The Exiles

I had left Carlisle in the early 90s so I did not know about The Exiles, it has been interesting to learn about them. I will leave it up to Tony Flags, to tell their story:

The Exile’s Line-up/s

August 1988–July 1989
Neil ‘Tef’ Telfer – drums
Simon Whittle – guitar
Phil Smith – bass
Harry Glaister – vocals
Chris Pearson – vocals

September 1989–October 2004 (& March 2009–September 2010)
Neil ‘Tef’ Telfer – drums
Simon Whittle – lead guitar
Phil Smith – bass/vocals
Chris Warwick – rhythm guitar
(Other members included Dinga, who joined briefly on guitar in mid-1993, and Mike Taylor who played drums for the last few gigs from spring-1994. Gary Porter also played drums for one or two gigs in 1992.)

September 2010–May 2015
Neil ‘Tef’ Telfer – drums
Simon Whittle – guitar
Phil Smith – bass/vocals
(Chris Warwick returned on guitar at rehearsals only – due to work commitments – from 2012 until his death in December 2014)

September 2015–present
Neil ‘Tef’ Telfer – drums
Simon Whittle – guitar/vocals
Debbie Ullrich – bass

“The Exiles second ever gig, supporting GBH at The Venue in Edinburgh, in May 1989. On stage there’s Phil on the left, two audience members dancing, co-singer Chris Pearson in the painted jacket, and Simon on the right.the beguiled si photos

The Exiles were relative latecomers to the Carlisle punk scene, debuting with a chaotic show at Wigton Rugby Club on Saturday 28 Jan 1989, playing mostly punk covers. The original two vocalists, Harry Glaister and Chris Pearson departed after only four gigs, notably including a support slot with GBH at the Venue in Edinburgh in May 1989.

Ditching the covers and recording their first demo ‘Fast As Einstein’ at Cottage Pie Studios in November 1989, the ‘classic’ Exiles line up of Neil ‘Tef’ Telfer, Phil Smith, Simon Whittle and Chris Warwick went on to play hundreds of gigs all over the UK, from Edinburgh to London, supporting bands like The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Beat, The Rezillos, UK Subs, The Lurkers, The Vibrators, The Godfathers, The Real People, Chelsea, GBH, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Senseless Things, Beki Bondage, 999, Discharge and the Towers of London.

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The Exiles released the 7” Freaks EP in June 1991 on Matchbox Classics Records – the label having been impressed by an unreleased 12-track demo recorded in November 1990. Matchbox Classics also recorded another couple of Exiles tracks – for the local mid-1993 CD compilation ‘Sticklebacks’ – at a studio in Dunfermline with the same producer used on Freaks, Rob Jackson. A bootleg Exiles cassette – Live at the Front Page – also appeared May 1993.

Recording another demo in late 1993, Tef quit before it could be released in spring 1994, to concentrate on starting a family. With his replacement Mike Taylor almost immediately suffering health problems, and Simon being hospitalized for a large chunk of the summer, the band eventually split in October 1994.

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With Simon having moved to Glasgow before the millennium, the rest of the band reunited without him in 2005, calling themselves ‘Black Spirit Gauge’ and playing no Exiles songs. Tef quit the Gauge after one album, but Chris had asked him and Simon back to reunite The Exiles by 2009. Chris ended up leaving both bands after a bust up with Phil at a Black Spirit Gauge rehearsal in late 2010, which spelled the end of the Gauge.

Chris started rehearsing with The Exiles again in 2012 (a few months after the recording sessions for their only album to date) but his work commitments prevented his gigging with the band.

For an act on the go for so long, The Exiles have only recorded one album, Universal Suffering, released by Matchbox Classics and launched at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow in November 2013. The album sought to deliver what The Exiles were all about – high octane, accessible melodic punk rock, with left-leaning, pro-working class sociopolitical lyrics.

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With great reviews by the likes of Vive Le Rock (the album scored 8 out of 10 in VLR and other national high street magazines) and punk legends like TV Smith of The Adverts calling Universal Suffering “a great rock’n’roll album”, Rebellion Festival booked The Exiles for their August 2014 festival.

Rebellion saw the band play to a packed hall from the Arena Stage, despite being the second band on at the festival – the turnout probably helped by the band’s Alphaville track being featured on August 2014’s Vive Le Rock cover-mount CD, with the CD’s artwork inspired by the Exiles’ song.

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The reviews and interest generated by the Rebellion appearance seemed to cement The Exiles’ sudden popularity on the UK punk scene. But as they prepared to end 2014 at another regular sell-out show at King Tut’s in Glasgow, the year ended with a tragedy – Chris Warwick had a heart attack and fell into a coma on 7 December, dying ten days later. Chris had un-diagnosed Long QT Syndrome, and his cause of death was subsequently classed as ‘natural’.

The Exiles’ last full-band gig to date was headlining the Chris Warwick Tribute Revue on 27 February 2015 at the Brickyard in Carlisle, with support from local acts Colt 45, the Jude Connelly Band, Cosmic Cat and The Freedom. The Exiles were joined for most of their set by Dinga on vocals and guitar, and Jude on bass and keyboards. Hundreds turned out to give Chris the send off he deserved.

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As the band mourned the passing of their youngest member and best friend, it was decided in May 2015 that Tef and Simon would carry on without their fellow founder-member Phil.

After pondering their future over the summer, The Exiles recruited Debbie Ullrich on bass in September 2015, and Simon took over on vocals – testing out his voice with a short solo set, honouring the band’s slot at King Tut’s Strummer Night in December 2015, and going down a storm.

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On 3 April 2016, the new-look Exiles recorded a new version of From Nowhere To Nowhere and released it digitally five days later. Feedback on the new single has been great. The Exiles are currently rehearsing for gigs and future releases, with 12 new songs already in the bag and the vast majority of The Exiles back catalogue – mostly written by Simon – to choose from”.

Web and Social Media

The Exiles – Skurt Krazy, filmed 92/93

The Exiles – Alphaville

The Exiles- Sympathy For Dying Dolls

The Exiles – The Harder They Come

The Exiles – From Nowhere To Nowhere (Single Version)

Buy The Single
Google Play:…

The Exiles – Universal Suffering Album CD
Exiles ‘Universal Suffering’ CD

The Exiles Youtube Channel

You may find the following video useful, it features interviews with Dunno, Phil Exile and local Carlisle Punk Promoter Dave Bell
Creating opportunities in Cumbria featuring Phil Exiles plus local punk promoter Dave Bell

Sean Todhunter writes, “I first came across Si and Phil Exile back in the late 80s, we’re talking the post acid house, pre grunge early Manchester era… I ‘m not even sure if they had formed the Exiles yet.. they were these two young kids I’d notice around town , one always seemed to have a pistols t-shirt on and the other a Clash T-shirt.. so for a good while, they were Mr Pistol and Mr. Clash but in a world gone day glo and baggy, they stood out… they both had this look that was pure 1977..hand made stuff, slogans.. and this again is pre Manic Street Preachers. What struck me was, it looked purely organic and natural to them, this was no re run.. it was the real thing. So when I found out they had a band, I was naturally intrigued

By this point most of Carlisle’s early punk scene had honed their craft and were accomplished musicians playing in a myriad of classic bands like Traffic Jam Freeway, later to branch out as The Twiggs, The Daisy Chain Connection, The Cold Angels, Cosmic Cat and then there was a whole new generation of bands that had been raised on the Punk Indie spirit like Ten Gladioli , Flour, The Summer Tree who were just staring out.

The Exiles stood out from the start as they had this mad abandon about the way they played, their early sets were mainly covers as I remember but they’d take the stage at the Cricket Club like The Ramones at CBGBs in 75. These early gigs saw line up changes and the usual teething problems but once the line-up settled down to the /classic Phil,Si, Chris, Tef line up and they focused more on their own original material, that’s when things really started to kick off.


2 thoughts on “The Exiles”

  1. Si from The Exiles played the 3 Tuns in Whitehaven on 15.10.16. His son plays guitar and Chris Robson’ s son played drums. They will get sick of me saying this but the drummer is outstanding, really gifted & drove the high octane sound amazingly well. Great lyrics, clear sound and a great, great night. They are going under the name Kill Spector but think they have had a legal letter saying “change it” from an American band. I had a downer on punk for a long time but went to NE Calling the other week & now this. Bobbing away like a teenager, big grin on me Mush and feeling no pain in me arthritic hip & shoulder!
    Fat Albert were also amazing but suffered from something feeding back through most of the set, need to see them on a better night cos all the elements are there.


    1. Ed, Si from the Exiles isn’t in Kill Spectre – they are Phil ex-Exile’s band; Phil’s son plays guitar in that band.


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