Tag Archives: menace

What’s A Review Worth?

One of the entertaining things about trawling through old music newspapers is clocking the reviews and seeing how off they so often are. Yep, that’s what reviews are worth – nothing. All too often the record they’ve sneered at goes on to become a classic of the time. These reviews from the NME, 11 March, 1978 include Werewolves Of London, Piss Factory and GLC getting snarked, each of ’em now much loved and thought of as amongst the best records of the time.
The reviewer is Monty Smith.

Patti Smith
Hey Joe (Version) (Sire)

Warpo Patti’s ‘version’ of “Hey Joe” seems to be about Patty Hearst spreading for a well-hung black revolutionary. Not too many laughs here, despite Tom Verlaine being on lead guitar. Seventy-three minutes of “Piss Factory” on the flip which we all love, or not. A grand, sweeping social commentary in the finest Zola tradition, in which all the characters wind up pregnant and get run over by a bus in the end.

Warren Zevon
Werewolves Of London Asylum (Asylum)

A jolly nonsense piece which appears to concern Chinese takeaways and those mutilation murders so popular amongst young californians. Nicely played, of course, but the sum total adds up to sweet FA. Nick Kent reckons the flip (“Tenderness On The Block”) but it all sounds the same to me – dead naff.

Johnny Paycheck
Take This Job And Shove It (Epic)

Hard ass country, well produced by Billy Sherrill, and a great shame that it doesn’t quite live up to that great title.

G.L.C. (Small Wonder)

“You hate it and the kids in the shop love it,” says Pete in his scribbled note from Small Wonder. I don’t hate it, I just think it’s funny: good ol’ headbanging-on-low-ceilings punk, the chorus (“GLC, GLC, GLC – you’re full of shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit” delivered so fast that the object of their ire comes across as Chelsea. Wotch it dahn the Shed, lads. If they’re serious, then this is a joke – but if it’s a parody, it’s brilliant, down to the rhyming of magistrate with masturbate and the ‘Fuk Orf The World’ etched next to the matrix number. Now look, let’s not get high-handed about this but so long as the Labour Party are in power then I don’t worry overmuch about petty bureaucrats in regional government. And if, as seems likely the Blue Rinsed Iron Maiden does emerge as a serious contender for Downing St, then I’ll leave it to the deeply felt chauvinism and influence of the working/unemployed man (remember the three day week?) to sort things out. Are we not men?

Hard Left’s Tim and Donna back from a trip to Small Wonder.

4 Skins – Rising Free

From Rising Free fanzine no 4, 1981

The new breed of working class bands has thrown up many new contenders and currently holding pole position are the 4-Skins. Unfortunately this hasn’t brought all the advantages the prime purveyors of street rock would have hoped for. The vicious gutter press tried to associate themselves with the band and the Oi! movement. Naturally the national press soon picked up on this, and as usual got everything out of proportion. Blaming the 4-Skins for the Southall riots, but the band have carried on regardless. A margin of any bands success is it’s ability to cope with problems, judging by the 4-Skins recent troubles there should be nothing stopping them now. With the recent release of their first single on their own “Clockwork Fun” label. It’s only the beginning…

The interview that follows was done dahn the Bridge House with “hard as masonary nails” lead singer Gary Hodges and beefy bass guitarist Hoxton Tom McCourt.

The first question is put to Gary Hodges. The release of “A.C.A.B.” has been long awaited, will it ever see the light of day on vinyl? “If we can, yeah, we’ll smother the charts like Adam and the Ants!”

Gary and Tom are both in full agreement that Oi! has united both punx and skins, but the pair of them are a bit preturbed at the violent elements Oi! has. Gary says “It’s been isolated things but personally speaking we’ve never ‘ad any troubles at our gigs”. “And it doesn’t help matters when you get the prats like Valac Vander Veen from Sounds saying ‘trouble again’, what really happened at that gig (Paisley) was the bouncers steamed some little kids” adds Tom. “So we all dived in. He was trying to build up a violent image around us and Oi!”

What was the real reason for all the Northern and Scottish dates, when you first started gigging? Tom explains: “That was down to our old manager Skully. He was getting us these gigs for 100 pounds, which hardly covered costs. But we did ’em for the publicity and the experience.”

The band, and in particular Gary have expressed some concern in pursuing the band full time, due to monetary problems- Have these eased at all Gary? “We would like to do it full time but we’d have to be able ti live off it. But I’ve got a wife and kid to support. So I’ve gotta have a bit of money to look after them. I wouldn’t worry about myself, as long as they’re alright.” Tom adds he’s getting married soon so he’ll need money. “Yeah you’ve gotta, co’s if you lose this one you ain’t gonna find no one else” chips in Gary sarcastically. Tom isn’t amused.

Do you see any difference between the new breed of working class bands and the old, i.e. Sham and Menace? Gary: “Yeah, but not so much Menace, because they were like you say, a working class band. But Sham I knew personally co’s I used to hang around with them and they all came from round Kingston. They weren’t really a working class band, it was all put on really”. So your more like Menace in attitude? “Yeah, but a lot of the older bands who pretended to be working class were middle class art students anyway. The bands that are around now are the real thing”.

Of the other ‘new’ bands Tom and Gary both like Last Resort. But Gary guiltily admits “Tell you the truth I ain’t heard many. Infa-Riot I don’t like.” Is that musically or on a personal level? Gary: “I don’t like Lee Wilson”. “He slagged us down in the music papers” says Tom, “We were all talking about sticking together and doing our own label and they went and fucked off to Secret Records”. Are you interested in signing to a big label? “Yeah! there’s been the odd tentative enquiry, but nothing definite, we don’t wanna compromise, and that includes not changing our name”.

The band, on the whole have gone down better outside London, because as Gary says “The London kids are spoilt for choice, so when we go outside we’re appreciated a bit more!”

A final message, Gary “We’ll play it by ear and see what ‘appens”.

Well since the interview the 4-Skins have split, perhaps because they didn’t wanna compromise, maybe there were other reasons. The interview now serves as a memory.