Archive for the ‘Links & Downloads’ Category

‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’ Book Launch December 2014 / Crass Interview 1984 / World Domination Enterprises 1985

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

ISBN 978-0-9930190-0-5 to order from book stores or buy direct from HERE

During a blustery and wet Thursday night in Brixton south London, a book launch was being held. I had traveled from Dagenham and was rather moist when entering the Windmill pub near to Brixton prison, and a lifetime ago near to where I used to stay in a squat with Sean ‘Gummidge’ and various other kindly folk along Elm Park, the road directly opposite the prison.

The book in question that was being launched (even though I had my copy already sent to me) was ‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’, the book title lifted from a line from ‘Bloody Revolutions’ by Crass.

Within the binding of this new book there is a lot of recognisable names being interviewed at length about their pasts and the present status that their find themselves in. Seemingly a roll call of the inspirational people in the punk world that I had held in high regard in my younger life.

Vi Subversa, Penny Rimbaud, Mark Mob, Steve Lake, Gee Vaucher, Steve Ignorant, Pete Fender and Sid and Zilla of Rubella Ballet, Mark Stewart of The Pop Group and the On U Sound Maffia are all featured at length.

Our very own Tony D is in the book.

Our United States cousins, Ian MacKaye, Steve Albini and Jello Biafra are also featured.

There are many other names who were interviewed and have inclusion in the book, all wonderful people in their own right.

This is one hell of a publication with some stunning photographic portraits of the interviewees and original artwork from Gee Vaucher. Flicking and speed reading through some parts of the book prior to the launch was a pleasing experience for me, so I was certainly up to attending the book launch. The book launch itself was invitation only and only for one hundred and fifty guests. I was one of those invited by the writing team a week or two prior to this event.

After getting a soaking at the start of my journey from Dagenham and suffering several train delays and cancellations, I was not expecting this night to fully (or even partly) uplift my already dampened spirits.

I was thankfully wrong.

Firstly, and to my surprise, there were people actually there in attendance considering the weather. Secondly a lot of the people that were there were the same inspirational people in the punk world that I have respected for well over thirty years and had been interviewed for this published book. Thirdly the alcohol was free, and lastly The Mob performance backing up Steve Lake (The Zob? Mounds?) was a moment to treasure for many years to come. Sound man on the night, Grant Showbiz, long time associate of The Mob and Zounds.

The Mobs set (without Steve Lake) that followed on in this small venue, was one of the best and most intimate performances that I have witnessed by the band since the reformation, and that is no mean feat.

After my initial reservations of this evening traveling down from Dagenham, I would go as far as stating that this whole evening was one of the best evenings that I have attended throughout the whole of 2014.

I decided to ‘video’ The Zobs / Mounds part of the evening and just take plain photographs of The Mob after that performance. These performances were the last of the evening. There had been earlier (and very solid) performances from TV Smith, Dunstan Bruce, a short Steve Ignorant spoken word section and finally Steve Lakes Slow Erosion.

‘A Little Bit More’, ‘Can’t Cheat Karma’ and ‘Dancing’ were the Zounds songs that were getting an airing on this wet night in this small venue in Brixton. I knew this information in advance so was prepared for the videoing of the performance.

I have never done a video before on a camera (or any thing else for that matter) and the video turned itself off automatically after twelve minutes or so. I guess that’s what it was set to. There was a lead and / or amplifier problem on stage which Grant Showbiz and Steve Lake had to deal with, taking a couple of minutes to solve wasting THAT time that might have been useful. My video stopped automatically right at the very end of ‘Dancing’.

Right at the end. Perfect timing. All well and good you shout.

Well not quite.

As anyone in attendance will tell you, ‘Dancing’ went onto a perfect segue of ‘No Doves Fly Here’ which then went onto another perfect segue of ‘Dancing’ again. A massively special and moving moment, harmonising those two classic songs by those two bands from the very early 1980’s sadly missed due to auto turn off!

What a bummer, I would have loved to have included the whole ‘set’ but to be honest I had no idea what the sound quality of the video would be as I was stuck underneath a speaker, or what the quality would be capturing the images of the band in a dark room with my battered old camera. I paid it no mind for the rest of the night.

The Mob performed a powerful set throughout the rest of the night that was enough for me.

Myself, Mark Astronaut, a pretty drunk Tony D and for a short time TV Smith and Gaye Advert all got on the train at Brixton finally splitting up at various stations along the Victoria line.

When I got home I uploaded photographs and the video and to my surprise the video was not only useable but also very clear both in the images and the audio, this paradoxically made me feel slightly worse that my camera had turned off automatically!

I had no idea how to convert my video onto YouTube, but the next day after some advice I managed to upload my first ever video to that platform and then to share it onto various sites to a very positive reaction.

Tonight, the night of my birthday in fact, I share the video onto KYPP as well as a small selection of photographs I took on the night.

Richard Brigandage and Mark Mob

Tony D

Neil Faction / Blyth Power and Mark

Mick Lugworm, Tony D and Chris Low

Sid Rubella and Vi Subversa

Steve Ignorant

Tess

Tony D and Mark Mob

Richard Brigandage, Steve Ruddle and Chris Low

Steve Lake

Marta and Mark Mob

Tony D and Zillah Rubella

Sean ‘Gummidge’ Wat Tyler / Hard Skin

Tony D and Chris Low

Mark Mob

Grant Showbiz and Mark Astronaut

Steve Ignorant

Steve Lake

The Zob / Mounds

The Zob / Mounds

The Zob / Mounds

The Mob

The Mob

The Mob

Due to now having a workable YouTube account and knowing how to use it, I decided to upload some other videos (actually super 8 footage) onto YouTube.

The first upload was The Zob / Mounds video that I took the night before of course.

The second upload was an intimate interview with most members of Crass recorded on super 8 video in 1984 around the impossibly small kitchen table at Dial House.

How that many members of Crass all got around that table remains a mystery to me!

Possibly the last ever interview with Crass.

The original super 8 cassette was transferred to a DVDR several years ago for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho and now was my chance to share this interview which Penny Rimbaud has informed me “it could have been a Sounds interview because there’s a Sounds article of the time where I’m wearing the same green polo shirt that I was in the film. It must have been one of the few times in my life when I haven’t had sideboards”.

Incidentally Penny Rimbaud was meant to be at the book launch but felt unwell on the day so had to stay home.

The third video I placed up onto my YouTube channel had also been transferred from a super 8 cassette to a DVDR several years ago again for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho. This was a live performance of one of my favourite bands of the mid to late 1980’s World Domination Enterprises.

World Domination Enterprises were a decent night out. I had attended several of World Domination Enterprises London based gigs, and I never once felt that I was not witnessing something special within the venue that the band were performing in. All ‘Dread At The Control’ T shirts and Simonon bass moves.Very loud, lots of feedback, blinding. The band which used to be named 012, included as a member Kif Kif (ex of Here And Now) on grating, scraping guitar and snotty, fuck you vocals.

World Domination Enterprises were part of that whole west London Latimer Road / Freestonia squat / housing association scene. A sort of Mutoid Waste Company backing band, with links to J.B (Weird Tales / Genius Records) and Grant Showbiz (Street Level studios) Meanwhile Gardens and the Idiot Ballrooms.

So I have all those videos up now on YouTube which are now shared onto this KYPP post.

As an aside, one other person that was interviewed for the ‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’ book and was also at the book launch / gig in person was Graham Burnett.

Graham had his new publication the ‘Vegan Book Of Permaculture’ on the merchandise stall that night in Brixton, so I bought a copy.

A must have book if you are vegan, or thinking of turning vegan, detailing the permaculture lifestyle alternatives and including many vegan recipes all held within the three hundred pages of this book.

Today marks thirty years since Graham became vegan, on the 13th December 1984.

Graham stated; “even as a small child I seemed to make the mental connection between the cows I would see in fields and the meat on my plate, and I became vegetarian when I left school in 1977. By the early 1980s I’d begun to realise that the dairy industry had as much (if not more) involvement in animal cruelty as the meat industry, but it was through meeting a young woman who became a life long friend called Seema Kapoor at a protest in 1984 that I finally joined the dots and become vegan myself”.

Well done to Graham celebrating a ‘milestone in your life choice’ anniversary on the same day I am celebrating my birthday!

ISBN 978-1-85623-201-2 to order from book stores or buy direct from HERE

Finally I have added a documentary film of Mark Astronaut.

Mark Astronaut has links with The Mob also with Steve Lake and Zoundz. Mark also has links with J.B who helped release the debut Astronauts album ‘Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs’ on Genius records in 1980. The person engineering the tracks on that album was Grant Showbiz, The Mob, Steve Lake, Grant Showbiz and Mark himself were all present at the book launch in Brixton. Steve Lake stating from the stage, prior to starting his set with Slow Erosion, that “I feel I am at Meanwhile Gardens in 1978″!

Mark Astronaut sadly never had links with Crass, which is a shame as if he had, The Astronauts could have shared in some of the ‘glory’ of having a 7″ single released on Crass records. Probably.

I remember being interviewed for this documentary by Tali at the office of Rob Challice (ex All The Madmen records) in Shoreditch several years ago, and have not thought about the film for a very long time. I assumed the film had been given up on. Been canned.

But… Here it is, found by Robin Basak I believe, who co-incidentally also released an Astronauts album in 1990 on his Acid Stings record label.

This documentary is something special, showing Mark Astronaut at ease and being interviewed with care and consideration by Tali.

The talking heads include Steve Lake, Sean ‘Gummidge’ (ex All The Madmen records), Rob Challice, Joe Davin (The Astronauts / Cravats). Also Alan Clayson and Cowley and Bob Green (all ex Astronauts), Andy Tuck (Idiot Strength / Thatcher On Acid and The Astronauts), J.B, and several others.

I also appear on the film for very brief moments at roughly 3.40 and 37 minutes grinding my teeth!

Hoping you enjoy all the videos.

Brigandage – Gung Ho Records – 1986 / John Peel session – 1983

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Pretty Funny Thing / One Touch / Ripped And Torn (DOWNLOAD)

Horsey Horsey / I Need Something Part 1 + Part 2 / Angel Of Vengeance (DOWNLOAD)

Brigandage were a band that I enjoyed listening to from the earlier 1980’s until the mid 1980’s. The Peel session that I had taped in 1983 and the ‘F.Y.M’ *** cassette that was released a year later were never far away from my cassette player. The Brigandage performances were not too shabby either.

*** Not sure if it just a coincidence but the original Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine was going to be called Fuck Your Mother. It might not be as the members of Brigandage would rub shoulders with the Puppy Collective in the early 1980’s. Brigandage also had a track entitled ‘Ripped And Torn’. The moniker for Tony D’s original fanzine from 1976 to 1979.

I waited patiently for this album to be released, and with some anticipation, after I got the vinyl from Ugly Child Records (after Small Wonder Records had left the same premises in Walthamstow) in the mid 1980’s, I played it and ended up having some reservations about the album.

I realised that the band were not a garage band any more.

There was more sensitivity throughout the seven tracks with (in my mind at least) a huge spoonful of Patti Smith circa ‘Radio Ethiopia’ as an inspiration for the sound coming off the grooves stamped onto the vinyl. I heard subtle Velvet Underground guitar styles on several of the tracks, this was no bad thing. It was just a little too different to what I was expecting at that time.

Similar to the Blood And Roses album released at a similar time, I felt that nothing was as good as the cassettes and the Peel sessions, or would ever be.

The Brigandage album grew on me after a few weeks (as did the Blood And Roses album incidently) and both those albums got to sit nicely alongside the cassettes and the Peel sessions by the end of several weeks.

Geoff and his F.O / Gung Ho Records were based on the floor above All The Madmen Records at 97 Caledonian Road in Kings Cross. All The Madmen Records moved into the area after departing from Brougham Road in Hackney. I got to see various members of Brigandage every now and again, going up and down the stairs passing our rather unimpressive office space towards Geoffs rather unimpressive office space.

As an aside, in early 1989 when I started working at the Southern Studios base along Myddleton Road in Wood Green, I used to spend a fair amount of time with Harvey Birrell who had engineered the tracks that appeared on this Brigandage album. This was one of his first ever engineering works that he had applied his attention to he told me. Harvey was engineering full time at Southern Studios after John Loder took more of a back seat in engineering affairs.

Many albums have been released by many bands who had recorded at Southern Studios, that have the Harvey Birrell ‘touch’ stamped into the grooves of the vinyl.

Thanks to Richard Cabut A.K.A Richard North A.K.A Richard Kick for supplying the two essays below and for the transcript of the N.M.E article from 1983. Thanking Richard also for supplying some of the scanned material. I supplied other bits and bobs.

Thanks to Paul May for supplying the Brigandage John Peel session in a rather roundabout way. My original copy got lost one sad day, some decades ago.

PRETTY FUNNY THING

Ciao Brigandage! Pretty Funny Thing was Brigandage, or at least the Brigandage that I was a part of disappearing into the night like the detail on a fading picture. But what a vivid picture it had once been!

Full of cocky swagger, spunk and self-regard – all very appealing I know.

We had successfully fended off approaches from a succession of record companies that we felt we were far too cool for. We made the common mistake of believing time to be imaginary. One year was like another. Eventually everything would fall into place. And in a way, I suppose it did.

I had close ties with Geoff Pitts at F.O Records who, prompted by the relative success of our cassette only release F.Y.M, insisted that we record an album. He even paid for it.

The Pistols’ punk that had characterised the tone and lustre of the band’s former incarnation (circa the John Peel session and, to a certain diminished degree, our very own FYM cassette) was gone. Pushing out the Steve Jones chord progressions had, by the mid-80s, become a little too embarrassing even for Michelle, although these things go in cycles.

So, before recording the tracks that eventually appeared on the album, we asked guitarist Glen Cahalin to play in any way he liked, as long as it didn’t sound like Steve Jones and The Sex Pistols.

Besides, Michelle and I had new loves and obsessions that fuelled our rock ‘n’ roll dreams. Namely, Warhol’s Duchampian or Baudelairian sensibilities (yeah, well…); the Velvet Underground archetype that spoke of viciousness, lust ‘n’ hate and leather (a fantasy of style); life as film noir, existential, nihilistic and a little apocalyptic, I guess; silver art; white heat; pale, frail glamour; the sheen of squalor that spangles; downtown slow dive lowlifes; and other cheap throwaway thrills.

You get the idea. It was bound to end in tears. But before that we had an album to record.

This was the Uptight Brigandage. Clean, hard and laced with layers of acerbity and disdain, although not to be mistaken for some sub – Thunders wasted glam crew of the time. We had a clear understanding of the here and now, and a desire to get out of it. Rather than just get out of it.

We cared with unflinching sincerity.

The album was recorded in some toilet (literally – great acoustics) called Globe Studio, and mixed at Terminal 24 near the Elephant by Harvey Birrell, a nice guy then and now.

I mostly remember the anxiety and paranoia, the speed, suspicion and delirium, the insomniac insouciance, the psychic fallout, the melodrama and the mania. Sophisticated cool well and truly blown, and ‘the buzzerama and the acrylic high’ (quote from Edie Sedgwick that we nicked for the sleeve notes).

Yes, it was all fun and frolics!

In this light, and listening almost thirty years later, the resulting vinyl seems weirdly commonsensical, slightly frigid (that’s speed for you I suppose). But it does have blood and bones and enough emotional jolts and poetic suss.

There’s some small sparks of beauty and genuineness, and perhaps a few little blazes of spectacularity to boot. Even if I do say so myself…

Unsurprisingly, the band split shortly after the album was released. The magic was elsewhere, but some of it remains here, in this vinyl, too.

RICHARD CABUT – NOVEMBER 2014

Mint copies of the Pretty Funny Thing album are available directly from Richard Cabut. £3.99 each plus 3.75 postage. Orders from outside the UK, please contact for postage rates.

Paypal is good – payable to richard.cabut@btinternet.com

Richard is also contactable via twitter @richardcabut

INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD CABUT – FEBRUARY 2014

Q: Could you tell about the bands with which Brigandage made the “scene” in the early 80’s? How did you all feel about the situation around punk at the time?

Richard Cabut: I liked the punk scene in the early 80s. I liked it in the mid Seventies, too. The late 70s, though, were like the third Monday in January, officially recognized by the medical profession as the day on which more UK citizens wake up depressed than any other. The reality of another grinding year kicks in, the horror of the Christmas credit card bill bites, and the misery of another rain dashed day dawns. It was like that.

But the early 80s were another punk Spring. Punk at that time became a way of life for an increasingly large and motivated group of people. Moreover, folk were, to paraphrase Malcolm McLaren, creating an environment in which they could truthfully run wild. We were making scenes that took people away from the confines of school and work. Instead of just listening to records in isolation and going to the odd gig, people were having life adventures.

Obviously, Brigandage and positive punk inherit a lot from the anarcho punk scene and shares a lot with the Batcave scene. But positive punks didn’t do much drugs and alcohol whilst, for example, we can read about Crass’ Autonomy Centre that “the place quite rapidly became a drug haven where the majority of people would just get pissed, stoned or worse” and on the other hand, contradictory to anarcho bands, you did cared about the image, but seems not to the extent of creating your gigs “glamorous art-house events” as Andi Sex Gang described the Batcave gigs.

Q: So what ideas you shared with anarcho and gothic scenes, and what ideas made you different to them?

Richard Cabut: Funnily, and from an objective viewpoint, the original Brigandage (before I joined), seemed to offer an instant nostalgia. Their musical references harked back only four or five years to the rot ‘n’ roll of the Pistols. Stylistically, the focus was Johnny Rotten and other 76ers – check drummer Ben Addison (later Boys Wonder and Corduroy) on the NME Positive Punk front cover for instance. A great look. I suppose Brigandage appealed to those punks who wanted a link to a mythologized recent past, and a sense of authenticity. Also some sort of purity, panache and bravura in terms of their punk culture. I was a fan, but it was a very niche audience.

Q: Even though Brigandage is quiet now, it seems to be the longest living positive punk bands. 1983 saw the end of UK Decay, Southern Death Cult, Blood & Roses and The Mob. By 1984 there was no original Sex Gang Children any more. Brigandage (though in varying line-ups) survived until 1986 so it’s extremely interesting to hear your thoughts about positive punk whether it died by 1984 or survived and evolved (and may be still does well nowadays?).

Richard Cabut: Well, I wrote the Positive Punk article for the NME in January / February 1983. At that time there were three distinct groupings in the punk scene. The Oi-sters and Herberts, who were basic and gumby-ish punk music, fashion and behaviour. The anarchos, who were like a mass of black, in terms of clothes and demeanor. And then you had a loose, nameless collection of punks and former punks who were colourful, and full of, it seemed, vim, dash and go-ahead spirit. These folk tended to go to see roughly the same bands and attended the same sort of clubs. I wrote about many of the bands and places, ranging from the Batcave and the Specimen, to the Mob (who were sort of anarcho-plus).

It was obvious that something was going on, and the NME asked me to write a piece about it. Originally, I didn’t use the name ‘positive punk’, or any umbrella term. But the paper needed an easy hook to snag readers. Positivity, I suggested when asked, was a common denominator, so hey presto… a little alliteration goes a long way. Of course, Positive Punk was a disaster. As soon as something is named, people have a target to attack. Also, factions within the scene quickly appeared.

The style magazine The Face, for instance, did a Positive Punk piece, but the Sex Gang Children refused to become involved – because they couldn’t control it. Their noses had been put out of joint. The big wigs in the scene, your Sex Gangs and Southern Death Cults, had suddenly been usurped, or so they thought, by upstarts like Brigandage and Blood and Roses.

Overnight, the atmosphere changed from togetherness to suspicion, jealousy and loathing. This would probably have happened in any case, but the Positive Punk article greatly accelerated the process. As far as I am concerned, Positive Punk described the ‘Passage of a few People (wearing makeup and top hats) through a Rather Brief Moment in Time.’ I think it was accurate. In hindsight, the music wasn’t great, which was probably the real downfall. And then it turned into goth, with even worse music.

Q: Could you tell more about the band’s attitude towards politics? On one hand your sympathy to anarchists and situationists is obvious, but on another you always underlined that you don’t want to be locked within one particular conception like, say, Crass were.

Richard Cabut: None of us were activists, as such, or intellectuals. I think we were interested in the fantastic slogans, ‘They said that oblivion was their ruling passion. They wanted to reinvent everything each day; to become the masters of their own lives.’ That kind of thing. We didn’t give a damn whether or not the Situs were a distillation of Hegel’s abstract universalism into a totalising critique, or whether they were a mere echo of Adorno and the Frankfurt School. Or, whatever. And I don’t recall attending any marches or political meetings of any sort.

I guess, in my time, the band was probably more influenced by someone like Richard Neville and his ‘Politics of Play.’ In his 1960s book, Neville stands aside from the straight Left. The straights are about working hard and supportively, while for us there was no wish to work at all. The straights wanted work for everyone (and this was a time of mass unemployment) whereas we shrugged off the very thought of routine to focus on the exciting stuff, and somehow managed to get by.

We were like kids (hence the idea of Playpower). I was positive that self-empowered, autodidactic, spiky guttersnipes were an upsurge of the future, certain to overcome the old political order – the RCPs, the SWPs, the stolid Left, the more traditional anarchists, even. I remember sneering at the people who supported the Miners Strike. Why would anyone want to work underground? I regret this attitude now. We should all have stood firm.

Perhaps I was, I hesitate to say ‘we’ in case it offends, arrogant with a sense of entitlement. My impression, to quote from a piece I more recently wrote for 3ammagazine, about Brigandage life at that time, ‘We were certainly not poets of the dispossessed. We strutted our Billy-the-Kid sense of cool — bombsite kids clambering out of the ruins — posing our way out of the surrounding dreariness. We were living in our own colourful movie (an earlyish Warhol flick we liked to think), which we were sure was incomparably richer, more spontaneous and far more magical than the depressing, collective black-and-white motion-less picture that the 9-5 conformists, or those that stumbled around with their booze-fuelled regrets, had to settle for.’

Have you ever seen the old TV show Bewitched? In one episode, the character Endora, a witch, says of humans, ‘they all look the same to me, noses to the grindstone shoulders to the wheel, feet planted firmly on the ground, no wonder they can’t fly!’ She adds: ‘It’s fine for them but not for us. We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound that has no boundaries through which we can’t pass. We are found in music, in a flash of colour, we live in the wind and in a sparkle of star…’ Which is, with tongue slightly in cheek, kind of how I thought of Brigandage, at that time.

Q: Did you face aggression from skinheads and orthodox punks? Was the scene strong enough to resist the violence? Did you adhere to the “fight back” approach or preferred to solve the situations in a peaceful way by any means?

Richard Cabut: I have been badly beaten up by skinheads on a couple of occasions, but not in the context of Brigandage. The Skinhead Terror at the time was very real. But they didn’t really go to the gigs we played at or went to. However, if you were unlucky enough to be caught out on the street, you could come away with a hiding. It was difficult because most punks didn’t move in big gangs. Skinheads often did. The sense of punk individuality, as has oft been pointed out, was both its strength and weakness.

Q: “Brigandage support any politics that DOES, that stands for individuality, humanity, rebellion” – that’s what you stated in your fanzine that came with FYM cassette. Do you still adhere to this idea? And what do you think about the political situation nowadays?

Richard Cabut: These days I still like the slogans. I like the poetry of that sort of politics. I once wrote a sort of verse, which talked about the Romance of Anarchy becoming Reality. I still believe that the romance is grounded in a reality that makes clear that, on all levels, the process of daily life is based on a trade of humiliations and agro, as the Situs said. I still think that ‘alienated work is a scandal’, that so-called ‘leisure’ is an affront, and that ‘real life is elsewhere.’

Where? Well, the pertinent questions, I still think, are not about restructuring economic systems, although I admit on a day-to-day level that helps, but about how quickly the underpinnings of society – all the givens, great unmentionables, so-called axioms – the fact that it is a closed-loop feedback system which easily sops up and throws back challenges and critiques – can be dissolved. I demand that this happens. And I feel, to paraphrase the Situ slogan and Malcolm McClaren’s shirt, I am entirely reasonable in my demand for the impossible.

POSITIVE PUNK N.M.E ARTICLE WRITTEN BY RICHARD NORTH A.K.A RICHARD CABUT – FEBRUARY 1983

Brigandage John Peel session: Let It Rot / Heresy / Hope / Fragile (DOWNLOAD)

PART ONE

“Don’t dream it, be it.”- Rocky Horror Show

The boy sits before the staring mirror and ponders his clean-shaven reflection. Smiling, he selects a carefully compiled tape and slots it into his machine.

‘Fatman’ is the first track: Southern Death Cult excites him and he dances in his seat while unscrewing a tube of foundation cream.

He’s got to look good tonight and it’s becoming every night because he’s off out to a gig. He’s going to see one of his bands, one of the groups he regularly sees. Brigandage, Southern Death Cult,
Danse Society, Ritual, Rubella Ballet, Virgin Prunes, Specimen, The Mob… They’re the only ones that mean anything to him anymore.

Tonight it’s Blood And Roses at London’s Moonlight Club and all his friends will be there. One of their tracks, ‘Your Sin Is Your Salvation’, comes up on the tape and the boy remembers the last time he saw them.

The blur of colour, the heady atmosphere, the fun, the collective feeling of motion – forward! It made him feel alive, positive, and then he formed a group the next week.

Finishing his make-up the boy turns his attention to his dyed blue hair, carefully back-combing it into disarray. Last week he’d been beaten up by some skinheads because they didn’t like the look of him. He remembers their fury but shrugs: he enjoys his appearance and is proud to look different. In a way he’s almost glad that his clothes and attitude had provoked the attack-their mindlessness wrapped in a dull, grey, lazy uniform of bitterness gives him a reason to be their opposite.

He feels bright and optimistic about the future, slipping into a pair of leather trousers, noticing he’s only got a few quid left in his pocket. It doesn’t matter though, the dole gives him time to do things, like his group.

A Brigandage number blares out: ‘Hope’, it seems to sum things up for him. With its message on his lips the boy half-dances across the room, through the door and out.

PART TWO

“I don’t like the word movement, but there’s now a large collection of bands and people with the same positive feeling.” – Andi, singer with Sex Gang Children, speaking on the opening night of Son of Batcave.

HAIL ERIS, Goddess of Discord, and pass the ammunition: as the heavy drumbeat rolls and the harsh chords crash and sometimes even tingle, it’s then that the boys and girls come out to play. Playpower!

With wild-coloured spiked hair freezing the eye, and even more vivid clothes to spice the imagination – faces, thoughts and actions – the atmosphere’s infused with a charge of excitement, an air of abandon underlined with a sense of purpose.
Something stirs again in this land of fetid, directionless sludgery, this land of pretend optimism and grim reality. Theory and practice are being synthesised under the golden umbrella of a 24-hour long ideal.

Welcome to the new positive punk.

Although it’s not the purpose of this article to create any kind of movement or cult, any easy or accessible bandwagon to be tumbled onto, it is indisputable that a large number of bands and people involved in the culture called rock, have sprung up at approximately the same time, facing their lifestyles in the same direction. Maybe unconsciously so, it’s a huge collective force that we can call the new positive punk a re-evaluation and rejuvenation of the ideals that made the original outburst so great, an intensification of and expansion of that ethos of individuality, creativity and rebellion. The same buzz that burned our streets, hearts and minds in ’76/77 is happening again.

The Industrial Revolution is over, a new era has begun, and the current mood is an affirmation of that point. The natural energy that for over 200 years has been poured into the physical, the rational and the materialistic, has now all grown crooked. The mental/magical power has been lost: it was simply not needed – steam engines, radios, electricity were so much easier and they worked.

But now the glamour is wearing off; we can see the strings and wires, the clockwork squeaks…the radiation is beginning to corrode the pretty box.

All the darkness and light, all the forces are still there deep underneath, bubbling, steaming, and fermenting. The instinct, ritual and ceremony are rising again in everyday life; many people are starting to use the tarot and l-Ching. And the new punk groups are a reflection of this feeling; their use of mystical/metaphysical imagery and symbolism is a striking common denominator. Not in the way of dumb-dabbling and superficial posturing of, say, a Black Sabbath with their (gasp) black magic kicks.

Nor is it a silly hippy Tolkien fantasy joyride, or even a Killing Joke stench-of-death gloomier-than- thou slice of fanaticism. lt is, instead, an intelligent and natural interest in mystery, rather than history, that is a sign of an open mind.

These groups are aware: UK Decay (positive punk forefathers), using the dark to contrast and finally emphasise the light; Sex Gang Children taking us into the sub-world of the Crowleyan abyss; while Blood And Roses are pushing the symbols a whole lot further, their guitarist Bob being a serious student of the Art.

The mystical tide we are talking about here refers, if nothing else, to the inner warmth and virtual energy that human beings regard as the most favourable state to live in. The new positive punk has tapped into this current.

And if all this sounds a touch heavy, let’s consider the humour, style and inherent fun that are essential parts of the movement. Let’s look at groups like Specimen, who are more Rocky Horror than Aleister Crowley, preening themselves in a glam-soaked traipse among the ruins. Or The Virgin Prunes’ cheeky onstage oral sex send-up. The real humour is intermixed with the sheer sense of joy de vivre present at such gatherings.

Here is a glow of energy and life that overcomes the need for artificial stimulation. Unlike the heroin or barbiturate sodden club scene or the glue-swamped Oi / punk arena, the emphasis here is not on drugs. Although illicit substances are not unknown, the desperate desire to nullify boredom is not present, and therefore there is no narcotic edge to the scene. Members of several groups (such as Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children and UK Decay) do not even drink.

For perhaps the first time, an active and flourishing dissenting body will not go down with its hind legs kicking as the drug takes over.

Money and time are tight: so both of them are being spent on something far more enjoyable and important: style. There’s a veritable explosion of multi-coloured aestheticism. So different from the bland, stereotyped Oi boot boy punk fare of jeans, leather jacket and studs, this is an individualist stance even if it tends towards a common identity. A green-haired spike-topped girl wearing a long black pleated skirt, white parachute top and bootlace tie passes a tasselled, black-haired mohawk in creepers, white socks, red pegs and self-made, neatly-designed T-shirt. Something clicks. They smile in acknowledgement.

We are fireworks.

PART THREE

“I think that our influence comes from the fact that there are so many negative bands around. We’re not – so away we go!” – Bob, guitarist with Blood And Roses, Stoke Newington

If the bands absorb, reflect and present (not necessarily in that order, it’s a give and take thing) the attitude of their fans and the tone of their surroundings – and I think that the important ones do – then we can trace the whole thing back to its roots, travelling through the erotic politics of the influential Doors and the tense dusky danger of The Velvet Underground, then we come to The Sex Pistols, who operated under a vicious amalgam of style and direction.
Projecting a perfect combination of distorted but relevant aesthetics, music and suss, their all-important effect was the provocation of thought.

Then, veering away from 1002 misdirected cardboard copies, we come to the Banshees and the Ants. These two are important to the new positive punk: the Banshees because of their sheer power of imagination, and the Ants because of their promotion of sensuous ‘black’ style.

Both had an adventurous and rebellious air about them that cut through the regressive dross. Their outlook, musically and in angle of thought, went beyond the proscribed boundaries of behaviour at the time. They explored the edges of light and dark and some of the areas in between. They were a progression and they are the two clearest reference points to this recent outburst of energy.

Back at the tail – end of ’78 and beyond, punk spun into a tail dive of Tuinol-dazed tiredness. A pause.

Trends came and went: dead ends such as mod, new romanticism up to and including the funk craze all took their toll on the vital energy. And those who stuck with the essence of their punk were faced with the development of Oi. Punk, under the guidance of certain lobots, gathered itself around a banner of no brains, no style, no heart and no hope. Heads buried in the glue-bag of dejection and floundering away under a barrage of three-chord rubbish this was, and is, no way to lead a life.

Some drifted with the anarcho scene which at the time (1980 / 81) was the only worthwhile concern going. But by 1983, when everything is said and done, that angle seems too flat and puritan to be of much inspirational value. Crass, although anti-sexist, were and still are extremely sexless: a stark, bleak Oliver Cromwell new model army, who have sense but no sensuality.

At the opposite end of the scale, inspired by the feeling of the Ants etc, come the two groups who are the immediate forerunners of today’s flood. They are Bauhaus and, later, Theatre Of Hate, both of whom capitalised on the idea of style and, what is more, a ‘dangerous’ and sensuous style that attracted more and more fans who were sick of the bleak and macho Oi and the shallow cult with no name.

It’s these fans, reacting against the devaluation of punk, and fired by the spirit of the above mentioned mentors, who are acting now. They’ve created a colourful and thriving nationwide scene resplendent in their individuality but still linked by a progressive punk idiom, one that says go instead of stop, expand instead of contract, yes instead of no. A new positive punk.

PART FOUR

“Stimulating thought, bringing people together, entertaining people, creating an atmosphere of sheer exhilaration and enjoyment. These are the main things.” – lan, singer with Southern Death Cult.

Andi Sex Gang twitches in the spotlight, the beam reflecting his harsh features and closely-cropped hair. He clenches his fists and spits out ‘Into The Abyss’.

lan Southern Death Cult flails his arms and chicken-war dances across the stage, a sharp youthful figure with black be-feathered mohawk. His song is ‘Moya’, the words and the power behind the words providing an insight into cultural stagnation. He howls and shrieks in defiance.

Mark from The Mob, an anarcho-renegade, with his bleached dread hair stands up straight before the microphone, growling “Still living in the English fear, waiting for the witch-hunt dear.”

All this and more as Michelle Brigandage leaps onto the amps, top hat at a rakish angle. “As we walk in the sunlight honesty protects our eyes” is her cry.

And Bob Blood And Roses, he just grins, he knows… “Love is the Law”, their tale underlining the truly optimistic undercurrent to this mood.

And the fans, bedecked in sparkling, inventive garb, they kick, they jump, they scream.

“A night for celebration, a night to unwind,” repeats the diminishing echo from the ghost of UK Decay. “For celebration, celebration, celebration…”

PART FIVE

“There’s nothing else. Everything else has been stripped from us. So now we’re just gonna do it. There’s no other choice.” Michelle, singer with Brigandage

So here it is: the new positive punk, with no empty promises of revolution, either in the rock’n’roll sense or the wider political sphere. Here is only a chance of self-awareness, of personal revolution, of colourful perception and galvanisation of the imagination that startles the slumbering mind and body from their sloth.

Certainly this is revolution in the non-political sense, but at the same time it’s neither escapist nor defeatist. It is, in fact, “political” in the genuine sense of the word.

Individuality? Creativity? Rebellion? The synthesis comes at the moment when you do the one thing, the only thing, when you know you’re not just a trivial counter on the social chequerboard. Here are thousands doing that one thing: merging an explosive and cutting style with a sense of positive belief and achievement, and having fun while they’re doing it.

The Oi-sters and their ilk may have taken punk a few millimetres to the right or a centimetre to the left, but not one damn step forward.

This is punk at last built on rock and not on sand.

THE END

SEXY HOOLIGANS CLOTHING

Michelle fronted the band Brigandage and lived amongst the Puppy Collective in and around the squats of Hampstead.

Michelle’s band, Brigandage, was a firm favourite of the Puppy Collective and to a much younger Penguin.

Previous to forming Brigandage in 1979, Michelle was in the band V.D.U that put out one 7″ single ‘Don’t Cry For Me’ on Thin Sliced records. Sadly I do not own this artefact but if and when I do I will place it up on KYPP.

Michelle is still involved in the scene in no small way after all these years. She has never really been away. Brigandage have not reformed (although that might be nice at some point in the future).

What Michelle has been doing for several years now is to create lovingly screen printed replicas of some of the original Seditionaries stock, original stock long gone now.

Michelle also creates her own clothing inspired by the Seditionaries brand from 1977 which are equally beautiful and well made for both men and for women.

These are just six examples of a huge range of Sexy Hooligans clothing for men and women, all top quality material.

Please go and check out the Sexy Hooligans website for more details HERE.

HERE for the Sexy Hooligans Face-Book page.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS TO RHIAN D WHOSE BIRTHDAY IT IS TODAY FROM ALL AT KILL YOUR PET PUPPY ONLINE.

Crass / Poison Girls – Manchester Mayflower – 17/10/80

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Uploaded this November 5th is an exclusive Kill Your Pet Puppy post helped along perhaps not by a cast of thousands, but certainly by the following kindly folk.

Pete Millen who during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s recorded many Crass and Poison Girls performances with the use of several microphones hanging strategically around the halls that the two bands were invited to perform in.

Lee Gibson who got most of the original cassette tapes (and reel to reel tapes) from Pete Millen and then sent three of the cassettes to me here at Penguin Towers. Thanking Lee also for allowing the use of one of the Crass / Poison Girls extracts from his book ‘A Punk Rock Flashback’ which is well worth getting hold of (details below).

Pete Fender for professionally restoring and remastering the audio in his home studio to a quality that is worthy of sharing this cassette to the Kill Your Pet Puppy browsers.

Joseph Porter for allowing the use of one of the Crass / Poison Girls extracts from his book ‘Genesis To Revolutions’ which is well worth getting hold of (details below).

Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright for sharing a few stories with me on the 1980 Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Manchester Mayflower gigs and for the permission to use the Crass audio.

Richard Famous for the permission to use the Poison Girls audio.

Craig Hornby for the original 1982 Crass Middlesbrough Crypt flyer.

Bradley Hall for the scan of the Crass patch below (still attached to a pair of trousers he found in a box recently) and for the Poison Girls flyer. Found in another old box.

These two recordings from the Manchester Mayflower were the best of the three cassettes that were recorded by Pete Millen that I was sent by Lee Gibson as a ‘taster’.

I was sent Huddersfield October 1980 and also the Isle Of Wight July 1981.

Sadly the Huddersfield recordings of both Crass and the Poison Girls suffered massively from recording cut outs due to, I can only assume, a dodgy lead in-putted into the recorder on that night. Shame.

Even worse, the Isle Of Wight recorded performance by Poison Girls was split in two (although reasonable quality) and the Crass recorded side was mainly the interlude after Poison Girls and a bit of Annie Anxiety. The Crass performance that made it onto the cassette tape lasted four or five tracks. Shame.

Never mind that though. The Manchester Mayflower audio from both bands is clear and has also been professionally restored and remastered by Pete Fender, making the audio sound wonderful.

If you listen carefully you will hear the grim sounds of smashing glass throughout various parts of the Crass set. Hope those pint glasses were not being thrown towards the stage but instead just falling off tables with the amount of heaving sweating bodies flowing back and forth throughout parts of the Crass performance.

Both sides of this cassette tape gives a decent account of both Crass and the Poison Girls at the top of their game. An excellent and intense listen that’s for sure.

CRASS – MANCHESTER MAYFLOWER OCTOBER 1980

FROM ‘A PUNK ROCK FLASHBACK’– BY LEE GIBSON.

There were three bands, apart from the Sex Pistols, who gave me a kick start in my teenage rebellion years; The Fall, Crass and Poison Girls, all discovered at random.

On the rather desolate upper level of Stockton’s indoor market, a friendly hippy guy ran a little store called Green. He sold T-shirts, booklets on anarchism, vegetarianism and hippy comics like ‘The Freak Brothers’. He got a bit of hassle from the cops. I liked the guy, and when I wrote a poem about the bombing of Hiroshima (which I wrote in Stockton library one rainy afternoon when all my mates were glued up and not really worth talking to), he pinned it on the wall.

It was at the Green store that I noticed the first single by Crass ‘Reality Asylum’. Noticeable in the shop due to the iconic Crass symbol, designed by Dave King which displays the Cross entwined by a two headed serpent, Ouroboros, suggesting that all power will eventually consume and destroy itself. Ouroboros is traditionally depicted as swallowing its own tail. I picked it up for (pay) no more than 45p. Shortly afterwards, I also bought ‘The Feeding of the 5000’ an eighteen track, 12 inch 45rpm vinyl EP. I bought it by mail-order from Rough Trade Records in London. A few months later, I started writing to Crass.

The first time I saw Poison Girls and Crass play was at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, October 11th, 1980. I was keen to attend the gig and through mail correspondence I’d arranged to do an interview with Poison Girls after the gig was over.

Things didn’t quite work out as planned because that particular gig was even more violent than ‘The Fall bloodbath’. As usual, it was the skinheads knocking fuck out of people.

As always with the Rock Garden I attended the gig alone. I got there early and chatted briefly with Vi Subversa before the gig started. Vi was friendly, witty and somewhat culture shocking to me, she was about the same age as my mum! That night, both bands received a hostile reception from the mass of skinheads who frequented the Rock Garden. Poison Girls managed to get through their set, but when Crass started playing all hell broke loose. Due to their stance as anarchists, the neo-nazi contingents made every effort to disrupt Crass gigs and to intimidate and assault Crass fans. The skinheads tried to storm the stage and I recall Pete Wright, bass player with Crass, jamming the end of his bass guitar straight into the chest of a skinhead, sending him flying.

It was a very scary gig and I’d had enough. I eventually kicked open the emergency exit doors just to get the fuck out of there in one piece. Stockton is only a few miles from Middlesbrough, but sometimes it could be a long walk and felt light-years away.

Afterwards, I wrote a letter to Poison Girls explaining why I wasn’t around at the end of the gig. They wrote back to me and suggested that I send them some written questions in the post, which I did. At their house in Leytonstone, East London, they recorded their responses to my questions and recorded them on tape cassette and sent the tapes up to me. I always thought that was a very generous act, plus the fact that they took me seriously, despite my young age and my relative naivety. I published their interview over two issues of my fanzine, the first part coinciding with the second part of my interview with Mark E Smith in Protesting Children Minus The Bondage #2, and in Anathema #1.

After the violent gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, I also wrote to Crass and arranged to visit them at their communal headquarters in Dial House, Epping Forest, to do an interview.

As I was skint and on the dole, I couldn’t afford a train ticket or a National Express coach ticket, so I decided to hitch down to London, a journey of about two hundred and fifty miles. I only had a few quid in my pocket – not the best way to go travelling around the country – it was a shit or bust situation.

When I arrived in London, after a fluid six-hour sequence of lifts from complete strangers, including a stoned, long-distance heavy-goods vehicle driver who was actually driving barefoot like some kind of hillbilly freak, I was dropped off near Oxford Street in central London.

I then realized that I should have paid a little more attention to planning my route. I was about twenty miles from Epping. I only had a few quid in my pocket. I rang Dial House and was advised to just ‘bunk’ the tube, and so I did. I just jumped the barrier and when I got to Epping, the station was unmanned.

I stayed with Crass for a few days, half mesmerised; it was like a different world and made quite an impression upon me. Crass were very organised and focused on what they were doing, whereas I was still making things up as I went along. The people in Crass treated me so kindly, without any fakery or bullshit, I felt like I’d stepped into an alternate universe. It kind of flipped me out. It was the first time that I really glimpsed the possibilities of alternate ways of living, something different from the usual family set-up and all the restrictions that invariably come with that package.

I did the interview with Penny Rimbaud, Andy Palmer, Eve Libertine, Pete Wright and Steve Ignorant (who only made one comment, although it was a humorous one). Eventually, it was just me and Penny chatting as the other band members drifted away to get on with other things. Recorded on a cheap cassette recorder, we talked for over two hours – Penny talked a whole lot more than me, I just threw him the odd question and he would get right in depth, and we kind of worked it from there. If anything, I was young, naive, curious and questioning society and I found his conversation enlightening. After that, I started following them all over the country whenever they did a tour – often going from one gig to the next, all over the UK, sometimes on the road for a few weeks at a time.

In total I only ever did five interviews for my fanzine; Mark E Smith, Poison Girls (once by mail, once face to face), Crass, and Andy T. Looking back I see that I only wanted to interview people with integrity; people who might teach me a thing or two about a thing or two. Though I wish I’d interviewed The Mob as well.

I hitch hiked all over the country to see Crass and Poison Girls play. Places like Leeds, Bradford, Wigan, Swansea, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Cambridge, Liverpool, Nottingham, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Irvine on the West coast of Scotland and across to Perth on the East side. I always hitched alone, usually carrying little coin in my pocket, with a rucksack full of fanzines (actually getting by from selling them in order to buy food and beer), a small tent and a sleeping bag, a bit of food, and, of course, a pen and a notebook. I loved arriving at a strange town and finding somewhere to sit down and write.

Irvine was my favourite trip. I got there several hours before Crass and Poison Girls were due to play and walked out of the town. I found a crumbling, rickety-old timber built pier, and settled down, the waves beneath my feet, the sun in my face, writing whatever popped into my head. The coast of Irvine used to get a warm oceanic drift from the Gulf Stream; it had palm trees growing along its shoreline – Palm trees in Scotland, how weird and wonderful is that? Man, just sitting there on that ramshackle pier, it was so much better than writing on toilet paper in the crummy toilet cubicles of the scummy Factory. Yes, I was skint, so what? I was about to see two bands that I really dug. I felt free…like time had stopped…time was irrelevant and I totally got the Zen flow of the whole moment. I sucked it deep into my soul and because of that solitary, magical afternoon, writing, with the gentle wind, the warm sun and the lulling waves for company, I will always love the Scottish town of Irvine.

After the gig in Irvine, people who were hitching on the tour made their separate ways across Scotland, heading for Perth. I had some difficulty hitching all the way to the east coast and had to take a coach for some of the journey.

The Crass Perth gig is as infamous as ‘The Fall Bloodbath’ at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. It took place at the Lesser City Hall on July 4th, 1981.

Trouble started almost as soon as the gig began when about thirty NF skins turned up with nothing but confrontation and physical violence on their minds. I recall that there were at least two police officers standing at the back of the Hall, ‘keeping an eye on things’. Yet when the skinheads started wading into the crowd, kicking and punching men and women alike, the police did absolutely nothing to intervene. I recall me and Andy T asking the police to leave, saying that we’d take care of it. The officers were only too happy to oblige. Talking to Andy recently (June 2013) he said he recalled the fact that their leader wore a red Harrington jacket. I don’t remember that specific detail, although I’m sure it’s spot-on. I recall seeing Nil (Poison Girls) sat on the edge of the stage with a bloody, broken nose. I recall seeing young punks getting punched to shit. I recall seeing punkettes getting nutted. Andy T and I decided to take some direct action.

The atmosphere was very heavy, and very threatening. Crass repeatedly asked people (the skinheads) to stop fighting. In reality it was more of a co-ordinated gang assault than a fight.
By the time Crass started the second song of their set ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ things really exploded (excuse the pun). Eve Libertine halted the song and shouted ‘Stop it!’ Steve Ignorant said ‘Stop fighting, please, stop. Stop fighting. Stop fighting.’ The song resumed for about fifteen seconds before the band stopped playing for a second time.

Steve Ignorant shouted ‘Stop fighting. Stop it. You’ll ruin it for everyone.’ The song resumed for a third time but again it was stopped after about twenty seconds. ‘Pack in the fighting or this gig’s gonna get stopped,’ said Steve, ‘I don’t want that, you don’t want that. I don’t want the police, you don’t want the police. So let’s just have a good time, hey? For fuck’s sake.’

NF skins were shouting ‘You want anarchy.’ Steve replied ‘I just want a gig, alright? Let’s stop fighting, fucking hell, for like, an hour.’

The fighting continued. Penny Rimbaud grabbed a microphone, ‘If you want anarchy, mate, go out on the street and start it. We’re in here for our form of anarchy; you go outside for your form of anarchy. Now fuck-off out of it. Just look at what happened in London last night, mate, if you want anarchy, just you wait for to come to you and then you’ll learn a little bit of what the word means, wise guy.’ A riot had taken place in London – riots also happened in Birmingham and Liverpool. The NF kept shouting and Penny continued his outburst, ‘Mouth and trousers will get you nowhere, so fuck-off out of it.’ One NF guy in particular was very vocal, and Penny concluded with ‘Ah, balls you twat! I’ve got a feeling these guys have to go.’

Eve Libertine shouted ‘Those that don’t want the gig, get the fuck out!’
The punks who’d turned up to see Crass play started chanting ‘Fight war, not wars’, then Penny started drumming, the chant grew louder and then Crass finally managed to finish playing ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’.

Crass played a seventeen song set, but trouble was still happening by the twelfth song, ‘Big A Little A’. Steve shouted ‘Pack it in. Pack it in’ Then he started to sing ‘Fight war, not wars’, joined by the crowd and then the song got underway.

Andy T and I set to work from the back of the hall and slowly but surely worked our way toward the stage where Crass were playing. Every time we saw a skinhead hitting someone we stepped up behind them, and then punched them in the face from two sides at once. Generally they dropped like the sacks of shit they were. We hit a lot of NF guys that night and handed out black-eyes like they were free fanzines.

After the gig, when we’d kicked the NF out, they were waiting outside for us, ready to fuck us up, knowing that we were a long way from home.

I remember helping Poison Girls to dismantle their gear and then help to carry out their equipment. When I reached the back door, a gang of about fifteen to twenty skinheads were lurking, waiting for their moment. They all had at least one black eye. I might have seen the glint of a knife, but I can’t swear on my oath that I did. I nipped back inside and explained the situation.

Poison Girls saved a lot of people from getting a serious beating, or stabbed or even killed, that night in Perth. They got each person who had travelled to see them and Crass who didn’t live in Perth, to carry various items of equipment into their tour van (the old white ambulance), and then to remain on the van.

They filled the van and stacked us in like sardines, and then they drove us safely out of Perth, denying the battered NF skins their vengeance and retribution.

The Poison Girls drove us down the A90 for about thirty miles and took us across the River Forth on the Forth Road Bridge, and then pulled to a halt. We all piled out of their tour van before a police patrol car caught them severely overloaded, and we made our way toward the next gig, cloaked by the stars and safe in the distant light of an Edinburgh night.

In 1982 I decided to organise a Crass gig in Middlesbrough to compensate for their last violent gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. I wanted to create a better scene. Crass were keen to return to the area and I maintained phone contact with Andy Palmer as I started to set things up. I have to say that Andy was a chilled out guy and he really helped me to get things organised. He knew that I’d never done anything of this sort before, on such a scale, and he really walked me through it. He never laid any pressure on me and when I needed to front money to book a place he sent it straight to me – all based on pure trust – I’m glad to say that I didn’t let him down. It did feel strange receiving a cheque from Crass to pay to Middlesbrough town hall Crypt to book the gig, but everything about that gig played true; for me, that was what the whole anarchy-scene was about.

I was determined to set-up a Crass gig that was the very opposite of the bloody Rock Garden fiasco. I wanted it to be a safe place, not just for the band, but more-so for the people who wanted to see them play, and I wanted younger kids to be able to experience Crass as well, stepping beyond the bogus twenty one year old age restrictions of the Rock Garden, without people getting head-butted in the face because they wanted to see a band play live or because they were cursed to come from the wrong impoverished estate.

I had to find a suitable venue that was controllable, but without bouncers. I had to find a decent sized PA system, and I had to find somewhere for Crass (eight of them), D.I.R.T (five of them), and Annie Anxiety (just one of her) to stay after the gig. Set that little lot up, and then all I had to do was publicise the gig. The latter, I knew, would be the easiest part, word of mouth would quickly see to that. A lot of kids wanted to see Crass, and other bands, but many of them were too young to get into the Rock Garden with its twenty one year old age limit.

For the venue, I needed somewhere that could hold up to three hundred people and give access to kids from the age of fifteen upwards. I decided to approach Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. I found out how much it would be to book the Crypt. I didn’t have that kind of money so Andy Palmer, sent me the money in good faith. I booked the Crypt, along with a PA system. I didn’t make a single penny out of that gig, nor did I want to. The gig was my mission, my simple goal.

Fuck the violence; let’s have a rocking gig where people can be free to switch on.

I then held a little group meeting with my friends who lived at The Gables, some of whom were not overtly keen on Crass, although Andy M. And Pete M. had already travelled all over to see them. They were carpenters so they could afford to travel, not hitch, but they were totally into Crass and Poison Girls. Anyhow, despite musical / political differences, everyone in the house agreed to let Crass, D.I.R.T and Annie stay over for the night and invade our space. Once that was settled, we arranged to have plenty of hot food prepared for them for after the gig and everyone got involved in trying to make it a comfortable and welcoming stay for them. It was a strange time for us all.

As for advertising, I designed simple photocopied A4 flyers that I photocopied at Stockton library and stuck them on a few walls, in Green (thanks to the hippy dude who first displayed my poem), and in the local HMV, thanks to Blank Frank out of Blitzkrieg Bop.

Word spread quickly. Tickets were only £1.25. Half price compared to any gig that was taking place at the Rock Garden at the time. This was deliberate. In my view, the Rock Garden was wrong all over the place. They allowed rampant violence and they over-charged. Stockton and Middlesbrough were in real need of an alternative, safer venue, although most people didn’t know it. I thought I’d put on one gig as a light in the right direction.

The gig took place on April 29th 1982 and sold out, thus all the overheads were covered and the bands got paid for their fuel costs and everything else it entailed getting them from London to the Middlesbrough. We had no security, I just picked out a handful of pals who could look after themselves, pals who were secure enough in themselves that they didn’t need to step-out and prove anything, guys who knew how to play it cool and calm things down should anything happen.

The crucial thing about the gig is that I opted to have no bar, that way we reduced the chances of sporadic violence, and more importantly, younger kids could get in to see the bands play and pogo to their hearts content.

For me, the fact that there wasn’t a single fight or act of violence throughout the entire gig made it a successful venture. All those phone calls to Andy Palmer on a pay phone and the basic energy it took to make it happen made it worthwhile.

I’ve never organized many gigs, but usually when I’ve made the effort, they have rocked.
After the gig, when Crass, D.I.R.T and Annie piled into The Grange there were people everywhere. We had food prepared for them and it was a fun and friendly night, if a little chaotic, especially in the morning as we only had one large bathroom.

The next morning, the band’s drove off to their next gig, no doubt also organised by someone else like me. That’s how Crass tours worked; it was the only way that they could happen.

Lee Gibson

A few memories of Middlesbrough Rock Garden from Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright:

The Rock Garden was a dump, very dark and intimidating. There were large glass doors near the stage and a small dressing room at the side of the stage.

Some of the violence on the night was directed at Crass due to a Crass follower who was from Middlesbrough died. His name was Melvin. He was found drowned in the river Thames. Incredibly tragic. He had a Crass symbol on his jacket and the local boneheads used it as an excuse to start trouble at the gig.

There were chants of “You killed Melvin, you killed Melvin”.

I remember Melvins mother being there at this gig standing behind the stage near the dressing room. This was very upsetting for her and for Crass.

Pete aimed his guitar at some bonehead who had clambered onto the stage trying to get to Vi Subversa and Eve Libertine who were at the side of the stage. Pete fortunately missed the bonehead by inches with the bass guitar (fortunately as Pete might have seriously injured this stage invader who fell off the stage in any case) and hit the wall instead, bending the headstock completely. He then had to buy a new headstock. Pete was seriously reprimanded by the rest of Crass after this incident on stage after the performance.

After the gig, Phil Free was sitting in the van alone for a moment and a bonehead punched him through the open window and run off. Phil started the engine immediately and drove the van after the bonehead who we can only assume had fears for his life with this van driving so close to his heels. Phil Free had made his point, slowed the van down, turned the van around and returned to the venue with a sore face and with the bonehead, again, fortunately uninjured.

POISON GIRLS – MANCHESTER MAYFLOWER OCTOBER 1980

FROM ‘GENESIS TO REVOLUTIONS – THE CURSE OF ZOUNDS DYMYSTIFIED’ – BY JOSEPH PORTER.

The first of the three shows took place at an unlicensed community centre in Winsford. The sight of spiky-haired anarchists, some of them surely as young as eleven or twelve, doing the conga round the hall to the malevolent strains of ‘So What’ and ‘Banned from the Roxy’ remains one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. This to me was typical of Crass’ approach to anarchism and music: taking pains to play to the under sixteens, in a venue where glue and brew were not on hand to disrupt the proceedings. The atmosphere was considerably more pleasant as a result, and I was able to enjoy my first live impressions of Crass without fear of being knocked into a puddle of sick by the ‘grown up’ anarchists.

They looked and sounded like La visage de la Guerre: stark, black and white, flanked by video monitors showing scenes of oppression and atrocity and looming large with menace in front of the collection of flags and banners,. Everything was perfectly stage managed; everything was just right – they were even more daunting onstage than on acid at Camden market!

The banners were particularly imposing: the all-powerful cross-and-snake symbol predominated, sitting in the middle like a fat black spider in the web of subversion; ‘Man made power Man made pain’, ‘Fight war not wars’, ‘Anarchy Peace and Freedom’. Poison Girls’ black and red crow flew proudly, like the sail on some ancient dragonship, and heroic demands to ‘Abort the System’ and ‘Take the toys from the boys’ hung alongside. High up and to the right of these battle flags, painted in black Dulux on a pink fitted bed sheet was Zounds’ contribution to the show: incongruous but impenitent; Mickey Mouse caught in the crosshairs of a gun sight.

I thought he looked rather cool up there myself.

Crass always hired in the same P.A. company on their British tours, and so in Winsford we made the acquaintance of Alex, the monitor mixer, who shared our allegiance to a combustible god and was otherwise oblivious to the great affairs by which he was surrounded. For this leg of the tour, all the bands, the sound engineers, and sundry camp followers, stayed in an empty house in Sale, Manchester, that belonged to the brother of one of Crass’ guitarists. Late that night, in the privacy of our allotted chamber, Alex introduced us to his ‘portables’ – a sawn off milk bottle, a tiny camping stove, and two dinner knives, blackened with use. We consumed ‘hot knives’ far into the night, in the company of certain furtive Poison Girls, while downstairs in the drug-free atmosphere of revolution, the talk was no doubt of anarchy.

By contrast to the Winsford gig, the following night in Manchester was a seething pit of all the worst aspects of the punk scene at the time. The Mayflower was a vast old cinema, and on this occasion was filled with a brutal heaving mass of humanity bent on both inebriation and destruction. By the end of the night the toilets were demolished, and three feet under water; people were standing on the top step and peeing into the dark interior, into which the occasional lost soul would trip with a splash and an oath. When Crass played I got the impression of seeing human bodies piled up towards the front of the stage to an impossible height, breaking in waves and crashing down in tangled heaps of thrashing limbs.

And they gobbed! Oh how they gobbed! This media-inspired innovation of the 1977 punk explosion was still revered by the arse-ends of punk in Manchester. Zounds walked on stage to a furious shower of phlegm, and were bombarded throughout their set with snot of a greenness and elasticity that I have never since encountered. Drumming at the back, I was more or less protected. Only those hurled with considerable projectile force reached me. Of course any lumps that did make it that far were generally pretty big, and the drumkit became festooned with great dangling ribbons of the stuff; it would glance off the cymbals and ricochet off into the wings to my horror and appalled fascination.

Up front, Steve had it pretty bad. Grolleys scored constant direct hits on his face, his hair, his guitar, and even in his mouth as he sang – an inevitability in the face of such a sustained fusillade. We walked off the slippery stage after forty five minutes disillusioned and disgusted with our supposed comrades in the great struggle.

“Never mind blowing up the houses of parliament,” grumbled Steve, wiping the slime from his bass strings. “I wish they could learn to blow their noses in a nice hanky like normal people!”

I hope that night had something to do with anarchism. I was just intent on survival. Somehow one of the girls from Crass sustained a black eye, the place was trashed and the whole event seemed to me to be a pointless, nihilistic exercise in futile vandalism. Manchester null point!

Crass shunned the use of drugs – although alcohol in moderation seemed not unacceptable – so we tactfully confined our smoking excesses to either the upper reaches of the house, or outside ‘behind the bike shed.’ Lawrence, emboldened one evening, skinned up in the living room in which the twenty-five or so members of the entourage were gathered drinking tea, smoking roll-ups and talking sedition in the aftermath of the Manchester gig. True to the demands of dope etiquette, Lawrence smoked his share and then shuffled round the room on his knees offering the fuming reefer to the whole company in turn. Fully twenty times his offer was politely declined until he returned, abashed, to where we crouched, below the salt, in the corner of the room nearest the door. Shamefacedly and treacherously, myself, Steve and the secret dope-fiends in the Poison’s camp declined to smoke in the presence of our masters. No one bogarted the joint, and Lawrence was obliged to smoke it down to cardboard.

Shortly after we slunk guiltily upstairs to reacquaint ourselves with Alex’s portables.

I myself had committed a similar gaff that afternoon. Huge quantities of tea were consumed in that great circle of black-clad dissidents, and to this end a teapot of daunting capacity was employed. To my terror, Penny announced to general approbation that “It’s Joseph’s turn to make the tea,” and my doom was sealed. Being then a coffee drinker, I knew little of the ways of tea beyond an old adage which claimed one should employ one spoonful per person, and one for the pot.

Weighing up both the size of this vessel, and of the thirsty company, I decided to err on the side of caution, and applied eighteen generous spoonfuls of tea, plus one for luck, to the king-sized china kettle.
Crawling around the living room in a series of hectic manoeuvres I eventually managed to furnish all twenty-something persons with a cup of tea, correctly milked, sugared and stirred. There was an expectant pause as Penny, undisputed master of the tea ceremony and chairman of the board, lifted his cup to his lips and sipped at the steaming treacly brew.

“Joseph”, he pronounced. “This tea is undrinkable! What on earth do you think you’re doing?”

“I did put in one for the pot…..”

“Take him outside and shoot him!” decided Penny, to general assent. “I forbid you ever to make tea again!”

The entire company threw their tea away, and I, to my immense relief, became the subject of an ordinance denying me further access to the teapot. The mental scars have never healed.

The last of the three shows was in Liverpool, and passed off comparatively peacefully after the shameful scenes at the Mayflower. For me, one of the most interesting and ironic spectacles was that of the audience fighting for badges at the end of the night. After their final song, members of Crass would return to the front of the stage and, like medieval sowers of seed, throw out handfuls of slogan-toting pin-on buttons to the frenzied horde, who would scrabble and trample on each other to collect this largesse.

Zounds woke up to find themselves alone late the next morning. Crass and Poison Girls had set off early to cross the Pennines for the next gig. We ate a leisurely breakfast, smoked a few guilt-free spliffs for the road, and set off back to London.

Joseph Porter

A few memories of Manchester Mayflower from Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright:

There was a short ‘matinee performance’ for the persons in the hall who did not want to be filmed as a documentary film crew was in attendance. A few songs were performed by Crass and then the cameras were turned on and the whole set including the earlier songs were repeated.

Steve ‘playfully’ dived at one of the cameramen filming at the side of the stage. The cameraman fell off the stage as he avoided Steve! That was not the only injury of the night. Penny was testing a light socket and foolishly fiddled with the light socket a little too roughly and was thrown twenty feet across the stage prior to the Mayflower opening to the public. Joy was punched in the face by a Mayflower security guard so had a bruised eye. After the performance was finished Penny got up from his drum stool and managed to bang his head on one of the metal screen support bars.

As an aside Irish Ray who lived in the same village as Phil Free had done some years prior to Crass forming, was enlisted as security for Crass at many gigs across the country after the situation at Middlesbrough and Joy being hit at the Manchester Mayflower. Previous to these gigs in 1980 there was also violence at the Conway Hall, Aklam Hall and in Waterloo the year before.

Irish Ray was a large man who had several fingers deep into the London gangster underworld. Few people in their right mind would dare take Irish Ray on. In the 1960’s Ray had driven a car through the window of the Soho cafe that the Krays owned to make some sort of a point. On another occasion Ray had entered a cafe in Kings Cross that owed someone that Ray was ‘working for’ a fair amount of money. There were plenty of customers in the cafe at the time. Ray went in and demanded the money owed to the pleas of the cafe owner. “What you going to do about it? There are customers here hearing you threaten me”.  As one, all of the customers got up off their seats and destroyed the cafe. The customers were there with Ray as back up.

Ray being pushed around by teenage boneheads was not going to worry him too much and he tended to calm things down a little if any trouble was brewing at any of the venues that he was in attendance at.

The book by Lee Gibson, ex Brougham Road resident, writer / editor of Anathema fanzine and contributor / editor to many others.

Lee moved in the same circles as The Mob and the Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective for some years. Here in black and white print throughout this immense 214 page A4 book are memories of Lees early years from 1976 all through to around 1986.

Lee takes the reader though countless Crass and Poison Girls gigs, some pretty rough nights along with various visits to both Crass and Poison Girls HQ’s. There seems to be dozens of pages relating to The Mob, Brougham Road and various houses that the Puppy Collective would be just about surviving in. Lots of squat horror stories, Stop The City runabouts, drug abuse, The Apostles, Crowley magick and plenty more.

As an added bonus some of Lees original interviews from his fanzines are carefully reprinted half way through this book, massive texts of the thoughts and feelings of The Fall, Crass, Poison Girls and Andy T from the very early 1980’s.

This book seems to be the real deal for anyone who may be interested in reading one persons account of the early anarcho punk culture which was an important, and sometimes scary, time for many of the young people involved.

Absolutely insanely cheap at £8.50 – but having the quality of a £20 book.

A must for anyone interested in this era of the anarcho punk scene.

You may purchase Lee Gibsons book HERE

Downwarde Spiral in association with Bedsit Press present this tome by Joseph Porter ‘Genesis To Revolutions – The Curse Of Zounds Demystified’.

This beautifully presented book is an excellent read.

The book is  Joseph’s story from growing up in the Somerset countyside, getting into punk rock, the Yeovil scene with The Mob, Stonehenge, joining Zounds and stories of touring in the UK and in Europe. There are stories of various recording sessions, Crass, the Mob, Brougham Road, Rough Trade and the Black Sheep housing co op – It’s all in the book.

It is an extremely well written book. It is also one of the most amusing books I have encountered.

You can get the book by sending Joseph £10 (UK orders) via paypal to the following email address 56134@blythpower.co.uk.

The cost of the book is a little more to send to places not in the UK. £13.62 (Europe orders) and £16.06 (other parts of the world).

There is a kindle version from Amazon for £5.13.

Purchase the officially sanctioned Poison Girls ‘Hex’ album HERE

Or from All The Madmen distribution while stock last HERE

Purchase the officially sanctioned Poison Girls ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ HERE

Or from All The Madmen distribution while stock last HERE

BUY BUY BUY THE DAMNATION OF YOUR SOUL!

And again thank you Pete Fender for the patience and the offer to restore and remaster the original cassette tape exclusively for Kill Your Pet Puppy!

Part 1 – Buffalo Bar – London – 29/08/13 – Silent Scream

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Part 1 – The Buffalo Bar, Highbury, London, N1 – 29/08/13

August 2013 – The month of much practising and some considerable movement for the newly resurrected band from, ahem, many many moons past, Part 1.

Both apprentices in the dark arts, Mark Ferelli and Jake Baker had the idea of resurrecting the band and therefore the bands legendary dark FX sound sometime earlier in 2013. Part 1’s original bassist Chris Pascoe was somehow removed from the coffin he was in at the time and agreed to be involved. Needing a drummer the band enlisted the help of the ever capable and much in demand Chris Low who has an impressive list of band membership under his belt spanning over three decades.

In August 2013, nine moons in, the band headed up to Blackpool to perform the afternoon ‘graveyard shift’ at the Rebellion Festival.

Prior to the performance and for reasons unknown to me (or forgotten about if I was ever told the story) Chris Pascoe placed his bass guitar back into the guitar case and wandered west (not literally west as he would have wandered into the sea surrounding Blackpool) to settle once more into the coffin he had been exhumed from just weeks previously. Possibly my memory is being unfair to me and it might be entirely possible that Chris Pascoe did not even make the journey north but either way his absence left the now three piece Part 1 performing, I assume, a treble heavy set in a large hall to the supporters that happened to turn up for the event.

I was not in attendance so can not comment further, although I am sure I would have been told of some of the, ahem, feedback heavy highlights of the event. I have probably just forgotten due to worms eating away at my brain.

A low key London performance had been organised at the Buffalo Bar around the time that whispers of the reformation performance due shortly at Rebellion were going around the much darker version of the ‘sowing circle’ within that scene.

The band apres Rebellion were in need of a bassist.

Chris Low via some form of black magick infected the idea of his flat mate David Barnett’s worthy abilities on a bass guitar, directly into the skulls of Mark and Jake.

David’s ancient parchment of a C.V regarding band membership and being in and around the music business was also mightily impressive.

I can only assume due to the urgency of the situation with suddenly becoming bass light extremely recently, and with a London performance placed into the collective diaries coming up very soon, that both skulls were happy to give David a chance.

Part 1 practised and then practised once more. After practising hard just twice, and with no doubt some form of blood sacrifice, Part 1 suddenly became a force to be reckoned with again with the addition of David. ‘Tomb’ was the only Part 1 track that David was unable to master due to the time limitations.

Eighteen moons after the Rebellion afternoon ‘graveyard shift’ performance, Part 1 turned up at the Buffalo Bar, a small subterranean cellar dungeon of sorts with a low ceiling and pillars that get in the way pretty much all the time. Part 1’s kind of place.

Darkness had descended and some old faces showed up from many many moons past. This humble scribe included. As the small subterranean cellar dungeon filled up a little, the support band came onto the stage.

“Hang on” this humble scribe ponders. “Why is Part 1’s head ghoul Mark Ferrelli plugging leads into his effects pedals?”

“What sort of madness is this?” I mutter to myself. I had literally just got a first pint of cider from the bar, already wide eyed and grinning with anticipation and it is barely 8.45pm. Chris Low gets behind the drums and a bassist and a vocalist appear as if by magick.

I ponder for a while why gigs are not like they used to be. I start to believe that if the ghost trains are running on time I should be back in my crypt by 10.15pm.

Thirty minutes of Part 1 were the perfect support for the main act who clambered onto stage after a short interval. The small subterranean cellar dungeon had been filling up a little more with younger supporters of Part 1, some from areas far from Highbury, some from countries far from England.

The main act on the night, Part 1 finished the night with an absolutely glorious noise. The dark Lords protecting the band from harm were finally appeased after thirty years of deafening silence from their apprentices.

Was this jape two sets for the price of one? More likely the jape was a practise run through of the Part 1 set early doors, to give the band the confidence to really push forward the second Part 1 set in a slightly altered order.

A great night out and this humble scribe finally escaped the madness and got back into my crypt around midnight, the witching hour. That’s better.

Part 1 has always held a special place in my heart, some cynics would state that maybe it was because I used to have several copies of the début 7″ single ‘Funeral Parade’ released in 1982 that has rose in price month by month during these last few years.

I did have three extra copies of this small sacred relic but I gave them away, so that kills that rumour stone dead.

It must have been something else?

Some cynics would state that maybe it was because Southern was carrying the Pusmort label and Southern Record Distributors (and therefore myself) handled the many boxes full of Part 1 mini L.P’s ‘Pictures Of Pain’ released in 1985 that has rose in price month by month during these last few years.

I did have two extra copies of this larger sacred relic but yet again I gave them away, so that kills that rumour stone dead.

Maybe it was just the dark sounds held within the grooves of those two slabs of vinyl. And the fact that at the time of those sacred relics being placed on this earth by dark forces beyond my comprehension, no other band sounded quite like Part 1, then or since.

Is this the reason why Part 1 has always held a special place in my heart?

Yes it is, Just that.

Mickey ‘Penguin’

Part 1 since the resurrection have performed several times, this humble scribe being in attendance on several occasions. Part 1 performed in Paris earlier this year, and will be performing in Finland on the third moon of October as special guests of Silent Scream.

Details are below on the flyer and also on the website link in the Silent Scream section.

We have here uploaded on KYPP tonight a recording of the second set performed at the Buffalo Bar, courtesy of Chris Low. Many dark praises to Chris for sorting out the audio and to the original recording duo in the small subterranean cellar dungeon, Carla Boregas and Laura Del Vecchio from the Brazilian psychedelic gothic band Rakta.

Also many dark praises must go to Steph Hagar for the photograph of Part 1 on stage at the Buffalo Bar.

Finally many dark praises must go to Nick Hydra, who was ‘there’ in 1982 and is also still ‘there’ in 2014. It is Nick’s review of the Buffalo Bar performance that is written below.

The polaroid of Jake mesmerising the audience and the mugshots of just some of the great, the good, and the ghouls who were at the Buffalo Bar that dark August night last year, are from this humble scribes collection.

For more Part 1 information please check out the Facebook page HERE.

Part 1 resurrected

What’s in a name? Goth? Deathrock? Doomrock? Anarcho-punk? Post-punk? Part 1 have been called all these and more. The closest is probably Anarcho-punk, if only because they played most of their very rare gigs within that milieu.

At its vital, chaotically creative best, Anarcho-punk was a loose network of individuals following their own trajectory, like planets in orbit being pulled into each other’s gravitational fields, coming together and springing apart in a bewildering array of combinations and occasional collisions.

In the end what most people had in common was their unwillingness to fit in anywhere else. Anarcho-punk was where the malcontents and misfits found the space to be different in their own way.

Viewed in this way, Part 1 (like fellow travellers Flowers in the Dustbin, Blood & Roses, Hagar the Womb, the Mob and Amebix), by virtue of their very otherness are one of the best examples of Anarcho-punk you could hope to find. Although they are often linked with Rudimentary Peni due to a similarly off-kilter approach and the friendship between Part 1’s Mark F and Peni’s Nick Blinko, in the end they are only Part 1, alone in a field of one.

Surviving original members Mark F (Guitar) and Jake Baker (Vocals) are joined by the new rhythm section of Chris Low (drums) and David Barnett (bass) for their second gig in 30 years. Despite the band having become something of a cult in recent years, they wear this new found status lightly, and with a degree of self-depreciating humour, singer Jake referred at one point to their gigs being “like buses” (you wait ages for one, and then three come at once).

Of the two sets played tonight, the second was possibly the better, probably as a result of both the audience and band having loosened up slightly.

So, how to describe a Part 1 gig to the uninitiated? It was hypnotic; disturbing; challenging; uplifting. It was… a Part 1 gig. You can hear echoes of Metal Box era PIL, early Banshees and Killing Joke, as well a healthy dollop of UK Decay in the spiralling FX-heavy guitar, along with a whiff or Crisis and Six Minute War, especially in the bass-lines and vocal delivery, but that doesn’t really give you a flavour of the thing.

Given that they have only acquired a bass player in the last few weeks (having performed at the Rebellion festival without one) they were completely in control; creating a deft interplay between the tight rhythmic and melodic structures that weaved back and forth in an elegant symmetry, with the locked in rhythm section allowing Mark F to indulge in some serious FX pyrotechnics, sending shards of feedback shuddering and looping across the stage.

Existing as they did on the outer fringes of Anarcho-punk (itself having a problematic, fractured relationship to anything that could be considered ‘popular culture’), and belonging to no particular time frame, Part 1 have avoided the pitfall of many a re-formed band, that sense of being dated and irrelevant.

Rather like the long-buried Martian spaceship in Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit, they have lain dormant, waiting for us to rediscover them, and trigger the primeval impulses encoded in our DNA.

Although they were not visually dynamic, staying virtually static throughout, they held the attention with ease, creating a kind of vortex in which the unwary audience were held, almost mesmerised by the sonic barrage pulsating from the stage.

Highlights? A fantastic rendition of The Black Mass, a rare outing for the ultra-obscure Claws and Jake spitting out the final line of Hymn in amended form as they left the stage at the end of the second set…

“In the shadow of the cross, we still stand defiant!”

9/10

Nick Hydra

Part 1 are to be visiting Finland on the 3rd October and will be performing alongside Silent Scream. I believe the concert has been set up by Antti from Silent Scream who has supported and been inspired by the music of Part 1 for many many years now. Please search on the Silent Scream website HERE for updated details on this special night for Part 1 and Silent Scream in Finland. The two videos and the small essay on the sometimes tragic history of Silent Scream has been respectably removed from this website and placed onto KYPP. Thanks to Antti in advance.

From Varjo to Silent Scream

Two tragic deaths within a year. Not the easiest start for a new finnish goth/post-punk band Silent Scream.

The story goes back in 1996 when Antti Lautala and Henry Waldén formed a band called Varjo (a shadow in English). Varjo was influenced by Gothic rock, post-punk and ambient but it differed from other Gothic bands by the Finnish lyrics. At the beginning of the 21st century Varjo was the most successful Gothic band with Finnish lyrics.

After the third album there were changes in line-up but also a tragedy: ex-keyboard player disappeared and after a year and a half he was found dead. After those difficult times Varjo made new songs, supported New Model Army and was ready to record the fifth album.

Two weeks before the recordings guitarist Henry Waldén died in a fire accident and that ended the story of Varjo.

Four months after the funerals the trio recorded the last album “Viimeinen näytös” and it was released in January 2010 (Stupido Records)

After the recordings Antti, Matthew and Jukka decided to continue with a new band name and new songs. It was also natural to change the language and write lyrics in English. Silent Scream will go further to the core of post-punk with influences like Killing Joke, Joy Division, Amebix and Southern Death Cult.

The first Silent Scream album “In the Cinema” (Stupido Records) was released 2010 and the second one “Public Execution” (Stupido Records) 2012.

In 2013 Silent Scream and Murnaus Playhouse released a split album “Bones from the Backyard” (Gothic Music Records)

Antti Lautala

Dub Syndicate – ONU Sound Records – 1982

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Pounding Systems / Hi – Fi Gets A Pounding Part 1 & 2 / African Head Charge Don’t Care About Space Invader Machines Part 1 & 2 / Fringe On Top Dub

Humourless Journalist Works To Rules / 10K At 0VU – 60 HZ – Mind Boggles / Crucial Tony Tries To Rescue The Space Invaders / Hi – Fi Gets A Pounding Part 3 / Return To Stage One

Adrian Sherwood, one of the nicest fellows in the music business. His personal catalogue of audio delights engineered by his dubwise fingers and brain covers well over thirty years. Delightful dubs courtesy of the Dub Syndicate and assorted off shoots. Ear shattering industrial noisescapes from the likes of Mark Stewart And The Maffia and funky drum and funky bass from the likes of the different guises of Tackhead. The audio delights he has had a hand in bringing to the reggae enthusiasts turntables, Carib Gems and Hit And Run records, cover well over thirty five years!

Dub Syndicate’s ‘Pounding System’ album is an absolutely crucial release from the ONU records stable, a stable that holds many other crucial moments by various label mates stored within two sides of vinyl.

What I adore about dub albums whether British born or from Jamaica, the titles of the tracks are generally as mad as a bag of frogs due to minimum vocal breaks, so the producer / engineer makes up the titles as an aside. This albums track listing is no exception!

Fill your boots with some of the best (and actually most recognisable) riddims from the hands of Adrian Sherwood along side a cast of Eskimo, Eek A Boo, Lizard, Crucial Tony, Bubblers, Deadly Headley, Flesh, Mr Magoo and Bonjo I.

I have known Adrian Sherwood for over twenty five years and now and again still spend a small amount of time with him, will look forward to some more moments together at some very time soon I hope.

With massive gratitude to Gregory Mario Whitfield for the immense interview with Adrian from 2003.

Going into the legendary On-U studios is like a lesson in musical history for those that love UK and Jamaican roots reggae. I was welcomed at the door by Adrian, and ushered into a completely chaotic, yet calm and friendly atmosphere, with a lot of people getting on with their work in the studio. A large portrait of King Tubby in crisp white shirt, perfectly pressed suit trousers with a typically serious, dignified expression takes pride of place on the wall as an obvious sign of respect. Shrine like, it is placed high up on the studio wall and dominates the vibe of the room. Inspiration from the source. Dub science.

I notice more casual, smiling pictures of Bim Sherman and other On-U luminaries on the walls. The next thing I noticed were the piles of boxed master tapes everywhere. Little Roy, Junior Delgado, Dub Syndicate, Ghetto Priest. (I was sorely tempted to make a closer inspection!) The vibe was good, and I was looking forward to a good interview with this man whose work I had admired for many years, (since those early UK roots classics, the early Creation Rebel albums) and who had worked with so many of the JA and UK roots legends.

Adrian Sherwood. The man hardly needs an introduction here: To anyone who has followed roots and culture music closely, it is generally acknowledged that he has produced truly innovative, ground breaking UK roots music of the highest order since the late 70’s. He had uncompromisingly worked on with roots and dub, even when roots music was at its lowest ebb in the early 80’s and many people had moved on to early digital dancehall and slackness. A lot of people considered roots music a spent force, but Adrian had persevered with the form, working with artists he respected, and artists who still had a lot of originality to offer the reggae world, even though they were no longer considered “fashionable”.

Albums like ‘War Of Words’, ‘Revenge Of The Underdog’ and ‘Pounding System’ showcased UK roots and Jamaican roots artists still at the peak of their creativity. ‘Fit To Survive’ and ‘Devious Woman’ are considered by many to match the best of Bim’s JA output, and are unquestionably deep and atmospheric pieces of music.

I was invited into the kitchen, and was met by the sight of guitarist Skip McDonald, sitting quietly at the table, wearing a West African style hat, cup of tea in hand, looking particularly calm and thoughtful amongst the activity. An artist comfortable with himself.

A man with a gentle and peaceable presence, he greeted me and we started talking, mostly about his recent album, a dub deconstruction of blues music: Eerie Robert Johnson blues style echoey cut ups, with one drop drum rhythms and backward tape loops. Some tracks also feature beautiful vocals from Bim Sherman and Ghetto Priest, an atmospheric new vocalist I was to meet later.

Skip McDonald ‘Seek The Truth’ is the aptly named track which features Bim’s haunting vocals, backed by eerie slide guitar, unpredictably soaring around in the mix, the righteous vibes urged forward by a Bunny Lee “flying cymbals” style. Bim chants, stating his creed with righteous emotion, a relentless, simple and direct message: “Oh friend of mine, a lie is a whisper, the truth is a shout… seek the truth…” The message is replete with a shuddering echo, and what sounds like African chants, cut up and spliced into a weird refrain in the background, swooping in and out of the mix. The brittle percussion is so strangely engineered as to be at times, of unidentifiable origin. Harsh, moody, aggressive and melancholy by turns, it’s a fine, original piece of music.

The album ‘Hard Grind’ is obviously a work of love and dedication, a tribute to Skip’s respect for, and love of the blues. It has an overwhelming sense of the genuine, a work of integrity. ‘Hard Grind’ is an unusual record, a distinctly weird listening experience, and one I’d strongly recommend. A cut up dub funk blues experience, and definitely one for those of you that loved ground breaking records like Eno’s ‘My Life in a Bush of Ghosts’.
For someone that had worked with so many musical legends in the roots and culture and funk worlds, I was impressed that he was so modest and unassuming a character.

Excusing himself, Skip returned to the studio to work on some new rhythms with one of Adrian’s engineers, Nick Coplowe. Later I had a chance to speak with Nick, currently working on his own project, Mutant Hi-Fi. Clearly, there is a strong working relationship and understanding between him and Adrian. I asked how he met Adrian and what clinched it for him in getting the job. He looked at me directly, and put it very simply and succinctly: “Me and Adrian work well together and get on well, because we both have a common interest in noise.” He didn’t need to say any more…

It wasn’t easy getting Adrian to focus on the interview process, because he was doing so many things at once. Periodically, Skip would rush back in to the kitchen enthusiastically to ask what Adrian thought of some new sound he was working on, and Adrian would juggle ideas back and forth, striving to flesh out new ideas, adapting and innovating together.

At the same time, the phone was ringing constantly, people organising sound system sessions (sound system session with Adrian, Junior Delgado and Iration Steppers in Leeds was being put together, and Style Scott was in town, to play with Luciano) enquiring about record release and tour dates and so on. Crucial Tony and Eskimo Fox were due to lay down some tracks for Adrian, and Junglist Rasta Congo Natty had a meeting with Adrian a few days later. I kept on switching on my tape, only to be apologetically interrupted by Adrian, “I’m sorry, bear with me one minute…”

As if this wasn’t a busy enough scenario, Adrian was constantly trying to parry the mischievous playfulness of his daughters. They hurtled around the studio as Adrian prepared snacks for them and good naturedly did his best to organise some kind of afternoon schedule for them. It was a lovely summer’s day, and the garden, as I looked out of the window, looked peaceful and quiet compared with the mayhem in the studio.
Adrian comes across as someone who is completely down to earth: direct, sharp, smart, and it is clear that this is a man who is very determined and resolute. He has earned respect from his many years in the reggae world, and his work as an innovator. Ghetto Priest arrives and joins the work in the studio.

I take advantage of an ensuing period of relative calm to begin the interview, and I ask, what led Adrian to reggae in the first place. What started his journey that led to the On-U Sound experience?
When I was pretty young, I was heavily into soul music. I loved that, but I was really carried away by early reggae music and ska tunes. Those were pretty eccentric, freaky tunes, stuff like U Roy’s ‘Wear You To The Ball’… I was soaking up all that energy, even when I was at school, and when I heard reggae music at the local black clubs I went to, that was when I got really into it.

What was your next stage after your initial fascination with reggae I asked?

Well, I was still in my late teens when I started working for the Carib Gems label people… I was a junior director… I loved roots music, and the tunes we were putting out on that label, tracks like ‘Observe Life’ by Michael Rose, and ‘Babylon Won’t Sleep Tonight / Sleepers dub’ by Wayne Jarrett and the Righteous Flames were strong, strong tracks, they really were. Especially I loved the ‘Sleepers’ track. The Tubby’s version is a heavy dub. It’s sad, I don’t even have copies of those 45’s myself anymore. I wish I’d held on to my copies! You know of course we cut our own On-U version of ‘Observe Life’ with Creation Rebel on the rhythm, and Ari on the vocal, then there was a dub too.

Since you’d released so many good tunes on that label I asked, why don’t you collect them to release on a compilation? I think a lot of people would be really glad to hear them on one compilation.

I’d love to. I was so into those Carib Gems releases, but like a lot of those Hitrun label tunes, it’s a matter of ownership and copyright that prevents me. It’s a shame because there are a whole lot of unreleased tunes which just haven’t seen reissue because of ownership debates. A whole lot of those Creation Rebel Hit Run 12’s were very good, such as ‘Beware’. They deserve good reissue. I did collect a few of the best tracks from that time on an early On-U compilation with tracks like Carol Kalphat’s ‘African Land’ and some other Far I and Creation Rebel stuff. I don’t know how available that release is now, but it’s a solid collection. Another person from that time I’d like to work with again is Deadley Headley, who is another Jamaican artist who just hasn’t received the attention he truly deserves. It’s possible that I’d consider putting together a compilation of my tunes I did with him if there’s enough unreleased stuff in the On-U vaults: I’m not sure that I have enough unheard stuff though, but that would be nice, and it’d be good to get some more exposure for such a good artist.

When I had linked up with Don Letts, I ‘d asked about his experiences with Adrian and the early days of the On-U family. He remembered it this way: “Sure, we hung out with Adrian in those times. I still do see Adrian! I’ve known him for about twenty five years. The thing about Adrian was, you knew that the man always ran with a posse in them days! So if you met up with Adrian, they’d all be there too. Yes, man like Jah Whoosh, Prince Hammer would be there, Crucial Tony, Bonjo I, and Don Campbell too. And of course Prince Far I and Bim Sherman if they were in London at the time”.

I’d asked Don which records he’d liked from the early On-U stuff: “Of course the early African Head Charge music, which is pretty far out stuff. Extreme music. Of the later stuff, I think Skip McDonald’s dub blues fusion stuff is pretty interesting.”

Since Don Letts had around that time cut a tune with a vicious, threatening subsonic dub (with Jah Wobble and Keith Levene at the production desk) as the Electric Dread, I’d asked if he’d ever liked to have worked with Adrian in those days: “Yeah sure, of course I would, but I’m more a vibes man, a sound man. I’ve always DJ’ed and made films, that has always been my thing you know, I’m not really a musician.”

So in the light of my discussions with Don Letts on this subject, I was keen to know about Adrian’s experiences with John Lydon, as well as his very early days with Jah Wobble, Keith Levene, Ari Upp, and of course most importantly, Creation Rebel who were the backbone of all those early On-U tracks, and in my opinion haven’t really been given full credit for the outstanding original and innovative UK roots outfit they were at that time.

Keith Levene circa Creation Rebel. Ok, on the subject of Creation Rebel, who made a great body of roots music, then later let’s talk about those early days when I hung out with John Lydon, Jah Wobble, Ari and Keith Levene. We had an authentic, hard rhythm section in Creation Rebel, with good musicians, such as Crucial Tony, Lizard and Eskimo Fox, with Pablo on the melodica. I still work with Crucial Tony and Eskimo Fox now. They will be here in a few days to lay down some stuff for the new Little Roy music I’m working on, and Crucial did some stuff on the Little Roy Long Time album. Yeah, so in those days, we were always competing with the Jamaican bands of the time, always looking for a way to get the edge on them, it was a challenge for us, a hype thing too, to be different from the JA bands when they came over on tour to the U.K. and the way for us was with the drums… we really worked on getting a heavy, heavy rockers drumming style, but it had our own thing in there, our own distinctive contribution, our own hard edge to it. It wasn’t just a copy of the Jamaican drum sound, and I think in its own way, it was as good as what was happening in Jamaica at that time. Of course when we got Style enlisted that was it, a great step forward for us, because it united what was going on in the roots scene in UK with what was happening in Jamaica. And of course, linking up with Prince Far I was a great thing for me at that time because it opened up access and pathways to a whole pool of great Jamaican talent too.

Speaking of the whole early period of experimentation with Creation Rebel, Dub Syndicate and African Head Charge, including the contributions of Public Image members Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, Adrian remembers it this way:

Going back to the influence of punk days now, yeah, I knew John Lydon well, and it was through John that I got to know Keith Levene and Jah Wobble. I got to know John better after Sid had died. Ari Upp, Neneh Cherry, Junior and I, we all lived in a squat down Battersea way, and John Lydon was living with Nora [his future wife and Ari Upp's mum] round the corner. John Lydon used to visit us, and we all hung out together. John was just so hip you know, a lot of people really looked up to him at that time. John really knew his reggae, he loved his reggae. I can tell you that John Lydon really helped the progress of roots and culture in Britain at that time. It was around that time, not long after he’d been beaten up here in London that he went on to radio and played Dr Alimantado’s ‘Born for A Purpose’. Alimantado was immediately shot to cult status as a result! The lyric of that tune was relevant you know? “If you feel like you have no reason for living, don’t determine my life!” That was John’s reply to the idiots that had beaten him up. You should realise that it was John Lydon who suggested that I work with Keith Levene who I was really impressed by, and then through him I linked up with Jah Wobble, which was great for me at the time. I was so happy to work with Keith, because Keith just had such an original sound, and I knew I could translate that originality he had into a dub context, and it worked totally if you listen to those Creation Rebel and Singers and Players records. He also played guitar on some of those New Age Steppers sessions, and laid down bass as well on some tracks, which I don’t think he was ever credited for… So it was John Lydon who had the idea for me to work with his band, and I loved their sound and what they were doing.

Levene’s sparse guitar sound on Creation Rebel’s ‘Threat To Creation’ and the ‘War of Words’ albums, jagged and lonely, punctuated the melancholy and ethereal purity of Bim’s angelic voice… Without a ‘Love Like Yours/Devious Woman’ and its dubwise excursion is a work as powerful and compelling as Bim Sherman’s earlier Kingston releases.

On his tracks cut for Adrian and Creation Rebel, Keith Levene’s style is eerily reminiscent of Earl Chinna’s style on the ‘East of The River Nile’ album… (Check out the emptiness of the ‘East of the River Nile album, and specifically Chinna’s spiraling chord structures on Pablo’s Nature’s Dub, loosely held together by almost bleak echoing piano notes, falling like rain in a deserted space).

Then there is Bim’s meditative version of ‘Satta’, here going under the title of Ethos Design, and it is a design, the instruments acting as sculptural forms, existing in structures in which the silences are as vital as the drum-bass movements. It is an extraordinary work of linear sound deconstruction, the rhythm section building up, only to literally fall away, as the engineer gets deeper and deeper into separate drum tones, reducing the vibe to a heartbeat pulse… snares fall away, cymbals and high hat oscillate in bright spirals, only to be further reduced to a skeletal form, with Bim’s voice effortlessly present, floating over the surface as the song fades in to reflective silence…

Deadley Headley, (who contributed to Augustus Pablo’s Rockers label, notably the ‘Rockers meets King Tubby inna Firehouse’ album) cut his own melancholy horns version on the same Creation Rebel version of this rhythm, and the drum track was used to fine effect on a version of Bim Sherman’s ‘Revolution/ Resolution’: In the latter case, the drum track received brutal disassembly at the hands of Adrian, spinning the snare sounds backwards, then forwards in a spiral of noise, only to drop into the familiar Revolution bass vibration… uncompromising and aggressive. Also featured on ‘Threat To Creation’ are the severely underrated drum skills of Eskimo “Mus’come” Fox, and Bruce Smith, who went on to work as Lydon’s PIL drummer for four years: Listen to the version of Horace Andy’s Problems on the ‘Playgroup album’, (titled ‘Deep And Mintyful’) for some militant drum and percussion interplay, and you’ll see how underrated these drummers truly are.


What about working with Jah Wobble, I asked Adrian? Jah Wobble had in his early days, had a serious reputation as a hard man: an instinctive, natural bass player, but cantankerous into the bargain. In Jon Savage’s book England’s Dreaming, journalist Nick Kent describes the by now notorious time he was attacked with a bike chain by Sid Vicious at an early Pistols gig : “Sid immediately pulled this chain out. He made some remark he thought was insulting like: ‘I don’t like your trousers.’ The guy next to me immediately makes a motion towards Vicious and then pulls his knife out and he really wants to cut my face. Years later I find out his name is Wobble. This was a real speed freak, and this is when it got very unhealthy. I remember putting my hands up and not moving a muscle, and then Vicious tapped him on the shoulder and he disappeared immediately. It was all a set up: Vicious then had a clear aim, and got me with the bike chain.”

Wobble saw it somewhat differently though, as he told Jon Savage: “I used to get violent on a few occasions… The one with Nick Kent was not one of those. Kent was with some geezer who demanded that we step aside, they couldn’t see the band. I said ‘fuck off’ which was pretty standard. Sid wasn’t a rucker but he lashed him with a chain and then I had a go, but we were just mucking about. What I didn’t know then was if you set yourself up as a hardman, someone will come looking for you who’s harder than you are…” Again to Jon Savage, Wobble spoke of his friendship with John Lydon and Sid Vicious: “John and Sid were exactly what I was looking for when I was sixteen… all I knew then was that I desperately didn’t want to work. I was already an angry young man. I had images of being enclosed by council flats, feeling very claustrophobic.” Jon Savage comments on Wobble: “Only [Jah Wobble's] icy blue stare now betrays his past. During Punk, Wobble, Like Sid, resembled a random destruction machine, wound up and placed in the middle of an event to see what would occur. Today he speaks of his past as if of another life.”

I recounted these stories to Adrian, and I perceived a certain mischievous, conspiratorial expression cross his face, (memories perhaps?) but when he speaks, his love and respect for Wobble are only too obvious. He speaks of Wobble’s achievements with pride:

Wobble & Lydon, Me and Wobble go back a long way, and I love him. We’ve always been very close. It’s true, Wobble did have a problem with alcohol, but that’s all in the past now, and he’s long left that behind. I respect what he has become as a person and a musician, because he is an example of someone who has really achieved and built everything from his own efforts. You always hear people say, “Oh Wobble couldn’t play bass when Public Image started, and he just had a good, instinctive way with playing a heavy dub bass-line” well, that may have been true back then, but let me tell you, Wobble really can play now! He really understands his instrument; he is the original MR FAT BASS SOUND. That is Wobble for you. The last time I saw Wobble was at his wedding and he looked so happy. I’m proud of the stuff Wobble has done with me on those African Head Charge and Dub Syndicate records, and I love a lot of his solo stuff too. Some of his early tunes on the Betrayal album are really good.

I was very keen to know more about the African Head Charge albums as well. They were so prolific, eccentric and uncategorisable, yet no one had really spoken about them at any great length, so I was very eager to get Adrian’s insight in to these strange records. He spoke about them with obvious a sense of sincerity, but with a definite high spiritedness, representative of the obviously bizarre and downright eccentric sounds that Bonjo I et al had created all those years ago.

African Head ChargeI’ll be straight with you, a lot of those sounds we created on those records came out the consumption in large amounts of two very different drugs, speed and marijuana! You know, those African Head Charge records were a labour of love to me, and we didn’t really expect too many financial rewards. When you listen to a record like ‘Environmental Studies’, it’s clear that a sound like that might be intimidating to some people. Woven into the mix, you can hear car crashes, water flowing, bottles breaking. We used a lot of “found sounds” and many “environment sounds” from the studio down at Berry Street where it was recorded. It’s a long time since I’ve listened to that record, but who knows what sounds we put into that record, I think we even might have used water sounds from the toilets and humming vibrations from the boiler room! I haven’t listened to that record in a long time, for the simple reason that when I was working on the record, I listened to it repeatedly, day in, day out, so in my mind, its very much a part of that time… I’ll have to go back to it and listen to it again some time…

I mentioned that the Deadley Headley contributions are especially good on that album, to which Adrian wholeheartedly agreed. I also asked him about my favourite track from the ‘My Life In A Hole In The Ground’ album, the eerie and haunting ‘Far Away Chant’. It is such a strange piece of music, and I was inquisitive to know, where it had come from, deep in the On-U Sound psyche!

Yes, that’s a heavy track. If I remember rightly, it came out of the same sessions we had been working on with Prince Far I and the Dub Syndicate for the Cry Tuff album. There was a slow and hard track, ‘Plant Up’, with a classic, growling Far I chant about the herb… anyway, I wanted something even slower, more threatening, heavier, so I took similar sounding rhythm track, and slowed it right down, right down, making it ridiculously slow and heavy, and laid Far I’s anti nuclear chant over the top. You know, the film director David Lynch took that track, and slowed it down even further, which made it even more threatening, and used it in the film ‘Wild at Heart’ as part of his soundtrack which really pleased me. The mood of the scene he chose it for was pretty dark… I believe it was a ritual ceremony or sacrifice with Harry Dean Stanton.

I asked him specifically about a point in the middle of the aforementioned song, when it just simply stops, cuts off randomly for a few seconds, halfway through a vocal line, midway into a word, seemingly for no reason… before crashing back midway through the tune… It creates a pretty surreal effect! Adrian laughs at the memory…

As I said, they were pretty strange times when we recorded those albums, and random too sometimes! I can’t tell you about that part of the track! Who knows? Maybe I accidentally hit the pause button halfway through the track and we left it in the mix?

He isn’t joking either…

I went on to ask him if a he had received criticism from the reggae cognoscenti mafia in London at that time for his bizarre experimentation with roots music, and unconventional attitude to an often over orthodox form. (I remembered back in the late 70’s and early 80’s some roots purists turning their noses up and not buying certain tunes if they knew they had been recorded in Wood Green or Peckham, even if the dubs were as heavy and creative as what was coming out of Jamaica).

Yes, I did experience some of that, but I didn’t care. We always believed in those early On-U releases, and I felt some of them would have sounded incredible as futuristic film soundtracks. It’s true that some purists on the London scene dissed me for those records I was producing at the time. Perhaps it was the sheer unconventionality of the sound, the inability to be able to categorise such a threatening sound. I didn’t give a fuck about the luddite purists with their little reserves. Really, they didn’t matter to me. I just went on to expand my experiments, putting out hard dub records by Creation Rebel, featuring entire tracks made up of backward tape loops, industrial drills roaring, that kind of style. Anyway, what did the elitists matter to me? I remember going round to people’s houses to listen to tunes, and these guys would be covering up the label with their hands so you couldn’t see who it was by, or blanking out the title. What is that behaviour, you know? I was always very open about this music ‘cos I love it. I used to give away good rare tunes, help people get into the music and hear good tunes. I enjoyed promoting good roots artists, artists who deserved the exposure. I even knew some people who would be too intimidated to visit roots stores because they worried the vibe might be intimidating, but of course it isn’t like that at all.

Finally on the subject of African Head Charge: what about ‘Drastic Season’, I asked?

‘Drastic Season’. That was extreme. The stand out track for me is ‘Depth Charge’, with that slow, driving syndrum intro.
Seen. 20,000 leagues under the sea style! I always thought that was such a harsh record, and I loved that aspect of it, its uncompromising sound, its complete lack of concession to anything even remotely commercial. When listened to repeatedly there were some extraordinary rhythms at play here. A look at the track titles gives some indication of the bizarre listening experience lying in wait for the (believe me here) unprepared listener: African Hedgehog, ‘Snake in the Hole’, ‘I want Water’…

On some tracks, it sounded as if an array of animals had somehow been sucked into the wildness and primal coldness of the mix… croaking frogs, shrieking birds, massively distorted so as to be rendered unrecognisable, snakes hiss, and an assortment of other bizarre creatures make their presence felt… The overall result is disorienting, disturbing, but as a sonic assault, deeply pleasurable… It is the strangest collection of rhythms I’ve ever encountered, yet one of the most rewarding…

When discussing these African Head Charge works, Adrian’s expression is bright, concentrated, inspired. It is clear he loves talking about these old releases, taking pleasure in how disorienting and ground-breaking they were and still undoubtedly are, the mixture of menace and sheer euphoric spirit present in the records. Apparently not many press releases ever came out of the On-U Studios, but in the case of ‘Drastic Season’ one did emerge, and reading it back now is as extraordinary and baffling as the sounds on the disc proved to be:

“A mix of human, animal and machine sounds… check it if you are a dancer, a listener, a film maker, a computer programmer, a human or an animal. Special treats in store for steam locomotive enthusiasts and biologists. You’ve never heard such sounds in your life.”

Changing subject now, I asked Adrian what he felt had changed in people’s attitudes to buying reggae, or indeed any good music, since the late 70’s. He reflected a while then answered:

Is music too corporate and controlled now? … Well, in the past it was a whole ritual… the vinyl, the sleeve, the record label… you know, down the record shop on a Friday night, it pure ritual… was pure ritual… black guys, young white guys, sound men… all enjoying the thrill and pleasure of the ritual, buying the hardest 12″ disco, or spiritual 7″ with a heavy dub on the version… Now, it’s largely a different matter, more of a commodity, a lot of people with a disposable income, and besides, music isn’t viewed in the same precious kind of way, because so much is available now. This just wasn’t the case before. You really had to hunt around to find the kind of tunes you wanted, it was a whole different process. The mystique is taken out of record buying now in a way. Besides the commercial side, there is a whole cross pollination and interchange of ideas and influences going on, which just wasn’t in existence in the late 70’s or eighties, and that in a sense demystifies the uniqueness of what was once a specific “reggae sound” too. Many noises, vibrations, frequencies that were exclusive to reggae are now being used in Hip Hop and other styles too, so that has to be taken into account. Plus the influence isn’t only one-way: reggae too, is soaking up sounds and influences from other forms as well.

I went on to ask Adrian his view of the UK roots scene past and present, and UK so called “Nu Roots”:

UK has always had good roots music. I love what Neil Fraser has done over the years. I especially liked the tunes he put out by Aisha, Macka B and the good stuff he does these days with Mafia and Fluxy. Those are really good tunes. As for the UK Nu roots? Yeah, I like it too, it’s all good works, but I would say this, I feel they need to get away from concentrating exclusively on steppers rhythms, perhaps use vocalists more. They need to get out of limiting themselves to steppers. Having said that, it isn’t a criticism. I like what they do. So England has always had a good roots tradition, and besides that, it’s always had openness to a kind of avant garde thread in the dub world. I had a taste of that myself when I worked with Suns Of Arqa back in the late 70’s and early eighties with their weird cut ups and Islamic, Celtic and Persian influences which were way ahead of their time. They came to me and said “give us some rhythms!” I duly did so, and was impressed with what they did with them. So this openness has always been there in UK, love of hard music and willingness to experiment.

In a discussion of UK roots artists, it was inevitable that I ask him about Shaka. He answered with a sense of awe, respect and reverence.

Shaka? I’ve known Shaka for over 25 years. We are close. I’ve got his number, he’s got mine you know? I have ultimate respect for the man Jah Shaka. Shaka just loves his music! He’s a soul head and he knows his jazz too, deeply. Did you know that? Shaka just has his own thing altogether. Playing music for ten, twelve hours without a break, until he enters a trance like state, then he’s on God’s plane, following God’s plan.

What was his opinion about the current roots music coming out of Jamaica?

There is a lot of hard, tough music coming out of Jamaica right now. Astounding tunes. I especially like the Xterminator studio works, and the album MLK in Dub was a real groundbreaker. Then of course there’s people like Daweh Congo. Good music. There is a lot of good music out there to check out and follow. I think they are increasingly aware of an interest in dubwise styles over here in Europe, as well as an awareness of Europe’s interest in the noise factor.

(This interest in keeping up with the cutting edge of Jamaican innovation was certainly in evidence from the (literally) piles and piles of modern Jamaican roots and dancehall 45’s, neatly stacked in the studio, cupboards and corridors: Productions by new and hungry contenders, innovators out of Kingston such as Steven Stanley, Soljie, Bulby, Penthouse label, African Star and Xterminator music… Bass Research and development…)

Where did Adrian think was the main market in Europe right now for roots music?

France, without a doubt. People like Burning Spear and Israel Vibration are stars there in their own right, and why on earth shouldn’t they be? They do consistently good work and France rewards them accordingly, they get appreciated. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in UK for roots artists.

What is Adrian’s opinion of the Junglist and drum and bass vibes, I wondered, especially since some of the drum ‘n’ bass artists I had recently interviewed had name checked On-U Sound as an influence?

When I hear Jungle and drum ‘n’ bass artists saying that On-U Sound influenced them, well I feel that’s very kind, because as Rasta philosophy tells it, “each one teach one”, and I was influenced by so many people too, so I’m glad this vibe is continuing.

Finally, I felt I had to ask him about the death of Bim Sherman. We had listened to his music for 25 years or so, but not many of us had any insight into the man himself. All we knew of him was his voice, with that uplifting, lonely and angelic character. Adrian looked somewhat dark and serious at the mention of Bim and it is obviously still a delicate point, since they had worked together for a long time.

Bim Sherman RIP. Did you hear ‘Miracle’? That says a lot about Bim. What can I say? Bim was a darling. I’m sorry for using that term, but I’m not sure which other word to use. He was a lovely human being, just a pleasure to work with, and I had been a huge fan of his, right from the early records. He was such a gentle person. Don’t get me wrong though, he could look after himself, and cuss with the best of them. Bim is not someone you would fuck around with. He could speak up for himself, stand up for himself.

Much later, I was to see Adrian’s diary entry for the period covering Bim’s illness and eventual death…

“It was to be my first proper tour as a live DJ… A few days prior to departure, Bim had fallen ill and was in hospital. I visited him at 11.30 the night before I left. It was to be the last time I’d see him alive. We got the news that he passed on the 17th while we were in Dijon. I returned home the next day. Skip McDonald and Bim had a very close friendship. Skip… was devastated… I was sad for Bim’s family, angry with people and everyone around felt empty…”

Gregory Mario Whitfield – 2003

Shameless KYPP advertising section

Friday, July 11th, 2014

FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN

Flowers In The Dustbin released a 12″ record on All The Madmen records in 1984 and a cassette only release on Rob Challice’s cassette label 96 Tapes again in 1984. Rob Challice would soon look after All The Madmen records after Alistair left in 1985. Flowers In The Dustbin then released a 7″ record on Mortahate records in 1985 and then yet another 7″ record for Cold Harbour records in 1986. This was the entire vinyl output of the band, and shortly afterwards Flowers In The Dustbin disbanded.

Whilst on Cold Harbour records the Flowers In The Dustbin recorded several tracks for release as an album. The record label went bust two years after the sessions and the release was never forthcoming. A very frustrating time for the band.

The release was never forthcoming until now twenty eight years later!

These ‘lost’ recordings are now given the respect they deserve via the Freaks Run Wild record label in America. Screen printed sleeves, booklets and a heavy vinyl. Only 500 copies produced.

Get the vinyl of the lost album, which I found out was mastered from my own original cassette in a roundabout way, from Inflammable Material for the UK and Europe and the wonderfully named Punk Vomit for the U.S.A

CYCLOBE

Ossian Brown, one of my oldest friends from my teenage years sent me not one, but two new ‘Sulphur’ 12″ singles.

One 12″ single in transparent vinyl, and one 12″ single in transparent red vinyl.

I love it when a surprise package ends up delivered at Penguin Towers!

The three tracks on this 12″ single are all separate soundtracks to three separate short Derek Jarman films and the record includes three inserts. The tracks on this record, to my ears, is heavily Coil influenced. That description might be doing Cyclobe a disservice as I might just be engaging in some lazy journalism, and I certainly rate the core duo of Cyclobe, Steven Thrower and Ossian Brown (both in fact ex members of Coil) as two of the most original and independent musicians out there at the moment.

Try to grab one of these different coloured vinyls (limited to 500 each colour) direct from Cyclobe.

LEE GIBSON

I received the new book by Lee Gibson, ex Brougham Road resident, writer / editor of Anathema fanzine and contributor / editor to many others.

Lee moved in the same circles as The Mob and the Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective for some years. Here in black and white print, throughout this 214 page A4 immense book are memories of Lees early years from 1976 all through to around 1986 (sped read a fair bit just for this description as it will take ages to read it all).

Lee takes the reader though countless Crass and Poison Girls gigs, some pretty rough nights along with various visits to both Crass and Poison Girls HQ’s. There seems to be dozens of pages relating to The Mob, Brougham Road and various houses that the Puppy Collective would be just about surviving in. Lots of squat horror stories, Stop The City run arounds, drug abuse, The Apostles, Crowley magick and plenty more.

As an added bonus some of Lees original interviews from his fanzines are carefully reprinted half way through this book, massive texts of the thoughts and feelings of The Fall, Crass, Poison Girls and Andy T from the very early 1980’s.

This book seems to be the real deal for anyone who may be interested in reading one persons account of the early anarchic punk culture which was an important and sometimes scary time for many. Absolutely insanely cheap at £8.50 – but having the quality of a £20 book it may be purchased if you are interested from Lulu Publishers.

ROBERT DELLAR

Robert Dellar was involved in a small way (along with Grant Matthews of Rudimentary Peni, a local band to Robert at that time) with the Wapping Autonomy Centre and the Centro Iberico. He edited several fanzines including Straight Up which gave a fair amount of space to The Apostles and The Astronauts. He loved / loves The Swell Maps and Subway Sect. A squatter of many years in many areas, he lived in Brighton for a while and now is back living in south east London, working with Southwark MIND and then Mad Pride. Work that continues to highlight mental illness and help people suffering from the illness.

Robert Dellars book publishing company Spare Change books have published many books including the original print of Nick Blinkos ‘Primal Screamer’ in 1995.

‘Gobbing, Pogoing And Gratuitous Bad Language’ and ‘Mad Pride: A Celebration Of Mad Culture’ were two books with essays, poetry and artwork from various contributors including Nick Blinko, Ted Curtis, Louise Challice, Stewart Home, Andy Martin and Dave Fanning of The Apostles and many more.

‘Seaton Point’ which also has different contributors to the book is actually the story of  the Hackney tower block of the same name and the youngsters experiances of the time. ‘Does for Tennents Super what Trainspotting did for heroin’ written on the rear of the book gives a clue to the delights hidden within the paper back cover.

Get the book from Fishpond and try to search out the other books still available on Spare Change books.

Below is a review of the book ‘Splitting In Two’ by David Russell.

In this book Robert Dellar traces his life journey from his childhood in a working class area of Watford, through Sussex University and the London squatting community, to the murky waters of mental health, as he describes it. Of special importance is the pioneering work Robert did in Hackney Hospital. Here he set up a Patients’ Council and Advocacy Department At the time of the hospital’s closure in the mid 90s, Robert organised some lively gigs described here in colourful detail. His journey then continues to Southwark MIND, (the first user run MIND group) – then on to Mad Pride – an organisation who through the gigs they put on linked mental health to rock and roll. Together with his friend Peter Shaughnessy they also turned mental health demonstrations into theatre.

The title of this book is also the title of a song by punk legends Alternative TV. They make several appearances here, as does Nikki Sudden and two Survivor Punk bands, The Ceramic Hobbs and Rudimentary Peni. Lesser known but equally talented artists like Dave Russell and The Astronauts also make a number of appearances here – as does Ronnie Corbett; he turns out to be a decent chap. While Mad Pride is associated with Punk Rock, a number of folk musicians and poets also took part in their gigs.

Some parts of this book deal with grim topics; there is also much tragedy described here. But a sense of humour runs through this book, and much compassion is shown. A little anarchy is also at play. The titles for a lot of the chapters come from songs. Many of the titles relating to the Punk and New Wave years. This period of time being of importance to Robert as it was when he produced many fanzines.

His fanzine influence would continue with the Southwark MIND newsletter. This was always an Inspiring magazine to read. Along with the different realities featured here, there are pieces of fiction but they fit in well. Some little known capitalist scandals are exposed like the exploitation carried out by the drug companies. Also charities like SANE (Schizophrenia A National Emergency) who, while appearing to be respectable do a lot to demonise people with that label. Also exposed is the reality of life for people who are diagnosed as Schizophrenic. A life of heavy medication, stigma, and locked wards.

This book is an enjoyable read. It is very entertaining. Robert’s journey has been an uphill struggle; it shows both his vulnerabilities and his strengths. But there have been proud achievements along the way. An example being the SANE demonstration Mad Pride organised in the late 1990s where Marjory Wallace came out to face her public. I have a lot of respect for the good work that Robert Dellar has done over the years.

MIKE DINES AND GREG BULL (WITH CONTRIBUTORS)

This project organised, edited and put together between Mike Dines and Greg Bull is another large tome from Lulu Publishers.

The book is in A4 format and has 156 pages printed in black and white with some great artwork by Jacky Smith held within as well as some decent quality flyers and photographs from the contributors of essays for the book.

The contributors include our own Alastair Puppy from Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine and online blog, Robert Dellar (who is also on this KYPP post in his own right with the release of his latest book above), Greg Bull himself, Justine Butler (late of Welwyn Garden City but for decades now living in Bristol and now working on her vegan-ism blog HERE), Lucy Robertson from the university of Sussex and Robert Dellars collaborators from time to time, Ted Curtis, Martin Cooper and many more.

Each of the contributors essays, whether short or long, are an interesting blend of autobiography, fictional accounts and serious academic essays on 1980’s sub culture. The 1980’s, whether early or late, is the period that is relevant to this book.

The book is £8 direct from Lulu Publishers

 

Flux / Annie Anxiety / Tackhead Sound System / AR Kane / D&V – U.L.U London – 28/11/86

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

TAPE ONE SIDE ONE

TAPE ONE SIDE TWO

TAPE TWO SIDE ONE

TAPE TWO SIDE TWO

I was in attendance at this Flux gig. The first time witnessing Flux (Of Pink Indians) live on stage for two or three years. It was quite a change from the old militaristic Crass style Flux sound of 1982-1983 to a more 23 Skidoo style Flux sound in 1986. From that sound to this in just a few short years! I was already aware of ONU Sound, Tackhead Sound System and Adrian Sherwood and I was looking forward to attending this gig. It did not disappoint.

KYPP is indebted to Lee Oliver for the loan of the two C90 tapes that he recorded from a hand held cassette recorder from this One Little Indian / ONU Sound night at U.L.U in central London. He managed to cover just about all the audio from the night and the audio sounds very reasonable.

Lee has also kindly written some text regarding the night and his thoughts about Flux Of Pink Indians prior to the gig along with the Flux poster for this performance. A massive thanks to him for that.

Also a huge thank you to Martin Flux who also contributed a whole heap of interesting text to this KYPP post.

Thanks also to Graham Burnett who supplied the photographs of Flux and Annie Anxiety performing on the night. Both Flux flyers from the collection of Penguin!

1986 was a funny old year. In musical chronology it felt like a dramatic turning point. The dominance of UK created music was ending. I was opening up to the styles and influences from further afield. It seems crazy now but what was going on across the Atlantic seemed other- worldly. Even Europe was a distant influence.

As 1985 turned into 1986 the direction of flow was changing, especially in the ‘punk scene’. The emergence of hip hop alongside funk percussive styles, dub and even that old warhorse, metal, were permeating into bands’ developments.

The transition from Flux of Pink Indians to Flux was one of the most divergent and to my ears the most exciting development in that year.

The EP, ‘Taking A Liberty’, their previous release before ‘Uncarved Block’, was a howl of frustration. Musique Concrete re-imagined through the most extreme anarcho-punk. It felt like an ending, a full stop. There was nothing more to say.

I interviewed Flux for my fanzine at the time (long lost I’m afraid to say). It was at their place in Forest Hill. The living room was spacious with beautiful wooden floors and bookshelves heaving with books. A hessian sack with the corn stalk emblem used on the cover of the first Antisect LP hung above one of the sofas. Lu and Tim from Flux attempted to answer our quite possibly naïve teenage questions about the state of the world and where ‘punk was going’. I could sense their desire to experiment how their music was presented to open up to a wider audience, a frustration with preaching to the converted if you will. I left feeling a mixture of uncertainties and excitement about how they were going to achieve that.

The concert at the University of London on Friday 28th November 1986 showcased the new Flux sound of ‘Uncarved Block’. The supporting acts were a direct challenge to punk orthodoxy. The fragmented sound poetry collages of Annie Anxiety, the beat minimalism of D&V, abstract noise pop from A.R.Kane and the sound of the future, Tackhead Sound System, bringing their tour de force heavy duty dub funk.

The whole line-up seemed to be a premonition of the rhythmic beat of ‘rave culture’ that would explode across the strands of the undercurrents in the following two years. The free jazz record playing between acts (Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry ??) was another pointer to what was to come.

Finally Flux played. It wasn’t punk as such, loose funk rhythms, percussive interludes, space, lyrics chanted, hypnotic. Words about personal politics, The Tao of Pooh, re-evaluation.

I was under the impression this was the only time they performed as Flux, someone might be able to confirm or correct this. Anyway shortly after this night Flux disappeared forever. The conclusion I felt was that it was an eye opener, another step in my appreciation of different musical styles and strands.

For that alone ‘Uncarved Block’ is a masterpiece.

LEE OLIVER

The Flux performance at U.L.U was the only time myself and my older brother had been on stage together and the last. Paul Wilson was my older sibling by three years or so. He was a drummer and inspired me to follow the same path. Having a drum set around the family house in my formative years did not hurt either.

Paul was the original drummer for the Psychedelic Furs in 1977 until he was replaced by Vince Ely in 1978 or 1979 when my brother celebrated his wedding anniversary instead of being able to perform with the band at the Zig Zag club in Westbourne Park, west London. This gig was not insignificant as it was a music biz affair put on by C.B.S and the Psychedelic Furs were not yet signed, although very close to being so. Tracy Lee the then manager gave all the band a weeks notice of this important billing and Paul and his wife had already made plans for that night. Seeing as Pauls wife was already upset at Paul walking around with make up on, as was the image of the band at that time, he felt it proper to keep to the original arrangements for that week. The performance slot for Psychedelic Furs at the gig did not happen for this reason and my brother was ousted.

Life continued. Paul took a back seat and I eventually joined Flux Of Pink Indians after a succession of drummers left including Sid concentrating on Rubella Ballet and Bambi who went to join Discharge (or did he leave Discharge to join Flux Of Pink Indians?).

In 1982 Flux Of Pink Indians performed all over the country as main support for Crass alongside D.I.R.T and Annie Anxiety. During this treks across the country we met many other bands including D&V.

Andy Leach the drummer for D&V stepped onto the stage as the Flux Of Pink Indians drummer one night in Birmingham Digbeth Hall (or some Civic Hall of some kind) when some kindly skinheads with an iron bar decided to try to crack my head open. Thanks to him for that. I recovered to eventually return this kind of favour for D.I.R.T at the squatted Zig Zag club gig when Fox walked off the stage mid set for some reason. He never returned to D.I.R.T. I also drummed in Iceland for Crass of all bands when Penny was left in North Weald with a perforated ear drum. Penny and I had the same militaristic drumming style so I fitted that Crass set quiet well.

As a member of Flux Of Pink Indians I was involved in the making of the ‘Strive To Survive’ album in 1982. This record along with the follow up ‘Fucking Cunts’ in 1984 were both recorded at Southern Studios and during both those sessions we would meet Adrian Sherwood doing his work there with his ONU Sound artists. Little did we know that a few years later Adrian Sherwood would be engineering recordings for Flux Of Pink Indians!

Fast forward to 1986.

Derek had given up the Spiderleg record label and had started a more progressive label called One Little Indian alongside Tim another member of Flux Of Pink Indians. Derek had also had a falling out with John Loder at Southern Studios. AR Kane was one of the first bands to record for One Little Indian records. I played drums for the band on a few tracks later on, but for this first release the band had a drum machine. Adrian Sherwood was sitting pretty in the public with endless purely wonderful releases from his label ONU Sound. Mark Stewart And The Maffia, Tackhead and African Headcharge. Bonjo I and Style Scott were part of this ONU set up.

Derek decided that Flux Of Pink Indians should record for his new record label, but also the band name should change as well as the sound of the band. We all agreed to this as far as I can remember. We had not performed live or recorded anything since 1984. Things were pretty slow.

Colin, Derek, Tim, Lu and myself struggled with different sounds, and while the ideas were formed we had some input from Ray Shulman of the progressive band Gentle Giant. His effect on the band should not be underestimated. He bought a mad violin sound to the table and the trumpet. Bonjo I also came to the same table, as did Adrian Sherwood.

We started recording ‘Uncarved Block’ with Adrian Sherwood at Berry Street studios. The recording sessions as far as I remember was turning out well. There was one time when Adrian had an important meeting to collect ‘something for the weekend’ and left Derek in the engineers chair for some of Bonjo I’s percussion recording. Adrian had made a career in dealing with Rastafarian musicians. Derek however had not. Derek recorded the material that Bonjo I was only practicing and not recording the material that Bonjo I thought was to be recorded. Bonjo I was speaking in very thick Jamaican patois and Derek struggled to understand a lot of it. I was in the control room and Derek was asking me what was said, generally to a shoulder shrug. This whole episode was frustrating to Bonjo I and he was getting quite angry. He stood up and took out a large knife entering the control room with what we both thought at the time, some menace. He got a mango out of a ruck sack and started to cut it up. Worry over. Adrian came back eventually wide eyed and sorted out any unusable material we had created with Bonjo I!

Another memory that sticks in my mind was when a few days after I had completed my drum parts, Derek played me the tape and there seemed to be another drum going throughout the tracks. This sounded unusual. I asked what that was, Derek replied Style Scott came in and did a few sessions with Adrian! I knew nothing at the time and remember feeling a little let down as I could have completed a separate drum track easily enough. However with hindsight shortly afterwards I realised having someone like Style Scott on a Flux record engineered by Adrian Sherwood at Berry Street is not a bad look at all!

We had the recordings in the can and the record was released on One Little Indian records prior to the performance at U.L.U in November so interested punters would know what kind of sound Flux were going to showcase.

Come the time of the gig we all got to the venue early as there was a lot of sound checking to do. Not just bass, guitars and drums.

The night was organised as a One Little Indian / Tackhead Sound System night. Adrian Sherwood was on the mixing desk all night. Our old friends Annie Anxiety and D&V were both set to perform to mainly backing tracks. AR Kane who were new to me, were also on the bill. They had a drum machine to add to the mix.

Flux had two drummers as mentioned above, both siblings, not myself and Style Scott like the studio recordings.
Flux had Bonjo I to fit into the mix.
Flux had vocals, bass and guitars.
Flux had violin and trumpet courtesy of Ray Shulman.
Flux also has a scaffold pole filled up with metallic things that made a racket when wacked with a drum stick. Fire extinguishers, pot and pans.

Adrian took care in making sure all this was at the correct level in the mix. He also had to mix the Tackhead Sound System along with various MC’s and so forth.

Adrian was a busy guy on the night, and needed a little speed to keep him going….

I watched all the bands / artists on the night as far as I can remember.

D&V, my old friends also had many backing tracks and played a blinder. Several years previously D&V would have had a problem with the crowds when supporting Crass and other bands of that ilk. Happily I remember that they got a decent reception.

AR Kane were sublime, and as mentioned earlier I eventually drummed for them on a few tracks that were eventually released.

Annie Anxiety smoked and drunk half a bottle of spirits to calm her nerves prior to getting on the stage “OK ready for the fucking show now boys” she stated loudly. A blinding set from her to a receptive audience for a change. Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980s appearing numerous times alongside Crass she would not always get a decent reception.

All the bands / artists on the bill went onto to release records for One Little Indian as far as I am aware.

Adrian Sherwood held all the differing sounds on the night nice and tight and after every performance the Tackhead Sound System would get a positive reception. This was not incidental music between bands; this was part of the performance. It was loud I remember that.

Flux went on with all the extra musicians and completely enjoyed the night. I think the audience did to from what I remember seeing. I do not remember doing an encore, not due to the band not feeling appreciated but due to just performing ‘Uncarved Block’. Once all those tracks that appeared on the record were completed the band left the stage. Flux were not going to come back on to perform ‘Tube Disasters’ or anything like that!

After the performance I stayed for the rest of the Tackhead Sound System. Bonjo I wanted paying in cash for the nights work which took the band by surprise. He had just been released from detention due to some misdemeanour which if I remember rightly might have been a violent misdemeanour so we thought it better not to argue with him. We had to get some cash double quick to pay Bonjo I off and when we scraped some money together he disappeared!

Sometime after this U.L.U performance we went to Europe to try the new set out there.

A wrong move was not to take Adrian Sherwood, my brother Paul, Bonjo I or Ray. We thought we could cover the new set as a five piece (back to Flux Of Pink Indians not the nine piece Flux). At the Paradiso in Amsterdam we not only sounded hollow and bombed, but the audience were also disappointed as an rap artist who was expected to perform on the same night had not turned up to perform for the gig. Added to this everyone was expecting the Adrian Sherwood Tackhead style night. Flux were a very poor second! Ditto the above for Hague in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium…
Not a great little European jaunt, but the U.L.U performance in my mind was one of the best gigs I performed in.

Flux played one more time in 1991 at the Dome in Tufnell Park alongside Hotalacio Sound System which was Colins version of the Tackhead Sound System. I remember that this gig was packed, but again it was not the same as the U.L.U performance. Adrian Sherwood, Bonjo I and Ray really made that performance, and indeed the record (along with Style Scott) stand the test of time.

MARTIN FLUX

Alternative TV – Noiseville Records – 1986

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Victory / Repulsion

You Never Know

Today is a sad day. The day that all of us here at KYPP found out about the passing of Martin Neish A.K.A Protag. This KYPP post is dedicated to Protag as well as the hundreds (thousands probably) of people that knew Protag and have been saddened by his passing.

Protag was was the most gentle of souls and would never rise to any sort of panic when all around him other folk were tearing their hair out! He was also one of the hardest working drivers, roadies, P.A operators that I knew. Working the venues that he was most associated with, a smile on his face seemingly present at all times. His performances with the bands he was associated with, spanning almost three decades, were also rock solid with whatever instrument he happened to be asked to play, depending on whatever band he was in at the time!

Tonight I have uploaded an pretty damn good Alternative TV 12″ from 1986 released on the Noiseville record label, a record that Protag was involved with.. Previously in 1985, Noiseville records had released ‘The End Of Fun’, another 12″ by Alternative TV but with Karl Blake involved rather than Protag.

The photographs below, from my collection, are from an Alternative TV performance at the Finsbury Park Sir George Robey sometime in 1986 and one of Protag on the mixing desk from a Meanwhile Gardens all dayer in the summer, mid 1980’s.

The Alternative TV text below is from Wikki, and if anyone is interested in listening to the earlier Alternative TV records then there is a dedicated KYPP post HERE to view and access the audio.

For anyone that might be interested in hearing some other recorded work that Protag was involved with, accessible on previous KYPP posts, they may be found as below.

Instant Automatons may be heard HERE and the first Blyth Power recording with Protag on the bass duties from early 1987 may be heard HERE

R.I.P Protag. You were very special and very kind to a much younger Penguin.

Alternative TV were formed by Mark Perry, the founding editor of Sniffin’ Glue punk fanzine, with Alex Fergusson. Early rehearsals took place at Throbbing Gristle’s Industrial Records studio with Genesis P-Orridge on drums. The band’s first live appearance was in Nottingham supporting The Adverts.

The band’s debut on record was ‘Love Lies Limp’, a free flexi disc issued with the final edition of Perry’s Sniffin’ Glue fanzine. For their first two singles Perry and Fergusson were accompanied by drummer John Towe (ex-Generation X) and Tyrone Thomas on bass; Towe later left to join The Rage and was replaced by Chris Bennett. This line-up was the most straightforwardly punk version of ATV, although they combined short fast songs with extended pieces such as ‘Alternatives to NATO’, in which Perry read an anarchist political text and envisaged the possibility of a Soviet invasion of Britain. Shortly afterwards they released the ‘How Much Longer’/’You Bastard’  7″ in December 1977. The A-side was a pointed critique of punk style: “How much longer will people wear/Nazi armbands and dye their hair?”.

At the end of 1977, Perry sacked his chief collaborator and co-writer Fergusson. The latter went on to form the short-lived Cash Pussies and, a few years later, Psychic TV along with Genesis P-Orridge. Tyrone Thomas switched to guitar, later replaced by Kim Turner, while Dennis Burns joined on bass. A dub-influenced single, ‘Life After Life’, was released, followed by the band’s debut album, The Image Has Cracked, both featuring Jools Holland guesting on piano.

By the end of 1978, only Perry and Burns remained from the previous line-up, although ATV used additional musicians live and in the studio. The band’s second album ‘Vibing Up the Senile Man’ (Part One) saw the band take a more explicitly experimental direction, which alienated both the music press and audiences. A recording of one gig which ended in a violent stage invasion can be heard on the cassette-only release ‘Scars on Sunday’. A live LP was released, documenting their tour with commune-dwelling progressive band, Here and Now, marking the band’s further movement away from the punk/new wave scene. A final single ‘The Force Is Blind’ featured Anno from Here and Now on additional vocals.

Alternative TV soon evolved into the avant-garde project, The Good Missionaries (taking the name from a track on the ‘Vibing’ album), releasing one album, ‘Fire From Heaven’ in 1979. Perry released a solo album ‘Snappy Turns’ the following year, and joined the experimental duo The Door and the Window on their debut album ‘Detailed Twang’ before he, Burns and Fergusson briefly reformed Alternative TV along with former members of Fergusson’s Cash Pussies in 1981. The reconstituted ATV released one album ‘Strange Kicks’ a venture into light pop songs unlike any of their previous work, produced by Richard Mazda.

From 1981 to 1982 Perry had a new project, The Reflections, a band with Nag from The Door and the Window, Karl Blake (of The Lemon Kittens) and Grant Showbiz, among others. They produced an album ‘Slugs and Toads’ and a single ‘4 Countries’ before disintegrating.

Perry reformed ATV in 1985. This line up started with Karl Blake, Steve Cannell and Allison Philips. Martin ‘Protag’ Neish and then Clive Giblin featured later on guitar and ATV released further records ‘Welcome To The End Of Fun’, ‘Sex / Love’, ‘My Baby’s Laughing’ and the ‘Peep Show’ album.

Another line-up followed with James Kyllo along with Mark Perry and Steve Cannell which lead to the releases of ‘Sol’ and the ‘Dragon Love’ album.

Words from Protag and from others about Protag.

I am in hospital with widespread cancer of the liver, spleen, spine etc. These are secondary cancers. Until they discover the primary cancer (it’s been eluding the experts for over a week) they can’t specify a treatment plan. However, from what they’ve already said… and due to other complicating factors, almost certainly whatever plan is indicated will not be suitable in my scenario; and plan B will come into operation which is to send me home with a McMillan nurse and a lot of painkillers. As such I may only be lucid for a week or two from now. I call it the Indignitas Clinic. Not as far away as Switzerland, and no air travel required.

Protag – February 5th

All our collective thoughts go out to Protag who is suffering from cancer and is at this moment in the Bradford Royal Infirmary. Protag was a fixture at many events and venues throughout The Mob’s original lifespan (up to the end of 1983) as well as other All The Madmen bands of that era. Protag was often found behind the sound desk at events like the summer Meanwhile Gardens gigs, the Islington Rosebery Avenue Peace Centre, the Homerton Blue House as well as helping out at the other earlier autonomy centres. Protag was a member of the Instant Automatons in the late 1970’s as well as being a member of Alternative TV, Blyth Power and then Zounds from the mid 1980’s to the early 1990’s. Protag drove bands around (seemingly all year long) and helped with setting up equipment for bands at the many gigs he was in charge of the sound desk. Blyth Power’s first public release, the cassette ‘A Little Touch Of Harry In The Night’ released on All The Madmen records then head honcho, Rob Challice’s 96 Tapes imprint was recorded with Protag at the sound desk at Brougham Road in Hackney. It was Protag’s Meanwhile Gardens tapes that contained tracks that were placed onto the ‘B’ side of The Mob’s ‘Crying Again’ 12″ re-release that came out on All The Madmen records in 1986. Protag still helps bands and venues to this day! Protag is a particularly pleasant man whom The Mob and All The Madmen records would like to send many positive thoughts to at this time. If anyone that knows Protag would like his personal email address then please private message this Mob / ATM FB page and we will share that information with you. Please private message if you knew Protag. I am sure he will be pleased with receiving messages of support at this time from folk that shared experiences with him throughout his dealings with bands and venues for several decades. Positive thoughts are needed at this time. Thank you for reading.

Posted up on The Mob / All The Madmen records Facebook page 7th February by Mickey ‘Penguin’

It’s with the deepest sadness that I learned today of the passing of Protag. He was my best friend at school and my partner in crime when we were taking our first faltering steps together into the weird world of the “music biz”. It was an honour to have known and worked with him in the past, and I’m so glad we made the journey down to Bradford last weekend to see him (and, without fully realising it, to say goodbye). Martin’s integrity, his warm personality and his wonderful dry wit always shone like a beacon in a dark, cold world. Now that light has gone out, and the world seems a darker, colder place without him. R.I.P.

Mark Lancaster – Instant Automatons

He walked it like he talked it……. So pleased we saw each other in December and talked last week R.I.P Protag.

Grant Showbiz – Street Level Studios

So sorry to hear the news of Protag’s passing. In my 35 plus years in this business he was one of the kindest and most genuine people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Protag was a bloody good guitarist and soundman as well. My condolences go to all his friends & family.

Mark Perry – Alternative TV

For all those years spent inside the horse, love and respect at journey’s end.

Joseph Porter – Blyth Power

Protag played bass in Zounds from 2003 to 2006. He died today at 9.15 on 18th Feb 2014. He was an amazing person who was associated with the band from the earliest days. He was selflessly devoted to Bradford’s 1 in 12 Club to which he gave much energy, care and love. I could go on and on about how brilliant, interesting, original and funny Protag was but there will be time for that later. Protag played and organised Blyth Power for years and also played with ATV. Words can’t express how much we will miss him. Love to all.

Steve Lake – Zounds

Flack – Practice Cassette Tape – 1981

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Flack practice tape – 1981

Indebted to the honourable Chris Low for the loan of this cassette tape uploaded tonight, to Andy Martin for the text and to Tod Hanson for the photographs. Expect a right royal racket with some crazy bass playing. All glorious material though!

Tod and Martin of Flack, Southend

Martha Moscow and Martin of Flack, Southend

FLACK – used to rehearse in my attic at 109 Foulden Road, Stoke Newington, London – on a 1960s drum kit and amplifiers provided by Pete, Julian and Dan of The Apostles.

Martha Moscow on bass guitar, playing the smallest bass guitar I have ever seen.

Martin Black on guitar (no, not the Martin Black who later called himself Napoleon of Hackney Hell Crew fame, that’s a different and decidedly more grubby but equally entertaining story).

Tod Unctious on vocals, no, that’s from Father Ted, sorry. Tod Hanson on vocals.

Paul Gubb a.k.a. Mag on drums.

I remember Mag was 13 at the time and beyond doubt the most technically competent musician in the band, but then I’m not a drummer so I’m probably talking utter twaddle, it wouldn’t be the first time, I hear you cry, but then I’m allowed a certain degree of artistic license as I’m a renaissance man and I also have a complete set of P G Tips picture card albums from the very first one in 1954 right up to the Olympics Greats from 1993. Flack never recorded anything in a professional studio which is a shame, these tracks were recorded live on a cassette recorder at 109 Foulden Road. However, at least Tod achieved a degree of success later with his technically superb artistic skills. I lived with Martha in Islington for a few months when she had departed Flack to look after her baby son. Mitch took over bass duties and the difference in sound and style became profoundly dramatic on the tracks ‘Drained’ and ‘The Workers’ despite the extreme limitations of the recording process. Mitch went onto join Hagar The Womb and conquered the world (or west Hampstead at least) but whatever happened to Mag?

Andy Martin – The Apostles

Lee Perry – Lion Of Judah Records – 1978

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Soul Fire / Throw Some Water In / Evil Tongues / Curly Locks / Ghetto Sidewalk

Favourite Dish / Free Up The Weed / Big Neck Police / Mr D.J Man / Roast Fish And Cornbread

Easing the KYPP browers into the new year with the first Lee Perry vocal album that was released in 1978 on Lee Perry’s own ‘Lion Of Judah’ imprint. This record is really rather good and gets a spin at least once a year right up here at the top of Penguin Towers, normally illegally loud and bass heavy!

I ripped off all the text from the All Music site, the New York based ‘Village Voice’ magazine and the rather ‘seasonal’ essay on the South Park Road Gun Court in Kingston, Jamaica was lifted from Da Wikki.

The photographs of Lee Perry and the Gun Court as well as the adverts for handing in your guns, were all scanned from one of the best books on the subject of reggae music and the general vibe of Jamaica, ‘Babylon On A Thin Wire’ which was published in 1976 and which has sadly been out of print for several decades now. A similar read to ‘Babylon On A Thin Wire’, and by the same writer, Michael Thomas and again with Adrian Boot photographs, is the book ‘Jah Revenge’ from 1978 which is also out of print as far as I know, and which also has been for decades. If you are interested in this subject then I would strongly recommend both these books assuming you can find them somewhere!

From us all here at KYPP online, we are all hoping that all the KYPP browsers worldwide will be safe, well, and have a pleasant and productive year ahead.

‘Roast Fish, Collie Weed And Cornbread’ was Lee Perry’s twentieth album, counting his sets, compilations, and full-length dub discs. Amazingly though, it was the first album Perry exclusively dedicated to his own vocal numbers. That, however, was not necessarily a strong selling point, as even his most devoted fans admit that Perry the singer is no equal to Perry the producer. And thankfully the set doesn’t open with his out of tune cover of Junior Byles’ sublime ‘Curly Locks’!

Knock out that track though, and you’re left with one of the most awe-inspiring albums of the decade, and even with that track, the album is still a masterpiece. It’s an extremely eclectic set, both thematically and musically, but without appearing flighty or unfocused.

There are wonderfully light-hearted moments, like the spectacularly dread title track, a song so heavy you expect Babylon to quake in the backing gladiator’s wake. But all the thick atmosphere, stalking rhythm, and ominous melody merely set the table for Perry to serve up and lavishly proclaim his favourite dish. Brilliant.

Equally entertaining is ‘Throw Some Water In’ as Perry equates proper auto maintenance to caring for one’s own body, a cheerful lesson on the importance of exercise and diet set to a vivacious reggae backing. It’s unclear if “Yu Squeeze My Panhandle” is meant to be humorous, although Perry’s pleading to the DJ to play his record is so over the top pitiful, one can’t imagine it’s anything but tongue in cheek, and all set to a slow, scorcher of a rhythm layered with percussion and weird effects.

A question mark also hovers around the intent of ‘Evil Tongues’ whose lyrics slip from condemning hypocrites down into the depths of paranoia. Unfortunately future events proved the lyrics all too prophetic in reflecting Perry’s slide into an emotional maelstrom. But so phenomenal is the claustrophobic production, it was still difficult to imagine that he was losing his way. In the cultural realm, ‘Big Neck Police’ revived Perry’s earlier single ‘Dreadlocks in Moonlight’ with additional percussion, searing sax solos, and female backing vocalists, creating a number that not only equalled the original, but bettered it. ‘Free Up the Weed’ was an impassioned, well-reasoned plea for legalization, while ‘Ghetto Sidewalk’ requested light for the sufferers.

The latter was a little overly ambitious musically, as Perry attempted to blend jazzy sax, studio effects and percussion, and a sturdy, tribal-tinged rhythm. Much more effective was ‘Soul Fire’ which layered instruments, effects, percussion, his own double-tracked vocals, and a mooing cow into a heady piece that defies categorization, but is laced with funk, soul, and the sound of classic Studio One.

And as highly experimental as many of the tracks are, the rhythms throughout are particularly inspired, with the productions equally intriguing, unlike many of Perry’s earlier excursions out to the musical fringe, these numbers are eminently entertaining and downright infectious, boasting strong melodies and, dare one say it, great vocals. This record was an extraordinary set.

JO-ANN GREENE – All Music

What makes Scratch so good is his distortion of the reggae mise-en-scene. In a basically conservative genre, producer Perry’s anti-science science of intuition and quick hands injects chance, humour, and disaster without ever really leaving the pop song behind.

Those who look to Perry’s shit talking for a cosmology will get burned; those who dismiss his output because of his shit talking will miss the aurora borealis of reggae.

‘Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread’ for example, one of the few records credited solely to Perry as artist and probably my favourite, pits house band rhythms against Perry’s pixie-dust percussion and mixing-desk abuse, over which Scratch narrates like a homeless Martha Stewart on how to stay healthy, how many lights are broken on his block etc. His microphone skills on any of his records are easily proto rap, his dub styling’s (like Jah Lion playing dominoes louder than Max Romeo’s singing on Norman ) are closer to John Cage than King Tubby.

‘Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread’ was all recorded at Black Ark with only a four-track 1/4-inch Teac reel-to-reel, 16-trackn Soundcraft board, Mutron phaser, and Roland Space Echo. Perry bouncing tracks together to create 16-track thickness, albeit with considerable signal degradation and tape hiss, Perry bubbled more than a Greenwich Village pavement in July and was guided by voices that could actually sing.

SASHA FRERE-JONES – Village Voice

In the early 1970s, Jamaica experienced a rise in violence associated with criminal gangs and political polarization between supporters of the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party. After a rash of killings of lawyers and businessmen in 1974, the government of Michael Manley attempted to restore order by granting broad new law enforcement powers in the Suppression of Crime Act and the Gun Court Act. The Suppression of Crime Act allowed the police and the military to work together in a novel way to disarm the people: soldiers sealed off entire neighbourhoods, and policemen systematically searched the houses inside for weapons without requiring a warrant. The goal was to expedite and improve enforcement of the 1967 Firearms Act, which imposed licensing requirements on ownership and possession of guns and ammunition, and prohibited automatic weapons entirely. Firearm licences in Jamaica require a background check, inspection and payment of a yearly fee, and can make legal gun ownership difficult for ordinary citizens. The new judicial procedures of the Gun Court Act were designed to ensure that firearms violations would be tried quickly and harshly punished.

Prime Minister Michael Manley expressed his determination to take stronger action against firearms, predicting that “It will be a long war. No country can win a war against crime overnight, but we shall win. By the time we have finished with them, Jamaican gunmen will be sorry they ever heard of a thing called a gun.” In order to win this war, Manley believed it necessary to fully disarm the public: “There is no place in this society for the gun, now or ever.”

The Gun Court Act and the Suppression of Crime Act were passed in special simultaneous sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives, and immediately signed into law by Governor-General Florizel Glasspole on April 1, 1974. The new court had several extraordinary features. Most trials were to be conducted in camera, without a jury and closed to the public and the press, in order to avoid problems of intimidation of witnesses and jurors. There was no provision for bail, either pre-trial or during appeal, since all defendants were considered dangerous. Most offences carried a single, mandatory sentence: indefinite imprisonment with hard labour. A convicted offender could be released only upon special decision of the Governor-General, advised by an appointed review board.

The unusual features of the Gun Court have faced legal challenges, some of which have forced amendment of the Gun Court Act. The case Hinds et al. v. the Queen was an early test case for the new court. Four men, Moses Hinds, Henry Martin, Elkanah Hutchinson, and Samuel Thomas, had been arrested and convicted by the Gun Court in 1974 for possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence. They appealed their sentences to Jamaica’s highest appellate court, the Court of Appeals, which initially declined to hear the case. However, they were allowed to apply to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which agreed to review the legality of the Gun Court system.

The Constitution of Jamaica reserves certain serious crimes to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and its divisions. The Gun Court Act had established the Full Court division, with Resident Magistrates presiding, to try major firearms offences. The Privy Council held that this provision of the Act improperly encroached on the jurisdiction reserved for the Supreme Court, and that the Full Court division was therefore unconstitutional. This fault was remedied in 1976 by replacing the Full Court division with a new High Court division, presided over by a single Supreme Court justice. The Privy Council also found that the institution of an appointed review board to determine the length of sentences was contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers fundamental to the Westminster system of government. According to this principle, sentencing in each particular case is a function of the judiciary, and cannot be assigned to any other body. The 1976 amendment eliminated the review board entirely, leaving life imprisonment without review as the only possible sentence.

Another case, Trevor Stone v. the Queen, challenged the denial of jury trial for most gun offences. It was argued that trial by jury is a fundamental and constitutional right guaranteed by tradition in English common law. The Jamaican Court of Appeals rejected this argument in a decision written by Court President Ira DeCordova Rowe in 1980. The court noted that the written Constitution adopted by Jamaica upon independence guaranteed certain rights to criminal defendants, but omitted trial by jury. This case confirmed the Gun Court’s power to try all non-capital cases before judges alone.

The case of Herbert Bell v. Director of Public Prosecutions, concerning the right to a speedy trial, reached the Privy Council in 1983. The defendant had been held awaiting trial for several years, but the state ultimately failed to present any evidence or witnesses. When he was again arrested on the same firearms charges, he filed suit arguing that the Gun Court had violated his constitutional rights through unreasonable delay. The Privy Council agreed, ruling that even when prevailing local standards were taken into account, Bell’s trial had been excessively delayed through no fault of his own.

The Gun Court Amendment Act of 1983 allowed Resident Magistrates to grant pre-trial bail, and to decide whether to keep firearms cases in the Resident Magistrate’s Court or to send them to the High Court division of the Gun Court. Judges were given the power to set sentences other than life imprisonment. Cases involving defendants under 14 years old were directed to juvenile courts, instead of being heard by the ordinary Gun Court, and many young convicts serving indefinite sentences were released.

The Gun Court has faced criticism on several fronts, most notably for its departure from traditional practices, for its large backlog of cases, and for the continuing escalation in gun violence since its institution.

At the time of the 1976 amendments to the Act, the Jamaican Bar Association protested against the lack of jury trials and the harsh mandatory sentences. According to a report in the Virgin Islands Daily News, the Association’s Bar Council objected to the possibility that children as young as 12 could be imprisoned for life, without release or appeal, for small offences such as being found with used ammunition. The abrogation of jury trial has also been criticized by attorney and law professor David Rowe, the son of the Appeals Court justice who wrote the decision in the Stone case upholding the practice. Rowe argues that the common-law right to a jury trial is implied in the Constitutional provision for “a fair hearing within a reasonable time, by an independent and impartial court established by law,” concluding that the Constitution had been “shorn of its most potent and ancient safeguard, trial by jury.”


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