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.
THE GONADS! CHARLTON! SOUTH LONDON! STREET ROCK N ROLL! COCKNEY CULTURE! COCKNEY ROCK! OI-TONE! SKA! BEER! CURRY! WORKERS’ RIGHTS! FLAG-GIRLS! ENGLAND! OI OI OI! THIS IS WHO WE ARE!
June 22. The Dropkick Murphys’ new album, This Machine Still Kills Fascists – inspired by and dedicated to Woody Guthrie – will be released on the 30th September. The ten tracks bring Guthrie’s songs into the present, says Ken Casey, who tells us: “The project has been a long time in the making. Nora Guthrie thought her father would’ve got a kick out of us, would’ve liked us, that we were somewhat kindred spirits so to speak, which to us was a huge honour.” Ken added: “Woody Guthrie, he’s the original punk. He went against the grain, he fought the good fight, he spoke up and sang about his beliefs. I’m motivated by reading what he wrote and am inspired by his courage. One man and a guitar – it’s powerful stuff.”
The idea for the collaboration has been percolating between Woody’s daughter Nora Guthrie and the band for more than a decade, with Nora curating a collection of her father’s never-published lyrics for them over the years. When the Murphys’ co-lead vocalist Al Barr took a leave of absence to care for his ailing mother last year, the band were apprehensive about making a normal DKM album, so it seemed the perfect time to take on the Woody project. The end result is “the true fruition of like-minded rebellious artists collaborating – albeit nearly a century apart.” James Lynch said, “Nora gave us the privilege of going through the archives and selecting some lyrics to use. The common thread that I see through everything was this love for people and this understanding of the universal truth that there is no one person fundamentally better than another person.”
The connection between Guthrie and Oi is clear. Ken explains: “Woody wrote songs from the heart and for the common person. He made a point of showing up when it counted most, often performing at fundraisers, benefits, and rallies to champion working class causes and condemn greed, war, and unchecked capitalism – all with his guitar in hand.” The band add, “This is exactly where Woody Guthrie and Dropkick Murphys intersect. Dropkick Murphys’ entire ethos of family, community, service, and action depends upon honest reporting in their music. Like Woody, showing up in real life is what makes their songs so impactful. They just are who they say they are. Whether it’s standing up to Nazi thugs or standing with working men and women on a picket line, showing up is what holds the centre in DKM’s world.” The album title itself pays homage to the powerful message Woody Guthrie began painting on his guitars in the early 1940s, in the midst of World War II: “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” A man and a credo laid bare – on the face of his guitar. The album isn’t an acoustic folk departure for the Murphys – it’s a continuation of their journey with Woody Guthrie, which began nearly two decades ago when DKM covered Woody’s Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight on their 2003 album Blackout. The journey reached new heights a few years later when Ken Casey discovered a few scribbled lines about Boston in the WG archive. The band painted Woody’s lyrics about their hometown into a vicious punk missive called I’m Shipping Up To Boston and put the song on their 2005 album The Warrior’s Code.
The album was recorded at The Church Studio in Tulsa (not far from Woody’s birthplace, and the modern-day Woody Guthrie Centre). Ultimately, Dropkick Murphys had so much material based on Woody’s poignant lyrics that they recorded two albums, with Vol. 2 scheduled for release in 2023. The first single and video, Two 6s Upside Down is a forlorn gambler's lament, awash in love and loss, murder and punishment. Said Ken, “We all love how ‘Two 6’s…’ came out. We’ve actually been playing it live on tour in Europe and the crowds have been super enthusiastic about it. Plus we really love to play it live.” Other album standouts include Dig A Hole with Casey essentially dueting with Woody, with a special appearance by Woody’s grandson, Cole Quest, on Dobro guitar and backing vocals. Never Git Drunk No More is a duet between Casey and alt country artist Nikki Lane. The Last One, has guest vocals from country roots group Turnpike Troubadours’ Evan Felker, who hails from Woody’s hometown of Okemah, and Cole Quest on Dobro; and Ten Times More, which was written, arranged and recorded on the spot and features a guest appearance by Dom Flemons, founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, on harp; he also appears on The Last One and All You Fonies. The vinyl release is November. Watch the trailer for This Machine Still Kills Fascists here.
June 21. Wattsie Watts last night attempted to call an emergency band meeting to deal with what she calls “this Irish Gonads nightmare”, however, as there are not enough members around to reach a quorum for decisions until late July, her motion was denied. She immediately pledged to “fly to Dublin and put an end to this nonsense”. More news when we have it.
John King today issued the following statement: Brother Gonad was indeed in Malahide and Dublin at the weekend where he met with interested parties in public places under the full protection of our Irish sheriffs. Our Irish brothers and sisters are all welcome in the PPGB. As our French and Croatian sheriffs know, the PPGB is a state of mind – one honed by full sessions, spicy curries and loud music. In Malahide, glasses of Guinness were raised in glorious toasts to unity and progress. There is no mischief here.
June 20. The Dublin Controversy continues to snowball. Our insiders reveal that the gig did happen “not far from Temple Bar” and that Lord Waistrel himself was the instigator. One well-connected source tells us, “We have just witnessed the birth of the Irish Gonads and it’s all down to Waistrel – he sent Gal to Ireland because he wants to build the Gonads franchise around the world – he’s disappointed that the American Gonads are dragging their feet but believes the Oi-Rish Gonads are the way forward.” Blimey.
With Gal missing in Dublin’s fair city, we are still waiting for a response from John King on the puzzling PPGB rumour. Truth or mischief?
June 19. An eye-witness has contacted us to contradict Fit Bird’s account of Gal’s alleged Dublin show. The man, known only a Michael, reports seeing him perform a set “at least half an hour long”, adding “the band came in with him, and they left with him, and they had a girl singer who sang Drink Till I’m Skint – it was all drinking songs and it went down like a pint of the black stuff on a hot day”. A concerned Wattsie Watts has called for “a full inquiry into this Dublin controversy – Waistrel must act.”
Meanwhile a second source reports that Gal was in Malahide last night where he “chaired a raucous PPGB meeting”. We are seeking clarification now.
June 18. Fit Bird tells us that reports of Gal’s Irish gig are “exaggerated, ain’t they? He got clocked in a pub in The Liberties and done two or three songs cos the band knew Yeti and that. It ain’t no biggie, is it?”
June 17. Word reaches us that Gal Gonad performed in a Dublin pub last night with three Irish musicians. Does anyone know what’s going on?
June 16. Our Rebellion slot is confirmed! We will play the Pavilion Stage at 4.45pm on Saturday 6th August. Phil McDermott told the blog: “We will be playing 18 songs in a hard-hitting 40-minute set with surprises that you will not want to miss.” He adds, “This is the ideal time slot for the Gonads. It means we can go on stage moderately sober and start the serious drinking as soon as we come off.” Fit Bird cautions that this is “very likely” to be our last ever Rebellion performance “so be there or be square, daddio”. As usual flag girl and FrankenSkin volunteers should liaise directly with Fat Col.
June 15. Here are this week’s Ask Gal Anything questions and answers: Q1. Will you ever play Lager Louts live? – Geordie Mick. Gal: “We have no plans to play it right now, but because a few people have asked for it maybe we’ll try it out in rehearsal and see how it goes. I love the current pure-punk set but I wouldn’t mind changing it around a bit for our 2023 shows. My first thoughts would be Gob, Oily Rag and Drink Till I’m Skint. I’d like to play all of them at Arkwrights. And Hey You at bigger venues.”
Q2. Why have you stopped having flag girls, have the Gonads sold out to political correctness? – Deptford Kev. Gal: “Absolutely not. The flag-girls used to come on when we played England’s Glory, but as that isn’t in the current set there hasn’t been a call for them. I would do England’s Glory again like a shot, so if we decide to bring it back the flag-girls will also return.
Q3. Redacted. Question and answer censored by Wattsie Watts. Even Gal can’t yet reveal what they were up to in the studio last Sunday.
Q4. Will the Orgasm Guerrillas ever reform? – S. Davis of Plumstead. A. My best guess is no. The idea was seriously discussed in 2019 but Covid put paid to that. The Guerrillas consider themselves to be “the provisional wing of the Ministry Of Delusion” and nowadays seem more interested in what they call “the evolutionary expansion of human consciousness” than in making new music. (Blimey – Blog Ed).
June 12. This blog is shut for a few days. Back shortly.
June 11. Spotted last night backstage at the Dartford Orchard – this shock photo of Wattsie Watts with madcap comic Joe ‘Squeaky’ Pasquale. The picture’s appearance on the web sparked renewed speculation about a Gonads Vs Pasquale single release. As you may recall, there was talk a few years back of us recording a punk rock version of Charlie Drake’s Please Mr Custer with Joe, but a passing moral authority points out that it would be “next to impossible for such a collaboration to be released in these PC times, however jolly”.
June 10. It’s time for another edition of Ask Gal Anything. Question 1) Are there ever likely to be new SkaNads releases? A) Almost certainly. I’ve been working with Mark McMighty and Clyde separately on a few new songs and I would say that three of them are much closer to the SkaNads/GB Experience vibe than the current Gonads sound. Maybe we’ll release a split-single later this year, but a new Gonads single will definitely be coming out first.
Q2. Have you got any more gigs to announce? A) Not yet, but we’re working on them. And on that subject, a big shout out to Tulang Besi in Indonesia. We would love to play your jamboree, pals, but sadly this July is not possible.
Q3. Will you be doing any more TV? A) I’ve been writing and filming sketches for a new series. In theory we could be back on-air as early as next year.
Q4. What will the next book be? A) I’ve started the fifth Harry Tyler novel and I’ve been asked to write Sounds Of Glory volumes 3 and 4. I’d love to have time to finish the definitive Oi book; that’s been a work in progress for a good few years. There’s a lot of bullshit on the web, it’s time the real story was told by people who were there from the beginning because we’re the only ones who know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… and too many of us are dying. The only obstacle to it is my lack of free time. Thanks for your questions, especially Maureen from Thundersley, to whom I can only say, yes, but not as often as I used to.
June 9. Court news: Harley Flanagan is asking for a permanent injunction to stop John Joseph using the Cro-Mags name. The pair settled their original dispute over the moniker in 2019, but now Harley is accusing Joseph of trademark infringement. He filed a complaint in a Manhattan court on Monday.
June 8. Peace in our time! Lord Waistrel has issued a proclamation insisting that our deal with “our dear friends at Randale Records is still very much on”. His Lordship’s emissary (Sam Smallpiece) insists that the bulk of the studio costs have now been paid and that the Yank interlopers can do one (not Waistrel’s words). Rumours that he reached his decision after midnight discussions with a Randale representative (a certain Domenica Schmerzen from Hamburg) are best left untroubled by base journalistic probing.
June 7. Strong rumours are circulating that Randale may be gazumped by another record company in the race to release our new album. Word is a brand-new American label, Skipper’s Choice, have made an approach to Lord Waistrel for the global rights to release our long-awaited full-length beauty Revolution Now! Our source says “Despite promises, Randale still haven’t paid the bulk of the studio bill. The band and Pat Collier are spitting blood, so Waistrel is considering his options.” Gal’s PA Fit Bird last night refused to confirm or deny the US approach. “Three labels have spoken to us, ain’t they, and one of them are Septics but that’s as far as it goes. It ain’t nothin’ to do with me but if Diana is fucking people about, then I don’t see why she should get the benefit of our full-length.” There is no official comment from the Gonads.
Our great friend Laurie Pryor was buried in Malta yesterday. Plans are underway for a special celebration of Lol’s life to be held in south London next month. Verbal invitations will follow to those who knew him well.
June 6. Huge thanks to Red Dog Music for this blinding review of our “hell-raising” 100 Club gig last month. Cheers!
We finalized our Rebellion set last night, but can’t confirm any other plans until Randale give us a launch date for the album. Club 77 members will however get emails about a special invite-only live gig at Arkwrights which is likely to take place sometime in September.
June 5. Shock news from the Platinum Party at the Palace – Lord Waistrel had pulled strings to get us on the bill but we were turned away from the stage with no explanation (and ended up having to have our jubilee jolly in the Darjeeling where we were joined by Leah McCaffrey and Kid Kazoo). At time of writing our best guess is that the organisers had spotted Jobs Not Jails on the set-list and took fright. Either that, or Fat Col broke into the Palace and pigged down all of Liz’s marmalade sarnies. We did see him being led away by the rozzers…
STOP PRESS. It seems the real reason Col was nicked was that the oaf had set up his dodgy market stall on the Mall flogging sick “souvenirs” – including an ‘adult’ vibrating sceptre (batteries not included), the Prince Charles Experience mechanical talking flower, and an inflatable ‘love corgi’ – along with a bad-taste ‘What The Royal Butler Phwoar’ machine featuring a Meghan lookalike in various states of undress. Sniffed Wattsie Watts, “What did I tell you! The boy is an 18carat idiot. Hanging’s too good for him.”
June 4. Lord Waistrel has got the right hump at our lack of Jubilee coverage. A letter arrives, carved on kid goat skin and tied to the leg of a carrier quail, asking: ‘Where is the Jubilee jubilation on the bally blog? There can be no more loyal subjects of the Queen than the Gonads faithful. Even I, an eminent peer of the realm, must genuflect in the presence of Her Majesty Elizabeth’s Regina, oh the most glorious embodiment of national unity, oh the most precious jewel in Britain’s rich tapestry…’ – His Lordship continues in a similar vein for some time, fondly recalling how he’d dangled ‘Lilibet’ on his knee when she was six and he was a mere youth of 73. The lengthy missive ends with three demands: 1) that the Gonads throw a belated Jubilee jolly, 2) that we record our ‘beloved’ lost song, New Cavaliers Of England, and 3) that the British Armed Forces stage an immediate coup to overthrow the government and “sling the communist Boris Johnson in the Tower”… Huzzah! And you wonder why his weekly broadsheet newspaper, The Reactionary Herald (formerly the Feudal Times and incorporating the Blue Blood Bugle), went under.
The good Lord will be furious to learn that a new video of the Pistols’ God Save The Queen, cutting footage from the river boat escapade with the 1977 Marquee gig, is up on YouTube HERE. And incandescent that Prince Andrew Is A Sweaty Nonce by Essex cunts The Kunts has entered the UK Official chart. Jack Saunders, standing in for Scott Mills, announced “At number 20, we have a brand-new entry by an artist that is too rude to say on the radio with a track that is also too rude to say on the radio.”
June 3. Not for the first time the Gonads find themselves at a crossroads, writes ace reporter Fleet Scribbler. The latest gigs have fired up the veteran south London band who are keen to do more live shows, including benefits and a launch party for the long-awaited Revolution Now album - although frustratingly, I am told that Randale Records of southern German are "prevaricating like Olaf Scholz" and have yet to set a release date. A band insider whispers, "People are pissed off that Randale are dragging their feet; some band members want to buy the Germans out of the deal so we can release it ourselves before Rebellion, but Gal - not the most patient of men - wants to give them time. Things might come to a crunch this weekend as the band meet to agree future plans over pints of Paulaner, piles of pork scratchings and plates of steaming hot Madras. Big decisions will be made. More details to follow...
June 2. Blog addict Nick Boyle asks if the success of Pistol will speed up the completion of Curry On Up The Gonads. Possibly, but it'd take some serious persuasion to coax Gal and Clyde back on board after the nightmare that was the LA shoot. Gal has not yet fully recovered from the physical injuries he sustained there in 2017, and neither of them will ever get over the mental torture they suffered at the hands of dictatorial "visionary" director Sandy West (Hollywood Pest), aka the Vordemort of Venice Beach. "They both wake up dripping, dun't they?" Fit Bird tells us. Although that might well be the work of the Golden Shot...
Here is the full set-list for the Queen's Head show on Sunday: The Coming. Lager Top. Jobs Not Jails. It's A Yeti. SE7 Dole Day. Alconaut. Buy Me A Drink You Bastards. Joe Hill. Beer Can Boogie. Skinhead Girl. Federales. Dance, Fat Boy, Dance. Grant Mitchell. I Lost My Love To A UK Sub. The Drinking Song. London Boys. Encore: Tucker's Ruckers. (Punk Rock Will Never Die was dropped from the set because of snapped guitar strings). Big thanks to Cal who was our most energetic FrankenSkin to date, and cheers to the lads (and lass) down from Accrington and Newcastle. Our next scheduled show is at Rebellion Festival in August, although that could change as more south London dates are currently being discussed. We're awaiting confirmation for a Southend show for early 2023.
June 1. We’re sad to confirm that our close friend Lol Pryor died in Malta on Saturday. He was 63. Fatty Lol was the first manager of the Business, he ran Moon Ska Europe and co-founded labels like Syndicate Records, Harry May, Dojo and Link. He was a larger-than-life character, who touched many lives. He is sorely missed.