It’s only three weeks ’til Rebellion. We asked some of the acts playing this year to give us some of their favourite Rebellion memories…
Alex – Wonk Unit
Nothing particularly glamorous or rock n roll but a couple of years back when we were playing that amazing slot in the Empress Ballroom between Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and Slaves, we’d got all set up on time and I was twiddling my thumbs with 15 minutes to go before show time. I hate waiting around so as our hotel was only 5 minutes around the corner, I decided to just walk back to kill time. So, check this, I opened the door, went in, cracked open a can of Coke and I shit my pants??? Like literally no warning, no feeling, I didn’t fart, I didn’t sneeze or do anything, just suddenly I found I just shit my fuckin pants??? Like WTF??? I guess I was lucky to be in our hotel room, but it was a pretty traumatic few minutes of cleaning up and changing my shorts before running back to the Ballroom to a packed 3000 strong crowd. Was a wicked gig! Xx
Fat Bob – Hard Skin
Rebellion 2016 – It’s Sunday early afternoon and I’ve had enough. I’m just fucking leaving, and I hear some winging American voice on the outside stage and the missus’ asks who that is. Some geezer in the street suggests it’s Jelly Biafra or something but I’ve no fucking idea and I don’t care.
Walk a bit further down the road and bump into Daryl from Cock Sparrer. We are chatting on – usual Bollocks and then these fat balding middle-aged German geezers stop the conversation – getting excited they’ve met a legend. They are all over me like most balding middle-aged men who try to chat to me on Grinder. Anyway, they want a selfie with the legend that is Fat Bob. Both of them are wearing Cock Sparrer T-Shirts and ask Daryl without a clue who he is, if he minds taking a picture of them with me.
Being an Oi! celebrity is hard but it’s about time Cock Sparrer swapped their pay check with Hard Skin.
The first time I was invited to perform at Rebellion was 1996. I’d never played a solo set at a punk festival before, and Rebellion had never had a solo artist before either, so I was a little nervous to say the least. Festivals being what they are, there was no opportunity for a soundcheck so when I walked on stage, I knew it was ‘now or never’. For a moment it looked like it would be “never”: I looked over to the mixing desk halfway down the hall – past the crowds of people in the audience waiting to see what I would come up with – and saw there was no one manning it. I plugged in. No sound. Was this going to be a truly acoustic gig, in front of nearly a thousand people? I’d expected it to be nerve-wracking – but not this nerve-wracking. Time stretched out before me and after what seemed like the longest couple of minutes, I had ever experienced a figure appeared behind the desk and I had sound. Not a good sound, to tell the truth – through the monitors on the stage, my guitar sounded like a distant tinny wasp, and I played it so hard to compensate that I almost immediately broke a string and the gig came to an abrupt stop. I didn’t have a spare guitar with me, so to the audience’s bemusement I had to put a new string on the guitar on stage. I then attempted to play ‘Bombsite Boy’ for the first time since the Adverts – I’d promised an acoustic Adverts set and that was what I was bloody well going to play – only to find out the song was far too complicated for acoustic guitar, and twenty years after my youthful former self wrote it, also too high to sing. Bizarrely, the audience loved it, and after a (for me) tortuous 40 minutes I left the stage to resounding applause and demands for encores.
It was a trial by fire, but I’m happy to say that I’ve played solo every year since then, and the acoustic scene at Rebellion has grown so popular that artists and audiences queue up to play, and get into the Almost Acoustic venue over the entire three days of the event. In fact, I’ve had so many complaints over the past few years from people who couldn’t actually squeeze into the room while I was playing that this year, I’m doing my solo show in the Opera House. Classy or wot?
Segs – Ruts DC
It’s a strange phenomenon at Rebellion festival that whatever time you intend on going to bed, you always seem to be coming back to the hotel as the sun’s coming up, you miss breakfast (again) after not eating properly the day before.
After 5/6 years of this routine, I decided last year to get home while the night was relatively young. Still, gig done I did need to chill out with a beer or something, somewhere. “Come around to our hotel.” said Tom, singer of The Professionals. So off we went. So, there I was, sitting outside chatting to one Paul Cook (I have to mention, yes, he of The Sex Pistols fame, about our upcoming Crack 40 tour and other things).
“Last orders,” shouted one of the barmen – it was 3.30 am. “I’ve managed it!”, I thought. A relatively early night…but … “Rambo’s on the phone”, said Chris McCormack, the Proffs’ guitarist. “John wants a few people back to his hotel, he needs cheering up, don’t bring any idiots!” So, Chris said to me and girlfriend Tara Rez, “Come on you two, you’re not idiots”.
“Jesus!”, I said. Was he talking about John Lydon? -Yes, he was! Cookie said that he wasn’t gonna go and I said that there was no way I was going to meet JL, pissed, at 3.30 in the morning! I’m just about ready for my early night.
So, Cookie left and then , as we were starting off on our walk back to our safe haven, I got a text with hotel address. “Maybe we’ll just go for a little while …hmm.” So, we jumped a cab, the hotel was a way away and we had to get met at the gates by a security man who escorted us in.
We walk into the outside area and there was Mr Lydon, and a few friends/band members and Cookie had turned up in the end, so I walk up to introduce myself to John Lydon: “Hello Mr Lydon, I’m Segs from the Ruts – last time I saw you was in 1979 – you were looking at our album cover (The Crack). “We had just entered the press room at Virgin Records that day and proudly seen (the) Johnny Rotten holding up our up first LP .” Then I told him with a smile on my face, “You said ‘bunch of faggots’!”
He just said, “I deny it! I deny anything that I’ve ever been accused of.” He shook my hand warmly and told us that the bar was open “Get yourselves a drink and come and join us.”
So, there I was chatting away to John Lydon, he was actually really friendly to everyone. We rolled him a joint and sat down, the conversations were pretty deep and I even had the dutch courage to sing him a couple of lyrics from Music Must Destroy! What was happening? After an hour or so the evening drew naturally to a close, he said he had to go and take care of a few things and next minute he was gone. We said our goodbyes and got in a taxi —you guessed it —as our driver transported us along the Blackpool’s well-trodden promenade, the sky was well into its morning. The land of the rising sun indeed.
Sound good? There’s still time to get tickets!!
Day and weekend tickets available here: http://www.rebellionfestivals.com/tickets
Head to www.rebellionfestivals.com for more information.
Rebellion Festival is an ALL AGES, family friendly event and children under 12 are admitted free of charge (accompanied by an adult). More information and tickets are available at: