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, September 29, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Hollywood Nasher

The following review is a Bombsite collaboration with one of the UK's most dedicated "Frankie Goes To Hollywood" researcher and their greatest fan. Graeme or "G Man" has spent years searching for details about the band, and is responsible for the "All Things Frankie" blog spot.

G-Man - Brian Nash's first encounter with music was the Beatles 1966-1970 and Bowies Ziggy Stardust both bought for him by his Father. At around the age of 11 he borrowed his first guitar from his cousin Mark O'Toole who taught him his first chords.
On leaving School Brian took a job as an apprentice electrician with Liverpool council, whilst auditioning for several bands in the Liverpool area. His first real band was Sons of Egypt which also featured Peter Gill & Holly Johnson and they got their big break on the local TV show "Exchange Flags" on which they performed the songs, Shake Shake & Bring on the Violins.

above; Young Guitarist Brian "Nasher" Nash
He later received an opportunity to join Frankie Goes To Hollywood with Holly Johnson, Peter Gill and Mark O'Toole, of course the story of Frankie Goes To Hollywood is well known, three UK number one singles including "Relax" and "Two Tribes" (Two of the UKs biggest selling singles ever) and a number one album in the two disc "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" all released on the ZTT record label and produced by Trevor Horn.
After FGTH Brian continued to make music with Mark and Ped, teaming up with Dee Harris of Fashion fame to record several demos, but was unable to secure a record deal. When Harrris left he was replaced by Grant Boult who had met the lads whilst supporting FGTH during the UK leg of the 1985 "Around the World in Mighty Ways World Tour" with his band "The Promise" and remained friends with the lads from the band, but decided to call it a day after again failing to secure a deal.
After writing his own songs Nasher would again team up with Boult and form "Honey Rider" later renaming themselves "Low". They secured a deal with a small label called Swanyard Records and recorded the album "Enter the Bigger Reality" releasing the single "Tearing my soul Apart". The album was not released as the label folded. Nasher and Boult tried again with the band "Dr Jolly's Salvation Circus" but this again was a short lived project.
After trying unsuccessfully to secure a solo deal, Nasher decided to record and release the album "Ripe" (BP 001) on his own newly formed "Babylon Pink" label in 1999, featuring tracks like "King for a Day" and "The Dark". His second album "La Grande Fromage" (BP 002) followed in 2002 featuring the single "Top of the Pops Again" and a 'tribute' to Jerry Springer (On Jerry).

Several members of FGTH reunited in 2004 for the Trevor Horn tribute concert at Wembley Arena, but Nasher, & former front man Holly Johnson decided not to take part. With Nasher stating 'it's more Frankie with Holly than me' as his reason to pass on the reunion, however Nasher did take his place at Wembley that night among the fans in the audience after performing with his band earlier in the day to a small group of hardcore fans from around Europe at "The Crock of God" just down the road from the Arena itself.

Bombsite Fanzine would like to introduce Brian "Nasher" Nash from Liverpool UK.

Martin - I know that you were an interesting part of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and before Frankie you were in a band named Sons of Egypt, along with Ped and Holly. I want to try and wind back to a day before then. Maybe a place in time that would put many of the ingredients together and enable Liverpool to produce some of the best post punk bands and UK musicians of the early 80's. Eric's club, now a legendary venue, can you describe your first visit to the club?
Nasher - My first visit to Eric's was to see Magazine. My mate's older brother was a regular at Eric's and would tell us stories of the bands he had seen there and we couldn't wait to go. Luckily, the Saturday afternoon matinees meant that we could also see some of our favourite bands for just a few quid. Going in to the venue made you feel like you belonged to a special scene that nobody else knew about. I saw The Skids, Stiff Little Fingers, Wire supported by a new band called Teardrop Explodes making their live debut, and The Cure who at the time had just released "Killing an Arab" and played to an audience of about 30 people. I probably saw a few more bands but I cannot remember who they were. Unfortunately just as me and a few mates were becoming regulars and looking forward to joining the big boys in the evenings the club was closed down. I went on the march through the city centre to protest against the police closure of the club but the decision had been made and the era was over.

Martin -Smuzz was your first band [I think] can you explain who was in the band and what type of music you would perform? Was there a particular performance or incident that you remember which describes what that early band was about?
Nasher - We were called Smuzz because the singer was a huge fan of The Buzzcocks and we had to have a name with a double Z in it. I think we only played one gig in St Theresa's school canteen. This was to coincide with me being suspended from school for truant. I don't remember too much of what we played but I remember "No More Heroes", "Tommy Gun" and a version of the SLF's "Wasted Life" which saw me performing the vocal duties. The band featured Joe Beardwood on vocals, Martin and Peter Nickson on bass and guitar and the drummers name has been lost in the mists of time.

Martin - Can you describe your early record collection before Sons of Egypt? Was there a Clash, Buzzcocks Sex Pistols part to your collection?
Nasher - I had some punk but I was a Bowie fan from the age of nine and was somewhat obsessed by him. I was also into a bit of prog rock so my album collection went from Simon & Garfunkel to the Sex Pistols via Bowie and Roxy, turn left at Genesis and Rush, straight on through Zeppelin 1-4, first exit at The Bunnymen, Teardrops and Magazine, u-turn to Ella Fitzgerald and Motorhead.

Martin - Did you know Holly from his Big in Japan days? Or was the introduction through Ped?
Nasher - I met Holly through John Crowney who was playing bass in a band with Holly and Steve Lovell. They used to rehearse above the hairdressers in Whitechapel and I met him at a rehearsal and knew him sometime before I met Ped. This was not long after Holly had released Hobo Joe as a single.

Martin - Paul Rutherford was the front man for a blistering Liverpool punk band
named The Spitfire Boys that did manage to get some material on vinyl before they split in 1977. Did you manage to see them live during that year? If so do you have any recollection of the event?
Nasher - I never saw the Spitfire Boys and when I met Paul he was the typical gay clone. Checked shirts and 501's and always immaculately turned out so when I saw pictures of him years later from his time in The Spitfire Boys I was shocked to see what he looked like because it was a million miles from the Paul I knew.

Martin - Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of the The Clash managed to put together a formula that inspired the period. The band has become indigenous to the sound of 77 UK punk rock. Were you a Clash fan? Did you ever meet Joe or Mick? Or perform at an event with them?
Nasher - I was a Clash fan but unfortunately never saw them perform. I got to meet Mick Jones backstage at a BAD gig in Fulham at The Hibernian. I was with my brother in law who was a huge Clash fan and he couldn't believe his luck hanging out with Mick Jones backstage. I got to meet him through Pete Wylie who was with me at the gig. Unfortunately the evening was cut short after I was offered a very strong spliff by some guy and I experienced what is known in the trade as a "whitey" and a rapid exit was required. I managed to get home by taxi but not before depositing a large doner and salad and about 8 pints of piss weak disgusting lager.
Saw Joe Strummer play as support to The Who at Wembley Arena in recent years.

Martin - During the late 70's The Buzzcock's, Tony Wilson, Factory records and some related associates developed Manchester's musical direction for the next few decades. The Eric's club owner Roger Eagle and associates almost pulled of the same thing for Liverpool. Do you believe that Tony Wilson took some ingredients from his Eric's visits to formulate his business model for Manchester? Did you ever get to meet with Tony or Roger?
Nasher - I don't know if Tony was heavily influenced by his visits to Eric's but there are parallels between the two scenes. Unfortunately I never got to meet him or Roger.

Above; King Of Pop Nasher Live Solo 2008
Martin - The post punk period brought along some interesting experimental sounds and bands. Many originated from Liverpool and had been Eric's club regulars. The drum machines, effects and synthesizers became cutting edge stuff for a while. I have worked with FL Studio and Pro Tools and it can be really fun to play with. But, has today's "in-a-can" music approach eliminated something for you?
Nasher - When asked about current music technology I am always reminded of something Bjork said: "The machines do not have soul until a human puts some of their soul into it". In a lot of ways the tech revolution is like punk. Anyone can do it, just get some samples and get your groove on.

Martin - Part of the energy that lit up the UK music industry during the 77 period was the youth passion that supported it. 30 years on we now considered the period a revolution in the way young people approached performing. Do you see areas of today's music where there maybe a new scene or the threads for possibilities of a fresh start?
Nasher - Today's music scene is divided into so many factions I don't think there is a specific scene and even if there was how would an old c**t like me have his finger on the pulse.

G-Man - Nasher has been working hard on his 3rd solo album of late, with several release dates coming and going due to various reasons, however, this set is now almost ready to be released. A Lo Minimo (BP 003) has a different feel than his two previous releases in that each song is recorded in line with the albums title (a lo Minimo meaning 'to the minimum' in Spanish) hence Nasher and his band used minimum technology to record the set. Furthermore, Nasher has announced some information about an E.P that he and the band have been recording in a studio in Wales. Five songs that were regular favorites at live shows which have been recorded 'live in the studio' as they don't plan to play them live again. The E.P is to be entitled 'The Last Rites E.P' and should be released around the same time as the new album.

Web Connection
Nasher's Myspace
Nasher's Web Spot www.nasher.co.uk
Nasher's Music For Sale cdbaby.com
FGTH Web Spot www.fgth.org.uk/
G Man's Frankie Site allthingsfrankie.blogspot.com
G Man's Nasher Collection
G Man's Myspace www.myspace.com/allthingsfrankie

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; Graham Sclater Rides The Waves

Our Bombsite Fanzine project has allowed me to correspond with some interesting music industry people. With many years of experience in the turbulent music world Graham Sclater is one of those people.
Graham has produced records in varying styles as diverse as punk, folk, country, heavy rock and more in studios as far afield as Trinidad and Jamaica. Many of these productions were released on the Tabitha Record label in the Benelux and Spain and major or independent labels around the World. Graham’s production credits have resulted in a number of hit records by many artists.

Above; Graham Sclater Hamburg Germany 1965

Bombsite Fanzine
Some of the ingredients of Punk Rock came from the late 60's garage movement scene and the early 70's Pub Rock scene. Was there a direct influence or connection for you? Were you involved with that period of the music industry?

Graham Sclater
Having lived and worked in Hamburg as a musician during the 60's I suppose the feelings and trends started back then. When I returned to England in the late 60's I set up a recording studio where I wrote and recorded a lot of music. It really was the beginning of musicians being able to make and record their own music without outside interference. That's how the garage scene started, rough recordings of original music and new sounds and experimentation. I recorded loads of bands who had never recorded before and it was an interesting and fast learning curve. For most it was the first time they actually heard what they sounded like and it highlighted who in a band couldn't play or even knew the correct chords, many didn't like it and spilt during or after the session.

During 75 and 76 there was a mood change on the street. Can you describe what 76 London felt like from a musician's standpoint? Were you part of the trendy Kings Road set?

I wasn't part of the Kings Road set but spent several days every week throughout the seventies in London either producing bands or visiting record labels trying to sell our music or place bands signed to Tabitha. There were loads of pub bands in almost every style at that time.
There was a sudden change in musical direction because one of the bands I managed was "Urchin" a rock band from the east end of London. They were great but when punk suddenly took off no one wanted a rock band, they were signed to DJM records but I had a real problem keeping the deal in place.
Although they had gigs all over the UK and Europe it was getting harder to find venues to book them. Adrian Smith left to join Iron Maiden and was immediately successful as one of the few rock bands to buck the trend. Look where they are now! I believe America set them up and then they came back to England.
London and the music business in general was very confused at that time. As soon as punk took off every producer wanted a punk band. I already had Martin and The Brown Shirts and we recorded their first single "Taxi Driver"
and "Boring."
- Their Story Here

As an established 60's musician playing the same clubs in Germany as the Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix. How did you find an interest with Punk Rock? Many of your peers were distancing themselves from the scene. But, somehow you were not afraid of what must have looked like absolute chaos breaking out in 1976.

I had an open mind on music having played with many famous musicians Ritchie Blackmore, Elton John, Fats Domino, Christine Perfect (McVie) James Taylor at Apple and jamming with Jimi Hendrix in Sweden in 1967 as well as loads of recording sessions in London.
I have always liked any style of music providing it is played well and the songs have a quality. I didn't find the Brown Shirts any different. I got to know them very well and like all musicians they had an image to project and they did it very well, sometimes too well which resulted in personal attacks wherever they went. I don't consider the time to have been chaotic but manipulation of the system was very strong at that time.
I have written a novel "Ticket to Ride" set in Hamburg in the 60's and it is now published by Flame Books. It really gives the feel of what it was like then and perhaps why and how punk music developed a decade later.

Interview with Graham Sclater, Author of 'Ticket To Ride'

The Taxi Driver single released by Martin and the Brownshirt's has a classic sound that has tested time. The track still sounds energetic and real. The group members were from the North of England and thrown into the brutal Merseyside economy right from high school. As a producer in London, what drew you toward Norman and the band? Can you describe you first encounter
with the band?

I worked with many different bands and styles of music and can't remember how I came to meet them. I believe it was because a team of songwriters I knew wanted a punk band to record one of their songs. I found the band through the Melody Maker they had an advertisement in there and I picked it up. They came to London and recorded the song "Hey Punk." They recorded it twice but it didn't work. I still have the master tapes. After the session they told me they had original songs, I signed them, booked a studio and recorded them. Once finished I went to a number of labels until Lightning Records licensed the single for release. I then released it on my label in the Benelux - Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. I really believed the band had talent and could have been incredibly successful and I did start to record an album at Decibel Studios in Stoke Newington and have probably 7 or 8 completed tracks.
We also did a lengthy session at my studio and I'm in the process of remastering and mixing those tapes for possible release one day. As you know Norman and Willie formed the Montellas, I had great interest in them from Japan but they decided to work with someone else. Who knows what might have been?

Bombsite knew Norman, Willie and Addy from the Brownshirt's very well. We all frequented the same record stores, bars and clubs. The name they picked began to wear on them quickly as they attracted an unwanted right wing following. Part of what I tried to do in my Brownshirt's article was to describe the band as they really were; somewhat zany and poking fun at the extremist in a Monty Python fashion. Does this agree with your image of the group?

I liked their image and I remember being with them at an audition in Warrington for a Norwegian promoter. They only played two songs and stormed off. The other bands were absolutely shell shocked but again they knew how to create a stir and get a reaction. So much so that they were the only band he wanted to book.

Part of my 2008 Bombsite project has been to explore the UK Northern Punk scene, especially the energy that existed from Liverpool through to Manchester during the period. Did you sense a difference between the London scene i.e., the gigs, the sound or the audience verses the northern parts of Britain? And did you notice a lag in the timeline for development of the scene?

I played with a Manchester band, the Manchester Playboys, for a year in the late 60's and some of the time was spent in Europe including Germany and the remainder in the Manchester area as well as London. There was a big difference compared to London and I reckon up to six months behind although there were a number of successful pop bands in the north that were already very successful. For punk London seemed to light the fuse but it soon spread around the UK and into Europe where the fans were even more fanatical picking the best of English fashion, music and trends and taking it much further. As I've said in the next section Tony Wilson contributed greatly to the Manchester scene.

I know that Norman, Addy and Willie were regulars at the now legendary Eric's club. That facility had a tremendous influence toward to the development of the post punk sound and the direction of UK music. Did you ever visit Eric's club in Liverpool, or Manchester's Electric Circus? Did you have any association with Tony Wilson or Factory Records?

I never visited either of these clubs because I was based in London for much of the time but I was very aware of Tony Wilson and his ideas and dreams. I know he made a massive contribution to the music scene in and around Manchester and I wonder if it would have been so successful he hadn't been there.

Through interviews and research, I see over and over that David Bowie and Roxy Music genre of the mid 70's added something to the UK Punk Rock recipe?
Did you find this music as an influence? Or did you see this when looking around for young inspired musicians during the period?

I think David Bowie was an innovator and responsible for driving much of the new music scene of the mid 70's and perhaps Roxy Music but they were very different people from a very different background to most bands of that era.
The Clash also kicked started what I call "well thought out songs" although at the time people didn't realise it. I met them with their manager, Bernie Rhodes, at CBS when they were getting ready to go across to America for the first time. It was chaos they couldn't find their passports or plane tickets and they appeared not to care. They loved everyone rushing around while they got drunk. A little like the Brown Shirts. The same applied to Siouxie and the Banshees they had no P.A. or transport and relied on CBS to sort everything out for her and the band just to do a gig. It was very different to what we had all been used to but I think the record companies went along with it under sufferance not knowing how big punk was going to be and how much money they would earn.

Your book "Ticket To Ride" encompasses the music and youth culture surrounding the psychedelic 1960's. The story is told by someone who was in a band and was part of the period fabric. Are there plans to compile a new project that tells the story of your involvement with the Anarchy in the UK part of your career?

I am working on a number of very different projects at the moment including a couple of films but there is certainly a real story to tell from that era and having been there could do it. I'm also thinking of a follow up to "Ticket to Ride" which could easily take my characters into the punk era after all I was there so it would be a natural progression.

"Ticket to Ride" is available from publisher Flame Books at www.flamebooks.com

"All in all, the book exudes the optimism and "damn the torpedoes" attitude of any young rock and roller from any era - definitely recommended!"

"The book itself is a breeze to read, and difficult to put down."

"Ticket to Ride" is a monument to those who might almost have succeeded."

"Ticket to Ride is a fun book to read."

"Ein sehr empfehlenswertes Buch."

"A rollercoaster ride of ambition and heartache, a thoroughly gripping and engrossing read."

Graham also notes ""Ticket to Ride" was published in 2006 by Flame Books. I wrote the novel myself and everything I write includes songs and music that we publish. Tabitha Music is still in business after more than 30 years and going strong. I also have a many records and CD's that we released for sale"

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