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"....