Archive for the 1977 Category

The Book Of Revelation

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Punk, Questions and Answers, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 16, 2008 by planetmondo

The Sex Pistols last pre – Bill Grundy ‘Filth and Fury’ interview, was by Barry Cain for Record Mirror – click on the photo to supersize the original article….

If Nick Cohn’s Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is Ye Olde Testament of Rock, the New (Wave) Testament being Jon Savage’s Englands Dreaming, then Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip is surely the Dead Sea Scrolls, revived and risen again from the russet coloured copies of his Record Mirror reports, reviews and interviews, and scrapbooked against a lip-smacking-ace-tasting-page-turning-eye-bulging micro dot-to-dot diary of the key moments, movers, groovers and shakers of 1977. The year that groups of grey-faced, straight-laced politicians and hair flare bunches of prog and pop stars went twelve rounds against a fistful of prickly punks. 365 days with more dynamics, dramatics and dualility than any year since pop records began.

After his stretch at Record Mirror, Barry went on to launch Flexipop, one the snappiest music mag’s ever published, I found a few copies in the loft recently and had forgotten how they crackle with facts, fun and features – including a genius parody of The Face’s famous ’82 ‘Hard Times’ cover – ‘Really Hard Times’ starring two turps glugging tramps which perfectly burst The Face’s snoot-nosed, yell and bellow bubble .

So some questions for Barry Cain then….

77 Sulphate Strip is one of only a handful of rock books I’ve read without any acknowledgment or nod to The Beatles – it’s like they never existed. Was this the mood at the time?
No. The Beatles meant everything to me and most my mates throughout the sixties. They were my teenage idols and helped take the sting out of those years. There’s an unsubtle homage in the names of the characters in Streatham Locarno at the beginning of Strip. I stopped dancing to The Beatles after Rubber Soul because that’s when they started inviting me back to their place – via the Pye Black Box in my bedroom – where I could listen to their darkest thoughts. They changed the way I thought, simple as that. And thank you, for your very kind words. They mean so much. Incidentally, one of the ‘Hard Times’ tramps in the picture is my dad who will be 91 this year and was, I guess, my fifth Beatle. I was an only child and my parents (my mum is 81) have had four dogs all dying tragically and leaving my mum and dad desperate and bewildered. The last one, Bobby, a cute black poodle, died a week ago in my dad’s arms, and it’s eating them both alive. I buried Bobby in my back garden alongside the previous two and that nearly fucking killed me. I felt like some canine-killing version of Fred West.

Sorry to veer off the path , it’s just worrying me right now.
Pray, continue.

How did you go from being part of a Motown loving Boot Boy and Suede head set to becoming Record Mirror journalist?
Pure genius! If you came from a council estate in London at the time, you became either a straight, a skinhead or, if you took a lot of hallucinatory drugs, a working class hippy. It got interesting when the skinheads got into hallucinatory drugs in the late sixties, but that’s another tale. It was rare to stay on at school after 16 but I went to a grammar and emerged, at 18, with two low grade A Levels. I always kept my school friends and my flats’ friends far apart. As a result, I became, around 15, two people – schoolboy and coolboy. Two heads are better than one and after a bit of luck and a lot of graft, I went from trainee court reporter to indentured journalist on a local paper to entertainments’ editor to Record Mirror. That’s a Yellowbrick Road a lot less travelled these days.

Your first meeting with Rotten reads like a snake charmer being hypnotised by the snake – have you met any other performers with a similar charisma?
Malcolm McLaren. He and Rotten both possess the ability to paint stark pictures with barrages of meticulously chosen words that give delight and hurt not. They’re in a class of their own. Joe Strummer was a little boy lost who dug his way out of his nightmare with remarkable songs and a hunk of devotion that swept me away. Paul Weller was hopelessly devoted to rue, the secret behind his genius. Hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques-Burnel were deepsea divers in the psyche and there was nowt more challenging than a Stranglers interview. The Damned had collective charisma – they were the commie punk band. Who else? Barry White, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney? Heaps of charisma. But not a patch on Malcolm and Johnny.

In 77 the Pistols were possibly the most hated band in history. It wasn’t just the older generation or other youth movements that were anti-Punk, but politicians, musicians, record exec’s, DJs and almost everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the Pistols (or Punk) that seemed to despise them. Do you think it’s possible we’ll ever see such international outrage caused by a single rock act again?
Impossible. Music has popped its cork. It’s no longer the force of nature it was (what an old git). Outside the X Factor comfort zone, records just don’t sell that much anymore. That’s why TOTP was dumped. That’s why Smash Hits, RM, Sounds, Melody Maker all fell by the wayside. How many generations to go before music is just a bowl of cherries? Before life gets in the way? Before its portability and a few billion options make it futile, obvious, an easy lay? I give it twenty years, tops. My kids’ kids will give the odd flying fuck for a stunning song. Their kids? Different world. Different ballgame. Different tune.

For a movement that was all momentum and ‘of the moment’, Punk styles, sounds, designs and influences are still with us and everywhere from US metal to Top Shop clobber. What do you think has kept Punk (and New Wave) enduring without dating?
Punk was all about bright minds in bondage who wanted to fuck off out of old Durham Town. Sleepy time girls and the boys of summer dancing to a ’77 beat. Punk’s callous, disruptive demands – an anathema to Joe Public – could dislodge reality in exciting minds and create innovation. Originality breeds contempt and contempt breeds originality. It was a vicious circle that has continued to spin unabated like a flaming Catherine wheel shooting flames in every direction. And you didn’t need a voice like Sinatra’s to make the punters sway. Lapsed punks haunt the corridors of power.

I loved the piece about your mum and dad and the pub scene with the piano players, costermongers and comedians having a sing-a-long. Do you think the real seventies get overlooked with all the novelty nostalgia and ‘Abbafication’ of that decade?
I don’t think there ever was a real seventies. It was the itsy-bitsy-no-focus post Beatles decade kicking off with dross, glam, Philly, dross, New York disco, dross and ABBA. It welcomed punk with open arms, shook hands with high-street ska, gave birth to the New Romantics and invented Freddie Mercury. If you were in your late twenties in 1970 the next ten years meant fuck all really. You wouldn’t get it. The seventies had to be ‘Abbafied’ because the sixties were too sad.

Caining It – Barry with beard and Buzzcocks

Malcolm McLaren once said “I have brought you many things in my time” which included breaking Punk, World Music and Hip Hop, but equally there’s a trail of broken relationships and bad blood.” What’s your take on him – genius or jinx?
Genius. I mentioned in the book that Malcolm asked me to ‘ghost’ write his autobiography in 1979. I got to know him as well as anyone after countless interview sessions in my living room over a three-month period. He made me dance all night and still beg for more. He’s the Brian Clough of pop who should’ve managed England. Knowing Malcolm, I think love got in the way – he’s an incurable romantic. But we should all be thankful he turned the world dayglo.

In the book, the music press seem just as hardcore and heavy living as the bands – almost like The Sweeney with press passes rather than police badges. Were there a few juicy nuggets, tear ups and tales you couldn’t include?.
Yes.

If you could beam back to 1977 and take someone aside for a word of advice – who would it be, and what would you say?
It would be me, I’m afraid, and I’d say, ‘Don’t get married, keep your finger on your trigger and put all your money on Man Utd winning the FA Cup, Red Rum winning the Grand National and The Minstrel winning the Derby’. Oh, and to Sid Vicious I’d say, ‘Go for it’.

The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Wolfmen (Marco from The Models and Adam and The Ants new band), Carbon Silicon (Tony James and Mick Jones) have all released new albums over the last few years. Have you heard any of the original Punk players’ new songs?
I saw Hugh Cornwell play live a year or so back – great show at Scala – and downloaded his impressive Hoover Dam album, but that’s about it. I don’t listen to much music these days and when I do it tends to be through headphones attached to my laptop as I write. Usually, it’s Michael McDonald’s tribute to Motown, which is just wonderful, interspersed with Steely Dan. I’m a dude. Hey dude, don’t make it bad. Just let it out and let it in.

You were involved with Flexipop, are there any plans for an 80s sequel to 77 SS using Flexipop as source material?
Writing it now. Starts in 1978 when I resigned from Record Mirror, teamed up with then PR guru now PR mogul, Alan Edwards, running a punk PR company out of a Covent Garden squat, discovered I wasn’t cut out for a career as a publicist, became a freelance writer and spent the next two years travelling the world with rock stars, doing big, fat, hairy interviews. It ends 20 years later with the death of pop. Don’t worry, there’s not much to tell after ’84. I launched Flexipop together with my ex-partner Tim Lott (now, of course, a hugely successful novelist) in 1980, and after three bizzarre years I found myself alone, publishing mainly one shot poster mags on pop’s latest flames which I continued to do for the next decade and a half. Got myself a family, a house, a Porsche. Cost myself contacts, desire, drive. Naturally, I blamed everyone but myself for those sad losses – complacency is a cancer of the spirit. But if you catch it early, the prognosis is good. Life can be groovy again Oh, and there’s a few twists and a fucking shitload of watusis. The book should be available this time next year, if anyone has any money by then….

If you were a Record Mirror reporter in 2008 – what would get you picking up your pen and pad, and who would you be trying to interview or avoid?
The song Distant Dreamer made popular by Duffy, who rocked my boat when I saw her perform it at Glastonbury. The version by MC Almont & Butler is a work of art. Pop music at its finest. I think Leona Lewis has an incredible voice. I’d love to interview her. And Duffy. Shit, I sound like an old perve. Who else? Paul Weller, for old times’ sake; Eminem., for Pete’s sake; Alex from Big Brother, for fucksake. That’s five cracking interviews.
Never avoided an interview in my life.

And finally, are there two tunes one Pop, one Punk that sum up 1977 for you?
Anarchy In The UK and Anarchy In The UK.

Anarchy In The UK – from the Filth and Fury

Anarchy In The UK – Early version, slightly rowdier than the single, but possibly my fave take.

Anarchy In The UK (EMI rejected 7″ Single Version) with alt.solos

Anarchy In The UK – Los Punkrockers – yes it’s those crazy punko latinos again.

Beam back to summer of 77 by clicking on the pic’


77 Sulphate Strip MySpace site

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Funky Friday – "Summer is heaven in `77" *

Posted in 1977, 70's, charity shop classics, disco, film, Funky Friday, retromania, Summer sounds on August 1, 2008 by planetmondo

* ‘Celebrate Summer’ – Marc Bolan

Axe Victim says 1973 is the summer of summers. But for me, the top pop year will always be 1977. It’s an overlooked classic – and the year sound and vision went Concorde shaped and Skylab sounding – Bowie released ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ (and clonked out ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘Idiot’ as hobby projects), Giorgio and Donna gave us deep space disco, there’s Space – ‘Magic Fly’, Meco – ‘Star Wars’ and JMJ ‘Oxygene’ – see what I mean? And then you’ve got Close Encounters, ‘Calling Occupants’, Bond’s Lotus Esprit, Saturday Night Fever, Star Wars, Punk wars, the deaths of Marc Bolan and Elvis – you just don’t get designs, dynamics and dramatics like that in many other years.

My personal obsessions during the summer of 77 were…

Sharks (I saw Jaws 5 times).
Skateboards (Fibreflex boards and Kryptonic wheels were the kiddies, Skudas were cool and affordable, but Surf Flyers? That’s a no-no )
Starsky and Hutch.
Admiral football togs.(the Coventry kit being my fave)
Lord Anthony clobber (but never had a Parka)
Dayvilles Ice Cream Parlours(32 flavours)
Krazy Comic

And as I started to make the move from pick ‘n’ mix singles to adult size albums the record I wanted, really wanted – and got for Christmas was K-Tel’s blistering ‘Disco Fever’. You can enjoy the full track list here, and for MOR eye popping madness have peep at the cozy cardie coloured charts from 31 years ago – both of which are almost entirely untroubled by any punky doings.

Top 50 singles week ending 30/07/77

Top 60 albums week ending 30/07/77

So a few songs from the 1977 jukebox then…

RAH Band ‘The Crunch’ (as featured on ‘Disco Fever’)

There’s a TOTP appearance too

Bond goes disco ‘Bond 77’ (from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’)

Original trailer for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’

Elvis ‘Way Down’ ( Alt take with added piano at the coda)

If you fancy a few more sounds from the summer of 77 hop on over to…

Track Lister for Giorgio Moroder – ‘From Here To Eternity’ (single version)
Davey H for Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’ (12″ version)

My selection for Book Of The year 1977 – Man Eating Sharks
Always wanted one of these G and S Fibreflex boards (and a trip to Skate City or the South Bank), but never managed to get either.

The Sound Of The Suburbs

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, charity shop classics, Cover Versions, disco, Punk, Remake Remodel, retromania, Sex Pistols on July 28, 2008 by planetmondo


1977 may have been the big bang/year zero of Punk, but while the world crash, burned and turned dayglo, the UK singles and album charts stayed strictly beige, and a gallery of beards and Bri-Nylon, not bondage and black leather. It may have been anarchy and white riots in the city, but the real sound of the suburbs was glam girls with Farah flicks in disco dresses and bouffant chaps in cheesecloth and satin.

I’ve read far too many books on the UK Punk scene – three on the bounce so far this year, but none of then have the same snap, sparkle, spit and polish as Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip, which has gone straight in at number 1 in my ‘pile high club’ of rock reads.

Taking a year (1977) in the life of a Record Mirror’s initially reluctant’Punk’ reporter, 77 Sulphate Strip scrapbooks the combustion and contrast of Seditionaries Punk and ‘Sing Something Simple’ style Pop by prologuing each chapter with the best selling singles and albums for that month (there’s hardly a spikey top in sight) followed by reviews and interviews from Barry Cain’s original Record Mirror features on the Pistols, The Stranglers, The Heartbreakers, The Jam, The Damned and Demis Roussos while threading in offstage stories and anecdotes of scams, schemes, scary Dutch hells angels, dodgy raffles, girl chasing, globe trotting and living at home with mum and dad. I can’t recommend it enough. It is simply, one the finest pieces of music writing ever published.

I was too young for Punk in 1977 and could only afford Pop at pocket money prices – so why buy just one real deal single, when you can have a full albums worth of soft focus sound-alikes?

Like these taken from ‘The Best Of Top Of The Pops 77’
I Feel Love

Way Down

Hey Ho Let’s Go – click on the pic for more info

GLC Councilor Comments On Punk.

Is The Queen A Moron? Sex Pistols on the GSTQ single

Not me in the picture BTW

Never Mind The Boleros

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Cover Versions, mark vidler, new wave, Punk, Sex Pistols on June 11, 2008 by planetmondo


I’ve just finished two excellent spiky top books on the bounce..

John Robb – ‘Punk Rock: An Oral History’

Alan Parker – ‘Sid Vicious,No One is Innocent’

Both map out the cultural earthquake shake up and chain reaction of cluster bomb bands that exploded following the big bang of punk – all documented from a ground zero perspective by bit part players and punk aristocrats.

So some contrast and compare, pre and post ’77 tracks then…

An audience recording of the Sex Pistols (who were an unsigned band at the time) live in Burton on Trent from September 24th 1976 – check out Matlock’s rubber ball basslines.
No Feelings – Live at the 76 Club

By 1978 the world really had turned dayglo, and a Spanish punk band calling themselves Los Punkrockers tried to rework NMTB blow for blow.
No Feelings – Los Punkrockers

To bring us up to date Mark Vidler’s Cher at Seditionaries bootleg remix.
No Feelings 4 Cher

And as bonus from ‘Party ‘Til You Puke’ here’s the NMTB demo version of …
No Feelings (demo)

The End Of The World From The Worlds End

Posted in 1977, anniversary, glam, guitar, Punk, Questions and Answers, Sex Pistols on October 27, 2007 by planetmondo

‘Are We Really 65 In The Charts ?’

Posted in 1977, anniversary, Punk, Questions and Answers, rock, The Damned on October 21, 2007 by planetmondo

It was 31 years ago today that The Damned released ‘New Rose’

Written by Brian James, a first class chap who was good enough to give up some of his Sunday to speak to me about the history of ‘New Rose’.

“I’d had part of the song for a while, and even been jamming it with my earlier band Bastard, who were into The MC5, The Stooges and The Pretty Things, but it was when I played the riff with Rat(Scabies) – who drummed like no one else I’d ever played with, that the energy of Rat’s drumming and his style fitted the riff so well that the song came together and was created out of that moment

Jake (Riveria) signed us after seeing the Damned at Mont De Marsan, on the strength of ‘New Rose’ and saw it as a single straight away even though Captain (Sensible) wanted ‘I Fall’ as the first single. There’s no demo’s for it we didn’t really bother with things like it we just went straight in the studio and recorded it.”

Is there a real life Rose? “No, it’s not about a girl, it’s really about what was happening at that time the speed and the energy of the movement – The Damned were always about the energy.”

We also covered all sorts of other areas during our chat – guitars, previous bands, current gigs, and future projects all of which I’ll be logging in the blog soon.

Certainly I see New Rose as one of the most important singles ever released, and being equal to anything Elvis , The Beatles or the Sex Pistols ever unleashed.

I love the Pistols and their two fisted filth and fury (even though they booted the The Damned off of the Anarchy tour). But New Rose snapshots the mood, the moment and the DIY ethic of early London/Brit punk more authentically than anything else from this explosive era.

Crash! Go the drums. Thrash! Goes the guitar. Rev up the riffing and they’re off like Bash Street brats out of hell and God help anyone who gets in the way. The Damned ram raided the UK charts by releasing the first punk single and album and even appeared at the first Punk Festival in Mont de Marsan (attended by a pre Joy Division Ian Curtis, and held a month before the 100 Club Punk Festival). But it was the impact of New Rose, and The Damned being the first UK Punk band to tour America that sent a Punk rocket to the epicenter of the States causing a sonic bang so explosive that the fallout is still being felt today.

The Sonics, The MC5, Iggy and The Ramones may have already been grinding out garage anthems and had some success in their home towns – but none of them raised more than a blip on the ‘punk-o-meter’ across the States. The Damned blew the bastard thing to smoke and shrapnel.

Consider this – what speed do the first wave of US Punk bands – The Dead Kennedys, The Dickies, Bad Brains or Black Flag – play at, Damned or Pistols tempo? From here you go to Hardcore to Thrash Metal to Metallica to Guns N Roses(who covered New Rose) and Nirvana (who ripped off Life Goes On for ‘Come As You Are’). Not all this may be your type of tune, and not all of it’s my type of tune, but it’s undeniable that it all leads back to the Damned and New Rose.

“I thought the Damned caught the true spirit of Punk, as understood by Punks, better than their rivals. They devoted less time to striking attitudes & never forgot, as many historians have that Punk could be quite funny as well as exciting.” John Peel – 29/05/02

New Rose – Peel Session
Recorded 30/11/76 and broadcast 10/12/76

Help – The B Side of New Rose

Brian is currently remixing The Lords Of The New Church back catalogue at Abbey Road (more on this soon). And will be playing the 100 Club on 31/11/07 with Lords Of The New Church for a Halloween Night Special – only 350 tickets are available for this special event so grab them while you can.

Recommended Reading
The Offical Brian James site
Brian James Gang myspace site
The Official Damned Site
One Way love – The Number One Damned fan site
Lords Of The New Church fan site

A special thank you goes to Brian James for his insights into New Rose, Punk and all things Damned, and also for allowing the use of Mp3’s in this posting

Punkarama

Posted in 1977, Bromley Contigent, crocs, internet, photo, Punk, Sex Pistols, The Damned on August 21, 2007 by planetmondo

Following on from my last Punk themed post here’s a couple more leopard skin and safety pin links

I found a great set of Punk pics while browsing Flickr recently.

There’s loads of memorabilia and some fantastically candid home photos of the Bromley Contingent, Chrissie Hynde, Judy Nylon and others taken by Simon Barker (legendary for always wearing an Anarchy shirt) around 76/77. After a bit of research it turns out these photos and more appear in a 9 part Summer of Hate feature which is here at 3AM (you have to browse parts 1 – 9 via page 9)

And on a more local level, another highly recommended website is Southend Punk – You don’t have to have been a punk or even lived in Southend to enjoy this site. It’s such a great document of what was happening in one area of Britain and all over the UK before, during and after the Punk big bang – I guarantee that if you’ve got any sort of interest in the late 70’s early 80’s Punk & New Wave period – Southend Punk will up your High Street.

You could even check out some of my photos of The Damned, and Lords of the New Church live at Crocs in 1983 at Southend Punk – Or have a peep at my Punk Top 50 which appears in the playlist section, while you’re there.