Archive for the new wave Category

Glam Rocks – No Sleep Til Chelmsford

Posted in 80's, gigs, glam, new wave, Punk, retromania, rock on December 2, 2008 by planetmondo
Me in my Mad Max Factor/Southend R.O.C.K period

(note tasteful band logo on left arm – and missing tuner on guitar head)

In a past life I was once the guitarist for a glammy band called The Ladykillers (dreadful name, not my idea). I say glam, it was more of a post-goth, pre-grebo garagey rock ‘n’ racket affair really (a local paper once did a piece on us claiming ‘They’re Glam, They’re pop, They’re Punk’ – which sort of nails it I suppose). Based in Southend and on the scene at the same time as, and crossing paths with an early era My Life Story – we seemed to get the support slots for any visiting rocky horrors and lower league goth monsters that put a buckle booted foot into the Essex area – a few incidents from my rock date diaries include…..

Two encounters with Zodiac Mindwarp (which you can read about on page 43 of this month’s The Word)

Our second only live date, (with Mal from My Life Story helping out on bass), supporting Flesh For Lulu to a pre-health and safety elastic capacity Pink Toothbrush, where the icy tinkles and cinematic style keyboard intro was blitzed by the drum machine’s improv’ Drum and Bass meltdown.

The third gig at a local youth club on the night it was populated by German exchange students – the only ones that danced. In a moment of randomness we’d hired a dry ice machine for this gig, not a popular move with the Middle-Aged-Ladies that ran the club – the amount of puff pumped from this rent-a-gadget gave the effect of being smothered by a creeping indoor fog. Cue a stage invasion from the M-A-L’s with damp dishcloths to smother the smoke “it’s no good they can’t see a thing in the ping-pong room” or some such was the cry.

Having a gun pulled on us at Harlow. Someone fainting in Romford.
And the gig where the above pic’ was taken – supporting Ghostdance in Chelmsford (which must qualify as the least rock ‘n’ roll phrase in human history) an experience not dissimilar to playing to an audience of Autons, until the drums turned to shrapnel and went a’rolling around the stage mid-set. These were patched up gaffer tape and Meccano style, we carried on with the set and the crowd literally went wild – I’ve got a video of this gig and the audience go from musical statues to wild things in the space of two songs..

It just took a collapsing drum kit and couple of covers to defrost the good people of Chelmsford, two tunes that were regulars in our set and fairly reflective of our ‘angle’…

Iggy Pop – Funtime

Adam and The Ants – Fall In

And of course this – a show closer from the first gig to the last..

The Where Are They Now Epilogue….
(Well, the ones I know about anyway)

The Singer works in the entertainment industry

The Keyboard player is a Professor at Leicester University

Bass player number 4 – is a soundman and plays in Cult tribute band Pure Cult

Drummer number 2 – is a professional drummmer and in a T Rex tribute band Too Rex

Mark Ellen – reads part of my Zodiac Mindwarp Experience – right here at 6 mins 30 secs

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Rock ‘n’ Rumble

Posted in bass, gigs, new wave, Punk, the stranglers on November 11, 2008 by planetmondo
What Exactly Is A ‘Morry Thou’?*

The Stranglers are live in Southend tonight, and being one of the first handful of bands I actively collected (along with the Pistols and The Damned) there’s no question of not trotting along. I know Hugh Cornwell’s long gone from the line up – but it’s still 75% original Strangulation. The other three are present and correct: Ol’ Beardy, Ol’ Pudding Basin and JJ Burnell, one of the coolest punk bass cadets (actually punk bass players were typically the snappiest member of the band) – all karate moves, monkey boots, motorbikes and that thunderous rumble underpinning the ‘men in black’s’ signature sound. It’s a ‘greatest hits’ gig, so hopefully these B-side babies may be somewhere in the setlist…

The Stranglers – Tank

Tankwith an intro from Peter Cook

Go Buddy Go – I’m no lip reader, but even I can see, the second word in this clip clearly isn’t ‘boogie’ or ‘woogie’

*Apparently a ‘morry thou’ as mentioned in The Stranglers ‘(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)’ is, well – click here to find out or here – for a picture

Never Mind The Bollock Brothers

Posted in 80's, crocs, electronic music, halloween, new wave, Punk, retromania on October 29, 2008 by planetmondo

If you were the age to be out, about and shaking a leg (or flapping an arm) in Southend’s early 80s alt.clubs and shady places like Crocs, Chesters and The Monkey House – or whatever your regional variation was – these two tunes should be more time-trippy than test driving the TARDIS, take you right back to the dry ice-age, and have your phantom senses tasting the ‘snakebites and black‘, smelling the ‘Hard Rock‘ hairspray (or Boots green, gunky, ‘Country Born‘ setting gel), and perhaps feeling the itch of a black mohair jumper if you were ever a proto goth-monster or grebo-warrior…

The Bollock Brothers Horror Movies

I really must get the BB’s ’83 rework of the Pistols NMTB album

Red Lipstique Drac’s Back

At the time, there were shifty whispers that Red Lipstique were actually the Bollock Brothers in disco disguise.


You can see more about the Southend scene (including my live pics of The Damned, The Sweet and Lords Of The New Church – and my punk top 50) at the always excellent Southend Punk site

More Songs About Chocolate and Girls

Posted in 70's, new wave, Punk, Questions and Answers, the undertones on October 14, 2008 by planetmondo


Like John Peel I can remember my first earful of The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’. I was off school on a not-strictly-legit’ ‘sickie’ – and applying my trusty ‘convalesence’ technique of staying firmly tucked up in bed until middayish with a pile of comics (Whizzer and Chips, Krazy and anything Marvel or DC), a packet of chocolate digestives and my trusty tranny radio (with mono earplug).

It was during one of these recovery bed-ins that Paul Burnett cranked ‘Teenage Kicks’. Burnett, or his producer, always had healthily punky playlist – Sham 69, The Strangers, Ian Dury album tracks and the Sex Pistols/Tenpole Tudor ‘Rock Around The Clock’ (with it’s discreet effing and jeffing) were all fed to his lunchtime listeners.

However the first Undertones single I paid a few pocket money pence for was the Power-Pop meets Parka-Punk ‘You’ve Got My Number’, heard by way of Radio Luxembourg’s Thursday night New Wave chart rundown.. It’s a sizzling piece of guitar riffery that I still clonk out on my SG today -so after picking up the recent Undertones Anthology (loaded with one full disc of rarities and demos), being the cheeky blogger I am, thought I’d get in touch and fire off a few questions, and Tone me I only got a reply didn’t I ….from Mr Damian O’Neill himself….

Was there one song, album or artist that made you pick up a guitar and go from passive listener to active learner?
Quite a few actually…Van Morrison and Them doing Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’, John Foggerty’s solo on ‘I Put A Spell On You’, Keith Richards piercing guitars on Beggars Banquet, Johnny Thunders on ‘Babylon’, Wilco Johnson.

How did you first become aware of the growing punk scene, and if being Undertone hadn’t worked out, where would you have ended up?
I remember reading Neil Spencer’s review of the Sex Pistols at the Marquee in the NME in early ‘76. People forget how provocative it was then to call your group ‘The Sex Pistols’. We then heard the brilliant ‘New Rose’ by the Damned, followed by Anarchy in the U.K and I also remember cutting out an Observer article from Dec. ‘76 which talked about the English punk scene.

Was there a long term plan with the band – and did you expect to still be going in 2008?
Are you kidding! You couldn’t plan anything in the Undertones as usually someone would quit every couple of weeks/months (except me of course)

No and neither do I expect to be going in 2058

Are you listening to any albums or artists in 2008 that you wouldn’t have expected to (or admitted to) back in the seventies?
Plenty! Joni Mitchell, Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, Faust, Can, Brian Eno, Free (are all these people hairy enough for you?)

I can hear The Undertones influence in a ton of other bands from seventies new wavers to noughties US punks – is there anyone you’ve ever heard and recognised an echo of The Undertones tone in?
Supergrass, Blur, Ash, Sigur Ros (only joking)

Any plans for a complete album gig?
No.

Excepting That Petrol Emotion, have you ever been tempted to do an album or selection of acoustic tracks, covers or dance tunes?
No.

What’s the breakdown of an Undertones audience?
Supermodels, wags, A-list celebs and fat baldy old fellas with beer bellies slam dancing at the front.

The first Undertones single I bought was ‘You’ve Got My Number’ which features a blistering riff (and great cover on the B-side too) – do you feel other ‘Tones tunes get overshadowed by ‘Teenage Kicks’?
Absolutely and it’s all John Peel’s fault!

Do you know how often ‘Teenage kicks’ gets aired per day on radio or TV, and if so what’s an average day’s play?
No, maybe you should ask my brother’s accountant!

Given a second chance is there anything you’d do differently – or any advice you’d give to aspiring groups or songwriters?
Well, I wish that I gave my tuppence worth in all those dreaded group meetings I’ve had over the years instead of nodding my head in silent agreement.

What’s your most pinch-yourself rock ‘n’ roll moment?
Just recently, playing on stage again with That Petrol Emotion at the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland….amazing cos I never thought it would happen again.

The Undertones – ‘You’ve Got My Number’

The B-side of ‘Number’ was ‘Lets Talk About Girls’ – a cover of a Chocolate Watch Band tune featured on Lenny Kaye’s legendary Nuggets comp’

The Chocolate Watch Band – Lets Talk About Girls

And it’s against the law do an Undertones post without….

Teenage Kicks (1978 Demo)

A big thank you is due to Ian Peel and Damian O’Neill for their help in putting this together

From Punk To Present

Posted in Favourite Shirts, gigs, new wave, Punk, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 2, 2008 by planetmondo

And this is me! Summer 1980 (aged 14) on my first shopping trip to King’s Road, Chelsea – wearing my ‘just been bought’ Anarchist Gang shirt.*.

I can carbon date exactly when I bought my first Sex Pistols single – Tuesday 27th February 1979 – a group of us had spent the morning clustering around Kelleys Records in Hadleigh waiting for the Tuesday new singles delivery which included the Pistols ‘Something Else’ – not a classic by any stretch, but the anticipation of owning my first piece of ‘as it happens’ punky shrapnel (with the added bonus of some explosive effing and jeffing on the b-side) still had me giddy headed and punk drunk.

Rewind a few months and I’d had no interest in snotty, shouty, sweary spiky tops until an earful from a friend’s older brother’s – it’s always the older brother – copy of NMTB got me switched on and tuned in to the ‘now wave’ of punk, with its high speed rage and rush mirroring my own hormonal hi-jinks. Hearing the Pistols properly for the first time, on a pair of Easter egg sized headphones, was a sonic seismic shift which exploded in a brain frying Everything You Know Is Wrong moment:I cut my hair, changed the way I dressed (and didn’t care what anyone thought) wanted to learn guitar and start ripping out those Sex Pistols riffs. Starsky was out Sid Vicous was in, and I signed on the studded line committed to slowly becoming a teeny punk.

‘Something Else’ was followed up with regular record buying bus trips to southend’s John Peel and punk friendly shops – Kelleys, Golden Disc, Parrot but never Projection (which was all trendy-teacher types, thirty something ex hippies in hessian jackets, corduroys, Kickers or cowboy boots) – for The Damned, Dead Kennedys, The Undertones, Crass, UK Subs and one-off wonders like The Satellites, The Victim, Honey Bane and Magic Michael.

By 1980 it was punk pilgrimages to SW3 and the King’s Road – with mum and dad -for punky togs . One year later and it was The Damned’s 5th Anniversay gig with A. N. Other friend chaperoned by his older brother (see what I mean?)

So, cue shots of fly away calendar pages and fast forward to today as I hold in my hand two pieces of paper that have got me as clucked up as Charley Bucket (now there’s a proto punk name) unwrapping Willy Wonka’s choco’ bar and finding that glint of gold.

Yes. It’s tickets to the Sex pistols. Tonight. At Hammersmith Apollo. Piley’ll be there, and I’ll be hoofing along with Tronik the boy wonder.I haven’t been this giddy and punk drunk since that misty Tuesday morning outside Kelleys Records in 1979.

Hopefully there’ll be plenty of this on the menu.

Pretty Vacant (Live 1996)


*I bought three tops from BOY (Seditionaries was being refitted as Worlds End) on this visit. Two cheesecloths – God Save The Queen and Anarchist Gang (pictured)- plus a Vive Le Rock black tee, which circumstantial evidence suggests at this point in 1980, were possibly Seditionaries over-stocks being sold off at BOY – but unfortunately all were dropped in the bin yonks ago.

"and now he is a puppet dancer"

Posted in bizzaro, bowie, Cover Versions, new wave, Remake Remodel on July 23, 2008 by planetmondo

Piley put me on to this Bowie boggler years ago – when I discovered YouTube, this bizzaro Bowie-as-Pelham-Puppet performance of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was the first vid’ I searched for, but some ol’ spoilsport pulled it a week later – since then I’ve been trawling the ‘Tube at least once a week hoping for the return of the Thin White Duke, only to find it on Yahoo/AOL video (no, I didn’t know about it either).

Anyhow – while it’s online,watch it, watch it and watch it again. – It is a pinocchio a go-go gem.

As a bonus here’s Suzanna Hoff’s rework of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, which would be greatly improved by losing the squiddly diddly guitar solo (I don’t think it’s her hammering the frets).
‘Boys Keep Swinging’

And, have a pop on over to I Should Be Working for another video version of Bowie and ‘Boys Keep Swinging’.

Fur Den Untergang

Posted in 80's, Brian Eno, electronic music, guest blogger, mini mix, new wave, soundtrack, theme tune on July 7, 2008 by planetmondo

Roman Empress and I have been putting our collective noggins together for a ‘prog blogging’ project. RE has thumbnailed nine key scenes for an imaginary film ‘Fur Den Untergang’ capturing the cultural claustrophobia, ‘Stasiland’ suspicous minds and shifty whispers of early eighties East Germany – while I’ve compiled a nine song soundtrack which hopefully matches the mood of each scene and the Totalitarianism and tower block greyscapes of the time..

You can read the script here, and download the soundtrack below…
(or stream it over at RE HQ)

‘Fur Den Untergang’ – O.S.T.

‘R.A.F’ – Brian Eno (& Snatch)
‘Big Dome Pt. 1’ – Phil Manzanera
‘48 Hour Drive’ – Baltic Fleet.
‘Warm Leatherette’ – Grace Jones.
‘`84 Pontiac Dream’ – Boards of Canada
‘Back To Nature’ – Fad Gadget.
‘Tom Baker’ – The Human League
‘Memories Can’t Wait’ – Talking Heads.
‘Small Hours’ – John Martyn.

But there’s a couple of extras and outtakes too.

Gina X – ‘No G.D.M.’
I had planned to use this for ‘scene 4-the party scene’, but ‘G.D.M’ seemed cult rather than club, and didn’t have the new wave cocktail cool of Grace Jones

Brian Eno ‘Mist/Rythm’
This had been ‘final scene’ for 90% of the time, but seemed soothing rather than sombre, whereas John Martyn’s ghostly notes seemed pitch perfect for the lonely closing coda.