Chron Gen – Step Forward Records 1981


Subway Sadist

Hitchin Regal and Stevenage Bowes Lyon House favorites, started around 1977 with names like Optical something (can’t remember – Nuzz help me out please!) and Basic Society, settled on the wonderfully bad name of Chronic Generation. Shortened to Chron Gen, it did not sound so naff. This release, there second and best I think, came out on Step Forward Records. Incidently the first 7″ single on Gargoyle Records is elsewhere on this site if you search for it.

The band signed to Secret, Infa Riot, Business and The Exploited were also on this label, and things started to go downhill for a single and an LP, then perked up a bit for the final Secret Records release, the wonderful ‘Outlaw’ single.

Then ‘caput’ and silence for a few years, Jon Thurlow selling scented candles and beads on a stall at Bowes Lyon gigs and the rest of the band released a ‘heavy rock’ record a la Cockney Rejects (who were also into ‘serious rock’ in those days) called ‘Nowhere To Run’. What happened after that, who knows…?

Well Nuzz knows…Nuzz?

  1. Nuzz
    January 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

    It was Optional Xtras that Jon started playing in, before joining Chron Gen along with bassist Pete Dimmock. After Chron Gen Jon went on to play with Chelsea along with Pete for a couple of tours before leaving. His next band were called THE VERDICT, who had one of the bassists from Welwyn Garden City’s ’anarcho-Goths’; Nightmare in the band. Jon’s next venture was a goth/punk/psychedelic outfit called FAMILY OF NOISE, who included his then girlfriend and fellow purveyor of beads and things Jo on vocals, played a few local gigs and one at a club called Revolution No.9 run for a short time by Gene October from Chelsea. Neither THE VERDICT or FAMILY OF NOISE set the world alright, but his next venture SCUM OF TOYTOWN, who he joined in the early 90’s did a much better job with their anarcho ska punk sound and attitude. Releasing a single Destruction Of Both Houses Of Parliament By Fire and an album, Strike on Words Of Warning Records, they also played with bands like The Blaggers, RDF, The Astronauts, AOS3 and a host of others, numerous gigs at the Sir George Robey, London and toured with Back To The Planet, which built ’em up a sizeable following. The band split up after a successful, but fraught tour of Poland and Germany. Jon’s still keeping the spirit alive this time playing in a band called IKE. There you have it, a thumb nail sketch of a minor player in a major movement, but saying that, during his days in Chron Gen he was a ’hero’ to some, including a band called The Saprophytes, from a village outside Stevenage who paid homage to him when they covered Crass’s Big Hands, but possibly rather cruelly changed the chorus to “His ears are big, he’s got big ears” (sorry Jon and Jim.D couldn’t help myself in recalling that) Now that is definitely it, apart from a couple of thoughts I had while typing this up: Does this make me the official Jon Thurlow biographer, a music obsessive or a sad bastard? Answers on a postcard please.

  2. Nic
    January 11, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I remember seeing them in Birmingham on the ‘Apocalypse Now’ tour in 1981 with The Exploited, Anti-Pasti, Dead Wretched, and the mighty Discharge…

    I think, Nuzz, that you are a music obsessive (with a light soupcon of sad bastard thrown in 😉 )…

  3. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    January 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    More Chron Gen. We await Jon’s response with trepidation.

  4. Nuzz
    January 12, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Don’t worry Tony, Jon will be cool, when next I see him, I’ll get him to check out the site. The comment I posted is part of a post I was gonna post on my blog, which I spoke with him about but I’m still waiting for some recordings from him to go with it.

  5. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    January 12, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Stick him on a sulphate and strong wine diet for a decade and let him walk up and down streets in Kings Cross, he would pass as quite a decent young Shane McGowen, looking at the picture on the back of the reality single…!


  6. GiorgioG
    November 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I’m italian. What’s the years of birth of Jon? And others Chron Gen’s members, after split of the band?

  7. dave
    May 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Just a brief mention for Mark ‘Floyd’ Alison who I think was in a later incarnation of Chron Gen. I worked with him in Letchworth and he was a good mate. Sadly he died in 1999

  8. Daryl Seeley
    Daryl Seeley
    September 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Hi Nuzz, I was the singer of Optional Xtras way back in 1980, with my red ziggy stardust hairdo…just found this blog and was suddenly flooded with memories of Bowes Lyon house. I remember taking my female mannequin who was called ‘Shirley’ who I had got from the Co-Op in Stevenage town centre. I had lovingly tattooed her and dressed her in an original Vivienne Westwood cheese cloth Destroy shirt and a pair of fake leather trousers made by me and my sister. I think it was the night that Kirk Brandon turned up with Boy George who was dressed as a girl, I remember Pete Dimmock telling me how tasty this girl (George) was. During our set either Theatre of Hate or Flux of Pink Indians started playing in the other hall and people started leaving so I hacked ‘Shirley’ to bits with a sword that I just happened to have on stage with me. Following this a fight broke out and someone got knocked out by being hit over the head with one of Shirley’s legs, I think someone stole Pete’s guitar that night as I remember him finding Shirley’s other leg in his guitar case.
    I would love to get some more of my memory back, I remember playing my saxaphone under the Arndale in Luton often I then joined Orange Disaster with Tony Pettitt, whom I believe went on to become The Perfect Disaster and then Fields of the Nephilim.

  9. Daryl Seeley
    Daryl Seeley
    September 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Another memory the Luton Pub was called The Baron of Beef..Love to see some of the old photos. Daryl

  10. Nuzz
    September 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Alright Daryl, maan! I remember that reindeer jumper, everyone all leather jacketed and cheesed clothed up and you in that jumper, classic. The shop dummy was at Athletico Spizz 80 gig if I remember when you guys played in the gym for some reason while the other bands played in the big hall. I think Boy George turned up at the Theatre of Hate one you played at. But like you my memory is a bit fucked, but little things trigger it off, like reading what you wrote above. Remember Simon Herd? he’s kindly lent me some recordings of those old Bowes Gigs, that I’ve been converting to MP3’s and posting on my blog. I’ve got a couple of Optional Xtras ones in the bag, one you did with the Bleach Boys and Chron Gen gonna post all that gig some time soon. There’s also some recordings of UK Decay and yerselfs at The Baron of Beef. Did you come before Dave Schole or after as singer for the Xtras? Anyway here’s a link to my blog with a few memories of Bowes amongst the rest of the shit.

  11. Ozzie
    November 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I would like to contribute to Jon’s biography also.

    In junior school he was much younger than he is now. When shown, he disliked a dead hedgehog in Sish Woods. I feel this early shock was formative, and in some ways I take credit for his later successes having conspired to make apparent the dead critter.


  12. Sam
    November 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    “I think it was the night that Kirk Brandon turned up with Boy George who was dressed as a girl, I remember Pete Dimmock telling me how tasty this girl (George) was. ”

    This has been brought up before. I thought he was a bit gorgeous too. I saw the video of ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ a few months ago and remarked to myself that he was pretty ugly even if he had been a girl. What were we thinking? I love the fact he looks like some old Paddy these days.

  13. will
    July 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Was there ever anything unreleased by Chron Gen? I heard a wild rumor there was a recording after the Nowhere to Run 12″… would love to hear that!

  14. gabe
    September 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

    i have all there demos posted on my blog slaughter of innocents

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