Eric's Club Liverpool August 22nd 1977
above; Wire, Pink Flag Original Sticker from Johna Collection
Wire Formed in London in late 1976, this un-revolutionary punk group was distinctly Art School variety. The band featured Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), Colin Newman (vocals, guitar) and Robert Gotobed (drums),
Early in 1977 two energetic punk tracks from Wire appeared on the classic "Live at the Roxy" LP. By late 1977 Wire had fragmented from their bass grunge sound and were now experimenting with some Brian Eno-inspired ambient pop songs. But Wire would go on to prove that they could take risks and reinvent themselves over and over, producing some of the most sophisticated post punk music from the era. But, the band was missing something, a strong statement, a cause, much like XTC they had much talent and all the ingredients to be a great band, but the message was weak. The following 1977 Bombsite Fanzine clips reference the Wire Live at Eric's club in Liverpool gig.
Above; WIRE at Eric's Club Liverpool 1977
Above; Bombsite Fanzine Wire at Eric's 1977
Bombsite caught up with 77 Bradford punk Johna for the following commentary.
I saw Wire a few times in 1977/78 around West Yorks. Although Wire played in the style that many punk bands did. There was an element to their music that was very distinctive to them.
They chose the name Wire because it didn't mean anything which stopped people from reading too much into it.
After the initial nosebleed of the 3 chord avenue that most punk bands chose in 77 and 78, punk started evolving into loads of different diverse sounds. Many bands liked the expressive aspect of what punk was about "I just wanna be me" rather than subscribe to being categorized in a box under a punk banner.
Although Wire were from an arty background, I still think they entered into the spirit of punk like most people, so on that basis I would still call them a punk band.
The thing I remember the most about Wire was when they played the F Club in Leeds during Oct 78, my mate Jon who is a massive Wire fan took some great pics of them. After the gig, me Jon and a couple of ladies sat around talking to the band for ages. Then the cleaner came in & told us to move out of the gig area, so we all went up to the dressing room for a couple of beers & to chat further, god knows what time we left. I thought the 1st album was a classic punk album the fastest ever I think 21 songs in about 23 minutes. Like a lot of bands from the period, their sound evolved into a more musical with more restrained energy, it was still punk but less emphasis on speed".
77 rocker Jock from The Straps comments on WIRE for Bombsite
I only got to see Wire twice in London, because unfortunately they rarely gigged. However, I do own everything they ever recorded. I fell in love with their sound the minute I heard 12xu on the Roxy album. I am the Fly is another classic which I have recorded myself recently in my studio, so I suppose these old classics never leave you.
Pink Flag is my all time favorite punk album, and I find that many punks from way back never got that. It was usually the Clash or the Pistols 1st albums that they played continuously, but not me, Pink Flag was fast furious and very unusually melodic. The production by Mike Thorn was second to none and I wish he had produced some of my work with the Straps. I saw Wire at the Notredame hall 78'ish which was excellent they played many old favs from Chairs Missing. I saw them again at the Elecric Ballroom 80 where they were awful, I was very disappointed with that show, It was around the time when they were becoming a bit strange and over experimental too quickly for the audience to grasp what they were doing I guess. It worked well on vinyl but for me not live.
I actually met Lewis and Gotabed in the pub near the venue, and they seemed like good blokes, though nothing like I expected after first hearing them on the Roxy album, I assumed they would be working class punks, not so. I actually hate categorising classes etc but they were more like middle class university lads. I have always admired their work and find myself still buying anything they do. I also have been getting into Colin and his wife Malka s new outfit Githead who have an excellent new cd called Art pop.
Above; Wire Late 70's footage
WIRE Myspace www.myspace.com/wirehq
WIRE Web Spot www.pinkflag.com
WIRE zine www.wireviews.com
WIRE Wikipedia www.wiki.com
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, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Above; Mark H Bombsite Fanzine Editor 1977
Wednesday October 8th 2008 - Eric's Review - Mark H
I read the flyer and watched the trailer on the web, "Joe's in trouble. It's not his time but the clock is ticking. You've got to be ready; ready to battle, ready to clash, ready to fight." I wasn't sure I would go and see the play, I hoped it would be about Eric's the club as I recalled it, but I was concerned that it would be some arty interpretation of how someone thought it was. I guess I thought it may ruin my memory of 1977. Then I thought, well if I don't see it then I will always
be wondering, and if I had never gone to Eric's that first time out of curiosity, look what I would have missed.
So I phoned up for tickets, the last week, sold out Friday and Saturday, so I got tickets for Wednesday, mid week, probably be half empty, no atmosphere.
We, (my wife and me) got there before 7pm, time for a cains and a wine, not quite the Grapes on a Saturday afternoon between the Eric's matinee and the night session but OK, and the girls behind the bar sorted out more drinks all ready for the short intermission. The bar started to fill up, looking around, can I recognise anyone? Most of us are late 40's early 50's; I guess
everyone else who was an Eric's regular in 1977 is thinking the same. No one I recognised, still it was 31 years ago!
Above; Poster from www.mudkiss.com
Time to sup up and head upstairs to find the seats. So much for half empty, midweek the place is packed, I saw maybe only 3 or 4 empty seats. The set looks interesting, there is band equipment on stage so the music must be live, although no sign of the red and black decor and why is there a
hospital bed centre stage?
Suddenly everyone bursts on to stage; the band breaks in to Deaf School, "What a way to end it all". I get flash backs, Kirkland's Wine bar, Jugs of Sangria, Pips in Manchester, Roxy, Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, the first time I heard New Rose by The Damned.
I'm not going to tell you what the play is about, maybe it will get a re-run and that would then spoil it for you.
For me, they got it right. The character I most associated with was Joey. My not so exciting job, the threat of the dole. My first visit to Eric's, like no other club I had been to, the music, the people, the atmosphere, being part of something new, exciting, rebellious. Bleaching my hair round at my sister's house and bleaching her sofa in to the bargain. Trawling local jumble sales on a Saturday to find old suits and shirts, down to the surplus shop for combat pants, painting my DM's, making stenciled slogans to spray on, piecing my ears, London Road for winkle pickers, Kings Road for brothel creepers. Getting in to fights over the way we looked, some we won, others we lost, but we never ran, Joey gets a kicking but he drops the nod in first before he goes down, outnumbered. For me that was 1977, we are doing something different and its great feeling like this, if others don't like it, then tough, each to his own, live and let live, but if you want to make something of it then we don't run even if it means a kicking. The fact that your dad doesn't get it, dyed hair, earrings, is his son a puff? That gut wrenching feeling when the latest girlfriend tells you she's late coming on!
To be honest I never felt any of the Liverpool bands who feature in the play had the raw, hard, dangerous feel of the bands that I most enjoyed, The Damned, The Clash, The Pistols, 999, Stiff Little Fingers. But that was the thing about Eric's, no one bothered if your tastes were different, and the fact people had different tastes made it all the more inspiring. I never saw any trouble inside the club, ever. I remember most of those names featured, I was made up when Pete Wylie came on stage wearing the toilet seat, that I do remember, also a plastic lobster featured somewhere I thought? I don't recall all the characters portrayed, nor did I know many of them personally, I just recall seeing them there on a regular basis in Eric's, but those I do remember certainly look like I think I remember, Pete Burns, Jayne Casey, Ian McCulloch, Pete Wylie. Are they portrayed accurately? I thought so, but then those who know them are best to judge. They are however, portrayed with humour and energy.
Above; Mark H Bombsite Editor 2008
Was I glad I went, YES, definitely? I thought the play captured the feel of those years spot on. It was a slick, professional performance, well researched and the actors brought it all flooding back. I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did that packed mid week audience who stood and applauded for
ages. Bonus, on the ticket desk, I even got to pick up a free copy of our old fanzine Bombsite issue 2 Sept 1977, I never kept any, we wrote that stuff? Happy days!
I hope Eric's gets another rerun for those of you who, like I almost did, gave it a miss.
I'm glad I never missed out on Eric's the first time, I'm glad I never missed it this time.
The day after writing this, I read the programme I bought. It's a true story, damn, well I'm glad it worked out and we got to share it with you, thanks.