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Friday, October 31, 2008

Various Artists - Oi! It's Streetpunk

Helen Of Oi! was one of the few labels paying attention to the new Oi/Punk bands in the 90's. This compilation is far from being perfect, still there are some gems to dig.

23 tracks by nine different bands including standouts from Oxymoron, Braindance, Another Mans Poison & Pressure 28. Worth your time.

Oi! It's Street Punk:

Braindance - Can of Worms

Had no computer for nearly 2 months. This forced "Internet Diet" was a bit frustrating but liberating at the same time....
Anyway I'm back with some good 90's Oi/Punk.


Where's All the Pride Gone/Just Once Too Often/Empty Bottle/Every Words a Lie/Has the World Gone Mad?/Feathers/Coma/Mile X Man/Can of Worms/Streets of Violence/Whatever You Say/Having a Bad Day

Braindance - Can of Worms:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Plasmatics - Monkey Suit

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Had quite an effect on me as a young 'un this single. Still love the first L.P. great colour vinyls, just the whole package. Later stuff would never quite match these early outings, but for a while they were truly great.
Poor Wendy O.
This one's dedicated to the GLC!

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Plasmatics - Monkey Suit

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Lovely splatter vinyl.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Talisman - Takin The Strain

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Now, I meant to post this a few days ago as a bit of a Peel tribute, but i've been having a few problems with blogger so it's a bit late.
For quite a few of us of a certain age group, reggae has formed a large part of our listening experience. Probably since The Clash first covered Junior Murvin's 'Police & Thieves.' Listening to Peel as kid turned me on to so much great reggae. Misty In Roots, Culture, Burning Spear etc.
Now, you know I like to keep it local. So from Bristol I give you Talisman, with 'Takin' The Strain'. Great roots reggae, sounding very similar in style to when Bad Brains go roots.
1984 Embryo Records.

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Talisman - Takin The Strain

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Members - Offshore Banking Business

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Now, along with Spizz, I give you another sorely underrated band of the late 70's early eighties. The Members. Given the current climate, i'm surprised no one else has dug out this old gem. If one of them died, or they looked a bit more 'punk' i'm sure they would have been re veered as much as The Ruts or The Clash. Everyone knows 'Sound Of The Suburbs', nice enough as it is, but The Members had some cracking tunes. When you cash your giro this week, go out & buy a Best Of The Members C.D. It's better than spending it on cheap cider. Trust me. Ok... if you've got anything left over, buy 2 litres of 'Frosty Jacks', chuck in the old C.D. and let yourself be entertained.

Tracks:- Offshore Banking Business/Solitary Confinement

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Members - Offshore Banking Business

Now I can never listen to 'Solitary Confinement' without mixing up the words with the great cover version by Newtown Neurotics, 'Living With Unemployment'. (how apt) If you know the tune you know what I mean. If you don't, have a listen.

Newtown Neurotics - Living With Unemployment

From the fantastic Urgh! a Music War, film. The Members live, with 'Offshore Banking Business'.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shutdown - Emits A Real Bronx Cheer

'You can take that mail, and that franking machine,
and all that other rubbish I have to go about with,
and you can stuff 'em right up your arse!'

Jimmy's famous tirade in Quadrophenia, is sampled quite nicely on the first track of this album. There's been a few bands called Shutdown. This lot came from Tewksbury, Glos, England, and were purveyors of fine Punk Rock, during the early nineties, in the Leatherface vein, with a few U.S. hardcore type influences, but with a definite English sound.
Underrated but influential.
Great record.

Shutdown - Emits A Real Bronx Cheer

The Fits - Zig Zag April 1984

Piece by Mick Mercer on The Fits, from the April 1984 issue of Zig Zag.
Click image to read it.

In case you missed when Jeronyme posted it a few weeks back.
The Fits - Fact Or Fiction

Athletico Spizz 80 - Hot Deserts

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One of the many name changes for Spizz. (Spizz Oil, Spizz Energi, Spizz Energi 2 etc.) Best known for "Where's Captain Kirk?".
Sounds very similar in style to some ot the Anarcho bands of the same period this, think Zounds, Poison Girls with a bit of U.K. Decay in the mix and your somewhere near. The B side of this 'Legal Proceedings', is great song indeed.
This was released on A&M records in 1980 under the monicker Athletico Spizz 80 & was produced by former Gong bass player Mike Howlett.
Spizz changed the name annually, in a bid to get in the Guinness Book of Records claiming he had recorded and released the greatest number of recordings under different names."Too Specialised" was the response of the then deputy editor Shelagh Thomas who confessed to owning "Where's Captain Kirk?" As should everyone.
Can't recommend this one enough.

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Athletico Spizz 80 - Hot Deserts

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Roddy Moreno, The Oppressed - Interview

A man that should need no introduction, Roddy Moreno... lead singer for The Oppressed and The Rude Boys, head honcho of Oi! Records, and an early and enthusiastic supporter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice when it seemed like the Skinhead cult was going to be left solely to boneheaded racist morons. Roddy's an outspoken man who walks the walk and doesn't just talk the talk, even his detractors have to cop to that. Look up "tenacity" and "single-mindedness" in the dictionary and you'll see his mug.

One shouldn't forget, either, that The Oppressed were simply a great band. Stick me on a desert island with only one Oi platter to choose from and it would be their debut "Oi Oi Music", hands down. To be fair, the cover heavy material of the reformation years wasn't as good as their 80's output. But they did find time to record arguably their best track, "The AFA Song", a blistering statement of purpose that outstrips even the legendary first LP.

Originally meant to run in a US fanzine that went belly up, this interview is a few years old. While it is a bit dated, I felt it deserved to see the light of day. Roddy is the real deal and has arguably done more for promoting the positive aspects of the Skinhead than any other person alive. For that alone I'm glad John L. is letting me run this.


What was Cardiff like in the 80's during the first wave of Oi!, was there any right-wing presence there at the early gigs?

In the eighties we never really had a problem with the Scum. Cardiff was built on shipping (mostly coal and steel) and has always had a large black communty. So most people here were brought up in a multicultural city where the Scum never got a hold. We did once get a twat give us a Nazi salute when we played in Swansea (arch rivals at football). He didn't get to do it a second time, and after he was dealt with people knew where we stood. It was this incident which brought about 'Work Together', a song to let everyone know where we stood.

All the trouble in the eighties was down to inter city rivalry. Every gig we played outside Cardiff ended in a massive ruck between our crew and the lads from whatever town we played in. It usually went off after one or two of our songs and we'd end up with the police sending us back to Wales. They'd even give us a police escort over the border to make sure we didn't stop in England. In the end it became pointless playing. The boneheads didn't come to our gigs, they knew the reception they'd get.

In the early nineties I was pissed off with the way non political Skins were avoiding the issue of Scum on the scene. When Combat 18 stickers started to appear in my area I knew it was time to reform the band. So using The Oppressed and some anti-fascist songs, I set out to stir some shit. We never wanted to be "political" but had to make a stand against the fascist politics brought in by boneheads

You signed a few bands to Oi! Records that ended up making some dubious calls, at best, politically speaking. What is your take on that now?

When I started Oi! Records my advert in Sounds read "Oi! bands wanted, neither Red nor Racist". If a band told me they were not racist and their music was non racist then I would work with them. I couldn't expect other bands to fight fascism, but I was a bit pissed off when a few bands seemed to approve of boneheads at their gigs. Maybe they feared recriminations, maybe they were just pussies, but they all made a statement just by coming to my label. Of all the bands I put out The Blaggers were the best by far. Closely followed by Oi Polloi. Both bands staunchly anti-fascist.

I've always wondered what you did made of the later sounds of The Blaggers and Oi Polloi. The former did this amazing rock/punk/aggro-rap material and the latter went into warp speed thrash with a whole Gaelic/Pagan twist. Great stuff both but quite far in sound from the whole Oi! Oi! Skinhead of the Oi! Records era. Is any of this to your taste or not really?

Lets face it the world and his wife are shit scared of the fascists, so any bands who make a stand deserve credit. The more people stand up to the Scum, the less Scum there are. Most fascists are cowards so If enough people say fuck off, they'll disappear up their own arse 'oles. When The Blaggers added I.T.A. and signed to a major label they could've been stars and made a fortune. Instead they stood by their anti-fascist roots, lost the contract and ended up skint. What they did end up with was more respect than a thousand fascists could ever dream of.

The Blaggers stuff was great and took the Antifa message to a whole new audience.The Oi Poiloi stuff was a bit to fast and furious for my taste. To be honest though all I've ever listened to is Ska & Soul from the 60's / early 70's.

Okay, main influences for The Oppressed themselves. And who are some of your personal heroes?

The main influences for The Oppressed were Sham 69, Angelic Upstarts, Blitz, Last Resort and The 4-Skins. When you talk about heroes then for me it's got to be all the old Jamaican stars circa 1960/74. Price Buster, The Skatalites, Desmond Dekker, Laurel Aitken... I could go on forever because without Reggae I would never have gotten into music in the first place. My record collection starts off with 40s/50s RnB, stuff like Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenson and Fats Dominoes Be My Guest. Then comes the Ska/Rock Steady/Reggae tunes alongside all the Soul/Motown stuff,again circa 1960/74. My favourite song in the last 20yrs is 'Gangster Paradise' by Coolio. It has the same message as my "When I Was Young", words of wisdom from an old head who had been there and done it.

Did you follow the 1970's Soul scene at all after the initial skinhead phase of the late 60's, early 70's? Did you hit the Cardiff football pitch in stack heels?

There wasn't really a Soul scene in Cardiff back then but yes we all wore stack heels with big huge baggy trousers, and yes it was ridiculous trying to fight with stupid shoes.

A lot of the people who are into the WP garbage seem to be pretty young. Do you think a leopard can change their spots and move on?

The younger kids don't really know what it's all about anyway and you can show them how to be a man and fight against the Scum. Most boneheads grow up by their early 20's and leave their hate behind them. A lot even feel shame about their past, but the Scum who become men and still believe in racial hate can only be dealt with one way.

You've broken up and reformed and broken up again. What's the tea leaf reading for The Oppressed? And what about the Rude Boys?

I think we can safely say that we're well and truly, 100%, definately dead and buried. But you never know, we could always record again! Remember I'm less than 3 yrs away from my 50th, so I leave the live scene to the younger crews. I'd love to reform The Rude Boys but finding a brass section has always been the killer.

So I have to ask, do you go to work in the old boots and braces or is it a more informal look for you these days, e.g. how does an old skinhead settle into middle age?

I always wear either Levis 501s or Sta Prest with A Fred Perry or Ben Sherman and a V Neck sweater. If I'm going to a show/disco I'll wear DMs or brogues. If I'm doing nothing or working I'll wear trainers. Depending on the weather it's an Harrington, Flight jacket or a Crombie. Basically I still wear what wore when I was a teenager.

Closing thoughts? And by the way, what happened to the Ford Sierra you were flogging on the CD release of "Oi Oi Music!". (The Sierra also appears on the cover of "We Can Do Anything").

Don't let Bonehead Scum near your scene. Stand up, be a man,and take no shit.

As for the Ford Sierra went to the great scrapyard in the sky. I didn't get a single offer for it! A big STAY SHARP to all the righteous Skinheads, and a swift kick up the backside to all the fencewalkers. Remember-Evil grows when good men do nothing!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Red London - Interview - Part 2 - Kid Stoker

Part II: Kid Stoker
Did Red London stem from The Rebels? What is the rough RL family tree?
 The Rebels were Sunderland’s first punk band. Sunderland happens to be my hometown. Gaz Stoker, the founder of the Rebels, happens to be my elder brother. Being just a young kid into music I naturally followed my brother’s band. It was a pretty good musical education, constantly watching the band play live, picking up guitar tricks, finding out how they wrote original songs, being at rehearsals, being one of the first to listen to their demo recordings, and so on.By the time I left school I felt I was ready to start my own band. In 1978,
at the age of sixteen, I formed a band called The Street Boys. Pretty quickly we were up and running and playing local gigs. But we were living out the lyrics to the Clash song Garageland, you know, “five guitar players and one guitar.” By early 1979 we found a new singer called Patty Smith and changed our name to Red London. For the next ten months we gigged all over the city and built up a good little following (including a very young punk fan called Steve Smith, who happened to be Patty’s younger brother). We even recorded a demo (now sadly lost). But by early 1980 we had split-up.I then had a spell in Red Alert, invited to join by none other than Steve Smith, the younger brother of Patty who used to follow Red London. I mentioned that the demo we recorded in 1979 has been lost, so there is no real memento of what Red London sounded like during that period. However, the Red Alert song Sell Out, as found on the Border Guards EP, is an old 1979 Red London song. It was one of the earliest songs I wrote. Perhaps that song gives an idea of what the first Red London sounded like. For a number of reasons, but largely down to the fact I have to be the chief songwriter in any band, I left Red Alert. (Tony Van Frater was the main guitarist in Red Alert.)By now I was totally addicted to music and being in a band. Meeting up with Patty Smith again we decided to reform Red London. This was 1981, a year that saw the end of The Rebels. Gaz was pretty down with the finish of his band and was just drifting for a while and wondering what to do next. We quickly offered him the opportunity to join Red London. He accepted, though he did have to switch from lead guitar to bass.
I've always wondered how "Red" were Red London? Did you support left-wing groups like the Redskins with the Socialist Workers Party, etc. ? What are your views on politics in music, be it punk or whatever?
I’ve always been a socialist. But back in the band’s formative years I was a teenage socialist, and you know how it is when you’re young, you’ve got optimism by the bucketful, the kind of optimism that believes you can write a three-minute punk song and governments will fall. I am still a socialist. I still believe politics and music can mix, though I realised long ago that three-minute songs do not bring about political revolutions. However, I still have enough optimism to believe a simple song can have a profound effect on the individual listener.
 Early on, didn't the band play numerous benefit gigs for Miners as the strikes of the early '80's were in full swing at that time?
The north of England is a traditional working class area of the country. Historically, the industrial revolution started in the north of England. Our hometown Sunderland, in the northeast, played its part in that industrial revolution. As well as supporting a huge coal mine, Sunderland also had a large shipbuilding industry, a tradition that went back centuries. With the election of the Conservative party in 1979, these traditional industries, in fact an entire way of working life came under attack. The Conservative government unofficially declared political and economic war on the north, culminating in the 1984 Miners Strike, the last great resistance of the English working class. Being working class lads from the north, the band just had to take sides and join the fight. It was as simple and as straightforward as that.
You've shared members with Red Alert, gigged with Red Alert, got started about the same time as Red Alert and come from the same area. Did people initially write the band off as a RA offshoot even though on the balance the bands are both quite different?
Not many people realise it but Red London actually pre-date Red Alert. Cast Iron Smith himself used to follow the band, always down the front-row, slam dancing away.  But both the Reds learned so much from The Rebels (Red Alert even took their name from a Rebels song).
When you released your first EP and album, it was neither Oi nor Discharge/GBH style punk, which I think of as the prevailing sounds in the UK at the time. Did you feel you were swimming against the current by putting out a melodic punk LP with nods to folk, melody, even a bit of pop at the time? How was "This Is England" received?
Although I appreciated Oi, I always felt GBH held down the punk lid while Discharge fired the last nails into the punk coffin. I instead believed melodies and loud guitars could go together. I saw Red London as having the political songbook of the Clash, the live energy of early Slade, the anger of a young Paul Weller, the alcohol friendship of the early Faces, the force of a mid 60s Who, and all mixed with loud punk guitars.  
Max Muir drummed on "This Is England" as opposed to Raish Carter. But Raish was back for your second EP, "Pride & Passion" What was the story behind that? And what became of Max?
You’ve got to realise that in those days Raish Carter was the world’s most unlucky and incompetent criminal. Don’t get me wrong, we were once as close as brothers, but by Christ, could he not keep out of trouble. We’d go out drinking and by the end of the night he’d end up in a police cell, either by being caught drunkenly pissing up a public wall, or mouthing off to a copper, usually both. He was also easily led astray. One time, drunk in a pub, he was persuaded by a local low-life to rob an innocent late-night drinker at knifepoint. Only they didn’t have a knife, so they used a metal comb! The victim gave a brilliant description of his attackers - because he happened to know them! How Raish failed to spot that only he can answer. It got worse. By the time it got to court on a serious robbery charge, Raish had forgotten to inform his lawyer the so-called knife was in fact a metal comb! He ended up serving a year in prison.About two weeks before our first record was released (the Sten Guns in Sunderland EP) Raish got banged up for three months for failing to pay his mounting fines for getting caught pissing up public walls and insulting the police. Talk about bad timing. We couldn’t even promote the record through gigs without a drummer. We decided to stand by him but when he got released we told him it if happens again then he would be out the band for good. A few weeks before we got the go-ahead to record our first LP Raish got banged up again.That’s how Max got the gig. He was a very eccentric character. He used to practice on his own in the next rehearsal room to us. Anyway, we approached him and asked if he wanted to record an album with us. He jumped at the chance. But it didn’t last for his girlfriend was a modern-day Yoko Ono who accompanied him everywhere. Despite the fact Max was hardly a handsome man, she was convinced women were waiting to throw themselves at his feet should she not be around to fend them off. Max was also the only true stranger we had in the band. He came from outside the city. By the end of 1984 Max and his girlfriend moved away from Sunderland. Unfortunately we never kept in touch. Fast forward to the recording of the Pride & Passion EP and this time it’s Patty Smith who has found himself a Yoko Ono girlfriend. She basically told him it was her or the band. He chose her. Big mistake. So anyway, word is out Red London has lost their singer, and the news reaches Raish Carter who happens to be outside prison. So he convinced us he could not only stay out of trouble but also cut it as a singer. Well, he proved to be okay as a singer but he certainly couldn’t keep his word about not going back to prison. Within a year he was back in the nick.
Unless I'm mistaken, your first vocalist Patty Smith left the band to get married, but later rejoined after his marriage didn't work out? Did that feel like a massive setback at the time?
He left the band through a girl but they didn’t even end up married. In fact they split-up within a year or so.  At the time it did feel like a massive setback but the fact the remaining members were determined to carry on gave us the energy to do just that. By the time Patty Smith rejoined the band he was actually married to another girl, unfortunately she was yet another Yoko Ono. Tensions got to breaking point around the recording of the Once Upon a Generation album in Germany. She just sat and moped in the studio each and every day and every night seemed to have an argument with Patty. We all got the feeling it would be Patty’s last recording with the band. And that paved the way for the one and only Steve Cast Iron Smith to come in as our final singer…but that is another story.
Where did you find Marty Clark who replaced Patty? And was that a difficult transition, both sound and image-wise? (It seems Clark brought in a bit more"rock" to the band both in terms of sound, singing and hairstyle, although perhaps this was a natural progression for the band anyway).
Marty Clark was a long-time friend. I’d known him since junior school, well before I even met Patty and Steve Smith. He also turned out to be a musician, in fact he was the first person I knew who owned a guitar. I remember, as a very young kid in 1972, standing on his doorstep listening to him play the intro to Alice Cooper’s Schools Out on one string. In many ways Marty was never a true punk. He loved the Stones more than the Pistols. But at that time it felt okay to have him in the band. Because he was a fucking great singer it meant we could progress in more ‘rock’ ways. Though we never got used to his dopey fucking haircut.
Why did Marty leave and what become of him?
Marty was in the band the best part of ten years and I guess he just felt enough was enough, time to move on, settle down, that sort of thing. Surprisingly for Red London, Marty didn’t leave the band because he had a Yoko Ono girlfriend. 
It seems like you guys did well enough in England, but were very popular in France and Germany, how do you account for this?
The European music scene, unlike the English, is not obsessed with fashion and what’s in and what’s not. By early as 1978 the New Musical Express, the then bible of the music scene, was pronouncing punk dead. And most people fell for it. So within a year it was considered un-cool to like punk. Even when Oi came along, the N.M.E. first ignored it then attacked it. Punk in England had nowhere to go but underground. But in Europe music fans don’t have this slave obsession with what’s considered to be ‘in’. And also a lot of punks and skins felt they missed out on the original punk explosion, felt it didn’t really get round to playing down their part of the European world. To many of them punk in the 1980s still felt new and exciting.

Red London: Songs from the Street. Kid talks about a few of my personal favorite RL songs.
Revolution Times
The music to Revolution Times came about through my attempt to steal the tune from The Beatles song Something. I love that song, especially the mini run down, you know where it goes, ‘Something in the way she moves, attracts me like no other lover,’ then it’s BAM BAM, ‘Something in the way she…’ and so on.  I just love that BAM BAM bit. So I attempted to work out the chords, only open chords are not going to work that well with a punk fuzz guitar. So I decided to switch to the obvious Steve Jones bar chords and speeded everything up for good measure. By then I realised it sounded nothing like The Beatles Something, instead it was a neat original-sounding punk song.
This is England
This is England became the band’s live anthem, always to be played as the last song on all gig nights. It always worked as a great live song.But we never really liked the first studio recording of the song. It was a track on our very first record, the Sten Guns in Sunderland EP. This was back in 1983. We were only kids and pretty niave in many ways. We were just ushered into this big London recording studio and told to get on with it. We played our hearts out, but in terms of the right sound and production we felt we had lost it. It was annoying because we knew the tracks from the first EP worked live, especially This is England. Nine years later our (then) label Released Emotions Records suggested we do something to mark the up-coming tenth anniversary of the band, an album containing re-recordings of some of our earlier work and also doing cover songs that actually inspired us to pick up guitars in the first place. We readily agreed to this proposal because not only would it be fun recording the odd Clash or Chelsea song, but also to finally give songs like This is England the production values they deserved. We also decided to do the recording totally live in the studio, like a punk version of Let It Be. So a little later we arrived at one of our favourite recording studios, set up the group equipment, then set the studio levels and just played totally live, without any overdubs. And it worked a fucking treat. The subsequent album Live Sessions: A Look Back In Anger was a labour of love that captured the spirit of Red London. However, just one tiny bit of criticism. The original recording session went on far longer than was needed and so was trimmed before release. Unfortunately, our record label or the pressing plant engineer cut out all the banter in-between the songs. On the original tapes you could hear the amps humming in the background between takes, the distinctive sound of beer cans opening and the best bit of all, the lads from the group cracking jokes and clearly having a ball. But it was all cleaned up. Still, I shouldn’t be too pedantic; after all we had finally proven those early songs do work on record.
Soul Train
Soul Train was an attack on the puppet music groups knocking out cheap plastic dance crap. What with modern horror shows like X Factor, it’s become even worse. We always wanted a real soul horn section playing on the record, but there was no way our cheapskate (first record) label Razor would put up any extra money for that kind of musical thing.
Calling Out The Cavalry
This came about through Red London’s singer Patty Smith. He was great for coming out with these one-liners that you just knew would make a great song title.
48 Reasons
48 Reasons was the very first love song I wrote. Personally, I think it’s a fucking absolute classic. It’s certainly the most complete song I ever came up with.
It’s up to you
Probably my best lyrics to any Red London song. Intelligent and passionate words but still leaving the listener to make their own mind up. And of course, played in the style of The Who, it is a gift of a song for any drummer.
The Goodbye girl
My wife is German. So in the beginning of our courtship our goodbyes were pretty emotional, there was after all a sizable landmass, to say nothing of a sea, between us. And she was never any good at saying goodbye, the tears would just well up before she would quickly turn and …well, just run! I always found that quite endearing. The song just followed.
The Day They Tore The Old School Down
I can remember when I was no more than six-years-old walking with my father through our hometown and he pointed something out to me, like a strip of wasteland, and he told me there was once a school on that site – his old school.  And observations like that continued as I was growing up but I suppose by the time I was in my teens I was just smiling at him and thinking yeah, yeah, whatever you say dad, you sound just like them old timers you see in movies, you know the ones, ‘I remember when all this here city was nothing but fields.’ I was young and so the world itself seemed young. And yet, by the time I reached my mid-twenties, that young world I knew began to get torn down. Today, so much of my childhood world has disappeared. Whole streets have been bulldozed, once familiar landmarks have been replaced, riversides transformed, and of course this destruction included my old school. It was a grand red brick school, first built in the early 1900s and generation after generation of kids had passed through its school gates.  I actually wrote The Day They Tore The Old School Down at the still young age of 26, but by then I knew exactly what my father meant when he had first pointed out that strip of wasteland twenty years previously.


Red London - Interview - Part 1 - Gaz Stoker

Part I : Gaz Stoker
Did Red London stem from the Rebels? What is the rough Red London family tree?
No....The Rebels were the first ever punk band to form in Sunderland in 1977. I was the guitarist and main songwriter. At that time I was 16 years old and still at school. We lasted a couple of years and we got quite well known locally and were a big influence on a lot of bands who followed including Red Alert, Red London and Leatherface.
Red Alert actually took their name from a Rebels song of the same name and that song was also recorded by Red London on the first album.
My brother (Kid Stoker) formed a band called Red London and I went to a few of the early gigs. After the Rebels split up I was asked if I wanted to play bass for Red London. What happened was, the original bass player pulled out of a gig they really wanted to play and they didn’t want to cancel it so they asked me to stand in for him. I’d never played bass before but I learnt the songs and did the gig. They must have been impressed because they asked me to stay! This was in 1982 and the year after we signed to razor records
I’ve often wondered just how “Red” were Red London. Did you support left wing groups as the Redskins did with the Socialist Worker's Party, etc? What are your views on politics in music, be it punk or any other genre?
When Red London started I was still in the Rebels and they asked me to suggest a name for the band. I knew Red London was the b side of a Sham 69 song and I thought it sounded like a good name for a band so that’s what I suggested and they took that name. So originally the Red in the title wasn’t really significant. We’ve always been working class and obviously left wing so this came across more and more in the music. As for politics in music…. I think it’s o.k. as long as it’s not extreme and you’re not shoving your views down peoples throats. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of social comment. A lot of bands that really mean something to people sing about real life, social injustice etc and that can be a good thing. It becomes more than just a song and gets people thinking and can unite common causes. This is nothing new, it goes back a long time, long before punk. I admire people like Bob Dylan who stood up for what he believed in during the 60’s
We never supported the Redskins but I met them at a gig in Sunderland and they invited me to a television show they were recording in Newcastle the next day. The show was called the Tube and I went along on their guest list. They were a really talented band.
Early on didn’t the band play numerous benefit gigs for miners as the miners strikes of the early 80’s were in full swing then?
Yes, we played a lot of miners benefit gigs in the 80’s. At that time there was only 2 main ways of employment in Sunderland, one was the shipyards (years ago when Sunderland was a town it was the biggest shipbuilding town in the world) and the other was the coal mines. When the miners went on strike it lasted for nearly a year and broke up whole communities. A lot of our friends were miners so we were happy to play as many benefit gigs as we could to support them.
You’ve shared members with Red Alert, played gigs with Red Alert and got started about the same time as Red Alert and came from the same area. Did people initially write the band off as a Red Alert offshoot even though on balance the bands are both quite different.
No, both bands started within a year of each other and were totally different. We didn’t share members until years later! Red London had Patty Smith as singer and Red Alert had his brother Steve Smith as singer so you can imagine the rivalry!
Both bands inspired each other and were always trying to out do each other but it remained friendly. Years later Red London were going on a European tour and we invited Red Alert along on to the tour. After that we helped each other out as much as possible, that’s how we ended up sharing members a few years down the line
When you released your first EP and album, it was neither Oi nor Discharge/GBH style punk, which I think of as the prevailing sounds in the UK at the time.
Did you feel you were swimming against the current by putting out a melodic punk LP with nods to folk, melody, even a bit of pop at the time? How was"This Is England" received?

The thing was, we were all influenced by the original punk bands such as Chelsea, The Clash, The Ruts, The Jam, The Vibrators and Stiff Little Fingers. All those bands were really melodic so that’s the way we thought punk should be played (and still do!)By the time we got to release records the punk scene and punk sound had started to change (not for the better) the so called second and third wave of punk had came along. Some of it was good but some of it turned into a totally unmelodic mess, where songs got faster and faster and the vocals were just shouting. That’s not what real punk was about, (how can you get a message across when no one can understand you) so we stuck with what we believed in. All the original punk bands were still releasing great tuneful records so we were in good company.The album “This is England” came out in 1984 and it was received really well. We got a five start review in “Sounds” which was the best music paper around at the time, and the following year we started our first tour of what was to become a lot of touring all around Europe
Max Muir drummed on T.I.E as opposed to Raish Carter, who drummed on your first 7"...but then Raish was back for your second EP "Pride & Passion" What was the story behind that?
And what became of Max?

When we signed to Razor records it was for a single ( we did an E.P.) and they had an option for an album if the single sold well. They decided to take up their option but our drummer Raish had been sent to jail for 18 months for assault and robbery. The song “Guitars and Crime” on the first album is about Raish. We didn’t tell the record company we didn’t have a drummer for obvious reasons, so we needed a drummer fast. A lad called Max Muir used to play drums in the next room to us where we used to rehearse. He wasn’t in a band but just set up a drum kit and rehearsed on his own. He was a student who wasn’t from Sunderland and was totally different to us but seemed like an obvious choice for us as we needed a drummer to learn the songs straight away. He did the album and a few gigs but then graduated and moved to a different part of the country to take up some job. We never heard from him again! As I said, he was totally different to us and someone who we didn’t even regard as a friend so it was no loss.
A French record label asked us to record an E.P. for them just after Patty (the singer) had left due to his then girlfriend not being happy with him being in a band and going on tour etc. Basically she didn’t trust him and was always trying to get him to leave the band and he finally gave in (this was to be a recurring theme over a number of years)
Anyway, we had a full time drummer (Matty Forster, ex Red Alert) who stayed with us for 14 years! But we now didn’t have a singer just as Raish was released from prison (after serving around half his sentence) He wanted to re-join the band on drums but we told him we were happy with Matty who happened to be 10 times better than Raish on drums anyway, so we gave him a chance on vocals. He sounded o.k. but looking back he tried to copy Patty's vocals but he did the E.P. with us and it sounded o.k.Believe it or not he got jailed again not long after this, so we said that’s the end of Raish being in Red London. He had 2 chances and blew them both! He’s a good friend but his own worst enemy at times!
Unless I'm mistaken, your first vocalist Patty Smith left the band to get married, but later rejoined after his marriage didn't work out? Did that feel like a massive setback at the time?
As I said in the previous question, Patty would fall in love at the drop of a hat. He didn’t actually get married until years later but he would have a constant battle with different girlfriends and he was in and out the band a few times until we said we can’t keep going on like this. A few times it happened at really bad moments just when the band was making progress so it was a setback and it became a bit harder to let him back in, as we sort of knew it was going to happen again despite his reassurances.

Where did you find Marty Clark who replaced Patty? And was that a difficult transition, both sound and image-wise? It seems Clark brought in a bit more "rock" to the band both in terms of sound, singing and hairstyle, although perhaps this was a natural progression for the band anyway? (I have no good images of Marty who,though an excellent singer, will never be thought of as a fashion icon, as he sported a rather alarming series of mullets, bolo ties and vests during his tenure with the band).
We’d known Marty Clark for years. He works on the oil rigs and spends 2 weeks of every month away on the rigs. We used to bump into him now and again at various bars etc. A new music venue called The Kazbah opened up really close to our local bar in the late eighties and we started to make it a bit of a local for all the lads. We started seeing a lot more of Marty along with Steve Smith and Tony Van from Red Alert. We were in that bar a lot! When we needed a singer then it was obvious who we should ask so we asked Marty. He’d been in a few bands before but couldn’t really commit with his job but we told him we’d work tours around him coming back from the oil rigs so he decided to give it a go. Marty is only a year older than me but he never really got into punk. I don’t think he understood it, to be honest! He was more Rock and blues influenced. We always liked rock music but punk was our thing. Anyway we started writing new songs and with Marty's influence and natural progression we started getting more rocky and less punk. Marty was (and still is) a great singer and we had some great times together.

Why did Marty leave and what became of him?

It got to the point where he couldn’t be available for certain tours and in the end we needed to keep gigging and recording.
Even rehearsing new songs got to be a problem because he spent so much time on the oil rigs.He’s still on the oil rigs and we see him now and again and are still best of mates.
Our local bar used to be a bar called “The Howard” in Sunderland and nearly every year around christmas we’d get the likes of Tony Van (guitar), Kid (guitar), me (bass), Matty Forster (drums) or Nobby (Red Alert, drums) and Marty on vocals and do an hour of cover songs by the likes of the Stones, Small Faces, Black Crowes, The Who etc.
One year Mick Geggus and Jeff (Stinky) Turner were up in Sunderland staying with Tony and they came down for the gig. Mick even got up and played 3 songs with us. It was great! We’ve also had Patty getting up on a few songs and Jammy from the Rebels along side a few others over the years. It was always a great party atmosphere.
We don’t do it so much now but it was a sort of tradition for a good few years.
It seems like you guys did well enough in England but were very popular in France and Germany, how do you account for this?

We got asked to do a tour in France in 1985 a year after the first album came out in 1984 so we thought we’d try it out. It was great, a real eye opener. Then we got asked to record for a French label then a different French label and things started getting really good for us over there. After that we started to tour Germany and that was even better! We started to record for german labels and we loved touring so that seemed to work for us. We still played in England but the gigs and punk scene seemed so much better in Germany at that time so we were happy to keep touring Europe and playing the occasional gig in England.

The Clash's last single was the same title and same theme as your first album, which proceeded it.Did you ever get in touch with them and let them know
they'd--perhaps inadvertently--cribbed your idea?

No, we were too much in awe of the Clash to even bring it up. A lot of people commented on the titles being the same etc but we put it down to co-incidence.

12) How did you end up on two French labels for your mid-period material, e.g. "Pride" and "Outlaws"?

We were asked to tour France in the early days and seemed to make a good impression so the record offers followed on from that. The French labels seemed to know what they were doing and we loved the independence of each deal so we went for it.

It's basically self-explanatory, but what are the details of the story behind "The Day They tore the old school down"?

The first school me and Kid ever went to was called “Stansfield Street ”
some years later the school closed and then reopened as a sort of college. This stayed open for a few years and then it closed again but the building still stood for a long time just boarded up. Then one day without warning the bulldozers moved in and demolished the whole building. It was sort of an end of an era and Kid wrote the song not only about the school but about change and I think he really captured what we felt like at the time. The lyrics are really good and really sad in a way.

The LP "Tumbling Dice" had a very polished sound to it. Did you ever feel that you might be getting too "slick" to be considered punk, or that you were losing touch with the original energy?

That’s a really good question. At the time we were becoming better musicians so we wanted to do better produced albums so we thought we were doing the right thing. We were never afraid to try something different but now we were starting to understand how to record more polished albums. It wasn’t until a few years later that we thought “hang on a minute, this is straying too far away from what we were meant to be” We later tried to re-address the balance by booking Frankie Stubbs (of Leatherface) studio in Sunderland, which was cheap and basic. We got Frankie to produce and got back to basics on the “Days Like These” album.
Your cover of Chelsea's "Trouble Is The Day" blows the original out of the water. Did Gene October (Chelsea vocalist) ever call you up and say "Fuck you guys"? While we're on this topic, did you ever play with any of your inspirations?

We’ve always loved Chelsea. I personally think they are the most underrated punk band of all time! We were playing a punk festival years ago (before we’d recorded “Trouble is the Day” ) but we still played it in the live set. Anyway, before we played Gene October came into our dressing room and we were over the moon to meet him and got some photos took etc. (Marty didn’t even know who he was until we told him!) He didn’t know we played that song until we went onstage to play the live set and it blew him away! He came backstage again afterwards and told us he thought it was a great version.
When we came to recording “Trouble is the Day” we didn’t know the words so we played the original over and over again and wrote down what we thought he was singing. The one line we weren’t sure about was the very first line.
Years later when I was playing bass for Red Alert on a German tour, Chelsea were playing the same venue on one of the dates. I loved it, as I got to play for Red Alert and then got to watch Chelsea at the same show. Later on, I told Gene October that Red London had recorded “Trouble is the Day” and asked him what the first line of the song was? Needless to say it was totally different to what Marty had sang on the album! Gene told me we should of contacted him for the lyrics and he asked for a copy of the album. I don’t think we ever got around to sending him one though.
We’ve played with a few of our inspirations and sometimes it’s great and other times it’s a bit of a shitter when you find out what some of them are really like!

Although you've sometimes been described as a skinhead band--with all the baggage that brings--it's hard for me to categorize the group in with the likes of the 4-Skins,
Last Resort etc. Thoughts on this matter?

We were really a punk group but some of us liked the skinhead fashion and were influenced by it. It’s always been close to my heart because I can actually remember when skinheads first came out. I was only at junior school but the skinhead style of clothes had a massive influence on me. It was the first cult that I became aware of and I became a very young skinhead myself. Fast forward to 1977 and a lot of punks and skins followed punk bands (the in fighting between punks and skins seemed to come later) When the so called second wave of punk/New wave came out followed closely by Oi then is seemed that skins and punks got divided, as if you had to be one or the other and couldn’t mix, which is ridiculous. A lot of skin bands are dodgy but by no means all of them. Look at the Angelic Upstarts who are a punk band but attracted a big skin following when Mensi started wearing skin gear. I don’t think you can label Red London as a skin band because we have very little in common with 4 Skins, Last Resort etc, As I said we were always a punk band but we’ll always have a soft spot for real skinheads, not the bonehead arseholes who fucked the whole movement up.
Back to TD for a moment. How many TD tattoos have you seen? I still kick around the idea of getting one myself!

The first time I saw someone with the “Tumbling Dice” tattoo was in Germany at a Red London gig when this skinhead showed me his arm. It looked really good and we took a photo of it and years later it ended up as one of the many small photos on the “Days Like These” album cover. It’s really hard to make a tattoo of a guitar look right but whoever did his tattoo must have been pretty good. We actually got the idea for the Tumbling Dice guitar/heart logo from a Tom Petty album and we asked an artist friend of ours to incorporate the dice and make it look like a tattoo. The guitar on that cover is Tony Van Fraters Kramer guitar. I’ve actually got the “Once Upon a Generation” album logo tattooed on my arm!

What was it like working with Frankie on the "Days" LP? Were you guys Leatherface fans?

It was great working with Frankie. We wanted to get back to basics on the “Days Like These” album so we thought it would be a good idea to book Frankies studio in Sunderland which was only a 16 track studio and very limited technically. The idea was, let's get back to the songs and the spirit of the songs rather than over producing things. We wanted to sound like a punk band again!
During the course of the recording, Frankie told me he was a big fan of The Rebels and was actually at the “Concert in Consett” where the full scale riot kicked off. I didn’t actually know him very well in 1977 - 1978 so I didn’t know he was there. He told me he was really influenced by the Rebels and “Suicide” (first Rebels single) was one of the first songs he learned to play on guitar. I was really surprised but happy to hear that. Frankie is a good friend and a great lad.

You've also worked with Fred Purser who was in both Penetration and The Tygers of Pan Tang? Did you ever tease him about his NWOBHM days?

Fred Purser is the best studio engineer/producer we’ve ever heard. We really took the piss out of him about Tygers of Pan Tang but he laughed along with us and told us some funny stories. We really liked Penetration so we asked him more serious questions about them but still wound him up saying he must have been shagging Pauline (the lead singer) he always denied it but even if he did, I don’t think he’d dare tell us! It’s great to work with Fred and The Dipsomaniacs will be recording the first album there.

The riot that followed The Rebels gig in Consett. Omit nothing!

The Rebels booked a gig in Consett (a former steel town 20 miles away from Sunderland) in 1978 and this town has quite a big following for Newcastle United football team (Sunderlands deadly rivals) there was a lot of our friends wanting to go to the gig so we hired a 45 seat coach and driver and crammed about 60 people on the coach and took a few more with the band in the van. Even before The Rebels started playing there was a few lads with us that began chanting Sunderland football songs which was met with verbal abuse from the mostly hostile Newcastle supporters in the pub. The Rebels started playing and must have been 8 or 9 songs into the set when unknown to us someone had thrown a beer glass over to a group of Newcastle fans and one of them got hit in the eye by he glass. It was pretty dark so most people were unaware what had happened but then the manager of the pub stopped us playing and turned all the lights on. This was probably the worst thing he could of done because all hell broke loose and it became a mass brawl. Even the band were fighting! There was glasses flying everywhere and it seemed like the whole pub wanted to kill the Sunderland lads. Loads of people got hurt on both sides and it really was scary.
Don’t forget the average age of the Rebels was 17. It was the only time I’ve ever been happy to see the cops arrive! The police broke up the last of the fights and stopped further trouble. After the police took a few statements from people in the pub they sent a few police vans to intercept the coach which was by now heading back to Sunderland. The cops got on the coach and arrested the lad that had thrown the glass to start everything off. He ended up going to Borstal (a youth version of jail) for about 9 months.
After we had packed our amps and guitars away we had to take a few people to the local hospital (just a few miles from the gig) in the van. A few of our friends were bleeding and need a few stitches but while we were waiting for them to be treated a load of Newcastle fans had come for treatment as well and the whole thing nearly kicked off again in the hospital waiting room. The lad who had been hit by the first glass was brought out on a stretcher and transferred to Newcastle hospital because his injuries were so serious. We were told he might lose an eye but thankfully he didn’t, and he made a good recovery. The next day the whole band were arrested and taken to the police station. They wanted to charge us with inciting a riot but we told then we didn’t even know what was going on until the manager stopped us playing and turned the lights on. They must of believed us because they didn’t charge us with anything but warned us they would be keeping an eye on us from now on!
Before that gig, Jammy (the bass player) told me he was under pressure from his girlfriend to leave the band so I asked him what he was going to do and he said “Let’s see how it goes tonight” talk about famous last words!
To rub salt into Jammy'swounds he had lent an amp from a friend for that gig and when the beer glasses were flying around a full glass landed on top of the amp and the valves blew up! He had to pay for the amp to be fixed. In case your wondering….. Yes, he did leave the band.

Strangest gig? Best gig? Worst?

There’s been a few strange gigs over the years, I remember one in Germany that was in some underground club that used to be a gay club. There was tunnels leading everywhere and while we were doing the soundcheck some really rich looking snobby man and woman came in to complain about the volume, and this was only the sound check! We also played in a small field in France and slept in a barn afterwards and got bit to fuck from the insects living there. It was really bizarre. As for best gig, there’s been loads of great ones and Germany was probably the country where a lot of them happened. There used to be a club in Berlin called the K.O.B. club and we had some brilliant gigs in there.

What's the story and plans for your new band The Dipsomaniacs?

The lads in the Dipsomaniacs are made up from ex and current members of Angelic Upstarts, Red Alert, Red London, Leatherface, The Rebels and The Pits, in fact the whole of the Angelic Upstarts current line up (apart from Mensi) are The Dipsomaniacs! The only difference from the Angelic Upstarts current line up and The Dipsomaniacs is the fact that Steve Smith (Red Alert singer) is the singer for The Dipsomaniacs and Mensi is the singer for the Upstarts.
It got to the point where Mensi will only do very limited gigs so instead of hanging around only playing a gig every few months we decided to branch out and get our own band together and The Dipsomaniacs is the result. Dickie Hammond (one of the guitarists) thought it was a very apt name for us. We found out there’s a band of the same name in New Jersey but we’ve got a star in the logo and I don’t think too many people will get us confused! I hope people will check out the myspace site
You've played now with RA, RL, The Rebels, TheUpstarts and probably some more I don't know about.Have you ever gotten confused and started playing "I'm
an Upstart" when you were supposed to be playing "Downtown Riot"?

It does get confusing at times trying to remember all the songs! Over the years I’ve only ever played in 5 bands though. The 4 you mention above and now The Dipsomaniacs. A few times Red London and Red Alert toured Germany together and I had to play bass for both bands and that was really hard. I used to joke that one plectrum knew the Red Alert songs and the other knew the Red London songs, maybe it was true!

You and many of your bandmates and friends are middle aged now with families. Advice for how old punks age gracefully?

I think it’s all about not losing the spirit you had when you were young. Most people I know in the punk scene are great lads but couldn’t be old and respectable if they tried. To a certain extent life is what you make it. One of The Dipsomaniacs songs called “All of Us” is about the spirit I’m talking about.

When, Where and Why did Red London break up?

Kid had married a German lass he met on one of the Red London tours and went to live in Germany for a while (about 3 years) This made it really hard to function as a band but we used to collect him from Bremen (the German town he lived in) in the tour van and tour Germany before dropping him off again! We even recorded the “Once Upon a Generation” album in Germany. On the last tour we did, we played all the gigs except one in Germany and recorded the “Live in Leipzig” album on one of the dates. The last gig of that tour was in Paris, France and it was really fitting that we should play the last ever Red London gig in France, the first country we ever played outside of England. Someone did a video of the gig and sent it to me, which was the icing on the cake!
Kid came back to England but settled about 100 miles away from the rest of the band so it was still difficult to continue, so we more or less knew that was the end of the band without anybody actually saying anything! Which I thought was great. Nobody left the band but we all knew. As the saying goes…Old soldiers never die, they just fade away!

On the tombstone of Red London in the rock graveyard, what does the epitaph read?

This is not so much just for Red London but it’s for the lads who have gone on to play for the likes of Red Alert, Angelic Upstarts, The Rebels etc.
Sticks Warrington or Wora as we know him, (He played for The Rebels then Angelic Upstarts and then the Cockney Rejects) once said something to me years ago that really stuck in my mind. We were all from around the Roker area in Sunderland and he was reflecting on the things that we’d done between us and he said “Not bad for five raggy-arsed lads from Roker”
I think that sums it up because between us we’ve done practically everything we ever wanted to do and a whole lot more!

And finally....closing comments and last orders!

It’s been great doing this interview. It’s really brought back some great memories. We’ve had some amazing times and met some great lads on the road. Some who have become life long friends and if anybody asks “Would you do it all again”? Guess what the answer would be?


Red London - Interview


"What really knocks me out is a book, when you're all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone...".

Holden Caulfield, The Catcher In The Rye

Holden Caulfield's famous quote about books applies just as much to punk rock and roll. And for years it was a source of boundless frustration for me that I could never seem to contact the people who brought me such tunes as "Autumn Victory", "Children Of War", "Days like these" and many more.

When I interviewed former Red London sticksman and occasional vocalist Raish Carter last fall--see "Sascha vs. Raish" on Sleazegrinder--I would have also loved to interview either Kid or Gaz Stoker, the fraternal pistons behind the Sunderland combo, but at the time it just didn't seem to be in the cards.

As luck would have it, though, alcohol fumed rumors of a Sunderland punk supergroup filtered through myspace. Said supergroup, consisting of members of Red Alert, Red London, the Angelic Upstarts and Leatherface does exist under the alias "The Dipsomaniacs". When I found their site I realized that it was finally my chance to hone in on the Yeti-like Red London. I use that phrase not to describe the burly and genial bass player of both bands, Gaz Stoker, but to illustrate the fact that while every punk aficionado I've encountered knows about Red Alert--and usually sings their praises to high heaven--information on the other Reds has been chronically sketchy and in short supply in the US. It's never been clear why these bands, which hearkened from the same town at virtually the same time got such lopsided representation in the States. Maybe it was Red Alert's appearance on those "Punk and Disorderly" comps everyone owned in the 1980's, or the high profile of being on the legendary No Future label that released their first records that ensured their immortality. However if you mention the equally talented Red London half the time you get a blank stare. Or, they've been written off as some kind of Red Alert side project, which in fact couldn't be further from the case.

Although the band no longer exists, it's high time that they were given their proper due in the pantheon of rebel rock. It's never been fashionable in music writing to wear your heart on your sleeve, but with Red London I could do no less. To steal a title from one of their albums, they have been the soundtrack to my life. Red London had all the right ingredients for me: passionate without being embarrassing, anthemic without being sloganeering and political without finger pointing or didacticism. I've touched on some of this in the Raish article so there is no sense in writing about it all over again. It's sufficient to say that my world would have been a far poorer place without such albums as "This Is England", "Outlaws", "Days Like These" and the brilliant mistake of "Tumbling Dice" which veered so close into professional and polished sounding pop punk rock with a socialist bent it could have created a genre into itself. Special mention must go as well to arguably their best song, "The Day They tore the old school down" which as close to The Faces' song "Oh La La" in tone and emotive power as the punk generation is likely to get. And it's hard for a band to forge a distinctive sound while blowing through lead vocalists like pints of lager at the bar, but Red London did it standing on their collective head. That's tenacity defined, folks.

Getting in touch with Gaz, and through his good graces Kid, was my Holden Caulfield moment and I tried to make the absolute most of it. I sent them both the same set of questions, which finally threw some light onto this class act for me (I'd only been following them since about 1987 for crying out loud)and I hope a few others out there who share my interest in street rock and roll--the genuine article--and not what is dictated by the music industry to teen internet and mall rats.

Despite the demise of the band after the subdued-but-still-fighting "Once Upon A Generation", both Kid and Gaz have been busy.It won't come as any surprise that outside of the band, Kid is an accomplished writer with a Sunderland punk manifesto "Oi Stories", a bio of Red Alert and a fictional account of Red London "One For The Road" under his belt. Gaz, meanwhile, keeps the fires burning with his work with The Dipsomaniacs and occasionally The Upstarts.

Many thanks to Gaz and Kid for their time and consideration. And also Tony Frater (guitarist extraordinaire ) Matty Foster (on the sticks ) Patty and Steve Smith, Marty Clark, Steve Straughan, Craig Casson and anyone else involved in the band. Keep the faith!

Format note: I asked the brothers the same questions, but Gaz did such a fiendishly good job that half way through Kid's interrogation it was mutually decided that, as the songwriter for the band, he should divert from the queries and write a bit about some of the tunes themselves.

Cultural note: Gaz pointed out to me immediately a gaffe I'd made in the Raish piece, where I said that the band came from Sunderland, which I thought of as part of Newcastle. In fact, Sunderland is very much it's own city and folks from those parts are not Geordies, as I had stated earlier:
"Red London don’t come from Newcastle. They came from Sunderland.
Newcastle and Sunderland are 2 cities in the North-East of England that are only separated by 12 miles but have a really fierce rivalry between them. People from Newcastle (Geordies) and Sunderland (Mackems) more or less hate each other. Newcastle is much more well known than Sunderland, (another thing Sunderland people resent) Bands that have come from Sunderland include The Rebels, Red London, Red Alert, Leatherface, Toy Dolls, while The Angelic Upstarts came from South Shields , which is more or less in between Sunderland and Newcastle (Mensi supports Sunderland football team)".

Now, onto the interviews.

Red Sascha


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crux - Sounds 21/05/83

Nuneaton herberts Crux, in interview with uncle Gary Bushell from 83.
'Give Us Work' is for all unemployed builders and construction lads & lasses all over the country.
Just the one tack, as this is available pretty much everywhere. Taken from The Oi! collection split with The Samples.

Crux - Give Us Work

Friday, October 10, 2008

Leyton Buzzards - I'm Hanging Around

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Great single from 1979. Always nice to hear Mr. Peel's voice as well. Before 'Art School' we get to hear his dulcet tones.
They should make it onto most of the 'Now That's What I Call Punk' comps if you ask me. But what do I know. 'Flying Pigs' on this I think is fantastic. Make of it what you will.
Safe to say, if you like stuff from late 70's, Clash, Generation X, (early) Adam & the Ants, John Otway (anyone!) you'll love this.
Worth a spin. I swear.

Tracks:- Hanging Around/I Don't Want To Go To Art School/No Dry Ice Or Flying Pigs

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Leyton Buzzards - I'm Hanging Around

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Crass - Live Bristol Trinity 18/06/80

If you've ever heard the, 'Stop it, you'll ruin it for everyone!' CD. This bootleg from 1980 is in a similar vein.
There was a great atmosphere at Inner Terrestrials on Friday, (one minor scuffle, little Police raid, just to remind us they were there) they were even giving away free pizza. The 80's my flowers, were a darker time indeed (predominantly). You could guarantee it would kick off at some point, it was just a question of magnitude. I wasn't at this gig, but I went to many where a similar atmosphere prevailed.

Crass - Live Bristol Trinity 18/06/80

You can hear the desperation in Steve's voice, when he's telling people to calm down. My favourite bit, is where one of the very obviously Jamaican caretakers of Trinity, appealing for calm, says, 'What are we fighting for, we're all white'.
I normally split files i've ripped from tapes. I think you need this in full, just to add to the claustrophobia of it all.

From the same gig. Ten tracks of prime Poison Girls who were support that night. Tracks separated.

Poison Girls - Live Bristol Trinity 18/06/80

'Thank you very much. Enjoy yourselves!'

Inner Terrestrials - Newport TJ's 3/10/08

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Anther great night at the legendary TJ's last night. Missed a few, but caught the end of Cosmo (anarcho busker, and funny as hell), KilnAboy (great Anarcho folk band) & No Choice (scene stalwarts since 82, who sound fresh as a a daisy, brilliant stuff.) Search the blog & you'll probably find things by most of the aforementioned.
Headliners for the night we're Inner Terrestrials. Back again. Superb live band. Although I tend to find myself watching Paco, the drummer, for most of the set, as I just love his drumming.
Best gig of the year? It's up there.
For you, my fave IT! song, (and favourite film, as it goes) Enter The Dragon.

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Inner Terrestrials - Enter The Dragon

You gotta see this lot live.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Conflict - Carlo Giuliani

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I know you've all got it. But still... when they catch a ball right, Conflict make it into my 'Goals of the Season' some years. They split the old onion bag with this one. Sounding as great as anything off 'Ungovernable Force'. Still my favourite Conflict album. This ranks right up there. Great single.
THINK! Ok I will...
Oh yeah.. Inner Terrestrials tomorrow with Paco drumming. Paco drumming is a sight to behold indeed my friends. Great style which drove some of my favourite Conflict stuff above & beyond.

Tracks :- Carlo Giuliani/A Gaping Hole

Conflict - Carlo Giuliani

TV-Party - Nothing's Easy

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TV-Party, from one of my old stomping grounds High Wycombe. This came out about 2004, I think. Sounds like, if Chaos U.K. had a sideline as a Spermbirds tribute band. I'd go and see that. I'd quite like to see these as well.
What I really like about this release, (I find this common to a lot of things I like) is that it sounds like it could fall to pieces at any time, but still stays together. Which I love. Click covers for myspace stuff, they've got a few singles out now as well, which I think I need.

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TV-Party - Nothing's Easy