Stream KILLING JOKE’s ‘The Singles Collection’ below!

Out this week ‘The Singles Collection 1979 – 2012’, captures the ever-evolving KJ story with a series of dark, apocalyptic songs; over the years, the band – now back to their original line-up – have successfully combined disco and funk and a shamanic wisdom with the dark side of the punk fall-out, and their music is always challenging and always driven by its own special character & chemistry.

Simply, the influence of Killing Joke has been enormous, with an unlikely roll-call of musicians taking their cues from the KJ catalogue – from Nirvana to most modern American metal to many DJs and dance music mavericks… few, however, have coming close to matching the band’s innate power and prophetic message.

Killing Joke ‘The Singles Collection 1979 – 2012’ is initially being released as a Limited Edition 3 CD set (33 career-spanning singles plus a third disc of rarities, including previously unreleased studio tracks), plus a Super Deluxe Cigar-Boxed Edition.

‘The pure magic of the most amazing post-punk outfit to ever walk the planet‘
Vive Le Rock, 10/10

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Your guide to this month’s free Vive Le Rock covermount CD…

1) WILKO JOHNSON – Sneakin’ Suspicion 

Found on his ‘The Best Of Wilko Johnson, Volume 1’ compilation from 2010, this song was originally the Wilko-penned debut hit single for his former pub rock pioneers Dr. Feelgood back in May 1977. This version, recorded later with the Wilko Johnson Band (featuring Blockhead bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Dylan Howe), shows exactly why the Canvey Island legend will be so sorely missed.

2) KILLING JOKE – Corporate Elect

Jaz Coleman and Killing Joke have been playing by their own rules since the late ’70s and this new searing single from the industrial post-punks’ fifteenth album, ‘MMXII’ (released last April) will floor you with its power. Find it on the new three-dsic boxset, ‘The Singles Collection 1979-2012’ on Spinefarm and remind yourself why Killing Joke are simply unstoppable and untouchable. 

3) THE CHEATS – Hammersmith Palais 

This cover of the Demolition 23 song (a band which featured Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks and produced by Little Steven from the E Street Band!) sees the Pittsburgh punk ‘n’ rollers playing it fast and loose. Influenced by ’77 punk, Motorhead and Swedish rock, expect it loud and lairy. They released their latest album, ‘Pussyfootin” last July through Screaming Crow Records.

4) THE DRESDENS – Out On The Streets

Formed as a hell-raising side-project by the dudes from Winnebago Deal and Mondo Generator, The Dresdens play it fast, punchy and raw. It’s punk rock ‘n’ roll from the streets to the gutter, in homage to the classic punk of the Damned and the Buzzcocks. Their self-titled 2007 album was shelved until now (seeing the light of day thanks to Dry Heave Records), but this street anthem has to be heard.

5) RT-ZED – You Are Free

Founded in 2000 by Stiff Little Fingers drummer Steve Grantley (also ex-The Alarm), RT-Zed return with new guitarist friend Steve ‘Jonesy’ Jones and third album, ‘Zed Head’. A snotty hard rock song from that new record takes the form of the strutting ‘You Are Free’, highlighting the skills of these respected musicians. It’s a brand new Babylon…

6) SIR REG – ‘Til The Dead Come Alive 

A Swedish band with an Irish frontman, Celtic punk rockers Sir Reg have been honing their craft since 2001 and this song, combining driving rhythm and intense violin playing that results in an energetic and uplifting anthem, shows they’re at the top of their game. This track can be found on their rabble-rousing new album, ’21st Century Loser’, out now on Heptown Records.

7) SWINGIN’ UTTERS – Stuck In A Circle
Twenty years since they formed, the Californian veterans return with their most polished album to date, ‘Poorly Formed’, out now on People Like You. This semi-acoustic track shows a band honing their craft and mastering shifts in dynamics. Combining the bluster of punk with a roots rock element, it’s a fine example of a band unafraid to evolve with time.

8) V8 WANKERS – Road Hog 

Taken from their aptly titled new record, ‘Got Beer?’ (out April 26th on SPV), these hard driving punk ‘n’ rollers from Offenbach, Germany have their pedal to the metal on this album highlight. A rowdy, riff-filled ass kicker of a song, this ode to speed and engines has to be played loud. So turn it all the way up and rev your engines, V8 Wankers are 13 years in and show no signs of slowing down.

9) CIRCUIT 68 – Perno Inferno 

Influenced by everyone from The Sex Pistols to The Beach Boys, this County Durham posse’s driving mix of pyschedelic mod/soul rock, with a ’60s swagger, on ‘Perno Inferno’. Releasing debut album, ‘Eleven’, back in November 2011, they’ve since been making a name for themselves on the live circuit, including supporting one of their heroes, Bruce Foxton. Fire it up with ‘Perno Inferno’ and let Circuit 68 take you back.

10) THE SILVER SHINE – In The Middle Of Nowhere
The title track from this Budapest, Hungary three-piece’s new album (out April 19th on Wolverine Records) is a raucous collision of punkabilly and rock ‘n’ roll that shows how far the band have come since forming in 2004. With vocal trade-offs between double bass player Krista Kat and guitarist Ati Edge, this is an urgent, bouncing song that’s sure to get you moving. 

11) JJ & THE REAL JERKS – Economy Class Ego Trip 

Channelling ’70s legends like MC5, The Stooges and the New York Dolls, this LA garage punk band play their hearts out and you can almost hear the blood and sweat dripping off them. With brass and keys adding to the chaotic, building track, this is red hot. It’s no surprise it’s the lead single and title track from their latest five song EP, produced by Earle Mankey (The Runaways, The Adicts, The Beach Boys). 

12) BRAXTON HICKS – Never Kill Yourself
Having only formed last July, this raw indie punk band from North Wales describe themselves as a “bad Dead Kennedys”. However, the three-piece (featuring an ex-member of Sons Of Selina and 4Q) sound like a slightly unhinged collision of The Minutemen and Snuff. ‘Never Kill Yourself’ is the rousing title track of their recently released EP, with its follow-up, ‘The Bench EP’, due out soon on Link2wales Records. 


The London steam punk quartet with the name taken from Jack The Ripper-related graffiti sound like a lurching concoction of 1880s menace and 1970s punk rock. The song is taken from last year’s second album, ‘This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons’. Catch their incredible live show at London’s Borderline on Saturday 27th April.

14) MONGREL – Bored To Death
This menacing song from the aggressive female-fronted hard rockers out of Boston, Massachusetts is the opening track from their blistering latest full-length, ‘Reclamation’. Formed ten years ago, Mongrel have taken their punk and metal influences and focused them into the threatening and filthy sound exemplified on ‘Bored To Death’. 

15) REJECTED – South Karelia Night
Hailing from Finland’s freezing streets, this ass kicking four-piece have been blasting out their gritty punk ‘n’ roll assaults since 1998. Based in Helsinki, and describing themselves as “Rejecdeath rock ‘n’ roll”, the outcast anthem ‘South Karelia Night’ is the title track from their new 7 inch. Rejected are the last gang in town and they’re coming out all guns blazing.


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With a UK tour in April, Michelle Duffy looks back at the history and favourite albums of ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN.

Hailing from Liverpool, Echo & The Bunnymen formed in 1978. Their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Crocodiles’ was released in 1980 and went straight into the UK Top 20. The unusual cover reflects quite a dark image, which compliments the album perfectly. The English post-punk band continued to have chart success following their album releases, especially with albums such as ‘Porcupine’, which reached number two in the UK, and ‘Ocean Rain’ which gave the world the hit singles, ‘Silver’, ‘Seven Seas’ and ‘The Killing Moon’. ‘The Killing Moon’ was later featured in cult classic film, ‘Donnie Darko’ in 2001.

The band split in 1988 after their only constant member, frontman Ian McCulloch, quit. In 1994, McCulloch reformed the band with original members, Will Sergeant (guitar) and Les Pattinson (bass), under the name Electrafixion. They eventually went back to the Echo & The Bunnymen They released five albums with various member changes along the way. After having had a few line-up changes over time and touring extensively, Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant are the only remaining permanent members of the band to this day.

Echo & The Bunnymen tour the UK in April. The dates are:

13 Glasgow SECC Hall
15 Newcastle Academy
16 Sheffield O2 Academy 1
17 Bristol Colston Hall
19 London O2 Brixton Academy
20 London O2 Brixton Academy
22 Bournemouth O2 Academy
23 Leeds O2 Academy
25 Birmingham O2 Academy
26 Manchester Arena

My top 5 Echo And The Bunnymen albums:

1.    OCEAN RAIN (1984)

This was the fourth studio album released by the band and is said to still be Echo & The Bunnymen’s best album among both fans and critics. One of the main reasons for this could well be because it features one of their most well-known hits, ‘The Killing Moon’, which reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart.

2.    PORCUPINE (1983)
The band’s third studio album reached number two in the UK Album Charts and became the band’s highest charting release at that time. Despite receiving slightly negative reviews at first, ‘Porcupine’ enjoyed success due to featuring the hit singles ‘The Back Of Love’ (no.19) and ‘The Cutter’ (no.8).

3.    SIBERIA (2005) 

Critics called Echo & The Bunnymen’s tenth studio album their best work since the critically acclaimed, ‘Ocean Rain’. McCulloch commented on the line-up at that time saying, “the band we’ve got around us now are the closest to the old Bunnymen we’ve ever had.”

4.    EVERGREEN (1997)
Following their reformation under the name Electrafixion, the remaining members resurrected the original Echo & The Bunnymen name and released the band’s seventh studio album in 1997. After having received positive reviews from both critics and fans, it reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart.

5.    ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN (1987)

This self-titled album was the fifth studio album to be released by the Liverpudlian boys. It was the last album featuring drummer Pete de Freitus before he tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 1989. Despite featuring another of their big hits, ‘Lips Like Sugar’, and receiving a warm reception in America, the band disliked the album.

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1. He shares the same birthday as rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley – 8th January.

2. Rock guitarist Peter Frampton was Bowie’s friend at school – his Dad was head of the art department. He’s gone on to play guitar with Bowie many times during his career.

3. His distinctive dilated right pupil has been permanent since having a fight with his friend George Underwood, at school. The fight was over a girl. (Underwood actually created some of Bowie’s early artwork so it’s safe to say they remained friends after the incident.)

4. He plays just about every instrument on his 1974 album, ‘Diamond Dogs’ – including the famous guitar riff on "Rebel Rebel".

5. Bowie’s schizophrenic half-brother Terry committed suicide in 1985. Bowie wrote several songs about his brother’s struggle with mental illness, including "All The Madmen" and "Jump They Say."

6. Bing Crosby recorded his last ever single with David Bowie. Their duet version of The Little Drummer Boy was recorded for Christmas 1977. It was a hit five years later.

7. David got just one O Level, in art.

8. David Bowie was born David Jones, but changed Jones to Bowie to avoid being confused with Davey Jones of The Monkees.

9. Bowie told Rolling Stone the name, ‘Bowie’ comes from the Bowie knife: "I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that.” (His wife Iman has a Bowie knife tattooed on her ankle as a tribute to him.)

10. After turning down a CBE in 2000, he also turned down a knighthood from the Queen in 2003. Bowie told The Sun why he shunned the chance to be a "Sir": "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for."

David Bowie’s new album, ‘The Next Day’, is out on 8th March. Watch the video for lead single, ‘Where Are We Now?’, below.


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While the Sex Pistols music icons to many musicians and fans, less can say that the Sex Pistols’ first public performance happened to be an inspiration like Adam Ant can. Ant, born Stuart Leslie Goddard, was performing with a band called Bazooka Joe as a bass player in 1975 when he became transfixed with his band’s supporting act. While the rest of Bazooka Joe was unimpressed with the then unknown Pistols, Ant was so moved that he quit the Joe’s after that night’s performance. Adam and the Ants began performing two years later. 

Though there was a constant change up in the band members themselves, Adam & the Ants released three successful albums between ’79 and ’81. Their third album, ‘Prince Charming’, featured three singles in the UK top five, two of them in the number one slot. Despite their initial success, Ant disbanded from the group in 1982 and launched a solo career a few months later, taking his guitarist and songwriting partner Marco Pirroni with him. Ant’s next album, ‘Friend or Foe’, enjoyed great chart success in the UK, Australia, and the US. His hit single ‘Goody Two Shoes’ took the number one slot in Australia and the UK and No. 12 in America.

Ant also enjoyed an acting career in both the UK and America; he spent a few months on stage starring in the shows in London before entering the American TV market in the late ‘80s. Ant appeared on various American TV shows in the next few years, including ‘The Equalizer’ and ‘Tales From The Crypt’. He later moved to Hollywood, taking film roles such as ‘Nomads’ and ‘Sunset Heat’. Ant also produced a musical about music legends Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran called ‘Be Bop A Lula’.

Yet despite his success, Ant was struggling with his celebrity status. In 2002, his tour was postponed after he was arrested and fined for throwing a car alternator through a pub window and threatening patrons with an imitation firearm. A year later, he was arrested after attempting to smash in the neighbour’s patio door with a shovel, and again for falling asleep on the floor of a café basement with his pants around his ankles. He was charged with affray and criminal damage for all three arrests; he was also sentenced to six months in a psychiatric ward, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disease. While under psychiatric care, Ant began to write songs again, and had several projects under way by the time he was released, including the launch of his own record label.

Ant was well known for his strange sex appeal, particularly in America. He was named MTV’s Sexiest Man in America in 1983 and Rock Magazine’s Sexiest Man of 1984, which helped him solidify his image as a pop star and sex icon. Ant was perhaps more well received in the US in general; while the BBC banned the release of Ant’s ‘Strip’ video and show, MTV was more than happy to play it. He was also well-known for his outrageous fashion sense; his clothing received so much attention from fans that in 2011 Ant announced that he was working on a fashion label with British fashion designer Rob Lucas called Blueblack Hussar (after his upcoming album).

Since 2010, Ant has been performing live regularly in his hometown of London and working on recording a new album. With two full-length UK national tours in 2011 and a third scheduled later this year, Ant shows no signs of stopping. Ant will wrap up his current tour in the US with his last show on October 20th before returning to the UK.

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The quiff has been the trademark hairstyle of a true rocker for well over 50 years. To celebrate the backcombed wonder in all its glory, from its ’50s roots (ahem) to the psychobilly adaptation, here are VLR’s top quiff-sporting guitar and microphone slingers!








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Top Ten Most Shocking Moments Of Rolling Stones History

Celebrating their 50th anniversary with a couple of London O2 Arena dates in late November before heading Stateside (and a coinciding new documentary film called ‘Crossfire Hurricane’), the rock ‘n’ roll legends have caused controversy again with ticket prices. However, they’re no strangers to shocking actions, as this list proves…

1967: Rolling eyes at Ed Sullivan
The Rolling Stones were scheduled to appear on an episode of ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in January of 1967. Before going on, Sullivan instructed Mick Jagger to change the title of their single ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’. The band complied, although Jagger spent the performance rolling his eyes at the camera every time he sang the changed line “let’s spend some time together.” The Stones only appeared in one other episode of the Sullivan show in 1969; rumour has it that the band was asked by producers to wear matching suits for a cleaner look, but were allowed back into their own clothes after they showed up for the taping in matching rental Nazi uniforms.

1967: Redlands gets raided
Sussex police, tipped off by the ‘News Of The World'(who were tipped off by Keith Richards’ chauffeur), raided a band party at Keith Richards’ legendary Redlands estate in West Wittering. While no arrests were made at the time, Jagger, Richards, and a guest were charged with drugs offences. Known as the Redland Raid, this moment marks the beginning of the band’s long history with drug charges and legal troubles.

1967: Jagger and Richards go to jail
In July of 1967, Mick Jagger was imprisoned and sentenced to three months of imprisonment for possession of amphetamine tablets. Keith Richards was also arrested and found guilty of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property; he was sentenced to one full year in prison. Jagger and Richards were released on bail the next day pending appeal, resulting in the famous ”headline ‘Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?’

1968: The Death of Brian Jones

Brian Jones, guitarist and one of the founding members of the Stones, had been with the band during their heaviest drug years; in 1967, Jones’ house was raided and he was arrested and charged with cannabis possession, which resulted in his refusal of a US visa while the band was attempting to tour. These charges, paired with the news that Jones’ former girlfriend Anita Pallenberg was leaving him to start a relationship with Richards, were too much for Jones to handle. He announced his split from the band, and the other members left for the tour without him. A few weeks later, Jones was found dead in his swimming pool in East Sussex.

1969: The Altamont Speedway Free Festival
Held in Northern California, the festival was headlined and organized by the Stones and featured other big acts, including Jefferson Airplane and Crosby, Stills and Nash. The infamous Hells Angels were hired by the Stone to provide security for the event. Despite the impressive list of acts, the festival is remembered for its considerable violence and property damage; there were four deaths in the crowd that day. Three deaths were accidental, with two hit-and-runs and one drowning. The fourth death, however, was the homicide of eighteen-year-old Meredith Hunter. After a particularly rowdy Stones number, Hunter caused commotion by pulling a revolver from his jacket. A member of the Hells Angels stabbed Hunter in the side, forcing him to drop the gun. Hunter’s autopsy confirmed he was high on methamphetamine when he died. Hells Angels member was arrested and tried for murder in the summer of 1971, but was acquitted after a jury viewed concert footage showing Hunter brandishing the revolver; they concluded that he had acted in self-defence and dropped the charges.

1977: Trouble in Toronto
In February of 1977, Richards was detained by customs on his way to meet the band in Toronto for being in possession of a burnt spoon and hash residue. Three days later, the Canadian Police showed up with an arrest warrant for Richards’ partner Anita Pallenberg; inside, they discovered 22 grams of heroin in Richards’ room. Richards was charged with importing narcotics into Canada, an offence that carried a minimum seven-year sentence. prosecutor later proved that Richards had obtained the drugs after landing, and he received a suspended sentence and was ordered to play two free concerts for the CNIB in Oshawa.

1979: Russian roulette or suicide?

Seventeen-year-old Scott Cantrell, a groundskeeper at the house that Richards and Pallenberg shared in New York, was found in Richards’ bed with a bullet in his head. Cantrell was rumoured to have been involved in a sexual relationship with Pallenberg at the time, although nothing was ever officially proven. Richards was in Paris recording with the Stones at the time of the shooting, but their son was at the house when the shot was fired. Pallenberg was initially arrested for murder after rumours that Pallenberg and Cantrell had been playing a game of Russian roulette began to circulate. The police investigation later stated that Pallenberg was not in the room or on the same floor of the house at the time the shot was fired, and the death was officially ruled as a suicide.

1989: How old are you again?
Bill Wyman, the longtime bassist for the Stones from 1962-1992, became the subject of considerable media attention when he announced his marriage to 18 year-old Mandy Smith. Wyman was 55 at the time. Even more concerning was the fact that the couple had begun their “courtship” when he was 50 and she was 13. The marriage ended shortly after Wyman left the Stones in 1992.

2006: Richards cracks his head

After touring through multiple countries in 2006, the Stones took a short scheduled break in New Zealand before proceeding to Europe. During this break, Keith Richards fell out of a tree in Fiji and was hospitalized for cranial surgery, leading to a six-week delay in the tour.

2012: 50 Years and £375 later

The news that the Rolling Stones were going on tour for their 50th anniversary was initially great news to fans across the world. That is, until fans caught a peek at the prices. Standards tickets for their two-night stint at London’s O2 Arena will cost between £90 and £375; prices for their two performances in New Jersey in the US are almost twice as much. Many fans have already expressed their horror at the prices and disappointment in the band; many have announced their boycott of the tour. It has been rumoured that the Stones will get paid £15 million ($25 million) for just these four gigs; that they play for two hours and split the profit equally, each member will be making close to half a million pounds per hour.

Rachael Cortellessa

The Rolling Stones play London O2 Arena on November 25th and 29th.
The documentary film ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ will go on general release in November.

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Emmy Award nominee director Alan G. Parker (‘Monty Python: Almost The Truth’, ‘Who Killed Nancy?’) tells us about his new “definitive documentary”, ‘Hello Quo’…

Quo seem to be loved by punks, metallers and rockers. What do you think is their universal appeal?
“I think they crossover, that Motorhead appeal. No matter what you listen to, they have one you like! I’ve heard songs by them at parties over the years and not known it was them because it’s like a new song. Guys I know who don’t like them are like, ‘this is good’. Then it’s Quo. That song ‘Two Way Traffic’ from the last album, I was out with Steve Diggle for a beer and it comes on in this boozer, we are both like ‘this is incredible!’. And it’s the new Quo single.”

How was it seeing the original line-up back together after all this time?

“When we first got the gig we knew there had been various other Quo documentaries throughout the years, but we also knew that ours was the first to be interviewing all of the original ‘Frantic Four’. Once that was set in stone, Alexa (my producer) was keen on, well, if we are interviewing them all, why can’t they play something? And she just kept pushing it. So last December, in front of an audience of no more than about 28 (full film crew included) we got to see, and film, a very historic jam session. History in the making…”

With ‘Hello Quo’ you are telling the story of one of the most influential rock bands – what was your motivation to do a documentary about them?
“As I said in the press release, I don’t think there can be a name further away from this project than mine! Sid Vicious, SLF, Monty Python. Hell, The Great Train Robbers, the next logical step isn’t Status Quo! But I think over the last 18 months that has proved itself to be a strength more than a weakness. Because I wasn’t as close to the story as some directors might have been, I think that helped the project breath a bit. We had barely signed the contract when we were told it was between you and the guy who did The Beatles Anthology! No pressure then lads.”

The film is fully supported by the band and features prominent figures of the rock ‘n’ roll business, such as Thin Lizzy, Paul Weller and Buzzcocks. So how did working with Status Quo and the other musicians come about? It must have been quite an honour to work with all of them?
“I knew there was a good Quo/Jam story because of Bruce’s days in SLF, and I know Paul anyway, so I figured that would be good. Slade, Lizzy and Sweet are of the time so I wanted their involvement, Steve Diggle and Paul Weller both had Quo as their first rock gig! It was very cool to get Brian May and Jeff Lynn. Putting Cliff Richard into the movie means my mum now thinks that what we do is legit! The whole project came about because of the ‘Monty Python’ movie which I was Emmy nominated for. The rest was/is history.”

You know the music industry quite well as you’ve worked in it since your twenties. What is you personal opinion regarding the changes in the industry and the rock bands nowadays compared to the ones from the ’60s?

“I don’t think we’ve got anything new! I hate myself already for saying that but I look at my iPod and it’s Slade, Lizzy, Sweet, The Beatles, KISS, Motley, Metallica, The Clash, Jovi, Ozzy, Leppard, Marc. You get my point, about the newest thing on there is the Manics, and whichever way you slice it, that’s not new. I loved the last Papa Roach album, but again, I think that the very best is behind us bands wise. But I think in the way we access music, and certainly in music film, there is far more to come.

Finally, what are your future plans? With documentaries about The Clash and Sex Pistols, can we expect another music documentary or do you want to run another path?
“I have a big movie lined up next with a very big group… uber big! Can’t say who yet I’m afraid, but you’ll see, can’t say anymore. We are being offered scripts too, so you never know. Quo is my third cinematic release but my tenth actual movie, so we have come a long way and I have a great team behind me. I’m ready, that much is true.”

Read the rest of this interview in the new issue (no. 9) of Vive Le Rock, which you can order now HERE.


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Vive Le Rock looks back with a classic interview with punk legend BRIAN JAMES.

Brian, when you wrote ‘New Rose’ back in ’76, just where the hell did that come from? Because back then, music was nothing like that. It was all the Emerson, Lake and Palmer and prog-rock rubbish!

B: I don’t know. It came from a whole bunch of places. You know, it’s like, I’ve always been into kind of ‘attitude music,’ be it rock ‘n’ roll, Eddie Cochran, be it, I don’t know, the Yardbirds. Later on, the Stooges, MC5. Then, later on, the Dolls. Lou Reed had his time where he had a hell of a lot attitude going. You know, even old blues stuff had a lot of attitude to it. I guess, ‘New Rose’ was written—it was a riff that I had kicking about for a while. I used to be in a band called Bastard, and we couldn’t get a gig in this country to save our lives, so we moved over to Brussels, Belgium. And we went all over. We didn’t make much money—we were starving, you know what I mean? We were sort of lived off other people, but at least we were playing a bit. Some of them got into it, particularly the French people there. And I liked this riff kicking about, and I was playing it to the guys in the band, but it seemed to go nowhere, and when I came back to England, and I met Rat [Scabies] after teaming up with Mick [Jones] and Tony [James] in London, I played this riff to him, and he immediately picked up on it and, it was like, “Ah, ha!” And so whilst Rat was scrounging around, trying to find gigs for us, and he was trying to get a band together and trying to find a bass player and a singer and all this sort of stuff, I got to writing. All the sudden, the song [birds?] approached! I don’t know. It was a combination of playing with the right drummer and the kind of scene involved, there was this kind of—At the time, the Pistols were playing. I’d seen them because we were taken down—like, the London SS guys—to some party they were playing and they were lead guys, and they did a lot of Stooges numbers, and it was like, “Wow,” there’s a lot of people out there, not just two or three other people. And you’d bump into people, people with the same sort of attitude, you know people who actually had short hair or wore leather jackets, and I think that’s where ‘New Rose’ comes from. It’s because of this thing starting up, and it’s just exciting.

And then you went from the album’Damned Damned Damned—obviously, it was a major explosion, you know. Everyone knows that’s a fantastic album. But second album, ‘Music For Pleasure,’ has been a real favourite of mine. You know, it’s got some real great songs, but it was less thrashy and a bit more experimental, wasn’t it?

B: Well, we wanted to….One, we didn’t have a lot of songs written, but no one in the band really wanted to copy the first album. I mean, it was okay for the Ramones because they had a particular kind of sound, and that’s what they did. They always did that through the years, kind of thing. And that was their style. But with the Damned, we were four different types of people playing music together, and I don’t know. We all shared a kind of an interest in trying something new a bit, and, to me, that’s what part of the band thing was about. It was about experimenting, trying new stuff. There was no punk bands, of the original bands, that sounded the same. Everybody had their own kind of style to them. The Adverts had come along, and all kinds of bands had come out of nowhere and were given that stimulus from the original punk bands to do it. Anyone could do it.

E: There was a lot more innovating back then. A lot of punk bands now sound all very similar. It’s sort of been done before.

B: That’s another thing. To a certain extent, this is like the third generation of punk bands You know, you have bands copying the Damned; you have bands copying the Clash, the Pistols. And it was like, “Oh, this is getting a bit fucking tiring.” They walk around in their uniforms. All the fuckin’ leather jackets didn’t mean anything, the black leather jackets. I don’t know, the skull and crossbones and that sort of stuff. It all became sort of like a uniform. That’s not the point of all. It was all about expression and fuckin’ doing your own thing! It was about your fantasies. So it all sort of went up its own ass.

E: [laughs] Fair enough. And so, did you actually leave the Damned, or did the band just fall apart?

B: What happened was Rat left the band, first of all, during the European tour. And he was a bit unhappy with it. He wasn’t happy with ‘Music For Pleasure,’ and he wasn’t happy that I wanted to get another guitar player.

E: Oh, that’s right. Lu, yeah.

B: Yeah, and anyway he was kind of overdoing it. And he sort of freaked out a bit, and said, “Alright, I’m off.” And so we got another drummer, this guy called John Moss(later in Culture Club). It just wasn’t the same. It was me and Rat who picked up the band, restarted it, and it was because of that thing that me and Rat had going, that was the sort of stimulus for all the rest of the band and stuff, you know what I mean? So it was the sort of center point of it. And, so I said to the other guys, I said to Captain and Dave Vanian, I just want to split the band up. We’ve done it; we’ve said it, and it ain’t the same without Rat. It’s time to work with other musicians and see what comes out.

E: It’s quite brave I supposed, but you went on to head Brian James Brains and the Hellions. And I think my brother saw you playing at the Reading Festival and you got bottled off with the Hellions. Is that right?

B: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I knew what was going to happen. We played in the afternoon, and apart from us it was all fuckin’ heavy metal bands. The day or two before, I got an army outfit. I sort of dressed up like a soldier to go on stage, not like the Clash, but like a real soldier. And I went out there expecting the worst, and boy did I get it.

E: [laughs]

B: –bottles and everything. But I’ll tell you the worst thing they were chucking was like mud, big globs of mud, right? And as it comes in—like physical things like bottles, bricks or whatever, you can see it coming, and you can duck, right? But mud just flips up in mid-air.


B: We lasted as long as we could. It was full marks. We were doing ‘New Rose,’and this mate of ours called Gaz[?], who plays with the Lightning Roses, he said before that he wanted to get up on stage, and I said, “Yeah, yeah. Come and join us for ‘New Rose,’ Gaz. It will be a laugh.” I didn’t think in my wildest dreams, he’d fucking—I thought I—I’d forgotten about it. I just thought, “Let’s make it to the end of this song and fuck off,” right? All of the sudden, this guy’s getting in and it’s like, “Yeah! Full marks to you man!” Walked up to the firing line, here.

E: Excellent. And after that, of course, I don’t really know how long it was but you formed another groundbreaking band the Lords of the New Church, which is a sort of a gothic-tinged thing to start with, and that had never been done before.

B: Yeah, it was sort of the same thing. It was like four—I mentioned it when he was in the Dead Boys back in New York in 1977, Easter of ’77, when Damned and Dead Boys played for three nights at CBGBs. And we just got to invite them over on our ‘Music For Pleasure’ tour and all that. But this, in general, in particular, we really got on again and we said one day we’re going to get a band together. My thing, before I came back from Belgium, before the Damned, you know, started and all that, was I wanted to find an Iggy. That’s what I was looking for. I wanted my own fucking Iggy. And I was lucky enough between the Damned and the Lords to tour with him in America.

E: Yeah

B: –with some bass and some other guys. And that was a fucking gas. That was really good. So I kinda got it out of me system a bit, but I still wanted to work with this Stiv guy. He came over to join up with some of the guys from Sham 69 in a band called the Wonders. And I put out an album. And I think they all got a bit bold with it, and at the same time they were doing their stuff, me and Stiv were getting together and writing some songs and basically planning to do something. And, in the end, we got Dave out of the Wonders, who used to be in Sham, and this guy Nicky, who was running the club—I don’t remember the name of the club—but he used to play in this band called the Barracudas. And they found their own sound.

E: It really was different back then. I saw your show at the 100 Club, well it was a few years ago now, but are you ever going to do some more stuff with playing those songs?

B: Yeah, at the moment, I’m going out as Scabies and James playing ‘Damned Damned Damned.’ We just played out second gig last Friday in Bristol. And it really sounded good. We had a lot of fun. And yeah, so the idea is we’re going to try and book the 100 Club for July the 6th because it would be like the 36th anniversary of the first band gig or something like that. And what we want to do, if we could possible do it is do a show there in the evening, and in the afternoon, do a special kind of an acoustic thing if you can imagine it in this pub called ‘the New Rose’ in Islington. So, for the time, make it a real celebration for our Damned fans.

E: Yeah, oh excellent. So you won’t be playing any Lords songs with this, or…?

B: No, this will be—

E: Oh so this will be just ‘Damned Damned Damned.’

B: We also do a couple numbers off ‘Music For Pleasure.’ We do ‘Sick of Being Sick,’ ‘Stretcher Case,’ and ‘Help!,’ things like that.

E: You were going to go to America, weren’t you?

B: Yeah, it was talked about, but did all the logistics of it—to get fuckin’ visas for America now cost like 1500 pounds each. It’s like, “You must be mad, man.” They take money off you at the gigs and tax. And it’s like, “How do you get from A to B? America’s a big country, right?” So, we’re going to wait a bit.

E: Build it up a bit, and wait till you get a few good offers, yeah.

B: Absolutely, man, absolutely. We’re off to Japan, though.

E: Yeah, because I saw you do the other one when you had Monty playing bass. That was cool. That was really good, though. I think you play well with Rat. He’s a fantastic drummer, and you work well.

B: Well, we just spark up each other, you know? That’s the way we used to be, and that’s the way we still are. Whenever we get the chance, we play together.

E: You’ve done the Brian James Gang for a while, and you’ve had your album out a few years ago. And you’ve got ‘Chateaux Brian,’ which is like a stripped-down, acoustic solo album, which I’ve been playing. And some of the Stones-influenced stuff like ‘Wishing Well’ is great. Have you been waiting to do something like that for a while?

B: Long, long time. Just needed to do it when the time is right, you know? I was messing around with Mark, from the Lords of the New Church on acoustic and piano, and it sounded really good. And he kept pushing me. “You gotta do it. You gotta do it.” And I said, “Look, I’m not going to do it where I just go into the studio and start banging something down. I want to do it properly. I want to do it on tape, first off. I want to do it analog, instead of digital, because I wanted purity of sound on the guitar and the vocals and stuff like that. He said, “Look, bring it up to me. I’ll sort all that out, if you go down and write some songs.” And I had a bunch of songs that I had been kicking around for ages because that’s how I write everything, is on acoustic. If it sounds good on acoustic, it sounds twice as good on electric. So I liked these songs I was kicking about, basically. And went in and did it, and I’m glad it’s taken this time, to tell you the truth. Like, my voice. Now it’s got a bit more weary and broken up and stuff like that. And I’ve gotten used to the idea of singing a lot more.

E: Well, it sounds great, man.

B: I’m glad you like it!

E: I guess doing a stripped-down thing with Rat is part of that, I suppose, of extinction or something a bit different.

B: But it is. It’s also a challenge. I’ve never been one to write particularly incisive lyrics, when you’re getting into the lyric side of things. But I’ve really got something, and I’m proud of it.

E: Are you going to get it on?

B:–stuff on the piano and the accordion. Really created some nice moods.

E: Are you going to do a bit more stuff with Mark?

B:Yeah, I hope to. Actually what I want to do is just go to the 100 Club when me and Ratt play and do an evening of Brian James down there. And do a little acoustic set with Mark. Do the Brian James Gang and have some special guests come along.

Read all about Brian, The Damned and The Lords Of The New Church in our next issue!


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SAN Francisco, California: world renowned for Alcatraz, glorious sunshine and the Golden Gate Bridge. However on the 23rd and 24th of March, The Warfield was to hold the punk rock birthday party of the year! As American punk rockers Rancid and English Oi! legends Cock Sparrer celebrate their respective 20th and 40th anniversaries in style.
From the moment of sound check both bands were equally as excited to play together as they exchange merchandise, beers and laughs with not a frown in sight. By gig time the atmosphere was electric as the people cram this once-abandoned theatre to its full capacity as both shows are sold out.
As the lights dim the crowd roar with excitement as boots stomp and beer flies across the ceiling, Cock Sparrer enter with a siren sounding ‘Riot Squad’. Even a crowded karaoke bar multiplied by ten could not compare to this crowd singing every word, as the echo of chanting bounces the walls throughout the set.
Beating through tracks such as ‘Working’, ‘Teenage Heart/Droogs Don’t Run’ & ‘AU’ the boys from ‘Sparrer showed their younger counterparts and headliners Rancid how it was done. With Cock Sparrer having the classic equation of sing-a-long hooks and catchy riffs it would be difficult for the band to disappoint as they close their set with ‘England Belongs To Me’ and ‘We’re Coming Back’ with two thousand American voices helping out on the choruses.
However, the party didn’t stop there. Rancid, the punk rock ska chart toppers, turn in an explosive set, opening with ‘Radio’ followed by the infamous ‘Roots Radicals’ and throwing the crowd into a frenzy as the floor becomes a dance floor.
From there they dropped into ‘Last One To Die’, a poetic, fast-hitting punk song taken from the latest album, which you can’t help but nod your head to and barrelling through other songs such as ‘Old Friend’,‘ Blood Clot’ and ‘Maxwell Murder’.
Near the end Skinhead Rob of the Transplants made a brief but fantastic appearance, joining in on ‘Red Hot Moon’, proving his voice is still powerful and strong. Ending the set Rancid closed with ‘Tenderloin’ and ‘Ruby Soho’, two of their most loved and well-known songs, finishing off a fantastic set in fine style.
Throughout the two nights both bands tweaked their sets to give the audience a different flavour, so the crowd didn’t see the same show twice, but included the classics the fans wanted to hear.
On the closing show Rancid paid respect to Cock Sparrer, inviting them back onto the stage where both bands sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to each other.
A celebration of the highest order.

Words/Photos: Sam Bruce


WITH the dents in his public goodwill still fresh over those recent episodes of buttery buffoonery, John Lydon’s return to the musical arena ─ with a PIL line-up that could hardly be described as ‘classic’ ─ has been greeted with some trepidation. Certainly the 2012 PIL, which retains guitarist Lu Edmonds and drummer Bruce Smith from the band’s late eighties incarnation, has its vices. Self-indulgence being one of them; with a set that runs well over the two-hour mark, PIL could comfortably have trimmed off forty minutes or so and probably been better for it. I would guess this failing stems from the organisation’s head, since Lydon ─ blowing snot from each nostril as he works the room like some council estate Arthur Askey ─ clearly relishes the spotlight, and seems intent in squeezing the most out of it.
Beefing aside though, there are points at which PIL are undeniably stunning. Bruce Smith and bassist Scott Firth are amply capable of reproducing that claustrophobic strain of earthquake dub that characterised the band at its most inventive. Edmonds ─ who looks as if he’s spent his time since PIL’s 1992 split splicing together unlikely combinations of stringed instruments on a desert island ─ summons up an impressive atonal squall. Over these foundations Lydon snarls and keens his way through choice moments from the PIL catalogue. There are moments of pure magnificence; few could argue with the very real sense of anger and betrayal packed into the iconoclastic ‘Religion’ or the accusatory ‘Albatross’, and the feeling of loss which Lydon still injects into ‘Death Disco’ is staggering. While the jury’s still out on the new material showcased tonight, top notch renditions of such milestones as ‘Rise’ and ‘This Is Not A Love Song’, and an unexpected encore of 1993’s Leftfield collaboration ‘Open Up’, ensure there is little call for the much-rumoured stagebound butter-pelting, which significantly did not materialise.
So that’s the contemporary Lydon then; bloody-minded, infuriating, and, quite frequently, brilliant. He could be wrong. He could be right.

Hugh Gulland

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We asked you

Who was the greatest UK82 bands?

Here’s the results:


BLITZ – 11.2%
GBH – 8.1%
INFA RIOT – 2.1%
CHRON GEN – 1.9%

Read all about UK82 punk, including new interviews with members of The Exploited, Blitz, Discharge, Anti-Nowhere League and many more!

See the cover below and order your copy from anywhere in the world HERE.


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Having left the Vibrators last year to focus on solo material, painting, Trailer Trash Orchestra, Urban Dogs acoustic and other projects, former frontman Knox tells VLR about a couple of the Vibrators’ most successful times. 

The Vibrators were having a bit of a second coming back in the early ’80s and were doing very well with the ‘Guilty’ and ‘Alaska 127’ albums. You went through the first wave and second wave of punk.
“Yes, we were lucky to be around then, it was very exciting. Looking back, I’m not sure if I’d have continued to do music without there being the electric guitar, and I always liked playing aggressively, certainly for the aggressive songs, and that suited punk. I think I always played a bit like that even in school bands I was in which might have started as early as 1959, certainly 1960, when I was living in Bushey, near Watford.”

And there’s a lot about ’77 punk in the press at the moment. Weren’t the Vibrators actually the third punk band signed in the UK?

“I think so, I think we were the third punk band in the UK. First there was the Pistols, then the Stranglers, then us. We were playing something like six months before the Clash, really early on.”

Read an interview with Knox about one of his other bands Fallen Angels and their reissues of the albums ‘In Loving Memory’ (1986) and ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ (1988), both through Jungle Records, in the current issue (no. 8) of Vive Le Rock.

Order your copy of the new VLR magazine HERE. 


Pure Mania (1977)
V2 (1978)

Guilty (1983)
Alaska 127 (1984)
Fifth Amendment (1985)
Recharged (1988)
Meltdown (1988)
Vicious Circle (1989)
Volume 10 (1990)
Hunting For You (1994)
Unpunked (1996)

French Lessons With Correction (1997)

Buzzin’ (1999)
Noise Boys (2000)
Energize (2002)
Punk : The Early Years (cover album) (2006)

Garage Punk (cover album) (2009)
Pure Punk (cover album) (2009)
Under The Radar (2009)

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UPDATE: 9th January 2013

Wilko’s manager, Robert Hoy, issued a statement: "I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy. He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity. He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.

"Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience. Thank you."

To celebrate the great man, we look back at a recent interview with VLR…

Canvey Island pub rock guitar legend Wilko Johnson discusses his new autobiography ‘Looking Back At Me’ with VLR’s Dave Collins.

Does the book capture the essence of all that is Wilko?
“You can’t say that about yourself, can you? It’s like ‘look at yourself in a mirror and tell me what you see’ – it’s impossible isn’t it? It tells some stories, says a lot about me and we’re all pleased by the way it’s come out.”

There are a few revelations in the book: drugs, drink, violence – have your kids read it?
“My kids are huge blokes now – I don’t know if they’ve even read it.”

And Bowie was after you for his band?
“I could tell you many stories – the Rolling Stones wanted me, but you don’t talk about things like that, do you? As I remember it, he (Bowie) was putting a band together in America and the guy that was going to be the keyboard player, Bowie asked him to bring a copy of the Feelgoods’ first album to check out. But I wasn’t slightly interested anyway. I mean, who would you rather be with Dr. Feelgood or David Bowie? Wouldn’t you rather be singing about girls than frocks and going to Mars? But let’s not knock David!”

Your career’s been on the upswing over the last couple of years with ‘Oil City’, ‘Game of Thrones’, music festivals, the book and media interest.

“When Julien Temple wanted to do the film (‘Oil City Confidential’), a little while before that I’d been thinking, ‘I’ve done a lot of gigs, I think I’ll quit and do something else now’. Then the film happened, it went really well and doing that got me going again and got me a lot more work. And I thought, ‘I can’t quit now I’ve got all this bloody work’, and so it goes on.”

Are you enjoying the heat and attention though?
“(Laughs) I am a miserable old so ‘n’ so all the time, so I’m better off doing it than not doing it. Otherwise I’d be really, really, really miserable! (laughs)”

‘Looking Back At Me’ book is out now on Cadiz.



Dr Feelgood

Down by the Jetty (1975)

Malpractice (1975)

Stupidity (1976)

Sneakin’ Suspicion (1977)

Solid Senders
Solid Senders (1978)

The Wilko Johnson Band
Ice on the Motorway (1981)

Bottle Up and Go (1983)
Pull the Cover (1984)
Watch Out! (Live in London) (1985)

Call It What You Want (1987)

Barbed Wire Blues (1988)

Going Back Home (1998)

Don’t Let Your Daddy Know (Live in Japan) (2000)
Red Hot Rocking Blues (2005)

Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Laughter (1980)

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