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, November 8, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Rob Jones of Crash Course


Above; Rob Jones, Crash Course, Wah! Heat & The High Five,
Photo courtesy of Francesco Mellina Collection
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Bombsite fanzine recently caught up with Rob Jones whose early musical career started during a magical time for Liverpool. As an Eric’s club regular Rob started hitting skins at a young age and would later show elements of his creative song writing ability.
His first band Crash Course was mostly Eric’s club members and existed from December 1978 until January 1979. Band members included Andy Eastwood (voc) (later Sex Gods, Divine Thunderbolt) & Rob Jones (drms) (later of Wah!), Mick Reid (gtr) (later of Nightmares in Wax), Paul Cunningham (bass) (later of Glass Torpedoes). The band managed to record a live EP but it was never released. Pete Wylie (ex Crucial Three, Nova Mob later of Wah!), joined the band a little later and played rhythm guitar. The band remained together for about a year.

Martin -Would you be interested in assisting me with an interview, and some commentary to describe this exciting period for Liverpool and British Music?
No problem. Fire away
Cheers Rob

Martin - During 1977, Liverpool started to cultivate a style and sound of its own. Can you describe what drove you to be lifted by this creative scene?
Rob - Simply music, and I was at the right age at the right time, Crash Course got to play Eric’s and I saw hundreds of bands their over the years. Initially bands coming out of Eric's were punk, but that changed with Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrops Explode, OMD, Wah etc they were more rocky and tuneful

Martin - I know that you were an Eric's club regular before Wah Heat? Did you meet Andy Eastwood and Pete Wylie there? Was Crash Course your first band ?
Rob - Yep, I start pre Eric’s seeing The Runaways in the hot summer of 76 at Roger Eagles Revolution Club in Liverpool.
Until the punk rock revolution I was a long haired Trogg. Andy “Easty” Eastwood and I went to school together, and we formed Crash Course. It was the first band where I played live, the other bands never got out my Mums garage. I would describe the band as a Stones, New York Dolls type of outfit.

Martin - Can you recall any Crash Course gigs?
Rob - Yeah, we once played Southport and CF Mott College in Huyton where Julian Cope went to study, also practicing in the Bear Brand factory in Woolton is now coming back to me.

Martin - Echo and the Bunnymen played their first gig supporting Crash Course at Eric's. Can you describe how the evening felt, was it a packed house? Who organized the gig?
Rob - I think it was one of the talent nights they used to run, 50p to get in, Pete Wylie was mates with Fulwell and Roger Eagle and he got us the gig, it was the usual Eric's crowd, friends and family!! The Bunnymen had a drum machine back then with no drummer, and they played about 3 songs. It was early days for them.

Martin - Describe your Eric’s Club experience?
Rob - Yes, Eric’s was an interesting club, and although the club is profiled as a punk club I was able to see many different bands there, the variety ranged from the Clash, Warsaw, Jamaican dub bands, The Talking Heads and even Dire Straights.

Martin - Things were really starting to flourish with new sounds and bands down at the club as Crash Course was trying to find another direction around the end of 1978. Where did things go with your musical direction from here?
Rob - I met Pete Wylie at Eric’s whilst playing with Crash Course, soon after he joined we split, and then Pete and I went on to form Wah Heat. Pete, Easty and I lived together in a flat in Penny Lane. Wah! Heat was heading for something good and headlined bills in Manchester and Liverpool where U2 and Pink Military actually supported us.

Martin - It was appropriate that Wah! Heat, would perform the last songs on that fateful evening on March 14th 1980. The band members had played an extraordinary role in the Eric’s club recipe. A recipe that would rejuvenate British popular music with a post punk explosion of young energetic bands with the new fresh sound.
Late that evening Pete Wylie prophetically shouts “This is the last song you will ever hear by a Liverpool group in ERICS!” & he was right. He recorded the set & sent a copy to John Peel who later aired these tracks on his BBC radio show as a tribute to this now legendary music club.
Rob - Yes, I was the drummer in Wah Heat on the last night of Eric’s. By midnight the undercover police had infiltrated the club, the house lights went up and the body searches began. Wah! Heats next gig in Liverpool was at Lincolns Inn just round the corner from Eric’s.

Martin - Did you ever get to meet John Peel?
I did once at a music concert that I helped organize at Kirby football stadium [pic below]. I did six Peel session's I think.

above photo credit to Chris hewitt Ozit Records www.tractor-ozit.com

Martin - Can you tell me about the The High Five? I had read that the name was derived from a cult TV show in which alien criminals are sent to Earth, and promptly begin to do battle with the humans.
Rob - Yes, after Wah! Heat I formed The High Five along with Paul Hayes, you can find The High Five on Myspace [link below] but I don’t administer the site. We released singles ''Cold Steel Gang' and a popular song 'Working For The Man'. The band also released an LP named "Down in the No Go" in 1984.

Martin - Are you still in touch with Andy or Pete ?
Rob - Yes, I see them occasionally, but only if I bump into them when I’m out. Pete wants to go for a drink soon, he wants to see a poem that I have written titled 'The Last Night of Eric’s' , it starts off "Guitar twang and negro slang had brought me to the stage once more...." Check out the video featuring my spoken word poem Video [ below]. I also wrote the lyrics to "Hey Disco Joe" the B side of Better Scream and Some Say. And, I am also still friendly with Mike Badger from the La’s.

Above; Rob Jones 2008 Tribute "The Last Night of Eric's"

Web Connections;
Rob Jones Facebook www.facebook.com
The High Five Myspace www.myspace.com/thehighfiveliverpool
Pete Wylie Myspace www.myspace.com/petewylie
Wah Heat The Last Song at Eric's fruitierthanthou.blogspot.com
Francesco Mellina Myspace www.myspace.com/francescomellina
Liverpool Cult Classics; Purchase Hey "Disco" Joe MP3 here on Amazon

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm listening to "Turning" right now for the 1st time in my life (having found the "No Go" LP for $1 in NYC 4 weeks ago (and it's simply amazing). I was doing research online as I usually do for items I chance upon and was surprised to read here that it was Rob Jones who'd penned the lyrics to one my all time favorite songs ("Hey Disco Joe") ...thank you, the imagery is so evocative and vivid...my friend & I have DJ'd this song to death since 2001 here in Brooklyn/NYC. One of the best of the era.

    Thank You again,

    Joshua Gabriel
    Brooklyn, USA

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  2. Thanks Josh - Wow, Hey Joe It is a great track, it is cool that someone in the US has found it and still plays it. You can find Pete Wylie and Rob Jones on my FB friends list. Pete is playing a gig in Liverpool on December 17th 2010 - I am sure they would love for you to do a 2010 Hey Joe Brooklyn remix.

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