Legendary LA punk rockers X have reformed with the original line up to do a 31st Anniversary Tour across America. John Doe, Exene, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake will be travelling across the states until June 2008. Formed in 1977 when Billy Zoom and John Doe placed near identical ads in a paper looking to start a band, Exene and DJ Bonebrake were quick to join the outfit. Their iconic 1980 album Los Angeles resonated so loudly with the citizens of LA that the band received an Official Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles in acknowledgment of their important contributions to Los Angeles music and culture, and the reunion tour looks set to be a scorcher.For full tour dates see http://www.xtheband.com/13-31.html
THE CUTE LEPERS
THE NIPPLE ERECTORS
It’s a bit of a fantasy line-up, really. Late additions to the bill THE NIPPLE ERECTORS (or Nips, if we’re in polite company) was, of course, the musical springboard for one Shane McGowan – who actually turns up. I mean, there was a healthy book running on whether or not this would be a no-show (which his old cohort and comrade Shanne on bass wryly alluded to by stating from the outset "welcome to our rehearsal"), But there he was, in vintage punk rock togs too. "Fuck off," he barked, by way of greeting, and it felt perversely affectionate. And, in stark contrast to some latter day Pogues shows I’ve witnessed, he sang like he meant it. There was some wonderful by-play with Shanne – his romantic as well as musical partner back in the heady days of ‘76, let’s not forget – and when he did stumble off cue (notably on ‘King Of The Bop’) he’d instinctively flash alternately sheepish/worried glances stage right. In the end he visibly fed off her confidence and the set just swung by. Everyone sang along to ‘Gabrielle’, as you would expect – including Shanne’s daughter on backing vocals. A great feel-good performance.
It is impossible to describe the appeal of JOHNNY MOPED to anyone who isn’t already an initiate. The tall but true tales of ‘kitchen porter Johnny’’s attempts to get a day pass from his famously intolerant wife in order to transmogrify into ‘rock ‘n’ roll Johnny’ have amused for years. But he seems in genuine good spirits here, pale belly slumping over too-tight trousers, alongside trademark black leather jacket. The ‘look’, which you will not be seeing on the catwalks of Milan or Paris this summer, is completed by improbably large NHS specs, from beneath which he squints as his face is engulfed by sweat. Perspiring like a darts player on a treadmill, he was nevertheless ready when the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll came and took him, as we all demanded. And what a great, tight sound his band produced – ‘Hard Lovin’ Man and ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’ were present and correct, and sounded better than I remembered them (and it has been a long time). People danced and cheered; Johnny beamed like a giddy six-year-old, and the years fell away from his, and our, frames. Everybody should have a fantasy alter ego like Johnny’s, they really should.
THE CUTE LEPERS must have been amused by their headline performance being hijacked by a bunch of ne’er do well ‘77 old-stagers, but it didn’t knock them off stride. It’s a great show, what with the three energetic backing singers and all (though someone have a word about sticking your finger in your ear to harmonise, that’s just unseemly at a punk rock gig). But beneath the showmanship the songs are all there too – with shades of Strummer/Jones on a couple of their cross-layered numbers, echoes of glam rock stomp and the Ramones elsewhere – full on and lots of fun throughout. Impressive, not least for holding the attention and winning the approval of a large section of the crowd who’d really only turned up for the support acts and could easily have ghosted away.
All that for six quid. Who says you can’t have cheap fun in London these days?
TV Smith returns with a brilliant brand new album this month ‘Misinformation Overload’ and is currently on tour in Europe, hitting the UK from June 14th.
New York hardcore legend and former Cro-Mags singer John Joseph is bringing his all-star new hardcore band to Europe. Expect dates in August. Bloodclot have just released their debut album ‘Burn Babylon Burn’.
BLOODCLOT’s sound combines classic New York hardcore intensity with extreme metal precision and brutality. It’s the sound of the New York underground rising again. The members of BLOODCLOT are no strangers to the genre. Singer John Joseph is the former frontman of legendary NYHC pioneers CRO-MAGS. Drummer Danny Schuler was a founding member of Brooklyn’s BIOHAZARD. Bassist Rick Lopez comes from NYC’s MERAUDER, Guitarist Scott Roberts is a former member of CRO-MAGS, BIOHAZARD and Cleveland HC legends THE SPUDMONSTERS, and Guitarist Eric Klinger is from PRO-PAIN and THE SPUDMONSTERS. Despite a hardcore lineage, the band’s songs break out of any and all genre confines. They blend slick metallic riffs with hardcore hooks, while steam rolling rhythms spearhead the assault. Their self-produced debut, "BURN BABYLON BURN" will drop later this year and is bound to set a new hardcore standard.
Back in 2005, Scott called John and asked him to sing for a new band he and Danny were forming. Upon hearing the demos, John was immediately inspired and began penning lyrics to what he had heard. Soon after, Rick joined the fold and the band was complete. John describes the band’s sound best. “I don’t want to lock it into any categories. There are hardcore and metal qualities, punk rock qualities, even some fusion in certain parts. It’s just heavy music, with a heavy message.” Tracks like “Revolution,” “Subtext” and the title track certainly draw from down and dirty NYC hardcore. However, the band couples that classic hardcore vibe with emotional intensity, spirituality, and intense musicianship.
Most importantly, the band maintains a positive focus, preserving the tenets of unity central to the classic ethos. And true to the classic punk-rock DIY vibe, they also wrote and recorded everything together in Danny’s studio, with no outside influence, financially or otherwise. Explains Danny, "We set out to create a piece of music that would last forever, and reflects the turbulent times we’re living in. The only way to do that was to believe in each other and do it completely by ourselves. We lived every second of this record, we trusted our instincts, and worked our asses off to get it done. We made this record with absolutely no regard for what is popular right now. We listened to ourselves, dug deep, and created the record we wanted to hear." Each member shared the same vision from the second they started playing. John explains, “We just play what we feel. If the sounds move us, then that’s what goes down. As an artist, it’s important not to write for anybody else other than yourself because you have to take it to the audience and if it ain’t real, the audience can smell the lie.” In some ways, this record even hearkens back to classic output by the likes of the CRO-MAGS and BIOHAZARD. “Every song tells a story and every song hits you over the head musically. In the sense of the message, I kind of see it as Age of Quarrel Part 2. Things have gotten a lot worse in the last twenty years. We’re at a worse point as a planet, and that’s what we’re delving into on this album. It’s a more advanced version of Age of Quarrel, and there’s a lot more angst in the vocals, the lyrics and everything.” The message, however, remains relevant and functions as a call for change.
The band’s name itself also possesses an important meaning. “In Jamaican, the word ‘bloodclot’ is a curse that describes everything being fucked up. It’s a ‘bloodclot’ situation, what’s happening on the planet, who’s running things through deception and lies, and we need to fix it.” If anyone can make a change through music, it’s these four individuals with over 80 years combined experience in hardcore. In the end, BLOODCLOT will make an impact. John exclaims, “We live this, every single day, that’s why it comes off authentic, because it ‘IS’ real.”
It is ‘rumoured’ that former Nipple Erector and general Pogues survivor/singer Shane McGowan will play once again with his ‘70s band THE NIPPLE ERECTORS next Tuesday in central London in the company of some Mopeds and Lepers. You have been warned! Apparently a recent rehearsal had the band firing on all cylinders again!
Californian wacko punks the DICKIES are playing their last shows in the UK
in August. Check em out at Rebellion festival Aug 8-10th, Blackpool and
London ULU Aug 7th.
THE SEX PISTOLS have added a show at Birmingham Academy on June 11th as part of their Combine Harvester tour! These are in addition to their shows at the Isle of Wight festival and Irish and European festival dates. A live DVD/documentary of last year’s Brixton shows (filmed by Julien Temple) will be released in June.
Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook has a new band called MAN RAZE. They are a straightforward rock band, featuring reggae touches similar to the Police. It also feature Phil Collen from Def Leppard! Their debut album is out June 2nd. Still no news on that elusive Professionals reformation though.
More fantastic bands have been confirmed to play the Hard Rocking Calling festival in Hyde Park on 28th and 29th June.
On Sunday 29th June, joining headliners THE POLICE will be THE STRANGLERS, CARBON SILICON and THE FLYING PADOVANIS.
Keep an eye on the VLP news for any more VLP-friendly bands announced.
New wave heroes THE B-52’S have announced some UK dates for the summer.
21 Glasgow Academy
22 Manchester University
23 Birmingham Academy
24 London Camden Roundhouse
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the ACADEMY IN THE UK VIVE LE PUNK TOUR 2008 will just be held in Birmingham this year on bank holiday May 4th. All tickets for Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle and London should be returned to their point of purchase for a refund. Academy in the UK apologises for any inconvenience and hopes to see you at Birmingham!
Vive Le Punk can exclusively reveal that THE SPECIALS will reform for shows later this year. Mainman Jerry Dammers has finally agreed to bury the hatchet and Terry Hall seems to be on board too. More news when we get it!
Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer documentary director Julien Temple is currently making a film on the story of Canvey Island pub rock kings, DR FEELGOOD.
All past members are involved and it will include a ton of archive footage on the ‘Milk and Alcohol’ legends’ rise to the top in the late ’70s.
Expect a release at the end of 2008/ early 2009.
DEAD KENNEDYS frontman Jeff Penalty has become the third vocalist to leave the band, following Jeffo Biafra and Brandon Cruz. Penalty explained,
"I thought about quitting numerous times over the past year, but I officially did so on Thanksgiving when I found out that the band had been recruiting a new singer behind my back and had even played a secret show with one at a bar in my neighbourhood."
"My sincere thanks and apologies, go out to the fans that supported my participation in the band. And Jello, you’ve been wrong about a lot of stuff, but you were certainly right about not trusting those guys…"
Ron ‘Skip’ Greer, former singer of East Bay pop punks The Wynona Riders, has joined the Dead Kennedys as touring vocalist.
The Dead Kennedys have also announced a London date at the Camden Electric Ballroom on Wednesday 28th May.
X-RAY SPEX will reform on September 6th to play London’s Camden Roundhouse. The line-up will include original members Poly Styrene (vocals) and Paul Dean (bass). The gig is almost sold out so get your tickets quick!
Look out for a Vive Le Punk interview with Polly Styrene in coming months!
A new DVD of THE CLASH is out in April. ‘THE CLASH LIVE: REVOLUTION ROCK’ DVD is a tribute to the seminal band’s incredible live shows and follows the band as their gig develop, including footage from all stages of their career – from 1979 studio clips to gigs in cubs (London’s The Music Machine 1978), theatres (The Lyceum 1978, 1980) and climaxing with their legendary performance at New York’s Shea Stadium in 1982. It also includes rare footage of the band’s performance on various TV shows.
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