8 September 1978 – Rich Kids/Four Daughters – Town Hall

Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids made a long awaited appearance in High Wycombe on Friday 8th September 1978.  The former Sex Pistols bassist had formed the band in 1977 and by the time of the September 1978 date at the Town Hall, interest was high to see what his new band would deliver.  Local band Four Daughters were support for a gig independently promoted by Ron Watts.

Rich Kids – High Wycombe Town Hall – 8th September 1978 – flyer from my own collection

Matlock had been fired by Pistols Manager Malcom McClaren in early 1977 having played High Wycombe on two previous occasions with the punk originals – February 1976 and the College and September 1976 at The Nag’s Head. Matlock, aged 22 at the time of the Town Hall gig, had spent the previous year refining the line-up of The Rich Kids which now included Midge Ure on vocals (aged 24), Steve New on guitar (aged 18) and Rusty Egan on drums (just shy of his 21st birthday).  Ure had previously performed with Slik – best known for their single ’Forever and Ever’ – No.1 in the UK charts at the time The Sex Pistols played High Wycombe college in February 1976.

Rich Kids – 1978 -posing for Oh Boy magazine
Left to Right: Rusty Egan, Glen Matlock, Midge Ure and Steve New

They had signed to EMI records in December 1977 and released their first single, ‘Rich Kids’ in January 1978 – earning them an appearance on BBC’s Top of the Pops and the trailing of ITV alternative music show, ‘Revolver’. A date of 30 January 1978 had been pencilled in by Ron Watts for an appearance at High Wycombe Town Hall but arrangements fell through.

Local live music punters keeping an eye of the national music press would also have been excited with reports of a date of 30 July 1978 at High Wycombe Town Hall with The Slits as support. However, despite this date since appearing in gig archive listings, it never took place. Indeed, promoter Ron Watts was busy that evening with a gig at The Nag’s Head.

What we can be sure of is that the 8th September 1978 gig did take place.  Three of my friends recall the gig and I was also pleased to find a flyer for the gig in my own archives – probably obtained from Scorpion Records and now appearing on the internet for the first time in this article.

My fellow music friends who attended this gig were ‘Buzz’, Martin63’ and ‘Tapps’. The latter recalls that: “The Rich Kids were a bit of disappointment. Their brilliant single ‘Ghosts of Princes in Towers’ was easily the highlight of the night but the crowd expected something more from Glen Matlock, having reputedly penned most of ‘Never Mind The Bollo*ks.”

All three also recall local support band ‘Four Daughters’ – they included former Deathwish, Party, Pretty and Ventilators guitarist Kris Jojvatis. ‘Tapps’ remembers that their drummer was Dave ‘Dudge’ Williams. Does anybody else reading this have more information on this band?

Based on a set-list from a Rich Kids gig at Birmingham Barbarellas a few weeks earlier in 1978, the songs played that night at High Wycombe Town Hall would most likely have included:

  1. Sound Of Marching Men
  2. Put You In The Picture
  3. Here Comes The Nice
  4. Empty Words
  5. Young Girls
  6. Bullet Proof Lover
  7. Lovers And Fools
  8. Twelve Miles High
  9. Holy Holy
  10. Burning Sounds
  11. Strange One
  12. Cheap Emotions
  13. Hung On You
  14. Ghosts Of Princes In Towers
  15. Shake Appeal
  16. Rich Kids.

The band eventually split-up at the end of 1978, with Matlock going-on to perform in several other bands and return to High Wycombe and many occasions. Midge Ure and Rusty Egan went on to form an early incarnation of new-romantic band Visage. Ure later gained commercial success with Ultravox.  Matlock’s time in Visage was short but he returned to live performing with several bands and returned to High Wycombe on several occasions, including Jimmy Norton’s Explosion, Spectres, London Cowboys, Dead Men Walking and a reformed Faces.

Steve New later played in Public Image Limited, Generation X and with Iggy Pop. He also helped out Matlock on his solo projects but sadly passed away in May 2010 from cancer having played with Rich Kids in January 2010 in an one-off benefit concert for his needs.

In 2016, Matlock reformed Rich Kids again for a show at Shepherds Bush and then went back to solo touring. His was embarking on a solo tour of small venues on Europe at the time this article was first published (September 2018).

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Rich Kids – Rich Kids + Ghosts of Princes in Towers – Revolver TV pilot show May 1978

Glen Matlock + Midge Ure interview – Thames TV 1978 with Anne Nightingale

Rich Kids – Here Come the Nice (Small Face cover) – live audio 1978

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Kids

https://punkygibbon.co.uk/bands/r/richkids.html

http://www.midgeure.co.uk/archive/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visage_(band)

 

16 September 1977 – Marc Bolan killed in car accident

Tragic news broke on the morning of 16th September 1977 when it was revealed that glam rock icon Marc Bolan had been killed in a car accident.  Bolan had appeared seven years previous at High Wycombe Technical College (4th December 1970)  as front man of the soon to be giant T.Rex.  He had also appeared a few years earlier at The Nag’s Head in their earlier incarnation – Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Evening News – 16th September 1977 – Marc Bolan Killed

Just 29 years old at the time of the his death, Bolan was being driven by common law wife Gloria Jones, when their purple Mini hit a tree in Barnes, London. A 30 year old Jones escaped with a broken jaw and but was initially not told of the heart-breaking news of the death of her partner and father of two year old son Rolan.

This is Bolan in his last TV appearance before his death – an impromptu jam session with David Bowie on the ‘Marc’ TV show broadcast in the UK on ITV during August and September 1977.

The ‘Marc’ TV show also featured several up and coming ‘new wave’ bands, including some who had played live in High Wycombe earlier in 1977.

Here is Generation X performing ‘Your Generation’ – they had performed at The Nag’s Head on four occasions in 1977 before they appeared on the ‘Marc’ show.

1 September 1977 – 999/Xtraverts – Nag’s Head

‘Punk rock’ at The Nag’s Head came to a violent and controversial end on Thursday 1st September 1977 after trouble broke out at 999 gig, with local punks Xtraverts as support.  In what was becoming a more regular occurrence, local punks were targeted by alternative cultures of the period (affectionately known at the time as ‘long haired boring old farts’, or words to that affect).

Nag’s Head Landlord Mick Fitzgibbons subsequently began banning anybody looking remotely ‘punk’ like from the premises and also pushed the ban on to the type of bands being promoted by Ron Watts. The draconian action came just short of a year after Watts had promoted a Sex Pistols gig at the London Road venue – with the following 12 months seeing the likes of The Damned, Stranglers, Clash, Jam, Generation X and Siouxsie and The Banshees all grace the upstairs stage.

999 – I’m Alive front cover

999 were a band formed in what some regard as the second phase of the punk explosion. The idea of what was to become 999 originally came from London based musicians Nick Cash (vocals and guitar) and Guy Days.  Cash was a former member of Kilburn and the High Roads, with Days a session guitarist on some of the High Roads’ demo tapes.

Via a late 1976 Melody Maker ad around October 1976, the duo recruited Jon Watson (bass) and two months later, Pablo LaBritain (drums).  Their first gig is recognised to be at Northampton Cricket Club in January 1977 but the 999 name was not used until mid-way through 1977 when the now classic raffle ticket logo was devised.  Previous incarnations of the band had been The Dials, Fanatics and 48 Hours.

They released a partly self-financed debut single – “I’m Alive”/”Quite Disappointing” in July 1977 and having established themselves on the London punk circuit, were signed to United Artists around the time of their Nag’s Head appearance. Their debut release on UA – “Nasty Nasty”/ “No Pity” followed in October 1977.

Meanwhile, support band, Xtraverts, were now firmly established on the local ‘punk’ scene having played their first gigs earlier in 1977 – including a ‘Wycombe Punk Night’ down The Nag’s Head in July 1977.  By the time of their September 1977 appearance, 20 year old lead singer Nigel Martin had recruited Tim Brick on drums and a 17 year old Mark Reilly (*) on guitar.  Meanwhile, Ian Stavan (formerly of Cardiac Condition) was set to replace Carlton Mounsher on bass – the latter joining the newly formed Party with Kris Jozajtis.

* It is obligatory to mention at this point that Mark Reilly later went on to form early 1980’s pop band Matt Bianco – Matt Bianco being the name of the band, rather than a name change.

The Xtraverts – picture taken around November 1977 and published in Issue No.1 of Wycombe fanzine The Bucks Shee Press. Published on the internet for the first time by wycombegigs.co.uk – October 2017

Much of The Xtraverts self-penned set at the time was written by Brick and Reilly – including ‘Read it in the Papers’ and ‘Interview’ (a song about the infamous Bill Grundy/Sex Pistols debacle and formerly called ‘Hey, Bill Grundy). However, Martin had written the lyrics for ‘Blank Generation’ and ‘A Lad Insane’ – these two songs would be recorded in December 1977 and released in January 1978 on the Spike record label – the record being produced with the help of local musician ‘Spike’ Jones.

Nigel Martin commented on the targeting of punks in the December 1977 issue of local fanzine Bucks Shee Press “Everyone picks on punks. We’re just a target for everyone. “

The violence and subsequent action by the Nag’s Head landlord, also prompted at least one disgruntled punter to write a letter to the Sounds magazine:

‘Katie Komplex’ from Gerrards Cross made it quite clear why the trouble had started:

“This was due to some ignorant individuals who looked at the gig as a good excuse to beat up punks, and naturally we got the blame for the trouble.”

“Anyone who has been to the ‘Nags Head’, will know that it is a good little club, with a good atmosphere, which has had some brilliant new wave bands over the past year.”

Sounds letter from October 1977

 

And finally, back to the music you may have heard during the eventful night at The Nag’s Head in September 1977.

999 – I’m Alive audio via YouTube below

Xtraverts – Blank Generation audio via YouTube below

Your memories of this night most welcome.