And in the Beginning…

Something never comes from nothing… there is always a beginning, or something influencing something so a change happens. For me seeing a lot of new bands, and therefore wanting to play in bands, influenced me a lot. As I began to explore music, and playing with people, I met lots of new people with like-minded interests.

The first time I got a guitar it was from the “Evening News” paper, it was a “Kay” right-handed electric guitar, I was a left handed player so I had to turn the strings around and play it “upside down”, it was a cheap guitar and it came with a 9 watt amplifier, the first time I played it I broke the thick strings, as I was strumming so hard. It looked something like this:
kay guitar
The amp did not have a distortion effect so I plugged my guitar into my “Reel to Reel” recorder/player that had a soft but nice distortion. Thus equipped I replied to an advertisement in “The pink Panther” Record Shop, from a boy called “Skog”. I met him and he took me to his parent’s home on Hartington Place, Carlisle. There, in his basement, I plugged in the Reel to Reel and we played music, I remember playing my song “Pravda” that afternoon, that discordant intro on 2 strings and the bass intro must have been already there. It was my first band, a duo, but t did not come to anything.

Skog had already been in the band called The Pedestrians and had appeared on the record compilation “8 From 80“. Skog had been involved with a growing punk scene in Carlisle for a lot longer than me, he was also younger than me, although we had both gone to Trinity school I had not known about him, or the Carlisle scene. So he knew people and I wanted to know also. From him I met 2 boys: Tommy and Jarad, we formed a band and used to rehearse in one of the rooms inside Carlisle’s Castle; Tommy played drums and Jarad played bass I think, and his brother played (…I do not remember). I do not think we gigged anywhere, but I got to know other people, and playing with a group helps a lot to learn about music.

I did not go to many gigs then but I remember going to see a collection of groups playing on Bitts Park, Carlisle (Sunday 21st August 1977), “The Skidmarx” played, They later moved own south and did some gigs and recordings. I saw the end of this gig on Bits Park, the stage was on a lorry type thing and I remember seeing The Limps It ended soon after I got there.

On a Saturday 7.8.82 the band “Psycho Faction” from Cleator Moor, were playing in the centre of town. The lead singer had dyed hair and used a variety of chords (as opposed to the 1 bar chord). It was a memorable concert as I remember the police “pulled the plug” and the electric went off…was this Carlisle’s answer to new music? Also, I met Grebo for the first time (he later sang in Nightmares in a Damaged Brain), he was “arguing/discussing” with a police officer about why they had closed down the music, and although I was full of anger and not willing to open my mouth, he was joking and putting across his points quite well. We got talking and he has remained a friend ever since. His brother Duncan played drums in Nightmares/Havana Affair as well as the Afterbirths.

Other early bands around Carlisle at the time, and else where were:

The Skidmarx played various gigs around Cumbria and several recordings:
Tuesday 27th December 1977, Skidmarx played Double Up, Cecil Street, Carlisle
Tuesday 3rd January 1978, Skidmarx played Double Up, Cecil Street, Carlisle
Friday 3rd February 1978, Skidmarx played Aspatria Rugby Club, Wigton, Cumbria
Friday 17th February 1978, Skidmarx & V2 played Aspatria Rugby Club, Wigton, Cumbria
Monday 20th February 1978, Skidmarx played Micks Jazz Club, Carlisle
Tuesday 14th March 1978, Skidmarx played Double Up, Cecil Street, Carlisle
Thursday 31st May 1979 The Limps, No Support, Counter Attack & The Infection played Mick’s Club, Fisher Street, Carlisle
Friday 1st June 1979 The Ironing Boards, Blitz, The Chevettes & Renwick Bats played Mick’s Club, Fisher Street, Carlisle
An article in the Evening News and Star Wenesday August 10th, 1977, a Punk Festival on Bitts Park. In the link there are several photos to be seen, about the band.

The Limps and No Support
Ep Info  and Limps-No-Support-Opposite-Sides

No Support (Carlisle)
youtube track Prophetic justice

Velt (Carlisle)

Kirsty & The Husbands (Carlisle)
Youtube video sitting in a disco

The Toolbox Murderers (Carlisle)

The Wanglers (Carlisle)
discography Wanglers-Wax
“Wax!” Demo Recording:

“Kicking Out For the Coast” Recording:
I think this record was given to me by Pug years ago. I knew about them in the early years, perhaps the late 70s, but I did not see them play. It is a great lyric “Surfing on the Solway” and since I go down to the Solway quite often I have heard of a man who does surf the “Solway Bore” (a big wave that comes up the estuary a few times a year) he always gets washed off and the Coast Guard has to come and fish him out!
It’s tongue and cheek, it is humorous, it has the great banter of the Cumbrian. You can see a discography if you click here

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Supermatrix (Carlisle) 1981
youtube Sex Sells

Combo Zombo (Carlisle)
info Combo+Zombo
“News and Star” newspaper article about “Combo Zombo” first-gig-in-20-years-for-punk-band-combo-zombo

8 From 80 Compilation Record
Record Lable Matchbox-Classics
Compilation 1980 Various-8-From-80-A-Carlisle-Compilation
blog 8-from-80-carlisle-compilation
another blog 8-from-80-carlisle-compilation

Regal Zone (26.8.82) and The G-men, played Carlisle’s Great Fair on the open stage, I got up and joined the G-men for The Clash’s “Stay Free”.

Ironing Boards
The Ironing Boards I had forgotten about this band, although I remember seeing them on posters, until David Carruthers mentioned them in a FB comment: ““What about the ironing boards? ..awesome band…the macca bros jeff smith and jammy. I had jeff the singer asking last year (for some info)..there must be some [info] somewhere…they were all from carlisle.
David Carruthers sent me some photos of the Ironing Boards (via Jeff smith) many thanks to them both. If anyone has any mp3s I would love a listen:ironing boards 8ironing boards 7ironing boards 6ironing boards 5ironing boards 1ironing boardsskidmarx 3skidmarx 2
skidmarx 1ironing boards 3ironing boards 4

Regal Zone (1981)
I knew the name Regal Zone, but I can’t remember seeing them. Here’s them singing “Factory Girl

All supported by the Pink Panther Record shop
Pink Panther Record Shop

all these things had an effect “cause and effect” I am sure they propelled others to “get off their arse’s” and play, it did me.

Here are a few corrections I got off FB (I have made the changes above)
Milbourne Arms FootballClub: “No mention of the Thin Yoghurts. The Velt was just Veldt. Scog wasn’t in Regal Zone. Etc good reading though.
Sean: Ha Ha, I hope more people contribute to the blog, to build on what is already an excellent start.
David: “Thursday 31st May 1979 The Limps, No Support, Counter Attack & The Infection played Mick’s Club, Fisher Street, Carlisle”
The infection, featuring David D Graham, guest vocals on ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’
Kirsty & The Husbands – Sitting In A Disco
Milbourne Arms FootballClub: “Psycho Faction, Regal Zone, The Thin Yoghurts, RPM. Micks Club, ran out of crisps and sold no drink coz all the Cleator punks were sniffing glue in the bogs”.

Any info about “Counter Attack” and “The Infection”?


One thought on “And in the Beginning…”

  1. Actually Penrith’s first punk band was The Crabs. Paul Bowerbank, Jasper Maudsley and Mike Winder. We played Mick’s in Carlisle early 1976 but split to go to Uni/college. We couldn’t get gigs -we only did that one and we were crap. But Sniffin Glue interviewed us at that gig so we should be somewhere in the early editions. Also Cumberland and Westmorland Herald did a piece where we slagged off local dinosaurs England – leading to much anger from their guitarist!! By late 77 we were getting phone calls from e.g Erics but we had gone seperate ways and another band had nicked the name…and the strapline ‘catch the crabs on tour’. We said it first. We never toured though and they did!


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