God Save the Queen

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Sex Pistols

”I started the album, volume up full and the opening chord to ‘Anarchy in The UK’ nearly made the welding crack on the burglar bars.  The Pistols were just brilliant, mainly only three chords but each chord was thick, crunchy and necessarily over-overdriven.  I was in heaven: ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘No Fun’, ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘Silly Thing’.  I was just through the second listening of ‘God Save the Queen’ when in walked the Fascist Regime.  The Sex Pistols saved me I reckon because Dad was expecting a contrite teenage son who would be amenable to becoming a functioning member of society, but what he was faced with was a wall of blistering guitars at the kind of volume that Satan himself would probably appreciate.”  – The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney

The Sex Pistols had a huge impact on the UK.  They were more than a band, they were a catalyst for a collision between existing society and disaffected teenagers.  Johnny Rotten swore on TV and the UK press went crazy.  Headlines screamed out about these ”foul mouthed yobs”.  Hundreds of bands were formed by teenagers who suddenly realised that you didn’t have to be as good as Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page, you could just belt out 3 chords and vent your anger.  The energy was incredible and it changed everything for a while.  Record companies scrambled to sign punk bands and suddenly everyone else was a boring old fart. 

James Daubeney

White Riot

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The Clash

The Clash’s third album London Calling was voted the best album of the 80’s and the 8th best album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.  It went platinum and sold over 5 million copies.  The music was no longer Punk Rock, they were now a mainstream rock band and had commercial appeal.  Despite this their attitude never changed.  Joe Strummer (RIP) will forever be an iconic figure and he never let success go to his head.  For me it never got better than the debut album, loud aggressive guitar and angry vocals shouting out about what was wrong in society and the UK in particular.  If you want to get a feel for the times and the Winter of Discontent then just turn up ‘London’s Burning’, Career Opportunities”, White Riot’ & ‘I’m So Bored With the USA’.  You’ll feel it, if you don’t you are in a coma.

Like most Punk bands The Clash sort of lost the plot as Punk dissipated into New Wave.  Suddenly it just didn’t make sense anymore to be bitching about the dole and unemployment when you had albums selling 5 million copies and could fill up stadiums.  The Clash tore themselves apart mainly because Joe Strummer never lost his man of the people attitude and still used to carry his personal stuff around in two brown paper bags where as  Mick Jones was becoming like the rock stars that Punk originally rallied against.  He was dressing like the Stones, hanging out with celebs & dabbling in hop hop / DJ type shit.  Joe and Paul were not seeing eye to eye with Mick and as is often the case the centre couldn’t hold.  After London Calling they lost relevance as far as I was concerned but I have always got those first 3 stunning albums to fall back on.   On this clip I am not sure who the prick in the stripy shirt is but you can just feel the energy pouring off Joe Strummer

James Daubeney

Going underground

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The Jam

Although classic songs like ‘Eton Rifles’ and ‘Going Underground’ are probably better examples of the Jam in full cry, ‘That’s Entertainment’ was the first track I actually heard.  Once again it was on Pop Shop, or Fast Forward as it became, that I first saw them.  I fell in love with the band but more importantly Paul Wellers lyrics.  He had a way of really getting the message across and he just got better and better at it.

The Jam wore suits not safety pins and they were often referred to as Mods because of their look. In the same way as The Stranglers they became part of the Punk scene by virtue of the time they appeared and the attitude they displayed rather than the actual music they played.  None of what I refer to in the Story of Rock and Roll as the Big 4 survived more than 3 or 4 really good albums.  As Punk gave way to New Wave the Jam adapted to the changes and released some fairly commercial albums typified by the smash hit ‘A Town Like Malice’.  By December 1982 it was all over for The Jam, Paul Weller formed The Style Council and that was it for me.  I can’t find the video I originally saw for ‘That’s Entertainment’ which featured really miserable England, council flats and awful weather.  I remember it being hopelessly depressing in an uplifting way,  This clip of ‘Going Underground’ sums it all up for me, the world needs Punk again \m/

James Daubeney

Suspect Device

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Stiff Little Fingers

”When I heard Inflammable Material my brain once again exploded.  This album was twice as fast and twice as aggressive as any other punk album and Jake Burn’s voice was like a hot glass – he didn’t sing he shouted, and when he shouted he shouted about how pissed off he was about everything around him.”  The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney

Stiff Little Fingers to my mind epitomised what Punk was really all about.  I reckon that the fact they are still touring today shows that they firmly believe in what they are doing.  With SLF it was never a fashion statement or just an escape from the factory floor, it went to the core of everything they are.  There was a fantastic article in one of the Rock Magazines just after they released their 2015 album No Going Back.  The journalist who slated them in a review got a call from lead vocalist Jake Burns.  The journo says he shat himself when Jake and asked him to meet him down at a nearby pub to discuss the review.  Given Jakes’ reputation as a hard man the guy was expecting the worst.  When he walked in Jake bought them both a pint and then said something along the lines of “So tell me what you don’t like about this album”.  According to the journalist they had a long discussion with Jake explaining things and answering questions and by the end of the evening the journo just couldn’t help raving about what a rock solid regular guy Jake Burns is.  That story pretty much summarises what Stiff Little fingers are about, no bullshit, tell it like it is and bring everyone along with you.  And after the Paris terror attacks in 2015 who was the first band to play again in Paris….yep, Stiff Little Fingers,

James Daubeney