Vive Le Rock! have been fans of SONS OF SOUTHERN ULSTER for a while now, their latest album Sinners & Lost Souls making our Albums of the Year. We caught up with the boys from County Cavan to get the lowdown…

So the Sons of Southern Ulster have been around for a while. How did you all get together?

Justin: We spent our formative years in the same small town in Cavan. At that time, Cavan would have been a bit of a backwater and while it is part of the province that is Ulster – it was on the southern side of the border – hence the name. At the time it didn’t seem like there was much to do but in retrospect there was loads of mischief to be made. As kids we’d roam around the town until all hours, smoking cigarettes and sneaking in pints at some of the less salubrious establishments. There were 32 pubs in a town of 2,000 people so there was a lot of competition. Seeing a gang of fifteen year olds knocking back pints at the counter was not unusual in a few of them. Remember this was at the height of what was referred to as the troubles and we watched with a certain detachment what was going on up the road. All a bit surreal in retrospect. As David says, it was the music that got us together. Before that we’d have been somewhat indifferent towards each other but a shared love of the Jam changed all that. I remember sitting on a wall outside the Northern Bank with a cassette radio one day playing the Gift (maybe it was Sound Affects) – when David walked by. I think he was put out because I had the album first. We sort of compared notes, as teenage boys do. That would’ve been the start of it.

David: Like many bands we found each other through music, in our case a shared interest in punk music and the inevitable desire that follows to do it yourself. Given that we grew up in rural Ulster it was a real challenge to access alternative music so you really had to lean on mates to find stuff. Don’t forget that albums were a substantial investment back then, so you had to pass them around a lot more! It’s funny how band mates have a special status in your life, there’s a bond that endures, playing live is like going into battle together while the dedication it takes to create decent music requires huge affinity.

What sort of bands were you watching growing up?

David: Predictably we were immersed with all the punk and post punk stuff but in Ireland we also had our own bands like Horslips, Mamas Boys and the Blades who had legendary status here but not so well known in England. Obviously the Rats, Undertones and SLF were really important as they demonstrated how the punk thing could be converted to an Irish setting. Derry, Belfast and Dublin were a million miles from Malcolm McLaren’s sex shop in London but the attitude was the same. Later, bands like Paranoid Visions and Nun Attax kept the punk thing going and then the Virgin Prunes really kicked alternative music in Ireland on to another plane of artistic mayhem.

Justin: Living in a small town in the middle of nowhere meant that “cool” bands playing locally was never an option. Mostly showbands would play in local hotels and occasionally Horslips. Anyone who grew up in rural Ireland back then would have a deep seated love for Horslips because they played in parish halls all over the country. We wrote a song about a Horslips gig in the Farmers Hall in Virginia years later. A big fight ensued and it was obvious Horslips were used to that bullshit. There was a melee on the dancefloor and they just kept on playing. As it got close to the stage they weren’t afraid of throwing in a boot or a fist. We lapped it up. We’d watch Top Of The Pops and buy all the music magazines so here we were in our little town as self-appointed experts on everyone: Adam and the Ants, the Exploited, Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts!! We’d never hear half the records but we’d be well versed on the reviews in NME and opinionated as if we’d heard every note.

There was a big scene in Northern Ireland then with the Outcasts and Rudi. They always seemed more sophisticated because they’d have “youth” programs on Ulster Television. I think the Moondogs even had their own show!! We’d hear Dublin bands on the Dave Fanning radio show like the Blades and the fucking best of all – the Virgin Prunes.

I remember seeing the Undertones on the Old Grey Whistle Test. The docs and the snorkel jacket, and the half-mast trousers. That was my wake up moment – my electric circus

The whole Irish Punk scene has had a lot of attention in recent years. How has the music scene survived? Has it been difficult?

David: It’s a great time for music in Ireland right now with the emergence of real alternative-post-punk ‘scene’. I guess that somewhere along the way people started using real instruments plugged in and turned up proper loud! It’s been flattering how the Irish media have suggested that our debut (Foundry Folk Songs) in 2016 was the start of that post-punk revival but I think there’s been a growing discontent for some time that has pushed music towards having a more abrasive feel with more biting lyrics – a welcome remedy to kids prattling on about (often inauthentic) feelings, usually about themselves! It’s absolutely brilliant that you can now turn on mainstream radio at night and hear decent bands that have something to say. It’s no coincidence that many of the main DJs are heroes of the original punk era – the likes of Mickey Bradley and Paul McLoone from the Undertones have brilliant nightime shows to casually wander into and hear great new music. That platform is crucial to the new scene.

Justin: I left Ireland 30 years ago so in many ways the Irish music scene is as relevant to me as Boston, or New York. I don’t consider myself a musician. I write words. Like many emigrants I have a love hate relationship with Ireland and I realize that my lyrics probably do not speak to the Ireland of today. There seems to be a snobbish view of music, or pop, that dictates that everything is throwaway and bubble gum. I would not subscribe to that notion. When punk first happened there was a sense that it was another fad that would be over in a year or two. Forty years later there is a realization that the Sex Pistols and the Clash and the likes were true artists. No less so than Seamus Heaney or James Joyce. There seems to be a few bands that realize that what we are doing has a value beyond what is in vogue. This shit is important.

You do everything under your own steam and have a real original sound. What’s the secret?

Justin: There comes a point in life when you no longer give a shit about what others might think and I think we hit that point when we decided to record the first album. The Sons are not about converting people into fans. If people like what we do that’s great but were not looking to “make it”. We’re in our fifties – we’ve got a clatter of kids, mortgages, all that shit. Maybe, this is about making a small statement before we die. Maybe, its about producing something of worth – and with meaning. My kids hear us on the radio and they couldn’t give a flying fuck. “Oh yeah Dad – Coool” and they leave the room halfway through. I love that (sort of). I hope someday they listen and think dad wasn’t a total arsehole. He had something to say. Maybe be inspired to tell their story.

That people like what we do is brilliant. It’s like a gift. WE did get a shit review recently – and you realize you’re not always so zen. For a few hours you’re like fuck fuck fuck but you have to deal with the fact some people don’t get it. Remind yourself the world is full of arseholes – and move on (haha)

David: One thing about the Sons is that we make no effort to follow fashion – we know what we like and how to play that. We’ve been lucky with Daragh Dukes (producer) in that he lets us keep the finished product pretty raw even if it’s a bit harsh for more sensitive ears. For us it’s all about the overall package. It’s been great to find an audience who really get what we are doing – Its funny how modern music had become so processed and sanitised that going raw in 2020 seems original! That said, having ‘Yodapunk’ Mr Kelly out front on vox helps to give us an extra edge and at the end of the day you can’t beat good lyrics!

Haven’t you been out in America?

David: We are over and back – the two albums have been recorded in Boston and Ireland. Justin has been out there for decades – i guess that’s how he has such a clear recall for the world we grew up in. Paddy (bass) is out in Australia, while Noel is on the other side of Ireland to me so we could hardly be a more inconvenient ensemble! Funny enough, that makes for very focused time together- the Sons don’t bother with intra band politics cos we just don’t have the time! For gigs COVID has wrecked our short term plans for a tour to release ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ but in truth we usually play only half a dozen times a year and tend to go for boutique venues that allow us to muck around with the show with lots of storytelling and the like. I have never understood why a band would go to all the trouble of creating a collection of songs and then not speak to the audience between songs – it’s really not cool and actually kinda rude and elitist. No such problem with the Sons as it’s hard to keep Mr Kelly quiet once he gets off on a story. I think bands underestimate the need to have different phases to a gig in order to keep a crowds attention, even for bands that i love i sometimes find myself drifting off a bit after 20 minutes!

Justin: While I’ve lived in Boston for almost 30 years, the Sons is very much a project that speaks to Ireland and dinosaurs like me. Ireland has changed a lot since I left and in most ways for the best. That said, I see a cohort that writes off the history, and recent history, very quickly. It needs to be documented. Someone needs to speak to the powers that be that contributed to the Ireland that exists today. America is so vast. It can be a bit overwhelming to get in contact with people who may be of a similar mind. I’d love to get the likes of Henry Rollins to take a listen but where do you even start.

The album has had universal praise including some comparisons to Fontaines DC. But you were there first right? ha ha!

David: The album is certainly not easy listening – we wanted to make a historical document that will hopefully endure, but time will decide that. It’s been great to see that with all the stuff about ‘Sinners’ that our first album is being discovered by so many new fans. We are a pretty ramshackle outfit and don’t bother with management, so getting it out there is a challenge – it has been great that so many folk have been excited by the album so i guess the secret is to get it to more ears! We are happy to be patient about that as the finest wine etc…

The Fontaines are a real phenomenon and are getting the type of attention usually reserved for pop groups, but i think that they have nailed down their alternative credentials with their second album which is brave and complicated. Yes, we were ‘there’ first but the Sons are very different in lyrical content and have a much more old school punk sound. For me, the best punk music has a sense of humour – although Sinners covers a lot of dark themes – alienation, oppression, depression, alcoholism and death – there is a recurring sense of mischief in the narratives that keeps you on board (a bit like life i guess sometimes instinct alone means we stumble on in the face of overwhelming adversity). Poetry and naughty guitars, you just can’t beat that combo!

Justin: As I assume the Fontaines are in their early twenties and we are heading towards OAP status, I’m secretly loving the fact that some reviewers have painted us as some sort of spiritual godfathers. That said, I’m sure they are horrified and disgusted to be associated with such a bunch of uncool gobshites. I saw a facebook post recently where some guy was explaining what the Sons were like to a workmate. He said , and I quote – “well, they’re kinda like Fontaines, if Fontaines had been on a 24 hour bender and told you they had shagged your sister” – not sure I’d have the stamina for the 24 hour bender or the sister but would love this on my gravestone.

People like to compare everyone to something else. This album its Fontaines – last album was Whipping Boy and A House. If you are going to be compared to other Irish bands I’ll take that.

What’s next and when will we see SOSU live???

David: We are already fiddling about with ideas for our next album – i don’t think there’s much point in trying to repeat Sinners and Lost Souls so you can expect something quite different. The lyrical voice aged between ‘Foundry Folk Songs’ and ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ and i think the voice for our next album will be still further down the journey of life….or maybe we’ll have a midlife crisis and sing about sports cars, dangerous women, waking up after 24 hour benders…that sort of thing! More seriously, now that Sinners is on vinyl we will be doing the same for Foundry Folk Songs and have an EP done with Pete Briquette of remixed version of tracks from Sinners and Lost Souls that is being pressed as we speak. Pete is originally from the same area in Southern Ulster as us so it’s a perfect collaboration. I think we can really indulge our weird side for the third album which is making for great fun in the composition process. One golden rule in the Sons is that if something is not fun or interesting then we don’t do it – life really is too short and at our stage our tolerance for fake stuff is very low!

Check out Sons Of Southern Ulster’s latest video ‘For The Birds’…

Watch the documentary Foundry Folk Songs

Sons Of Southern Ulster on Facebook

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West London ska band THE LAUNCHERS return with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Mixed by legendary producer Dave Bascombe (Depeche Mode, Manic Street Preachers), and fuelled by a mutual appreciation of ska, Trojan and Blue Beat, ‘Rainbow Children’ is set for release on 23 March, a year to the day since the first lockdown.

Say the band, “‘Rainbow Children’ presents a hopeful message of love and light in these challenging times, it must be love… A message to those struggling to take joy and hope from restriction.”

The Launchers on Facebook

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Having just released their long-awaited debut album, THE MIDDLENIGHT MEN today unveil a video for their latest single.

‘We All Need Help Before Tomorrow’ is taken from Issue 1, which was released last week.

“It’s about being on tour with all the parties you could wish for, but describes the deeper side of those fleeting relationships that happen on the road as a sensitive single musician,” says mainman Nick Hughes. “It explores the thought that tours can be a lonely place where you crave connections and every time you meet someone and have your 24 hours romance, it always follows a daily breakup. That being said, The Middlenight Men are never ones to take themselves too seriously. Our shows and our music is all about escapism from the daily troubles people may be having. We’re here to spread joy, simple. Sure, we may touch on sensitive topics at times but this band is about laughs, stupidity, over the top ideas and caring for one another. Oh. And tequila!”

Buy Issue 1 here.

The Middlenight Men on Facebook

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SoCal rockers WARISH have just unveiled a single from their forthcoming new album.

‘Seeing Red’ is the second single to be taken from the San Diego punk-metal trio’s second album Next To Pay, following on from the recent ‘Say To Please’.

Founded by in 2018 singer/guitarist Riley Hawk (son of skate legend Tony) , the band hit the ground running, dropping their debut album Down In Flames for Riding Easy the following year. Joined by bassist Alex Bassaj, drummer Nick McDonnell stayed long enough to play on half the tracks on the new album before handing the stool to new kid Justin de la Vega.

Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” chirrups the genial Hawk. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.”

Set for release on 30 April, Next To Pay is available to pre-order now from Riding Easy Records.

Pic by Magdalena Wosinska

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Legendary Italian garage band THE SICK ROSE have their classic second album reissued this month.

Formed in Turin in 1983, The Sick Rose were one of the best known garage revival bands on the European scene, contemporaries of US bands The Fuzztones and The Chesterfield Kings, Sweden’s Nomads and the UK’s Barracudas.

Taking its title from the MC5 song and featuring the indie chart hit ‘Double Shot’, Shaking Street caught the band at their early commercial peak. The band took most of the 90s out before returning in the 21st century with renewed vigour and a string of new albums including 2006’s Blastin’ Out and 2011’s No Need For Speed, both produced by The Stems’ Dom Mariani, and most recently, 2018’s Someplace Better, produced by The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow.

Limited to 300 copies, the new vinyl reissue of Shaking Street comes in a new gatefold sleeve with download code and a CD two bonus album outtakes.

Shaking Street is available to stream/buy here.

Check out The Sick Rose live in Hamburg in 1987…

The Sick Rose on Facebook

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Not long to go now ’til ROCKDOWN 2, Vive Le Rock‘s own online music festival!


Watch the whole extravaganza on YouTube!

All proceeds raised go to stagehand.org.uk helping roadies and stage crew throughout the UK​. Please donate what you can via Paypal: info@bigcheesemagazine.com

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New pop-rock favourites THE MIDDLENIGHT MEN release their long-awaited new album today and they’ve given Vive Le Rock! a sneaky peak!

The band are the brainchild of singer/guitarist Nick Hughes, whose impressive work record has included stints with THE YO-YOS, TERRORVISION and DUNCAN REID & THE BIG HEADS

Written over the course of a year, Hughes went into the studio before lockdown with longtime friend and STATUS QUO drummer Leon Cave, producer Andy Brook and various friends and miscreants to lay down the album. Trailed by three well-received singles – ‘Heroine Heights’, ‘Rat Star’ and ‘B.A. Baby’, the aptly-titled Issue 1 is now ready to see the light of day.

Issue 1 is an epic collection of our biggest influences all rammed in to 45 minutes of gloriously unashamed singalong pop-rock anthems,” says Hughes. “The whole point of this album is both to provide a means of escapism from the shit that we all have to deal with right now and an excuse to stick a load of make-up on and be unashamed as we place ourselves in a different reality where we’re free to sing, dance and drink the night away like it’s 2027, presuming we can by then! If ya like Beach Boys, Wildhearts, Alice Cooper and even McFly, this one’s for you.”

Issue I is available to buy here.

The Middlenight Men are featured in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!

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A new box set anthologises that period in the immediate aftermath of punk when musicians began drawing influence from US funk.

Bands – most notably Gang Of Four and The Pop Group – began marrying often confrontational lyrics and exploratory, experimental sounds with the bass and drum rhythms of Funkadelic and the Fatback Band, and emboldened by New York’s no-wave movement brought post-punk to the dancefloor.

Compiled and with sleevenotes by noted DJ and writer Bill Brewster, the 3-disc Shake The Foundations: Militant Funk & The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984 features a raft rarely heard floorfillers from familiar bands like THE HIGSONS (pictured), A CERTAIN RATIO, SIMPLE MINDS, 23 SKIDOO and JAH WOBBLE to the less familiar – QUANDO QUANGO, PLAYGROUP, THE CHICKEN GRANNY etc…

Set for release through Cherry Red on 26 March, Shake The Foundations is available to pre-order here.

Track Listing


  1. GUESS WHO? – A Certain Ratio
  2. COUP – 23 Skidoo
  3. 100 EVIL SMOKESTACKING BABY – Haircut 100
  4. THIS FEAR OF GODS – Simple Minds
  5. LOVE 30 – The Stranglers
  6. BORN EVERY MINUTE – The Passage
  7. SARAVA – Blue Rondo A La Turk
  8. SERBIAN VILLAGE – Medium Medium
  9. PUSH OUT THE BOAT – The Higsons
  10. POST WAR GLAMOUR GIRLS – John Cooper Clarke
  11. SKIN DEEP – The Passions
  13. CAN YOU MOVE – Modern Romance
  14. SLANG TEACHER – Wide Boy Awake
  15. HYPNOTISED – C Cat Trance
  16. STRETCH – Maximum Joy


  1. LIONS – Tones On Tail
  2. TRUST IS A MUST – Ian Dury
  3. WHAT DANCE IS THIS? – Perfect Zebras
  4. FAITH & HOPE & CHARITY – The Fun Boy Three
  5. DREAM GAMES – Shock
  6. RUSHA – Jesse Rae
  7. DON’T – Thomas Leer
  8. BIG MAN RESTLESS – Kissing The Pink
  9. BLUE FOR YOU – Paul Haig
  10. FREQUENCY 7 – Visage
  11. BANG EM RIGHT – Six Sed Red
  12. TINGLE – Quando Quango
  13. CCCAN’T YOU SEE – Vicious Pink
  14. MOVE ON – Fashiøn
  15. SET FIGHTER – Wide Boy Awake


  1. WHEN ARE WE? (NOW WE ARE) – Surface Mutants
  2. WHY ARE WE IN LOVE – Furniture
  3. ROB A BANK – The Pop Group
  4. GET IT RIGHT – Animal Magic
  5. BLACK LEATHER – Nightmares In Wax
  6. OBEDIENCE – Normil Hawaiians
  8. KEEP BEAT – Vee VV
  9. LIVING WILD – Mataya Clifford
  10. SO MANY WAYS – Electric Chairs
  11. DREAMS ARE BETTER – London Underground
  12. ARTY-FACT – Group Therapy
  13. WE ARE ALL ANIMALS – The Diagram Brothers
  14. QUIT THE BODY – The Chicken Granny
  15. BED BOUND SAGA – Machine Gunn Hogg And Co
  16. HOGGS MIGHT FLY – Playgroup
  17. SHAKE (THE FOUNDATIONS) – Glaxo Babies
  18. DISCO PURGE – Family Fodder

Pic by Steve Rapport

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US punks THE WHEELZ have just dropped a video for their brand new single.

Just the latest in an impressive collection of shoutalong anthems, ‘Politicians’ is taken from the band’s new EP Twenty / Twenty, their first new material since their 2018 debut album.

Kicking back in the same dayglo buzzsaw punk alley as the Toy Dolls, Rezillos, The Briefs and Cyanide Pills, The Wheelz stay true to the ‘no future’ spit’n’glue spirit of ’77 punk, declaring that they are “Going nowhere and not going anywhere. Both at the same time. . .”

Twenty / Twenty is out now on vinyl from No Front Teeth in the UK and Boulevard Trash in the US. It’s also available on cassette from Berlin’s Tape Or Die.

The Wheelz on Facebook

Pic by Vicious Velma

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Swedish punk-rocker JAKOB MIND heralds his debut solo album with a video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Known to his folks as Jakob Arvidsson, he leads a double life as the guitarist and singer with Uppsala punks ROTTEN MIND and ‘Let Them Know’ is taken from the album The One Who Got Away.

Arvidsson’s actually got a track record going back over a decade, starting out as a member of hardcore mob AGENT ATTITUDE who managed to turn out a trio of full-lengths before imploding in 2015, at which point Rotten Mind began.

Prior to sessions for his band’s most recent album Rat City Dog Boy, Jakob slipped into the studio to lay down the tracks that comprise The One Who Got Away, drawing on an array of influences from the Velvet Underground and Roky Erickson to the Ramones, Buzzcocks and Dead Boys.

“It’s a bit different when you play all the instruments by yourself,” he says. “You can’t rehearse it before so pretty much all the drum takes are the first time I play the songs. I just used my acoustic guitar at home and tried to figure out in my head how the songs will sound and then try to re-create that in the studio. It’s not easy all the time but it’s good fun.”

‘Let Them Know’ is out on Friday 5 February through Lövely Records while The One Who Got Away follows in 16 April.

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Liverpool kitchencore band PETE BENTHAM & THE DINNER LADIES have just unveiled a new video.

After the year we’ve had and little hope on the horizon, the lockdown video for ‘Life Is Beautiful’ can’t help but inspire positivity with the help of various members of the DIY punk community, including members of Eastfield, Interrobang!? Bratakus, Delinquents, Werecats, Salt the Snail, Crash Mats, Biteback, Riviera Kid, Spam Javelin and Pascal Briggs.

If you enjoy the video – even if you don’t! – you’re encouraged to donate to the Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues crowdfunder.

Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies on Facebook

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CHEAP TRICK have unveiled a first track from their forthcoming new album.

‘Light Up The Fire’ is taken from the Rockford, Illinois legends’ 20th album In Another World, which is due for release through BMG on 9 April. It’s the band’s first since 2017 when they released the acclaimed We’re All Alright! swiftly followed by the Christmas album Christmas Christmas.

Produced by longtime accomplice Julian Raymond, who’s been working with the band since 2006’s Rockford, the new album features the reappearance of their Record Store Day 2019 rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Gimme Some Truth’, featuring a guest appearance by Sex Pisols’ Steve Jones on guitar.

In Another World is available to pre-order here.

The band have rescheduled their UK tour dates for 2022. Full dates are now…

Feb 01 2022 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Boiler Shop
Feb 02 2022 – Manchester Academy
Feb 04 2022 – Wolverhampton, KK’s Steel Mill
Feb 05 2022 – London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Feb 06 2022 – Bristol, O2 Academy

Go here for tickets.

Cheap Trick on Facebook

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Boston ska-punk legends THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES have signed to Hellcat Records and celebrate with a brand new single and video.

Referred to as a ‘ska summit’, the 8-minute track was produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Grammy Award-winner Ted Hutt and features a multitude of cameo appearances from the great and the good of ska, ska-punk and punk.

The track is accompanied by an animated video directed by YoYoYosef.

“It’s a love letter to Ska music and the people that make Ska music and it’s a whole lot of fun,” says vocalist Dicky Barrett.

The track features appearances from Armstrong, Aimee Interrupter & The Interrupters, Stranger Cole, Angelo Moore (Fishbone), Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Jay Navarro (Suicide Machines), Chris DeMakes, Pete Wesilewski, Roger Lima (Less Than Jake), Jimmy G (Murphy’s Law), Toby Morse, Rusty Pistachio (H2O), John Feldman (Goldfinger), Laila Khan (Sonic Boom Six), Robert Hingley (Toasters), Dan Vitale (Bim Skala Bim), Dave McWane (Big D and The Kids Table), Sirae Richardson, Erin Mackenzie, Brie McWane (The Doped Up Dollys), Jesse Wagner (Aggrolites), Karina Denike (The Dance Hall Crashers), Christian Jaccobs (The Aquabats), Jon Pebsworth (Buck O Nine), Peter Porker (The Porkers), Steve Jackson (The Pietasters), Felipe Galvan (Los Skanarles), Jet Baker (Buster Shuffle), Fumio Ito (Kemuri), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) and Roddy Radiation (The Specials).

‘The Final Parade’ is available to stream/download here.

The Mighty Mighty BosstoneS on Facebook

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Pittsburgh rock legends THE CHEATS are back with a new video which they’re launching exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Give Up The Ghost’ is taken from the band’s current album Cussin’, Crying ‘N’ Carrying On and the video is a direct result of Covid 19.

“We’re getting bored!” singer Todd Cheat exclaims. “This venue shutdown is killing us. We’ve always been a live band. I was checking out some old Motorhead videos and ‘Ace of Spades’ popped up. They just did it live and I was like, That’s it! That’s what I want to do! Our friends Mary and Matt from Mud City Manglers have a new underground venue called the Shred Shed here in Pittsburgh. We just set up and our long time video producer, Larry Dawgiello came in and just started rolling.”

The band are about to get back into the studio to record new tracks, two of which will go to a single in Screaming Crow Records’ new Rock’n’Roll Jukebox 45 series, which will also boasts sides from the cream of international action rock, including THE HIP PRIESTS, THE DIRTY DENIMS and THE RAVAGERS. Featuring one original song and one cover, the label plan to issue the tracks on a compilation later in the year.

Todd Cheat was recently among 60 Pittsburgh musicians contributing to a charity song ‘SOS2020’ raising money for the city’s beleaguered venues struggling to stay alive during lockdown.

The Cheats will help kick off the SOS2020 series of internet shows on Thursday 28 January in support of the NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) Emergency Relief Fund. Starting at 6pm EST, the two-hour show will also feature sets from ROYAL HONEY and MIDDLE FINGER. It costs an extremely reasonable $3 to view and there’s more details here. Dig deep!

Cussin’, Crying ‘N’ Carrying On has been repressed on Rock Candy Red vinyl and is available here.

The Cheats on Facebook

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MARC BOLAN and T REX are celebrated in a new high quality coffee table book.

Published to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of his first ever No.1 single ‘Hot Love’, Marc brings together more than 300 rare and seldom seen photos.

Compiled by T Rex fan Carlton Sandercock, owner of UK record label Easy Action, the book has been two years in the making and spans Marc’s career from 1965 with photos from the Evening standard announcing a new pop sensation to Marc’s untimely and tragic death in 1977. The final double page spread features fan Polaroids, which would turn out to be the last photos taken of Marc, catching him in a happy and fun moment with two of his fans. “It was important that the last chapter of the book be as positive as it was possible to be under the circumstances,” says Sandercock.

Clocking in at 300 pages, this hefty hardback volume measures 14″ x 11″ and weighs in at a hefty 2.6 kilos. Published in an initial run of 500 copies, the first 100 will be hand numbered and will feature two professional prints not included in the book.

“Many of the photographers I knew from licencing photos for Easy Action projects.” says Sandercock. “It was good to talk to and meet with some of them but sadly during the process of this book, some we lost along the way -Michael Putland, Richard Fitzgerald, Terry O Neil, Keiron ‘Spud’ Murphy (who took the cover image at Trident Studios during the recording of the classic Electric Warrior album).

“One highlight was meeting Peter Sanders who was Marc’s best man and also introduced him to percussionist Mickey Finn. Peter photographed three of the first four Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs as well as the iconic first T Rex album.

“One of the key frustrations was that many many original negs have since neem lost stolen over the years. It was practice in some instances for photographers to take a load of shots and send the actual negs to pop magazines as they couldn’t afford to copy them. The magazine wouldn’t ever return them, and most would end up in the bin. Classic images that as a teenager you grew up with, lost forever!

“Many of the photographers that shot Marc went on to become big names in the fashion world or well-known famous photographers who at the time were just getting a portfolio together such as Alec Byrne, Terry O Neill, Richard Imrie (who I tracked down to an island on Hawaii), David Steen….”

The Book is split into five chapters. The 60s – 1967-1970; Tyrannosaurus Rex – 1971-1973; the classic T Rex – 1974-1976; the wilderness years – 1977; the Return of the Dandy. Intensively researched, the book includes photos from UK, France, Holland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and the USA, with live action shots amid posed sessions and album cover outtakes. The book is embellished with quotes from Marc himself as well as his fellow artists, with an exclusive introduction by famed T Rex publicist BP Fallon along with T Rex drummer Bill Legend and Marc’s partner Gloria Jones. 

Marc is only available form the Official Marc Bolan Merch Co.

Marc Bolan on Facebook

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Sex Pistol Steve Jones is to be the subject of a new six-part TV series from Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle.

Pistol is based on Jones’ 2018 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol and was scripted by Craig Pearce and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Pistol stars Toby Wallace (Babyteeth, Acute Misfortune) as Steve Jones, Anson Boon (Crawl, 1917, Blackbird) as John Lydon, Louis Partridge (Enola Homes, Medici) as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Fabien Frankel (The Serpent, NYPD Blue) as Glen Matlock, Dylan Llewellyn (Derry Girls) as Wally Nightingale, Sydney Chandler (Don’t Worry Darling) as Chrissie Hynde, Emma Appleton (The Witcher, Traitors) as Nancy Spungen, and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as punk icon Jordan.

Produced by FX Productions, Pistol is set to begin production on March 7.

“Imagine breaking into the world of The Crown and Downton Abbey with your mates and screaming your songs and your fury at all they represent,” says Boyle. “This is the moment that British society and culture changed forever. It is the detonation point for British street culture…where ordinary young people had the stage and vented their fury and their fashion…and everyone had to watch & listen…and everyone feared them or followed them. The Sex Pistols. At its centre was a young charming illiterate kleptomaniac – a hero for the times – Steve Jones, who became in his own words, the 94th greatest guitarist of all time. This is how he got there.”

“It’s great to be back in business with Danny Boyle, an exceptional artist responsible for so many great feature films and TV series,” says Nick Grad, President, Original Programming, FX Entertainment. “Steve Jones was at the centre of the storm that shook the rock establishment and we’re thrilled to have Danny and the rest of the creative team tell his story as a member of one of music’s most notorious bands – the Sex Pistols.”

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Irish punks GOOD FRIEND start the year straight out of the traps with a new EP and video.

The wonderfully catchy ‘Erin Rose Drinks On Shift’ is taken from the three-track The Erin Rose EP, the 7-inch edition of which has one side playing at 45rpm and the other at 33rpm, evoking fond memories of the late, great John Peel!

The video by Mark Easton features genuine professional UK wrestlers and Game Of Thrones extras!

Currently based in Newcastle, the trio give away very little about themselves other than that they’ve toured Europe and the USA and are looking forward to UK dates with RED CITY RADIO in – touch wood! – 2021.

Released through Red Scare Industries, The Erin Rose EP is available to order digitally and physically here.

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TOP 20 VIDEOS OF 2020!

What a year it’s been! We may not have had any gigs, but there’s been no shortage of videos, particularly with Covid restrictions forcing bands to get more inventive.
Unsurprisingly, given all the political turmoil as well as the pandemic, there’s a lot of anger and frustration about, but there’s also a determination to make the most of a bad situation, and have fun while you still can, which is good advice for anybody. But make sure you wash your hands and wear a mask!
Anyway, here’s Vive Le Rock‘s top 20 videos for what it’s worth…

20. THE HEAT INC. – RAPTORS – Now this is how you do social distancing! This London-based multinational band took us all by surprised. From their debut 5-track EP, they’re a band to look out for in the New Year.

19. SPIZZENERGI – CHRISTMAS IN DENMARK STREET – A haunting lament to Soho from Spizz. London’s live music centre has been decimated by grasping developers this past decade, and this year has been a real kick in the balls. ‘Til things are brighter…

18. BABY SHAKES – SWEET’N’SOUR PART 2 – A marriage made in glam-pop heaven: NYC’s garage goddesses team up with a couple of Undertones to inject a little sweetness into our sour lives.

17. TABLE SCRAPS – DOOM GENERATION – Crikey! Don’t let the colourful video fool you: these feisty Brummies are back and boy! Are they cheesed off. A ‘War Pigs’ for the craft beer generation?

16. SVETLANAS – JUMP – One of our favourite bands from the past few years, this lot are on course for world domination, and once this itchy-scratchy track gets under your skin it will. Not. Leave. Check out the profile in the current mag.

15. PEDALJETS – DISASSOCIATION BLUES – Contemporaries of Hüsker Dü on the 80s Midwest circuit, these guys have been back a few years and always drop great vids. This was made when you could still go to gigs, obviously.

14. HOODOO GURUS – HUNG OUT TO DRY – These Aussies were just entering a phase of renewed activity when Covid struck. Another of their brilliant put-down songs, proof that they’ve still got humour and bile in equal measure.

13. FOLK DEVILS – MY SLUM SOULS – The perpetually belligerent West London post-punks returned this year with a new, crushingly relevant, EP. Proof, if it were needed, that they’ve still got plenty to be annoyed about.

12. SMALLTOWN TIGERS – FIVE THINGS – These Italian lasses had all their dates cancelled thanks to Covid, but it didn’t stop their debut album going ballistic! Expect big things next year, while you enjoy this souvenir of sunny Dalston and their first UK gig.

11. BAD COP BAD COP – SIMPLE GIRL – Great to see so many women knocking ’em out of the punk park, this L.A. bunch made our Top 3 Albums Of The Year with ‘The Ride’. Catch ’em when you can!

10. CULT FIGURES – LIGHTS OUT – Spawned on the same Solihull post-punk scene as the great Swell Maps, these guys have reconvened with a brand new album set for the New Year, from which this tasty morsel comes. They’re also skilled animators; a handy skill to have in the YouTube age.

9. PSYCHEDELIC FURS – COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – The post-punk legends’ comeback could’ve been derailed by Covid, had their first new album in nearly 30 years been so damn good. Read all about it in the current edition of Vive Le Rock!

8. BOB MOULD – AMERICAN CRISIS – Big bad Bob returned this year with ‘Blue Hearts’, a totally necessary, striking and relevant return to form. And as low budget lyric vids go, this nails you to the floor with the first sentence!

7. IDLES – WAR – Continuing the Bristol lineage (possibly) that brought us The Pop Group, Idles much anticipated third album ‘Ultra Mono’ continued their assault on popular culture. Read the feature in the latest mag.

6. VIAGRA BOYS WITH AMY TAYLOR – IN SPITE OF OURSELVES – Hugely respected Chicago songwriting legend John Prine was one of the first musical casualties of Covid. Teaming up with Amyl & The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor, Stockholm’s Viagra Boys deliver this unexpected, skronky but no less touching version of Prine’s quirky celebration of love in tribute.

5. AERIAL SALAD – ROMANCE – Second time lucky, Manchester’s Aerial Salad stole a lot of heart with sophomore album ‘Dirt Mall’, and this cheap but extraordinarily effective video. Looking forward to the sitcom.

4. CHUBBY AND THE GANG – ALL ALONG THE UXBRIDGE ROAD – Spiritual descendents, surely, of the Cockney Rejects, these West London roustabouts divined that what the world needed was a breakneck Oi/pub rock hybrid. Who knew? We’re certainly not knocking it!

3. MAID OF ACE – LIVE FAST OR DIE – Still doing it on their own terms, the sisters from Hastings have released a string of brilliant videos over the past couple of years. This one, though, hitched to a commendable punk call to arms, takes some beating.

2. JAZ COLEMAN & ONDREJ SMEYKAL – ON THE DAY THE EARTH WENT MAD – In this most apocalyptic of years, who do you call but the most apocalyptic of artists. The Killing Joke frontman teams up with Czech musician Smeykal for this near 8-minute state of the nation address cast against an explosive newsreel montage. Chilling.

  1. BOB VYLAN – WE LIVE HERE – Crashing out of nowhere, this strident, raging punk/metal/rap crossover took no prisoners. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but nor is it meant to be. Not for nothing is the album of the same name one of our Top 5 albums of the year.

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