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.
March 31. Random Noos: The Coathangers release their latest album, Nosebleed Weekend on 15th April via Suicide Squeeze Records... US socialist skin band Hard Left have just brought out an ep called Economy on Future Perfect Records... Clem Burke, Cheetah Chrome, Mike Watt and Walt Stack will play the Ramones' debut album in its entirety at the annual Joey Ramone birthday bash on 19th May. The memorial gig at the Studio at New York's Webster Hall will also see performances from Tracy Thornton's Pans For Punks.
March 30. We're happy to announce that we're helping to organise the first Musicians Against Homelessness punk gig in London. The gig will be in September, bill to be announced.
Hackney's own gangster of slang Garry Johnson will appear at a major poetry fest at London's Roundhouse on 9th July. The Punk Poet will be performing alongside the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson, brilliant Salena Godden and our pal Tim Wells, the bard of Leyton Orient. There is a rumour going around that Gazza intends to sing, so best take ear-plugs just in case...
March 29. We will have actual tickets for 22nd April DVD shot in stock very shortly on the shop page, chaps, so if you want to purchase them in advance please do.
Our mate John King appeared on Radio 4's Any Questions last Friday with Frederick Forsyth making the case for Brexit. It'll be on iPlayer we expect.
Random Noos: Good Charlotte release their come-back album on 15th July... all-female Las Vegas punk band The Negative Nancys bring out their debut album Sorry, Not Sorry next month on SquidHat Records... The White Stripes Peel sessions will be released as a double album for Record Store Day.
March 27. There are fans, and there are super-fans... and Terence Hayes, PM, has once again proved his devotion to this great band, this time by turning up at the Hope & Anchor for our DVD recording on Friday night a full MONTH before the event. The memory-challenged "Paul Newman of Oi" is without doubt Gonads Fan Numero Uno. Long may he wotsit, um, thrive.
Our radical pal Louise Distras tells us she's playing a shed-load of festivals this summer, including Camden Rocks, Bedfest, Something Else A Bit North, Rebellion and just to rub it in Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas. (Bastards! – Ed) The shows start with the Liverpool Tattoo Convention on 7th May, and include Northampton, Wakefield, Barnsley, Chester, the Forest of Dean and the Loud Women Fest (Fat Col's comment here is pre-deleted for your reading pleasure). Lou is also playing a special show at LA's Redwood Bar on 21st May. And while we're talking fests, GBH, Napalm Death, and the Dwarves are among the noise-mongers booked for France's Xtreme Fest at the end of July. Vive le racket!
March 26. Great news! Gal's second volume of Sounds era memoirs, The Power & The Glory, is about a month away we're told. More details soon.
March 25. Wattsie Watts and her allies have moved fast to crush any rumours of a rift in this great band. In a personal statement, Wattsie writes: "Other members may come and go, but me and Gal are here forever. We are the core of the Gonads, we're like the Barbara Windsor and Sid James of Oi." It's a nice sentiment, spoilt only by that cherry-faced fool Fat Col who calls the comparison "odious and outrageous". Col points out that in real life, Sid famously pressurised Babs into a disappointing sexual encounter. "We can't ever allow Gal to do that with our sweet Wattsie," he says. "Because that's my job!" Col goes on mischievously: "Gal and Shona doing a Sid and Bar? No! It can never happen, no matter how much she wants it."
More surprise revelations from Mensi's latest Vive Le Cock interview include 1) He was never from South Shields but merely stopped there once on a day-trip 2) He hates patriotism and certainly never recorded the song 'England' which was actually a mislabelled Barron Knights release, honest 3) As a dyed in the wool Republican, he most definitely wasn't ever pictured in the rock press naked save for a Rangers scarf. That must have been photo-shopped using technology from the future obtained by time travelling aliens...Further shocks, including the news that 'The Lonely Man Of Spandau' was written about a solitary German bird-watcher, can be found in tomorrow's Take A Crap magazine.
The ever-busy Garry Johnson is bringing out a book about football called The Ugly Side To The Beautiful Game. The punk poet tells us: "It's my personal view of football and how it's declined since the days of when 'Footballers had long hair', it's a big attack on the prawn sarnie brigade who have stolen the game from the working class. It will be very opinionated... " We don't doubt it, mate. But will anyone proof read it?
March 24. A version of the Gonads will play a mini-acoustic set at Polyfest next month. Gal and Paul have other things on that night, so Wattsie Watts' Gonads will step into the breach with the great Buddy Ascott from the Chords on percussion. All fine and dandy you might feel, but some loyalists are unsure. "This is Wattsie's bid to take over the band," whispers Slippery Ted from the old Charlton firm. "If she gets away with Polyfest, she will try it again and again, and before we know it, the long knives will be out, Gal and the rest will be kaput and Wattsie's Nads will be playing Labour Party rallies and Mod weekenders all over the bleedin' country." We'd alert Waistrel to this threat, but unfortunately his Lordship is ensconced in a Cairo hotel suite with his old chum, Dicky Roper, the billionaire arms dealer and several comely concubines. Roddy Radiation, Dr & The Medics and Angie Brown are among the acts on the bill at the Half Moon, Putney on 30th April.
March 23. Because he is our biggest fan (and has way too much time on his hands) Fat Col spent yesterday researching the total number of Gonads tracks to date. It clocks in at an incredible 177 songs including 16 that have been written but are not yet recorded and 14 covers. Never recorded numbers from the 1970s include 'Whelks', 'Eels', 'Red Army', 'Antigallican Last Bell', 'Darling Harold', 'Ripper's Delight' and 'The Legend Of Sam Bartram'. There are two unreleased ditties from the 80s – 'The Hardest Fist' and 'Marylebone Martyrs' – and a few from the late 90s, such as 'Mystic Meg' and 'Give Her A Dog' which were written around the time of Back & Barking. We also have an entire album's worth of recently written unreleased songs which include 'Dreamland', 'Critical Mass', 'Son Of Frankenskin', 'City Of Bones', 'Manga Baby (Nippon Calling)', 'Gartree Bye Bye', 'Ruptured Foreskin Blues', 'The Ghost Of Ben Tillett', 'Let Us Rise', 'Better Land', 'The Cockney Preservation Society' and 'The Great Sidcup Salami Scandal'. But there are NO plans to record a brand new studio album until next year at the earliest. Says Col "I think my list is as definitive as living memory allows. I haven't included songs recorded by our spin-off bands, like Prole, the Orgasm Guerrillas or The Skanads but if you factor those in too we are looking at nearly 200 songs, which is a fine body of work. Almost as fine a body as Wattsie's... " (He had to spoil it! – Ed).
*Which minor punk legend, notorious for his round-dodging meanness, was spotted in a Southwark curry-house with a bunch of lairy Millwall herberts on Saturday night? Eye witnesses report that the London-based singer in question "did not order any food for himself, choosing instead to Hoover up all the left-overs; he did not pay for any drinks either". Shock twist: it wasn't Lee Wilson.
*A strange development in the new issue of Vive Le Rock where Mensi claims that the Angelic Upstarts were "never an Oi band". Cynical observer The Watcher writes: "Never an Oi band? So what were they doing on Oi! The Album and Son Of Oi? Why was Mensi at Oi! the debate? How come most of the band's members are now (and were) in other Oi bands? Why did they play with the Rejects? Why did they play to hundreds of Oi audiences? Why did Mensi mould oi-oi heroes Infa Riot in his own image? Why did he record albums for Oi labels? Why did he play Oi's The Main Event? Why did he allow songs on seven – count them – different Oi Chartbusters compilations (and various other Oi comps) without ever complaining? It seems Mr. Mensforth is rewriting history just like his old pin-up Joe Stalin. But it might have been more believable if he'd said it all back in 1980." The Watcher goes on: "Rather than Mensi disowning Oi!, Oi! should have disowned him after 'Brighton Bomb', I know I did."
Jenny Woo's new album Proud Of Every Scar is out now from Randale, featuring 13 tracks and not one of them acoustic! Jenny is a-wooing Mexico and the USA with a string of dates from the end of the month. Ask her to show her the scars she's proudest of at your peril.
March 22. More heart-stopping drama yesterday evening as Phil McDermott was knocked off his Yamaha in what may or may not have been a road traffic accident. At first it was feared that our thrusting guitar star had broken one of his arms, but medics established that mercifully he'd just sustained a category 5 sprain in both hands and severe bruising to his arms, neck and shoulders. In true Gonads style, Phil's first requested treatment was a six pack of Stella. The incident happened on the perilous journey from Essex to Kent when a driver changed lanes without looking, or indicating. Eye witness reports that the sounds of Infa Riot's appalling second album could be heard from his vehicle have yet to be discounted. Says our security officer Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) "This does appear to be an RTA, but in view of recent developments with sabotage at the recording studio and the fact that leading Charlton Boy Chris Weeks has also been incapacitated with a trick knee I am raising the band's security level to 'Tudor'." So mote it be. Phil is on good form however and has been showered with love and lager since the incident that happened in Essex early last evening. Only Fat Col struck a low note, commenting: "A bleedin' Yam? FFS! That's asking for it. This would never have happened on a good old British Norton."
March 21. A great day in the studio yesterday, with just one more session needed to finish off our brilliant new acoustic album London Bawlin'. Stand-out tracks include The Drinking Song, unheard since the 1980s, and the new 12-bar arrangement of Beer Can which is so Quo that experts fear it might even spark a denim revival (No-one wants that – Ed). One unexpected highlight was Wattsie's wonderful horn work. She struggled at first, saying "I don't think it works, I tried blowing it and nothing happened". (Cue the collapse of Fat Col). But with infinite care, a soft lip technique and some delicate fingering Wattsie finally made that kazoo her own. Her solo in Infected reduced a full studio to tears (of laughter), and she was duly dubbed "The Satchmo of the Kazoo" (although the maestro did ruin her reputation ever so slightly when she was heard telling friends afterwards that she had "mastered the gazebo"). The only real problem we had all day was a technical set-back – we arrived to find the mixing desk out of action. Sabotage was feared, and the words "Lee Wilson's revenge" were muttered, but no proof of nefarious North London interference could be detected by our security man Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner). Our Gonads are made of stern stuff, however – Gentleman John even drove over night from Yorkshire to reach the studio on time – and the tech issues were quickly resolved by the simple recourse of hitting the pub and leaving it all to Pat Collier and his screwdriver. Lord Waistrel has already sent hero-grams to all concerned. Onwards, brethren, onwards to glory!
Gentleman John barely containing his excitement
Wattsie, Phil & John - wot? No kazoo?
Oi Paul, the drums are behind you!
Miss Management, that sweet smile conceals an iron will... and some pretty nifty bull-whip skills.
John: "Which of you bastards woke me up?"
March 20. The war on Lee Wilson's scrooge-like meanness is proving far more effective than Ronald Reagan's war on drugs (writes our public house correspondent Lars Ordurrs). This surprising picture shows the Infa Riot tightwad actually getting them in for Tottenham Sean and the ravishing Rachel in a North London battle-cruiser. A shocked onlooker says: "Fair play to the fella. I can almost excuse the fact he tried to pay first in Euros, and then in rupees". Keep up the chant – "In for a Round Dodge" – whenever Wilson is spotted in public and shame him into standing his round. This is a war we can win!
March 19. Serious request: any fiddle players into our racket with an hour to spare in a South London recording studio tomorrow, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as poss. Cheers.
Here's a trailer for a nifty documentary on women in Indonesian punk.
March 18. Things that make you realise you're getting old part 97: The Clash released White Riot on this day 39 years ago...
March 16. The latest issue of Street Sounds is finally out after the puzzling and still unsolved Millwall macbook theft incident. Issue 14 has features on Skamouth, Gimp Fist, Alan McGee, Vice Squad, the alleged Glam revival, Musicians Against Homelessness, New Tide updates, Twisted Sister, Cult Movies, The Spitfires, The Enemy, The Ruts and loads more...including, we're told, a review of our brilliant and nearly sold-out lyric book.
Joe Corré, the loaded businessman son of Malcolm McLaren and Viv Westwood, says he'll burn £5million worth of punk memorabilia. What a fuckin' knob.
March 15. We had a fine final rehearsal last night ahead of this weekend's recording session for our new acoustic album, London Bawlin'. The new "Quo-ed up" version of 'Beer Can' went down like Divine Brown on piece rate, so well in fact that Wattsie announced she'll be wearing denim underwear in the studio when we record it. (And Fat Col will have a dandruff collar...As usual.) 'The Drinking Song' also sounds terrific. Only one sour note marred the evening, when Gal unveiled the song he wants to make our next single. It's called 'Let's Frack!'. A tad controversial you might feel, but wait till you hear the b-side...
The formidable Miss Management was tasked with sorting out our studio rider for the weekend, including: three cases Stella Artois, one case IPA, two cases Aspall's Cider, one crate of Stonehenge mead, one and a half lbs of black pudding, two white puddings (being driven over from Cork), one live haggis (Are you sure? – Ed), two lb of sausages, a dozen eggs, five prime steaks (No-one tell John King!), two buckets of ribs, a brace of roast chickens and a kazoo.
March 14. PUKKA NOOS: NOFX release their Sid & Nancy 7inch for Record Store Day on 16 April, as a limited 3,000 copies EP...Alan McGee's blinding new campaign Musicians Against Homelessness launches today; The Farm and Cast will kick off the two-week run of gigs raising funds for Crisis in August...Morning Glory's new ep 'Post War Psalms' is out on 1st April, and you can hear tasty taster track 'Clean The World' right now via Anxious & Angry on Soundcloud.
March 13. Prankster alert: the big St George's weekend rally will now take place in Suffolk. See your Tyler for details. To order brethren. It will be special.
March 12. Just over a week until we start recording the new album, so it's good to see our vocalists are taking the rehearsals seriously...
March 11. The Bruisers's 1995 album Up In Flames has been released on vinyl for the first time, featuring the fierce growl of Al Barr before he joined the Dropkick Murphys. It's remixed, remastered and remarkable. Available from U.S. Steel Records.
March 10. Gal has stopped doing podcasts at Litopia, following what he calls "a fundamental disagreement over direction". He apologies to all who have uploaded songs in the last few days and hopes to announce a new home for the shows later this month. Normal service should be resumed shortly.
March 9. Maninblack played a memorial tribute to André Schlesinger at New York's Double Down Saloon last Friday and are considering a compilation of Press and Maninblack covers by his friends and bands that had performed along with him. Put us down for 'Revolution Now' please chaps.
March 8. Questions, questions: is the world ready for the brand new 'bovver rock' version of Beer Can wot Gal has written for the acoustic album? And does the new title, Beer Can Boogie, mean the Ska song now sounds more like the Gonads do Quo? All will be revealed when we hit the studio in under a fortnight. Rehearsals for that album, and the DVD, are we're told, as vigorous and demanding as a Thai brass on pay per screw. Although how Sister Anna of the Wareszesoap Convent in Catford knows that is anybody's guess.
Gal's latest Hungry & Hunted podcast is finally up - here.
Here is Gentleman John's newly designed Gonads shirt. Hunky eh girls?
FAT Col has been caught trying to bribe our esteemed DVD producer, the Blackpool hypnotist, Ken Webster! The details are unclear but it's believed that the dirty bastard pleaded with Ken to put Wattsie Watts under the "fluence" on the day of the recording and make her fall madly and passionately in love with him. The romantic fool was overheard in the Bugle offering "A bulls-eye for a blowie", "a ton for backdoor fun" and "a carpet for the full Monty". Fit-Bird tells us: "Mercifully Ken don't talk Cockney. Besides 'e's an 'ypnotist, not a bleedin' miracle worker". (Gal was famously hypnotised on TV by Paul McKenna into chatting up a broomstick which he believed to be Claudia Schiffer. So if you see Wattsie start eating an onion like it's an apple, lock her in the dressing room).
AC/DC are rescheduling the rest of their US dates after singer Brian Johnson was advised by doctors to "stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss". The band issued a statement on their website stating that the ten dates would "made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist". Ticket holders can hold on to their tickets for the rescheduled dates or receive a refund at point of purchase. Brilliant Brian has sung with AC/DC since 1980. It's a terrible shame, says Gal. He was one of a kind. Asked if his own hearing was still deteriorating, our esteemed leader replied: "Eh? Half past 2."
March 6. Book news! 20 Shades Of Psycho, the first ever Street Sounds short stories collection, will be published at the end of April by Old Dog Books, featuring lurid tales from Pete 'Manic Esso' Haynes, our Gal, Rhoda Dakar, Craig Brackenridge, John King and many more... the youth cult pulp fiction book of the year without a doubt is Glory Boys by Jim Iron and John Steel, about 1979 Mod revivalists, which will be published by Caffeine Nights this summer... oh and Pete Way, formerly of UFO, is finally doing his autobiography. Let's hope it comes out quicker than that solo album he's allegedly been working on for at least five years...
And that's not all. Here, as Fat Col might say, is the real big one: John King's next novel is released on 5th May. Called The Liberal Politics Of Adolf Hitler, the book is set sometime in the future when the individual nations of Europe no longer exist, and clearly tips its hat to three of John's favourite novels – George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
Here's the gist: the EU's mission has reached its final stage and the United State Of Europe has been formed. Power is fully centralised, and this corporate-driven, closet dictatorship promotes New Democracy, its true nature hidden behind fake smiles, easy debt and empty liberal rhetoric. With the major cities controlled by Good Europeans, locals (commons) live as second-class citizens. Across Europe resistance groups fight back. And Britain is no different. In London, an ambitious young bureaucrat (Crat) uses Suspicion software to identify threats to the State, stumbling across a shocking murder just as a high-ranking Controller is about to arrive from Brussels. At the same time, a member of GB45 leaves one of the Free English towns in Wessex and heads towards the capital... Despite the efforts of special police unit Cool and the paramilitaries of Hardcore, these three men are set on a collision course. The Crat is Rupert Ronsberger, a true professional capable of believing anything he is told if it will further his career. A trained conformist, he is hard-working and dedicated, but like so many of his colleagues has an alter ego in Rocket Ron, a dabbler who makes full use of the laid-on Crat-only nightlife, two of his favourite venues the cutting-edge animal clubs Bark! and Splash! His current date is Polestar, an African sexer offered the chance to chill with Good Euros, her thirst for knowledge causing Rocket to make a grave error. Horace Starski is the Controller returning to the city where he first worked as a Crat nearly fifty years before. A self-proclaimed man of the people, he owns Pearly penthouse in the East Side Gates, but hates leaving the Brussels Bubble. The inventor of Scales! technology, he is in the constant company of loyal guardians Bob Terks and Baby, but London stirs memories of a lost love and he is driven to travel into a commons zone alone. As he looks back on a choice made, his interest in the talented Rupert Ronsberger begins to mutate.
Living in a town that has yet to be fully subjugated, Kenny Jackson loves books and hates the USE, like every other local dealing in pound coins rather than virtual Eurodollars as an alternative system operates. An unlikely soldier, he is the boyhood friend of Kid Bale, former tearaway and now leader of the Wessex Boys. Forced out of London as a child, Kenny heads back and teams up with Tubby Nowakowski and his speedhead Uxbridge crew. Nearly arrested by Cool, he ends up with the heritage herberts of Wandle Manor for one last session ahead of his journey into the East Side, one from which he may not return. The Liberal Politics Of Adolf Hitler imagines a society where doublespeak merges with babytalk and the internet has morphed into propaganda/surveillance tool InterZone. Those who want to progress in life must follow strict rules they insist do not exist. Correctness and a denied censorship crushes expression. Physical copies of books, audio and film are illegal. The people's culture is consistently stolen and sold back to them in distorted forms – Parisian songsmith Jean Rotten bursts onto the music scene with a ferocious Tenderberger jingle, Terry Johns captains London United against the Barca Flamboyants and is denounced for no good reason, while dead showman James Saviles is promoted as a brave libertine. Enforced digitisation has seen history edited, rewritten and deleted, so even the most wicked of individuals can be rehabilitated... so there's hope for Colin Gannon yet... And here's the pay-off: while this book offers a vision of the future, it is just as much about the present day. Vote Leave EU! (continued the League of Labour Skins).
March 5. Out now on vinyl: the Swingin' Utters LP Five Lessons Learned has just been re-issued by Fat Wreck Chords... Blink-182's first ep, They Came To Conquer... Uranus from 1995 is also just out on coloured vinyl courtesy Grilled Cheese Records... and in film news, Penelope Spheeris's The Decline Of Western Civilization has been officially released by Shout Factory for the first time on DVD and Blu-Ray. The documentary is a sizzling study of the late 70s LA punk scene, with live footage and interviews with the likes Black Flag, Germs, X, and more.
March 4. NOFX have just posted a teaser for their book, The Hepatitis Bathtub & Other Stories. Click on it, and you get an extract from Fat Mike that begins: 'The first time I drank piss was on a fire escape overlooking downtown Los Angeles... ' How romantic! He's talking water sports of course but Fat Col is not impressed. "The first time I drank piss was at the Yorkshire Grey," he says. "I'm sure the bastards watered down their beer."
March 3. Garry Johnson will be at Oi Oi The Shop at 3pm on Saturday 14th May with Sulo Soren Karlsson. Gaz will recite some of his best-loved poems, Sulo will sing songs from their new album Punk Rock Stories & Tabloid Tales. And Bill and Sarah will be on hand with tranquiliser darts just in case Gazza is tempted to start crooning the god-awful If Looks Could Kill...
March 2. We rehearsed the acoustic set last night, in a broom closet in Bromley. We're not saying it was small but we were so close together there's a strong chance that at least one of us is now pregnant. On the plus side, The Drinking Song has now been added to our acoustic album track list, and in a controversial move it may even feature a kazoo. Spectators were variously "amazed" and "delighted" by how well the set is shaping up. One even claimed we sounded "like Chas & Dave meet Madness at a lock-in on a night boat to Cairo". And you really can't say fairer than that.
This just in: Bad Manners will play the London International Ska Festival 2016 on Easter Sunday (27th March).
March 1. The Museum of London contacts us (and why not?) to tell us that they are hosting a 'Punk Show & Tell' day on 12th March. They say "We're inviting people to the museum to share their punk stories and bring in their original punk objects and memorabilia. We're looking to see everything from fashion and fanzines to records, badges and photos. Our punk curators will then contact people after the day for selected objects to see if people are willing to loan/donate them to the museum's collections and feature in our Punk display opening in June. More details are here. Note to Fat Col: no you can't show that. It isn't much to look at and no-one wants to see it anyway.
FACT! ALL back issues of Street Sounds are now available from our Shop page. We have more of the mags than they do...