Young energetic and free, The Spurts started their band with four school friends after catching the spirit during 1977. DIY from the start, they organized their own gigs at local community centers and at a wild youth hang out they called the bungalow. Members associated with this band would later join the Cure and Depeche Mode.
The 77 line up were Dave Coltman, Steve Manuell, Paul Langwith and Dave Walsh. After a few changes by 1979 the band members were; Steve Manuell, Paul Langwith, Perry Bamonte, & Clive Kemp. Ralph Malph played bass for a few gigs.
During 2007 The Spurts re-grouped for some gigs and some studio work, and today they are still rocking the capital and their live performances are catching a buzz.
The band line up today is; Steve, Dave, Vicki Vortex and Paul.
Here Steve Manuell tells how it was;
Mart; The original Spurts were based a few miles outside of London. In those early days would you say that you were part of the Kings Road scene? Or did you go over to see what was happening?
Steve; We were all 14 year olds (sounds so young) we went up the Kings Rd regularly, but the place was swamped with the NEW crowd . It was a real eye opener, you learn very fast, clothes, attitude, ideas, music. drugs. It was the best place to find out the latest band, event.etc.
Mart; What single event drew the band into the energy? And roughly what month year did that occur?
Steve; The day after the Sex Pistols/Grundy show on TV, me & Dave were talking about, wanting more. Suddenly there was some dangerous stuff going on, music and style. We needed this! We thought we'd find like minded people to get our own thing started.
Mart; Did you find it difficult to get gigs or did you get a break somehow? I understand that The Spurts first proper gig was at the Lindisfarne Catholic Center. Many of those early gigs were chaotic and surrounded with tension.
Was the audience receptive to your sound?
Steve; In 1977 we started the band. a couple of Woolworth's guitars, etc. We organized parties just so we could play. usually 60+ friends squashed into the Bungalow front room. The drummer Paul's dad lent us the money to buy some 100 watt speakers etc,and a place to practice. The police turning up was a regular thing. We played every where the Punks hung out in the Southend/Essex area. Youth clubs, a school, pubs, clubs. There were a lot of gigs, no money or just a couple of pounds. We got a great reaction from everyone. That first gig was scary, cos there were loads of people, but not our usual school mates. This was a proper crowd, a few down the front instantly started moving, so we were doing something right.
Loads of tension, loads of violence from bikers , teddy boys, football thugs. It all added to the determination of us to play! We played one gig straight after I had been beat up by 3 bikers.
It was the normal every week happening.
Mart; Did you record any songs? Or did the lyrics survive? And are they now part of your line up?
Steve; Some stuff survived, We had hours of tapes which sadly got stolen in 1981. There are 2 or 3 songs on tape, but not the best quality. We still play,
"Keep on coming"
"Who's laughing now"
and "Sexperience" is floating about ..
I still had a lot of the lyrics, which we later made in to full songs "Germs" being one of them.
There is a demo of "keep on coming" from late 1979, but I had left, Dave had left so it was not typical "SPURTS" sound.
I would say that is how we sound now, it captures our RAW sound from then, but with a bit more experience.
Mart; I know that things sped along pretty fast for UK punk. And I believe that is why so much of the media did not understand it. And as you pointed out, it was a young scene. Can you describe who's sound or music influenced the early band? Were each of you influenced by different music?
Steve; Bowie's Ziggy was there before punk, Pub rock stuff, Dr Feelgood. When punk started main bands were Adverts, Damned, Lurkers, Slaughter & the dogs and 999. Me & Dave were the main writers then. The others in the band were dragged along at first.
Mart; By 1979 you had streamlined your line up. Were you starting to get noticed and integrate with other bands?
Steve. By 79 the band was every where. A major part of the Southend/Essex scene. A lot of people used to come down from London for the gigs/parties. We would mix bands, play with/along with people like Alf Moyet. Bands used to come to the practice Bungalow on a regular bases, the early Depeche Mode lot, Vince Clark etc. Everyone was playing something then.
Mart; Paul and Perry would go on to play with some big bands. How did that occur ? or how were those contacts made? Through friends, other bands or an agent?
Steve; Paul is a very good drummer, and ended up helping out every local band at some stage. his Dad owned the Bungalow (practice place) so everyone played there. As I said before that's how he did a lot with the early Depeche's. Perry was always there, he lived at the bungalow I believe.
His brother was involved with The Cure early on, and ended up roadie-ing. Dave roadied for Slaughter, 999 and a bit with UK Subs, I think. He knew everyone up London by then.
There were never agents, only mates etc. A guy Richard from fanzine "Strange Stories" sort of managed a bit. Got a demo made (no one knows where it is now?)
In those early days we all helped each other out, a great big punk family.
Recent release The Spurts are Coming five track EP;
Mart; The band re-formed in 2007. So how does it all feel today? Is there a new scene breaking out? Does this lousy economy play into this somehow?
Steve; Well the excitement was like going back to 77, although I think its only us original first timers. The music still has the energy, but alas a lot of the people don't. There is far more apathy now. The times have changed.
Every one can sit on their arses with computers, TV, Internet, not bother to go and see live music. Regards a new scene, well I believe that the punk scene will slump back into the shadows again. Due to the next generations not getting involved. Too many old men (which I'm one of) It can't survive on nostalgia. That's not punk. Fresh ideas, fresh approach, more youth!
The economy will always push people to cry out for change. Punk should be about music revolution and social attitude change.