The Mob – Doncaster – November – 1983 / Pete Fender And The Four Formulas – Xntrix Records – 1980 / Andy Stratton – All The Madmen Records – 1980 / The Review – All The Madmen Records – 1980 / Tea House Camp – Real Men Records – 1985 / Chron Gen – Gargoyle Records – 1981

The Mob’s last performance with the Mark, Curtis and Josef line up, recorded off of the sound desk at Doncaster Co-Op on the 19th November 1983.

The Mob were supported for the night by Chumbawumba, Passion Killers, a band that included a Chumbawumba member, and Benjamin Zephaniah.

This is a wonderful, powerful and intense performance by The Mob bowing out.

There are two oddities on this recording.

Firstly, kicking off the recording we have a Josef Porta penned song, ‘Hurling Time’ soon enough to be a stable of the Blyth Power set a couple of months later at the dawn of 1984.

Another song that I feel most interested in (around the forty ninth minute mark) is ‘Lights’, a song that has never been recorded and was performed rarely.

‘Lights’ is one of my favorite songs from The Mob.

Straight after ‘Lights’ is a blinding version of ‘Mirror Breaks’…

The songs that were performed after ‘Lights’ and ‘Mirror Breaks’ were, ‘Never Understood’ and ‘I Wish’.

And that, they say, was that.

The end of The Mob.

Curtis and Josef went onto form Blyth Power, with Neil ex of Faction, and Mark left music to one side, concentrating on other ventures, and leaving London.

The two photographs of The Mob performing live are from Min’s collection.

Original typed reviews relevant to The Mob are from Tony D’s collection.

Magazine articles and the black and white photograph at the start of this YouTube post are from ‘Penguin’s’ collection.

Read the KYPP post and listen to downloads HERE 

Side 1

Side 2

Four Formulas (for the eradication of the microbes)

Four Pete Fenders performed on this extended play 7″ single, go on count them. They are all pictured on the record sleeve!

One Pete Fender on guitar and vocals, one more on the guitar, one on the bass and yet another on the drums creating one of the best 7” singles that I own, and furthermore a reference point to me personally of how wonderful an independently recorded, independently released, and independently distributed 7” single can be.

As with all the very best songs on any 7” singles that were released during that late 1970’s and early 1980’s era, the four songs presented on this Pete Fender record crash in, and crash out, at two and a half minutes or less.

Over three minutes you are the UK Subs, over four minutes you are a progressive rock band!

None of those examples regarding song length on 7” singles during that era are strictly true; in fact I made them up.

The point is that this record contains some of the best two and a half minutes of bitter sweet songs with 100% pop sensibilities, wrestling with the major label Buzzcocks in the ring, and almost succeeding in a knockdown, deserve to be less than two and a half minutes. Short and sweet, no flab. Any longer would have been an extravagance.

Pete is better known in, ahem, anarcho – punk circles. Oh I wish someone would invent another term for that scene. I can’t be bothered, so I will leave it to someone else. I will not hold my breath!

Pete was first known from being in the fresh faced punk baby booming band, The Fatal Microbes in 1978, a band that included Pete’s sister Gem Stone on the drums, Scotty Boy Barker on the bass, and Honey Bane as the vocalist. The Fatal Microbes released one record, a 7” single, the tracks of which also ended up on a 12” extended play showcase with the Poison Girls on the other side.

Both records were released at different times on the Small Wonder record label, and credit is due to both Pete Stennett and the people at XNTRIX for getting this first 12” extended play showcase out, catalogue number XN2001 / WEENY 3.

Vi Subversa, the vocalist and guitarist from the Poison Girls was Pete’s mother, (and also the mother of Gem Stone). Poison Girls, and family friends, Crass, strategically based in the near locality at that time, also released 45 rpm (extremely) extended play 12″ records on the Small Wonder record label.

Next up in Pete’s cannon was the forming of the embryonic Rubella Ballet.

Rubella Ballet were formed in 1979. Pete Fender on guitar, Gem Stone and ‘It’ (Quentin North) both on bass, and were then joined by the drummer Sid Ation (who would shortly be moonlighting by drumming with Flux Of Pink Indians for a while) and vocalists Annie Anxiety and Womble.

Incidentally, ‘It’ from Rubella Ballet helped compose ‘Lonely Homicide’, the second track on the A – side of the Four Formulas 7” single.

In 1980 Pete left Rubella Ballet to record these four (well there might have been more) wonderful songs that appeared on this extended play 7″ single. All songs were recorded in West London at the infamous Street Level recording studio.

Street Level studio was better known for recording (rather rough recordings it must be stated) absolutely wonderful quirky ramshackle bands, seemingly all of the bands from the nearby squatted Freestonia area, and bands from the small free festival scene, throwing in a few Alternative T.V sessions towards the end of the 1970’s.

The recording of these tracks prove to me that even the most humble, ganga heavy studio can get a hard pop sound, a hard pop sound that would have been rather better known for being recorded at the tiny Pathway Studio in Kentish Town.

Pete re-joins Rubella Ballet with Zillah Minx as the vocalist, alongside original members Gem Stone and Sid, and then leaves Rubella Ballet again sometime in 1982.

Not one to rest on his laurels Pete connects with Omega Tribe, undoubtedly one of the brightest lights of punk pop protest bands that released one of the best albums of 1983 ‘No Love Lost’ on Corpus Christi Records. Corpus Christi Records, owned and operated via Southern Studios with the executive ears of Penny Rimbaud of Crass.

Pete had, and still has, a heavyweight musical legacy earned during the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s, performing in a musical scene that he was, by a manner of speaking, born into, and for the involvement in those fine bands that are still remembered with fondness today.

Pete is still performing songs over thirty five years later, sensitive lyrics backed up with a single acoustic guitar and only a microphone to hide behind.

Going back to this Pete Fender extended play 7” single.

Play bastard loud, and jump around your bedroom.

You’ll feel much better.

Dedicated with love to Pete Fender.

Side 1

Side 2

Another early gem from All The Madmen Records long distant past.

1980 was a productive year for records released on All The Madmen Records.

The ‘Englands Glory / The Greatest Show’ 7″ single by The Review, carrying the catalogue number REV001

Hear The Review’s 7″ single here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zXE2vtvfEA

The ‘Crying Again / Youth’ 7″ single by The Mob, carrying the catalogue number MAD001.

The ‘Witch Hunt / Shuffling Souls’ 7″ single, again by The Mob, carrying the catalogue number MAD002.

And this 7″ single by Andy Stratton, carrying the catalogue number MAD003.

This single by Andy Stratton ‘I Don’t Know / Evil Minds’ 7″ was recorded at Spaceward Studios in Cambridge (the same studio where The Mob recorded ‘Witch Hunt’ and later on ‘Let The Tribe Increase’) and it was released in 1980.

Andy Stratton was a sixteen year old from Somerset who hung out with The Mob. The drummer on this single was Graham Fallows, who was still a member of The Mob at the time these two songs were recorded.

As far as I know, Andy never played out under his own name as a solo artist, but The Mob and Andy’s band, Null And Void toured England in a converted bus until it broke down in 1981 around Brougham Road, Hackney in London.

Andy and members of The Mob stayed on in London, embracing the squat scene as best they could considering the hardships of that lifestyle. Graham from The Mob did not stay on in London, so a search was on for a replacement drummer for The Mob.

Adie from Null And Void temporarily stepped in, as did Tim from Zounds, but finally Josef, also from Zounds, took a more permanent role in the band.

The Mob, Null And Void and Zounds all performed together many times in the UK and in Europe.

This single, released on All The Madmen records, is an excellent punk power pop affair, a similar sound and feel to the Pete Fender and The Four Formulas 7″ single called ‘Promises’ which was released on the Poison Girl’s record label Xntrix around the same time.

Interestingly, Pete Fender went on to record Andy Stratton’s band Null And Void at Xntrix Studio later on in 1982.

Hear the Null And Void demo HERE

Side 1

Side 2

In 1980 All The Madmen Records released the debut 7″ single by The Mob, ‘Crying Again / Youth’ on catalogue number MAD001. Also in 1980 All The Madmen Records released another 7″ single, by a Clevedon mod band, The Review, ‘England’s Glory / Greatest Show’ on catalogue number REV001.

The Review were a band that had started up, like The Mob, around 1977.

A year later in 1978, the beginnings of a revived mod scene begun to bubble under the surface, exploding into mainstream conciseness in 1979 with bands like The Chords, Purple Hearts and Secret Affair getting in the UK singles chart.

The Jam had already known UK chart success from 1977 of course.

The Review embraced the mod revival scene and recorded this one 7″ single for All The Madmen Records, cheaply recorded like many other ‘indie’ mod revival bands of the year, The Circles etc.

That said the band were still very punchy and these two tracks are very good indeed.

On the sleeve it name-checks The Mob, Wilf (the resident artist who supplied sleeve artwork for this record by The Review, and for all of the records released by The Mob), Christine and Debs (Goodge) from Bikini Mutants (Debs was to become a founding member of My Bloody Valentine in the mid 1980’s).

The Review performed with The Mob on occasion, and if you look carefully at two of the live photographs, you will see an original backdrop for The Mob behind the drummer of The Review.

A reddish skeleton backdrop.

The live photographs kindly supplied by Mike Eagle, the vocalist and guitarist of The Review.

Thanks to him for those.

Mike Eagle went onto form The Driscolls in the mid 1980’s, an guitar indie band that had a number of records released.

Martin Hutt, the drummer, joined up with Tea House Camp, also in the mid 1980’s, fronted by two Bradford born brothers, and veering to a more goth sound, releasing one record, that may be listened to below.

Phil (also known as Taf), the bassist, joined up with Disorder, hardcore punk squatters from Bristol, releasing hardcore punk records, and he remains as the only permanent member of that band since he joined.

Side 1

Side 2

Tea House Camp, a band that should have become much bigger than they actually got, had an All The Madmen records link.

Martin Hutt the drummer of Tea House Camp was formally the drummer for The Review from Clevedon near Bristol, a band along with The Mob shared the pleasure of having the first two 7″ singles released on the All The Madmen record label in the dawn of 1980. The Mob released ‘Crying Again’ as catalogue number MOB001 and The Review released ‘Englands Glory’ as catalogue number REV001. The Mob and The Review performed live together a few times in the early stages of both those bands careers.

That small fact aside, Tea House Camp for a while were destined for big things. Martin joined up with Brendan and Des, two brothers from Bradford who had got fed up with times in smalltown England. They both found themselves down south in London, for a while gaining employment at Rough Trade distribution which at that time was based in Collier Street in Kings Cross.

The band went for a slightly gothic Associates sound, more Martian Dance than Sex Gang Children, slightly less weird than the Virgin Prunes.

In 1984 Tea House Camp got to record a John Peel session and gained some favourable live reviews in several music papers along with a feature written by Mick Mercer in the monthly Zig Zag magazine.

Zig Zag magazine, at least from 1982 until its demise in 1986, had a strong Kill Your Pet Puppy association. Tony D and Al Puppy would regularly write articles for the magazine, along with KYPP cohort, fanzine editor and writer, Tom Vague. A brilliant magazine in it’s day with many non mainstream bands being featured and with the added bonus of the writings of Kris Needs and Mick Mercer.

I got to know Tea House Camp vaguely, via the band Kindergarten who at that time were based in Lansdowne Road in Tottenham. One of Tea House Camp lived in the same ramshackle house and the other members used to visit quite often.

Both Tea House Camp and Kindergarten would perform gigs together which ended up pretty jolly affairs in general. One gig with Lack Of Knowledge was a little moody I recall.

Brendan and Des had left Bradford in the early 1980’s but the brothers still had several friends in among that vibrant scene. Stories about the early performances of Southern Death Cult, New Model Army and Danse Society would be interesting talking points, well at least to me they were interesting…

Through Tea House Camp and Kindergarten I got to meet Nick the Frog, and Justin ‘Slade The Leveller’ along with Joolz. I did not know them that well, but I enjoyed their company at private parties in Stamford Hill where they were based at the time, and met that crowd at Tea House Camp and Kindergarten gigs they all went to.

Tea House Camp released one 7″ single, ‘To Kill Stab In Back’ and ‘Poor Tom’, the single that is uploaded onto this YouTube post.

The 7″ single is decent fare, and pretty rare nowadays.

The photographs I took of Tea House Camp were from a gig with The Folk Devils and Ausgang at the Richmond. Sorry about the quality of them. I did not own cameras back that often in the early and mid 1980’s, and the few that I did use were the cheapest possible!

I remember buying the debut 7″ single by Chron Gen, released on Gargoyle Records in 1981, from Startime Music situated along Post Office Walk in Harlow, and immediately loving it.

I remember that this record spun many hundreds of times on my cheap mono record player that I had acquired, a year or so prior, from a Summer school fete.

The band members were based around Hitchin and Stevenage.

Stevenage Bowes Lyon House was on the live punk circuit and many bands performed there at weekly punk nights.

Chron Gen were a ‘local’ band to where I was living at the time, although factoring in mileage, that is, and was, a rather tenuous claim!
Crass in Epping, Newtown Neurotics in Harlow, and Lack Of Knowledge in Enfield were probably nearer, well definitely nearer to where I lived at the time, but I still thought of Chron Gen as a ‘local’ band.

The band had a mid paced tempo to their brand of ’77 music and clear lyrics, to counter the speed of Discharge (a band not a condition) from around the same time.

Discharge were immense but every now and again you need a break.

The second single was released, again in 1981, on the very, very, excellent Step Forward record label; ‘Reality’ and ‘Subway Sadist’, two tracks of immense power, the A-side dealing in one of Chron Gen’s loves, acid, dope, and magic mushrooms.
This second 7″ single trumped the Gargoyle Records release, but not by much. Both 7″ singles rotating and rotating on that same little mono record player in my bedroom…

As an aside, I liked the fact that the drummer of Chron Gen, esp on the rear picture sleeve of ‘Realty’, looked and dressed very similar to the way I was looking and dressing as a thirteen, going on fourteen year old! I wore my original Chron Gen T- shirts with some pride. I really wish I did not put all my old original punk T-shirts on a fire in the early, or mid 1990’s!

Bushell rated Chron Gen, so what could go wrong?

For a while, when Bushell liked a band, the band seemed to end up on Larry Prior’s Secret Records, a pretty large record company masquerading as a small record label.

Chron Gen were no exception.

From that point, my beloved Chron Gen released some patchy records.

When you see a B-side of a 7″ single being ‘live’ tracks from some gig or other, you know the studio tracks have dried up.

This might be telling as Jon Thurlow (who ending up later on in the 1980’s selling scented candles, silver jewelry and trinkets at the door of the Stevenage Bowes Lyon House on gig nights) had actually left Chron Gen shortly after the Apocalypse Now tour.

Maybe that detail had a bearing on the ‘live’ track scenario, or maybe it didn’t.

Either way, when the long anticipated (by me at least) debut album was released on Secret Records in 1982, complete with (you guessed it) a live 7″ single slipped into the package, I took a deep breath, after spotting some more ‘live’ tracks credits on the album cover, and gave the record a spin on 33rpm.

‘Hounds Of The Night’ a favourite of mine kicked the album off in a decent enough way, already eight out of ten. From the ending of that track (in my opinion, which means sod all…but) the quality of the tracks on this album went south.

I felt strangely depressed.

The Newtown Neurotics (another ‘local’ band) released ‘Beggars Can Be Choosers’ in 1983 and that settled the battle of the ‘local’ bands debut albums (a riddle only occurring in my head) and the Newtown Neurotics won hands down.

Chron Gen did come back stronger with a final 7″ single release on Secret Records in 1983, ‘Outlaw’.

This single was a final bow out from Secret Records and for Chron Gen themselves.

A new look Chron Gen, with new guitarist and bassist, released another album in the mid 1980’s, nodding towards a more rockier sound.

Sadly that album did not pick up any further interest from me.

The promotional poster of ‘Puppets Of War’ is from my collection.

PS:

I am not known for ‘promoting’ myself in any way, but I took the liberty of adding a photograph of myself towards the very end of this YouTube post, as I looked (when not at school) around the time when Chron Gen were among my favourite bands. There are very, very few photographs of me from around twelve years old upwards, as I felt uncomfortable with having photographs taken, as I was painfully shy and withdrawn going through my teens… It’s a shame I have a scarf on (THFC by the way), as I might have been wearing an original Chron Gen T-shirt!

Also I cannot find my original Gargoyle blue label version of ‘Puppets Of War’, which I am actually pretty annoyed about, as I wanted to scan that record.

Luckily I also have in my collection, the Gargoyle white label version of the record.

Read the KYPP post and listen to downloads HERE

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Penguin

1985 - 1988 All The Madmen Records and Distribution 1988 - 1991 King Penguin Distribution 1989 - ???? Southern Studios / Southern Record Distribution

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