Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sunday, 15 July 2012

‘Radio Birdman, etc. – Brilliant!’

It’s all getting hazy, and hard to pin point when exactly, but as ’82 rumbled on, I began to scratch beneath the surface of the Brighton gig scene, discovering small clubs, pubs, and local bands… Gatecrash, The Drill, Gun Control, Fatal Mistake, and others whose names are long since gone to me. My soon to become favourites were Tales From The Tube, Worthing’s answer to The Heartbreakers, and Brighton’s Defectors, a wild quintet of degenerates fixated on The Stooges, MC5, and NY Dolls. I’d previously started my own preliminary investigations in to the world of ‘proto-punk’, so to hit upon local bands kicking out similarly influenced jams was just perfect. I’d go see both bands at every opportunity.  I was 17, and 2 or 3 years younger than most of those guys, but they saw me turning up regularly to their gigs, and before long took me under their wings. Being turned on to great old and new music was a regular part of the ride. In the summer of ’83 I stumbled upon a copy of Radio Birdman’s ‘Radios Appear’ (overseas edition) for £2.99 in the second-hand mecca that was Vinyl Demand (on Sydney Street). Needless to say I was totally bowled over by the music I was hearing, and passed on my enthusiasm to the Defectors, with the tip that there had in fact been 2 copies for sale. I believe it was Defectors guitarist John who was fastest off the mark to snap up the 2nd copy. Sure enough, he was equally enthused by ‘Radios Appear’, as were the rest of his band mates. Sometime in ’84 The Defectors changed their name to The Violet White, and in early ’85 they self-released an album which was a big let-down. The production was weak, and the front cover was cheesy. But, the back sleeve was much more entertaining, with its border made up of scrappy caricatures (by John) of fellow band mates, promoters, sound-men, punters, friends, and the like. Looking at it now sends me right back in the time tunnel. One of the drawings was of me, curly hair (ack!) glasses (check!) and proclaiming ‘Radio Birdman, etc. – Brilliant!’… Damn right - The Birdman word was out… well, in Brighton at least!    

Monday, 9 July 2012

MRR # 348

I was mighty stoked a photo I took at Seein' Red's last gig graced the cover of MaximumRocknRoll # 348. I've been reading MRR since # 13, way back in '84, the infamous 'Does Punk Suck???' issue. MRR has been thru the mill at times, and garnered detractors, but for me it still personifies the true spirit of underground Punk Rock, and has done so much to spread a global word on DIY activism. I remain invigorated and inspired.

Ventilate # 1

Here's where the zine voyage started; Tom instigated, and titled, Ventilate. Previous talk about putting a zine together was curtailed by our nomadic lives, and only crossing paths intermittently. But, in '92, both of us were back in UK, and set to work on a publication. Interviews were with Finland's New Direction, Switzerland's Profax, American's Nuisance (one of the early Lookout! bands)... and Brighton's own M.T.A. Funnily enough, one of the live pix of M.T.A. was taken at The Zap Club ('92, supporting G.B.H.) and stage front, banging his head, is a young Darren Bourne. I don't think we'd struck up a friendship at that point, but that happened soon after. Flicking thru the zine, it's classic cut and paste, and Tom's layout is really sharp. It was he who typed it all up on Dad's Amstrad word processor. Our old friend Lee Oliver printed the zine, which included a slick glossy cover. We were clearly getting ahead of ourselves in the pro-stakes. It's interesting going thru the review section, where enthusiastic write-ups on the likes of Poison Idea, S.N.F.U., Seein' Red, Nations on Fire and Nausea sit alongside glowing words (by me) of green Day's 'Kerplunk' LP that was purchased at their debut gig in London... "it seems so frightening, time passes by like lightening, before you know it you're struck down"....    

Monday, 16 January 2012

Article about Just One Life Collective by Alec Smart

Aussie ex-pat Alec Smart took masses of great photos at J.O.L. gigs, and can still be seen stage front snapping the action. This is an article he penned for a local paper on those heady days.... nice one Alec

Thursday, 12 January 2012

OLD ISSUES; # 4 (2000)

The juggernaut was rolling, and for this issue there were a whole host of contributors; Murray The Beard, Steve Scanner, Big Graham, and Tom Craven (reporting on gig activity from his new home in Utrecht).

Another international collection of interviews, with Otherwise (UK), Where's The Pope? (Australia), Reducers S.F. (USA), Grade (Canada) - and a cracker (if I say it myself) with Mike Palm of Agent Orange, conducted on a park bench behind The Highbury Garage, before the band played their debut UK show - 04/09/99. Mike was a great guy, lots of stories, and their set that night was fantastic. I've still got the tee shirt, heh.

The travelogue (and front cover) saw Linda + I in Jordan for a 2 week adventure. A super fascinating trip for sure. A year later the events of 9/11 put this part of the world temporarily out of reach for independent travelling. But I've known many people who've visited in the past few years and all come back having had as positive an experience as us. Easyjet even flies to Amman these days... just do it... !!  

Issue # 4 was dedicated to our good friend, and original J.O.L. gig go-er Fraiser, who passed away suddenly in late '99. A sad episode indeed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

OLD ISSUES; # 3 (1999)

Yeah, # 3, back up and running! I note in the intro I lament the recent passing of Turbonegro, who I was lucky to see the year before at The Garage Highbury. And I still stand by 'Apocalypse Dudes' being my favourite album of The Nineties, heh...

Interviews; Four Letter Word would be interviewed at least 3 times in Zonked! over the years (inc. their last ever interview in # 12) - this was the first one, conducted in their car, outside The Joiners Arms, Southampton, during an STE 2 Dayer. Those were the days! Whatever put out a cracking album on Dr Strange, played a gig at The Garage with Zoinks! and I nailed 'em down after their set. DM's was also at The Garage (12/98). I interviewed drummer Thomas from France's Burning Heads when they played The Albert, Brighton (10/98) and that was the start of a friendship with the band that persists to this day, and has included numerous trips across The Channel to see them gigging. Caustic Soda from Melbourne had a cracking EP out on (you guessed it) Crackle! Records and this, and SoCal's Bodies, were email Q&A's. The front cover is in Budapest, Hungary, and was the start of my Travelogues....

OLD ISSUES; # 2 (1995)

In typically random fashion, # 1 was an A4 (need to dig that one out) but I opted for A5 on # 2. This was the first time I got other people involved, with Darren Bourne contributing review and photos. And that marked a new phase of zine activity; we had started the Just One Life Collective to promote gigs in Brighton, and with Buz's encouragement I got working on Rigsby... (more on that to follow).... which we ended after 10 issues. At which point I returned to Zonked!

In this issue; Swingin' Utters was a phone interview, NZ's Loves Ugly Children (Flying Nun) was a face-to-face before a gig at the old Art College Basement. Deniz Tek (of Radio Birdman) was an old fashioned Q&A via airmail! Shelter was via email to their press office, as was the appalling one with Ben Weasel of The Riverdales. His answers were so short/crap that I ran the piece just to show how lazy he was. And finally... RKL. They replied on a grubby sheet of handwritten A4. I found the answers from singer Jason Sears in a box of artifacts a while ago. Poor guy died in '06 in Mexico whilst trying to kick drugs. Lifestyles huh!

Sunday, 8 January 2012