AIN’T NO FEEBLE BASTARDS
How DISCHARGE created hardcore punk and never gave in.
Stoke On Trent’s legendary punks Discharge are pretty much responsible for taking punk, dragging it thru the gutter, speeding it up with a large helping of Motorhead, and spitting it back to the world. Somehow punk would never be the same and along the way somewhere they sort of invented hardcore. Discharge changed punk, and changed a lot of people forever. So just what are the facts? Vive Le Punk went asking…
– Discharge formed in 1977 in Stoke On Trent. Founding members Terry ‘Tezz’ Roberts (vocals) and Roy ‘Rainy’ Wainwright (guitar) soon recruited Terry’s younger brother, Tony ‘Bones’ Roberts on lead guitar, Nigel Bamford (Bass) and Tony ‘Akko’ Atkinson (drums).
– This line up recorded their first demo in 1977. The musical style was heavily influenced by 1977-era punk bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Dammed.
– When the band recruited Kelvin ‘Cal’ Morris to take over vocals, seeing Tezz move to drums, the group abandoned their previous Sex Pistols style material to develop a new set of songs for the lyrics written by Cal.
Discharge in Flipside ‘zine.
– The stylistic transition of the band to incorporate heavy, distorted and grinding guitars coupled with shouted or screamed lyrics soon became part of a broader trend in the early 1980’2 known as ‘UK82’.
– The first gig with the new line up and new sound was at North Wood Parish Hall. Among the audience was local record shop owner Mike Stone, who’d recently started the Clay punk record label.
– In 1980 Discharge signed with Clay records and recorded their first single, ‘Realities of War’ that February. The single made it into the UK Indie Charts at number 5 after being played by John Peel.
– Guitarist "Bones" departed after 1982’s "State Violence State Control"/"Dooms day" single, described in local punk fanzine Love and Molotov Cocktails as "…just about the most perfect realisation of a combination of the musical power of Motorhead and the lyrical mastery of Dead Kennedys at their best. Discharge are out there on their own, at the top of their game and it’s hard to see how they can improve on this."
– The lineup changed once more in 1986 for Grave New World, a mainstream metal album with a glam sound from Cal’s high-pitched singing style. Although the album reached the indie top 10 (before exiting the chart as swiftly as it had entered), the change from punk band to a typical hard rock band prompted a negative reaction from fans, and the group disbanded in 1987.
– In 2001, the original line up reunited after meeting at a party held by original bassist Bamford, and in 2002 they released their self-titled album Discharge, returning to their original1980s style of politically infuriated and aggressive style.
– The band have released a new album with Rat titled ’Disensitise’ in 2008. A book is also currently being written about Discharge, although, after departing the band, Cal’s whereabouts are unknown, and as his input is essential on documenting the history of Discharge, it is indefinitely on hold.
– Discharge’s music influenced hardcore punk, thrash metal, crust punk, grindcore and various extreme metal subgenres such as Metallica, Anthrax, Napalm Death and Sepultra, all of whom have covered the band’s songs.
– Earlier this year, the Discharge released a split EP with American punk band Off With Their Heads, released through Drunken Sailor Records.
Read Rainy from Discharge’s view on the UK82 scene in the UK82 special new issue of Vive Le Rock, out now.
Order your copy HERE.