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.”
Sheffield rockers BLACK SPIDERS make good on their return with the announcement of a brand new album.
The self-titled album will be the band’s third, following on from Sons Of The North, released in 2011.
After nearly a decade as one of the UK’s best loved and fastest rising rock bands, the Spiders checked out in 2017. However, during the summer of 2019, singer/guitarist Pete Spiby and guitarist Ozzy Lister reconnected and new songs began emerging thick and fast, resulting in nearly forty new tracks. Before they could hit the studio, though, the world was knocked sideways by Covid-19. Not to be deterred, and thanks to the magic of the Internet, the band reconvened virtually, only entering a real studio (Axis in Doncaster) with regular producer and engineer Matt Elliss when it was deemed pandemically safe to do so.
“It’s certainly been a strange process, in unfamiliar territory,” explains Spiby. “We started to look at how we could do it given the restrictions and not only that, but we had to replace our original drummer too. More obstacles throw in our way to smash through. We found a way. For us and probably most other bands, we would usually take a riff or song idea to a rehearsal and thrash it out ‘till we either had something or it ended up in the song graveyard! This time around we couldn’t do that, so myself, Ozzy and on occasion Adam Irwin (bass player) started to send ideas back and forth until we had something to work with in GarageBand. We got to a point where we had enough song ideas with basic structure to go into a studio proper, at a convenient time, to put something down. It was at this point when we had to look for a new drummer.”
The lucky recipient of the band’s drumstool is none other than Planet Rock Radio DJ Wyatt Wendel…
“I’ve never joined or worked with a band in this way EVER,” he laughs. “2020 certainly made it surreal. One minute I’m making some online drum videos for a radio station and then Pete pops up and asks if I’m busy. In the second minute I’m asked if I’d like to record some tracks. The third minute I agree. Soon after I’m in a studio recording tracks I’ve only heard demos of, having NEVER met the band or rehearsed, and it was all done on a wing and a prayer. In a weird twist of fate none of this would have happened without the pandemic of 2020! Funny how things can work out….”
The band made their reappearance in November 2020 with the release of the brand new digital single ‘Fly In The Soup’, the first new Black Spiders music in six years.
The reception to the track more than convinced the band that the world was indeed ready for a new Black Spiders album. With all the tracks in place, they just had to come up with a title…
“It wasn’t hard picking a title for the album,” says Spiby, “as we decided that the focus should be on the band, not the album title, so we decided not to have one. It was the easiest thing of the whole process. Let the music do the talking….”
Released through Cargo Records on 26 March, Black Spiders is available to pre-order here.
Aussie legends the HOODOO GURUS are to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with the screening of a new mini-documentary on New Year’s Eve, four decades to the day since they first decided to form a band.
The untitled 37-minute doc was put together by band frontman and founder Dave Faulkner from Zoom conversations with co-founders Kimble Rendall and Rod Radalj, who were at that fateful NYE party in Sydney, along with drummer James Baker who joined a few months later.
Veterans of the Perth punk scene, Faulkner and Baker had been in The Victims, while Radalj was in The Scientists. Relocating to Sydney, they hooked up with Rendall who’d been in the XL Capris. It would be nearly two years before the band, then known as Le Hoodoo Gurus, would release their debut single ‘Leilani’, by which time Rendall had left for a career in film.
“To mark the (anniversary of) the occasion I have put together a 37-minute documentary talking about that night we first got the idea of playing together and some other stories from the early days of the band, said Faulkner in a Facebook post. “I say ‘documentary’ but I’m using the term very loosely: it’s really just a couple of Zoom conversations I had with Kimble and Rod, firstly, and then James a week later (James was unable to join us all for the first one). I intercut those two Zoom chats together and tried to piece together the story of the band during those heady days of 1981 and ’82.
“It’s a bit long-winded in places but, hell, it’s free and it’s the unvarnished truth – or as best as we can remember it. I’m going to put it up on YouTube at around 10pm AEST (12 noon GMT). I’ll leave it up for 36 hours so that, wherever you are in the world, you can relive that New Year’s Eve with us from 40 years ago as we all get ready for the arrival of 2021.”
If you’ve been reading the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!, you’ll know by now that we’ve made THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS’ Made Of Rain our Album Of The Year.
The Vive Le Rock! team includes several ardent Furs-watchers, some of whom have been following the band since their earliest days, and the album has been unanimously greeted with approval since it first dropped onto the office Radiogram last spring. We reckoned it was a masterpiece at the time and we’re not going back on that now.
Since their beginnings in Surrey via Muswell Hill in ’77, the band have gone through several guises, from their Velvets-inspired self-titled 1980 debut, to the raised eyebrow art-punk of Talk Talk Talk and its to-die-for hit single ‘Pretty In Pink’, then courting the US market with the Todd Rundgren-produced Forever Now.
There have been blips along the way: some left-turns, right-turns and u-turns, ’til things went quiet after World Outside in 1991. There were two albums from spin-off band Love Spit Love and a solo album from Richard Butler. But there was always a sense of unfinished business…
The Furs reconvened in 2000, touring the hits, which seemed like a dream come true at the time. But so successful was the return that, from a fan’s view, new music seemed the logical next step. But dared we hope…?
Hope we did, and we were rewarded. Released in July through Cooking Vinyl, Made Of Rain is not so much a return to form as a new form, its lush, haunting, sometimes quite intense, soundscapes the work of an older, wiser band who, looking back on their career, recognise the best in themselves and build on it, making something greater.
“It’s awesome,” Richard Butler told us. “I am thrilled that the general reaction has been really good but when a magazine gives your release its Album Of The Year award, there is no greater accolade than that. It is just amazing!”
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.
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.
BABY SHAKES finish the year on a high with another new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Really Really’ is a cover of an Undertones song written by drummer Billy Doherty, which was first heard on the B-side of the Derry legends’ second single ‘Get Over You’. It follows on from ‘Sweet’n’Sour Part 2′, written by Undertones’ guitarist Damian O’Neill, which was released this summer. The video was made under Covid conditions in repsonse to popular demand.
Both tracks were recorded at Small Town America Studios by Damian and Billy along with Billy’s nephew Stephen Mailey, with Mary, Judy and Claudia from the Shakes flying in from NYC to add their vocals.
“Billy’s tune ‘Really, Really’ has always been one of our favourite Undertones songs,” say the Shakes. “It made sense as a cover since it was originally the B-side to ‘Get Over You’ the song we covered at the start of our band that initially linked us up and wound up bringing us all back together years later. It’s almost like things came full circle. We had fun reimaging this song as a modern take on a 60’s girl group tune, Billy being the Phil Spectoresque force behind it.”
“I really, really love the new Baby Shakes version of ‘Really Really,” says Billy. “Working with them, Damian and my nephew Stephen Mailey was such a tonic. It was so wonderful, enjoyable and refreshing to be intoxicated with everyone’s enthusiasm. Yes, for me it was truly magical and I can’t wait to do it again.”
“It’s obvious that Baby Shakes live can shake any joint to its very core,” adds Damian. “They have a pop sensibility and general enthusiasm that could win over the most hardened critics. But it wasn’t until working with them that we discovered a steely determination that they were gonna nail these songs no matter what. They really worked hard to get it right and their humour and enthusiasm made it one of the most fun sessions we’ve ever done.”
‘Really Really’ and ‘Sweet’n’Sour Part 2’ are available through Dimple Discs on a limited edition 7-inch and as downloads here, if you’re in the UK, or here if you’re in the US.
Aussie rockers DEAD DIRTY DINOSAURS have unveiled a video for their new single.
An energising slab of post-punk pop, ‘Bad Timing’ is the band’s third single under their new deal with Golden Robot imprint Riot Records, following on from previous releases ‘Monica’ and ‘Revenge’.
Hailing from Brisbane, a city with a fantastic rock’n’roll pedigree, the Dinosaurs don’t give away a great deal about themselves, other than that they “met in the snow fields of Europe”, and that they’ve been tipped to open for Pixies when they come to town, just as soon as Covid allows.
Judging by the aptly-titled ‘Bad Timing’, though, their debut album will be well worth checking out. Whenever that happens.
Long-lost mod revivalists THE DIRECT HITS are a to have a compilation of rare tracks released in the new year.
Formed in Battersea in 1980, the trio released several singles and two full-length albums: 1984’s Blow Up for Television Personalities’ mainman Dan Treacy’s Whaam! label, followed by 1986’s House Of Secrets recorded with Sex Pistols’ producer Dave Goodman and released on their own Direct Records.
The Broadway Recording Sessions captures the band nearly two years before the release of their classic debut, bringing together 12 tracks recorded at the tiny Broadway Sound studio in Tooting, south-west London, providing a document of several of the first album tracks in an earlier, rawer, form.
Set for release on 26 February through Optic Nerve Recordings, The Broadway Recording Sessions is available to pre-order on CD and limited edition blue or black vinyl here.
MICHAEL J SHEEHY has announced the release of a download-only single to benefit the Music Venue Trust.
The DREAM CITY FILM CLUB and MIRACULOUS MULE man has just released the acclaimed album Distance is the Soul of Beauty, his first solo album in over a decade.
This Friday 4 December he releases two new songs, ‘The Places We Used To Dance’, a lament to bygone days and long-closed venues, and ‘Baby, Baby, Baby (Can I Tell You Something?)’ through Lightning Archive Records.
“It was written a while ago…” says Sheehy about the A-side. “I had in mind The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town and the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street, two places that will always mean so much to me. Recent events have really driven home just how important these places are and the sad reality is, if we lose them they won’t be replaced. We have to fight tooth and nail. Like many, I’m struggling right now, music is such an important part of my life both as an artist and a punter. The absence of live music has been pretty hard to take and the fact that so many venues are in danger of closing their doors for good is quite frankly, terrifying.”
The single is released exclusively through Bandcamp, who are currently waiving their fees on the first Friday of every month, so all proceeds from sales on that day will go directly to the Music Venue Trust, who’ve been doing so much to support struggling venues throughout the UK.
Songwriter Mark Vennis trails his new album with a video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Fighting On All Fronts’ is the first single and title track of the album, which follows on from Mark’s previous albums with his band Different Place, Uncharted Water and A Beautiful Lie Or The Ugly Truth.
A film producer by day – he produced the acclaimed Slits documentary Here To Be Heard and the Don Letts film Rebel Dread, as well as Maxine Peake’s BIFA nominated Funny Cow – Vennis’ songs shine a spotlight on the downtrodden and the dispossessed.
“We are just trying to make sense of it all the only way we know how – through our songs,” he says.
Fighting On All Fronts is out on Friday 27 November through Cadiz Music.
Space-rock legends HAWKWIND are to release a new live album next week.
Celebrating the iconic sonic space cadets’ 50th anniversary, 50 Live was recorded on tour last November.
The release is the latest in a long line of classic live albums including the universe-straddling Space Ritual, Live ’79, The 1999 Party and Live Chronicles.
Available on double-CD and triple-vinyl, the 17-track album features several classics from the band’s illustrious career, including ‘Hurry On Sundown’ from their 1970 debut album, ‘Assault & Battery’ and ‘The Golden Void’ from 1975’s Warrior On The Edge Of Time and ‘Spirit Of The Age’ for their 1977 masterpiece Quark, Strangeness & Charm.
The band, featuring founder Dave Brock plus Tim Blake, Richard Chadwick, Niall Hone and Magnus Martin are also joined by Motorhead’s Phil Campbell for the band’s sole hit single ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘The Watcher’, written by Lemmy and first featured on the band’s classic ’72 album Doremi Fasol Latido and later on Motorhead’s self-titled debut in ’77.
Set for release on Friday 4 December, 50 Live is available to pre-order here.
London rockers THE HEAT INC. are back with a new video.
The cacophonous, brooding ‘Your After Love Song’ follows on from their debut single ‘Raptors’, whose video was premiered by Vive Le Rock! back in the summer.
Released through Melted Dino Records, the band describe the track as “a love song, like a lot of songs but it’s sort of unparalleled in the way it pairs that high gloss, rock ’n’ roll production with that level of volume. Somehow, it maintains a supra-melodic nature while turning it all the way up past twelve.”
The track is available through Bandcamp, Spotify and all the usual platforms.
As London’s nearest seaside town, Southend-on-Sea on the north bank of the Thames Estuary, was perfectly positioned for the onslaught of rock’n’roll and youth culture throughout the 50s and 60s, with its abundance of pubs, clubs and other venues. The arrival of punk in the late 70s was just as impactful, allowing bands to develop their own identity and following in splendid isolation while still allowing easy access to the thriving London scene just 30 miles down the A13.
Southend Punk Volume One brings together 14 bands from the town and its environs, including THE MACHINES, THE STEVE HOOKER BAND, THE KRONSTADT UPRISING, THE VICARS (featuring Alison Moyet, pictured), THE DECIBALLS, THE PSYCHOPATHS, THE SYNYX, THE BURNING IDOLS and THE BULLIES featuring future Cure member Perry Bamonte.
Set for release on 4 December through Angels In Exile Records, Southend Punk Volume One is available to pre-order here.
Canadian rockers SAM COFFEY & THE IRON LUNGS are back with a new single and album.
The muscular glam-stomping powerpop of ‘Back With The Gang’ catches the band in full-on Cheap Trick mode, the perfect opener for Real One, the band’s second album for Dine Alone Records.
Over the past decade the band have evolved out of the Toronto garage scene across three full-length albums and a slew of download and cassette releases. Along the way they’ve shared stages with acts as diverse as Flamin’ Groovies, Frank Tuner, The Black Lips and FIDLAR.
Real One – the name implying they’ve finally decided to take this gig seriously – finds them stretching out musically and thematically at the hands of noted producer Kevin Ratterman (White Reaper, My Morning Jacket, Strands of Oak).
Set for release on 19 February, Real One is available to pre-order here.
RICH RAGANY has just released a charity single and he’s sharing the video with Vive Le Rock!
All proceeds from the DIGRESSIONS and ROLE MODELS frontman’s ‘From Nowhere To You’ will go to The Brain Tumour Foundation Of Canada in honour of his recently departed brother George Ragany.
“George always seemed to know how, and taught me how, to try and get the best out of dark and sad times… so this is my attempt…” says Rich. “It was written in isolation after flying from the UK to Canada and getting the news he passed while I was in the air… didn’t make it to be by his side… and that is a heartbreaking fact… but hope this is a fitting tribute to his spirit and memory…. a song about love and trying to reach out against odds. I hope you can take it for yourself.”
It was recorded with the help of Rich’s old friend Reed Shimozawa, formerly of Canadian rockers ZUCKERBABY, who played on and produced the single.
‘From Nowhere To You’ is available now through Bandcamp. If you buy it on Friday 6 November, Bandcamp will waive their cut with all the money going to the charity.