The Ex – Ex Records 1981

War Is Over (Weapons For El Salvador)

Dust / New Wars II

Next to the first two Exploited 7″s that I own in my collection, you will inevitably find The Ex from the squats of old Amsterdam. Now this is the stuff! The Ex seem to have been influenced by the Pere Ubu / Gang Of Four sound, and the lyrics on most of the material released by the band is well thought out and concise. One of the best gigs I ever saw was The Ex performing in a large squatted school (not that one…!) in Amsterdam in the mid 1980’s. The whole band would leap over the amplifiers without dropping a note. What made this act more jaw dropping was that there were beautiful potted plants on top of these amps. None of these plants suffered during the leaps…none where knocked off, the leaps were so high that the feet were not even touching the leaves! This band were fit, really fit! I would barely be able to do one jump over an amp, let alone jump over the floral decorations as well. To do this performing a 90 minute gig holding mics, guitars, trumpets or whatever! Cor blimey…

The Ex were, and no doubt still are, very politically active, on a whole range of worthy causes.

Read more on the official site here

  1. Chris
    February 20, 2008 at 1:19 am

    One of the most amazing records in the history of civilisation!! barely a week can have passed since I first got this when I haven’t dug it out and listened to ‘war is over’ through headphones as loud as i can physically withstand.

    This is the punk version of Mahler’s 5th adagio – absolute perfection.

    that fuckin’ bass-line! i’m off to stick it on now…

    in the meantime, if you’ve got them you should stick their first two LPs up too. Sure there’s at least one other chap on here who’s enjoy ’em.

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Will stick the ‘Dignity’ boxset and ‘History’ LP up at some point Chris…my debut LP was stolen many moons ago. Obviously the twat had good taste!

  3. Nic
    February 20, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Synchronicity! I was going to send you this over, penguin!

    A wonderful record – and a big influence on Rat Napalm and myself during the early period of Napalm Death in 1982…
    Heavy bass – aggressive tone, and one of the first advocations of a more ‘Direct Action’ orientated approach that I had heard (besides The Apostles) which led to long and heated debates between Rat and myself over the Pacifism / Direct Action position…

    KYPP connection: I first read about The Ex in Enigma fanzine (Issue 3 if I remember – it had a patch with it) which was produced (in part) by Rob Challice who had been a member of Anthrax, and then went on to play in Faction (who – at one time – featured Ann Dee Martian on guitar) and to ‘manage’ All The Madmen..

    Funnily enough, I met a very nice composer of harsh electronic music from Landahn who was wearing a T-Shirt of the ‘guns’ image on the front cover of the single…
    I was a little over-excited at this, and sauntered up to him in a louche manner to ask if he was a fan of the said record and band: he replied that he wasn’t even aware it had anything to do with a record or band, and that he bought it in a fashionable little boutique purely on the strength of the image itself…everything becomes recuperated – even violent revolution! 😉

    Sad story: I was due to play a concert with The Ex in Amsterdam last year which I was really excited about (I had all my records ready for signing! hehe…As if! Don’t want to spoil the covers!)…
    However, the night before I was due to fly out, my wife had an accident (she broke her wrist pretty badly at a Sonic Boom (ex-Spacemen 3) concert), and so I couldn’t go… 🙁
    The rest of my musical collaborators went, and said The Ex were fantastic…
    Hopefully we’ll be over there again and playing with The Ex again this year…

    Penguin: I have rips from my vinyl of the “All Corpses Smell the Same” ep, “New Horizons in Retailing” flexi, “Live Skive” flexi, and “Disturbing Domestic Peace” LP (the first LP)…along with various compilation LP appearances (all of these recordings are pre-‘History is Whats Happening’)…
    I PROMISE I will get them to you – they need to be heard by as many people as possible!

    I’ll also send over a bunch of Rondos recordings – the ‘Fight back’ ep is a corker!
    KYPP-related: The Ronods played with Crass at the Conway Hall debacle…

  4. Tim
    February 20, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I never liked them that much musically but bought the Spanish Civil War single/EP because it was possibly one of the best presented records I’d ever seen.

  5. Chris
    February 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    yea, i’d lost interest in them by that time and in fact, only listened to that Spanish Civil War single for the second time ever last year when i picked up another copy in Housmans. Basically by the time they were doing all that metal-bashing, dischordant stuff there were a lot of other groups around by that time who I thought simply did it better. Still think the early stuff is incredible though.

  6. john
    February 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    they were support for chumbuwumba hence chumba banners in background-
    around 1987 according to webpage it is from

  7. Nic
    February 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    It is The Ex, John…

    The Ex were involved in the Antidote singles that Chumbawamba put out in 1987…

  8. lee23
    February 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    oh yes ! great memories of the ex live, especially live in brighton 1986, your gig description penguin sounds very similar to mine, absolute non-stop energy from start to finish, the richmond was well and truly rocked…sadly overlooked over the years but what the hell, some of the greatest agit-prop music ever made…

  9. Chris
    February 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    oh yea, that was another reason i went off The Ex. They started mucking about with Chumbawamba. Never liked them. Bunch o’ wanks.

  10. gerard
    February 20, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    just saw the singer of chumbawamba (duncan?) in the albert pub in brighton today – at least i think it was him – but he didn’t get knocked down, or even get up again. in fact, he didn’t even stay for a drink.

    hardly ‘pissing the night away’, eh duncan? what is it with popstars these days?

  11. sean
    February 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    thres a good chance he’d of got knocked down if I saw him in a pub.Stuck up gits.Wouldnt even give me a cup of tea when I stayed at their place in 83.Now,I dont hold with holding grudges for 20 plus years,theft,brutal beating,attempted murder etc I can let pass,but refusing me a cuppa?Unforgivable.
    Anyway,they werent much fun to be around,very miserable,made joy division look like mardi gras.I tried to get them involved in the Freedom For Fruit Front but they werent having it

  12. simon
    February 21, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Stayed at their house too, hitched there with ‘Sneaky Dave’ Can’t remember why he was called that, anyone else that knew him?! Short bloke, platted hair/dreads, strictly all black clothes, no leather, from Sheffield I think.

    Yeah they were miserable buggers, black walls everywhere but remember the house being in a posh part of Leeds, I think? They made nice home made bread though, apart from that Dave and I lived on ‘Mintos’ and other sweets that were ‘aledgedly’ half inched from local newsagents, ahh the good old days.

    ‘Freedom For Fruit Front?’ Couldn’t you fit f*cking in there somewhere Sean?!

  13. sean
    February 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Sneaky dave……..came from sheffield on tenuous connection to stay at camden rd.He saw that the prevailing fashion was for dreaded hair,asked us how to get his done that way,we said “dont wash it for a coupla years” but dave couldnt wait….so off we went ,got a few blocks of beeswax from the wholefood shop and proceeded to backcomb his hair into lumps and melt the wax in…bingo!instant dreads.Off he toddles back to sheffield where he told all and sundry that he was known as snakey dave in london cos of the barnet.News filtered back to us of this,much hilarity……reappears at petherton rd and little things started to go missing and dave always had some story to cover himself,hence…..sneaky dave.
    This,mind,is the kiddy I sent out on a bike at night with candles tied to the back and front and a box of matches so that if he got pulled for no lights he could say “sorry officer,must have blown out,I’ll just re-light them”…..and he considered this perfectedly reasonable.

    As to FFFF….well,a growing lad needs his rest,I cant be F***ing all the time,si

  14. john
    February 22, 2008 at 11:08 am

    that posh part of leeds they lived in would have been woodhouse park,most of the punks i got to know lived over in headingley-not so posh.
    the local morrisons in leeds was always handy for being able to put litre bottles of vodka inside my coat.
    used to see that danbert nobacon at gigs at the duchess of york,he always looked quite bemused by the drunken behaviour of some of us.

  15. simon
    February 22, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    He, he, classic one Sean, cleared that one up nicely re ‘sneaky’, thanks. And as for the candles and matches idea, I’m surprised I haven’t seen that on the shelf at Halfords by now!

    And thanks John, Woodhouse rings a bell, I’m sure it was a large house with steps up to the front door, possibly in a square and on a hill too.

  16. Justin
    February 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I got the Spanish Civil War single too – amazing presentation, superb photos, wonderful sentiments – but my god, what a racket. My Spanish wife, who knows the original song, was horrified at the aural butchering it got. Still, the road to hell, etc.

  17. John Y?
    John Y?
    May 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    nice post.the ex are an acquired taste…i like all the records I’ve heard,esp blueprints.
    some good comments too,chumbawambe were ok,i liked their tapes more then their records,raisin heck still works for me.i cant say i am surprised that they were middle class though.Alice was always friendly enuff though.
    everyone should go to a dutch squat just to see what can be achieved,much more together compared to my experience of squatting in shitty Brighton in the 80’ there was some po-faced vegan snobs.i’ve hated Brighton ever since.

  18. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    June 17, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Er, must be a Chumbawamba from an alternative dimension that you folks visited – when I stayed with them it was at a big run down crumbling squatted redbrick house in Armley, surrounded by factories including the one where ‘Blakies’ (those little metal bits kids always put on the bottom of their shoes in the olden days) were manufactured, and streets full of houses like the ones that used to be at the start of Coronation Street with washing hanging out over the streets and ‘urchins’ and dogs playing in the roads. It was also a stones throw from Armely jail, so hardly a ‘posh part of Leeds’ (or is that posh for Leeds????)

    They had a pretty good sense of humour as well, at least Boffo, Danbert, Lou and Midge did, not sure if we saw much of the others, but we did have a long and very funny game of Trivial Pursuit. Boffo’s autobiography is also very funny…

    Anyway, back to the subject, the best time I saw the Ex was with Tom Cora the cellist who worked with them on the Scrabbling At The Lock LP, they were doing all that jumping around stuff described above, but with this guy sitting on a chair in the centre of it all getting on with playing this absolutely amazing cello stuff. the version of State of Shock was superb.

    I bumped into Tim Hodgkinson, former keyborad played of Henry Cow, having a piss in the bogs at this gig and had one of those ‘disillusioned meeting your heroes’ moment when I told him that I’d seen Henry Cow a few times in the late 70s and he replied “You have my sympathies”. I then told him that Henry Cow Concerts still remained one of my all time favourite albums, he told me he thought it was a pile of crap!!!

  19. John Spell my name right Damnit
    John Spell my name right Damnit
    June 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Hi Graeme of Jam. That is posh compared to the septic tank full of bird shite and syringes on the dodgy side of a rubbish tip that Simon used to call home. Not that it was a bad place by any means the sound of dying decrepid horses from the glue factory next door was a delight to all of the olfactory senses and the run off from the local sewer always provided a nice distraction from the glue and horse guts stench. That place in Leeds? Luxury!

  20. John Spell my name right Damnit
    John Spell my name right Damnit
    June 18, 2008 at 9:21 am

    damn don’t know why that posted twice, didn’t mean to do that, can someone please erase one of those before people start thinking I was in the Heretics.

  21. undeleted
    December 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Graham is right, Southview House was in Armley which is not remotely middle class. And I don’t recognise the snide, humourless Chumbawamba of the comments above either.

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