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.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Detroit's Choking Susan

Above; Choking Susan, Detroit Punk Rockers.

Following in the footsteps of other rockers such as Siouxsie Sioux, Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene, Debbie Harry, The Slits and even Patti Smith, she’s a Punk Rocker.
Maybe it's the inherent ambiguity of rock music, but it still stands out when a woman takes the front spot on stage. Especially when the vocalist is as unique as Colleen Caffeine, in this raw energy punk band from Detroit. No disrespect to the other band members who have passionately pushed forward and are now seeing some payback for there hard work. The band, Choking Susan have toured Europe and North America and have a well rounded balance of experience, branding and an energetic sound that should get them a win.
Before the band heads off to play their European dates, including the UK's Rebellion Punk Festival . I caught up with Colleen who gave me her views on the 1977 punk scene.

Bombsite Fanzine
Part of the reason that the UK was a launch pad for Punk rock in 76 - 77 is because the British economy through that period was suffering. Do you guys see that as a similarity or a scene where the kids need an outlet in Detroit and Cleveland in the 2008 lousy economy?
With technology as it is, I don't think it can be too similar.. The world is at anyone's finger tips freely through a library.. People feel that there's hope and a future, but want everyone to change it for them.. The punks of the 70's wanted to change it themselves..
Theres no true, real punk scene in Detroit..!

Bombsite Fanzine
I know that Choking Susan is off to the annual punk festival in the UK very soon. There are a few 77 bands playing that gig, the Vibrators, The Lurkers, UK Subs and Anti Nowhere are a few, is there an allegiance with Choking Susan and any particular classic punks at the show?
No , other than we've been fans of theirs forever... 77 punk ,particularly from the UK, is what we grew up on.. We're thrilled to be playing the fest for the second year in a row...

Above; The Energetic Colleen Caffeine Rocking Detroit

Bombsite Fanzine
If you had participated in the Joe Strummer "camp-fire story" movie, The Future is Unwritten, is there something about Strummer that you would discuss?
Well i didn't see it, actually .... My opinion would be, we need more cowbell..

Bombsite Fanzine
In 1968, the Detroit rock scene witnessed a transformation into something that was purely raw, rough, and messy. This sound was rock & roll but was also equal parts anger, determination and attitude spawning a unique high-energy rock scene in antithesis to Motown and the more mellow bands popular on the east and west coasts. This new found high-energy rock was no truer than with the MC5 (Motor City Five) and the protopunk Iggy & the Stooges. These two bands laid the groundwork for the future punk and hard rock movements in the late 1970s.
The foregoing commentary is from Wiki, and is a refreshing contrast to the usual CBGB's Ramone's version of the genre history. Does this theory contrast with your views of the movement?
That is the most often talked about theory.. New York says they started punk, Detroit says they started it, England says they did too.
I"m sure it all happen simultaneously.. It couldn't be stopped.. Everywhere we were feeling the pains of the economy and shitty politics... The only outlet, Rock n Roll.

Bombsite Fanzine
Asia is a big market now for punk rockers. From the Philippines to China and over to Japan we see rockers that do a great job emulating the 70's energy. Do you see a tour in the future to that part of the world? Or do you have an Asian fan base?
we were offered a tour of Japan but it fell thru.. We'd love to play that market..I think they've always loved American punk ..I know the Ramones did very well there..
If I had a connection to help us to play there, I'd be there tomorrow! if you know anyone send them my way! :)

Bombsite Fanzine
You have a good Detroit / New York punk sound with loads of energy that resonates out of your music. As I look around the web, I see people comparing the band to the Stooges with some Pretenders along with a blend of The Ramone's. Is there a style that you try to get across ?
Maybe being born in Detroits turmoil has given us a stooges edge?
being the biggest fan of the Ramones, its very flattering to be compared to them :)

Bombsite Fanzine
You have toured North America and Europe extensively. Have you worked or toured with any of the 77 classic punks here in the US?
I see that "The Duel" hooked up with Knox from the Vibrators for some collaboration tunes, will we see anything like that from you guys anytime soon?
Yes! we played here with Blitz, The Vibrators and Abrasive Wheels! Great bands!
We'd love to Collaborate like that! If it happens, that would be great! A dream come true! :)

Read more about Choking Susan and their 2008 European Tour at my UK associate website MUDKISS;

Band Sites

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 1977; The Jam in Birkenhead

Rick Buckler, Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton - The Jam....

above; Click to enlarge. Bombsite issue #1 review The Mutant's and The Jam; Birkenhead, Mr Digby's, July 7th 1977.

Between the warm British summer of 1976 to the end of 1977, the UK punk phenomena re-evolved multiple times and expanded in different directions. Bands that had been struck by the origins of the movement, tried to express their interpretation of political anti establishment rock in different ways. One of these bands was the Jam.

The Jam got together in 1972 at Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking, England. Through the mid 1970's they gained a following around London playing pub-club gigs. Their style and music was seen as a revivalist mod band. In 1972-73 they were into The Who's Quadrophenia album. The release of this record helped fire up a UK Mod and scooter revival years after the original movement. By 1976, the band were inspired again after watching a Sex Pistols performance in London. Paul Weller recalled later, "The Pistol's noisy garage band racket and Rotten's youthful arrogance. I loved it! It was so young and exciting, and of course, there were no flares".

During the spring of 1977, The Jam joined punk rockers the Clash, on the White Riot tour alongside the Buzzcocks. This, after paying "the Clash" management some undisclosed amount of money. About 15 days into the tour they abandoned the tour to venture off and do their own thing.

Their live performance projected teenage anxiety, short hair, crushing volume and lightning-fast tempos, with a 1960's Brit rock influence. Moreover, the band wore Mod style clothing and tailored suits. They used good equipment and played more professionally than most other punk bands during 77.

Above; Mid 70's British Mod revival spurred on by The Jam

The following fanzine articles were from 1977. The first article from Bombsite #1 describes a spectacular performance by the band in July 1977 playing alongside The Mutant's who were a Liverpool punk band. By November 1977 Bombsite issue #5 there are references where the band starts to distance themselves from punk. The Punk and Mod lifestyles were closely aligned in the UK during this period. Ska reggae and dub music was part of the Punk and mod club culture. Bombsite writer and "Why Control" bass player Grom, owned a scooter and lived the Mod lifestyle. Every Punk in 1977 owned the Quadrophenia album. On a London trip in 77 a couple of local Mod's gave us the run down on what was going on in town that weekend. City streets were not so friendly for punks, but, Mod's and punks would hang out.

Using their unique style The Jam would change the future of UK music. Music historians believe that the Great British Music Festival, with the Jam, at Wembly in December 1978 was the peak of the Mod revival. During 1979, "The Who's" movie Quadrophenia, which romanticized the 1960s mod lifestyle was released. By 1979, punk rock had virtually imploded on itself in the UK, with only bands that had sold out, and a few stragglers left. As synthesizer and drum machine technology improved, Liverpool and Manchester would see the beginning of the New Romantic era.

The Jam were focused politically, condemning England's police brutality with their single "In the City" and expansionist development on "Bricks And Mortar". However, one of their most openly political songs, "Time For Truth", bemoaned the decline of the British Empire and expressed disparaging sentiments about "Uncle Jimmy" the Labour Party Prime Minister James Callaghan in no uncertain terms "Whatever happened to the Great Empire?". These pro-Empire sentiments and displays of the British Flag earned the group a right wing conservationism tag. Paul Weller's announcement that The Jam intended to vote for the Conservative Party in the 1979 general election served to confirm their association. The bands right wing allegiance would dog them throughout their career.

The line-up of Weller, Foxton, and Buckler would existed until the end of The Jam's career. They were managed by Weller's father, John Weller, who still manages Paul's career.

UK Scooter Boys still rocking

Above; Clash Jam tour article

Above; Cool Brit Mod Scooter
Below; The Jam Vid at Manchester's legendary Electric Circus; on "So it Goes" 1977

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Anti Social Degenerates

The online success of the Bombsite fanzine, has allowed the Myspace and Blog site to become a gathering place for punk enthusiasts from all over the world. The stories have led me into some great conversations with some interesting individuals. So, in a move away from my conventional blogging, I have decided to mix things up a little, and add the following commentary as a different viewpoint of the 77 punk story. Originating from Americas tough city of Detroit, Punk Rocker and vocalist for ASD, Vern Obnoxious or Vox, discusses his ideas about 1977, US v's UK historical punk development or migration. These guys have been around since 1987, and have something of a UK punk sound, with a harsher edge. Check them out here

Above; Vox; Voice of the Detroit DIY underground

Hey Vern,
Yes, our hangout in 77 was a place called Eric's in Liverpool. We were amongst the first 100 members. Last Saturday the BBC did a I hour special about the legendary club. The link to the broadcast is on the site [top right]. For me it was a special show, as many of the bands interviewed were friends and people that I hung out with. It is an interesting show if you are into the roots of Punk rock. Later, I watched "The Future is Unwritten" Joe Strummer bio.
So Saturday night was a bit of a mid-life-ish night.

Hi Mart
Kick ass thanx. When we map out our next tour with Social Schism from Essex. I 'll let them know. They know of some good venues around that area. They book everything in England. I book Ireland and Scotland, actually Oi Polloi helped us out last time and will book for us in Edinburgh.
As far as what I am into, my favorite music to listen to is classic punk, 80's UK anarcho movement (Crass, Conflict, Subhumanz etc), 80 's American hardcore which influenced us to start a band when I was 14 but anyone who listens to us and all the reviews always identifies our strong early UK anarcho influence. And I love crust. I love music and I am a history buff. I am actually going back to school to teach history. But, I retraced and defined exactly how punk rock came to be and it's indisputable, even though the Brits will never agree. The fact is the 60's garage bands on the Nuggets comps inspired bands like the numero uno first punk to actually lived a nihilistic lifestyle was Iggy Pop. I am confident to say, that the early 70's Stooges albums and MC5 from Detroit influenced the Ramones, who I credit as the true first punk band. Malcolm Mclaren was in the States hanging out trying to sign bands like Television. He got to see the amazing high energy shows from CBGB's with the Ramones. After being denied to manage Television, the Ramones put out there first record then went to London and killed them. There was probably 50 bands that formed after their UK appearances. Ramones put out there first record in 75. So, to say the Damned put out the first album and the Buzzcocks put out the first single is true only in England. After the Ramones got back from London, the Clash recorded "White Riot". Listen to that song close, and tell me it ain't a direct rip off from the Ramones. Don't get me wrong I love the song, plus all the bands. But, it was the Ramones who kick started the punk rock bands in England. I do give credit for the official punk rock "Movement " that was started by the urban youth of England. Then Malcolm manufactured the Sex Pistol's which is a combo of Television and the Ramones in my eyes. I loved the "Anarchy" album, who don't. But, they were cash cows for Malcolm. The Sex Pistols get credit for the first punk rock album but the Buzzcocks and Damned album came out before them. "Anarchy" wasn't put out till late 77 nearly 78.


Hi Vern,
You will be surprised with my feedback. Personally, I did not know the Ramones and many of the US bands, but we could feel something was ready to happen, the pub rock thing was our street rock and roll. The 101'ers, The Stranglers, Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods. Not quite there, but something was brewing, revolution was in the air, as the unemployment lines grew longer.
But, I actually agree with your time-line. I was part of it, wandering up and down the Kings road in 76, drinking at the Man-in-the-Moon, and the Hope and Anchor. I actually wrote a blog on my site that dove tails into this social history. The social political part of punk in the UK is the tough piece to untangle or explain today. Because both countries have moved so far away from that time. Furthermore, 17 year old teenagers today [UK and US] don't seem to care much about unemployment lines and balance of payments, or state control or even freedom and civil rights. We honestly did, we would have debates about it. If you watch the Clash's "Rude Boys" you will see that teens were arrested for no reason as they walked the UK streets. Cops would get you inside and beat the shit out of you. Keep you overnight and boot you out in the morning. That does not happen now [so much]
Most of America was happy and prosperous in 1977, and the UK was a frikin social political disaster zone. I find it interesting that the manufacturing downturn here today, and how it os effecting the overall economy is much how things were in Liverpool/Manchester/Glasgow during 75-82. Check out Strummer's squat years in "The Future is Unwritten" movie. The prosperity here was part of the reason that the Ramones, Iggy, MC5's, the Heartbreakers, Dead Boys, Pere Ubu and others failed to take off with a bigger audience in the US. As their sound mixed with the other ingredients in London, it exploded throughout the UK. Rock and Roll thrives in poverty..! And that is the part that many of these debates often overlooked and is the missing link .. Here is my 77 UK punk economy blog
http://whycontrol1977. blogspot.com/2007/12/why-control-1977-englands-glory. html

There is a 5 min documentary link at the bottom about 1980 Liverpool. The profile looks like Detroit/Cleveland today.
Liverpool in 2008 is the European City of Culture, said another way it is a boring tourist trap and a Disney version of the former city, now littered with coffee shops and smoke free zones. The slums, street gangs and tear gas are now all gone. The real story today is Detroit/Toledo/Cleveland with broken economies and urban slums.
The good news is that maybe there will be a rock explosion out of the mid-west U.S now, today... If so, it will be similar to what we have seen before but with a twist.. As the culture will always change slightly.

Sorry for going on, we should have just done this over a beer. ;-)

Anyhow you are a cool band, and are obviously very passionate about your music. I love it all too. Kids getting out and doing something anywhere in the world, making a difference.

Hi Mart
I absolutely agree, all those bands you mentioned are my go-to records when I wanna jam, Eater, The Stranglers, X Ray Spex, Vice Squad, UK Subs , The Vibrators, Damned , Buzzcocks and of course the Ruts are all time favs. I agree socially, and politically back home it was this junkie cheque scene with the Ramones at the top of the New York scene . But they didn't sing about politics. It was shit like, "Now I wanna sniff some glue", or "Beat on the brat". The punk rock movement or methodology definitely was spawned on the streets of London as well as the fashion. I don't care what any punk says, Anti fashion. Bullshit. I seen a postcard from London of a buncha punx with Mohawks, and still wear the same gear today. It most certainly a fashion. To me it's just my own personal way of flying my colors. In 77 America we had Jimmy Carter I believe in office , everyone was wearing khaki's cardigan sweaters and dipping into fondue bowls. They new nothing of repression of youth on a economical level. I never been more convicted in my politics as a anarchist who is leaning more and more to a constitutional-ist. They were the true working class rebels that said fuck you, were not living under a thrown, were gonna sail away to a unknown land and set up shop. Gotta have a lot of respect for that. I am a historian though. I would much rather live in Amsterdam than here in the US. From the Netherlands down to Italy we have a large fan base that will pay us 350 earos which is like 600 dollars. In the UK they do not pay out of town bands shit. Ireland, Scotland and England. We were just thinking, why go to Europe when we can take this money and put out 5 7"s and a few LP's. We are looking forward to coming over hopefully in fall and it will go Dublin/Liverpool/Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Essex, Netherlands/Rotterdam/ Amsterdam then Belgium all the way down to Italy. We need to hustle a shitload of music!......Good talking to you. I like the conversations.


Yes great stuff..
Would you see a problem if I put this discussion in blog form on my blog space? Its a shame to waste it, as I think it would make a good read for lots of 77 enthusiasts. I don't think their is anything incriminating ;-)
I will catch up with you for another blogview sometime..


My life is a open book, i would revel in posting a column in that blog. I am not worried about incrimination of anything. I am always willing to stick my neck on the chopping block.


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