Red Aligatorz Border TV

I finally extracted The Red Aligatorz video from my VHS. I found 2 songs we did on Border TV “Border News and Look Around” or to give it its proper name “Border Crack and Deek-Aboot”. The video was recorded between 1985-86, and we play 4 songs. I was only given 2 and they are Leave Me Be (written by Wotto) and My Mother is A ‘driving Me Insane (Written by Swanny).

When we did the recording we were told to “stand still” like naughty boys in school, which did not go down too well and I think we felt really conscious of the restriction. The microphone on our guitars/bass would not pick-up sound if we were moving too much and I think they did not want 4 loony’s jumping around the studio. It was hot, and we could not hear each other, no monitors…but here we go.

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“The Decline…” (video)

Fib loaned me “The Decline of Western Civilization” by Penelope Spheres, a video collection about Punk/rock music in L.A./USA. It was a box-set of 4 videos, 2 of which I will not comment on, as it was a sort of Glam/soft-rock with hairspray and posing. But the other 2 videos are about punks. The first film “Part I” was about punk in the late 70s and early 80s, lets say the 2nd wave of punk in the USA. With bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs, X, Catholic Discipline etc. with interviews with the bands and punks from the audience… it was a good video, but I would like to compare it with the 3rd video “Part III” I watched after that which was set in the 90s, and it is a leap into the future of perhaps 10-15 years.
The punks interviewed nearly all were homeless, living in squats, on the streets, fighting with nazi skin-heads, drinking lots of beer, asking for money from the passers-by from the way they dressed…etc, it painted a similar but yet very different and disturbing picture compared to the first video.

I guess you either love or hate the hard-core punk scene, but I found myself drawn to these characters in the films. On the streets I would not give them the time of day, but as the interviewer got into their characters (and a bloody good job she did about gaining their trust) you saw them in a different way.
Ok, I do not think their life style is for me! But they are doing what I could not do, so who knows. What came across was a solidarity and a comradeship, a bonding and a friendliness amongst each other. More of a community, even though it was falling apart around them.

If the music was important then I do not think it came across in the video, except for the people in the bands. Although some of the audience new the words I think the majority of the audience were more interested in dancing and jumping on/off stage. What came across was the violence, and the drink… which destroys everything.

The sad thing was, at the end of the film, when it showed the people who had died, characters whom you had become to know and liked in a way. Stabbings, fires, imprisonment. It was not a decline of Western Civilization but a decline of Punk, as a positive alternative. Gone were the “artist communities” and feeling of change from the 1st video in the 80s, but one of oblivion of the 90s. Punks were not fighting society but they were fighting minority groups (like themselves). Destroying themselves, instead of building an alternative to a capitalist society. They lacked any sort of hope or way out, and if punk is offering that sort of vision, then it is the same as consumerism and capitalism, who bother?

If you took away the music I think those people would still be on the streets, still be drinking and fighting, and living with each other. Punk music and dress were just ‘there’ an add-on, maybe it was the glue which bound them together, but it did not create such a life style. I also felt if a band came on stage playing an alternative to hard-core they would not of lasted 5 minutes… which begs the question “were the punks and groups trapped in their own stereotypes?”

It was/is a brilliant film, a true documentary.

Frenzy’s Mp3’s

I uploaded some mp3s of my band “Frenzy”, which I will insert in that page. A rough cassette recording possibly in 1983, done in my living room, with Roso on bass, Dung on drums, and me singing and playing guitar.
The tracks are all self-penned:
I Don’t Want to Be Like You
I Said No
Solidarnosc

Business Controlled mp3’s

I uploaded some demo recordings from the 1990s on the ‘Business Controlled’ page. (Many thanks Kev for the load of your computer)

“These recordings were not done until the 1990s, and they are recorded with electric guitars and a d rum machine, I guess I was trying to recapture the Frenzy sound, but I include them here as it is still a solo project.

Solitude 1 & 2 : an instrumental followed by some depressive lyrics (depressions and self harm). I was speaking to Kev Stables about this the other day how self harming was there, in my case a knife on the arms. Not a pleasant topic, but if we don’t talk about it, it stays hidden doesn’t it? Writing lyrics helped me release a lot of anxiety and frustration, being in a band did also, Writing and performing was cathartic and positive, better than any pills. The bass/guitar riff in Solitude 2 embedded itself in my brain for years.

Pravda a Russian word meaning “Truth” this was my “Anarchy in the UK” type song, one of the first songs I ever wrote 77/78.

Bristol written after the Bristol riots, there was a lot of inner city riots back then, and after a day trip to Birmingham and being hasseled by the Rastas in my punk clothes, I could feel the tension. This is my attempt at “White Reggae”.

The Master Race I saw an advertisement in the EVening News in 1978 about joining the National Front, and a telephone number to ring for more information. So I wrote about (one of many) anti-Nazi songs.

Black Pigs as a child I used to hear constantly about how great the british police were, but I think we know now that is not true.

Over 30 a song about old folk telling young folk what to do. does it ring a bell?”

Kev / Ste: Different Perspectives

This evening I spent a nice time with an old friend called Kev Stables. He was one of the first punks I saw in Carlisle. I was leaving school walking home via Caldewgate bridges and he was in front of me wearing a leather jacket with a beautiful piece of artwork of The Clash painted on the back of it. I was into The Clash at the time and I could not help notice it. I later met him and I found out that he had done the artwork himself. He had also painted jackets for other people, one that turned up at the Christmas on Earth Festival in Leeds…they got around.
Talking to Kev made me realize that people got into punk for different reasons, for me it was being in bands and writing music… it inspired me to do it, but for other is was the music itself and going to see bands, or it was the clothes, people got into punk with different perspectives too.

Kev had seen the UK Subs in 1979 at Wigton! A lot of punks had descended on the small town and when the plain clothes policeman (undercover) arrested someone for having a pig’s head, the punks all marched down on mass, to the police station to get him out! On this occasion the Wigton boys stayed away.
His first single was by the Boomtown Rats, and he was into The Ruts in a big way, with “Society” being his favourite track. As long as I have known Kev he has always been a big Clash fan, he has a collection of their records, CDs, books, etc. collected from all over the world, you mention it he has probably got it.
We got chatting about the gigs, and although he was at most of them (local as well as visiting bands) he was never in any of the photos.
A serious lover of music, he taught himself the guitar recently and has become good at it…played in his first band last year and it shows it is never too late to start, I hope he does not stop. In a way this feeling of “do it for yourself” has been latent in him until recently…not he is playing music as he always wanted too. Good luck to him.

Another friend called “Ste” lent me a lot of photos tonight too. They were of The Red Aligatorz, The Afterbirths, Dole Cheques and some friends such as PH, Kate, Ellie, all who had been in bands. I hope to scan some of them and include them in the pages. Many thanks to Kev and Ste.

Grebos’ and Punks

Today I had a pleasant meeting with an old friend from Crofton. Today, Fib and I are “musical neighbours” but back in the 80s I guess we could be called “opposites” in our musical tastes. Music was tribal, and areas reflected the type of music you listen too. In the countryside where I live one village, one town was against another town/village and if you strayed into another village hall disco you better run for it afterwards.
Fib, has a great memory when it comes to details back then. He and I have always been friends since I moved to Crofton from Carlisle when I was 13. I was a punk, he was a into Heavy Metal…a gebo, complete with cut-offs, long hair and motor bikes. The Crofton boys used to hang around the telephone box near to the old Crofton hall, smoke cigarettes and ride bakes. They said it takes ages for people to be accepted in the countryside, but I was always felt except by the Crofton lads.
Although grebos and punks used to be opposite in many ways (I remember getting chased in the center of Carlisle off 2 grebos one saturday, “…are you running punks?” we were…right past The Boardroom Pub [a Mecca for bikers]; scary stuff for a lad at school) there were sign of similarities and this was achieved through certain bands.

Music caused fights. Fib and I chatted about the various discos we visited in Dalston, Wigton etc and how we had to run when we left… punks verses grebos, grebos verses grebos… it did not matter much.

At school I was mates with QE, a grebo and we got on ok, I remember waking up on his bedroom floor to loud Deep Purple music after a night in The Crown on Stanwix Bank. Fib was a Mod for a time at Dalston School and he related how he got hit for that fact alone. He saw Madness at Carlisle, but then he changed musical tastes, and Heavy Metal has stayed with him ever since with slight detours into Space Rock (Hawkwind) and Prog-rock (Rush) amongst Nivarna and some punk groups like The Damned and The UK Subs.

This led us into looking at bands that punks and grebos had in common…there was not many…if I remember? 2 bands I liked which had a “cross-over” was Motorhead, and Iron Maiden, I remember standing outside of Motorhead’s gig noticing how punks and grebs went into the same gig without killing each other. I liked Rush’s “2112” LP and some of Black Sabbeth…but that was it… I guess I was one of those ‘tribes’ too in my own way!

Fib has continued to appreciate music, whenever I meet him we always chat about music and bands, and I feel his knowledge is a lot more varied and deeper than my own. I think today the grebo/punk divide is none existent, in fact I think there is more trouble between punks and punks than there is between punk and other musical genres (?). Looking into the American punk scenes they seem to be at each others throats all the time. Stupid. Minority groups should be coming together not dividing themselves.

Turncoat Collective: Review

Turncoat Collective – Turncoat Collective
You get a feel of an alternative USA sub-culture with this music. He sings about not the American Dream but people living in woods, hitch-hiking, travelling… nor does he shout about what he sees. He attempts to use ‘the song’ to project himself and his lyrics. He uses harmonica, and has a backing vocal on some of the tracks. The instruments played by other people on various tracks are harmonica and bass guitar, but it is primary a solo project. His lyrics are often self indulgent, songs about “himself” are not too centred than others I have heard. I like the music, he has a edge on other similar music due to his cross styles and positive lyrics.
You can have a listen if you search: tag Turncoat Collective bandcamp