Chron Gen – Gargoyle Records – 1981

Lies / Puppets Of War

Mindless Few / Chronic Generation

The debut 7″ single uploaded tonight was a firm favorite of a much younger Penguin, as was the follow up 7″ single ‘Reality / Subway Sadist’ that was released on Step Forward Records also in 1981. When the band followed a handful of others onto Secret Records in 1982 the band seemed to diminish somewhat recording wise which culminated in one of the biggest disappointments in the release of the LP ‘Chronic Generation’. A mighty shame…

The second Chron Gen 7″ single and the CHAOS cassette ‘Live In Leicester 1981’ are both uploaded onto this site if you use the search function to find them.

The name an abbreviation of “chronic generation”, this early 80s, third-generation UK punk band, ranked only below the Exploited, Vice Squad and Discharge in popularity. More melodic than the vast majority of their peers, Chron Gen earned early comparisons to the Buzzcocks, though they never really justified such heady praise.

The band was originally formed as the Condemned in 1977 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. At this time Glynn Baxter (guitar, vocals) and John Johnson (drums) were still at school, and they were joined by bass player Adam in the formative line-up. The early repertoire consisted of ramshackle versions of old Sex Pistols and Ramones standards, and Adam was soon replaced by Pete Dimmock, before Jon Thurlow was drafted in on rhythm guitar to complete the band’s enduring line-up. While frontman Baxter’s lyrics were fuelled by a life on the dole, his fellow guitarist Thurlow actually admitted to a job as a civil servant. The group made their debut with the “Puppets Of War” EP, a spirited four-tracker where the production partially deprived the band of their live punch. Released initially on the group’s own Gargoyle label, the record sold out of its 1,000 pressing and was picked up for wider distribution by Fresh Records.

Following national exposure on the infamous Apocalypse Now tour (with the Exploited, Anti-Pasti, etc.), it rose into the Top 5 of Sounds music paper’s Alternative Chart. Sounds, with its coverage of both the Oi! and new punk movements, remained the band’s only real advocates within the mainstream. Chron Gen then lost many of their new-found supporters with a debut album that was an unfocused, patchy affair. The promise of songs such as “Hound Of The Night” was tempered by the lack of power and studio skill employed elsewhere, and Chron Gen never really recovered from the blow. They soldiered on for a couple of years, but to diminishing rewards.

Happy Birthday to my mucker Iain Aitch who is celebrating his birthday today…A veteran of the Apocalypse Now tour back in 1981!

  1. AL Puppy
    AL Puppy
    February 1, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Happy birthday Iain.

  2. Iain Aitch
    Iain Aitch
    February 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Cheers Mickey and Al. I was just past the Apocalypse Now tour. I saw them support the ANWL on the So What! Tour. Defects and Chelsea supporting.

  3. gabe
    February 3, 2011 at 4:39 am

    i always loved this record

  4. Henk
    February 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Anyone out there with any information about the mis-pressings of this record with side A songs on both sides? (might be useless info to most of you, but to us vinyl-collectors this is really nice info)


  5. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Not heard of that mispress, no.

  6. Mike / Rob
    Mike / Rob
    February 10, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Been long time Penguin, Just stop to say HI!!! Hope all goes well on your side…

  7. dan i
    dan i
    February 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I remember this ep well, still got it. Saw them at the Lyceum Apocalypse Now show, after ANWL had chopped up the stage with Animal’s axe. Saw them a couple of more times – 100 Club, Rainbow Theatre at Woodstock Revisited. Always liked them, especially Jet Boy Jet Girl, but they just kind of lost their edge quite quickly. I agree completely about the LP, a major disappointment, after I heard it I didn’t buy it…

  8. Broccers
    February 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Used to love Chron Gen in the early days, I would go and watch them rehearse in The Bowes Bar on Wednesday nights and they would play at Bowes regularly.
    Was dead chuffed when they released this EP and then got onto the Apocalypse Now Tour, a load of us traveled from Stevenage to the Lyceum and it was great, Jon T came back with us all on the train which was a laugh, I remember us all joking with him about his fall on stage!
    The next day we all found out that Jon had been chucked out the band, after his parting I never really enjoyed much of what they did and totally agree on vinyl they lacked that power they managed in their early live sets.

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