAMNED ALBUM EVER IS…

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

WHAT IS THE GREATEST DAMNED ALBUM EVER?

MACHINE GUN ETIQUETTE 50.8%

DAMNED DAMNED DAMNED 23.5%
THE BLACK ALBUM 8.7%
MUSIC FOR PLEASURE 8.2%
STRAWBERRIES 6%
GRAVE DISORDER 2.7%

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!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

VIVE LE PUNK AWARDS 2008

 

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!

REFORMATION (well partly) THE SPECIALS

REISSUE OF THE YEAR KILLING JOKE ‘FIRE DANCES’

BAND OF THE YEAR COCK SPARRER

BEST NEW ALBUM BY AN OLD BAND THE DAMNED ‘SO WHO’S PARANOID?’



WELCOME BACK AWARD
THE SKIDS (pictured)/ PENETRATION

BEST NEW BAND THE JIM JONES REVUE

BEST OLD ROCK N ROLL ACT THE SONICS

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

HOW THE FUCK IS HE NOT DEAD YET AND NOT ONLY THAT STILL ROCKIN LIKE A MAD MAN? JERRY LEE LEWIS

DEARLY DEPARTED BO DIDDLEY

FLOG THAT HORSE! WORST OLD BAND STILL GOING THE MISFITS

DAYGLO NEW WAVE AWARD X RAY SPEX AT THE ROUNDHOUSE

HE’S A LEGEND CHARLIE HARPER (U.K SUBS)

BEST SKA ACT NEVILLE STAPLE

BEST PUNK ACT STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

BEST PSYCHOBILLY ACT TIGER ARMY

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

SIDE PROJECTS AND SPIN-OFFS!

PLAYING AWAY FROM HOME
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…

1) THE BLOOD UNCLES
‘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.

2) DALI’S CAR
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.

3) THE SHAM PISTOLS
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.

4) THE SENATE
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.

5) THE FUR BIBLE
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.

6) DEE DEE KING
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.

7) GANG WAR
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.

8) BRILLIANT

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.

9) HAVANA 3AM
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

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE DAMNED

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.

 

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

STIGMA

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.

www.vinnystigma.com

VIVE LE PUNK’S ESSENTIAL NY HARDCORE ALBUMS:

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
8. GORILLA BISCUITS – Start Today
9. BOLD – Speak Out

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE CORTINAS

THE CORTINAS were Bristol’s only major first wave punk band, and boy, were we proud of them, even if they did go to that bloody Grammar School. Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Nick Sheppard (lead guitar), Mike Fewings (rhythm guitar), Dexter Dalwood (bass) and Daniel Swann (drums) started their short career in 1975, when their average age was just 15, playing R&B covers. They picked up on the emerging punk scene quicker than most, certainly than most of us Bristol yokels, and simply sped up a lot of what they were already playing, but also added new, more overtly punk songs of their own, though the R&B influence was always present.

Their break came when they supported the Stranglers at the Roxy on 22 January 1977, which came to be after Sheppard had approached Hugh Cornwell when the former Bristol University student was visiting friends in the city. The band then played the club quite regularly, and one result of this was the Cortinas signing to Miles Copeland and Mark Perry’s Step Forward label.

The classic singles ‘Fascist Dictator’ and ‘Defiant Pose’ were the fruit of this union, and the band went on to appear on the front cover of the April/May issue of ‘Sniffin’ Glue’, then in July record a fine John Peel session. Impressive or what?

The Cortinas were snapped up by CBS, but sadly, at that point, it all went a bit wobbly. The 1978 album ‘True Romances’, and accompanying single ‘Ask Mr Waverly’, both sounded pretty weak, to punk ears at least, as the band returned to their R&B roots, but by its release the band had to all intents and purposes split, only coming back together for two shows to promote it. Then, the Cortinas were gone for ever.

Or were they…?

Well, yes, actually. But now, out of the goodness of their hearts, the Bristol Archive label have unearthed two previously unreleased sets of material from the band – pretty exciting stuff for fans.

The first, ‘For Fuck’s Sake Plymouth’ was recorded in, of course, Plymouth, and captures the band at the peak of their powers in 1977. The sound quality isn’t perfect, but the band belie their tender years to deliver 13 songs as powerful and intense as most of their contemporaries, with Valentine’s hectoring vocals and Swann’s busy drums beating the initially subdued, polite crowd into submission, helped by a super-speedy rendition of ‘Fascist Dictator’. Essential stuff.

The second, ‘Please Don’t Hit Me’, contains the 12 demo tracks that Miles Copeland used to score the band their CBS deal. It would be nice to say that these tracks pulsate with punk rock fury, and it was only the interference of the monster major label that ruined them on the album, but sadly that’s not the case. For the most part they are jaunty but unremarkable R&B songs, and even the more lively punk tracks like ‘Further Education’ and ‘Have It With You’ lack the inspiration of the earlier singles.

Still, with both albums newly remastered and accessible for the first time after gathering dust for 30 years, this is pure punk gold. Unfortunately, they are only available as downloads, though we are assured that if sufficient interest is shown, they may eventually appear on CD.

For now, go to www.bristolarchiverecords.com

Where Are They Now?

Nick Sheppard, of course, played guitar with the final line-up of the Clash (see pic below), which is sometimes dismissed as a short-lived footnote in the Clash story, when in fact the post-Mick Jones outfit lasted for about two years and toured all over the world. He formed the excellent band Head, with Gareth Sager, formerly of the Pop Group and Rip, Rig & Panic, but for a long time now has resided in Australia and is still a working muso.

As far as I know, the only other Cortina to have continued working in music is Daniel Swann, who moved to San Fransisco and played with Sneetches before going behind the scenes working with the likes of Green Day, Offspring and Rancid.

Jeremy Valentine is now a sociology lecturer at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. It would be a cheap jibe to mention the Cortinas song ‘Further Education’. Ah well.

Dexter Dalwood studied at St Martins College of Art and the Royal College of Art and is now a renowned painter whose works have been exhibited in New York, London and Liverpool.

Sadly, the trail of Mike Fewings runs out after he played with Essential Bop shortly after the Cortinas’ demise.

Shane Baldwin

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE BEST STREET PUNK BAND EVER IS…

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

WHO IS THE BEST STREET PUNK BAND EVER?

COCK SPARRER 34.2%

SHAM 69 31.5%
RANCID 18.5%
SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS 11.6%
DROPKICK MURPHYS 4.1%

The West Ham shock troops come out slightly ahead of the Hersham boys. Cock Sparrer’s albums, such as the classic debut ‘Shock Troops’ (1982) and ‘Running Riot in ’84’ (1984) played a major role in forming street punk and have influenced many bands since. Here’s to the ‘Sparrer!

Vote now for the greatest Damned album ever!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE UNDERTONES

Formed in 1975, THE UNDERTONES are the greatest 70’s pop punk band ever (ok, the Buzzcocks give em’ a run for their money) and their single “Teenage Kicks” is a bonafide anthem. Covering the band’s celebrated single is practically a right if passage for pop punk artists these days and has been remade dozens of times. So, how did The Undertones go from a just a bunch of kids jamming in Derry, Northern Ireland to one of the most well-known pop punk bands to this day? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Original members of the Undertones were Damien O’Neill (guitar), John O’Neill (guitar), Feargal Sharkey (lead vocals), Michael Bradley (bass) and Billy Doherty (drums).

The band emerged from Derry in Northern Ireland during the punk new wave boom of 1977, 1978 alongside others like Rudi and the Outcasts.

The original line-up released four studio albums including The Undertones (1979), Hypnotised (1980), Positive Touch (1981) and The Sin of Pride (1983) before disbanding in 1983.

The Undertones drew early inspiration from the Ramones, Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols among others.

The band began practising and playing cover versions of punk rock songs at schools and scout huts under the name "The Hot Rods."

The name “The Undertones” was chosen by one of the band members who discovered the word in a history book.

By 1977 the band was performing their own pop punk material, and in 1978 they released their debut four-song EP Teenage Kicks.

The Undertones single “Teenage Kicks” was the late BBC Radio One DJ John Peel’s favourite single. Thanks to Peel’s love of the song, companies in London became interested in signing the group.

John Peel (pictured with the band below) famously said in an interview, "Teenage Kicks came on the radio, and I had to pull the car over to the side of the road. There’s nothing you could add to it or subtract from it that would improve it." It is reportably about the joys of masturbation!

According to John O’Neill, the song “was to be our epitaph for all those years…we were the first band in Derry to bring out a record of all our own songs and we were gonna leave it at that.”

Bassist Mickey Bradley recently admitted to the BBC that the band’s most cherished single almost never got made due to Sharkey’s lack of commitment to the group.

Over 40 artists have covered “Teenage Kicks,” including Razorlight, Snow Patrol, Green Day and Dave Grohl.

Allmusic stated that guitarists John and Damian O’Neill "mated infectious guitar hooks to ’60s garage, ’70s glam rock, and Feargal Sharkey’s signature vocal quaver."

In December 1980, the group made a shock announcement that they were leaving Sire Records due to “irreconcilable differences.” The band was not happy with Sire’s lack of promotion, especially in America.

Then in April 1981, the Undertones announced that they were starting their own label called Ardeck.

Tension within in the band, namely with lead vocalist Sharkey, led to the band’s split in 1983.

The group played their last headlining show at London’s Lyceum.

After breaking up, the band ended up trying to auction off their equipment to pay off their debts.

Of being in the original band, Michael Bradley has said, “It was great being in The Undertones. It was about the best thing that could happen to us at that age. Mind you, it would have been better being in The Beatles”.

Sharkey pursued a solo career that achieved commercial success in the mid to late 1980s, and two of the other band members (John and Damian O’Neill) formed That Petrol Emotion with Raymond Gorman.

The Undertones reformed in 1999 to play concerts in Derry, replacing singer Feargal Sharkey with Paul McLoone.

The band released a critically acclaimed album of original material with McLoone in 2003 titled Get What You Need.

In 2004, the band was the subject of a 2004 documentary, The Undertones: Teenage Kicks, which features the band visiting their old hang outs with John Peel and charting their history.

The band toured North America and also performed at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005.

On 15 October 2007, they released the critically aclaimed studio album, Dig Yourself Deep.

The Undertones have left their mark in the pop punk world, influencing bands such as Green Day and Sum 41.

The Undertones ROCK!!!!!

The Undertones ‘An Anthology’ double album, which not only includes the band’s hits but also rare and unreleased songs from their early days in the studio is out now on Salvo records.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE JIM JONES REVUE

The JIM JONES REVUE are preparing to unleash their third album, ‘The Savage Heart’, in October. Here’s a classic VLR interview with the band to whet your appetites…

How did the Jim Jones Revue come to be?
“None of us had played together before, but from the first meetings of the JJR it was like opening Pandora’s box. We knew straight away we had a tiger by the tail. It was pretty instant.”

Can you tell us what happened with Thee Hypnotics/Black Moses? Was it a case of wanting to try something different? How do you feel JJR stands apart from your other bands/projects?
“Thee Hypnotics ran its course and so did Black Moses. Sometimes you can write new songs and sometimes you need to just move on to a new project. They were both stops on my journey to here… I think the difference with JJR is that it’s quite accessible, don’t get me wrong, you’re not gonna hear our stuff used as background music in Ikea, but what seemed like a small idea on the outside, immediately had the feeling of tapping into some kind of main vein! ‘One instinctively knows when something is right’!”

There seem to be, on the face of things at least, not many bands still keeping the flame burning for proper rock ‘n’ roll – was this a conscious decision for the JJR to do? What other bands do you feel are keeping it alive?
“Carrying the torch for proper rock ‘n’ roll can be a thankless task and a badly paid job at the best of times. It’s not surprising there are only a few who respond to the calling. But it is also an honour. JJR would never shrink for its responsibilities! Meanwhile, musically, it takes a conscious effort to make it run the way it should: too rich means you’re gonna run cold and no speed, too lean means you can overheat or loose combustion at full tilt. It’s hard work, but you have to get the mix right!



What’s a JJR live show like and what does the combination of players bring to the mix?

“A band only exists on the energy that is put in. If there is no one putting energy in, then the band no longer exists. Everyone in JJR brings something special and delivers it with gusto – maximum commitment. Playing live it becomes more so. It’s quite religious, probably the most purifying thing I’ve ever experienced. There is the sense of doing it for the cause. There is a message to deliver and once you’ve got the good sisters dancing at the front the rest of the congregation will usually follow.”

What did you want to achieve with the first album and do you think you’ve done it? What I think I love most about is how it sounds like it’s been dragged kicking and screaming from the ’50s/’60s right through the mixing desk – how was the recording process?

“Thanks, that’s a nice way to put it. I really wanted to make sure we didn’t end up with something that was just a mediocre, low budget production. We knew we couldn’t afford beautiful so we went for totally brutal. Brutality has its own graces.”

What are your top five rock ‘n’ roll records of all time?
“’High School Confidential’ – Jerry Lee Lewis
‘Shake Appeal’ – The Stooges
‘Too Much’ – Elvis Presley
‘Ooh My Soul’ – Little Richard
‘Girl Can’t Dance’ – Bunker Hill & Link Wray

Complete the following sentence: The Jim Jones Revue is best enjoyed with…

“ Your best scuffed dancing shoes!”

‘The Jim Jones Revue’ is out now on Punk Rock Blues.


The Jim Jones Revue will release their eagerly anticipated third studio album The Savage Heart through Play It Again Sam/Punk Rock Blues Records on 15th October.

Produced by Jim Sclavunos (of Grinderman / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), The Savage Heart’s nine tracks were recorded at The Chapel (Lincolnshire) and West Heath Yard (Edwyn Collins’ London studio) in May 2012.

READ A NEW INTERVIEW WITH THE JIM JONES REVUE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF VIVE LE ROCK (ISSUE 9), OUT OCT. 11th.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

X

Exene Cervenka first made a name for herself in the late 1970s as the frontwoman for the Los Angeles punk band, X (best known for their aptly-titled first hit, “Los Angeles”). Critics have often credited her involvement as a writer and frontwoman as the defining factor that set X apart from the scene’s other punk bands. Over the years, Cervenka has continued to build on the credits attributed to her name, involving herself in new bands such as the Knitters, Auntie Christ, and the Original Sinners, as well as solo performances, spoken word performances and other art exhibitions.

This past Spring, Cervenka and bandmates John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake – X’s original lineup – embarked on their “13×31” tour, a name reflecting both their “unlucky thirteen, fuck the world” philosophy (according to an interview with The Village Voice) and the band’s 31st anniversary.

Vive Le Punk caught up with Cervenka to talk about living the punk life, 3 decades in.

K: What’s it like 30 years later, being on tour, still doing this, still playing music, and having a career?
E: It’s the same.

K: What do you mean it’s the same?
E: It’s the same.

K: What’s it like being one of the last surviving bands coming from that era, coming from that LA scene?
E: Well, it’s all very strange, being the last surviving band. And also being representative of LA, because we kind of stood up to LA at a time when everyone laughed at it. It’s very rewarding, to me, to still be doing this.

K: What are your feelings, looking back at the New York scene and the London scene, and the remnants of it? And seeing your peers coming back and playing now, at least the few that are left?

E: I’m feeling pretty positive, for the most part, about just about everything these days…. I’d like to get together and do some spoken word shows with some of the people that are still around. Like, do some kind of thing with Richard Hell or somebody like that.

K: Did you ever try to do something like that before? Bring the different coasts, the different groups, together?
E: Well, I have different projects…. But we all have a lot of stuff going on.

K: Have you ever done anything with the other females, the other rock ‘n’ roll chicks of that era?

E: We’ve done a lunch, yeah.



K: What was it like being one of the few women in the music scene, and in punk rock, in an era when it was really male dominated?

E: Well, it wasn’t male dominated. That’s the good thing about it. There were a lot of women in the scene. There were the The Go-Gos, and The Motels, and The Alley Cats… And some other bands had women in them. It was a pretty mixed scene. And the guys were not sexist at all. It was a pretty magical time as far as all of that stuff….

K: So, you don’t think it was tough to be a woman? You had a lot of peers and you weren’t the only one?
E: No, I don’t think it was tough at all. It’s a lot tougher now.

K: What about the LA scene now? Do you support it, are you a part of it?

E: I wouldn’t know. The scene belongs to the kids. It does not belong to the adults.

K: Why do you not really follow what’s going on now?

E: It’s just too much. There’s just too much to follow…. I try to keep track, but there’s just so much music that I listen to already.

K: How do you tour now? Do you have a van, or a bus?

E: We have a van, and a truck with equipment and merchandise and stuff.

K: Is it ever tolling, being a little bit older and having done this for so long?

E: I’m pretty autophobic, which means you don’t like yourself. I should say car-phobic. I don’t really travel in cars much, but I like touring, if that makes sense. I like being on the road. It’s a fantasy world.

K: Even 30 years later, it’s a fantasy world?

E: It’s a fantasy world with no dishes to wash.

X hit the road again in December to play their remaining “13×31” tour dates in California. Cervenka’s new solo album will be released Spring 2009 via Bloodshot Records.

Words & photos: Kirsten Housel

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

GBH Warped Tour report

WORDS AND COPYRIGHT PHOTOS: Diana More Riddle

The picturesque backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington isn’t typically where’d you expect to see punk bands playing, nor is this years emo heavy line-up of The Vans Warped Tour. No the less that’s where I caught up with punk legends GBH on Aug 9th, half way through their North American tour. They’d spent the last few weeks headlining shows zigzagged across the US and Canada and had just joined the tail end of the tour.

So on their third day playing the much larger commercial festival they were just starting to settle into the circus but pretty well I might add. Despite it still being early afternoon that didn’t stop a good part of the 20,000 Warped punters getting into full swing with one the liveliest pits of the day!

The 30 min set at the all dayer left plenty of free time at the festival. After playing GBH could be found at their merch stall, unlike many of the other bands who disappeared into their tour bus, only to emerge for a brief autograph signing. At their stall they were meet by a constant stream of fans crowding around for photos and autographs. Their time spent hanging at the stall wasn’t all about the fans, it might have had a bit to do with the fact that they didn’t have a tour bus and were travelling around in a not so spacious eight-seater van… the only main stage band not in a tour bus and proud of it.

So that evening, back in the van they got. Another night of driving through the night to meet the early Warped start times. Columbia Meadows, Oregon was in another stunning landscape and again they were incredibly well received. Unluckily it was the last night of scenic venues as the tour moved on to its more familiar car park settings as it hit California.

Fortunately though, with the California shows came the “Old School Stage”! Adding a bit more Punk Rock to the noticeably lacking punk line-up this year had compared to previous years. This added the likes of FEAR, The Dickies, D.I., The Germs, Agent Orange and T.S.O.L to name a few. Each gig in California seemed to top the last. Culminating in a brilliant last show at the Home Depot Centre in Los Angeles. With more bands and bigger pits then any other show and lots of very happy festival goers. Despite early reservation of joining the Warped Tour my bet is you can expect them back.

After a few well-deserved days off in the sunshine of LA, GBH were back to their more familiar turf of late night venues. Aug 21st they played the infamous Keyclub on the Sunset Strip. The sold out show was opened by pre-Warped show tourmate Texas’ Krum Bums and Florida’s Whole Wheat Bread. Both of who went down a treat and got the crowd nicely warmed up. From their first song the spikey LA crowd was going nuts, singing along and stag-diving to all their classics and new material alike. Even Eddie Tatar from D.I. couldn’t help join in and jumping in on bass for a few songs. The night was topped off by closing the show with The Clash’s White Riot.

It was good to see GBH back in their more native environment, playing their full set and the crowd couldn’t have agreed more. It was a great night and just the start of nearly another month back on tour with Whole Wheat and Krum Bums… If you can’t make it over to The US or Canada you can catch up with them back in Blighty on Oct 25th in Brum or Nov 10th in London!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE BOYS

TO HELL WITH THE BOYS

It’s a lovely autumnal evening in London’s Oxford Street, and your correspondent is delighted to have the opportunity to renew acquaintances with some of his favourite foot soldiers of the punk wars. The last time I caught The Boys was at the Barfly a couple of years back, and I haven’t seen a better gig since. Of all the class of ’76, they remain, to me, the most under-rated of the lot. Effortlessly canny musicians, great entertainers without drowning in ego and ‘a nice bunch of lads’ (an expression heard more than once in the audience this evening) to boot. If only they’d taken on board a bit of rebel chic, dumbed down or stopped laughing at the absurdity of notions of ‘cool’, they might be better remembered still. For all that, they maintain a fervent fan base, affection for their tight, harmony-flecked pop-punk crossing several continents. At the Barfly show, fans flew in from Argentina, America and Spain (a lovely couple I met who planned their holiday around the event despite being unable to obtain tickets). And there’s a small foreign contingent here too, though this is in effect a private party, to celebrate the 50th birthday of long-standing fan Jim. So, happy birthday Jim.

Backstage in the 100 Club’s impossibly bijou dressing room, I have a full complement of Boys to interrogate. So which of your esteemed membership, after all these years, retains the biggest and best rock ‘n’ roll image? There is laughter before fingers point, inexorably, to guitarist/vocalist Honest John Plain. Well, he does have a bandana head start. “He’s just a love machine”, says drummer Vom, who also bashes skins for Die Toten Hosen and myriad others in his Boys’ downtime. “In all ways, the biggest,” notes bass player/singer Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid. “But he has small feet.” Read into that what you will. And how difficult is to get time off from wives, girlfriends, work and the other distractions of adulthood? “No problem for me,” says John, “she left me years ago!” “It’s moderately difficult,” confirms Duncan, “mainly for me, Matt and Vom, because we have a lot of time commitments elsewhere. But this year has been a busy year. We might even do five gigs. We’ve been working out little socks off!” Presumably though, such limitations keep it fresh and make it more fun? “I like it that way,” Duncan continues, “cos it’s bad enough seeing the rest of them anyway, so five times is plenty.”

Favourite Boys song to play live? “Any one of mine, really,” says Matt (Dangerfield, guitar/vocals), archly. “Whichever one is last,” decides Duncan, doubtless in reference to the creaking joints which must surely follow his gravity-defying stage antics. “That’s ‘Sick On You’, as it happens, which is not a bad one to close on.” The latter, a fabled punk rock document which came to the band via The Hollywood Brats (in which incarnation it was widely posited as ‘the first punk song’), has long been the final encore. “When we played it in Texas recently, it worked out really well,” Duncan continues. “They were asking for that all the way through, so if we’d played it any earlier, they would probably have buggered off.” The Austin gig turned out to be eventful for other reasons, as Duncan describes. “He (Casino ‘Cas’ Steel, former Hollywood Brat, keyboards, and, inevitably, vocals) got arrested in Chicago and sent back to Norway, so there was only four of us there.” Work permit or drugs? “None of us had a work permit,” says Matt. “He was the only one to apply for one – that was his mistake.” Cas’s response is drowned out in an orgy of sympathy. Not. “They came from all over America to see us,” continues Duncan, “so it was great. Brilliant crowds, and they knew every single song.” Ever wonder how those records crossed international borders so readily? “Yes,” says Cas. “That amazed us when we played in Bratislava. We never sold any albums in Bratislava! But they knew all the lyrics!”

And why the 100 Club tonight? “Jim is the vicar of Great Ormond Street hospital,” says Duncan, “a great lad, and it’s his 50th birthday, he asked us and we said yes. We decided to do a public gig as well (the following evening at ULU). But that was only because we were doing this one. It’s mainly Jim’s friends, so we’re expecting a bishop or two tonight.” Will he mind his language in front of a man of the cloth? “No! There’s a few hardcore Boys fans, too. The chat site, Backstage Passes, they all know about it.” Indeed, it’s like an all-in fan club gig this evening. They’re, well, worshipful.

This time last year was the 30th anniversary of punk hoopla (all right, I admit, some of us have been quietly trying to keep it going). Was that overblown? “I didn’t notice it!” says Duncan. “The Barfly gig was our 30th two years ago.” “It started in ’76, anyway, not 77,” offers Matt, who once ran the recording studio where Mick Jones, Tony James, Bryan James, Rat Scabies and Billy Idol made their first ‘moves’, while simultaneously chasing Sid and Nancy out of his toilet, so he should know. Cas: “I just got off the tube, and I saw this big fucking poster of Johnny Rotten advertising butter!” There’s a question, would you advertise domestic consumables for money? “Oh, we’d do anything for money,” says Cas, emphatically.

So what advice would you give to any young guns getting into the music industry. “Don’t,” says Cas, “work on the railways”. “Get a good job,” says John, “with a decent fucking pension and a missus.” Actually, that might have been ‘a pension and a decent fucking missus’, it isn’t entirely clear from the transcription. “Don’t apply for a visa if you’re going to America,” says Vom, to Cas’s evident embarrassment. And what plans have you from here? “We’re playing some German shows, and we have offers for Spain and Italy,” says Duncan. “We just get offers and do them.” Any chance of a new studio album? “Not a whole album, we’ve chatted about doing the odd track, but we’re spread all over Europe, which is the problem.” And do you all carry on writing songs when you’re apart? “John and Cas have the Last Rock ‘n’ Roll Band,” says Duncan. “And they write together for that. You’re on your 500th album, aren’t you?” Cas has obviously been counting. “72nd, actually.” “I’m on my 52nd,” interjects John, not to be outdone. “That’s 130 albums between us.” And not a hit single to be seen, it’s a doggone injustice.

Speaking of ‘product’, The Boys have recently released a new anthology on Anagram. Pleased with it? Matt: “I’m always pleased when things are properly digitally remastered. It’s really interesting listening to some of that stuff we did really early on.” Indeed, they’ve managed to pull a few unreleased gems out of dusty cupboards. But buy it anyway as it includes all their finest moments – ‘Soda Pressing’, ‘Terminal Love’, ‘First Time’, ‘Weekend’, ‘I Don’t Care’, ‘Brickfield Nights’; diamonds one and all.

And in conclusion, what has being a member of the Boys meant to you down the years?
“A lot of fucking grief” sayeth John.
Any advance on a lot of fucking grief?
“I think that says it all,” says Duncan.
“Seeing a lot of places and having a lot of fun”, states Cas, slightly more optimistically.
“Lending John a lot of money?” offers Matt.
“I’ve never paid it back, either” confirms John.

What about Vom, the baby of the band having served only a modest decade since replacing band card shark Jack Black as the stickster?
“Flies by!” he confirms. Does he ever pull any of his high-profile, handsomely remunerated gigs to answer the call of The Boys? “He tries to,” says Duncan, “we won’t let him.” How do they manage that, skeletons in the closet? What have you got on him? “We’ve got photos of him in Japan, being chased naked around a restaurant by a bunch of waiters,” says Duncan. Aha! “With an olive in his knob,” qualifies John. “They don’t have olives in Japan,” says Vom, unconvincingly. “Sushi, then,” corrects John. “It’s probably still there.”

The Boys Anthology is out now on Anagram.

Words: Alex Ogg.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

MAD FUCKERS

Mad, Hard and Wild Bastards of Rock N Roll. Part One.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis, a renowned hell raiser, is famed for turning up at Elvis Presley’s house in 1976 wielding a loaded pistol and demanding to see him. He never got to the King of Rock N Roll but a year later he was dead anyway so at least saved on bullets, not that we condone the actions. This incident was just one of a host in the life of Jerry Lee Lewis aka The Ferriday Fireball aka The Killer. Arguably the wildest of all Sun Records performers on and off the stage, he was almost too hot for anyone to handle. The UK didn’t want him, thrown out in 1958 for bringing along his 14 year old wife cousin on tour. Sam Phillips, Sun head honcho, couldn’t handle him, in fact nobody could handle him but the fans loved it. The Killer was a million-seller and had an ego to match. One infamous tale at a show in New York in 1958 it was decided that Chuck Berry would headline over our hero, Jerry Lee was not best pleased but went along with it. As his incendiary set was coming to an end he produced a can of petrol, poured it over his piano and set fire to it while bursting into an insane rendition of ‘Great Balls Of Fire’, the place went wild as he played the song to its climax while the piano burned. As he left the stage, piano still ablaze, it’s said that as he passed the stunned Chuck Berry he spat the infamous words, “Follow that Nigger!”

Sonny Burgess

Sonny Burgess has gone down in rocking lore as the Arkansas wild man who dyed his hair flame red to match his red suit and Fender to make his mentalist stage show even more mental. The first Rockabilly Punk? Well the story is true, Albuquerque never knew what hit them as Sonny Burgess, head to toe in red and his group The Pacers opened a show for a youthful Roy Orbison in 1956. The story behind the story isn’t quite as wild as Sonny Burgess told me himself back in 1984. He wanted to go blonde, his wife took on the bleaching duties, messed it up and his hair turned flame red by accident. There was no time to try and fix it out so out came the red suit for maximum effect. It obviously worked because 52 years later it’s still a legend. The story may not have been so wild but Sonny Burgess’ records certainly were. Check out ‘We Wanna Boogie’ and ‘Red Headed Woman’ on the Sun label, total mayhem with note-bending guitar, rasping trumpet and pumping piano pounding the pace behind Burgess’s howling vocals make for two of the all-time wildest tracks ever. He reckons the Sun recordings don’t capture the wildness of the band live, if that’s true, fuck me it must have been crazy.

Tooter Boatman

By all accounts Tooter Boatman was a lover and a scrapper, he liked a fight and a shag but it’s not certain in what order. He looks like a hard bastard in the photos that survive of him. Inked up, surely one of the first tattooed rockers, and looks so mean you can believe stories of him giving bulls a kicking and having running off in fear and taking on three big blokes in bar at the same time and giving them a whooping. He is also said to have had ‘more girlfriends than Elvis had gold records’, had a girl in every town and was even married, but just for the day. Tooter Boatman and his band The Chapperals released a rip roaring slab of scream laden, snare jangling, piano mudering, slap bass rockabilly in the shape of ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and ‘The Will Of Love’ which you really need to hear before you die. Hard as he may have been Tooter was killed by a hit and run driver in 1964 aged 28, that’s the only way they’d have had him.

Billy Taylor

Very little is known about Billy Taylor, there appears to be a good reason for that. He recorded a loopy little track entitled ‘Wombie Zombie’ for Felco Records then apparently decided to celebrate by carrying out an armed robbery, a career move that proved as short lived as his Rockabilly one. He was caught and sentenced to a long real life version of Jailhouse Rock. True or not, you gotta love him.

Simon Nott

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

PUNK LEGENDS PARTY AT STRAY CATS!

At the recent Stray Cats Brixton Academy after show party, a gang of true punk legends partied back stage.Having a beer and a chat were the Clash’s Mick Jones, The Damned’s Captain Sensible, Charlie Harper of the U.K Subs, The Sex Pistols Glen Matlock, plus Stray Cats Slim Jim Phantom and Brian Setzer.They were also joined by Stray Cats original producer Dave Edmunds. The night was slightly spoiled when it was revealed Slim Jim had broken his arm in a fall from the stage prompting the cancellation of the rest of their tour. Vive Le Punk!! Photos by Tina Korhohen

 

 

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

RANCID

Ahead of modern street punk heroes RANCID‘s highly anticipated November UK tour and upcoming as-yet untitled seventh studio album (and first with new drummer Branden Steineckert), VLP brings you the facts about the Bay Area boys.

1) ‘B Sides and C Sides’ is the band’s first release since ‘Indestructible’ in 2003 and their hiatus from 2004 to 2006.

2) Lars Frederiksen has worked as producer for many bands, including the Dropkick Murphys, Agnostic Front and The Business. Recently he produced and wrote on The Masons new album ‘We Rule The World’, which features punk legends John Robb, Charlie Harper and Steve Ignorant. London’s ‘70s punk heroes Cock Sparrer brought in Frederiksen to co-mix their 2007 album ‘Here We Stand’, their strongest album for years.

3) While Rancid were writing ‘Let’s Go’ as a three-piece (Armstrong, Freeman and Reed), their friend and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong co-wrote the fan favourite ‘Radio’ and played a gig with the band. Tim Armstrong asked Billie Joe to join Rancid but he stuck with Green Day. Lars Frederiksen left the UK Subs to become Rancid’s second guitarist in 1993 and play on ‘Let’s Go’.

4) In 2002 the three original members of Rancid formed the psychobilly side project called Devil’s Brigade, and released two 12-inch vinyls – one with the songs ‘Stalingrad’ and ‘Psychos All Around Me’ and the other with ‘Vampire Girl’, ‘Ride Harley Ride’ and ‘What Have You Done Lately’. Hunt them down Rancid fans!

5) Over the years Rancid have collaborated with a wide range of artists, including reggae artists Buju Banton and Stubborn All-Stars, Iggy Pop and Pink! Tim Armstrong also contributed guitar and backing vocals to the Cypress Hill single ‘What’s Your Number?’ in 2004.

6) Tim Armstrong’s record label, Hellcat Records, released a full-length movie in 2006, titled ‘Live Freaky! Die Freaky!’ The film used string puppets, was produced by Armstrong and had an insane plot. It involved Charles Manson’s story being misinterpreted by a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world (obviously) and included voice acting from members of Rancid, Green Day, The Transplants, AFI, Tiger Army. Oh and Kelly Osbourne.

7) In the five years since the release of ‘Indestructible’ the members of Rancid have been busy with solo projects. In 2004 Lars Frederiksen released his second solo album, ‘Viking’ and 2005 saw the second album, ‘Haunted Cities’ from Tim Armstrong’s now on hiatus side project The Transplants. Last year saw Armstrong return with his first solo album, the reggae/dub flavoured ‘A Poet’s Life’. Bassist Matt Freeman played on the Transplants album and tour as well as touring with punk legends Social Distortion. No wonder it’s been five years!

8) According to the liner notes of the ‘BYO Split Series Vol.3’ split album, on which Rancid covered NOFX and vice versa, after Operation Ivy split and before they formed Rancid, Tim Armstrong (vocals/guitar) and Matt Freeman (bass) started a short-lived hardcore punk band called Generator.

9) In January Rancid entered the studio with long-time friend, producer and Epitaph president Brett Gurewitz to record the highly anticipated follow-up to 2003’s ‘Indestructible’. Gurewitz has worked with the band on virtually every record in Rancid’s career. The album was written in new drummer Branden Steineckert’s Unknown Studios in Utah and is being recorded in California.

Rancid’s as-yet untitled seventh studio album is due to be released later this year on Epitaph.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE ADICTS

ADICTED FOR LIFE!

Having formed way back in 1975 as the Pinz, THE ADICTS are the longest surviving punk band in the world with their original lineup. They are touring the U.K right now and I had a quick chat with singer Monkey.

VLP: I just saw you in the Punks Not Dead film, and you are the worlds longest serving punk band with original members. How did that happen?
Monkey: Nobody died yet and we don’t have anything better to do.

VLP: You have been going since 1976-and must have seen various waves of punk come and go.
M.I wasn’t paying attention… Did I miss anything good?

VLP: You seem to be pretty big in the U.S. Why did the band move to America?

M.Half of us came for the girls, the others stayed in Suffolk for the sheep.

VLP: Why did you choose to be a more of a theatrical/humorous punk band?

M.Why not, who doesn’t like a bit of theatre and a laugh.

VLP: What are The Adicts plans for the next album?

M.It’s done! It will probably be out in few months so grab it quick before it washes down the drain of obscurity.

VLP: And finally, what can we expect on your Sept U.K tour?

M.Fun, colour and music mess.

The Adicts classic album ‘Songs of Praise is re-released this month on People Like You records.

The Adicts – Chinese Takeaway- Facts and Fiction

– The Adicts were formed in either 75 or 76, no one is sure which.

– They were originally called Afterbirth and The Pinz.

– The band boast that they are the longest surviving punk band with the original line-up still in tact.

– The core original line-up consists of Keith ‘Monkey’ Warren – Vocals, Mel Ellis – Bass, Pete Dee Davison – Guitar, Michael ‘Kid’ Dee – Drums.

– They have added John ‘Scruff’ Ellis – Guitar (Mel’s brother), and Dan ‘Fiddle Dan’ Graziani – Violin, Piano, and Mandolin.

– The band has always used diverse instruments on their records making them distinct from most punk. These include the violin, gongs, and a carousel organ.

– At their first gig – when they were still known as Afterbirth — they had just a motorbike as a lighting rig.

– The band’s manic energy on stage is enhanced with lots of confetti, streamers, joker cards, and glitter going into the audience.

– Their trademark band image made them notorious among their contemporaries. It included Monkey’s flamboyant clothes and near glam makeup along with the rest of the band in ‘droog’ style clothes (all white and bowler hats) based on the film ‘Clockwork Orange’.

– They are best remembered today for their song ‘Viva La Revolution’ which has featured on E! Channel commercials and in the video game ‘Tony Hawk’s Underground’.

– They appeared on the children’s TV programme ‘Cheggers plays pop’ in a child friendly guise as The Fun Adicts.

– They changed their name again, apparently under record company pressure, to ADX because of the negative connotations of Adicts.

– Despite the New Wave heavy ‘Fifth Avenue’ album they insist that they have always been a punk band.

– Their highest charting album is 1982’s ‘Sound of Music’ (Razor Records) which reach #2 on the indie charts, and entered into the national charts at #99.

– The band agree that their lowest period was around the 1984 single ‘Tokyo’ released as ADX. It was produced by ex-Vapors front man Dave Fenton.

– The return to form album ‘27’ included a board game where players could recreate the band’s favourite things to do on tour, including rolling a spliff and eating vindaloo.

– It was to be almost a decade before the band released any new studio material. This was 2002’s ‘Rise and Shine’. Their latest collection to date is 2005’s ‘Rollercoaster’.

– Their 6 studio albums and 2 live albums have been extensively reissued and are now available on iTunes.

– They are working on a new studio album, tentatively titled ‘Life Goes On’.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

XTC

THE AGONY AND THE XTC

Riding in high on the coat tails of punk with raging stabs of Elictricity like ‘Science Friction’ and ‘Life Begins at the Hop’ XTC were the greatest new wave band in the world in 1981. Then it all kind of went pear shaped. Heres the facts….

• A New Wave band from the bright lights of Swindon, they formed in 1972.

• They started out as The Helium Kidz with Andy Partridge (guitars, vocals) and Colin Moulding (bass, vocals) playing glam-rock with homemade costumes.

• Terry Chambers (drums) and Barry Andrews (keyboards) joined in 1976, and they changed the name of the band to XTC while deciding on a hyperactice pop-punk style.

• They toyed with the name The Dukes of Stratosphear, but dismissed it because it was too psychedelic(they later released an album under this name too!).

• Lead single ‘Statue of Liberty’ from their first LP White Music was banned by the BBC for making lewd references to the statue – i.e. “in my fantasies I sail beneath your skirt.”

• Andy Partridge (guitars and vocals) has a lifelong obsession with comic books, particularly by Steve Ditko.

• LP Go 2 was released in 1978, and shortly afterwards Andrews was replaced by new keyboardist Dave Gregory.

• In their 1980 video for ‘Generals and Majors’ Sir Richard Branson makes a cameo as one of the majors. He was their record label boss at Virgin.

• In 1981 XTC toured the US, supported by some small local band called REM that you may have heard of…

• Partridge suffered a mental breakdown on stage in one of the first concerts of XTC’s tour in Paris, on March 18th 1982, reportedly because his wife threw away his Valium supply.

• Partridge then called a halt to the touring, which royally pissed off the Virgin execs. He responded by saying "Why should I work at something I don’t enjoy? If I’m going to do that, I might as well shovel shit for a living."

• The band then moved into the studio and stopped touring, which many thought was commercial suicide – particularly the folk at Virgin.

• Chambers had enough of the studio called it quits during the recording of Mummer in 1983 and moved to Australia. Since then six different drummers have played on XTC’s subsequent album releases.

• In late 1984 they began a side project. Dressing themselves in paisley shirts they recorded a mini album called 25 O’clock under the name The Dukes of Stratosphear. It was a success.

• Things still weren’t so peachy with Virgin so the band went on strike, playing and producing for other bands. They set up their own label Idea Records in 1997.

• Partridge formed his own label, APE, under which he has released his own demos and tracks underneath the nameplate of Fuzzy Warbles.

• While XTC have not announced a formal break-up, in 2006 Partridge announced that the only other remaining member of XTC, Colin Moulding, was no longer interested in writing, performing or recording music.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT

LORDS OF SIN

Right, let’s remember our rock history. Altamont free festival marked the death of the 60s and it was pretty violent stuff. Goodbye psychedelic hippy jams, and hello to the hardness and disillusion of the 70s. With a name like THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT it’s not surprising the band sound like everything good and heavy that came out of the post 60s. But they also manage to reconcile the two opposing eras of legendary rock by playing a hybrid of hard rock, garage, punk, and that little bit of psychedelic to show they’re not being discriminative. The band is rock n roll at its rawest and sleaziest. Think the Stooges, think Them, think Sex Pistols, think the Doors, think anyone who you think rocks and put them all on choppers and in leather jackets and you get the idea. It’s retro at its best, but the kind of retro we’re in desperate need of in our ipod and protools safe age.

The band is hitting the UK to promote the hotly anticipated full length ‘Altamont Sin’ and will be playing London’s Tufnell Park Dirty Water Club on September 18th, with special guests Teasing Lulu. Expect Jake Cavaliere on vocals and 60s style organ to command the stage (they call him ‘The Preacher’ for a reason) and fiery guitar from fellow The Bomboras band mate Johnny "Stiggs" DeVilla. Shawn Medina joins DeVilla on guitar adding extra sonic distortion. The rhythm section boasts the drumming assault of Max ‘Sicko’ Edison and bassist Michael Davis, dubbed the ‘Mad Dog’, of MC5 fame. We had a chat with Jake ‘The Preacher’ to find out more about their brand of punk rock.

VLP: What can the U.K look forward to from the Lords of Altamont in Sept?
J: We need to bring back the party into music. Rock n roll is too serious. Everyone is trying to get a message across. Our message is fuck and have fun, don’t look back. The lords aren’t capable of showing England anything they haven’t seen before. You have the best music, the best clothes and the British invasion over us. We have 2pac and Britney… Don’t we?

VLP: What is it about the 60s that you guys are so in love with?
J: The music is great for starters. The Look is great. Mod fashion, the clothes, movie culture, the drugs, the discovery in new sound in music. All the killer musical instruments, the colours, the lack of baggy sagging jeans, NO HIP HOP, The Fuzz box, song writing, the shoes and the way girls looked and dressed.

VLP: Do you have a favourite biker B-movie?
J: My favourite movie is Wild Angels hands down. Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, bikers, fights, drugs, Davie Allen soundtrack. You can’t go wrong.

VLP: How did you hook up with Michael from the MC5?
J: Mike and I met at a music store in Hollywood about seven years ago and hit it off. It doesn’t hurt that he’s in one of the most important rock n roll bands of all time. Angela Davis (Mike’s wife) took a liking to the Lords and has been managing the band for about four years now.

VLP: Finally-your top 5 bands/acts of all time…
J: Wow, tough. This changes depending on mood, but in no particular order: Rolling Stones, Love, Back Rebel Motorcycle Club, 13th Floor Elevators and Spacemen 3. Do I have to stop?



The Altamont Sin is out now on Easy Action records.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus
pinterest

1 10 11 12 13 14