Teenage Punk Rockers
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Eric's Club August 22nd 1977
Slaughter and the Dogs band members were young teen guitar heroes from the legendary skinhead suburb of Manchester, Wythenshawe. Just a few miles away were many of the venues, nightclubs and halls where other Manchester bands first inspired legions of like minded young British Northerners amidst the vibrant punk scene.
The review starts in the Grapes pub next door to Eric's club.
The stage theatrics and lack of idealism, guarded interest from the core street punks, and yet the propulsive guitars and fast charging beat sounded worthy to punk's on vinyl. And while many bands from the era started out with an energetic output, and long ago sold out and morphed into some form of stylistic pop music for the masses. The Dogs charged forward with a real intensity and have stayed true to their origin. Over the years they have widely been accepted as a veteran Manchester punk band. While many of the bands original songs were aggressive chants, and, whether they realized it or not, they we're laying a path toward the punk Oi spin off with their original sound.
Above; Roxy Tour Poster is part of Bombsite collection; Original artwork by Steve McGarry -Factory Records
Watching the band rip through a live set in front of a few hundred fans produced a feedback of sheer power and that was unquestionable. The kids throwing themselves around fists raised, singing each lyric as if it meant the world to them. The entire affair was like some riotous soccer match, but free thought, dissent and anarchy was missing. Many of the original fans were sought of angry nerds, not punks, not skinheads, not mods, but copying the Sunday newspaper pullout stories and trying to be rebellious. Although, In the end, it worked, the band was original, and teenagers were inspired, and the music was their passage into a scene that gave them a purpose, and the punk philosophy, to get out and do something in the terrible Northern economy.
Above; Credit to Melanie at www.soulkiss.co.uk for Slaughter photo at Wigan Casino June 25th 1977
Melanie and Vanessa watched Slaughter and the Dogs at the Wigan Casino show. The Bombsite writers were also at the show. We were with Mike Peters from the Alarm, I bought a Slaughter and the Dogs single at the show. There was a bunch of trouble outside as the locals were waiting to roll some punks. We were always OK with a bundle, so I stuffed the single down my pants. As we scrapped our way out, the damn single got busted. That is about all I remember of the night.
Mel says, "The Spitfire Boys played support as the Damned had canceled the show. I also bought the Dogs single at the show, seems so long ago now - The crowd went wild and the singer wore a headmasters outfit and doused himself with talcum powder from head to toe it went everywhere when he came on stage, really good band. After the gig Wayne came over to us and asked us had we enjoyed the gig. I had first heard them play on 'The live Roxy' album. Wigan casino got burnt down and there is a huge car park in its place now and shopping centre".
Furthermore, "I met Mick Rossi many years later around 1983/4 at a night club called Legends in Manchester (new romantic era) . We chatted quite a bit and he told us he had or was living with Glenn Matlock and name dropped a few others. I still have the diary entry somewhere and I am quite surprised I didn't snap a photo or two but then it was very misty they had smoke machines going all the time and couldn't see in front of you. He was trying to get a bed for the night and preferably my mates ;-) it didn't happen!!"
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
After receiving a copy of this photo Paul Apperley notes, "the other Prefect is my brother Alan [right], who is still playing guitar with the reformed Nightingales, although he was never a Nightingale originally. In my not very extensive diary notes, it says that we did an encore with Ari from the Slits playing drums on "Freedom Fighters" whilst I sat it out and watched".
Paul also recalls "at the end of the gig after we had played , me and Viv were sitting on an amp on the stage talking , and someone threw a bottle at us! ( fortunately they missed) I've always wanted a photo of me & Viv , we got on well, so cheers for that".
"The night before Eric's we had gone to the Pistols first secret gig , at Wolverhampton, we were supposed to support them but for some reason did not, Ari`s mother was there, I told Ari at Eric's that we had bumped into her, obviously without realizing her connection with John Lydon at the time". A few years later John married Ari's mother Nora Forster.
The Prefects were invited to open the London show of The Clash's 'White Riot Tour'. It was the group's fifth ever gig and the first 'big' punk concert, at the Rainbow Theatre in May '77 alongside The Jam, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect and, of course, The Clash. This was the night that DJ John Peel and his producer John Walters saw the group and it was this pair who responsible, later on, for the band's only visits to a recording studio.
The Prefect's were particularly 'popular' in Manchester and were the one non Manc act at the last night of the legendary Electric Circus in that city. Playing on a bill with Warsaw (later Joy Division), The Negatives, The Worst, The Fall, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, Buzzcocks and, of course, John The Postman, this show was recorded by Virgin Records but The Prefects refused to be on the record.
However, in 2001 a line up did reform for a couple of low key reunion gigs and, in 2004 Acute Records in NYC released a CD of all the group's studio recordings, plus a song from the Electric Circus tapes and a ten second blast the never-officially recorded track 'VD'.
Monday, May 5, 2008
"One thing leads to another" ..... JCC
Liverpool Polytech October 19th 1977, John Cooper Clarke the "Punk Poet" performed alongside the Buzzcock's, The New Hearts and The Skunks.
During 1977, John would perform with label associates from Manchester's Rabid label, including Ed Banger and Jilted John. Other support slots included The Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello and Warsaw. He inspired his audience on the U.K punk circuit with his good-humored high-speed poetry.
Leaving school at 15, he had a succession of jobs. An apprentice car mechanic, window cleaning, a fire-watcher at the docks, and a lab technician handing out tools to students at Salford Tech. As his popularity grew during 1977 he resigned from this position.
John Cooper Clarke illuminated the punk scene during 1977 with his witty, but opinionated tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and intelligent verse. He always, performed superbly wearing his tight drainpipe trousers and Oxfam jacket, winkle-picker shoes, dark shades and looking like a punk version of Bob Dylan. He soon caught the attention of CBS who quickly signed him up and released his single, "Post war Glamour Girl", which was included on the 1978 debut album, "Disguise in Love". A picture sleeve released in 1978 included Glamour Girl along with, the Kung Fu International track that was recorded live at Eric's club.
The Invisible girls provided backing music for some of the studio recordings, the line up included Pete Shelley from the Buzzcock's and Bill Nelson from Be Bop Delux, with Joy Division's producer Martin Hannett bringing it all together. The band also played on former Penetration, Pauline Murray's solo album.
During the late 80's Johnny Clark went into semi retirement forming a domestic partnership with ex-Velvet Underground singer Nico.
In recent years, his poem "Out of Control Fairground" was printed inside Arctic Monkeys single "Fluorescent Adolescent" CD, which was released on 9 July 2007. The poem is also the inspiration behind the songs video. Another poem was printed inside the 10" release of the same single. Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys has said he is very fond of Cooper-Clarke's work and takes inspiration for lyrics from his poems. Acts such as the Streets, the Arctic Monkeys and Lilly Allen have continued the tradition of street poetry, by firing off street rhymes with the latest pop sounds.
Take Beasley Street, perhaps one of his finest pieces of work. This anti-celebration of working class Manchester was inherently powerful because it was essentially true and could be applied to any urban context in the late 1970s and 1980s. The lyrics made a direct connection to life for the British working class. But this wasn’t a sentimental journey caught in fading photographs of cheery Northern folk, but a hard-headed analysis of lives wasted, ambitions rotted and the effects of low level but endemic violence, boredom and despair.
The BBC just broadcast this interesting radio documentary about the Manch punk poet http://www. bbc. co. uk/radio4/arts/pip/242oq/
NME quoted the following in 1997 - Clarke is still the role model for any young performance poet not suffering from premature brain death. His Beasley Street remains the greatest piece of writing in the English language.
Below; The Bard of Salford, Manchester's amazing poet John Cooper Clarke
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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 email@example.com
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