Teenage Punk Rockers

This site explores the punk culture as it was in 1977 England. We were teenage punk rockers that wrote a fanzine and formed a garage band.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 1977; The Buzzcocks, The Skunks

Punk Gig at Liverpool Polytechnic October 7th 1977, The Buzzcocks, The Skunks the New Hearts and John Cooper Clark were on the schedule that night.

As punk concerts around the North of England grew more popular through late 1977, gig performances improved as bands played tighter and the more locals were starting to participate in the movement. This night was a good one, the Chester, Rhyl and Buckley contingents gathered outside the entrance with the Eric's regulars before the show. Jamaican rhythm migrated through the walls and there was lots of beer spilling by the bar.
Loads has been written about the Buzzcock, they were, and still are the originals. Influenced by Velvet Underground and The Stooges by late 1975 Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto were practicing together and developed a sound. In February 1976 the two traveled to London to watch the Sex Pistols. It was that encounter where Shelley and Devoto arranged for the Sex Pistols to perform at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in June 1976. The Buzzcocks intended to play at this concert but were unable to recruit other musicians in time for the gig.
42 locals attended and it is referred to as the gig that changed the world in Tony Wilson's movie "24 hour Party People". Soon after they recruited bass guitarist Steve Diggle and drummer John Maher and made their debut opening for the Sex Pistols' second Manchester gig in July 1976.

Below; A great clip of DeVoto-era Buzzcocks performing

By the end of 1976, The Buzzcocks had released the Spiral Scratch four-track EP, on New Hormone label, making them the first punk group to establish an independent record label. A few months later, Devoto left the group. Diggle switched from bass to guitar, and Garth Smith joined on bass; due to Smith's alcoholism, he was replaced with Steve Garvey. This new line-up signed with United Artists Records.
The Bombsite writers were directed upstairs and along a hallway to a classroom. We looked in a bunch of the rooms and eventually found one filled with smoke with about eight people inside including the Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clark. The room was set up with school desks and chairs and a blackboard.

There was a bunch of sound equipment laying around. Pete Shelly had his guitar plugged in to a small amp, and the guy close to the stage curtain in the above photo was hammering out Buzzcock riffs to the amusement of everyone in the room. He played pretty well, no doubt he went on to have his own band and music career. We spent most of our time with Garth sitting on and around one of the school desk with the other band members close by.

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Our experience with Garth that night was good, we found him a likable guy, polite and he was happy to assist with our review, he was not drunk or even tipsy and we have been around some wombats. The interview was recorded in Bombsite issue #5, possibly the last interview with the Buzzcocks. He mentioned nothing about leaving the band and most likely did not know his destiny. The following night's Coventry gig would be his last performance with the band.

The support band that stood out that night were the The Skunks, the crowd were ready for the big line up and it included a mixture of students, pogoing punks, mods and the Eric's art crowd plus loads of flying lager cans. The Skunks fired back with tons of youth energy. The band had worked with the Buzzcocks during 1977/78 supporting them at the Roxy and Free Trade in Manchester. Along with many other punk rock bands in and around London including, XTC at the 100 Club, The Police at the Vortex, and were spotted and signed

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by Pete Townshend and Keith Moon after supporting Generation X at a Vortex gig. The first single Good from the Bad / Back Street Fighting released on Eel Pie records in 1978 sold 2000 copies. Guitarist Gerry Lambe contacted Bombsite to thank us for digging out the photo after 30 years.
The Skunks were: Gerry Lambe - Guitar, Franco Cornelli - Guitar, Hugh Ashton - Bass and Pete Sturgeon - Drums.

The New Hearts played The Roxy and The Vortex and were signed to CBS sometime around the time of this gig. The sounded much better live than on vinyl and were positioned well at the end of 1977 to take advantage the popular mod interest. Supported the Jam on a UK tour and a few dates with 999.
On November 21st 1977, the New Hearts released their debut single, "Just Another Teenage Anthem". It was backed by "Blood On The Knife". They were from Essex, U.K. and released two singles before disbanding. Two of the members, Ian Page and Dave Cairns formed mod revivalist band named Secret Affair.

The Buzzcocks poster included in Bombsite issue 5 - we actually received a check from UA

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