Please note the items you are about to read consist largely of scurrilous gossip, vicious back-stabbing and idle speculation. As Jon Stewart might say, its stories are not fact checked. Its informants are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.
Jan 31. Next month's featured album in the Gonads store is Live Free Die Free. Half written by the late, great Tony Van Frater this "neglected masterpiece" was first released in 2009 as a 16 track CD (Empty Records) and an 18-track vinyl double album (Joe Pogo) with a gate-fold sleeve. All tracks are by Bushell/Van Frater except for Pink Tent, Drink Till I'm Skint, Attack Of The Zombie Skinheads, Love Is A Lie, Long Ska Summer, Pie & Mash and London Boys (Rise Up) which were written by Gal alone; and SVL, South London Aggro Girl and Hey You which are Gal and Clyde Ward compositions. The vinyl version has two additional tracks: the demo of Charlton Tel's Stag Weekend (Bushell/Ward) and the original version of Frankenskin (Bushell/Feedback). It was produced by Gal and Pat Collier at Perryvale Studio, apart from the three songs which were co-written with Clyde. The blinding cover artwork is by Sucker.
This album was "very much a line in the sand", according to band historian Gary Fields. "Songs like Cemetery Of Lost Souls defined the Gonads' libertarian stance, warning against the growing power of the State and insisting 'You either fight or just grow old'." The Beast, who was the Gonads' manager at the time adds: "It was important to marry hard-punk anthems with lyrics that had meaning, to prove we were more than a joke band. The message was: we were back, we were hard and we had something to say." This seriousness is reflected in the barn-storming Valhallaballoo with its final words: 'We'll live free and we'll die free, how about you?' London Boys (Rise Up) also has a powerful theme urging working class Londoners to "take our city back" from the money men who were ripping the soul out of the capital. Some have misinterpreted Conquest as being about Islamists but explains Fields "It's actually inspired by Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings". The band's trademark humour is here too with songs like The Growler and Attack Of The Zombie Skinheads. Hey You is "a scene out of a pulp fiction crime story". And Duelling Baddoes is best off being the final track. Gonads on this album were Gal (vox), Tony Van Frater (guitar), RD MacGonads (drums) and Big Billy Boy (bass); special guests were Steve Whale (lead guitar, Conquest), Leah McCaffrey (vocals, Attack Of The Zombie Skinheads), Liberty Hayes (vocals Drink Till I'm Skint & Love Is A Lie), Jennie Bellestar (backing vox, London Boys), Jimi 'Corporal Salt' Patel (sitar, Pie & Mash), and Terry Hayes (vox, Duelling Badoes). Says Fields: "Gal brought in three great guest singers in Leah, Jennie and Liberty, writing Drink Till I'm Skint and Love Is A Lie specifically for Libs who he describes as 'a real talent in need of direction'."
The full CD track-listing is: Cemetery Of Lost Souls, Attack Of The Zombie Skinheads, Valhallaballoo, The Growler, Love Is A Lie, The Greatest Cockney Xmas, Drink Till I'm Skint, Pink Tent, London Boys (Rise Up), Long Ska Summer, SVL, Pie & Mash, South London Aggro Girl, Conquest, Hey You and Duelling Baddoes. Here are some more things you might not know: Pink Tent was originally written by Gal in 1972 for his band of the same name. (That first version was slower). Pie & Mash was the result of a happy accident: "Gal had given Tony the chords to Pink Tent and this was the band's first take before he got to the studio". It was way too slow, but rather than ditch it Gal quickly wrote some piss-taking lyrics based on MacGonad's unfortunately ill-fated visit to a Nepalese curryhouse the night before (he suffered with bad guts for a week afterwards – hence the chorus "Should've had pie & mash"). Jimi Patel was an old friend from Lewisham who happened to play the sitar. The female voice on The Greatest Cockney Christmas is Antonia Moore, the East End born fetish model turned rock photographer, AKA "The Black Marilyn". Charlton Tel's Stag Weekend is of course based on "a very true story". Next month: the story behind Plums.
Jan 30. Calling all Cockney Rejects fans! The band will be making a major announcement in exactly one week (Saturday 6th Feb). To experience this momentous hour in Oi Oi history as it happens get your arse to Oi Oi The Shop in Camden for 3pm. We'll say no more, but it WON'T be a wasted trip.
Jan 29. Dickie Hammond's final recording can be pre-ordered today. The album Warm Places is by Medication – a collaboration "supergroup" formed by members of Leatherface and Montreal's the Sainte Catherines – was recorded in 2013. Pre-order from here
Out now on vinyl, Three by The Dishrags – Canada's first all-women punk rock group. The 'Rags (Dale Powers, Jade Blade and Scout) sprang into dishy action back in 1976, supporting the likes of the Clash and the Ramones in Western Canada and the USA. Three features 14 unreleased recordings, plus their first 3-song single, two numbers recorded for Vancouver Complication and a live bonus track from their 1997 CD.
R.I.P. Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, who has died aged 74 of organ failure and septic shock.
Jan 25. Good news alert! We'll be playing the Big 7 Scooter Rally in Kent this June – and it'll be the full 90 minute set. More details to follow…
What was the hottest new track of 2015? Gal's song of the year show is up now, with judges Jonny Wah Wah Taylor and some bolshy bird called Wattsie. In the mix: offerings from The Spitfires, Iron Chin, Loaded 44, The Cundeez, The Featherz, The Amphetameanies, Christine 'Sugary' Staple, Alias Kid, Ming City Rockers and many more (Wot? No Gonads?). Hear the battle play out.
Jan 24. Here is Micky Fitz's latest health update and the last he hopes for a while:
Hi Gal, Before I write below my final update for hopefully at least a few months, I want to say a big thank you Garry for letting me use your access to friends etc and the support that it has given me mate! As some of your kind readers are aware, yesterday saw the end of my intense Radiolology and Chemotherapy treatment which followed a throat operation to remove an extremely aggressive tumour that was working its way through my neck. The scans could not find a primary cause so an operation was the only hope followed by the treatment (no, not that lot from SE16). That being concluded, my main battle now begins to try and get everything in proper working order. I'm still at the 'nil by mouth' stage therefore making it impossible to talk properly let alone shout down a mic.So first and foremost the dieticians and neck n throat specialists need to get me eating without catching pneumonia via my wind pipe. Guy's Hospitals NHS cancer team is a massive involvement and dwarfs the private side both equipment and staffwise. I was pleased to learn the truth the hard working ward. Before closing I'd like you to spare a thought for my other half Kim who has endured this every day to support me, but I did remind her how much we we're saving on food! Thank you all so so much - all my best Micky Fitz
Jan 24. The Charlton Boys were in the thick of yesterday's flash protest against Duchatelet's ruinous misrule at Charlton Atheletic FC. Thousands demonstrated outside the Valley after the 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers. Gonads loyalists Chris, Jel, Frazzle and Owen are among the angry Addicks backing CARD (The Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet). The fans are also boycotting all club products including programmes, merchandise, and the over-priced beer. Said Charlton Tel: "The Belgian owners have left us staring into the abyss of relegation, the slags seem more interested in building a hotel behind the Jimmy Seed Stand than the football."
Jan 23. Big news! After intense meetings with Lord Waistrel, we can announce that we will film our first ever live DVD in April – just weeks after we record our new acoustic album. And in an exciting twist, Randale Records have just agreed to release a sixteen track Gonads Ska collection – as advocated by Fat Col, jailbird and visionary – later this year. We're even working on some gigs! 2016: officially the Year of the Pumping Gonads. 'Ave it!
Gal is so chuffed he has arranged a special January sale of his novel Facedown. The pulp fiction beauty will be available for just £4.99 plus p&p while stocks last. Facedown has been dubbed "fists-up, pants-down lads' noir", "violent, sleazy and wickedly funny" and "Mickey Spillane meets Micky Flanagan". It concludes the Harry Tyler trilogy but can be read as a stand-alone book. The gangster saga began in 2001 with The Face and continued in 2003's Two-Faced. Plans to film the first novel were derailed when leading man Dave Legeno tragically died in 2014, but Lip Up Media are now actively working to recast the role and revive the project.
Jan 22. Gal recorded a new podcast today with old pals Dave Ruffy and Segs of Ruts DC, we'll let you know when it's up and running.
Record Noos: Violent Reaction's Marching On LP is out soon on coloured vinyl from Revelation Records…the new Casualties album Chaos Sounds is out now from Season Of Mist – fifteen hot and angry tracks… And we've noticed that our Live Free Die Free CD is selling for up to £120 on Amazon, while copies of Old Boots No Panties are on sale for more than £35. There is absolutely no need to pay such fucked-up prices! The CDs are each available for £10 (plus p&p) from our shop page. Don't be ripped off!
NOFX's biography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub & Other Stories is published on April 12, 2016 by Da Capo Press. The hefty 352-page tome was written by the band and Jeff Alulis (aka Jeff Penalty).
Jan 21. Garry Johnson's new book Punk Rock Stories & Tabloid Tales is published on 1st February. The album of the same name is released on 26th Feb.
Jan 20. Jimi Hendrix's London pad opens to the public next month. The third-floor flat at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair, has undergone a £2.4m make-over so the living room will look exactly like it did when the great man died in 1970. There will be exhibits and photos, plus a state-of-the-art studio which will be used for teaching and as a concert venue. Opening day is 10th Feb.
Ooh, just noticed Gang Green's 1986 Skate To Hell single is out on vinyl again from Tang.
Jan 19. More bad news. Mott the Hoople drummer Dale 'Buffin' Griffin has died aged 67, and so has Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, also 67. Buffin passed away on Sunday in his sleep after a long battle with Alzheimer's. He was a founder member of Mott and one of the nicest blokes in rock. Glenn Frey 'succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and pneumonia', according to a band statement. R.I.P. both.
Mercifully Charlie Harper, 107, is still with us and there's a brand new UK Subs live DVD out now. Subs By The Sea was filmed at the Scarborough Corporation Club last year by our mate Ken Webster (Oi! The Hypnotist) and it's selling for £14.99.
Jan 18. The sharp-dressed gents over at the Idiot-Free Oi page on Facebook report that their Top Ten tracks for December were: 1) The Angelic Upstarts – The Murder Of Liddle Towers (very festive!) 2) The Specials – Sock It To 'Em, JB 3) Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody 4) The Bruisers – Till The End 5) Cock Sparer – Secret Army 6) The Business – Step Into Xmas 7) The Cockney Rejects – Join The Rejects 8) The Business – Harry May 9) The Angelic Upstarts – Leave Me Alone 10) The Guttersnipes – Guns & Rockets... with our Greatest Cockney Xmas bubbling under at 11. We're doing better this month, though, where the most played tracks so far are: 1) Cock Sparrer – England Belongs To Me 2) The Cockney Rejects – Motorhead 3) The Oppressed – Living with Unemployment 4) The Cockney Rejects – Bad Man 5) The 4-Skins – One Law For Them 6) The Business – National Insurance Blacklist 7) Rose Tattoo – Scarred for Life 8) Blitz – Someone's Gonna Die Tonight 9) The Gonads – Jobs Not Jails 10) The Gonads – Punk Rock Till I Die... with Crown Court's Ruck n Roll ep bubbling under.
Jan 17. Our pal Louise Distras tells us she's working on her follow album to Dreams From The Factory Floor; she'll also be playing Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas this May along with the Exploited, the Descendents, Buzzcocks and Flogging Molly... the great Lars Frederiksen is back in the UK that month and if you fancy some Viking ink he'll be tattooing up at Skunx between the 4th and 8th May. Limited slots are available so book fast.
The Jollars album, Half Cut, is out now from Aggrobeat. It's the authentic sound of the Cork city backstreets and according to one authority, it's "proper!"
Jan 15. Black Sabbath have released a behind the scenes video which reveals that the band will add some unexpected numbers to the set for their final tour, The End. These golden oldies include the cocaine anthem 'Snowblind', 'Fairies Wear Boots' (for Crystal Palace?) and 'Hand Of Doom'. Meanwhile Mick Geggus tells us that the Cockney Rejects hard rock set is ON for the 100 Club in April, with Mick, Jeff and Vince Riordan. There is so far no confirmation that Mick will be playing any other Rejects gigs however. Vince suggests, perhaps tongue in cheek, that it's high time that we did a hard rock/metal set, including he advises 'TNT' – now known as 'Tattooed Love Girl' – which he originally played on. Such a set would no doubt encompass such head-banging belters as 'Made In London', 'Skinhead Girl', 'We Are The Boys', 'Beki Bondage Please' and 'Lights Out In Charlton', among others, and feature guest vocals from the Blue Rat and extra lead guitar from special guests Mark McMighty and the legend that is Dennis Stratton. (Not that we've thought about it much, mind). In typical haughty fashion Waistrel immediately squashed the idea, but we say "never say never".
Calling all connoisseurs of quality consumer goods: vinyl copies of the Live Free, Die Free double album (gatefold sleeve), our Built For Destruction & Mutts Nuts albums, and the 30 Years Of Oi triple album are now on sale from All Ages Records in Camden.
Jan 14. Wattsie Watts returns from visiting Fat Col in Belmarsh. How was the great man, we ask? "A lot happier before I got there!" she snaps. Apparently Wattsie read the fat fool the riot act for shamefully passing off shoddy "Ivana Humpalot" love dolls ("with three love holes!") as customised Wattsie Watts blow-up devices – no such dolls exist of course and never will. Colin also received hour long visits this week from his ex-wife Janette, during which the conversation revolved around his various failings (sexual, financial, hygienic and philosophical), and The Nosher who apparently "did things with a banana that defy description on a family blog". In a related story Col has just applied for a transfer to HMP Wakefield.
If you want to see Violent Reaction's Snugglefest set – and why wouldn't you? – have a butcher's here.
Controversy blights South East London pranksterism yet again after Soppy Nigel invited Cranky Frank to address a lodge meeting above the Fighting Cock last night. The Crank was supposed to be talking about charitable endeavours but instead lectured the noble brotherhood on the subject of "The Hermetic Order Of The Silver Dusk" – a proscribed organisation dedicated to the occult, the paranormal and tarot divination – before launching into the world of conspiracy theories. His one good eye blazing with passion, Francis raved on and on "like a man possessed" about the Illuminati, lizard men, the plot to destroy Europe and the faking of the moon landing. He was, we're told, eventually shown the door by the outraged brethren, some of whom bombarded him with beer mats, beer bottles and partly-chewed corned beef baguettes. Effete El tells us: "We didn't mind the witchcraft and the ghoulies but the other stuff was way out of line. It really upset Millwall Ted the ancient pub landlord who is a close personal friend of Buzz Aldrin, as well as being a cold-blooded reptilian shape-shifter from Alpha Centauri."
Jan 13. The Gonads 2016. Now available for TWO very different sets: 1) A full-on "pure punk for row people" set, up to one hour of seamless oi-oi classics 2) a semi-acoustic, sing-along drunk rock party set. Serious enquiries only to email@example.com - Gig Liaison Officer: Lee Wilson. Rider: 4 crates of Stella and a hot spam slider.
Jan 12. Shock news. In a group email, Wattsie Watts complains that Gal "keeps coming up in my spam." Well we've never heard it called that before. Wattsie goes on "You're in the wrong box, I don't want you up my spam." Quite. The man needs to get some glasses. For his part Gal has vowed to aim for her in-box several times a day and to avoid her spam wherever possible, although he might be telling porkies and does admit to being ham-fisted. From his lonely prison cell a jealous Fat Col texts to say "No wonder he's going wrong, spam is maps backwards." And you wonder why they've locked him up.
In Col's unfortunate/merciful absence, we have appointed a new tour manager and gig booker – Lee Wilson! Yes the Infa-Riot frontman is busying himself finding us quality shows. And guess what he wants for his services... that's right. Free beer!
Planet Earth Still Blue alert: Bowie Remembrance Night, this Friday, organised by Bromley Pranksters. See your Tyler for details.
Jan 11. R.I.P. David Bowie. Garry Johnson writes: "I am crying , I am shaking... I feel sick... the tears are streaming down my face... a massive part of me has died, DAVID BOWIE was my HERO... IS MY HERO. The world will never be the same... I LOVED that bloke... RIP ZIGGY STARDUST... I AM IN SHOCK... without doubt the greatest and most talented star in the history of the world... I met him in 1985 and shook his hand... I was buzzing for weeks and did not wash my hand... A part of me has died. Love on ya David Bowie xxx". Nuff said.
Jan 10. Our great acoustic album is going ahead! After hours of "intense negotiations" Gal has thrashed out a deal with Oi record magnate Diana Schuler, the belle of the Black Forest, to release the quality platter later this year. LONDON BAWLIN', The Gonads – Unplugged in South London will feature at least sixteen classic tracks including all the songs from the legendary Rebellion acoustic set. Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) tells the waiting world: "There may be a couple of guest appearances to spice it all up an' all... not that it needs it."
We've had a bit of bad news from Micky Fitz who tells us he's reacted badly to his chemotherapy. The good news is the main treatment finishes on 22nd January so he says "Let's hope I start feeling better and get my strength back after that." Fingers crossed, Mick.
In other news, Agnostic Front's incredible Liberty & Justice For... album has been re-issued on colour vinyl "at 45 RPM for maximum speed and maximum power" by Strength Records.
Jan 9. Gal recorded his 'song of the year' podcast yesterday, pitching 20 competing numbers from such fine bands as the Ming City Rockers, Loaded 44, The Spitfires and the Amphetameanies against each other. Puke Box Jury judges Jonny Wah Wah & Shona Wattsie Watts were firm and not always fair but a worthy winner was finally agreed on. At the end of the recording Garry Johnson and Sulo Soren Karlsson, who also had a song in the running, turned up firm-handed... but was it for a victory drink? We'll let you know when it's all edited...
Record Noos: Rancid are in the studio working on a new album... Pennywise are releasing a compilation of their early material. Called 1988, the album is due out on 20th May... and the 4 Skins retrospective Lowlife album is now out on vinyl from Radiation, including their earliest singles 'Yesterday's Heroes', 'One Law For Them', and 'Low Life'.
Jan 8. 11pm UPDATE: Unconfirmed whispers reach us claiming that Fat Col is being held under anti-terror laws. Why so? Our sources allege that the lock-up Col has been using for his hooky Xmas goods has been linked to a known "activist" from Turkey (known locally as Bomber Kebab). One of the finest legal minds in the Western Hemisphere (The Beast) is understood to be on the case, but we hear that he has advised his client that due to current circumstances (i.e. Wattsie finding out about his dodgy blow-up dolls) he might be safer in Belmarsh... On a brighter note, Motorhead's Ace Of Spades is in the Top 20. R.I.P. Lem.
Oh and a milk advert that Lemmy recorded just weeks before he died has been released by the makers "as a tribute", they say. In the ad for the Finnish dairy Valio, the great man is seen leaving a shop with a walking stick. He stares fiercely at the camera and sneers: "I have never drunk milk, and never will... You asshole." Our formidable webmistress Batttttty rightfully notes: "Tribute my arse. It's Valio milking a dead cash cow more like".
The Manchester Punk Fest takes place between 21st and 23rd April, with The Flatliners, Oi Polloi, Citizen Fish, Wonk Unit, Sick On The Bus and more than fifty other bands. Tickets £21 in advance.
Jan 8. Oh dear, this is embarrassing. Even as big-hearted Wattsie organises a campaign to liberate Fat Col (Free the Plumstead One! Or Free The Plum?) we learn that the reason for the kerfuffle at Colin's market stall was a geezer trying to return his Wattsie Watts blow-up doll. Apparently the irate gentleman complained that "the legs wouldn't open when required and the gob never stopped flapping" to which the ever gallant Col replied: "Well we said it was authentic." We're still attempting to discover why he was nicked though and more worryingly why he has been denied bail.
Jan 7. Oi! These are all available from our shop page in the great
JANUARY no SALE! PRICES ain't REDUCED! HURRY WHILE STOCKS LAST!
Jan 6. STOP PRESS. Terrible news! Our friend and super-fan Fat Col was reportedly arrested this morning in Woolwich market. Eye-witness Slippery Ted tells us: "First there was a big fracas around Col's stall – it looked like a geezer was trying to give back something bulky. But then two Old Bill turned up and carted Col off. I dunno if the two things are related. He ain't been seen since." More news as we have it.
Meanwhile, hot news for London Ska fans: the great Neville Staple plays The Prince of Wales in Brixton on 5th Feb, and headlines a "Three Generations of Ska" show at Under The Bridge with Dandy Livingstone and Buster Shuffle on 22nd April...
Jan 5. The memorial service for Lemmy will take place in West Hollywood this Saturday (9th). The memorial was originally due to happen at the Rainbow Bar & Grill but due to public demand it will now rightfully extend to the whole of Sunset Strip. Back home, 'Ace Of Spades' is due to go Top Ten this week.
In other news, up-and-coming Mod yobs the Spitfires undertake a six date Take Action tour in April. And Undercover Festival is back later this year with a new home. The punk/Ska/reggae etc fest is moving to Brighton Racecourse for the 2016 weekender, which will be on the 9th and 10th September.
Jan 4. Fat Col is lobbying for us to release a whole album of our Ska and reggae songs. Gal is resisting the plan, but Col argues: "If the Gonads were doing their Oi-Tone songs in 1980 they'd be as revered now as Bad Manners are. Look at the evidence – 'South London Aggro Girl', 'Cheeky Chappie', 'Getting Pissed', 'Oi Mate', 'It's Getting Harder'... these ditties are as nifty as anything on the first Madness album." Well, it's a point of view.
Jan 1st 2016. Happy New Year to all our readers! We promised you news and here it is. Contrary to rumour and vicious gossip, The Gonads will continue to play as normal throughout 2016. We are actively seeking gigs and are looking to set up a series of cheap-entry Spirit Of The Street shows to help keep our scene alive. So promoters, get in touch. If you want us, we will come! As well as our cast-iron pure punk set we shall also be playing our semi-acoustic party set which we premiered at Rebellion. We will record our acoustic album early this year and release it this Summer via Randale Records. Gal and Clyde also aim to start recording the first GBX album in the next few months. Watch this space for confirmed gig announcements. See you at the bar. Cheers and beers! The Gonads.
While we're here, Vicious Rumours' debut album Any Time, Day Or Night has been re-released on vinyl by Italy's Radiation Reissues. The LP was originally released in 1986 on Roddy Moreno's label OI! Records. Also out on vinyl, the East End Badoes compilation Let's 'Ave It, a hard-hitting collection of rare and unreleased ditties from the PM and his Merry Men, featuring nine original songs and two alternate versions as bonus tracks (United Against Society).