Above; Drones sticker part of Johna collection click here
Formed in Manchester in 1975, the band started out as a pub rock outfit called Roller Coaster. When their only single did not have the impact they needed the band looked for a new direction so reinvented themselves as a punk band. They also developed a rivalry with real local punks The Buzzcock's, but would fail to match their success outside of Manchester. For a while the band were produced and managed by Paul Morley.
On Monday, October 1, 1977 The Drones, released their second single, "Bone Idle". It was backed by "Just Want To Be Myself". That year they would release three singles plus their album "Further Temptations".
On 14 October 1977 The Stranglers and the Drones played Liverpool University: The Stranglers part of the evening was recorded and released on various bootlegs : The recording includes unique live rendition of English Towns. Considered a great gig, with good quality taping a gig review was included in Bombsite issue 5. The Skunks were playing over at Eric's on this night, Franco Cornelli from the Skunks notes that the Stranglers head over to the club and catch the end of their set, he also described Jean Jacques Burnels fist injury from the earlier fight.
click image to enlargeOn Thursday November 24th The Drones released their album on independent Valer Records. It's called "Further Temptations," the follow up to their EP "Temptations Of A White Collar Worker." It has two tracks re-recorded from the EP, as well as both sides of the band's single. Besides the twelve original songs, there is an odd remake of the Ronette's "Be My Baby." Also the girl on front cover as legend has it, was a hooker the record label booked to celebrate the bands signing earlier in the year. She promptly sent her bill to the label after her appointment!
Above; Drones poster part of Johna from Bradford collection
On December 3rd 1977, Paul Morley working for the New Musical Express gives a rather slamming review of their album "Further Temptations";
There's A dull ache in my head - The Drones. An album already? A few months ago they were moaning how everyone and everything was against them. They'd released an EP, "The Temptations Of A White Collar Worker" . . .You can sell anything as long as "it" lasts, their manager states - "it" being punk, (chaos by any other name). Meanwhile the EP sold fairly well. They meet The Stranglers, who take a fancy to them and play a few 'Prestige' dates with the nice chappies and make solid contacts!..
And so it goes The Drones were slammed for their pub rock roots that so many other punk bands had migrated from. There is no disguising the shampooed, cut and blown punk pop style here. Paul Morley as a Manchester local had recognized the bands talent. But, Morley had extracted himself from the group just in time to review the record. Much of his shared venom had to do with his support of the The Buzzcocks / Worst camp that would give The Drone's a good kicking any chance they had. The Bombsite and Liverpool locals liked this band, maybe more than some. For example, the ever-so theatrical Slaughter and the Dogs were hippies turned punks and they had supported the Sex Pistols at Manchester's legendary Free Trade Hall gig. Punk fan Johna from Bradford watched the Stranglers and Drones on the same tour and a few other occasions considered their live work energetic and useful for the punk movement. There were many studio created punk band wagoneers. Some of them did a better job disguising there roots with label PR formulated to disguise the truth. The irony was that some punks would buy a Woolies guitar, learn 3 chords, form a band and were unable to follow the spirit because they did not sound good enough.
classic Stranglers Hope and Anchor London UK 1977
Most bands thriving in the Manchester punk scene stayed in the city, but The Drones relocated to London and became part of the legendary Roxy Club locals. They supported The Vibrators in January 1977, headlined in February, and supported X-Ray Spex and Chelsea in March. Later that year they supported The Stranglers on tour. The band appeared on two influential early punk compilation albums Streets and Short Circuit and Live at the Electric Circus and for any punk enthusiast they are worth a listen.