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.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Eddie & The Hot Rods


Above;The Rods, Richard Holgarth, Dipster, Barrie Masters, Chris Taylor, Simon Bowley
Sometime during 1976 Bombsite caught up with Eddie & The Hot Rods when they played Liverpool. The gig was greatly anticipated as the The Hot Rods were fresh out of London, where they were an integral part of the early punk rock scene.
History records Eddie & the Hot Rods as the missing link between pub rock and punk rock, and their debut album, released at the end of 1976, proves that to be true. Fresh, loud, and incredibly fast, this is fuel-injected youth energy rock and roll. Their debut LP "Teenage Depression" & single "Do Anything you Wanna Do" would further amplify the linkage between early 70's pub rock and later punk phenomena. But far more importantly, the records give at least a hint of why concert attendees still describe Eddie & the Hot Rods live shows among the greatest gigs they ever attended.
During 2008 the US gets another opportunity to see these rockers as they start their tour in California on July 31st. Bombsite Fanzine managed to catch up with Simon Bowley long time drummer with the Hot Rods to ask a few questions about the bands early days.

Bombsite
Can you describe the early Eddie & the Hot Rod days? I know that the band played with the Sex Pistols and the Clash before the scene broke out. That period around London was just electric.
Simon
Yeah, the early days were totally mad the band had got a big fan base very quickly mainly due to fact that the band was so young ,every other band on the scene were in their mid 20's but the rods were all 17/18 and the energy was amazing people just hadn't seen this for so long, soon Joe Strummer's 101'ers were supporting and suddenly the music press were talking about these young 'punks' from Essex, who could play fast and loud. Malcolm McLaren then got his band The Sex Pistols, a support show at the Marquee followed, he told them to smash up the equipment which they did, of course the music press loved this, and so the Pistols were on their way, but yeah bloody good times!

Bombsite
The Bombsite team caught up with the Hot Rods in Liverpool sometime in 76. I looked around but cannot confirm the gig date. Do you have any recollection or record of the dates during the early days?

Above Simon Bowley
Simon,
To be honest the band was so busy in 1976,the debut album "Teenage Depression" had been released and the press were hailing it as the album that would save music etc,. Island records just kept adding dates to the tour it seemed like the band were on tour all year, then in 1977 is when it really went crazy with tours of the USA alongside the Ramones, party's with Aerosmith, and back in the UK the tour with Squeeze and the Radio Stars, people still say that's one of the best tours in the last 30 years

Bombsite
"Do anything you wanna do" was played alongside all the Punk and reggae classics in the clubs and gigs throughout the early part of the punk movement. We have documented in Bombsite issue one where the DJ played some Hot Rod songs at the Jam concert in Birkenhead during 77.
Simon
It is amazing that over the last 2 years that song has had a bit of a revival. In the UK it is getting played a lot on radio and in rock clubs.

Bombsite
It is interesting to hear about the Hot Rods increased airplay in the UK .
There is much discussion about the Pub Rock effect on the development of Punk Rock. Do you see the pub rock as a part of the reason punk fired up or got rolling in or around 76? Can you discuss your theory?
Simon
Yeah, the pub rock scene had a massive effect on Punk, much more than most people realise, the bands that became punk, all went to watch pub rock bands in 75/76, Eddie and the Hot Rods definitely played a big part in the birth of punk in the UK, maybe the world.
To be honest I think the punk scene would have happened anyway, the young people of Britain needed something to latch onto around that time, and music managers had been watching bands like the New York dolls, Mc5's etc and influencing bands like the Hot Rods to go in that direction. Pub rock was just about the music, punk rock was the whole deal music, fashion and a way for people to express themselves, so yeah I think it was a good part and it certainly paved the way for the future.

The Hot Rods Live in France 2006
Bombsite
Do you think we are seeing a push away from manufactured music on any larger scale going forward? Do you see the live band support increasing, regionally or overall?
Simon
Not sure we are moving away from manufactured bands, but on the whole thanks to the internet and MySpace bands like the Hot Rods have found themselves open to a new younger generation who really appreciate the music, online and digital radio stations can play these older bands and Eddie and the Hot Rods have certainly seen a rise in popularity again and it is still growing.

Bombsite
Joe Strummer has left such a great legacy, he almost feels like our mentoring brother telling us what happened even after his death. Did the guy leave any feeling with you ? Was there something he said that you think of today?
Simon,
Personally I never met the guy, but I know Barrie Masters new him quite well from the early days, and he says that Joe was just a genuine nice guy who just wanted to play music. He did once quote that the first time he heard the phrase punk was in a review of a Eddie & the Hot Rods gig in 1976, I think that's quite cool.

Bombsite
The Hot Rods are about ready to start a US tour, I see you are going to play Chicago and then you are driving over to Cleveland. Bombsite gets loads of readers in this area, and I have already seen web discussion about the band skipping Detroit on the tour. British bands often do that, is there a problem logistically? or does Detroit miss the radar for a particular reason that you can see?


Simon
No not at all, we would love to play everywhere but the truth is that we are having to build on our touring again ,we haven't played the east coast for over 20 yrs and couldn't be sure if anyone would remember us so we thought start off small, and just do 5 or 6 dates on each coast and if its a success then we can do a bigger tour next year. If our MySpace is anything to go by, then you will certainly see us next year and our USA booker can look further afield.

Bombsite
You mentioned MySpace and the new way to find an audience. I know there is a divide, some like the ease and ability to broadcast out, but along with that comes the almost inherent need to give away something. In many cases the record companies, the bands, the promoters, the marketers and the venues are complaining. Does the change offer a better outcome for musicians? And if so how does it all look in the future?
Simon
We recorded our first album for some 15 years in 2001 and managed to get a independent record company to take it, along with the album they said they would also release a live DVD which we recorded live in London, the outcome of this was that the record company did very little and no-one even knew the products were released ,since then we have recorded another album and decided to put some of the tracks onto MySpace which has resulted in people coming to the shows and singing along with the new songs as well as the older ones, the way the record market is today means that the artist receives so little in royalties that it makes sense for the band to give away a few tracks ,more people come to the shows where you are selling the full album and the band receive the full price. Of course, the record companies don't like it but more and more bands are only releasing their stuff online so it works.

Bombsite
Eddie and the Hot Rods were the energy that lit up my youth, and were an influence and part of my record collection. Did you all see yourself 30 years later maturing along with your audience and still rocking the venues?
And the youth today, are they aware that you were part of the punk scene from the beginning?
Simon,
That's great to hear Martin, no I don't think anybody even dreamed that 30 yrs on that the name Eddie and the Hotrods would even be remembered, let alone still touring all over the world. Yes, I think that the majority of youngsters do know that the Rods were part of the punk scene especially in the USA and Japan, unfortunately the majority in the UK think it started and
stopped with the Sex Pistols.

Bombsite
The Ramones have made an impact on almost every US garage / punk / alternative band since the late 70's. As you look around MySpace a large number of kids reference them as an influence. Touring with the Ramones, as you did during the early years, is there a story or a gig that say it all about the that period?
Simon
The Ramones were a really nice bunch of guys and we got on well with them ,I think they were surprised when we came over cos we were younger than them and partied after every show , they were always pretty mad parties and they thought we were crazy, Joey Ramone once asked Barrie how he got rid of a stuffy head before going on stage, Barrie told him to put a towel over his head and breath in steam ,Joey then goes to his dressing room, and a couple of minutes later screaming is heard, he's only boiled a kettle and put his face over it, the show had to be canceled so Joey could be treated for burns ...whooops

Bombsite
Thanks Simon,
Eddie and the Hot Rods have a great spot in the history of rock. There will be a bunch of road trips heading out to Cleveland from Toledo, Columbus and Detroit. From the activity we see here in the Mid-west US, I am sure you will have a great tour.
Simon
Thanks Martin we hope to see you at one of the shows, the band are really looking forward to coming over, the shows will be great, I can guarantee that, and we hope to see lots of people having a good time.

All photos used with permission from Eddie & The Hotrods

More about Eddie and the HotRods at www.eddieandthehotrods.com

2 comments:

  1. Hello - Eddie and the Hot Rods played Mr Digby's in Birkenhead I guess August or September 1976. They were fantastic -still in my best 5 gigs of all time. Over the next few months we saw The Jam, Siouxsie, Motorhead, Deaf School, Slaughter and the Dogs quite a few times... happy days!

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