Classic Chester punk band, and Eric's club regulars during 1977. The band consisted of Norman Graveney, Paul Adams, Willie Williams and Paul Urmston.
Around Merseyside, "The Brownshirts" received wide acceptance with the local punks. They chose an antagonistic band name to complete their transformation and symbolize the embodiment of their punk ethic. Which, flatly rejected anything that represented popular culture such as peace, love, disco, psychedelic music, flared jeans, loose-fitting caftans, and 70's hair styles. In their own way, the group were socially ethical and would always put on a fun live performance. On occasion they would play the "rock against racism" gigs in the region. In fact, they had no association with any neo fascist groups, or the ultra right wing national front skinhead movement of the time. Furthermore, they were not promoting a neo-political agenda, even to the degree that "The Clash" or "The Jam" may have. Far from being nihilistic and anarchic or actually believing they could change the country. They saw themselves as entertainers poking fun at the establishment, in the tradition of satirical British writers and music-hall comedians that goes back centuries. Despite lasting only about 12 months, they did get some of their material recorded. "Taxi Driver" and "Boring" managed to move quickly to the top of the alternative charts during 1977. Today, the single is recognized by enthusiasts as a classic early punk record that encompasses the style for the era. Click here for a Tee shirt
We had much in common with Martin & the Brownshirts, we went to the same high school. Drank at the same pubs, including the Golden Eagle in Chester, The Grapes and Eric's club in Liverpool. They supported our fanzine efforts. We were on the same line up at a "Rock against Racism" gig in Chester, along with Mike Peters band The Toilets. And, Addie [Paul] joined "Why Control" for rehearsal on a couple of occasions in late 77 or early 78.
Graham Sclater, Producer and Music publisher - Comments on the recording of Taxi Driver b/w Boring by Martin and the Brown Shirts to Bombsite 2008.
The tracks for the Martin and The Brown Shirts single were recorded at Gooseberry Studios in Gerard Street, China Town in central London. During a break from recording we all left the studio for a late breakfast in the café next door. We were ordering our food when Johnny Rotten came in wearing a full length green leather coat. Despite repeated requests from all of us to join us on the session he declined and left empty handed. The session went well and the results can be heard on the Lightning Records 7” single. We also released the single on our own Tabitha label in the Benelux a few months later. Following the success of the single I booked Decibel Studios in Stoke Newington to record an album but it was never released. The band had decided to change their name to “The Co-Starz” along with their music and wouldn’t promote it. “It is a great single and I believe one of the best of that era!”
Graham has a copy of the Brownshirts Taxi Driver / Boring single on the Lightning label - if a collector or enthusiast is interested in purchasing the record please email Graham Sclater firstname.lastname@example.org
Above; For Sale Taxi Driver classic single
As the pop punk or new wave movement developed toward a more radio friendly commercialized sound, The Brownshirts reinvented themselves as "The Co-Starz". Later, vocalist Norman and drummer Willie would see some commercial success during the post punk era with "The Montellas". Touring extensively along with "Was not Was" on their US tour.
Below; The Montellas; A long way from Martin & the Brownshirts