Spizzenergi – Rough Trade Records – 1979

Solder Soldier

Virginia Plain

Where’s Captain Kirk


Couple of old chesnuts uploaded here for the oldies out there browsing the site to warm your feet by the fire to.

Text courtesy of wicked pee delia

Spizzenergi was a late 1970s English punk / new wave band led by vocalist / guitarist Spizz (real name Kenneth Spiers). The band changed its name several times during its existence, alternate names including Spizzoil and Athletico Spizz 80. They are notable as the first band to sign for Rough Trade Records and the first to top the newly created UK Indie Chart early in 1980. However, they were perhaps best known for their single “Where’s Captain Kirk?” More than two decades after its release, it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.

Spizz attended the Solihull School (also home of Swell Maps), an Independent School in the West Midlands, and was inspired by the burgeoning punk rock movement. He was already performing (solo) by 1977. Spizz soon got together with like-minded guitarist Pete Petrol The duo actually released a few lo-fi singles during the height of the punk’s popularity. In 1978 Palmolive, drummer with The Slits, joined what was called Spizzoil (North Sea oil then being a hot topic), for a few gigs.

The band toured supporting acts such as Siouxsie & the Banshees and later as the main act all over Europe.

Line-up: August – November 1979.

  • Spizz – Vocals and guitar
  • Mark Coalfield – Keyboard and vocals
  • Dave Scott – Guitar
  • Jim Solar – Bass guitar.
  • Hero Shima – Drums

For the first time, Spizz had a dedicated backing band, with a distinctively new wave sound. As Spizzenergi  they became the first number one band in the newly formed UK Indie Chart in January 1980. The BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel described “Where’s Captain Kirk?” as… “the best Star Trek associated song”. This was probably the peak of Spizz’s music career.

This line-up continued as Athletico Spizz 80, gaining a considerable following. They became the only band to sell out the Marquee Club for five consecutive nights (with a sixth alcohol-free, matinee show). The tune was featured in the 1981s archival Urgh! A Music War film. This material was shown occasionally on late-night American cable TV, and may have helped prolong Spizz’s notoriety slightly. They released an album entitled Do A Runner on A&M Records, to mixed reviews.

When Lu Edmonds joined the line-up in 1981, they again changed their name — to the Spizzles. The group released a record called Spikey Dream Flowers, which cemented the group’s sonic image as science-fiction weirdoes. Two final 1982 singles, “Megacity 3” and “Jungle Fever”, were the swan-song of Spizz in the 1980s. By 1982 new wave was over, and post-punk bands like The Smiths and Gang of Four were taking over the indie music scene.

  1. Nic
    October 7, 2008 at 9:04 am

    2 great singles – still get a spin in our house when the drinks are flowing…

  2. Ian
    October 7, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I still play Do a Runner quite a lot, great lp. 6000 crazy is a great single too…but anyway, back to the UK Subs, perfect morning music.

  3. Nic
    October 7, 2008 at 10:26 am

    ‘Hero Shima’ – genius…
    On a par with ‘B A Nana’…

  4. Alan Rider
    Alan Rider
    October 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    What a great live act they were. I saw both Spizzoil and Spizzenergi at the Lanchester Polytechnic bar in Coventry (Spizzenergi were the best of the two). They brought the house down with a great singalong ‘Wheres Captain Kirk?’.

  5. Stewart
    October 8, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Never saw them live, I don’t think 🙂 but three fantastic singles in a row! Just on a pedantic note, I thought that French band Metal Urbain was the first band put out by Rough Trade????

  6. luggy
    October 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I make it 5 great singles in a row. The ‘Cold City’ EP that came out after ‘6000 Crazy’ was pretty good especially the title track & ‘Red & Black’. Also fond of their 5th single, ‘No Room’ but more for the B-side ‘Spock’s Missing’.

  7. Stewart
    October 8, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Damn! Yes, you’re right Luggy! Great tracks too! 🙂

  8. dan i
    dan i
    October 13, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    First gig i ever went to was The Spizzles at The Lyceum – daft name, excellent gig. Spizz was a true showman and didnt disappoint the 13 year old me. I loved the Do A Runner LP, especially Airships, but most memorable single for me (after Captain Kirk of course) was Central Park, lovely stuff, still sounds great.

  9. DS
    February 3, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Anyone have Athletico Spizz 80 or any Spizz John Peel sessions available to post here?
    heres hoping 🙂

  10. Rob
    April 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Take a look at myfreemp3.eu
    They’ve got 30 – odd tracks by Spizz/Athletico Spizz. Includes 12 Peel Session tracks.

  11. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    May 24, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    “Soldier soldier – with your fascist jackboots/ Soldier soldier – to jump on ‘commie’ troops/ Soldier soldier – I’ll give you ten pence/ Soldier soldier – go ‘n’ jump on to the fence”

    Spizz takes on The Military-Industrial Complex. Spizz (temporarily at least) wins.

    “Far beyond the pale horizon/ Some place near the desert strand/ Where my Studebaker takes me/ That’s where I’ll make my stand but wait/ Can’t you see that Holzer mane’/ What’s her name? Virginia Plain”

    I liked this cover so much that I thought I might like the original, especially as ‘Eno period Roxy Music’ were always being talked about as being cool and interesting. You know what? It’s shit.

    Cover image: Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘Triumph of the Will’ [Triumph des Willens] (1935).

    “I saw in a dream in a memory of mine/ Was it you was it me who was in all the time”

    When I first heard this I thought it was a funny song about Star Trek, but then after about 10 years I listened to the lyrics properly and I thought they were fantastic. “This is brilliant” I thought to myself, “He’s pretending to write a funny song about Star Trek, but he’s actually using it as a metaphor for the existential loneliness and confusion of alienated modern life.” Then after about another 10 years I realised it was just a funny song about Star Trek.

    Still love it though.

    “We will help you to recovery”

    When I first heard this I thought it was a song about The Ministry of Love from Orwell’s 1984, and you know what? It is.

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