Category Archives: Music

Babylon’s Burning

The Ruts in Sounds, 16 June, 1979.

The Ruts Bleed For You

It was going so well too, that was the point. So everyone assumed it was part of the act. I must admit I was a bit surprised, having seen the Ruts a fair few times without witnessing so much as a sprained pinkie, but here we were halfway through their set in Exeter’s Routes Club and Malcom’s forehead is gushing blood like a miniaturist Jellystone Park geyser. So he thinks he’s Iggy Pop or what?
The Ruts were halfway through ‘It Was Cold’, a comparatively slow, atmospheric number, when Malcom starts banging his bonce on Dave Ruffy’s cymbals and then staggers back to the mike, the blood trickling freely down his face. He looked stunned but it ties in so well with the music it must be part of the act. Look, he’s spitting now – he’s alright.
The crowd respond and his dapper black dicky is suddenly sodden with spittle mixed with liberated corpuscles, the sickly blend drip-drip-dripping even onto those hampton-hugging blue jeans, while one of his braces dangles loosely by his left knee-cap. As the song ends he winds down towards the floor in perfect synch — see, told you it was part of the act — then springs to his feet and collapses again like the proverbial pole-axed
ferret, HEY, he is hurt, ain’t somebody gonna . …
Too many nurses kill the patient, so sensibly people leave him in the hands of closest to him. Manager Andy and a couple of Ruts rush him away by ambulance to the nearest hospital for what turns out to be a nine stitches job. Later Malcolm tells me he didn’t even know he was bleeding. He was that out of it — post-flu antibiotics and alcohol go together like Enoch and Idi — that he thought it was sweat.
Now you can scoff if you like but I believe him, not only ‘cos he was a little umm, strange afore t’gig but because the Ruts have got where they are by solid heads-down
no-nonsense hard work and publicity stunt jiggery-pokery at this vital stage of their career would do’em no good at all. . .

THE RUTS came together one easy summer day (hotsy-totsy) when the two sevens were rashly clashing to mucho musical amusement all round. They were Malcolm Owen (now 24) vocals, John Jennings (aka Vince Segs; now 23), bass, Dave Ruffy (now 25) drums, and old lag of the band guitarist Paul Fox (now 28).
None of them had particularly prestigious pedigrees. Foxy and Dave had previously, performed in a 9 piece local circuit outfit called Hit And Run, Segsy (the lowest of the low) was a H&R roadie and retired postman, while Malcy had left school at 15 for six months as a tool maker before slipping into fronting bands and related rock culture enterprises (wink, wink etc — Man Of World Ed).
In January this year (1979) Sounds chronicled their early history (modesty prevents me from telling ya I writ it, natch) which boiled down to 16 months of relentless gigging, a lot of that time in RAR-type enterprises round the West London suburbs with Southall based reggae band Misty (thus the Ruts are known as a Southall band even though Dave and Segs live in Forest Hill and Foxy resides in Northwood).
1979 has marked their rise from relative obscurity to a degree of national recognition with a Top Of The Pops slot in the near future I’d wager. In January their first single ‘In A Rut’ / ‘H Eyes’ came out on the People Unite Southall co-op label and reached no. 82 in the national chart, selling over 20,000 copies and paving the way for two Peel sessions, a Kid Jensen session, and a signing with Virgin in April.
Last week the band’s second single ‘Babylon’s Burning’ materialised and set off on its chart bound course with a Ruts elpee scheduled for July recording and September release. Seems like things couldn’t look brighter for the boys.

EXETER ROUTES club before the aforementioned ugly incident is no exception, with the eight numbers they manage to complete giving ample evidence of their scope and strength, from the full-frontal powerpunk assault of ‘Society’ through the relatively restrained menacing rock atmospherics of ‘Sus’ to the stabbing guitar and reggaematic feel of the newest number ‘Jan Wars’ written about April’s anti-Front incidents in
Southall (of which, more later).
Just for the crack I hang about for the endearingly atrocious Aunty Pus and a hugely enjoyable if chaotic account of cranked up really high punk vaudeville from the dear old Damned and then head back to the hotel with Virge the Snap and Dave, the Virgin chap. Cept the hotel makes Fawlty Towers appear to rank above Panorama in the sensibleness stakes.
First off there’s the “I heard that. Pardon?” porter, star of such exchanges as “Four cheese sandwiches.” “What sort of damages?”, and even worse a madcap acid casualty on crutches following everyone about in a most pecular manner demanding to know where the party was.
The party, if you can call it that, was eventually found in Malc and Segs room. Malc nursing his stitches and Segs telling of previous encounters with our resident Sandy Richardson, over assorted sandwiches and a modicum of lager while Virgin PR Dave in his red coat tried to organise nobbly knee contests (this ain’t Rutlins y’know).
Sad to say my dears your jolly journalist was not at his best tonight, suffering as I was from high temperatures and assorted viruses (all tagetha: ‘AHHHH’) and so pretty soon it was my bed rather than my cassette recorder that I was reaching for.
Such a nice bunch of lads the Ruts. Rather than wait to see how I was in the morning they had the dithering porter lead them into my bedroom for a 3 am raid. All I can recall is calling them all the see you next Tuesday’s in the world and waking up at nine with a lampshade on me head.
Over breakfast the wretched Vincent explained they’d been looking for his escaped woollen budgie Baama (a creature possessed of legendary powers far too obscene for family reading). I said arseholes and arranged to meet ’em back in London at 2.30 for (trumpets, flares etc) The Interview.
This was a mistake. When they eventually hit Covent Garden at 4.30 I was just nipping back from Daddy Kool’s. “Alright Garry” hollered Malcolm before collapsing in a crumpled heap of failed humanity outside the office doors, while Paul led the others in obscure boozing songs. A backseat littered with drained scrumpy bottles told me everything I needed to know.
Inside the office that luvable card Mensi of the Angelic Upstarts was waiting for me, so I had him sober them up sergeant-major style, and led the lot up to our luxury conference room where eager secretaries made detailed notes of our every word. And now dear reader, exclusively in Sounds, we present the Ruts And Mensi in THE CONFERENCE ROOM TAPES.

Hard-headed., no-nonsense interviewer: Tell us about the contract. Malcolm: “It’s the usual Virgin eight album deal. We’ve had a £25,000 advance for the album.”
Segs: “Cept we took it to a solicitor and cut it down from 26 pages to about 20 so we don’t have to ‘ave coloured vinyl, or 12 inch singles, or a designated producer if we don’t want him. We took loads of things out.”
And you’re doing the first album in July?
Malcolm: “Yeah. It’ll be most of our established set, all the original numbers from the early RAR gigs till now. We ‘ave got a lot of other stuff held back which we’re rehearsing as well, obviously there’ll be a new set very soon, but the album will be all the familiar stuff cept we’re gonna do em sooo well…”
Foxy: “Also on the reggae tracks we’re gonna bring some of Misty in. Misty’s guitarist and their singers. And the punkier tracks, the faster raw tracks, we’re gonna do in an eight track studio rather than go in a big studio.”
Malc: “Our producer Mick Glossop (Lurkers etc.) is great. I personally think he done really well on ‘Babylon’s Burning’, he knows how to get the best out of us. Fr’example on ‘Society’ he kept making Paul redo his guitar bit at the end. First he said ‘You trying for a job in Deep Purple?” then ‘I think you’re a bit of a sap’ then I think you’re a wanky guitarist’ and Paul’s gone mad. After about 8 takes he’s so wound up he’s wanted to hit Mick and he’s done such an aggressive solo . . .When he came out Mick goes ‘I love you’.
” Dave: “We’ll be producing the album with him, the Ruts and Mick Glossop together.”
Still ill interviewer: “So you think ‘In A Rut’s’ gonna chart then?

Mensi: “In A Rut, who the fuckin ell’s he? Fucking hell Bushell fucking jump out that fucking window will you, you’re fuckin’ daft. What were you fuckin’ doing last night?”
Malc: “I can see ‘Babylon’s Burning’ in the Top 40, and of course we’ll do Top Of The Pops. If you don’t do it you must have some sort of hangup about something. .  .”
Dave: “The point is that’s all the majority of people see, where else are they gonna see us?”
Mensi: “We wanted (the Upstarts) wanted to do it and they wouldn’t let us on.”

SHIFTING the ground to last Saturday’s edition of Radio One’s ‘Rock On’; apart from Malcolm saying in Southall they used to think a racist was someone who runs fast, you made the point that you’re not a political band, you deal in observation.
Malc: “I’ve got no big political intentions…I just voted Labour to keep the Tories out. The observation, see, where I come from and where you come from we see the same things and what you see has to come out in your lyrics,”
Paul: “Like the RAR gigs. We don’t do that for any political reasons. People who are racialists are blockheads, they just don’t think right, and we’re just totally opposed to people who think in that stupid way.  We’re for the right to be a human, to stand against apathy.”
Segs: “We do get a few NF skin’eads come to our gigs but Malcolm can handle them, a few at a time. They ‘ave a good time dancing to the reggae an’ that and they go ‘ome and think ‘”angabout”  ‘Alf of ’em it don’t mean nuffin to. You see NF demonstrations and the coaches pull out and I’d swear it’s the same people get out every time. They go from town to town. There’s only a small number of ’em.”
Mensi: “Yeah but they’re a fuckin’ dangerous minority.”
Agreed. Let’s look at some of the things your songs are observing then. Like the new single.
Malc: “Everyone’s singing love songs again so I thought why not go ”BABYLON’S’ BURNING/ You’ll burn in the streets/ You’ll burn in your houses”. It’s a short, simple statement and it all leads to one word anxiety. Everyone’s anxious. Everyone’s worried.”
Seqs: “Again it’s just an observation. It don’t provide any remedies. All we can say is come along to our gigs and enjoy yourself.”
They all start singing; “D’you ever get the feel’ing someones watching you / sussing information about the things you do / watching you from some shitty spyhole / listening in on radio control / a media controlled by hate / you’ve been programmed far too late”.
It’s a big brother song everytime you get pulled up more goes down about you. They know so much about you . . .”
Paul: “And I tell you it’s gonna get worse now Maggie Thatcher’s in. The Tories are in government for five years right? In five years time its 1984. Five years to build up.”
Segs (out window): “BASSTARDDSS! BASTARRDDSS!”
The Ruts song ‘Jah Wars (Southall)’ looks at another angle or state oppression it was written after the anti-nazi clashes with the police when the NF held an election meeting in Southall last April during which the Special Patrol Group hospitalised Misty’s manager Clarence Baker and wrecked the People Unite headquarters (An Spg constable is currently being interrogated over the death of anti-nazi demonstrator Blair Peach).
Malc: “Again ‘Southall’ is observation. I got there that night and wrote down everything I saw. I know a guy died but I didn’t know him. But I know Clarence  – he got smashed up really bad.”
Paul: “They smashed the People Unite place. 50 of them went in there with truncheons, shields, the lot and they beat up nurses, lawyers anyone who was in there.”
Malcolm: “They had pictures of Clarence and Chrissy — anyone they considered to be leaders —  and they went straight for them and beat fuck out of ’em”
Paul: “There was an Old Bill beatin’ Chrissie who’s a white guy, right, and Buf one of our roadies said ‘Don’t ‘it ‘im he’s got kidney trouble.’ So they turned him over and kicked ‘im in the kidneys.Bastards. They’re inhuman Animals.”
Mensi: “Aye, and it’s gonna get worse. It’s gettin’, to the point where you’ve just got to make a stand against the bastards.”
All: “Yeah, right.”
So what’s the answer?
Paul: “The answer lies in humans. That’s the only answer.”
Dave: “Everyone who reads this has got to make a decision for themselves.”
Segs: “I’ll tell you what the answer ain’t. It ain’t the Socialist Workers Party. There ain’t a straight political answer …”
Malc: “It’s down to humans, individuals.”
Paul: “All we stand for is basic human rights, for everyone. Whatever their creed or colour.”

AND HERE endeth the major discussion as more scrumpy passed around and talk turned to the boys loud demands to say hello to Phil Lynott and their plans to launch their own label called Ruttoons if/when they get successful. So they can give bands a break like People Unite gave them. Then Mensi brought up the philosophical paucity of Public Image Limited as he’s wont to do, and that lead into loads of related topics.
So I made my excuses and hurried to my sickbed. Mensi apparently later kidnapped one of our messengers and stole her away to South Shields (see Jaws) while the Ruts drowned themselves in scrumpy and were put out with the milk bottles by the cleaners in the morning. And to think they’ll be on Top Of The Pops by the end of this month.
I ask you, is that any way for popstars to behave???

Garry Bushell

Last Year’s Youth

Menace’s final in Sounds, 16 June, 1979, reviewed by Phil Sutcliffe.

Menace: ‘Last Year’s Youth’ (Small Wonder)
Well almost. At least a hunk of punk out on the pavement and shouting rather than withering away inside a plastic bag of angst, weltschmerz and apfelstrudel. The drummer, Noel Martin, is so loud I think he’s beating on a set of gasometers.

Essential Logic

Essential Logic live in the NME, 6 January, 1979.

Law of Logic …
Hope and Anchor

There was a commercial theory a while ago suggesting that for music to be instantly accessible a fair percentage of it had to be predictable. I other words, if you’re going to forsake an identifiable format there’ll be little chance of a sympathetic reaction.
It’s all lies.
Essential Logic ambitiously disregard orthodox structure, harmony and instrumentals, but still play an invigorating, totally absorbing set, after a mere seven gigs.
Their components are Rich Tea on skins, Mark on bass, guitarists Phil The Smurf and William Tell, with a frontline of Dave Flash, tenor sax, and the band’s mentor Lora Logic on second sax and vocals.
Logic consistently deny any expectation by breaking most numbers into three seperate sections, and string them together with Zappaesque one-liners on sax. As each section has an entirely distinctive rhythm and tempo, Logic has to stem the odd burst of applause by explaining the song hadn’t actually finished.
Over this slow and moody experimental base comes Lora’s haywire vocal style. Comprising of a series of squeaks, penetrating yells and operatic warbling, she covers a larger range of expression in one number than your average crooner can in an entire set. The overall tension she creates is also strengthened by her unusually sensitive lyrics.
Though they’re all worth a mention, the two numbers that hit hardest are “World Freedom” and “Quality Crayon Wax Okay”. Both feature waltzing reggae and funk backings, under extended sax solos, and allow Lora’s great vocal freedom.
Whether or not it’s deliberate, they keep both guitars firmly in the rhythm section, when any solos should usefully counteract the saxes. Also they don’t use vocal harmonies, which would otherwise give them a chance to fill out their sound.
Right now they’re an archetypal ‘underground’ band with an enormous talent and some unique material. And they shocked someone who recognised their one-time single “Aerosol Burns”.
“We’re meant to be obscure!” cried Lora.
Catch them now before they’re not.
Mark Ellen

For Malcom

A Ruts fan sent a poem about the death of Malcom Owen into Sounds, 9 August, 1980.

A grain of truth
in an addicted mind
A life destroyed
For a vision of heaven
That is really hell.
The old times fading
In a memory of shame
Old friends trying to break
The wall of habit
Into the distance of time.
The door is locked
And the key is forgotten
The sand has run through
The hole in your mind
Love fades and grows with time.
The cells of your soul
Float, glued to the earth
And as you are discovered
You begin to fade
“We don’t expect to see you again”
This mass of flesh
Is heard from within
No life now just particles
And as they realise
The blanket is drawn quietly over your head
Another door opens
Your cell of torture exists no more
No longer are you asked to feel
No longer is there anything for you
Now there isn’t anything.
(Unless you can see the light through the keyhole)

Tanya, Montpelier Road, Ealing W.5.

Pressure Drop

Seminal reggae fanzines in the NME, 8 July, 1978.

Reggae Fanzine er, Shock

Vibrations work. Though emanating from Camden town, Pressure Drop, formerly Britain’s (if not the world’s) only reggae fanzine, operates on Jamaican time. The next issue will always . . . soon come.
The protracted and compulsive wait for the third issue of PD to appear – for it is true that the magazine has only roared twice in its three year life – was relieved at the end of last year by the appearance of Ital Rockers, an enthusiastic step about the current scene from Edinburgh’s Dougie Thompson.
Ital Rockers 2 has been on the ‘zine shelves for a while now and is in danger of being taken for granted. Help shift as few more of this ish and you may live to see Issue Three. Much of the current ish is taken up with an ample retrospective of Marley & The Wailers since ’73 and “Catch A Fire” – a trifle short on historical perspective but a sequel on the early years is promised. There’s a feature on Black Slate, some by now rather dated reviews, tribute to Edinburgh’s Ital Club, and an interesting look at the way reggae has influence the pop charts in the ’70s.
Help restore Scottish pride by voting Jock Stein at the next general election and sending 30p (including postage) to Dougie Thompson, 70 Milton Road West, Edinburgh, EH11QY.
Or from good fanzine shops everywhere, where you might also sight up The Best Of Rebel Music Volume 1, further panacea to relieve the pressure. Certainly this ‘zine is a Phensic for clumsy dilettantes with cloth ears.
Rebel Music is a collection of features and discographical delights that first appeared in Blues and Soul magazine, written by Chris Lane and Dave Hendley. Contents include feature/interviews on well ranking – if less applauded – talents like The Abyssinians, Earl Zero, Big Youth, The Royals and Burning Spear (where Winston Rodney gives good interview).
The visuals are rootsy to match, with plenty of charts, labels, and a formidable Greg Isaacs pose on the back cover. Price is 35p or 45p including postage from Dave Hendley, 27 Hewitt Avenue, London, N22.
Issue Three of Pressure Drop will, impresario Nick Kimberley informs I men, soon come, and in dreadest guise yet.

Doctor Bird

Violence Grows

The top drawer Fatal Microbes single, the first press split with the also awesome Poison Girls, reviewed in Sounds, 28 April, 1979, by Alan Lewis.

Poison Girls: Closed Shop/Fatal Microbes: Violence Grows (Small Wonder) XNtrix WEENY 3
Always sounds so patronising/cowardly/vague to call a record ‘interesting’, but it’s the best I can do here. Neither of these two bands have developed their ideas very far yet, but there’s enough evidence to suggest they’re on to something. Both pretty strange: Fatal Microbes are gawky, angular but intense, a bit like the Slits, and (this comment exploits women) seem to possess a rather tantalising nymphet as singer. Poison Girls are mostly men, of course, and sound a bit like Jonathan Richman on one track and very early Mothers Of Invention on the other, a chaotic, menacing doomsday singalong called ‘Piano Lessons’. Worth investigating.


The first 12″ release from the classic reggae label Greensleeves reviewed in Sounds, 29 April, 1978 by regular reggae reviewer Eric Fuller.

Wailing Souls – War
(Greensleeves GRED1)

Channel One (Kingston JA) studio has an awe-inspiring reputation, and The Revolutionaries under Joseph Hoo Kim blast out a thundering rockers rhythm featuring explosive crashes of percussion that flatten everything in sight. Vocal harmonies are clean and melodic, while Ranking Trevor DJ’s better than usual in waves of reverb. What they used to call a boss sound.
(Interesting technical note: reggae artists are the only ones to exploit the potential of the 12″ single, adding dub and/or toasting technique. Never heard it? Find it, quick)

Mods Mods Mods

Feature on the pre-Quadrophenia mod scene, Jamming, number 8, 1979.

(There’s a lot of reasons for writing this; it’s no bandwagon-jumping cliché, but meant as a critical analysis that will say more than crap like that NME ‘special’; also to say where we stand.)
Mods Mods Mods

In late 1978, The Jam released their most critically acclaimed, and not surprisingly, most successful album, All Mod Cons. The label was a target, the writing in ‘Immediate’-style (old Small Faces label) and the inside cover was decorated with union jacks, Rothman packets, Ska records, Rickenbackers, and most vital, a scooter. Almost simultaneously, The Who got heavily involved in filming Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s rock opera about one mods life revolving around his scooter, suit, parka, birds, leapers, rockers, coffee and Brighton. At the same time, a few groups (particularly the Purple Hearts) and a lot of kids expressed annoyance at punk and it’s staticness (one day we’ll find out why), while other people were waiting to get into a new movement. The result, of course, a full-scale mod revival, though being taken from the above influences, it is – , targets, union jacks, Ska, Rickenbackers, scooters, parkas (& more parkas), suits, surprisingly not leapers, but still (just) the South Coast. And, of course, they all smoke Rothmans.
Most of them claim to be ’79 mods, rather than ’60s mods, but they still emblazon their parkas with ‘The Who’ & ‘Maximum R’n’B’. Talking of parkas, these ’79 mods might be interested to know that parkas were generally winter wear, or for riding their scooters, and they didn’t wear them to every gig at The Marquee or some such sweaty club. The rest of the clothes you probably know (there’s still a large split between those who get their suits at Carnaby Cavern, and those who get them at jumble sales), but what I’d give to see a ’79 mod use some imagination (ever heard of ‘(p)op art’? or just plain individuality…?)…
The current movement’s reason for being mods is simple – it’s an excuse for a small, grass-roots, close-knit movement again. And NOBODY can criticise that, as long as it works out that way…
The Wellington (just off Waterloo) is the best mod place on earth, as you’ve no doubt all heard (cynical git!). The first 2 times were mainly to see what the fuss was about. I saw the Merton Parkas one night, and The Chords the next – each time the pub was filled with just the right number of (mainly) real mods, with a friendly, warm atmosphere, plenty of kids (no concern for age), good beer, with bloody good groups for nothing. Two days later & LWT were there to film The Chords and Purple Hearts, and, you guessed it, it was a farce. Everybody thought the Purple Hearts were just soundchecking until they announced the next 3 songs would be recorded and their bassist was knocked out! Before the Chords were on, I could hear two obviously just ex-skinheads in parkas suggesting that any non-mods should ‘be booted out’. That’s a great movement you’ve got there, lads. Then The Chords took the stage to play a mere 4 or 5 numbers as crowds were kept back by a barrier, cameras pushed and jostled and The Chords tried to play. Alright, we weren’t paying for the show, but why didn’t LWT film a proper mod gig instead of creating their own false one?? Since then, the place has lost a lot of character and friendliness, and groups in general have moved out of the pubs and up to the Music Machine/Marquee circuit, along with South Coast gigs and all-day leisure centre evets, all seemingly mod festivals or no mod groups at all.
One example is the 3-day Marquee mod festival recently held. The first night was almost ruined by a crowd of uniform mods (ie posers), who thought that jumping on stage was and is IT (equipment got nicked at the Notre Dame Hall during the Mods set due to that). The Chords were luckier than other groups in that respect, and a full house had a great time with them. The third night was the opposite – half-empty, hardly anyone that would even call mods and a crowd at the front who were into the ’77 game of pogoing, pushing and kicking. It seemed like the end of a movement already. At other times you’ve been able to go to ‘mod nites’ at the Music Machine, or the ‘biggest mod event since the ’60’s, with prizes for best scooter and parka….

“If we started saying we were a mod band, it would be as bad as just another form of racialism.” Paul Weller, Jan 79.

And bigotry brings us nicely to the mod fanzines….
Maximum Speed is the one you all know – the first, the biggest and the bigotest. To them the world started last Christmas, apart from a period between 1964 & 1966: they rave over groups like The Secret Affair as if they’ve had no past whatsoever; they only review mod bands; and yet the group they decide to manage, Back To Zero, are the most un-mod group yet to call themselves mods; For 20-30p, you can read about mods, mods and more mods; and you may even be convinced that mod is the only thing that exists today.
Much better is ‘Two Returns To Brighton Please Mate – Oh And Two Dozen Leapers!’ The first issue was very cynical towards current mods (except some people believed the sarcastic comments) and had good, varied articles, with great drawings. But the only advance made on no. 3 (no. 2 was a strange non-event) is more pages. The photos are only full-page and the layout can make for very hard-reading. No. 4 should have a lot of colour, and the enthusiasm knocks the others sideways anyway. 20p from Orchard House, Court Yard, Eltham, London, SE9 5QE.
There are plenty of others, but most are only being sold at local gigs – not a good sign. Groovy Times is rather clichéd, filled up with mod gig reviews, and it doesn’t seem to have much future. Two more are 54321 and Face To Face, neither of which I’ve seen. The mod mags are quite varied; most are like normal fanzines, except Two Returns, but then as I said, it’s layout is it’s weakest point.
And that just leaves… the bands. (What makes a mod band? Noone knows. The bands mentioned are so either because they call themselves mods, or mods have adopted them.)
THE CHORDS, THE TEENBEATS and SPEEDBALL are all dealt with elsewhere, so…
The SECRET AFFAIR make me very bitter. How many of you remember Jamming’s 2-5, when I raved about an ignored bunch called the New Hearts? The spirit of mod was in them, which was one reason I really liked them, and which is also why they got caught up in the powerpop thing. It was also why they had no press at all, and that was why they split up. The core of the New Hearts is now the core of the Secret Affair, and now the mods are ‘in’ they’re on the cover of Sounds, and are one of the mod bands. The songs are much heavier than NH, Time For Action being the most memorable. Ian Pain (not Page, Mr. Bushell) uses trumpet for variety and their strong musicianship puts them one up on the other mod groups. I don’t know if they feel as bitter as me, but it will be a shame if songs like Young Boys, Here Come The Ordinaries, Revolution? What Revolution are left in the vaults forever because of media fashions.
The PURPLE HEARTS are undeniably among the leaders of the revival, but unfortunately, punks in mod’s clothing. ‘Jimmy’ and ‘Millions Like Us’ are 2 great songs, but that’s all they’ve really got. The rest of the set is like your local punk band (they once played London’s Burning 8 times in a row), and they actually tell people to “Stop pogoing”. Need I say more?
The MERTON PARKAS are getting a lot of good press now that they deserve. A host of good songs (Plastic Smile and You Need Wheels among them) and well-played oldies (notably Steppin’ Stone) makes for a good night out, though, and this goes for every mod band, very unoriginal. One thing I really want to bitch about is choice of oldies – Stepping Stone (Purple Hearts, Merton Parkas); Hey Girl (Merton Parkas, Chords); Circles (Chords, Teenbeats); The Kids Are Alright (Merton Parkas, Killermeters) etc etc. It’s a shame – there’s so many good, less well-known songs around.
The MODS, despite the name, are a band worth seeing. Hard and heavy, with a lot of good songs, they’ve had no press, but don’t believe all you don’t read & see them.
BACK TO ZERO, as I said, are the most un-mod mods around. The drummer’s a hippy; the bassist looks like a soulhead; the guitarist like he’s out of The Famous 5, and the singer is the only true in the band. I don’t give a shit whether they’re mods or not (I’m digging at Maximum Speed), except the music’s bad. Their songs all seem to concern boys, are very weak (only the singer keeps it together), and their version of Glad All Over is a disaster.
I planned to write quite a bit about SQUIRE and the KILLERMETERS but they’re not worth the space. They’re both cashing in sickeningly and the versions of Can’t Explain and Kids Are Alright insult Pete Townshend.
Other groups I’ve heard varying reports about, but the names get worse as they go along – THE FIXATIONS, STAN’S BLUES BAND, RICKY TICS, INDICATORS, LITTLE ROOSTER (ex-Cock Sparrer!!), LAMBRETTAS, VESPAS, SCOOTERS, DETOURS, LOW NUMBERS etc etc etc.
So that’s more or less the end of my article. Quadrophenia is due out any day now, and when it is released, the mod movement is likely to die a death. Mods are already fighting rockers on the south coast, and there are more posers than you would believe possible – it would be a shame if it only lasts 6 months. So now, go and see a mod band if you feel so inclined, you could see some good groups, you’re likely (but not likely enough) to enjoy a friendly atmosphere, and you should find some interesting people to talk to. But before running out to buy all the gear, ask yourself – what will be left in 6 months?

Television Personalities

TV Personalities 2nd album reviewed in Sounds, 29 May, 1982.

Television Personalities
‘Mummy You’re Not Watching Me’
(Whaam Big 1) ****

I once met this bloke called Dan who was an OK geezer, and he loved pop music so much that he wanted to make a record. So he did. It was called ‘Part-time Punks’ and it was brilliant! Then after a couple of years, he decided to make some more pop and he released the dazzling and neglected ‘And Don’t The Kids Just Love It’ LP last year. Now there’s a new LP and Dan is still OK by me.
It’s a gawky, charming collection of great little pop tunes, clever bits and embarrassing bits, superb songs and ones you think you’ve heard before (as well as a couple you never want to hear again!), annoying mistakes, incisive insights, delightful vignettes … it’s a bit personal at times, bordering on the twee, it’s like the Swell Maps doing their favourite Paul Weller and Ray Davies songs.
Although maybe there aren’t as many stand-out tracks as on ‘And Don’t…’, there are still some absolute gems, tough little diamonds lurking undiscovered, just waiting to be polished and made into sparkling hit singles.
The insistent claustrophobia of ‘Scream Silently’ (“or the neighbours will hear” it continues with chilling double-tracked vocals) and tense petulance of ‘Mummy You’re Not Watching Me’ (the song) is finely balanced against the haunting other-worldness of ‘A Day In Heaven’ and ‘David Hockney’s Diaries’ (that Sixties’ trivia fascination again!), while ‘Magnificent Dreams’ is just – magnificent, a thrilling delusion of grandeur.
Really, this is all too much. Someone should drag Dan out of his (self-imposed?) isolationary obscurity and put him in the charts, where his revealing eye for detail might run rampant, with the aid of a good producer and a 24-track studio.
After all, ‘Part-time Punks’ was years ago. Let’s go full-time!

Johnny Waller