Aug 30. Okay, here's the news we've been promising. Our twelfth album, The Gonads Greater Hits Volume 3 - The Complete Cobblers will be released next Easter. Our aim is for this final part of the greater hits trilogy to be "at least as strong" if not stronger than Volume One – The Mutt's Nuts (which is now completely sold out on CD, and vinyl copies are as rare as Spizz buying a round). Vol 3 will be produced by Gal and Phil McDermott.
We can make no announcement about tracks at this stage - other than to say it will be "all killer, no filler" - but the record is expected to feature some of the all-time great members of this band from all 37 years of our glorious existence, including Clyde Ward, Nacho Jase, Tony Feedback, Casanova Kev, Mark McMighty and Mick Maverick as well as the full and shit-hot Rebellion line-up. Meantime, Gal and Clyde are aiming to finish recording the long-awaited GB Experience project over the Winter; the album is said by Fit Bird to be "very surprisin', innit." More details at some point but as for now, we're hibernating. Si-en ge-ha-le.
Gal's chat with Dennis Stratton, late of Iron Maiden is up and running here.
Aug 28. The East Sussex Jolly Pranksters weekender was a run-away smash, with organisers supplying "two solid hours of entertainment... crammed into three days of crap." Falling in one or other category were the teenage duo Ska-Jazz Herberts from Catford (nice!), radical folk-punk balladeer Elisa Rumpo, the notorious Shooters Hill 'grope dancers', psychic spoon-bender Beryl the Behemoth, and the over-80s nude gymnastic display troupe Saggy Clunge. Sadly the comedy tent was so well camouflaged nobody found it. A DVD will be available shortly for those with strong stomachs and no taste. Ask your Tyler for details. (Please note: 'radical folk-punk' is a modern synonym for stinking hippy shite.) But what word of the Cardiff weekender you ask? How about 'controversial' for starters? All hell broke loose at the gathering when radical Welsh prankster Jumpin' Jack Boyo called on the brethren to "throw off the yoke of the clapped out establishment" and "revolt into fantasy". Eyes bulging, Boyo urged the brotherhood to "walk away from yesterday" and "build a new nation, as colourful and challenging as a full English breakfast" through "a winning combination of sarcasm, gutter irony and indirect action." Tensions were running high but in the event cooler heads prevailed as the PM guided the fun-loving fraternity back to more important political issues such as free beer for the workers, nationalisation of the tote and "the decriminalisation of so-called prostitution". Quoth the PM: "Jack nearly won the day, but his suggestion that we 'walk away from yesterday' was the game changer. Pranksters as a body live for yesterday and have no truck with the present, let alone tomorrow." Here, here. Much more happened in South Wales last weekend but our enjoyment was curtailed by the big bust-up. Or Scarlet as she is known here at the Valley, Floyd Road.
Hottest debut single of the month is 'Giddy Boys' by Institute from Austin, Texas. The quirky seven inch brings early Crisis to mind, with a tantalising sprinkle of PiL...
Aug 18. STOP PRESS. Gutted to hear of the death earlier today of Colin Mcquillan of Runnin' Riot. Colin was much loved and respected, a diamond man and a rock solid trade unionist to boot who did much to keep the streetpunk scene in Belfast alive. Let's raise a pint or seven of Buckfast in honour of one of Ulster's finest. R.I.P. Col.
Record News: Aug 17. Oi was back with a vengeance in London town this weekend with gigs by the Old Firm Casuals plus Runnin' Riot, Control and the East End Badoes at the 100 Club on Friday, and Agnostic Front with Argy Bargy and Gimp Fist at the Garage tonight. Earlier today Lars joined Gal for an in-depth hour-long podcast – which should be up and running later this month. It's a bumper time for album releases and re-issues too. Out now are: 1) the Harrington Saints LP, Dead Broke In The USA, on colour vinyl from Pirates Press – the record includes a digital download card and is limited to 500 copies. 2) The Old Firm Casuals' This Means War on CD and vinyl from Randale in Europe and Oi The Boat in the USA. 3) GBH's second album City Baby's Revenge which has been reissued on colour vinyl by Cleopatra Records. And 4) The Dwarves' entirely modest The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll which is available from Recess Records. Also worth hearing the new 'Skeg City' 7inch from California's excellent Somali Pirates (Indecision Records)
Big love to Manic Esso who is recovering from an angina attack. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Pete.
We're on a break, as you know, but our 'snouts' will be out in force covering the two big Pranksters meets in South Wales and East Sussex next weekend, and anything untoward is sure to make these pages. We'll be back soon with Actual Gonads News and the inside gen on Shona & The Spacemen... In the meantime don't forget that Gal's chats with Pauline Black of the Selecter, Neville Staple of the Specials and Roy Ellis of the Symarips are all up and running at Litopia. Coming next? Iron Maiden's Dennis Stratton...
Aug 10. Rebellion and Farmer's Phil's Festival in pictures. Some kind of report might eventually follow...
Big Gonads thanks to Rebellion and Farmer Phil's for making this weekend such an amazing and draining experience. Blackpool is always brilliant. You see old mates and make new ones, the line-up is incredible, the atmosphere positive and friendly. We're still too knackered to put pen to paper so you have the FrankenSkin to thank for this exotic and occasionally erotic tour diary. Frankie writes:
It all started on a fresh Friday morning somewhere just outside of Charlton, south east London. At 4.30am (allegedly) Stief A'Billy came a knocking at Garry's door ready to head off to Rebellion. Now there were just two things wrong with that. Firstly, Gal was still toying with his column (allegedly) and secondly, Shona Wattsie Watts was nowhere to be seen. Despite living a couple of miles down the road she claimed to have been delayed by "a monsoon" – her first near death experience of the weekend... Five hours and 27 cups of coffee later, Wattsie FINALLY turns up, Gal FINALLY finishes fiddling with his column inches and with Fat Col in the back of the van, the merry band set off on what Stief assured us would be a nifty three and a half hour drive to Blackpool... Six hours, 20 traffic jams and seven service stations later (that's six hours of Stief's unlistenable music and Wattsie telling us at length about her gluten-free needs) we finally arrive at the North Pier in convoy with Paul, Sarah and Gentleman John. Job one is to find Phil for our backstage passes but Blackpool turns out to be the One Way System Capital of the North West. Getting from one street to the next is like a thirty minute stock car rally. Luckily though Stief drives (and looks) like Penelope Pit-Stop on Prozac, so we cut that time down to 25 mins...
As we arrive thousands of punks, skins, psychobillies and suchlike noise fans are already drunkenly cluttering up the roads (and it's only Friday). We dash off to check in to our different hotels (see earlier blog entry) before hitting the festival. This is where the weekend starts to turn into a cross between The Twilight Zone, Carry On Abroad and Alice In Wonderland. Paul, John and Sarah get to their hovel first; we arrive and off goes Wattsie to do the business, bearing in mind that it is she who spent weeks booking all of us into various hotels, not necessarily all in the same town. She's greeted by the hotel landlord, a rather odd looking version of Rab C Nesbitt who is just as drunk; in fact, so drunk that he tries to give Wattsie all the keys to ALL the rooms. He then sends us on a wild goose chase for a car park that doesn't even exist. When we get back to inform him of its non-existence, he remembers that we have parking spaces at the hotel. "Sorted" I hear you say. NO NO NO NO NO, because now it's time for Wattsie and Stief to check into their hotel which is where it goes all Carry On Abroad. The hotel is in the middle of being re-built. We spend half an hour going through the booking in process. At one point Wattsie demands to know if the hotel itself is gluten free, I kid you not. Wattsie eventually gets shown a room that is stylish and elegant, but most definitely not what she booked, Stief is shown a room that has nothing in it except workmen's tools and parts, No, don't get excited, it was literally only their tools and parts. Cue diva strop and new rooms are provided. Finally we have time for a shower and a chill out.. NO NO NO NO NO again. No sooner than we had christened the hotel 'El's Bells' then Gal is on the blower asking why the fuck are we all so late and don't we know there's a festival on? (Gal had thrown his own diva strop and had his oppo Clayman book him into the Imperial on some kind of Arthur Daley deal; this hotel is so posh it's rumoured that his mini-bar is an actual bar staffed by dwarves). Meanwhile Wattsie is having the second of her near death experiences, John has broken a string and Sarah is joyriding the tour van around town cos the pissed-up landlord is hallucinating that some nonexistent person in a wheelchair needs her to move it. After Wattsie has the second of her many near death experiences, it's finally time to get to the venue and prepare for tonight's gig by getting lager-handed. Yep, it's T'Gonads at Rebellion, folks. This is gonna be epic...
Backstage are all the usual legends, Charlie Harper, Slippery Lee Wilson, JJ and Beefy from The Last Resort, Max Splodge, Chris and Rob from Gimp Fist, Donkey Laugh, the great Mong Tony Van Frater, Noel Martin from Menace, Barnet Mark, Diana Schuler and the boy Cherry just to name a few. The only one missing is Fat Col who has been adopted by a hen party and won't be seen again until Sunday evening. Wattsie has now nearly recovered from her earlier near death experiences and is helping Sarah dress me in a rather delightfully outrageous costume. The gig itself is near perfect, with just a few on-stage sound problems at the very start. My own entrance is naturally spectacular and Gal's free t-shirt distribution at the end goes down like the Belgrano. It isn't meant to be the end but after 'Tomorrow's Girls' (sung by Phil) we run out of time. But here is what is more gutting: the next day Charlie Harper tells us he'd been planning to come along, jump up for 'I Lost My Love To A UK Sub' and whisk Wattsie away... which would have been punk rock history in the making.
Saturday is the day of Farmer Phil's gig in Shrewsbury. We'd planned to leave at 3pm cos one of Stief's favourite bands Gimp Fist are playing at 2pm, and as the driver, no-one can go until Stief says so. NO NO NO NO NO again. Gal (now known as Old Mr Bossy Boots here-in-after) insists we leave at 2pm in order to make up the time we lost on the M6 yesterday (It's the Alzheimer's). So Stief being entirely loyal and responsible goes missing for a whole bleedin' hour returning with a Gimp Fist t-shirt and bags of Haribo sweets only to discover that in his absence Sarah Black has staged a management coup with the blessing of Lord Waistrel. Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) is out of the picture and Sarah is in charge. Long story short, Stief's name is now in her little black book of offenders. Two more entries and he's aht. The delay does at least mean we get to catch up with Paul 'Stalin of Style' Hallam who is up here to flog Street Sounds and to hear Rhoda's interviews with Teddie Dahlin and Snowy.
Off we head on the 112 mile trek to Shropshire. But what should have been a swift 90minute journey turned into an episode of Catch The Pigeon as the Sat-Nav takes us into Wales, Shona has her third near death experience, and Stief tries to convince us that Shropshire isn't in England. We think he's on acid but that's okay with Wattsie as long as the tabs are gluten-free. Two and a half hours later we finally reach Farmer Phil's. The fest is set in a mass of fields; square mile after square mile of sheep, cows and dung. There is no sign of exterior human life whatsoever. This place makes the middle of nowhere look like Piccadilly Circus. Wattsie has her fourth near death experience – this time the result of travel sickness and food deprivation; in this neck of the woods you're more likely to find a pixie than anything gluten-free. But the festival-goers seem a chilled-out bunch – lots of new age traveller types with their kids (some children, some actual goats), punks, rockers and lots of colourful characters. We're not sure how we'll go down but the good folk running the show are proper decent people and we take solace from the fact that Vice Squad played here last night and still seem to be alive.
Problem one is immediate as soon as we hit the stage: down the front is a phalanx of small children which, given Gal's lyrics, is like booking Chubby Brown to play a kindergarten. Exercising remarkable self-control Gal stops himself from singing every eff and c in the set, although he sticks with "arsehole", which makes sense as new number 'The Beautiful Soul' relies on it. The big high-light is my own entry for 'Dance Fat-Boy Dance' but crowd-pleasers include 'Oi Mate', 'Grant Mitchell' and the new extended version of 'England's Glory' which seems to touch a nerve. Coming on to 'Liquidator' we play a full 75 minute set of: Punk Rock Till I Die, Jobs Not Jails, The Growler, Oi Mate, SE7 Dole Day, Grant Mitchell, Lager Top, Alconaut, Dance Fat-Boy Dance, next single Temazepam, Gob, Shropshire Boys, Big Balls, Re-Infected, The Beautiful Soul, Tucker's Ruckers, I Lost My Love To A UK Sub, Tomorrow's Girls, Rob A Bank, Valhallaballoo and England's Glory...
After the gig, Paul, Sarah, John and Phil head home (lightweights!) while the rest of us hot-foot it back to Blackpool in time to party with the Saturday bands, though not before stopping off at a service station on the M6 where me and Wattsie realise that neither of us has remembered to get changed out of our stage gear. We’re both still in tutus so we look like a cross between the ugly sisters and Mavis Cruet in our multi-coloured tights and sexy-exy mascara. This certainly raises eyebrows and excites a few stag parties. Apart from a near collision – and Wattsie’s 27th near death experience – there is no more drama tonight.
Now Sunday should be a nice relaxing day; no stress, no hassle... NO NO NO NO NO again... cos Gal is interviewing top drawer writers on Rebellion’s Literary Stage and needs to get there on time, which relies on Wattsie getting up and ready to leave by 11am. Naturally this doesn’t happen and we reach the venue with just minutes to spare. We drop Gal off to start his gruelling series of chats. The only problem is that he’s had two hours kip and has drunk enough to float HMS Belfast. Mercifully the first interview is with old pal and ex-Gonads drummer Manic Esso which gives him time to reactivate his brain with a steady supply of medicinal Stella. Meanwhile Stief and Wattsie head off to Blackpool Tower where the two loons refuse to sit through the educational film and demand to be taken straight to the top, claiming to be “one of the headline acts at Rebellion”. Incredibly the staff believe their nonsense and whisk them up in a lift. At the top, the hurricane that has been threatened all weekend decides to hit Blackpool, prompting Wattsie to have her 115th near death experience. According to her the Tower is “most definitely wobbling and is gonna fall down.” She also spots that it isn’t gluten-free. The management panic and shut it down.
Back at Rebellion, Gal is working through his interviews. Great names they are as well: Ian Glasper of Burning Britain fame, Chicago author Bill Hillmann, Steve Ignorant (who kindly stood in at the last minute when Joey Shithead failed to show on time), Dave and Segs from the mighty Ruts and the living legend that is Irvine Welsh. Johnny Wah-Wah also leaps up to interview Gal. Mr Gonad comes off stage knackered after a four and a half stint, only to be whisked away by Segs and Tara Rez from The Duel for their internet TV show. Time is running out, and slave-master Gal has decreed that we have to leave by 7pm as he’s got to work the next day (boring!) so we pack in Rhoda Dakar’s glam rock set (with our Tony Feedback on guitar), some Rust and the Old Firm Casuals. We eventually make it out before 8pm, feeling sad but also a little relieved to be homeward bound. The drama isn’t over yet though as almost immediately we get the message that Stalin has been involved in a car crash outside Manchester and his jag’s more fucked than ****** ***** (name deleted on grounds of good taste). Quite why he’s driving a capitalist jag rather than a Russian Lada is anyone’s guess, but at least he’s unhurt and consequently acquires a new nickname – if Prescott is Two Jags, Hallam is now No Jags.
There is a problem when Fat Col takes over the proceedings and serenades Wattsie with a procession of lewd and inappropriate rugby songs, including the appalling An Engineer Told Me, and yet another delay because Stief needs diesel but rather than stop off on the M25 where the petrol stations are easy to find and open for 24 hours like someone sensible, he decides to wait until we’re in Bexley where because it’s Sunday night they’re all effing shut. This means driving on to Eltham at a time when all of our eyes are being held open by matchsticks. But hey ho, we save at least tuppence a gallon and the boy has done so well he actually gets a herogram from Waistrel and (even more unusual) some readies topped up by a promise of a cheque “in the post” which he believes. Bless. Finally, all the drop-offs are done and we’re all in bed by 3am. And home by 4.30. It was a superb weekend full of laughs, mates, great bands and enough alcohol to give a government health quango a blue fit. What happens next is anyone’s guess because as a great man once said the future is unwritten. This blog is closing down for a good kip but you can carry on with your lives secure in the knowledge that the Gonads will never die.
PS. FrankenSkin missed a few things, including one very surprising twist. On Saturday night Wattsie was a-wooed by Alvin Gibbs of the UK Subs who over the course of a six hour drinking session apparently invited her to “join the band” – can’t the Subs get their own bleeding loves??? Also missing: South Coast Steve’s stage invasion, Stief’s new nickname of “Monkey” (as in ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ after he ripped off Wattsie’s tutu look) and Fat Col’s rage at the veggie-only buffet. “Burnt burgers made out of effin’ tofu,” he moaned loudly. “I am going to knock up vegetables made out of pure meat and trick you pasty-faced bastard vegans into eating a few of them... ” So if we don’t get invited back we’ll know why!
The Who are asking fans to share rare and lost recordings, forgotten radio and TV performances, amateur concert footage, bootleg recordings, demos, photos and memorabilia. The band will include the best items in their forthcoming anniversary releases, crediting the fans who supplied 'em, and giving each donor two VIP tickets to the show of their choice on the world tour. You can email Roger and co at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug 7. This just in – great new 'Terry & The Toe-rags' shots from the secret gigs...
AUG 6. You didn't expect this!! Last night we played the REAL secret gig at a Kent pub. You read that right! Monday's 12 Bar gig was a ruse, a distraction, pure subterfuge. It was a warm-up for the warm-up! The actual warm-up gig was yesterday! In front of an invite-only audience, Terry & The Toe-Rags took the stage and played the entire 75 minutes Farmer Phil's Festival set, including new song 'The Beautiful Soul', 'Reinfected', AC/DC's 'Big Balls' and a moving, six minute set-closing version of 'What's The Story? England's Glory'. We'll see you at Rebellion, folks. The blog returns next week... if we do!
Don't forget there are just six weeks to go until Undercover Festival at Bisley Pavilion near Woking in Surrey with a line-up including Penetration, the UK Subs, Spear of Destiny and the rather fine Gentleman's Dub Club.
Aug 5. Last night's Rebellion warm-up was a lively affair. We played the 12 Bar as "Terry & The Toe-Rags" blasting through the 15-song set for Friday. "It sounded good to me," claimed a delusional Barnet Mark and who are we to argue? Luminaries in attendance included Carrie Griffiths from Buster Shuffle, Lee Wilson (round dodger), Watford Jon (salad dodger), Tottenham Sean, Sandy Lane, Frankie Flame... on and on the list goes. Stief forget the FrankenSkin mask but improvised a bandaged Mummy look with the aid of Sarah Black and a purloined bog roll, claiming to have been the victim of "police brutality" after his recent arrest. The audience included people from Hamburg and as far away as Brazil, who told us "It is an honour and an unexpected pleasure to finally see the legendary Gonads live, this has made our trip special." They also got dangerously excited by Wattsie's sexy ballet look, which Fat Col describes as tutu much. And we got dangerously excited when Carrie said "I'm just trying to get my leg over"... until we realised that she was literally trying to get her leg over a chair to sit down. The Germans said "When we saw that 'Terry & The Toe-Rags' were playing we naturally thought the worst and assumed it was the PM's new band. We are so happy it was you." Danke schön, old chinas. Another crazy fool told us he had postponed a promise of anal sex "with a woman" to see the entire set, no doubt trying to score brown eye points with us. Our manager, Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner), provided a more measured analysis. The performance had "a shambolic start, but recovered well," he observed. "Friday will be spectacular." Oi Oi to that. Click below for some photos.
PS. See Carrie get 'Naked' here.
We'll be back after Rebellion so toodle pip and all that. If you're short of good reading material the latest issue of Street Sounds is now ready to order from: www.streetsoundsonline.co.uk/...
STOP PRESS: Status Quo have cancelled six concerts on their European tour after our mate Rick Parfitt was hospitalised. Dates in Croatia, Monte Carlo, Germany and Switzerland were scrapped after Rick was rushed off for emergency care. Manager Simon Porter tells us: "We don't cancel gigs lightly but we had no option but to follow medical advice." Guitarist Rick had heart bypass surgery in 1997, and was warned by doctors to calm down his r'n'r lifestyle.
Aug 4. It's the secret gig tonight – report to follow in a day or so. And then what? What will become of the Gonads after next weekend? At least one of these options is true: 1) We will sack our singer and become a salsa band 2) We will permanently cease to exist 3) We will be reborn as Shona & The Spacemen 4) The Gonads will never die, we will merely wind back operations in the UK and play the occasional festival or "interesting event"... Intriguing, no? Whichever option is true, 2015 will definitely see the dawning of a new era and the coming of the Garry Bushell Experience.
Katy Perry wants to join the Illuminati. She told Rolling Stone magazine in the USA: "If the Illuminati exist, I would like to be invited. I see all that shit and I'm like: 'Come on, let me in! I want to be in the club.'" Few 'profane' people know that the Illuminati are merely a subgrouping of the Jolly Pranksters, and unfortunately for Katy they're not interested. Speaking from a darkened corner of a South London pub, Effete El (for it was he) told us: "We considered Katy's application, but then we listened to one of her songs. Oh dear. Not exactly Aretha Franklin is she?" Probably not. We can reveal that the Pranksters have however been in talks with the Oi Organising Committee about a plan to stand candidates on an Oi For England platform next year. The OOC are still debating the proposition; some wish to steer clear of "the political chaos that has dogged our movement since day one" (Gannon, C) , others insist that if Oi is to mean anything it must continue to fight poverty and unemployment. Sister Sandra Lane told the Loughborough meeting: "If 'Jobs not jails' and 'Live free die free' are to be more than slogans then we must take our message to the people via the ballot box; otherwise every Oi band is just wanking in to the wind." A lovely image... we think Gannon got nicked for that.
Aug 3. Here it is, issue 8 of Street Sounds, a Rebellion special out in days featuring Lee Wilson, Jello Biafra, NOFX, Roy Ellis, punk humour, the Featherz and much more... It's a belter!
STOP PRESS: We are sorry to hear that Ronnie Rocka has died. Ronnie played guitar with a host of bands including the Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies, Splodge, The Crabs, the Angelic Upstarts, the Heavy Metal
Aug 2. Okay in just just eight days time, the Gonads will cease to exist in the manner you've become accustomed to. We play the secret London gig on Monday, Rebellion on Friday and Farmer Phil's Fest a week today – and then "everything changes," says manager Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner). "All bets are off. This is not a wind-up. From August 10th the Gonads will no longer play regular UK gigs." Expect the unexpected...
RANDOM news: reggae legend Jimmy Cliff plays the Clapham Grand on 19 August... The Interrupters self-titled album is out now on Hellcat, fronted by libertarian Aimee Allen, the LA Ska/punk band are upbeat, funny and properly outspoken... the Oi Organising Committee meet in Loughborough (don't ask) today; big things are on the agenda, we may even get to hear about them...