Indebted to Nick Comfylux for supplying me with this audio that he recorded at the back of the hall of Crass performing their last ever concert in London, and indeed one of the last performances.
Below are snippets of memories for two gigs from Tristian ‘Stringy’ Carter. Crass at the Bingo Hall, Flux at the Glasshouse, and the final word on the gig that was missed, Crass at the Glasshouse!
At the Bingo Hall in Islington, Crass were a little more ‘user-friendly’, more accessible on the night, albeit with well-known numbers interspersed with fury-driven snippets of ‘Yes Sir I Will’, and of course the more recent head-on turn of ‘You’re Already Dead’, and ‘Smash The Mac’ with its chilling guitar refrain.
The perceived failure of the peace-punks’ stance, and the turn towards more confrontational and violent action was of course personified at this time by the major emergence of Class War (established in 1983); the Bingo Hall was the first time I think I really started to take on board these changes in rhetoric and practice, and I have vague recollections of Ian Bone being there, arguments and scuffles…
That was a hell of a weekend, with recollections centring around the post-Camden gig mooch by about twelve of us up to the Bingo Hall, all quiet and seemingly empty, well certainly no-one answered when we banged on the door, so then decision time, what to do next?
Half the guys left for a restless night at Liverpool Street station, while we wandered about until we bumped into some lovely Scottish mohawked character, who knew all about the next night’s gig and was happy for us to crash at his flat, a fun night of incomprehensible accents, cider, and the Icons Of Filth E.P being played again, and again, that and us lot chrysalis-like scrunched up in our sleeping bags on the warm floor…
Next day and to the well-known Upper Street chippy none too far round the corner from the Bingo Hall itself (renowned for the fact that it didn’t fry its chips in lard, so we could eat them), then a day of hanging out, helping to move the gear from Crass’ van into the venue and the gradual gathering of the clans.
Great gig, great memories of togetherness with the Ipswich guys, the feeling of community at the Bingo Hall itself and this feeling of things really happening in new ways, as we segued from the carefully policed C.N.D demos to the more ad hoc and fluid Stop The City movement.
Over the next few weeks things got a bit quieter for me; I didn’t end up participating in the March 29th Stop The City, and most gigging was avowedly local as I had turn my attention to ‘A’ Level exams and the end of high school life.
The next real blip on the radar was the Flux Of Pink Indians / D&V / Chumbawamba gig at the squatted Camden Glasshouse on the 4th June, another great place, albeit with somewhat worryingly bouncy floors for an upstairs venue.
It also had a different vibe because of the bands’ musical variance. I always had a soft spot for D&V, their minimalist sound (drums and vocals), with looping quasi-rap / staccato lyrical punctuation, and a good humoured front-man.
Could have sworn this was the gig of Flux playing in beachwear and an encore in knickers, but if not, then I do recall a broken down reggae-styled segment at the end, I think a ‘Tube Disasters-Progress-Tube Disasters’ segue.
Whether humour was the driving force behind the reinterpretation I am not sure, but I chose to view it as a breath of fresh air, or olive branch to all after the recent aural hostility and fury of the ‘Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks’ set of March.
Not giving up, or taking the foot off the pedal per se, but maybe an appreciation that your engagement with the shit out there could only run so far on anger, and that we required some nuanced approaches, and different tools in our box, for dealing with all that we were being confronted with.
Then there was Chumbawamba.
I think this has to be the first of many occasions I’d saw them, and it was just wonderfully different. Categorically on the same page in terms of many of the themes being discussed, but here the nuance and variety of approaches I believed were coming to the fore with the Flux Of Pink Indians performance that night, but very much taken to the next level. It was categorically theatrical, with the shifting vocals, the literal changing of the instruments between members, the harmonies alongside the punch, the clothes and posture, again a much needed change of pace from what at times had become a miasma of well-intentioned re-iterations of the Crass / Conflict / Subhumans / Antisect families.
Talking of Crass, that was the one downer of the night, when I asked an attendant Phil Free if those guys might play the Glasshouse, only to be told they’d indeed played there a few weeks earlier…
Tristian ‘Stringy’ Carter
Indebted to Jim Wafford for the photographs of Crass performing at the Glasshouse.
Uploaded tonight are BOTH versions of the debut 7″ single by Alternative T.V.
Both records and sleeves have been scanned and if you are sad like me, you will notice that the alternative version of this 7″ single has ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS written upon the label.
Furthermore, the folds on the rear of either sleeves are slightly different. I told you I was sad.
Oddly the catalogue number DFC002 is the same for both versions. I assume it must have been pot luck which copy you were supplied over the counter back when it was released.
The first release on Deptford Fun City Records, DFC001, was ‘A Packet Of Three’ by Squeeze. Yes, that Squeeze!
This debut 7″ single by Alternative T.V is of course a classic, and here are some words on it from Mark Perry
“We didn’t actually record ‘Love Lies Limp’ as a single cos that was one of the songs we did for E.M.I as a demo. We did four songs, we did ‘Love Lies Limp’, ‘How Much Longer’, ‘You Bastard’ and ‘Life’ as as demo.
We went in an’ did these songs, and ‘Love Lies Limp’ was about sex and had swearing in it, I think I swore in ‘How Much Longer’ at the end – “You all don’t fucking care” – ‘You Bastard’ – well, “You bastard”, right? – and ‘Life’ was the only one that was “acceptable”.
E.M.I basically said “Look, very interesting, but we think it’s too political, it’s too controversial” – that’s what they said about our music, it was quite funny – but the good thing about the E.M.I demo was that it was like a free recording for us, so we had these tracks. I dunno I had the idea or someone else had the idea that when it came to the last issue of Sniffin’ Glue, cos by that time we’d recorded a different version of ‘How Much Longer’/’You Bastard’ for the first single but we hadn’t put it out yet, and just thought it’d be a nice introduction to the band.
The concept idea that you end the fanzine so one thing ends of mine, and the band starts. So that’s why. But I don’t know why we chose that particular song for the flexidisc.
It was good to do something different. Someone also mentioned that cos it was a flexi, cos it was on a floppy disc, y’know ‘Love Lies Limp’? I didn’t think of that, someone else come up with that.
Someone said that in the NME, they said “This is not a conventional record, this is ‘Love Lies Limp’ on floppy, and they made that connection. I think it was a bit of an inspired idea doing that flexidisc.
I think we spent all our profits on it, which didn’t amount to much, but we had load of ’em, cos what happened was we had got 20,000 made of the bloody things. In fact, Harry Murlowski, who was at the time he was doing more of the business side of the fanzine and that, he was at his mum’s the other day, well last year or something, and he was looking in the loft and he found a box of ‘LLL’ flexidiscs, about fifty of ’em.
The debut single had two versions. What happened was, we did the E.M.I demo, and we thought that was pretty cool, more rough and ready, and then we re-recorded it for the proper single but after living with the first single for a little bit, not long, I just thought it was over-produced, and I liked the old version better.
What we did, when we did a re-press we just thought we’d put that other version out, the E.M.I session one, so that’s what we did. They are quite different. The E.M.I version is much more what we sounded like live, there’s no overdubs, it’s just as it is, y’know”.
Whichever version you prefer, and I feel you should give both versions a listen while you read this immense KYPP post HERE
The three original 1977 flyers that are featured on this YouTube post are from the collection of Tony D, Ripped And Torn and Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzines.
Dedicated to Robert Dellar – 16th December 1964 – 17th December 2017.
I always thought Demob were great and severely underrated at the time, so I am uploading both 7″ singles that were released during the band’s lifetime.
All these tracks that are uploaded by this band tonight are great, but ‘No Room For You’ (five minute mark) is an absolute stone wall classic…
For best results play this track loud enough to receive a visit and a court order from your local plod / social services.
Undoubtedly one of my favourite songs by any bands at that time.
I’m listening to ‘No Room For You’, as I write this, LOUD.
Text from Wikkiwackiewoo.
Demob formed in late 1978 by guitarist Terry Elcock and drummer Johnny Melfah, and they were soon joined by Mike Howes (vocals), Tony Wakefield (bass) and Chris Rush (guitar). Howes ex-army skinhead friend Andy Kanonik soon joined, also on vocals.
It was this line-up that first rehearsed and played the first gigs in and around Gloucester, the Viking Youth Club becoming the main place of rehearsals and Tracy’s night club was the first venue that Demob played in 1978, and became the local night club hangout for all the band and punks at that time. Elcock had previous experience on guitar as a member of a church band.
Demob’s first big break came in the summer of 1979 when they fooled the authorities into letting them have a place in the Gloucester annual carnival parade.
The ever increasing support for the band resulted in a mass riot between the punks and the bikers and, ultimately, the suspension of the carnival. The riot made national press and attracted the interest of the local record label, Round Ear Records.
In 1980, Howes was sacked from the band, and Kanonik was imprisoned for three months, leaving the band without a singer.
The band had just recruited Mark “Miff” Smith to replace Rush, and he took over the role of singer, with Paul “Fatty” Price also replacing Wakefield on bass. Smith soon become an integral part, arranging and organising gigs.
With the line-up now comprising Mark Smith (vocals), Terry Elcock (guitar), Paul Price & Barry Philips (bass guitar), and Johnny Melfah (drums), the band worked on their first recordings. ‘Anti-Police’ was Demob’s first release on the independent Round Ear Records, the record was supported by the late John Peel, and journalist Garry Bushell.
The record spent over two months in the UK Indie Chart, peaking at number 34.
On the back of the success of ‘Anti-Police’, Demob supported many acts around the punk circuit at this time, including U2 (!), UK Subs, The Angelic Upstarts, Discharge and The Beat (!!).
Most performances ended with a police presence and inevitable violence with their notorious hardcore followers, the ‘Demob Riot Squad’. The band’s multi-racial line-up sometimes attracted hostility from Nazi skinheads who attended their gigs, and the band would play several concerts in aid of the Anti-Nazi League.
A second single, ‘No Room For You’ quickly followed to add to the success, but unfortunately, like so many punk acts of the era, musical differences soon developed amongst the line up and Demob split to pursue other musical avenues in 1983.
THE THREE BAND MEMBER PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE FEATURED ON THIS YOUTUBE POST ARE NOT MINE. THEY ARE BRILLIANT PHOTOGRAPHS I JUST HAD TO ADD THEM. IF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE YOURS YOU WILL BE DUE FOR A CREDIT. LEAVE A COMMENT.
The Astronauts were partly responsible for inspiring me to start helping out at All The Madmen Records, based in Brougham Road Hackney, in 1985.
The Astronauts were just one part of a mish-mash roster of bands that included Flowers In The Dustbin, Zos Kia, Blyth Power and of course The Mob.
This wonderful debut extended play 7″ single by The Astronauts was released by Bugle Records based in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
Mark Astronauts’s well thought out lyrics are always written with great feeling and care are impeccably delivered.
Bugle Records also released the second extended play 7″ single by The Astronauts a year later.
Text below written by Robin Basak of Zero fanzine fame, ripped off with love from his Acid Stings site.
Eternal long-haired losers who also have some of the best tunes this semi-legendary band has only released six albums in its long existence but each of them is a bonafide classic.
The Astronauts second album ‘All Done By Mirrors’ judged by those who heard it as among the best albums of all time was a stunning collection of explosive pop songs and traditional folk ballads recorded at a time when all their gigs were with anarchist punk bands.
Their fifth album ’In Defence Of Compassion’ experimented with ambient house music years before other conventional bands even thought of doing so.
Inspired by the UK punk explosion Mark Astronaut formed the band with a few friends in 1977 and began playing local gigs in their hometown of Welwyn Garden City.
By 1979 The Astronauts were regularly appearing at free festivals and gigs in London organised by a hippy collective known as Fuck Off Records and from these began a close friendship with then London based punk bands Zounds and the Mob.
That year the first Astronauts E.P was released on local label Bugle Records and musically it reflected the hippie drug culture combined with the energy of punk. ‘All Night Party’ still sounds like the paranoid nightmare it did back then. The record established the Astronauts on the local gig scene among the non mainstream hippie/punk/biker crowd.
Also in 1979 an E.P was released under the assumed name of Restricted Hours on the Stevenage Rock Against Racism label. ‘Getting Things Done’ attacked the political apathy of small town life while ‘Still Living Out The Car Crash’ was musically a typically nightmarish theme.
By 1980 gigs throughout England with Zounds had won over an army of fans and the ‘Pranksters In Revolt’ E.P sold all its copies within weeks. Musically the four songs were not as adventurous as the first E.P although the lyrics were as incisive as ever.
Like many great bands from the post punk era the Astronauts were completely ignored by the UK music press which then as now was only interested in anything trendy, fashionable or middle class. Local fanzine Zero began to champion the band as did the local newspapers.
The ‘Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs’ album was released in 1981 to widespread acclaim. Incredibly it received great reviews in virtually all the UK music press.
The typical Astronauts audience at the time was largely hardcore punks attracted by the energetic gigs and a handful of hippies so the album was something of a surprise. Full of heartfelt folk ballads and featuring legendary saxophonist Nic Turner, the album was not what fans had expected but appealed to a different audience. The contradiction of heavy chaotic punk performances and structured melodic alternative pop/folk/ambient songs continues to this day.
Throughout 1982-1985 there were hundreds of gigs with the many anarcho punk bands of the era and ‘All Done By Mirrors’ was arguably the finest album to date.
The ‘Soon’ album featured great songs but was let down by lifeless production while the ‘Seedy Side Of Paul’ album combined a scathing indictment of the 1980’s attitudes of greed with some truly wonderful songs.
I have scanned the original biog and lyric sheet that I had stuck in my copy of this record to compliment the audio for this YouTube post.
Presenting a brilliant 7″ single by Bristol’s Exit-Stance.
This is not the Milton Keynes punk band that released records on Mortarhate and supported Conflict from time to time.
The Exit-Stance that recorded these two tracks uploaded today and releasing them on this record via the bands own label, were from Bristol and had a sound reminiscent, actually pretty much a carbon copy, of UK Decay (with added Ritual perhaps).
After the recording of the ‘Esthetics’ 7″ single, the punk Exit-Stance (perhaps supported by Mortarhate records) forced the Bristol Exit-Stance to change their name after threatening legal action.
If that was correct then it’s a pretty ironic situation, considering.
Bristol’s Exit-Stance changed their name to Feud and I assume the Milton Keynes Exit-Stance were OK with that.
I know nothing else about this band from Bristol, save that this is a very good 7″ single.
I am sure the record would probably get played at goth nights if anyone owned a copy!
Screaming Dead were a band I first read about in a copy of ‘Rising Free’ fanzine (The ‘No Future’ issue of Rising Free to be precise) written, edited, printed and distributed in and around the Welwyn, Hitchin and Stevenage areas.
I was surprised to read about this band as the band came from the DARK SIDE of the world, well from Cheltenham to be exact, home to the another punk band, the massively fine Demob.
Screaming Dead. Cheltenham’s answer to the Misfits. That can’t be a bad thing.
The band, named after the English title of Drácula contra Frankenstein, the 1972 horror film directed by Jesús Franco, was formed by guitarist Tony McCormack, who recruited former singer with The Waste, Sam Missile, bass guitarist Mal Page, and drummer Mark Ogilvie.
The band built up a strong local following which spread farther afield with coverage in fanzines such as Gez Lowery’s ‘Rising Free’ and through sales of their demo tape.
They followed their first tape with a more formal release, the ‘Children Of The Boneyard Stones’ cassette, which came with a badge and a copy of the band’s own fanzine, ‘Warcry’.
They then self-financed their debut vinyl release, the ‘Valley of the Dead’ 7″ single, initially released on their own Skull Records label, but when it sold out of its first pressing within a week it was picked up by No Future records.
The band’s next release, the ‘Night Creatures’ 12″ single, saw them break into the UK Indie Chart, reaching number 22 in September 1983.
While the band were at times tagged as Goths, the label was rejected by Bignall, who in a posthumous interview stated “Screaming Dead were a punk rock band, there’s no doubt about that! We had a bit of an interest in the horror theme, and that was how we decided to present ourselves.”
For their next release, the band recorded a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ which was also an indie hit, and was recorded as a tribute of sorts to Brian Jones who is buried in their home town of Cheltenham.
In 1984, taking inspiration from X-Ray Spex, the band recruited saxophonist Nick Upton, the band also signing to Nine Mile Records, who issued their last two releases on the Angel label.
The change in sound lost a lot of fans, and with interest in punk rock declining, the band split up in 1985.