20 June 1979 – After Science –Nag’s Head

Four years before Howard Jones would make his breakthrough in the UK charts with his synth based pop, his three younger brothers had formed a band and began gigging in the High Wycombe area.  Their first outings came under the name of After Science, with an appearance at The Nag’s Head on Wednesday 20th June 1979 being one of their first ventures.

After Science/The Runs
Nag’s Head – 20th June 1979
Flyer from my own collection

Brothers Roy Jones (20, vocals), Martin Jones (21, guitar) and Paul Jones (17, drums), were joined by friend Majid Ahmed (19, bass) for the gig billed to be in aid of Friends of the Earth.  The self-made flyer was the only form of advertising for the gig but that and word of mouth amongst their music loving friends drew a decent crowd to the London Road venue.

I’m grateful for Roy Jones confirming, shortly before this article was published, that he had previously gained experience playing with local band ‘prog rock’ band Beowulf, which featured Sabir Ahmed (brother of Majid on bass), plus High Wycombe Royal Grammar classmate Paul Ferguson on drums.  Ferguson went on to perform with Pink Parts during the 1977 ‘punk’ explosion.

By 1979, the ‘post-punk’ scene was in full swing and Ferguson had teamed up with a fledgling West London based Killing Joke.  Meanwhile, Roy had begun collaborating with his younger brothers – all boasting natural music talent – and bringing a relatively fresh sound to the local scene and one that was in stark contrast to the bands harking back to the days full on punk days of 1976 and 1977.

Drawing influences from the likes of XTC, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Talking Head and Public Image Limited; After Science quickly built up a local following playing the smaller local venues but seemed to struggle to make the step into the larger venues.

Later in 1979 they would change the band name to The Jones Boys and start to record tracks at The Boiler House studios in High Wycombe (Sands) along with engineer Derek Timms.  By the end of 1979 they had built up enough material for an album and were gaining interest from record companies.

Roy Jones commented: “We used to rehearse two nights a week for four hours in the evenings after work. Then we used to play live in local venues like The Nag’s Head in High Wycombe. We even got record company interest from CBS who sent an A&R man down to see us play live.”

Roy also recalls that during one of their Nag’s Head appearances in 1979 brother Howard would join the group on stage.  It would be the only time that all four brothers ever played live together before an audience.

After Science / The Jones Boys
Majid Ahmed plus Martin, Roy and Paul Jones
Picture taken circa November 1979 in High Wycombe – photo Jim Rendell

In 2014 Roy Jones would re-visit the tracks recorded at The Boiler House and issue a retrospectively titled album, ‘Endless Waiting Game’, via download and streaming platforms.

The tracks featured were:

  • Con 79
  • Endless Waiting Game
  • Talking
  • Goodtime Music
  • Disco-O
  • It’s Science
  • Falling Apart
  • Television Hum (featuring Paul Ferguson)
  • Crazy Rhythm
  • Chinese Takeaway Experiment
  • Visit to Earth
  • Yes No Running

The tracks were essentially the material performed live by After Science and The Jones Boys up until early 1980, when the chaotic events at a planned support slot for Killing Joke and Joy Division at The Town Hall, High Wycombe provided the catalyst to move to London and make another name change, this time to Red Beat – and finally a breakthrough to play the bigger stages in London and beyond.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Jones Boys/Red Beat – Endless Waiting Game – 1979 remastered in 2014 by Roy Jones

References and further reading:

http://dredzilla.com/bio/

https://www.facebook.com/RedBeatWorldwide/

https://twitter.com/roybakerjones

 

6 June 1979 – Lurkers/Xtraverts – Town Hall

The Lurkers won’t recall their return to High Wycombe on Wednesday 6th June 1979 which much pleasure.  The London based band owed their background more to ‘pub rock’ than ‘punk rock’ and when faced with a resurrected version of local boys, The Xtraverts as support, there was only ever going to be one winner.

The Lurkers – tour advert June 1979 – opening night at High Wycombe Town Hall

The Lurkers had appeared at the Town Hall the previous July at the height of their popularity and were looking to carry that relative success over into 1979.  The Town Hall date was the opening night of a tour to promote their latest single, ‘Out in The Dark’ and new album ‘God’s Lonely Men’.  The single crept into the UK charts at No.72 in the week they visited High Wycombe but would drop out again the following week – perhaps summing up their fortunes at a time when the media were keen to find the next the next musical trend.

To give an idea of the landscape of British popular music at the time, a glimpse at the UK singles chart for that week has Blondie’s ‘Sunday Girl’ in the No.1 position.  Elsewhere in the Top 30, there were several acts that had played High Wycombe in the previous two years or so.  ‘Roxanne’ by The Police were at No.16, ‘Masquerade’ by The Skids at No.17, The Clash with ‘I Fought the Law’ at No.24, The Damned with ‘Love Song’ at No.26 and Elvis Costello with ‘Accidents Will Happen at No.30.

Meanwhile, The Xtraverts, led by singer and founder member Nigel Martin, has their roots very much in the spirit of The Sex Pistols, with ‘Hate’, ‘Anarchy’ and ‘Chaos’, giving their now mainly teenage following a feel for what it may have been like to witness the original punk scene in late 1976/early 1977.  Promoter Ron Watts had given them a rare chance to grace the Town Hall stage following their return with a new-look line-up a few weeks earlier at The Multi-Racial Centre.

The Lurkers and The Extroverts (sic) at High Wycombe Town Hall 6th June 1979 – advert from Bucks Free Press

The line-up of the Xtraverts at the time of this gig is believed to be, Nigel Martin (vocals), Steve Westwood (guitar), Mark Chapman (bass) and David Lee (drums).  Drummer Lee recalled his introduction to band and the Lurkers gig in an interview for boredteenagers.co.uk in April 2006.

Lee had been to Wellesbourne school in High Wycombe with Chapman in 1978/79 and was invited to audition for The Xtraverts alongside Martin and Westwood, even though he wasn’t totally into the punk scene.  Lee recalls: “Anyway here I was playing in a punk band, a little different for me as I was into Deep Purple and that kind of thing. I thrashed out a number of tunes and I was in!”

Lee said his finest hour was supporting The Lurkers at The Town on 6th June 1979: “The local support was fantastic. I had just bought a new Ludwig vistalite kit from the States. It looked great and sounded big!  My first gig with the kit was supporting the Lurkers.”

Lee continued:  “We had a sound check and all seemed well.  I met the Lurkers drummer ‘Esso’ who admired my new shiny kit.  We went on and then all hell let loose – The sound completely died.  The fans thought it was the Lurkers sound engineers, all you could hear was my acoustic drumming! What had happened was, the evil sound limiter.  The council were having a meeting and cut the sound.  Not Good!  Meanwhile, we eventually rectified the problem and the sound came back on. We blew the place away the fans went mental pogoing and spitting in appreciation. In fact the fans booed the Lurkers off the stage wanting the Xtraverts back on. The Lurkers were very upset!”

The Lurkers – Beggar’s Banquet – 1979 promo picture

The Lurkers set-list would have been drawn from the following songs as performed at the Lyceum on 24th June 1979 but it’s not sure how far they got through their set before calling it a night.

  • By My Prisoner
  • It’s Quiet Here
  • Freak Show
  • I’ll Be With You
  • Out in the Dark
  • Jenny
  • Cyanide
  • What Ever Happened to Mary
  • I’m On Heat
  • I Don’t Need to Tell Her
  • Take Me Back to Babylon
  • Shadow
  • She Knows
  • Suzie is a Floozie
  • Hey You
  • Ain’t Got a Clue
  • Pills
  • I’m on Heat

The appearance by David Lee’s for The Xtraverts turned out to be his last!  “Now as I wasn’t a true punk- not into the dyed hair, safety pins, tattoos etc.  All I could see was my new black Ludwig vistalite kit caked in SNOT! I loved the band but I also loved my new kit!! That was the last gig and I left the band.”

Xtraverts – July 1979
Mark Chapman, Andy Crawford, Steve Westwood, Nigel Martin

Lee was replaced shortly afterwards on drums by Andy Crawford and The Xtraverts continued to gig in around High Wycombe during the summer -building up an even more enthusiastic following, spurred on by such songs as ‘Police State’, ‘Individual’, ‘Who Sent the Boys’ and ‘I Hate You’ – the latter including the lyrics

I hate you
The things you do
The way you dress
Your discotheque

Lead singer Nigel Martin spoke the local press a few weeks after The Lurkers gig: “That was fantastic. The Lurkers were really mad  l don’t think they’ll ask us to support them again.”  He added: “All the papers and the bands keep saying that punk is dead, but there’s a lot of punks in the Wycombe area and we’re the only group staying true to the ideals that punk first stuck to.  We don’t want to be millionaires and live in Los Angeles, ·and we won’t sign with some major company and be patronised. We want to play our music to our fans because they’re the ones who’ve stayed with us all along.”

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Out In The Dark – The Lurkers – audio of 1979 single

I Hate You – Xtraverts – audio of 1979 track

References and further reading

http://www.boredteenagers.co.uk/xtravertsdavidlee.htm

https://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/lurkers2.htm

 

27 April 1979 – Wadada/Xtraverts/Plastic People – Multi-Racial Centre

A hand written flyer found on social media provides evidence of a comeback gig by High Wycombe’s perennial punks, The Xtraverts, at High Wycombe’s Multi-Racial Centre on Friday 27th April 1979.  The flyer shows the headline act as Wadada, with additional support from Plastic People.

Wadada/Xtraverts/Plastic People
Multi-Racial Centre, High Wycombe
27th April 1979 – flyer

At the time of this gig, then 21-year-old lead singer Nigel Martin was the only founder member from the original version of The Xtraverts, who had spawned from the ‘post-Bill Grundy’ era of late 1976 and first known to have gigged mid-way through 1977.  The band continued to play live in and around High Wycombe and London but split-up shortly after the release of their debut single, Blank Generation (recorded in late 1977 and released in January 1978).

Martin returned to the stage briefly with a new band, Mirage – supporting 999 at The Town Hall on 20th December 1978 – but the resurrection of The Xtraverts  coincides with what is often described as the ‘second-wave of punk’ during 1979 – with bands including The Ruts and a reformed Damned driving the local interest (particularly amongst teenagers) following their appearance at the Town Hall on 18th April 1979.

The line-up of the new look Xtraverts at the time of this gig is believed to be, Nigel Martin (vocals), Steve Westwood (guitar), Mark Chapman (bass) and David Lee (drums).  Lee was replaced on drums later in the year by Andy Crawford but not before an infamous gig supporting The Lurkers at High Wycombe Town Hall on 6th June 1979.

The Plastic People were another local ‘punk’ band – this time headed by Gary Quelch (guitar and vocals).  The remainder of the line-up at the time of this gig is believed to be Steve Hyland (guitar), Pete Hyland (drums) and Glen Spicer (guitar and vocals).  Anybody with more accurate information, please get in touch and I will update this post accordingly.

What we do know about Plastic People is that they went on to release a joint double ‘A’ sided single with The Xtraverts– their contribution, ‘Demolition’, appearing alongside The Xtraverts’, ‘Police State’.  It was released in November 1979 on Rising Sun records- Rising Sun being a record stall in High Wycombe Fayre, an indoor market on the site of what was previously Woolworth’s in Church Street and what would become The Chiltern Centre in the mid 1980’s.

From my own memories, I recall seeing both bands several times in 1979 at local venues, including the Multi-Racial Centre and SU bar.  On each occasion the tribal following gathered pace, with much of their fan base drawing from recent school leavers and other teenagers who had been too young to witness the original punk explosion or were just simply unaware of the underground culture taking place on their doorstep.

At the time this flyer came to light (some 40 years after the gig) there was little, to no, information on the billed headline act Wadada.  However, the beauty of the internet has pointed me into the direction of a Michael Wadada who, in 1979, began collaboration with High Wycombe based Adrian Sherwood, creator of the On-U-Sound record label.  Unfortunately, Michael has no re-collection of the gig, so maybe the name of the act is just a coincidence. Anybody with any more information, please get in touch.

For the time being, I will leave you with a picture of the Multi-Racial Centre.

Multi-Racial Centre, High Wycombe
circa 2009

This venue took over from The Newlands Club as a relatively small capacity, non-pub venue, in the Town Centre.  It was situated under the Abbey Way flyover, at the end of Paul’s Row.  If you left the venue and made your way under the flyover, you would reach the entrance to the college buildings where gigs also took place in the main hall and SU Bar.  The site of the re-developed ‘Gateway Building’, opened in 2009, is built on the location of the main hall where The Sex Pistols played their infamous High Wycombe gig in February 1976.

12 May 1979 – Uncle Llama – Town Hall

A fairly elaborate folder out poster/flyer, from my own collection, is the only evidence I have of a gig by Uncle Llama at High Wycombe Town Hall on Saturday 12th May 1979.  The poster folds-out to an advert for the gig, while on the reverse there are details of the band line-up and for some bizarre reason, a food recipe!  My best guess, based on the photos of the band on the reverse of the poster, are they fell into the ‘prog rock’ category.  I’m fairly certain I would have picked up the poster, either from Scorpion or Venus record shops in High Wycombe.

Uncle LLama – High Wycombe Town Hall – 12th May 1979
Poster/Flyer montage by www.wycombegigs.co.uk

For the record and search engine recognition, the line-up quoted was John Hill (lead guitar and 12 string), Steve McDaniel (synth, string and organ), Joe Pritchard (bass), Tim Medcalf (drums and percussion) and Clive Brooks (vocals and 12 string).

The only online reference to Uncle Llama I could find at the time of this post was a comment by Andy Glass of Buckinghamshire based ‘prog rock’ band Solistice on www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk. It was in relation to their gig at Aylesbury Friars in 1983, where Glass said: “We also had a great time playing with Marrillion and Uncle Llama (whose keyboard player Steve McDaniel is now a member of Solstice).”

If nothing else, evidence of this gig, re-affirms that gigs in High Wycombe during 1979 were not limited to ‘punk’ and ‘new-wave’ acts. Indeed, the ever changing face of music at the time of this gig had seen the first release by ska band, The Specials – their ‘Gangsters’ single being released on 4th May 1979 on the Two-Tone record label.  Meanwhile, a month or so later, a Mod revival would begin with the likes of Merton Parkas, Chords, Purple Hearts and Secret Affair all enjoying a degree of chart success.  The latter revival had initially been sparked by The Jam but more specifically by the filming of ‘Quadrophonia’ and its cinema release later in 1979.  The differing styles of music and the sometimes obsessive tribalism (often media fuelled) connected with these ‘scenes’ did not always make gig going a pleasant experience, especially where promoters attempted a mix of bands.

References and further reading

Solistice

https://www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk/solstice83.html

http://www.solsticewebsite.com/

.

 

26 May 2019 – FrogFest – High Wycombe

The annual FREE FrogFest festival takes place in and around High Wycombe High Street on Sunday 26th May 2019.  As per previous years, as well as the live music, there are food stalls, drinks and kids entertainment.  The festival aims to promote High Wycombe as a vibrant and attractive destination and encourage families to visit the town centre.  Please support this free event.

FrogFest 2019 -High Wycombe – Sunday 26th May 2019 – 11.30am to 10.30pm
image from @HWFrogfest

The line-up for the 2019 event is expected to be as follows

MAIN STAGE

11.30 – 11.50 – SOL SAMBA
12.10 – 12.35 – GEORGE JACK
12.55 – 13.20 – CASUAL MADNESS
13.45 – 14.15 – THE SOBERNAUGHTS
14.40 – 15.10 – XCS
15.40 – 16.10 – STEPH WILLIS
16.40 – 17.10 – TINY TINA TURNER
17.40 – 18.20 – DOLLY AND THE DINOSAUR
19.00 – 19.45 – MILLIE MANDERS AND THE SHUT UP
20.30 – 21.30 – THE HAWKMEN

SQUIRREL STAGE

11.50 – 12.10 – VIBES STEEL BAND
12.35 – 12.55 – MY MATE DAVE
13.20 – 13.45 – GARANCE LOU LOU
14.15 – 14.40 – SLOTH IN THE CITY
15.10 – 15.40 – MIB
16.10 – 16.40 – CARA MEANS FRIEND
17.10 -17.40 – ROBERT J HUNTER
18.20 – 19.00 – SUZY CONDRAD-SHE ROBOT
19.45 – 20.30 – JOCEE

Facebook event pages 

FrogFest – High Street and The Mad Squirrel

https://www.facebook.com/HWFrogfestLineUp 

The Antelope has also arranged for live acts throughout the day, including headline performances, after the main FrofFest has closed, that include tribute acts for Muse and The Rolling Stones. 

Antelope: FrogFest 2019

https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/390303571822939/

 

 

6 May 1979 – XTC/Camera Club/Ladykillers – Town Hall

XTC were another band to return to the High Wycombe having played the town during their embryonic years.  The Swindon based outfit had appeared twice at The Nag’s Head in 1977 and the gig at The Town Hall on Sunday 6th May 1979 was most likely a favour to promoter Ron Watts.  Support on the night were local band The Ladykillers and Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club.  Attendees of the gig would have left the gig unware they had witnessed a live rendition of a future No.1 single in the UK charts.

Events at High Wycombe Town Hall – May 1979 from Bucks Free Press Midweek
Including XTC on Sunday 6th May 1979 showing Brian James Band as the original support.
Jack Thackeray also billed and just look at those prizes for the Miss Teenage Wycombe Contest!

Originally billed as support for the XTC gig were The Brian James Band.  However, James, a former guitarist and founder member of The Damned, would not appear.

Support on the night came from High Wycombe band The Ladykillers – the latest outfit to include local boy Kris Jozajtis (ex Deathwish, The Pretty, Good Guys and Four Daughters) on guitar.  Other band members were Stuart Rillstone (lead vocals), Ian Hutchby (bass) and Dave ‘Dudge’ Williams (drums).  Jozajtis and Hutchby were the co-writers of the original songs in their set-list.

Kris Jozajtis recalls that Rillstone came from Chorley Wood and had previously been in a band called Nuclear Rouge. Jozajtis, Williams and Hutchby had also played together in two other High Wycombe based bands, Good Guys and Four Daughters, but with Dom Williams on vocals.  Four Daughters had supported The Rich Kids at High Wycombe Town Hall in September 1978 and the rock/pop style of Glen Matlock’s band is the best comparison I can come up with for The Ladykillers.

Their set on 6th May 1979 is believed to have followed their debut live appearance at The Nag’s Head earlier in 1979.  The familiarity of some of the band members with the audience, plus songs recognised from their former groups, was a factor in them receiving a decent reaction from the audience.  Unusually for a first band on, they were called back for an encore and then promoter Ron Watts insisted they played one more song in ‘30 seconds’.  I was delighted to be reminded of this incident while sorting through a number of live recordings from that era.  A YouTube clip of the audio is posted at the foot of this article.

Ladykillers – set-list from my own records included the following – some titles guessed.

  • Under The Skin
  • Fear of the Night
  • Mother Hates Me Hair
  • You’ve Been Seeing Another Women
  • Hear The Sound
  • Bad Guys
  • White Boys, Making Noise

As far as I can tell, The Ladykillers did not commit any of their songs to official recordings. They played further dates in the High Wycombe area during 1979 but appear to have split up before the end of the year. Kris Jozajtis would go on to join The Folk Devils in 1983.

Any other memories of The Ladykillers gratefully received.

The final support act were Camera Club, a relatively unknown band featuring Bruce Woolley on guitar and lead vocals, Matthew Seligman on bass, Rod Johnson on drums, Dave Birch (ex-Vibrators) on guitar and a 21 year old Thomas Dolby on keyboards.

Bruce Woolley and Camera Club – still from BBC Old Grey Whistle Test appearance just a few months after their Town Hall gig supporting XTC

Midway through their set that evening they would play a catchy song called ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ – a tune that Woolley penned with friends Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn in 1977. In September 1979 the same song would be released by The Buggles (featuring Downes and Horn) – it proved to be quite popular, reaching No.1 in the UK charts, plus topping the charts in at least nine other countries.  For those at High Wycombe Town Hall on 6th May 1979, this would have been the first of many times they had heard the song.  By chance, I manage to record the audio of that evening on fairly primitive equipment – it was a Boots ‘Walkman’ type device and was all I could afford at the time – being still at school.  I’ve uploaded the audio to YouTube as an historical record.

Camera Club – set-list from my own records included the followin

  • Flying Man
  • Too Late For Tears
  • Clean, Clean
  • The Picture is Taken, The Glass is Broken
  • Goodbye to Yesterday
  • Johnny
  • Video Killed The Radio Star
  • No Surrender
  • Dancing with the Sporting Boys

It would be fair to say that the reaction to their set at the Town Hall was mixed. The introduction of synthesisers and keyboards in a live environment so soon after the ‘punk’ explosion came as a surprise to many. However, fast-forward a few years, and the likes of Gary Numan, Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark were all chart bound with a similar style – plus, of course, local boy Howard Jones, who was often compared to Thomas Dolby when he broke the charts in 1983.

The Camera Club set-list calls mainly from songs that would appear on their ‘English Garden’ LP released on Epic records in November 1979.

It would be fair to say that the reaction to their set at the Town Hall was mixed. The introduction of synthesisers and keyboards in a live environment so soon after the ‘punk’ explosion came as a surprise to many.  However, fast-forward a few years, and the likes of Gary Numan, Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark were all chart bound with a similar style – plus, of course, local boy Howard Jones, who was often compared to Thomas Dolby when he broke the charts in 1983.

Meanwhile, back at The Town in May 1979, headliners XTC were out on their first tour since original keyboards player Barry Andrews had left the band.  He had been replaced with Dave Gregory, who also hailed from their hometown of Swindon, but in fact played guitar and not keyboards.

XTC – early 1979
Dave Gregory, Andy Partridge, Terry Chambers and Colin Moulding

Andrews had been a member of XTC since 1976 and played with them twice at The Nag’s Head in 1977. The remaining members, Andy Partridge (guitar and vocals), Colin Moulding (bass) and Terry Chambers (drums) were those that linked with Gregory on the stage at the Town Hall in May 1979.

Gregory’s first work with XTC was on their new single ‘Life Begins at The Hop’, released on 27th April 1979.  Considering their previous 7” releases (including, ‘This is Pop!’ and ‘Statue of Liberty’), it is surprising to find that this was their first single that troubled the UK charts – peaking at No.54 and prompting their first Top of the Pops appearance on 17th May 1979.

It was their persistence that finally earned them the chart success they deserved.   They were using the April/May 1979 tour to debut some of the material that would feature on their August 1979 album release, ‘Drums and Wires’.  One of the songs falling into that category and played at the Town was, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’.  Released as a single in September 1979 it reached No.17 in the UK charts but deserved much higher.  ‘Computer errors’ have since been blamed for the single not reaching higher but the song remains an iconic pop tune and its distinctive drum and guitar sounds deserved so much more recognition at the time.

XTC – set-list from my own records

  • Beatown
  • Meccanik Dancing
  • Making Plans For Nigel
  • The Rhythm
  • Roads Girdle The Globe
  • Science Friction
  • Life Begins At The Hop
  • This Is Pop
  • Battery Brides
  • Cross Wires
  • Outside World
  • I’m Bugged
  • Crowded Room
  • Radios In Motion
  • Are You Receiving Me
  • Set Myself On Fire
  • Dance Band (encore)
  • Statue Of Liberty (encore)

The XTC set-list drew material from their three albums to date, their single back catalogue and previews of tracks from their yet to be recorded ‘Drums and Wires’ album.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Under The Skin – The Ladykillers – live audio from High Wycombe Town Hall 6 May 1979

Video Killed The Radio Star – Camera Club – live audio from High Wycombe Town Hall 6 May 1979

WW9/Clean Clean – Camera Club – BBC Old Grey Whistle Test – 30 October 1979

Making Plans For Nigel – XTC – live video from Bristol Locarno 13 May 1979

Further reading and references:

XTC history

http://chalkhills.org/

XTC gigography

http://www.optimismsflames.com/Gigs%20Text%20Only.htm

Bruce Woolley

http://www.brucewoolleyhq.com/pop.html

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

27 April 2019 – Sex Pistols Experience/Rebel Station – Antelope

The Sex Pistols Experience return to High Wycombe on Saturday 27th April 2019 with a gig on the outside ‘festival’ stage at The Antelope pub just off the High Street.  Support comes from London punk/rock ‘n’ rollers, Rebel Station.

Sex Pistols Experience with Rebel Station support
Poster from gig at The Antelope Saturday 27th April 2019

This is the opening night of The Antelope’s summer run of gigs and I would recommend you check out the links below for the latest information regarding other forthcoming gigs at this long running venue of live music in High Wycombe.

Returning to the Sex Pistols Experience, they are widely regarding as the leading tribute to the punk icons and their appearance gives me the usual opportunity to link to the February 1976 gig at the college featuring the original band – some 43 years previous!  Sex Pistols also returned to play at The Nag’s Head in September 1976.  The fact their music is still be played, puts to bed the thought at the time that ‘punk’ was just a passing trend.

So, if you want to wallow in nostalgia and hear some classic tunes at the same time, get on down to The Antelope and support live music in the town.

Facebook event page

https://www.facebook.com/events/1104775026394350/

Venue

https://www.thelope.co.uk/

Band links

http://www.sexpistolsexperience.co.uk/start.htm

http://www.rebelstation.uk/

3/4/5 May 2019 – Animals Rock II – Dashwood Arms

The second annual Animals Rock charity event at The Dashwood Arms, Piddington – raising funds for Animal SOS Sri Lanka – takes place from the evening of Friday 3rd May 2019, through to the evening of Sunday 5th May 2019.

The event follows the success of the inaugural event in May 2018.

Animals Rock II – Dashwood Arms
3rd, 4th and 5th May 2019

Dates/Times

Friday 3 May 7.30-Midnight – £5

Saturday 4 May 1.30-Midnight – £7

Sunday 5 May 1.30-Midnight – £7

Children (up to 16 years of age) – FREE

Weekend pass also available at £15 direct from the venue if purchase on or before 2nd May 2019.

Expected running order

FRIDAY 4TH MAY

7.30-8.30 – 2NONBLONDES

8.30-9.00 – STEPH WILLIS

9.00-10.00 – BEST KEPT SECRET

9.00-12.00 – NBS

 

SATURDAY 4TH MAY

1.30-2.30 – ZARAK

2.30-3.00 – DAVE DUNBAR

3.00-4.00 – TINY TINA

4.00-4.30 – VICKY ROY

4.30-5.30 – THE OUTPATIENTS

5.30-6.00 – HIM & SHE

6.00-7.00 – THE LERNERZ

7.00-7.30 – PHIL DAY

7.30-8.30 – FRET HEADS

8.30-9.00 – MOJO

9.00-10.00 – SULTANS ON SWINGS

10.00-12.00 – HUSTLER

 

SUNDAY 5TH MAY

1.30-2.30 – OVERTIME ROCK

2.30-3.00 – TONY GOFF

3.00-4.00 – RENEGADE

4.00-4.30 – SANDY LENNY

4.30-5.30 – CIRCA NEVER

5.30-6.00 – RUSSELL LEAK

6.00-7.00 – NeoN

7.00-7.30 – TERY CUSTACE

7.30-8.30 – HELL FIRE CLUB

8.30-9.00 – RAFFLE DRAW

9.00-10.00 – WORLD GONE CRAZY

10.00-12.00 – THE MFU

See Animals SOS Facebook page for more details

https://www.facebook.com/165576613502654/photos/a.191294430930872/2299446383448989/?type=3&theater

18 April 1979 – Damned/Ruts/Beez/Auntie Pus – Town Hall

The Damned returned to High Wycombe for the first time since their infamous appearance at The Nag’s Head in October 1976, with a headlining slot at the Town Hall  on Wednesday 18th April 1979 – Support were local Chesham band The Beez plus up and coming West London punk lads, The RutsAuntie Pus, a one man target for verbal abuse from the crowd, was also on the bill for well attended Ron Watts promoted gig.  However, the gig ended in chaotic scenes as punters were ushered out of the venue by the local police following The Damned’s refusal to leave after they claimed that former Manager Watts had massaged the band’s cut of the takings.

Damned, Ruts, Beez – High Wycombe Town Hall advert from Bucks Free Press Midweek – enhanced for wycombegigs.co.uk

The Beez, who had first performed live in 1978, were playing their biggest venue to date in their short history after promoter Ron Watts had been impressed with the local following they bought along to a support slot at The Nag’s Head on 8th March 1979.

Their debut single ‘Easy/’The Vagrant’ – on their own Edible records label – was set for release around the time of this gig and they went down well enough with the expectant crowd that evening to be called back for an encore.

The Beez – outside Quest studios – promo photos complete with autographs from my own collection

The Beez confirmed set-list from my own records was:

  • Without You
  • The Vagrant
  • Back Street Love
  • Do The Suicide
  • Girls
  • Hangover
  • Apathy
  • Something Wicked
  • Easy
  • Get Ahead With The Feds
  • All You Need’s A Brain
  • Questions and Answers (Encore)

The Ruts’ appearance in High Wycombe came just as they were gaining a wider audience following the release of their ‘In a Rut’ single in January 1979 on the People Unite label and the constant championing of this track by John Peel on his BBC radio show.

The Ruts had appeared at the Town Hall back in October 1977 as support to Wayne County and ATV but barely drew a cheer from the handful of punters who had arrived in time to see the opening act.  Less than 18 months later it was totally different story.  A John Peel session from January 1979 featuring ‘Savage Circle’, Babylon’s Burning’, ‘Dope for Guns’, Blackman’s Pinch’ and ‘Criminal Mind’, would make much of The Ruts set that night already familiar to the crowd.  Damned drummer, Rat Scabies’ guested on drums during Blackman’s Pinch (later renamed to Jah Wars).

The Ruts line-up that night at High Wycombe Town Hall was Malcolm Owen (vocals), Paul Fox (guitar), John “Segs” Jennings (bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums)

Early Ruts picture from the rutsdc website – note the home made t-shirt with what would become their iconic logo

The Ruts confirmed set-list from my own records was:

  • Savage Circle
  • I Ain’t Sophisticated
  • H Eyes
  • Lobotomy
  • Suss
  • You’re Just A..
  • Something That I Said
  • Blackman’s Pinch
  • Criminal Mind
  • Dope For Guns
  • In A Rut
  • You’re Out of Order
  • Babylon’s Burning
  • Society

The Ruts were called back for an encore and played ‘Human Punk’ – a crowd participation number where lead singer Malcolm Owen passed the microphone along the front of the stage.  Most of the songs that night would feature on their debut album, ‘The Crack’ – released in September 1979.

Warming-up the audience up prior to The Damned was Auntie Pus (real name Julian Isaacs).  He had been on the punk scene since 1977, playing a one-man old style rock ‘n’ roll guitar act.  Essentially between each ‘song’ he would lead the chant of ‘off the stage with Auntie Pus’ – if the crowd didn’t join-in he would continue.  This carried on until Ron Watts took the stage and asked the audience, “OK, let’s get rid of this c**t”.

His short ‘set’ included ‘Halfway to Venezuela’ and ‘Blues Suede Shoes’. Some of his recorded material would eventually be released in 1980 with Chris Millar (Rat Scabies) credited on drums.

The Damned had been on a roller-coaster journey since their arrival on the scene in the summer of 1976.  They had played twice at The Nag’s Head in the autumn of 1976 – their appearance in October 1976 being their first ever headline slot at any venue but that ended in chaos.

They had released a series of singles and two albums before playing a ‘farewell’ gig at The Rainbow, London in April 1978.  Leader singer Dave Vanian went on to perform with Doctors of Madness, while Brian James, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies formed their own bands, Tanz Der Youth, King and White Cats, respectively.  The latter saw Scabies continue his taunts of the High Wycombe crowd at a Town Hall gig in July 1978.

But The Damned would not die, reforming originally as The Doomed in late 1978 and then returning under the original name.  The new look band would be minus guitarist Brian James – Captain Sensible taking over the lead guitar role and ‘Algy’ Ward on bass. 20 year old Ward had previously been in The Saints.  They coupled with founding members, Dave Vanian (vocals) and Rat Scabies (drums).

The Damned – Chiswick promo pic 1979
Algy Ward, Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian and Rat Scabies

Their return to the punk scene had gained them an ever increasing following thanks to their boisterous live shows but they were still finding their feet and new musical direction by the time of the Town Hall show in April 1979.  It would be fair to say that many of the audience were there out if curiosity value, rather than their recorded out of the time.

It was therefore with a sense of anti-climax that headliners, The Damned, eventually took to the stage to the sound of the traditional version of ‘God Save The Queen’, – not The Sex Pistols version.

The Damned confirmed set-list from my own records was:

  • Jet Boy, Jet Girl
  • Teenage Dream
  • Stretcher Case Baby
  • Ballroom Blitz
  • Born to Kill
  • Burglar
  • Melody Lee
  • Problem Child
  • Lookin at You
  • Love Song
  • So Messed Up
  • New Rose
  • Neat, Neat, Neat

The set was played through with barely a break to breath.  ‘Jet Boy, Jet Girl’ saw Captain Sensible take vocals on a song to the tune of Plastic Bertrand’s 1978 hit ‘Ça plane pour moi’.

The gig preceded the forthcoming General Election by two weeks (3 May 1979) – by this stage it was widely predicted that a Margaret Thatcher led Conservative Party would run out victors – hence The Damned had their own eloquent way of predicting the future of the country – including changing the lyrics to Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’, to ‘Great Big Tits’.

The set also included their recently released debut on Chiswick Records, ‘Love Song’.  On the 10 May 1979, The Damned would make their Top of The Pops debut as the song climbed the charts.

The Town Hall set would finish with their two classic punk singles, ‘New Rose’ and ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’ before the house lights were turned on and the punters ordered out onto Queen Alexandra Road.

An explanation of the chaotic nature to the end of the gig eventually came to light in Ron Watts’ book. Watts commented: “[The Damned] probably hadn’t forgiven me for the way our business partnership had ended three years earlier, refused to leave the stage and the caretaker of the hall called the police, who were stationed next door.  They arrived and lined the side of the hall, with the band finishing sharpish and their fans filtering out, although by now the average age of a Damned fan was about 15 so there was never any danger of a riot ensuing. The band were on a percentage of the door take and reckoned I’d fiddled them, even attempting to sue me.”

Watts claims that the financial situation was eventually sorted out but it proved the last dealings he had with The Damned as a promoter – although Watts does recall meeting Captain Sensible over 25 years later at The 100 Club where he initially said; “That tosser from The Damned is here.  If he wants a fight, he can have one.”  A few minutes later they were chatting away ‘like old mates’, recalling those early pioneering days of punk rock.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

The Vagrant – The Beez – audio of debut single ‘B side

In a Rut – The Ruts – live in Paris 1980

Half-Way to Venezuela – Auntie Pus – audio of 1980 single

Love Song – The Damned – live on BBC Top of the Pops – May 1979

References and further reading:

https://www.boredteenagers.co.uk/BEEZ.htm

https://rutsdc.com/

https://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/auntiepus.htm

http://www.fearandloathingfanzine.com/auntie-pus.html

http://www.officialdamned.com/

21 April 2019 – Healthy Junkies/Ragged Charms/Public Service Announcement – Phoenix Bar

There was a three band ‘punk’ influenced event at The Phoenix Bar, High Wycombe on Easter Sunday 21st April 2019 featuring Healthy Junkies, The Ragged Charms and Public Service Announcement.

Entry was a bargain £5 for the chance to see live three bands with differing influences but all with a passion for live music – as always, I urge you to support your local live music venues in High Wycombe and the surrounding areas.

Easter Madness at The Phoenix, High Wycombe – Sunday 21st April 2019
Featuring The Healthy Junkies, The Ragged Charms and Public Service Announcement

Headliners Healthy Junkies are a London based band with a punk/garage sound.  They have been on the live circuit for close to eight years and appeared at The Phoenix in March 2018. Their relentless hard-work has also seen them deliver a wealth of recorded output – including four albums – the most recent ‘Delirious Dream’, released in October 2018.

The band consist of Nina Courson (vocals), Phil-Honey-Jones (guitar), Dave Whitmore (bass) and Pumpy (drums) and provide an energetic mix of punk, metal and pop.

Looking for a reference point for influences, their sound has been compared to the likes of Sonic Youth through to Transvision Vamp, with perhaps an underlying nod to Nirvana. Don’t expect anything but pure on-stage energy and a slick delivery in the process.

Here’s a taste of what expect

Opening the evening were Public Service Announcement.  They are no strangers to The Phoenix, having first played there in 2017 and most recently, a headline slot on 15th March 2019.  The band consists of John Fleming (vocals), Pete Colverd (guitar) Dan Comben (bass) and Al Lane (drums).  John and Pete are former members of High Wycombe post-punk outfit Basta Roc and played their first gig as Public Service Announcement in April 2017 during a charity event in memory of Gareth Jones.

Public Service Announcement
Dan, Pete, John and Al

Nearly two years on and the March 2019 gig marked the release of their debut EP – a five track beauty called ‘The Beginning’. The band originally started out playing a mixture of covers and re-works of Basta Roc songs.  However, the writing bug appears to have kicked-in and the EP boasts tracks to be proud of.

The five tracks are: ‘What’s Happening’, ‘Come Back To Me’, ‘Five Years’, ‘When We Were Young’ and ‘Magnificent One’. Catchy tunes that stick in your ahead and with subject matter related to all ages.  I urge you, at the very least, to take a listen to ‘Come Back to Me’ – written about struggling to cope with relatives and friends with dementia related illness.  I was genuinely blown away when I first heard this played live at The Red Lion in Chinnor in August 2018.

On stage in the lead up to The Healthy Junkies were The Ragged Charms – a band making their first live appearance in High Wycombe but with a number of connections to the historically musical town.

The band were formed a year or so back through a collaboration between lead vocalist Ali Jones and guitarists Carlton Mounsher and Johnny Crees.  The trio had previously worked with The Deadbeat Apostles but branched out to form their own sound and eventually added Andy Chalk and Neil Peters on bass and drums respectively to complete the rhythm section of the band.  The five-piece made their live debut in January 2019 at The Isis River Farmhouse near Oxford.

The Ragged Charms
Ali, Carlton, Johnny, Andy and Neil

And so to the connections with High Wycombe: Carlton Mounsher went to school in High Wycombe and was in what is considered to the first punk band from the town, Deathwish.  Deathwish first gigged in October 1976 and famously/infamously (delete as appropriate) supported Generation X at The Nag’s Head in March 1977.

Andy Chalk also has a history of playing bass in 1980’s High Wycombe based punk/new wave bands but has more recently launched the Punkarolla radio show on Wycombe Sound in November 2016 and briefly played bass for High Wycombe punk originals, The Xtraverts, during 2017.

Drummer Neil Peters comes from a slightly more recent local pedigree – playing with Straylight Interstate in the late 1990’s and then Subrosa5 as we moved into the 21st century.  Neil is no stranger to gigs in High Wycombe having played the Phoenix under its original ‘Roundabout’ name, plus outings at The Antelope and The White Horse.

All this adds up to a version of The Ragged Charms that include an eclectic mix of sounds with influences drawn from Black American music through to traditional blues and straight forward rock ‘n’ roll. Ali’s vocals perhaps give their sound a sub-conscious comparison to PJ Harvey but they have enough variety in their output to let you make your own mind-up.

Band info links

Healthy Junkies

https://en-gb.facebook.com/healthyjunkiesband/

https://twitter.com/HealthyJunkies

http://www.healthyjunkies.co.uk/

 The Ragged Charms

https://en-gb.facebook.com/RaggedCharms/

Public Service Announcement

https://www.facebook.com/PSArocknroll/