Two tracks from the ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ album, ‘Underbitch’ and ‘Alienation’.
Both tracks are instrumentals recorded at Southern Studios in May 1980, and both produced by Penny Rimbaud and engineered by John Loder.
The audio sounds strange without the fiery vocals of the late Vi Subversa, but I thought I should upload the tracks in case there is any interest at all.
The text below is a small section of what Rich Cross has written for the ‘Hippies Now Wear Black’ blog about the history of the Poison Girls.
The whole of the biography may be read HERE
It was Poison Girls’ decision to relocate to Epping, taking up residence in Burleigh House (a licensed squat destined for demolition to make way for the M25), that brought the band into contact with Crass. Neither band had been aware of the other’s work, but, by sheer coincidence, Poison Girls’ new base of operations was only around four miles from Crass’ home, Dial House.
A meeting of minds quickly set in motion an intense period of close collaboration. Poison Girls provided the funding that underpinned the launch of Crass Records, and in turn Crass re-released both ‘Hex’ and ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ on the Crass label. It was a hugely positive association, from which both bands benefited, and through shared projects, such as the celebrated, landmark ‘Bloody Revolutions / Persons Unknown’ single, both bands together raised the profile and appeal of anarcho-punk. Subversa’s rendition of the lyrics of Persons Unknown is remarkable, circling through the incisive, biting and sharply perceptive lyrics before intoning ‘flesh and blood is who we are; flesh and blood is what we are; flesh and blood is who we are; our cover is blown.’
The band’s first full-length release ‘Hex’ was an early wave punk record almost without parallel. As well as providing further space for Vi Subversa to demonstrate her distinctive vocal talents, and the band to further explore their own musical style, what made ‘Hex’ stand out was its lyrical preoccupations, and Subversa presented an exploration of the alienation and misery women experienced in the home; of the crushing expectations of narrow gender roles; and of the quiet horrors that awaited wives and mothers in the ‘normality’ of the nuclear family. ‘Is it normal? Is it normal? Is it just another day? Have you emptied out the washing? Have the kids gone out to play?’, asked Subversa, in anger and desperation. It was not the kind of subject matter that interested many other early punk lyricists, and for many of the young punks listening to the record provided a completely unexpected perspective on the world of home, family and the lives of their parents.
Follow-up release ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ saw the band broaden its political perspectives, to address the contemptible arrogance of unconstrained political power (typified by the ugly metaphor of the Chappaquiddick Bridge scandal) and restate its broader anarchist principles. The album’s unlisted intro and outro track became one of the band’s most recognised (and quoted) songs. ‘State Control and Rock’n’Roll’ focused the band’s attention on the exploitation, cynicism and co-option of the music business; a theme that would continue to intrigue the band in the years to come. If ‘State Control’ showed the band’s mischievous, witty side, the accompanying ‘Statement’ flexi was the boldest declaration yet of the band’s anarchist intent. Voiced with spine-tingling sincerity and commitment by Subversa, ‘Statement’ railed against the inexorable, destructive, all-consuming power of the war state and the band’s fulsome and absolute rejection of it. ‘I denounce the system that murders my children’, raged Subversa. ‘I denounce the system that denies my existence.’ Her vocal delivery is as startling as it is impassioned.
To get a copy of re-released ‘Persons Unknown’ 12″ by Poison Girls please read this KYPP post HERE
And if you would like to purchase re-released ‘Hex’ and ‘Chappquiddick Bridge’ albums go to the All The Madmen site HERE
I have placed up my rare ‘Hex’ booklet for the audio, and also four Poison Girls flyers from Tony D’s collection.
Omega Tribe at the Centro Iberico, Westbourne Park in the summer 1982 recorded at the same gig that the Conflict Live E.P was recorded at.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
If you listen from 7:22 you will hear the only official recording of a song called ‘Punk Roles’ that was issued on the ‘Make Tea Not War’ compilation, the only song to be included from this gig because of the awful guitar tuning throughout!
This Omega Tribe performance was some months before I joined the band; hence I was able to do the recording via group outputs from Paul Tandy’s mixing desk and a Calrec room mic.
The original stereo recording was originally intended for release on Mortarhate Records alongside Conflict’s performance. I still have the master tapes up on my shelf.
NOTE: This recording is an audience hand held cassette recorder version, not the crisp recording Pete Fender describes above. This recording has been digitalised straight off my copy of the cassette tape.
All I knew of Riot/Clone was their recently released E.P and all I recall of their set was that they played the songs off of it.
Omega Tribe were every bit as tuneful and punchy as they had been the other two times I’d seen them over the past week or so. And they seemed friendly too, giving us flyers printed with their song lyrics that the ink smudged on.
But it was The Apostles who made the greatest impression of the night. For some unfathomable reason they had a succession of different drummers, could they have been scared to spend too long sharing the stage with Andy Martin?
He did seem very angry about something.
The Asian guy with the peroxide hair who pulled us up for scrawling on the walls was playing guitar too. After one song he berated the crowd; “This one’s for everyone who thinks it’s enough to put a circled ‘A’ sign on their jacket. You make me fucking sick.” Not sure what he was really hoping for but clearly this statement had resonance so we clapped approvingly.
Perhaps it was something to do with the slogan on one of their cassette covers; ‘There Can Be No Spectators’ I pondered how I should best avoid being a ‘spectator’ as I watched them play another of our favourites; ‘Burn The Witch’ which reverberates throughout the half-filled hall.
Nic and Miles got up and had a dance to this one and I took some photos. Andy got more irascible with every song and, perhaps so he’d avoid the veins in his neck exploding, vocal duties for the last two numbers were consigned to other band members leaving Andy to concentrate on playing his guitar like Lou Reed and exude rancor.
Conflict played the same ferocious break-neck speed set I’d seen twice recently and with a handful of the songs performed that night later released as their ‘Live At The Centro Iberico’ E.P.
Nic and Miles left after a couple of songs. They didn’t like Conflict.
I watched the rest of their performance from the side of the stage, transfixed by how amazing their drummer was and trying to work out what he was doing to produce drum patterns with his feet.
When it came to drumming, I was just about getting the hang of what to do with my hands.
Icons Of Filth were the final band to play but I only caught a couple of songs before having to leave to run for the last tube, resolving to send them a blank cassette tape and a soaped stamp for a copy of their demo, as I pulled a photocopied poster for a previous Apostles gig off the wall by the exit.
Chris Low – excerpt from the book ‘Not Just Bits Of Paper’.
To buy a copy of ‘Not Just Bits Of Paper’ you can do so via Active Distribution HERE
The photographs of the Centro Iberico are from the collection of Tony D. Thanks to him for those.
The Apostles fourth 7″ single, too toxic for most, and for good reason.
The song ‘Rock Against Communism’ being lifted almost note for note from Skrewdrivers’ ‘Smash The I.R.A.’.
The lyrics for that song, and for the song ‘Kill Or Cure’, lifted from some of the verses from Skrewdrivers’ ‘Sick Society’.
In September 1974 Andy Martin was admitted to Springfield Psychiatric hospital Tooting, as a compulsory patient, being locked and kept under supervision for ‘severe paranoid psychosis with delusions of persecutions, and extreme violent outburst at himself and others, extreme suicidal tendencies’.
Before he was sectioned, there were incidents recorded on police files for petty crime and assault. ‘Queer bashing’ in Clapham Common was one of the crimes that he was involved in.
Squatting exploits were treated far more harshly by the police.
“Obviously it isn’t so bad if you beat up a few benders, but it’s unforgivable if you try to get somewhere to live!”
When Andy Martin was a patient on the Willow Ward (a ward where several patients were given E.C.T and never seen again) he was beaten up several times by the night nurses.
The worst beating was from six nurses flooring him and stabbing a fix of liquid largactyl into him keeping him asleep for almost eighteen hours, and not eating for four days.
He left Springfield in March 1975 returned to Clapham, and thought about joining the National Front, but instead of joining, went on two marches. The NF was only a cosmetic allegiance, joining in, rather than being interested in the politics.
He was sharing squats, and being liberally souped up with tuinal, and getting all his personally belongings stolen without realising it.
The thieves in the squat were shortly beaten badly by some suited thugs that had been sold glucose, ground glass and Vim as sulphate…
Andy was re-admitted to Springfield Hospital in May 1975.
The Apostles, with Andy Martin in the line up, were active from 1981, and since then he has been writing, drawing and learning to play musical instruments.
Many of those songs that were written are anti-racist.
In fact militantly anti-racist.
Andy has made no secret in those years about his own sexuality.
He is a homosexual, although a celibate homosexual.
He “resents being a spastic, a queer, physically ugly”
Andy Martin: The openly homophobic homosexual: The openly anti-racist racist.
His words below.
“Dave and I had one of our frequent fall outs and he buggered off to France.
In a fit of pique I persuaded a bunch of lads known as the Hackney Hell Crew to dive into a studio and make a record with me.
I issued this tripe under the of The Apostles although there is really no justification for such errant impertinence, Dave not being involved.
Simon Parrish (known as Ollie) and Martin Ryan were the only pair who ultimately appear on the record and they thought it was fun even though they weren’t especially fond of my music.
The E.P included two tracks specifically designed to prove an assertion I made in print earlier in the year:
I stated the majority of punks were bigots and racists. So I wrote ‘Kill Or Cure’ (which calls for homosexuals to forcefully submit to aversion therapy or accept the death penalty) and ‘Rock Against Communism’ (which includes every vile complaint, moan, whine and gripe I could remember my parents making when they told me not to bring ‘chinks’ or ‘niggers’ into our house).
I predicted very few punks would express any resentment in response to these numbers.
On the contrary I expected to receive praise and approbation for my courage.
This is precisely what happened! My assertion was vindicated.
The trouble is, many people thought I actually meant what I sung (which is fair enough, after all) and thus rumours spread: The Apostles became a neo-nazi outfit. Yes, that’s me in the swastika T-shirt at the Pied Bull ready to support Skrewdriver at their next concert!
In a sudden attack of conscience, I destroyed most of the records barely a month after their release – I think only sixty copies are in existence.
Ironically, ‘Kill Or Cure’ and ‘Rock Against Communism’ are the only tracks on the record performed and recorded with any skill or ‘professionalism’.
However, in retrospect, it proved useful for the future of the group that I did embark on this apparently invidious project. The record attracted the interest of John Cato who sang for a group called Admit Your Shit.
John was a personal friend of Colin Jerwood who sang for a group called Conflict. All this was most intriguing to me – I knew nothing about these people and I could not comprehend their interest in our work.
Anyway, as a result, Mortarhate (the record company formed by Conflict) issued our 5th single, 6th single and début album.
It was the first time we were not obliged to finance the pressing and printing of our records. They gave us complete control over what we recorded”.
Andy Martin 2016
Last night, I went to DEAD & BURIED, a death rock / gothic nightclub in Archway with my old friend Chris Low, a stones throw away from his home.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
Chris was the drummer of Part 1, the latest band that Chris has been involved with. The latest band in an already impressive list of bands that he has been drumming for since 1981.
Chris’s DJ’ing legacy from the late 1980’s until the present day is equally as impressive.
At DEAD & BURIED Chris was DJ’ing for parts of the night with Cavey Nic, who helps organise the events.
It was a nice night, but I had to duck out just after midnight so missed a chunk of the event, but I did witness / hear Chris’s first set, which sadly did not include and Xmal Deutschland or Vex.
Cavey Nic might have included those bands in his set, or perhaps they were included in Chris’s second set I don’t know.
But anyway, as the evening has unleashed my inner goth, I thought I would upload my copy of this 12″ record released on Fight Back Records, a label that was ‘run’ by Conflict.
It sounds remarkably fresh after a thirty year gap in listening to it.
Text below entirely ripped off of the Pitch Fork blog.
The relatively unheralded UK outfit Vex was an anarcho-punk band that sounded far more dark, desperate, raw, and apocalyptic than anything at the time. A new reissue of their lone release, 1984’s ‘Sanctuary’, showcases a band throbbing with ominous, semi-industrial precision.
‘Sanctuary’ was a part of the collective document of a U.K. anarcho-punk underground that had managed to not only survive, but flourish well into the 1980’s. Conflict, along with the similarly political Crass, was a leader of the scene; Vex was a minor participant, a footnote to a footnote. The band was also short-lived, which was the order of the day.
Crass had previously vowed to break up if it ever lasted long enough to see 1984, although it reneged on that promise, later naming their anthology Best Before 1984 in reference to it. “No future” had come to roost. Accordingly, anarcho-punk bands sounded far more dark, desperate, raw, and apocalyptic than anything at the time (at least this side of a new music springing up in Europe that would come to be called black metal).
Vex had desperation to burn. And on ‘Sanctuary’, burn it does. Throbbing with ominous, semi-industrial precision, the song slams along to a martial beat and splintery guitars, a dance track for the gleefully damned. Like a tribe of cyborgs, the band turns anger into something almost mystically ritualistic.
It’s an approach Killing Joke had already solidly established by then, and the Killing Joke influence on “Sanctuary” is pronounced—as it is on ‘It’s No Crime’, whose tense, slashing riffs bears a marked similarity to ‘The Wait’, one of Killing Joke’s most famous songs.
Lead singer Scrote also borrows liberally from Jaz Coleman’s robo-goth howl. But where Killing Joke cloaked its anger in code, Vex was more direct. But not by much.
The anarcho-punk approach left little room for poetic half-measures, and ‘World in Action’ spews wrathful outrage even as Scrote chants, in an escalating spasm of stereo-panned paranoia, “There is a theory that this has already happened / There is a theory that this has already happened.” ‘Relative Sadness’ sinks deeper into the ethereal, a clanking skeleton of a song that borders on the early deathrock of Theatre of Hate.
The reissue’s remaining three bonus tracks—’It’s No Crime’, ‘Pain’, and ‘Pressure’ hail from Vex’s 1983 cassette demo.
Flat, lo-fi, and corrosive, they’re prickly sketches of a group-in-progress still beholden to Killing Joke. When the refrain “The pain!/ The pain!” pops up in ‘Pain’, it’s another open nod to ‘The Wait’.
Given time, Vex may have grown beyond that hero worship and become an influential force all its own.
Not that the record isn’t relevant.
The shivering, savage, post-punk howl of ‘Sanctuary’ can be heard in lots of current bands, from Iceage to Arctic Flowers, although it’s a safe bet that Vex hasn’t directly inspired any of them. But the sound itself echoes.
Punk, in England and elsewhere, weathered the confusion and disillusionment of the 1980’s. It’s as vital now as it ever was. Vex may never have envisioned a future for itself, but the spastic, atmospheric passion of ‘Sanctuary’ has taken care of that for them.
Lack Of Knowledge, Alma Road’s finest. Ponders End, Lower Edmonton.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
Ponders End in parts an industrial wasteland, in parts cheap council estates, and as a polar opposite, in parts, a place of beauty. Nature reserves where bird watching groups would wander, and canals where scruffy looking long boats would drift pass.
In the main though the place was (and still is sadly) full of meatheads, the pubs and clubs were edgy and sometimes dangerous, and support for the National Front was high.
Still from this relatively nonconstructive part of the Lea Valley (North East London suburbs bordering on Essex) came Lack Of Knowledge who kicked against the pricks and came out screaming with this wonderful 7″ single late on in 1981 or early 1982.
The sleeve artwork for this 7″ single was just two A4 designs on thin paper slipped into a plastic bag, the record itself, just white labels. No information, all very stark, and of course all very black and white.
Members of Lack Of Knowledge followed Crass around the country, and Ponders End is only a fifteen minute drive away from North Weald and Dial House so those members would be regular visitors and in 1983 the Crass label released the ‘Grey’ 7″ single. This 7″ single was scooped up (as all of the Crass label releases at that time) by myself, who seemed desperate not to fit in with the fashionable order of the day.
Lack Of Knowledge seemed to be ‘speaking’ to folk like me, so my feeling of isolation at that time was eased somewhat by this band’s existence!
A couple of years later Lack Of Knowledge released an album courtesy of Crass, which is (as you would probably expect) excellent.
There is an essay about Lack Of Knowledge on the KYPP post HERE
This essay is well worth reading.
I was reminded today (7th July 2016) that on this day, and this month, way back in 1983, thirty three years ago, Xmal Deutschland performed at the Clarendon in Hammersmith.
I was there. Gene Loves Jezebel and Dead Can Dance also performed.
The gig was excellent, Xmal Deutschland were majestic, hypnotic and the gig was one of my highlights of 1983.
I do not have a cassette tape recording of that performance in July, but I do have a cassette tape recording of Xmal Deutschland’s previous Clarendon performance, when the band supported Danse Society.
The performance on this cassette tape is dated 7th April 1983. Three months previous to the 7th July 1983 Clarendon gig.
This audience quality recording cuts off a little bit of the performance as I accidentally recorded over the second side of the cassette tape many many years ago.
A bit gutted truth be told.
Xmal Deutschland was the first band that I saw numerous times (from 1983 to 1985) mainly in London.
I did take in a cheeky trip to Aylesbury, which was about as north as my finances back then would get me!
April, the month that Xmal Deutschland supported Danse Society at the Clarendon, coincided with the album ‘Fetish’ being released, alongside the 12″ single ‘Qual’.
Both records were released on the wonderful 4AD record label.
The album ‘Fetish’ is one of the records that I still continue to place on the turntable to this day.
To compliment this audience quality recording, are scans of several pages of Zig Zag, Vague and Punk Lives magazines, all from 1983.
I have deliberately constructed the visuals with no thrills, no special effects and so forth, so the pages can be read whilst listening to Xmal Deutschland’s performance.
Tom Vague writes for the Zig Zag and Vague pages.
The legend himself, Tony D, writes the review of Xmal Deutschland’s gig at the Venue in Victoria, which was originally published in the short lived ‘Punk Lives’ magazine.
I stole every copy of the ‘Punk Lives’ magazine from a local newsagents.
I hope I did not bring down Alf Martins empire single-handedly!
‘Punk Lives’ for all it’s faults, did have some decent hacks writing articles for Alf Martin to decide what should and will go into each issue, Caesar-like.
The hacks of note were; Tony D (Kill Your Pet Puppy), Mick Mercer (Panache), Richard Kick (Kick) and Alistair Livingston (Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective).
How the hell Abrasive Wheels, The Blood and Anti Nowhere League got slipped in between the pages is a mystery to me, as were the ‘free’ Wattie and Beki Bondage posters that were available with ample P&P.
I didn’t bother.
Thankfully among the UK82 and Oi! there were very well written and interesting articles on The Mob, Rubella Ballet, Centro Iberico, Black Sheep Housing Co-Op, Stop The City and several other articles that I forget right now.
Vague fanzine was my favorite fanzine (ahem, after Kill Your Pet Puppy, splutter, oh, and Rapid Eye) showcasing many of the better bands of the era.
The larger editions of Vague (mini books) from issue 16/17 (1985) were the absolute pinnacle of Tom Vague’s (and guests) writing on many interesting subjects (Christine F – Decoder / P1 Vatican Mafia / the Masonic Temple / Crowley / God Told Me To Do It and Manson, just a very very small amount of highlights, of many many highlights) the page designs were a work of art (like those monthly Scala cinema posters that were sent out).
If Kill Your Pet Puppy helped start the garish colour page overlays with the text printed on top, then Vague trumped that, and then some.
I still haven’t read the essay on the film ‘If’ in Vague 16/17 with its tiny black writing on dark blue background!
I’ve been trying since 1985.
Tony D’s review in ‘Punk Lives’ of Xmal Deutschland’s performance at the Venue in Victoria hits the nail straight on the head.
That gig was as good, if not better than the Clarendon gigs, and with added Wolfgang Press. A wonderful night.
“However the fiery power and subtle mystery swallowed up such shortcomings (see full review), leaving a stunned crowd taking the name Xmal Deutschland home to cherish” – Tony D.
Tony D’s description seemed apt at all the Xmal Deutschland gigs that I attended.
DEDICATED TO LENA. S
WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN AT THIS GIG IS SHE HAD BEEN BORN!