RANDY SAVAGES VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

North London punks RANDY SAVAGES are set to release their debut single next month and they’re premiering their first video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Intercontinental’ is one side of a double-A single shared with ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’, which is set for release through Memphis label Wrecked-Em Wreckords on 13 July.

Describing themselves as “the missing link between cheap speed and Cheap Trick”, the band recorded the single in their own studio, buitl out of two disused shipping containers somewhere in Camden Town.

In their first year, they’ve played dates with the likes of Eddie & The Hot Rods, Anti-Nowhere League and Protex and next month they join the bill of Vive Le Rock and Some Weird Sin’s Pump It Up! Power Pop Weekender.  Taking place at The Finsbury Pub, Manor House over the weekend of 28-29 July, the event features sets from Protex, THE BARRACUDAS (only London show this year!), DIRTY FENCES, FAZ WALTZ, ROLE MODELS, LOS PEPES, LUCY & THE RATS and more. Tickets are available here.

Full Randy Savages tour dates…

24 June – Canterbury – Lady Luck
13 July – Camden – Lock Tavern – Garageland – single launch (w/ Newtown Neurotics)
15 July – Derby – Hairy Dog – Punks Against Cancer
28 July – London – The Finsbury – Powerpop Weekender
11 Aug – Kingston – Fighting Cocks
17 Aug – Leeds – Bad Apples
18 Aug – Oldham – Bank Top
18 Nov – London – 100 Club

Randy Savages on Facebook

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STRANGE CONVERSATION!

Legendary DOCTORS OF MADNESS founder Richard Strange took the time to talk to Vive Le Rock ahead of his show at London’s Bush Hall on Saturday 9 June.

As previously announced, Richard and a band involving several special guests will be performing his classic solo concept album The Phenomenal Rise Of Richard Strange for the first time ever in its entirety. Tickets for the show are available here.

The Bush Hall Show sounds like a spectacular, what should people expect?
An immersive, multimedia, interactive event, featuring some of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with. Between them they have worked with Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Tindersticks, The Who, Atomic Rooster, Scott Walker, Sarah Jane Morris, Madness, Band of Holy Joy, The Higsons, Jamairoquai …oh and the Doctors of Madness!

Is this really the first time it’s been performed in full, what took you so long?
The time was never right… I had fallout with Virgin soon after it was released, Cabaret Futura was going strong, my acting career was starting to take off and the original band had started to go their separate ways. We did some of the songs at Glastonbury in 2009, but never the whole show, and never a staged version embracing the political narrative.

Will it be just you on the stage?
No, see above… This is a 24 carat all-star band, plus films, staging, guests, bells and whistles!! All the hoopla of a Trump convention… but without Stormy Daniels!

The album is nearly 40 years old, do you feel it speaks to these times?
More than ever… Obviously I have been working on it a lot and listening to it a lot recently, as you can imagine. Never been more relevant. A Maverick politician uses showbiz techniques, media manipulation and sheer brass neck to become president (of a Federated Europe, which is in total political meltdown). The second verse of one of the songs starts…

“Bombing in Madrid by Franco’s chosen sons.
Mussolini resurrected in Rome.
And meanwhile back in London
there’s this woman whose ambition
is to send everybody home”.
(On Top Of The World. Copyright Richard Strange 1978)

You couldn’t make it up…. Oh hold on… I DID… in 1978!! But that could have been the BBC news today… Meltdown in Italy, Spain, UK, Hungary, Germany, Holland. Resurgent nationalism/fascism, a media that distort news for its own ends.. etc etc. Any resemblance between my character and any other character, living or dead, is purely intentional!

Where does your love of theatrical presentation come from?
I have been lucky enough to work with the best! Directors like Robert Wilson, Yuri Lyubimov, choreographers like Luca Silvestrini of Protein Dance, artists like Gavin Turk and Haroon Mirza, film directors like Harmony Korine, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. Event curators like Hal Willner, who did the Disney show at the RFH with Jarvis Cocker, and the Fellini show and the Sea Shanties shows at The Barbican. I love the way he flies by the seat of his pants and always pulls off something unforgettable…….. I am sponge… I watch everyone, everything, and adapt to my own needs. I always carry a note book. The scenes are out there every day! You just got to see them (and not forget them)!

You’ve worked with the great and the [not so!] good. Who taught you the most?
I think Robert Wilson, with whom I spent 3 years working on ‘The Black Rider’ with Marianne Faithfull, (the Tom Waits/William Burroughs musical play) was a huge experience for me. We did it at The Barbican, in LA, in San Francisco and in Sydney. Watching Bob work is a masterclass in stagecraft, lighting, movement, composition and sheer bloody mindedness!! Also writing a cantata with the great Gavin Bryars, based on the life and work of William Burroughs, was an inspiration. Neville Farmer, the director, and I are just finishing editing the movie of the event. Tim Burton was great to work with (on Batman) and Martin Scorsese is a lifelong hero… (Though if I could have chosen ANY of his films to work on, it would probably NOT have been Gangs of New York). Working with Harmony Korine, Anita Pallenberg, Denis Lavant and Diego Luna on Mr Lonely was a gas. It was 6 weeks of non-stop insanity in the most remote part of the Highlands, with only the midges for company! I love the energy and dedication and attention to detail of Luca Silvestrini, the choreographer with Protein Dance

You had a ringside seat for the Punk movement, is it true the Pistols supported you?
Yep. Not only supported us (1976) but also robbed us while we were onstage!! I sat next to Paul Cook a couple of weeks ago at the Albert Hall, watching my mate Joe Elliott raise billions for Teenage Cancer Charity and felt a hand in my pocket…turned to see who it was and it was Cookie…. he laughed and he gave me a lovely hug!

What would you say to anyone one thinking of waiting another 40 years to witness The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange?
See you there!

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LORDS OF THE REISSUED CHURCH!

THE LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH are to have their classic debut album reissued this Summer in expanded form.

The eponymously-titled The Lords Of The New Church was originally released through manager Miles Copeland’s Illegal Records in 1982.

The band was the first genuine supergroup to emerge from the punk-era, featuring Brian James from THE DAMNED, Stiv Bators from THE DEAD BOYS, Dave Tregunna from SHAM 69 and Nicky Turner from THE BARRACUDAS. Bators and Tregunna had previously united in the short-lived THE WANDERERS.

The album was an immediate success, reaching No.3 on the UK Indie Chart, with the single ‘Open Your Eyes’ reaching the Top 30 of the US Modern Rock chart. Switching the the major-distributed I.R.S label, the band would release two more successful albums – Is Nothing Sacred? and The Method To Our Madness – before splitting in 1989.

The double-disc The Lords Of The New Church – Special Edition sees the original 10-track album boosted by the inclusion of ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and ‘Young Don’t Cry’, the original B-sides of the ‘Open Your Eyes’ and ‘Russian Roulette’ singles. The second disc features a 13-track live set from ’82 from the legendary Long Island club, My Father’s Place.

The album is set for release on 20 July through Blixa Sounds Records.

Check out the video for ‘Open Your Eyes’.

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ALL RISE FOR RICHARD!

Legendary DOCTORS OF MADNESS founder RICHARD STRANGE has announced a one-off performance of his classic solo album The Phenomenal Rise Of Richard Strange.

Described as a ‘political fantasy concept’, the album was originally released in 1981, three years after the dissolution of the Doctors.

The show at London’s Bush Hall on Saturday 9 June will be the ‘first and only full and complete’ performance of the album, and will be delivered in a special cabaret-style setting with special guests and many surprises.

Formed in Brixton and described as “the missing link between David Bowie and The Sex Pistols”, The Doctors Of Madness were a huge influence on punk (Dave Vanian was even briefly a member), but being very much ahead of their time, were unable to reap any rewards. A box set retrospective released last year through Cherry Red was accompanied by some rapturously-received live shows.

Tickets for the Bush Hall show, priced £22, are on sale here.

Richard Strange on Facebook

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NEVILLE STAPLE ON THE FESTIVAL TRAIL!

SPECIALS and FUN BOY THREE legend NEVILLE STAPLE has lined up a summer of festival appearances.

Since leaving the Specials in 2012, Neville has resumed his solo career with gusto, touring widely and releasing the album Return Of Judge Roughneck in February last year through Cleopatra.

You can catch Neville and his band at the following festivals…

26 May – ELDERFLOWER FIELDS, East Sussex
9 June – STONE VALLEY FEST, Hertfordshire
16 June – BRISTOL VOLKSFEST
22 June – ASHBOURNE FESTIVAL, Derbyshire
23 June – LOVE MUSIC HATE RACISM, Newport
30 June – MINETY FESTIVAL, Swindon
14 July – BIG WEEKEND, Cambridge
21 July – 2 TONE FOREVER, Southend on Sea
22 July – TBC London
27 July – BUTEFEST, Isle of Bute
29 July – FLEUR FEST, East Hagbourne
3 August – REBELLION, Blackpool
10 August – GREEN MEADOWS, Peterborough
11 August – VW WHITE NOISE, Thetford
17 August – REWIND FESTIVAL, Henley
18 August – WITNEY MUSIC FEST, Oxfordshire
25 August – CAMPER CALLING, Warwickshire
26 August – GRAZE FESTIVAL, Winchester

Check out the video for ‘Return Of Judge Roughneck’

Neville Staple on Facebook

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LYDON TALKS!

SEX PISTOLS and PiL legend JOHN LYDON will be participating in an exclusive Q&A at this year’s Rebellion Festival.

He’ll be chatting to journalist and author Barry Cain on Sunday 5 August before PiL close the festival that night. Cain will be focusing on the band’s long career as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary this year.

Also appearing over the weekend of 2-5 August are STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, BUZZCOCKS, THE EXPLOITED. COCKNEY REJECTS, UK SUBS, NEWTOWN NEUROTICS,THE PROFESSIONALS, D.R.I., RUTS DC, THE ADICTS, THE WILDHEARTS, HAGAR THE WOMB, MAD CADDIES, THEATRE OF HATE, PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT, THE STUPIDS, IDLES, MICHAEL MONROE, ANGELIC UPSTARTS, DISCHARGE, THE VANDALS, GBH, LAGWAGON, SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS and many, many more….

Tickets are on sale here.

PiL on Facebook

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REVEREND BEAT-MAN HITS THE ROAD!

Voodooo Rhythm Records head honcho REVEREND BEAT-MAN heads to the UK next week with his accomplice SISTER NICOLE IZOBEL GARCIA in tow.

Helming Europe’s number one trash rock’n’roll and blues label for more than 30 years, Beat-Man is Switzerland’s greatest purveyor of gospel blues trash as an endlessly touring one-man-band. He’s also founder of the country’s longest-serving psychobilly band, THE MONSTERS.

For this UK tour, he’ll be joined by Garcia, a veteran of various short-lived L.A. garage-punk bands, and more recently fronting MANOS DEL CHANGO, trading in her own Habanero Blues style, alongside Voodoo Rhythm labelmate DELANEY DAVIDSON.

Check the pair out live in Paris in 2014.

Catch them on the road at…

TUE 15 MAY – Norwich – Epic
WED 16 MAY – Brighton – The Albert
THU 17 MAY – Southend – The Railway Hotel
FRI 18 MAY – Newcastle – The Cluny
SAT 19 MAY – Glasgow – Broadcast
SUN 20 MAY – Edinburgh – Leith Depot
TUE 22 MAY – London – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Tickets now available from Punk Rock Blues.

The Reverend’s new album ‘Blues Trash’ is out now.

Reverend Beat-Man on Facebook

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FUTURE BLUES COMES TO LONDON!

MIRACULOUS MULE are one of a number of bands taking part in the Future Juke Festival in London later this month.

Subtitled “A Festival of 21st Century Blues”, the event lands at five London venues from 29 May to 5 June, and features acts from the outside edges of the blues spectrum, including ELI ‘PAPERBOY’, JAKE LA BOTZ, MUDLOW and SISTER COOKIE.

Full dates are….

Tues 29 May – Jake La Botz + Sister Cookie + Annie Bea @ Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney

tickets

Thurs 31 May – Aidan Connell + Husky Tones + Mudlow @ The Islington, Islington

tickets

Fri 1 June – Fantastic Negrito + Miraculous Mule @ Dingwalls, Camden

tickets

Eli ‘Paperboy Reed’ with the High & Mighty Brass Band + Marcus Bonfanti @ 100 Club, Oxford Street

tickets

Tues 5 June – Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton + Nia Wyn @ Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush

tickets

Future Juke on Facebook

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UK SUBS UNVEIL ALBUMS BOX SETS!

Edsel Records are to issue two very special UK SUBS box sets.

The band were founde in South West London in 1976 by frontman Charlie Harper, recipient of the King Rocker award at the inaugural Vive Le Rock Awards and who just turned 74. Early on in their career the band set out to release an album for each letter of the alphabet, finally completing the task in 2017.  

The Albums Volume 1 features the first 13 albums (A – M), plus two discs of non-album singles, b-sides and rare compilation tracks comprising 279 tracks in total.  Covering a period when the band were at the peak of their commercial success, racking up no fewer than 7 Top Of The Pops appearances, four of the albums –  Another Kind Of Blues, Brand New Age, Crash Course and Diminished Responsibility – all made the upper reaches of the UK album chart. Engendered Species, meanwhile, includes the song ‘Down On The Farm’, which was famously covered by Guns‘n’Roses on their Spaghetti Incident album.

Discs 14 and 15 in the set contain 58 non-LP cuts, including UK hit singles ‘Stranglehold’, ‘Tomorrows Girls’, ‘She’s Not There’, ‘Warhead’, ‘Teenage’, ‘Party In Paris’ and ‘Keep On Runnin’’, plus the Independent Chart hits ‘Countdown’, ‘Shake Up The City’ and ‘Another Typical City’.

 The Albums Volume 2 features the second half of the A-Z series (N – Z) and, as with Volume 1, it also comes with two discs of non-album singles, b-sides and rare compilation album tracks, totalling 261 tracks.

Volume 1 is set for release on 1 June, while Volume 2 will follow on 3 August.

UK Subs on Facebook

 

 

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MADNESS MOVIE ON THE ROAD!

One Man’s Madness, the new documentary film about MADNESS sax-player Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson, goes on a tour of cinemas throughout the UK next month.

The film, which was shown as part of the Vive Le Rock-sponsored Soundscreen Festival in March, tells Thompson’s story from his childhood in North London, through meeting the members of Madness and onto major success.

Directed by Jeff Baynes and starring all members of Madness as well as Neville Staple, Lynval Golding, Norman Cook and others, the film takes its cue from the Ealing comedies of the 40s and 50s, music hall and famous BBC arts documentaries, with a nod to those great British comics down the years such as Max Wall, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Morecambe and Wise and Spike Milligan.

“The whole experience in the making of this Mocu has been a sheer joy,” says Lee. “Miming along to all the characters was slightly tongue-twisting. However, with the director’s patience and perseverance we got there eventually. Jeff makes a fantastic Cappuccino and his wife was most patient with my array of props, wigs and slap. Thank you to all involved, you’ve made a happy man very old!”

Watch the trailer.

Cinemas so far confirmed to screen ‘One Man’s Madness’:

Tue 22 May LONDON: Showcase Bluewater (with Q&A with Lee and Jeff Baynes)

Wed 23 May READING: Showcase

Wed 23 May SOUTHAMPTON: Showcase

Wed 23 May NOTTINGHAM: Showcase

Wed 23 May DERBY: Showcase

Wed 23 May LEICESTER: Showcase

Wed 23 May PETERBOROUGH: Showcase

Wed 23 May LEEDS: Showcase

Wed 23 May COVENTRY: Showcase

Wed 23 May BRISTOL: Showcase

Mon 28 May SOUTHEND: Southend Film Festival

One Man’s Madness on Facebook

 

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CHERRY RED ISSUE DOLLS DEMOS AND LIVE SET!

The NEW YORK DOLLS are to have a wealth of live material and rare demo recordings compiled in a new box set.

Debuting in New York City on Christmas Eve 1971, the Dolls are widely regarded as a precursor to punk, becoming a massive influence a wide range of artists, from Kiss tp the Ramones and The Damned and on to Morrissey and Guns’n’Roses. They were briefly managed by Malcolm McLaren pre-Pistols and ex-Dolls guitarist was special guest on the fables Anarchy Tour of ’77, later returning in 2004 for a Morrissey-instigated reunion.

The 5 CD Personality Crisis: Live Recordings & Studio Demos 1972-1975 brings together early demos recorded with original drummer Billy Murcia prior to his tragic death in November ’72, and demos for their debut album in March 73. The set also features three discs worth of live recordings from Paris, NYC, Long Island, Vancouver, Detroit and Dallas, from ’73 to ’75.

Fully remastered for this release, the set also includes a booklet with full sleevenotes and rarely seen photos.

Set for release on 27 April through Cherry Red, Personality Crisis is available to pre-order here.

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BUSTER SHUFFLE VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

Strike a light! Cockney-ska roustabouts BUSTER SHUFFLE are back with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘We Fall To Pieces’ is taken from their rambunctious fourth album I’ll Take What I Want which was released through Burning Heart Records last November.

After cruising in the Bahamas with FLOGGING MOLLY, the band have dates in Germany before accompanying THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES around the US, save for a couple of UK shows as guests of MAD CADDIES. Full dates are….

18.04 – Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL – USA
20-23.04 – Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog Cruise, Miami, FL, USA to Bahamas
27.04 – Mephisto, Hannover – Germany
28.04 – Monkey’s Club, Hamburg – Germany
30.04 – Bi Nuu, Berlin – Germany
16-28.05 – Punk Rock Bowling, Las Vegas, NV – USA
26.06 – Ace Of Spades, Sacramento, CA – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
27.06 – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
30.06 – House Of Blues, San Diego, CA – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
03.07 – The Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
05.07 – Scoot Inn, Austin, TX – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
06.07 – House Of Blues, Houston, TX – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
07.07 – House Of Blues, Dallas, TX – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
31.07 – O2 Academy, Newcastle – UK (with Mad Caddies)
01.08 – O2 Institute 2, Birmingham – UK (with Mad Caddies)
18.08 – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ONT – Canada (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
19.08 – Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
21.08 – The Vogue, Miniapolis, IN – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
22.08 – House Of Blues, Chicago, IL – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
23.08 – House Of Blues, Cleveland, OH – USA (with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)

Buster Shuffle on Facebook

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CELIBATE RIFLES’ MEXICAN STAND-OFF!

Australian punk icons THE CELIBATE RIFLES are back with their first release in 14 years.

Meeting The Mexicans: Live In Melbourne is the Sydney band’s first new album since 2004’s Beyond Respect, and the third live album of their career.

The album is a result of an increased period of activity from the band, who’ve been playing several dates over the past couple of years, including a tour with reformed Aussie legends THE SUNNYBOYS.

Recorded at the city’s Thornbury Theatre in June last year, Meeting The Mexicans features 12 tracks, half electric and half acoustic, including covers of The MC5’s ‘Shakin’ Street’ and Iggy & The Stooges’ ‘Gimme Danger’.

Speaking about the release, guitarist and band founder Kent Steedman told Vive Le Rock, “We had a long soundcheck as we had to set up for two different sets, so it was a longer than usual lead-up. This was the first time in many years that we tried an acoustic set, it went over well as always, despite its imperfections, and listening back to it the feel and humour was there, hence this CD. There’s a couple of handling errors and ‘feet into touch’ because we chose to present it as it was played, rather than fix things in production. The album has been remixed with the intent of giving an idea of the energy conveyed, rather than cleansing and polishing it. Where possible, we included songs that had not been out on previous live records. Meeting The Mexicans is perhaps a happy accident, and is a bit like an old bootleg, but this time we are exploiting ourselves. We hope you enjoy and listen to this CD in that spirit!”

Meeting The Mexicans is released as a limited edition CD here before being made available for streaming.

Check out their version of ‘Gimme Danger’.

Celibate Rifles on Facebook

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AGGRESSION VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

Canadian thrashers AGGRESSION unleash a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Tales Of Terror’ is from the band’s accurately-titled fourth album Feels Like Punk, Sounds Like Thrash, which is out on 25 May through Dissonance.

The original incarnation of Aggression was formed in Quebec in the mid-80s, lasting four years and sharing stages with the likes of ANVIL and VOIVOD, releasing the classic Full Treatment album in 1988. Relocating to Vancouver, the band returned in 2014 with a new line-up built around guitarist Sasquatch and extensive gigging. Feels Like Punk… sees them back on form and touring in honour of the 30th Anniversary of Full Treatment.

Aggression on Facebook

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ARCHIE AND THE BUNKERS EXCLUSIVE!

Organ-grinding sibling duo ARCHIE & THE BUNKERS have a new video, which they’re launching exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘She’s A Rockin’ Machine’ is taken from the Cleveland OH outfit’s second album Songs From The Lodge, which is out on 20 April through Dirty Water. Pre-order it here.

The brothers are planning a return to Europe this summer. Check their website for details.

Archie & The Bunkers on Facebook

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HAPPY EATER!

Former Eater frontman ANDY BLADE spoke to Vive Le Rock for last month’s issue. He had quite a lot to say for himself so we thought you’d like to see Hugh Gulland’s whole feature in full…..

TRIPLE BLADE ACTION

Andy Blade’s latest release sees the former Eater frontman taking full control of a solo career that’s seen numerous twists since his former band’s demise in 1979. Hugh Gulland skips off school to find out more.

“There’s a lot of old faces,” Andy Blade muses about the demographic at his recent solo gigs. “Old punks, they make up about fifty per cent. And the rest of it are interested people, who are via the internet, thinking ‘There’s a punk rock legend playing’ − doesn’t matter who I was in! I don’t mind the fact, at least they show up − then it’s a case of getting them on board in reality, and not just liking me because I’m an old punk!”

After a somewhat sporadic solo output characterised by various short-lived writing partnerships, Blade’s recent trio of albums represents a more concentrated public campaign than we’ve seen in some years from this often reclusive artist. His latest offering, the darkly claustrophobic Plastic Penny And The Strange Wooden Horse, reveals something of Blade’s inner workings:

“The original title comes from Denim − you know Lawrence? One of his songs on a recent album was just a list of band names that he thought sounded cool. There’s some really funny ones, like Heavy Jelly, funny words that sound good together. And one of them was Plastic Penny And The Strange Wooden Horse, and that’s how I came up with the title.

“But, I saw it as a metaphor, Plastic Penny being us, and The Strange Wooden Horse being authority, government, or whatever it is we’re being suppressed by. Basically Plastic Penny is all the good ideas, and The Strange Wooden Horse are all the bad ideas, and just that fight between them.”

The language of that title track is strikingly sinister, almost sexually threatening…

“Yeah it is, it’s meant to be, sexually threatening is right. The choice of words, I’m not actually saying anything, but they sound sexually threatening. And it’s the idea of having your power taken away from you by a bigger kind of force, but it’s also having a go at all popular culture; the hipster, trends… I think people have been reduced to ignorance, and unless you use this kind of heavily suggestive, in-your-face kind of language to express yourself, our feelings all get homogenised, and made acceptable and nice. With any songwriter, it’s always a case of not toning anything down, and if you can up the ante, with hints or suggestions, just placing the right key word here and there… it’s not really saying one thing in particular, it’s more about lashing out at invisible enemies that you have no control over.”

There’s quite a claustrophobic tone to the album altogether?

“I think that’s because, in my head I feel pretty claustrophobic… not just in music but every single way, socially. I’m not part of a profession, apart from a musician, which is a very loose profession… I’m not part of any particular group, I keep finding out I don’t belong, the older I get the more I find out I don’t seem to belong.

“Even more so than when I was a punk, at least I had a community there to belong to. There was a very identifiable community, anybody that was pissed off can join. Nowadays I feel like I’m totally alone.”

Might some of this be exacerbated by the nature of your current location, Guildford?

“Guildford’s like a second-class Richmond, without the celebrities and stuff, and it’s so homogenised. They’ve got an ACM school there, which is the rock school, and it produced Ed fucking Sheeran! Everybody in Guildford’s got a guitar on their back if they’re under 25, and they’re talking about the course they’re on that’s going to turn them into pop stars…

“That’s the kind of town Guildford is, as long as they can say to their kids that they helped them try to achieve their dream, even though it’s a total waste of time. But yes, it is a bit of a Stepford town, but I don’t think that’s the reason. Because that’s the way I felt from California, to Richmond, to Muswell Hill, it doesn’t really matter where it is, I never felt like part of what’s going on, anywhere.

“Even with punk, it felt to me as though me and Brian [Chevette], the guitarist, were conning people, at school, that we had a band; we said we did before we did have a band for starters! We obviously wanted a band, but we didn’t have the money for instruments, so we eventually nicked our first instruments − and that’s when, for the first time, I realised if you turned around to someone and said ‘I’m this or I’m that’ and you showed them scant evidence, like a guitar or a card, that’s all they need.

“If I’d been more confident with that, Eater would have been have been hugely successful. The only problem being, at fifteen or sixteen, we were under the impression someone’s going to rumble us any second now and say ‘Hang on a minute, you’re not proper musicians!’ Even though punk’s supposed to be not proper musicians, we still felt like ‘We’re getting away with this’!

“It’s only now, lately, that I realise Eater did actually mean a lot to quite a lot of people, and it wasn’t a case of ‘We’re getting away with this, and someone’s gonna come in any minute and say, go home’. It almost felt like things can only be sanctioned with hindsight, which is sad cos at the time something’s happening, you don’t do as much as you could do, because you spend half the time looking over your shoulder!”

Listening to Eater’s catalogue now, it’s almost like you were the crystallisation of what a UK punk band was truly supposed to be – teenagers still working out how to use their instruments!

“I’m not just saying this egotistically, I think we were the real definition of a punk band! We were actually the first, when Johnny Rotten made that famous comment, he wants everyone to form a band and bla bla, we took that literally! It’s not like we thought ‘We’ll stop playing jazz fusion now’, or ‘We’ll stop playing rock ’n’ roll’; we hadn’t played anything!

“We were just, tune up and we’ll learn three chords now, and those songs that you apparently can write… and it was after buying that Ramones album, [it] was proof that three chords and a short song could be fine. And so I think we really were the definition, most of the bands that are now punk legends had been in, you know, Bay City Rollers tribute bands! Jimmy Pursey for instance, the year before he formed Sham 69, he really was in a Bay City Rollers lookalike band!

“Others, The Heartbreakers, you know, were hardly spring chickens, they weren’t the same, although they were welcomed when they came over, Eater shared their same manager, they were like heroes of ours, purely because of the Dolls rather than what they actually were… although undeniably tight and undeniably good. I listened to LAMF the other day, and there’s one track on it that’s sort of punky and new wavey, that’s ‘All By Myself’, all the other songs are rehashed R&B type riffs and stodgy ‘Chinese Rocks’ type…, it’s all fine, great, they’re played well, but really nothing to make you go ‘Fuck me!’ Just, ‘It’s alright’ − but it was such a change from the weedy sounding people who couldn’t play, on the circuit; you could go and see a band who could play a whole set without guitar strings breaking or without someone walking off in a hissy fit, you could get to the end, applause between each song, professional! It’s all good. But there’s surprisingly few who were the definition of a punk band! Eater were!”

Lyrically, you were deliberately provocative?

“I think you have to do that, because what else were we going to write about? We had a rough idea of the nihilism, like of the Ramones lyrics, and the idea of writing a song based around ‘I don’t wanna walk around with you’, it was easy. And then the idea of slagging off teachers and headmasters was easy, because we were still at school, and we made difficulty at school! I was being taken to court, at the time, I didn’t even realise how serious that was until recently when I found letters to my mother from the education services! They were taking her to court cos I’d missed school, and they were about to put me in a special school, right up until my sixteenth birthday, which was when Outside View, the first single, was released.

“They had plans to more or less kidnap me, and take me off to this special school, I’d broken the law by missing school, but that wasn’t the real reason… I won’t go into that! Lots of other reasons (the headmaster) wanted me thrown out of the school, there was a little bit of that, a little bit of the fact that I’d broken the rules, my mother hadn’t made me go to school, although I don’t know how she could  have made me go to school. And I didn’t realise how serious it was, they hounded me right up till sixteen, which is so weird; I was doing well in this band that everybody was going on about all the time, we’d taken them to see the proof of the pudding − the records, newspapers with our name in it etc. And yet they were still trying to prosecute, send my mum to jail, or whatever they were going to do, or send me to a reform school… but we had something, we were a real band.

“It’s very unusual to find any band under sixteen years old that hadn’t been put together or manufactured by a label, or by a Svengali, and we were probably the only band ever, tied to rock ’n’ roll, that did everything ourselves, literally everything, and no other involvement until we were established. And then we had people get on board.”

Ah yes, the business dealings, starting with Eater’s signing to Dave Goodman’s fledgling label…

“He approached us, he saw an advert in the back of the Melody Maker, which was the bible for advertising at the time, saying ‘punk band require bass player’. We had Dee Generate and Brian in the band, but we needed a bass player. He phoned up, saying he’s a record label, and a sound engineer, he works for the Sex Pistols, he’s starting a record label with Johnny Rotten called Rotten Records and would we like to sign? So yeah, of course, and then it turns into, well Johnny Rotten’s not actually involved in it, and it’s not actually called Rotten Records. They slowly but surely pulled the wool over our eyes after attracting us in, and tied us to a contract I’ve never ever been able to get out of since!”

Eater folded in 1979, was there a final straw or was it a question of gradual erosion?

“It was really a straw, it was getting to the point of… after we found out about the Polydor (Japan) deal, that was really it, and also we wanted more wages, we were then paid £15 a week − which wasn’t that bad for then! The direction we were going was nowhere, without Brian in the band, someone else to write with. It was just Ian [Woodcock] taking control of the band, and he was, cos I wasn’t turning up to rehearsals − he had a perfect band now, when he joined us there was three crappy musicians and him, and by the time we were about to split there was three good musicians and me! And the good musicians jammed, did what good musicians do – take all the excitement out of the music!

“I didn’t like the direction it was going in, I went from being totally up for walking half way across London to get to a rehearsal, walking back at midnight, to not being arsed to get out of bed to get in a car to take me to a rehearsal. So when I suggested we all turn up and tell Caruso [Fuller] what a XX!X he is, they loved that idea, and it brought us all back together suddenly, we turned up in a show of force, and so we had this big scene, with him screaming, begging us to come back into the office,  ‘you can’t split now, we’ve got a second album to come out’ and came out with this classic line ‘You can’t  teach me jack shit about rock ’n’ roll’ − made us laugh all the way back to Finchley!”

So after this you began to work with Brian James?

“That’s when the solo career started, I’d been writing with Brian, and he was looking for a singer for Lords Of The New Church, his next project after Tanz Der Youth, he’d been out of The Damned for a while by then. And I think he was eyeing me up for that job. We recorded a couple of songs that were really OK, and if we’d carried on working together I think it would have been really good, and I was really up for that. But when he started to go to Stiv Bators, it was obvious that was a better move, as far as I could see, for him to do that. Actually looking back, we would have made a good team, I liked his writing, I’d like to have worked with him, but that didn’t come to much, after a bit of recording. And I started working with Billy Duffy, after Slaughter And The Dogs split up. Because of their age, they were closest to our age, they were a bit older than us, but we met them early on, so we were kind of on the same wavelength. They split and formed the band Studio Sweethearts. The band sounded like the name, it was like done up in the studio, all swish production and crap lyrics! And Billy was the best one in it, and we became friends, he moved into the flat above me and we became mates, and he joined my band. Phil Rowland out of Eater, had come in to drum [with Studio Sweethearts], I nicked Billy from him, and we recorded a single together, did a lot of gigs − the songwriting was getting good. He was another guy that I found really good to work with, and he was looking for someone that he could work with, and write lyrics. He’d gone to Morrissey before, and he’d tried to coerce Morrissey into − I think he did a bit, with Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds, a very early incarnation. Just before he met me, he tried again, when he was trying to get out of the Studio Sweethearts, he tried again to see if Morrissey was into doing something rather than sitting in his room, but he didn’t want to do anything! He actually did, he was in The Smiths about a year later, Johnny Marr had to go and get him out his room!

“So eventually Billy and I started to work together, and it was really good, and the songs were great, we wrote about twelve really interesting tracks in the space of a couple of weeks, and just as we’d got a band together and started rehearsing, he got another offer, from Kirk [Brandon, Theatre Of Hate] −  it was big compared to ‘the ex-singer out of Eater’, and so he took that, and then nothing came of it, and  he then joined The Cult. But again, I think if he’d gone a different route, we could have done something pretty good. After that I gave up looking for a guitarist. This trilogy of albums I’ve released since 2008 − I’d totally given up on the idea of working with someone else. It’s a bit self-indulgent when you play and record everything yourself, but it’s making up for a lot of lost time that you’ve spend watering down ideas by working with people who turn out not to be… you don’t have any faith in someone, writing songs with someone, you really have to have them sussed otherwise you’re at risk of giving them something really valuable, for them to kick the shit out of it and turn it into something that’s horrible, ruin its aesthetic value.

“If you’re the one with the ideas, it’s taken me a very long to realise, I have ideas, that’s always been the case, I feel like I don’t have the time to waste, either to write songs with someone or collaborate in any way. Until I can totally have things my way financially, and get the people I want, I’m stuck with having to do everything myself, because I just don’t trust anyone else!”

You’re out there gigging on the back of this new album, what does the immediate future hold?

“I only have short-term aims, I don’t make plans, a lot my time is spent thinking about mortality. Not that I’ve got anything that’s gonna kill me, but I had a bad scare a few years back that really made me have to question that side of things, so I don’t make a lot of plans. But I have a new book coming out, that I’ve almost finished, that will be out this year, and I have a guy in the States − weird tenuous connection – he worked on that very popular comedy sitcom, [Curb Your Enthusiasm]; one of the writers on that show is an old mate of mine, came out to England from California in the punk years, and he’d back out in Hollywood now, is a top guy out there; he loves the idea of turning my original book Secret Life Of A Teenage Punk Rocker into a movie. He wants it to be a movie but has the idea of turn it into a sitcom, after a movie!”

Beyond this, Andy has been nurturing plans for one particular gig some way off the usual circuit:

“I’m hoping to go to Gaza to play a gig. Because a friend of mine, Palestinian, was killed by the Israelis at a demonstration back in the late nineties. And we were really good friends, he effectively saved my life on one occasion, I was really upset when he died. The problem is, as soon as you say you’re doing something for anybody connected with Palestine or Israel it immediately becomes all political. And I’m sick of arguing about the rights and wrongs of the situation… I’m really not interested in the politics, the only reason I want to do a gig there is I promised my mate one day I would do that. In my heart I would like to do that.”

Plastic Penny And The Strange Wooden Horse is out now through Flycatcher / Cherry Red.

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2-TONE COMES TO SOUTHEND!

Stars of the UK ska scene will be heading for Southend-on-Sea for a celebration of the 2 Tone Records sound this summer.

The 2 Tone Forever Festival will take place in the South Essex town’s Garon Park on Saturday 21 July.

Acts lined up to appear include THE BEAT featuring Ranking Roger, THE SELECTER, former BODYSNATCHERS frontwoman RHODA DAKAR (pictured), NEVILLE STAPLE from THE SPECIALS and special guests from Jamaica, THE SKA-TALITES.

Tickets are on sale here with discounts for groups.

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GENERATING STEAM HEAT ON THE AIR!

On this week’s Generating Steam Heat, DJ Nony Zero jumps back in time for the fourth instalment of their occasional look at the wild world of sixties garage rock.

This time around he’s hand-picked an hour of garage rock freaks and geeks playing hard rockin’ tunes that pre-date punk and heavy rock. These rare slabs of vinyl were designed to both blow your minds and ear drums!

Expect to hear Dr Specs Optical Illusion, The Wailers, The Quests (pictured), The Outside In, Brave New World, It’s All Meat, The Chessmen, Fallen Angels, We The People and more…

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