The Clash



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One of the cornerstone bands of the '90s punk revival, Rancid's unabashedly classicist sound drew heavily from the Clash's early records, echoing their left-leaning politics and fascination with ska, while adding a bit of post-hardcore crunch. While some critics dismissed Rancid as derivative, others praised their political commitment, surging energy, and undeniable way with a hook. And, regardless of critical debate over their significance, the band's strengths made them perhaps the most popular neo-punk band after Green Day and the Offspring. Their third album, 1995's ...And Out Come the Wolves, made them a platinum-selling sensation and an inescapable presence on MTV and modern rock radio. While they never translated that success into an enormous blockbuster record (like the aforementioned bands who hit the mainstream first), that wasn't necessarily their ambition, choosing to stay with the independent punk label Epitaph and the creative freedom it allowed them. That decision helped them retain a large, devoted core audience as revivalist punk-pop began to slip off the mainstream's musical radar. 

Rancid were formed in 1991 by San Francisco Bay Area punk scenesters Tim Armstrong (guitar/vocals) and Matt Freeman (bass). Lifelong friends and longtime punk fans, the two had grown up together in the small, working-class town of Albany, near Berkeley; they'd also played together in the legendary ska-punk band Operation IvyArmstrong as "Lint" and Freeman as Matt McCall. After Op Ivy disbanded in 1989, Armstrong and Freeman spent a few weeks in the ska-punk outfit Dance Hall Crashers, as well as DownfallFreeman later briefly joined the hardcore band MDC. Meanwhile, Armstrong was waging a battle with alcoholism (but, fortunately, winning), and to help keep his friend occupied, Freeman suggested they escape their day jobs by forming a new band, which became Rancid. The duo added drummer Brett ReedArmstrong's roommate and a familiar presence on the Gilman Street scene where Operation Ivy had cut their teeth. Just a couple of months later, Rancid were performing live around the area, and in 1992 they released a five-song debut EP on Lookout! Records. 

The EP caught the attention of Brett Gurewitz and his well-respected Epitaph label, which signed Rancid to a highly favorable contract guaranteeing them a generous amount of creative control. The band's eponymously titled, first full-length album arrived in 1993, pursuing an up-tempo, hardcore/skatepunk style with few hints of early British punk. Rancid had been seeking a second guitarist, and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong even played live with the group at one show. They pursued Lars Frederiksen, a Bay Area resident who'd joined a later incarnation of U.K. Subs and was performing with the band Slip; Frederiksen initially declined Rancid's invitation to join, but when Slip disbanded, he quickly changed his mind and came along on Rancid's first tour. Frederiksen made his recording debut on the early-1994 EP Radio Radio Radio, a side dalliance on Fat Wreck Chords. Released later that year, Let's Go was the album that made Rancid's name in the punk underground. It marked the beginnings of their fascination with the 1977-era London punk scene, particularly the Clash, and it also provided their first widespread exposure when MTV picked up on the video for the single "Salvation." Let's Go quickly went gold, and with the breakout mainstream success of Green Day and the Offspring that year, major-label interest in Rancid quickly escalated into a full-fledged bidding war (even Madonna's Maverick imprint got in on the action). Ultimately, Rancid decided that no major could offer them the level of decision-making power that Epitaph had given them, and stayed right where they were. 

Rancid scored a major success with their next album, 1995's ...And Out Come the Wolves, whose title was a reference to the near-predatory interest in signing the band. The Clash fetish was even more pronounced, augmented with a greater interest in the original Two-Tone ska revival the Clash had helped influence (bands like the Specials). "Ruby Soho" was a major MTV and radio hit, and "Time Bomb" and "Roots Radicals" were hits in their own right. The album went platinum and made Rancid one of the most visible punk bands around. They played the 1996 Lollapalooza Tour, and afterward took a short break, their first since becoming a quartet. During that time, Freeman played with former X singer Exene Cervenka in Auntie Christ, while Armstrong set up the Epitaph subsidiary Hellcat; he and Frederiksen both began doing production work for other bands they hoped to spotlight. 

Rancid returned in 1998 with the even more ska-heavy Life Won't Wait, a guest-star-loaded affair that featured members of ska bands the Specials and Hepcat, Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, dancehall reggae star Buju Banton, and Agnostic Front vocalist Roger Miret. While it didn't cross over on the level of ...And Out Come the Wolves, it demonstrated that Rancid retained a substantial fan base. For the 2000 follow-up, their second self-titled release, the group largely scrapped its ska-punk side, recording a visceral, hardcore-influenced album that blasted through 22 songs in under 40 minutes (in contrast to its two lengthy predecessors). Perhaps for that reason, Rancid received a highly positive response from the punk community. The band's installment in the BYO split series arrived in March 2002 alongside NOFX, each band covering six of the other's songs. Rancid's next full-length, Indestructible, followed a year later; though technically released through Hellcat, the album was their first that got additional support from a major label via Warner Bros. The highly personal album (songs were inspired by the deaths of family and friends, and Armstrong's bitter 2003 divorce from Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle) hit number 14 on the Billboard charts, as "Fall Back Down" did well on radio and MTV. 

Following the record's release, Rancid went on something of a hiatus, its members working on various side projects: Armstrong continued work with the Transplants, his band with Rob Aston and blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and collaborated with various artists, including Pink; Frederiksen further played with his side band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards; Freeman briefly joined Social Distortion from 2004-2005. By the spring of 2006, a revitalized Rancid regrouped; they toured worldwide starting that summer to the delight of fans. Several shows, however, had to be postponed and rescheduled after Frederiksen collapsed on-stage in Montreal, apparently suffering a seizure. Soon enough, though, he was back and the band continued on. Rancid promised a new record for the following year, and Armstrong released his first solo album, A Poet's Life, that fall through Epitaph by releasing songs online for free download over the course of several months. With the band getting back on track, it then came as a shock in November 2006 when Reed announced he was leaving Rancid after 15 years; the split appeared to be amicable and he was soon replaced behind the kit by ex-Used drummer Brandon Steineckert.

Source: Steve Huey, All Music Guide

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.
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The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady

Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady

...this captures the group at their fleeting best...


Manic Street Preachers black and white
Manic Street Preachers live
Manic Street Preachers railroad
Manic Street Preachers red paint
Manic Street Preachers bnw

Dressed in glam clothing, wearing heavy eyeliner, and shouting political rhetoric, the Manic Street Preachers emerged from their hometown of Blackwood, Wales, in 1991 as self-styled "Generation Terrorists." Fashioning themselves after the Clash and the Sex Pistols, the Manics were on a mission, intending to restore revolution to rock & roll at a time when Britain was dominated by trancey shoegazers and faceless, trippy acid house. Their self-consciously dangerous image, leftist leanings, crunching hard rock, and outsider status made them favorites of the British music press and helped them build a rabidly dedicated following.

For much of the band's early career, it was impossible to separate the rhetoric from the music and even from the members themselves -- the group's image was forever associated with lyricist/guitarist Richey James carving the words "4 Real" into his arm during an early interview. As the British pop music climate shifted toward Britpop in the wake of Suede, the Manics didn't achieve fame, but they had notoriety. Legions of followers emerged, including many bands that formed the core of the short-lived "new wave of new wave" movement.

But as the group climbed toward stardom, the story didn't get simpler -- it got weirder. James' behavior became increasingly bizarre, culminating on the group's harrowing 1994 album The Holy Bible. Early in 1995, James disappeared, leaving no trace of his whereabouts. The remaining trio carried on with 1996's Everything Must Go, the album that established them as superstars in England, yet that came at the expense of the arrogant, renegade gender-bending and revolutionary rhetoric that earned them their initial fan base.

It was a bizarre, unpredictable journey for a band that once proclaimed that all bands should break up after releasing one album. James Dean Bradfield (vocals, guitar), Nicky Wire (born Nick Jones; bass), Sean Moore (drums), and Flicker (rhythm guitar) formed Betty Blue in 1986. Within two years' time, Flicker had left the band and the group had changed its name to the Manic Street Preachers. In the summer of 1988, a fellow student of Wire's at Swansea University, Richey James (born Richey Edwards), who had been the group's driver, joined the band as rhythm guitarist. They began recording demos, eventually releasing the single "Suicide Alley" in August. "Suicide Alley" boasted a cover replicating that of the Clash's first album, which indicated the sound of the group at the time -- equal parts punk and hard rock. A year after the single's release, the NME gave it an enthusiastic review, citing James' press release -- "We are as far away from anything in the '80s as possible."

Indeed, the Manics were one of the key bands of the early '90s, and their career didn't get rolling until 1991. The New Art Riot EP appeared in the summer of 1990, followed by a pair of defining singles -- "Motown Junk" and "You Love Us" -- in early 1991 on Heavenly Records. The singles and the Manics' incendiary live shows, where they wrote slogans on their shirts, created a strong buzz in the music press, which only escalated in May. James gave an interview with Steve Lamaq for the NME in which Lamaq questioned the group's authenticity; after an argument, James responded by carving the words "4 Real" on his arm. The incident became a sensation, attracting numerous magazine articles, as well as a major-label contract with Sony. Many observers interpreted the action as a simple stunt, but over the next few years it became clear that the self-mutilation was the first indication of James' mental instability.

"Stay Beautiful" was the Manics' first release for Sony, and it climbed into the British Top 40 late in the summer of 1991, followed early in 1992 by a re-recorded "You Love Us," which peaked in the Top 20. By the time they released their much-hyped debut album, Generation Terrorists, in February 1992 -- a record the band claimed would outsell Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction -- they had already cultivated a large and devoted following, many of whom emulated their glammy appearance and read the same novels and philosophers the group name-dropped. The Manics had been claiming that they would disband following the release of their debut, yet it became clear by the fall, when a non-LP cover of "Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H)" became their first Top Ten hit, that they would continue performing. Nicky Wire and Richey James had become notorious for their banter throughout the British music press, and while it earned them countless articles, it also painted the group into a corner. Comparatively polished and mainstream compared to its predecessor, Gold Against the Soul, the group's second album, appeared in the summer of 1993 to mixed reviews.

Shortly after the release of Gold Against the Soul, the Manics' support began to slide as the group began to splinter amidst internal tensions, many of them stemming from James. Nicky Wire ran into trouble over on-stage remarks about R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe dying of AIDS, but Richey James was in genuine trouble. Suffering from deepening alcoholism and anorexia, James entered prolonged bouts of depression, highlighted by incidents of self-mutilation -- most notoriously at a concert in Thailand, when he appeared with his chest slashed open by knives a fan gave him. Early in 1994, he entered a private clinic, and the band had to perform a number of concerts as a trio. James' mental illness surfaced on the group's third album, The Holy Bible. Reportedly recorded in a red-light district in Wales, The Holy Bible was a bleak, disillusioned record that earned considerable critical acclaim upon its late-summer release in 1994.

Although the Manics' critical reputation was restored and James was playing with the band, even giving numerous interviews with the press, all was not well. Prior to the American release of The Holy Bible and the band's ensuing tour, James checked out of his London hotel on February 1, 1995, drove to his Cardiff apartment, and disappeared, leaving behind his passport and credit cards. Within the week he was reported missing and his abandoned car was found on the Severen Bridge outside of Bristol, a spot notorious for suicides. By the summer, the police had presumed he was dead. Broken, but not beaten, the remaining Manics decided to carry on as a trio, working the remaining lyrics James left behind into songs.

The Manic Street Preachers returned in December 1995 opening for the Stone Roses. In May 1996, they released Everything Must Go, which was preceded by the number two single "A Design for Life." Their most direct and mature record to date, Everything Must Go was greeted with enthusiastic reviews, and the Manics became major stars in England. Throughout 1996, the band toured constantly, and most U.K. music publications named Everything Must Go Album of the Year. Despite their growing success, several older fans expressed distress at the group's increasingly conservative image, yet that didn't prevent the album from going multi-platinum.


Everything Must Go didn't just go multi-platinum -- it established the Manics as superstars throughout the world. Everywhere except America, that is. The album received a belated release in the U.S., appearing in August of 1996, and the group attempted an American tour, opening for Oasis. It should have led to increased exposure, but a blowup between the Gallaghers led to Oasis cancelling the entire tour, leaving the Manics at square one. They returned to the U.K. and toured, receiving a number of awards at the end of the year. They didn't deliver their much-anticipated follow-up, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, until August of 1998. The album was another blockbuster success in the U.K., Europe, and Asia, but it didn't receive a release in America, since the Manics were in the process of leaving Epic in the U.S.

For a while, there was simply no interest in the Manics by American labels, but another multi-platinum album and numerous awards in Britain revived interest. The band signed with Virgin, which released This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours in June 1999 -- nearly a year after its initial release. Know Your Enemy followed in 2001, although it was not well-received, and the band moved to Sony for British distribution of 2004's Lifeblood. Both vocalist/guitarist James Dean Bradfield and bassist Nicky Wire followed this release with solo albums, and then reconvened in 2007 to record the edgier, punk-influenced Send Away the Tigers with producer Dave Eringa. ~ All Music Guide


For the Record....




Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Domino, 2006.


Arctic Monkeys sitting
Arctic Monkeys sitting black and white
Arctic Monkeys live
Arctic Monkeys black and white

By distilling the sounds of Franz Ferdinand, the Clash, the Strokes, and the Libertines into a hybrid of swaggering indie rock and danceable neo-punk, the Arctic Monkeys became one of the U.K.'s biggest bands of the new millennium. Their meteoric rise began in 2005, when the teenaged bandmates fielded offers from major labels and drew a sold-out crowd to the London Astoria, using little more than a self-released EP as bait. Several months later, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest-selling debut album in British history, entrenching the Arctic Monkeys in the same circle as multi-platinum acts like Oasis and Blur.

Frontman Alex Turner and guitarist Jamie Cook began their music careers in 2001, when the friends both received guitars for Christmas. Two years later, they began performing shows around their native Sheffield with drummer Matt Helders and bassist Andy Nicholson, two fellow students at Stocksbridge High School. A series of demo recordings followed, and the Arctic Monkeys' audience swelled as fans circulated those recordings via the Internet. The musicians soon found themselves at the center of a growing media circus, with such outlets as BBC Radio examining the band's music and mounting hype.


By distributing their homemade material on the Internet, the Arctic Monkeys were able to build a rabid fan base without the help of a record label, effectively circumventing the usual road to superstardom. They continued to buck tradition by signing with Domino Records in 2005, eschewing a major label's help for Domino's D.I.Y. mentality and hip roster (which also included Franz Ferdinand, a touchstone for the band's sound). The smart moves paid off as the Arctic Monkeys' first two singles -- "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down" -- both topped the U.K. charts. Critical reception was similarly favorable, but few could have predicted the whirlwind success of the band's debut album, which ousted Oasis' Definitely Maybe as the fastest-selling debut in British history (a record that was lost one year later to Leona Lewis' Spirit). Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not sold 363,735 copies during its first week alone, transforming the Arctic Monkeys from underground stars into mainstream figures.

The Arctic Monkeys' debut sold approximately 300,000 total copies in America -- enough to warrant more media coverage, but notably less than the album's British sales during its first week alone. Nevertheless, the band's success continued as they released a spring EP, Who the F**k Are Arctic Monkeys, and prepared for a stateside tour. Temporary bassist Nick O'Malley was brought aboard for the band's American shows, while a fatigued Nicholson stayed at home. Nicholson then announced his official departure when the band returned home in  June 2006, and O'Malley remained with the Arctic Monkeys as a permanent member. That fall, the musicians received the 2006 Mercury Prize and donated the accompanying money to an undisclosed charity. Additional accolades included Best British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards and Best New Band at the NME Awards. NME also made a bold assertion by deeming the band's debut one of the Top Five British albums ever released.

Released in April 2007, Favourite Worst Nightmare updated the the Arctic Monkeys' sound with louder instruments and faster tempos. The bandmates had recorded the sophomore album quickly, wishing to return to the road as soon as possible, and the speedy turnaround between records only helped solidify the band's popularity at home. Favourite Worst Nightmare sold 85,000 copies during its first day of release, while all 12 tracks entered the Top 200 of the U.K. singles charts. As Alex Turner briefly turned his attention to a side project, the Last Shadow Puppets, the Arctic Monkeys received another Mercury Prize nomination and took home two titles at the 2008 Brit Awards.

Recording sessions for a third album commenced in early 2008 and lasted throughout the year. Meanwhile, the band released a concert album entitled Arctic Monkeys at the Apollo -- with accompanying video footage captured on 35mm film -- to maintain their prolific pace. ~ All Music Guide

Source: Andrew Leahey

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The Specials Colour Promo
The Specials Black & White Railing
The Specials Live
The Specials Black & White Council Estate
The Specials Black & White Promo
The Specials Album Cover
The Specials Group Shot
The Specials Pizza

True innovators of the punk era, the Specials began the British ska revival craze, combining the highly danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude, and taking on a more focused and informed political and social stance than their predecessors and peers.

The band was originally formed in Coventry, in 1977, as the Coventry Automatics and later the Special A.K.A. by songwriter/keyboardist Jerry Dammers, with Terry Hall (vocals), Lynval Golding (guitar, vocals), Neville Staples (vocals, percussion), Roddy Radiation (guitar), Sir Horace Gentleman (bass), and John Bradbury (drums).

An opening slot for the Clash stirred up interest with the major labels, but Dammers instead opted to start his own 2-Tone label, named for its multiracial agenda and after the two-tone tonic suits favoured by the like-minded mods of the '60s. The Dammers-designed logos, based in '60s pop art with black and white checks, gave the label an instantly identifiable look.

Dammers' eye for detail and authenticity also led to the band adopting '60s-period rude-boy outfits (porkpie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers). The band released the "Gangsters" single, which reached the U.K. Top Ten. Soon after, hordes of bands and fans followed in the same tradition, and the movement was in full swing. Over the next several months, 2-Tone enjoyed hits by similar-sounding bands, such as Madness, the (English) Beat, and the Selecter.

Late in 1979, the band released its landmark self-titled debut album, produced by Elvis Costello. They followed with several 2-Tone package tours and a live EP, Too Much Too Young (confusingly credited to Special A.K.A.). The title track, a pro-contraception song, was banned by the BBC but reached the number one spot in the U.K. At this time, the band switched musical directions, releasing album number two, More Specials, with a new neo-lounge persona.

Signs indicated that the movement was fading and 2-Tone began to experience financial troubles. Nevertheless, a film documenting the 2-Tone package tours, Dance Craze, as well as its companion album, saw considerable success.

The Specials released the timely "Ghost Town" single in 1981 amid race-related unemployment riots in Brixton and Liverpool. The single jumped to number one, but the band was falling apart. Hall, Staples, and Golding left to form Fun Boy Three, leaving the band without its trademark voice. Dammers held on, reverting back to the old name, Special A.K.A., and enlisted a new vocalist, Stan Campbell.


After several years, they returned with In the Studio in 1984. They managed a few hits with "Racist Friend" and "Free Nelson Mandella," but the album stiffed. The band's final single, "What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend", failed to break the British Top 40. Dammers dissolved the unit, pursuing political causes such as Artists Against Apartheid.

Shortly after the official breakup, various members of the band joined up with other bandless ska revivalists (English Beat, etc.) to form a touring unit named Special Beat. By the mid-'90s, in response to the third wave ska revival, a Dammers-less version of the Specials reappeared with a series of shameful cash-in albums: Today's Specials (1996,) Guilty Til Proved Innocent! (1998,) and Conquering Ruler (2002.) ~ , All Music Guide

Members include Mark Adams (bandmember, 1994—), keyboards; Adam Birch (bandmember, 1994—), horns; Roddy Byers (founding member), guitar; Lynval Golding (founding member; born July 7, 1952, in Jamaica), guitar; Aitch Hyatt (bandmember, 1994—), drums; Horace Panter (founding member), bass; John Read (bandmember, 1994—), trumpet; Neville Staples (founding member; born April 11, 1956, in Jamaica), vocals, percussion.
Former members include Jerry Dammers (born Gerald Dankin May 22, 1954, in India; bandmember, 1977-81), keyboards;John Bradbury (bandmember, 1979-81), drums; Terry Hall (born March 19, 1959, in Coventry, England; bandmember, 1978-81), vocals; Rico Rodriguez (born October 17, 1934; bandmember, 1979), trombone; Siverton (bandmember, 1977-78), drums.
Group formed in Coventry, England in 1977; invited to open for The Clash on United Kingdom tour, 1978; recorded self-financed single, "Gangsters," formed 2-Tone Records (distributed by Chrysalis), released first LP, The Specials, and signed The Selector and Madness to 2-Tone, 1979; toured U.S., Japan, and Belgium, saw Special AKA Live EP hit number one on U.K. charts, and released More Specials, 1980; released Dance Craze (movie) and number one U.K. single, "Ghost Town," then disbanded to form The Special AKA, Fun Boy Three, General Public, and The Special Beat, 1981; partially reformed to release In the Studio and "Nelson Mandela," 1984; hosted 70th birthday celebration concert for Nelson Mandela, 1988; released The Singles Collection, 1991; reformed (minus Dammers) to release Today's Specials, 1996; recorded Payback Time released in 1998.
Addresses: Record company—Way Cool Music, P.O. Box 100, Sunset Beach, CA, 90742.
Website—Officiai Specials site:
The Specials, 2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1979.
The Special AKA Live EP, 2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1980.
More Specials, 2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1980.
(Contributor) Dance Craze (soundtrack), 2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1981.
The Singles Collection, 2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1991
Too Much Too Young Live (recorded in 1979), Receiver, 1992.
Kings of Ska by Desmond Dekker and The Specials, Trojan, 1994.
(Contributor) Grosse Pointe Blank (soundtrack), 1996.
Today's Specials, Kuff/Virgin, 1996.
Payback Time, Way Cool Music/MCA, 1998.

Source: Chris Woodstra; John F. Packel

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.


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Steel Pulse


Steel Pulse was formed in 1975 in Birmingham, England. The band capitalised on the punk and roots reggae combination made popular in the era of recession and political upheaval using crisis management training. The band initially had difficulty in getting live gigs because of their revolutionary ideals and satirical stage presence. But this was overcome with the support of bands like The Police and The Clash.

Steel Pulse’s key early singles gained them some following amongst many reggae fans and critics. These were 1978’s Prodigal Son, Soldiers and 1979’s Babylon Makes the Rules.

In the late 80s, Steel Pulse broke the American market and eventually won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album for Not King James Version.

The 1992 live album, Rastafari Centennial, marked the beginning of a return to the group’s roots origins. The following the year, Steel Pulse performed at US President Bill Clinton’s inaugural celebration.

Despite being plagued with numerous line-up changes, the band remains to be one of Britain’s most successful Afro-centric bands in terms of creative and commercial successes. Its 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution remains a landmark in the roots-reggae genre.


Steel Pulse is stilla ctive in the reggae genre and continues to contribute to the musical landscape with a political message like with a special song dedicated to US President, Barack Obama's campaign.

Juanita Appleby

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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The Higsons cover
The Higsons live
The Higsons
The Higsons album cover

The Higsons were active from 1980 to 1986. Their main creative driver, front man, and singer was Charlie Higson, now better known for “The Fast Show” and increasingly as the writer of the Young James Bond novels.

The Higsons were the best of a pretty good crop of Post Punk and New Wave bands that came out of the University of East Anglia in the late seventies and early eighties, many of whom were featured on the “Norwich, A Fine City” collection. There is a story that the greatest adoptive East Anglian of them all called them onto his show in frank amazement that any bands were active in Norfolk. John Peel championed The Higsons, and they had consistent Indie Chart success from the release of their first single “I Don’t Want To Live With Monkeys” in July 1981, through their excellent debut album “The Curse Of The Higsons” in October 1984, and right up to their eventual demise in 1986. Openly acknowledging a debt to The Talking Heads (something I myself only hear sporadically) The Higsons’s sound has echoes of Joy Division and Iggy Pop (if that isn’t a tautology), with some Ska blended into the mix which isn’t that surprising as they ended up on the 2 Tone label. If you haven’t heard any, download a couple of tracks at random – they’re all good.

The Higsons didn’t really do much wrong, had a loyal following both in London and amongst their many friends and fans from Norwich, and trod the boards with apparently sober professional well-rehearsed and packed gigs. They probably would have achieved commercial success to match their critical acclaim if they hadn’t got their timing exactly wrong. Looking back all those years as Punk descended Rome-like into the parody of Glam Rock it did so much to end, and music scratched around in the New Romantic void created by the death of the high priest of New Wave Ian Curtis, Switch, as we knew Charlie Higson then, seemed earnestly out of sorts with an eighties of big hair and covers. (Ironically this frustration contributed to his first taste of real fame, as the joint creator of “Loadsamoney”.)


Three years earlier and they’d have been at ease alongside The Clash, and three years after they split The Stone Roses reinvented what was to become Brit Pop. The Higsons might have been another La’s. All we were left with is a most remarkable post-dissolution adieu in “The Attack Of The Cannibal Zombie Businessmen”(1987), a tantalising bazaar of the greatest of never to be hits.


The Curse of The Higsons (October 1984)

©JD Shanks September 2009

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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Stone Roses


The roots of the Stones Roses delve right back to 1980, with their first LP ranking one of the greatest debut’s of all time, their influence casting a shadow over many Brit-pop bands in their wake.

However, edging slowly into 80’s Manchester, a scene dominated by the likes of The Smiths, Primal Scream, and Boddingtons’s Beer, it was difficult to win the affection of wily ‘Dr Martins’ sporting mancunians. Quivering with our haircuts, and oversized trench coats, we almost seemed unsure. They had a long haired bass player for one, and a singer partial to wearing leather trousers? It almost seemed untoward.


In 1984, after an off-putting show in front of The Who’s Pete Townsend, at Hampstead’s Moonlight Club as part of an ‘Anti Heroin Benefit,’ the band took on the assistance of manager Howard Jones, and finally after many broken records, released their debut album in 1989 amidst the perplexity of the ‘Madchester’ movement. A gratifying blend of Slaughter and the Dogs, The Clash, and George Clinton, the album was defended vigorously amongst mixed reviews, as it plunged into the UK charts, eventually landing them a lucrative deal with Geffen Records.

Great music, always, seeps through the holes of such nostalgic prejudice, soon it was dubbed perfection for post-club comedowns, they were nor accepted or rejected, paving way for a timeless conclusion. However, in 1994, a disappointing follow-up ‘Second Coming’ and many disastrous festival appearances, spelled the tragic end to a band, who after several line-up changes, never really got to grips with acceptance. In 1996, vocalist Ian Brown issued a press release, stating; “Having spent 10 years in the filthiest business in the universe, it is a pleasure to announce the end of the Stone Roses.”

Tristen Lee

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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The Clash


The Clash was an English Punk Band founded in 1976. The bands stalwarts were Joe Strummer on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Mick Jones lead guitar/ vocals and Paul Simon on on bass guitar and backing vocals. Nicky “Topper" Headon on drums and percussion would join the band later.

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After some time, Headon left the group as did Mick Jones, however the band continued to perform with new members until they disbanded in 1986. The Clash’s sound was based on punk rock, reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap and rockabilly and their lyrics and musical experimentation had such an influence on rock and, in particular, alternative rock they were referred to by some as “The Only Band That Matters".

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The Clash signed to CBS Records in 1977. Their first album "The Clash” was a major success in the UK and while CBS released only a “radio friendly” version in the US, the original album became the best selling imported album of all time in the USA. The Clash’s third Album “London Calling” released in 1977 is regarded as one of the greatest rock albums every recorded.

The band recorded a further three albums: “Sandinista,” “Combat Rock” and “Cut the Crap” before disbanding in 1986.

Unfortunately Joe Strummer died of a heart problem in 2002, The Joe Strummer Foundation (Strummerville) was set up by Lucinda, his wife shortly after his death and continues to champion new music.

Mick Jones continues to play and collaborates with Tony James releasing several albums under the Band name Silicon/Carbon.

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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Sex Pistols


Tom Petty

The Pogues

Stone Roses

Theatre Of Hate

The Higsons

Steel Pulse

New York Dolls

Complete History Of Punk