UK Decay – Plastic Records – 1980

The Black Cat / Middle Of The Road Man

Message Distortion / Disco Romance

Crunchingly fine single by UK Decay, who later on in the early 1980’s were to improve even more, with each successive release culminating in a fine 12″ release on Corpus Christi Records in 1982.

Text below via wicked pee dear, and the photo of UK Decay at Marsh Farm, Luton in December 1979 was taken by Tim Swain.

UK Decay was a Luton based band, formed out of the ashes of another local band called The Resistors, who were Steven Abbot AKA Abbo on guitar, Steve Harle on drums, Paul Wilson vocals and Martin Smith on bass.

After Paul Wilson left during the spring of 1979, the remaining band members changed their name and released the ‘Split Single’ 7” in partnership with local band Pneumania on their own Plastic Records label, under the new name UK Decay. There were two tracks from each band, with UK Decay contributing “UK Decay” and “Car Crash”, and Pneumania “Exhibition” and “Coming Attack”. The ‘Split Single’ sold extremely well, mainly thanks to a damning review in the NME, whose Danny Baker and Charles Shaar Murray described them as “one of the worst punk bands of all time”. At the same time, some of the band produced their own monthly fanzine ‘The Suss,’ and ran their own punk record and clothes shop, ‘Matrix’. Guitarist Steve Spon was poached from Pneumania, allowing Abbo to concentrate on frontman duties.

The next release for Plastic Records was the band’s Black Cat EP, which came out in early 1980 and made the UK Indie Chart for three weeks, getting to No. 42. Alex Howe from Fresh Records offered to license the first two singles off them and signed UK Decay to the label for several new 7″s and an album. It was around this time that UK Decay played their first out-of-town gig, with Bauhaus, at the Northampton Racecourse Pavilion.

The first official release for Fresh was the single “For My Country” in September 1980, which got airplay from John Peel (for whom they would record two sessions) and spent eight months in the indie chart reaching No. 13. The single was promoted by a major UK tour with raging political punk band, Dead Kennedys. By 1981 two further singles, “Unexpected Guest” and “Sexual”, had also been released, the former actually achieving the band’s highest Indie chart placing of No. 4, and paving the way for UK Decay’s debut album, For Madmen Only, released by Fresh Records in December 1981.

The band had taken a year in recording, after delays caused by taking time out for a US tour and further frustrations with finding a permanent bass player. After Segovia left, Lorraine ‘Lol’ Turvey from The Statics stood in for some UK dates and a European tour in early 1981. For the US and subsequent UK tours in Spring 81 Creetin K-Os (of US punks Social Unrest) stood in. Following that stint he returned home and Eddie ‘Dutch’ Branch (AKA ‘Twiggy’) from Northampton joined on bass, just in time to finish the album.

In early 1982, Fresh Records collapsed soon after the album’s release, and the band were caught up in the ensuing management buy-out by what would become Jungle Records. With the help of John Loder and Southern Studios, however, they managed to buy up the rights to their back catalogue and set up their own UK Decay Records. John Loder also introduced them to Penny Rimbaud from Crass, which resulted in the Rising From The Dead 12″ coming out on Crass’s Corpus Christi label in August 1982. However, despite a strong showing in the independent charts and an ever-expanding fanbase, UK Decay split up in December 1982. A posthumous live album, A Night For Celebration, was released during the summer of 1983.

Abbo, Spon and Eddie Branch would regroup with new guitarist Albie de Luca (formerly of Gene Loves Jezebel) as Furyo in mid-1983, releasing two mini-albums through the following year and recording an unreleased album before splitting again in early 1985.

UK Decay were arguably a major influence on an emerging wave of bands such as the Sisters of Mercy, Sex Gang Children and Southern Death Cult. These bands together spawned the emerging postpunk and Goth movements that still resonate today. UK Decay had a major role in developing these scenes, but had ceased to exist by the time these other bands started getting serious press coverage and sales.

36 comments
  1. dan i
    dan i
    January 3, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Interesting wikipedia entry. Pretty sure Spon wasnt in Furyo, he joined In Excelsis with Mark Bond and Errol Blyth from Ritual. Furyo were good when I saw them at The Venue in Victoria, but didnt stick around for long.

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    January 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Think you are right Dan…bloody wiks, turning me over!

  3. Drew Peacock
    Drew Peacock
    January 4, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Best band ever to come out of Luton … As far as I’m aware there was only Paul Young to compete with

  4. back2front
    back2front
    January 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Karma Sutra – agreed Graham – their album Daydreams of A Production Line Worker is a classic of the era – someone should put that out on CD…

  5. dan i
    dan i
    January 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Drew – totally agree, but they were better than that surely? I loved how they were more ambitious musically than many of their peers – Rising From The Dread in particular was very adventurous and almost proggy for its time.

    UK Decay have been playing gigs again apparently if you go in for that kind of nostalgia trip. I think they have only played in Luton, but last year they had Rubella Ballet as support (oooh its just like 1982 again!).

    Try this link for more info:

    http://www.ukdecay.co.uk/

  6. richpassivity
    richpassivity
    January 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    One of the greats!

  7. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    January 11, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Possibly my favourite band of all time…

    After much soul-searching I went to see them when they played in Luton, and although I was prepared for them to be shit, they were really good. Not in a slick, well rehearsed way but in the way that they still had the heart and soul for it, if you know what I mean.

    And yes, it was just like 1982 again, but in a good way…

    They played at some Goth festival in Lisbon recently so presumably will be doing some UK gigs soonish… I would seriously recommend it.

    Also “For Madmen Only” will be re-released soon with extra tracks check out the website for news (see above).

    Abbo was in Furyo with Steve and Twiggy and someone from Gene Love Jezebel. And they were shit. Spon was in In Excelsis with the blokes from Ritual who didn’t defect to Death Cult/ The Cult and they had moments of brilliance (first three 12″ are all worth seeking out as is the Peel Session) but never quite lived up to their potential.

    All of their stuff is around on the web as MP3 downloads.

  8. Drew Peacock
    Drew Peacock
    January 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    In a previous life I can lay claim to having seen UK Decay a great many times, fuck knows how many as it was such a long time ago!

    Though not from Luton I was from the notorious LU7 PX and think that the influence that the band had on a great many people including myself was long lasting.

    I consider myself to be lucky that I stumbled across these guys, thanks mainly to two of the original Leighton crew ….

    Fuck knows where I’m going with this so I’m outta here ….

  9. chris
    chris
    January 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    by strange coincidence, i was talking with a acquaintance this afternoon for some reason the old Clarendon came up, and UK Decay were mentioned. Turned out that, unknown to me this guy i’ve known for a few years through club running used to be in Actifed! Who i’m sure I may have seen support Decay on some occassion, or at least I always associated with them for some reason. Small world!

  10. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    May 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Seriously, can anyone point me to me to a download of the 7″ version of “Unexpected Guest”?

    Been looking for ages… if I can’t find it soon, I’ll have to post it myself.

  11. Nic
    Nic
    May 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I got an email the other day to say the band have re-released ‘For Madmen Only’…
    The news should be on their website…

  12. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    May 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    The re-release has been completed and will available via Southern / Southern Record Distributors.

  13. Justin
    Justin
    November 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I filmed UK Decay at Blackpool Rebellion 2009, also have the Luton reunion on dvd, plus Luton Carnival from 1981 (or was it `82) with the crowd trouble etc. Anyone after a copy of any of these or other related punk stuff email me at – musicisloud@hotmail.co.uk

  14. Justin
    Justin
    November 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Jay, are you stalking me ?

  15. Jay
    Jay
    November 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Muhahaha ha ha ha… no, of course not Justin! I’m a regular in this Pub 😉

  16. Jay
    Jay
    December 8, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    UK Decay playing at Sumo Club in Leicester this Saturday, 12th December 2009…

  17. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    December 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Went to Leicester to see them, and it was a bit ropey to be honest.

    No atmosphere, bad sound, and they just weren’t hitting the mark somehow…

    It all picked up for the second half of the gig, but a bit dissapointing after the last Luton gig, and the stuff on youtube.

    It hasn’t put me off though – Just a bad day, I think. They’re playing in Luton on the 27th of February, and in London “in the new year”, and I’ll be going to both of those.

    Jesus though, Leicester – what a shithole.

  18. UKDKOK
    UKDKOK
    December 15, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    What happened to the support band, ‘Los Cyclones’? The support band called ‘Click Click’ went on for ages, looked like the drummer was miming along to one of those electronic drum machines from the eighties 😀

  19. dan i
    dan i
    December 20, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Click Click supported In Excelsis on their first gig in Harrow at Wealdstone CoOp Hall. There may have been a previous gig in Luton but I dont remember. Click Click werent good then and I dont imagine they have improved much.

  20. dan i
    dan i
    December 20, 2009 at 10:06 am

    In Excelsis on the other hand….

  21. dan i
    dan i
    January 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    from the UK Decay mailing list::

    Happy New Year!
    Thanks to all for making 2009 a fantastic year for UK DK. Best wishes to everyone for 2010….

    A BIT OF NEWS………….

    Just to inform you that there is a fantastic in-depth UK Decay interview by Mick Mercer in this month’s “The Mick”

    online webzine. There are 23 pages of interview and photographs mainly taken from live shows in the past year.

    Many of the photo’s in the feature, were kindly submitted by forum users at UK Decay Communities. Mick Mercer

    coaxes some very interesting comments from the guys and sums up quite eloquently whats happening with UK

    Decay today. We would like to thank everyone who submitted photos for this article.
    “The Mick” issue#52 is available as free downloadable PDF magazine for around a month, or until the next issue

    becomes available.

    http://www.mickmercer.com/themick.html

    – just look below the three covers of the issues currently up. Select ‘Take The Mick #52’, right click, save as –

    RETURN TO LUTON….UK DECAY LIVE @ THE SUB CLUB, BEDS UNI.
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 7:30pm

    UK DK are set to return to Luton at the end of February 2010 with a bumper line-up of bands including legendary Luton band The Knockouts (think Thrilled Skinny!). The show is being promoted this time by Attic Promotions who’s Andy Chesham may be familiar to many of the regular Community Reunion patrons, as DJ Andy Attic.

    UK Decay return to Luton 2010

    With support from:

    The Knockouts
    The Assault
    The Adenoids
    Nick The Poet
    Kunti Kuntish
    Not Dead Yet

    There will be more information soon about the show on the UK Decay Communities website, but in the meantime some details can be found on the Attic Promotions events page, which a link to is below…..

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=185121946425&ref=ts

    Tickets are going like hot cakes for this show, so if you would like to make sure of yours, maybe it’s a good idea to book yours soon!

    Tickets £12.00 in advance from…

    http://www.wegottickets.com

    One last thing, UK Decay will be touring Germany in late April 2010. Further news on this will soon be available on the UK Decay Communities website and the plethora of social networking sites.

    http://www.ukdecay.co.uk
    http://www.myspace.com/ukdecay
    http://www.facebook.com/ukdecay

    Best wishes for 2010 and once again thanks for being part of our community!

    Werewolf and the team for UK Decay and UK Decay Communities

  22. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    February 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I’m going to Luton on Saturday. I am seriously considering taking a belt.

  23. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    May 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve just uploaded a new UK Decay video of ‘Dorian’ + ‘Decadence’ to Youtube; here: http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_edit?ns=1&video_id=41-GiLriCzs&next=%2Fmy_videos

    This is taken from a bootleg DVD – from the look of it, these are rough cuts for a promo video for ‘Madmen…’ that was never finished. It looks at least semi-official, if only because one of the shots of Steve Harle (@ 2.00) was used as the ‘Face’ on the ‘Sexual/ Twist in the Tale’ 7″, but I’ve never even heard a rumour of it existing before, so who knows.

    The original tape is obviously damaged, and the soundtrack was in a similarly poor state. I replaced it with good versions from the LP, and synched them up as much as could taking into account the original tape had obviously been chewed up and / or stretched. It was only vaugely synched to the images anyway so I think it’s OK.

  24. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    June 6, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Loads of UK Decay now on Youtube, including the full Luton Carnival set and 4 tracks in Berlin, plus the promo to ‘Werewolf’.

    Just search Youtube for “UK Decay eyesaw77”.

    Two sets from Aylesbury Friars and Dingwalls still to come.

  25. Justin
    Justin
    August 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    UK Decay cd live at Blackpool 2010 available from my goodself. Also recorded – Gallows, Fucked Up, Dwarves, Control , Resistance 77, The Pigs, Slaughter & The Dogs , Bad Religion, Drongos For Europe (aftershow gig), Crass interview with John Robb feat. Rimbauld & Ignorant. Interview with John Robb and Charlie Harper. Fire Exit. King Kurt. London (part set), Hazel O`connor, Nick The Poet. I also recorded Rezillos but the sound was bloody awful and I wont be copying that. I have posted a UK Decay clip on youtube doing `For My Country`.

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