Oct 31. The Rejects are planning proper Tony Van Frater tribute shows next year with the Upstarts to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Watch this space for details.
Oct 30. Gal recorded two new podcasts today, one with Hugh Cornwell, the other with Garry Johnson and Nick Welsh. We’ll let you know when they’re up.
Record Noos: Operation Ivy’s album Energy is finally available again on vinyl from Epitaph... also new out from the LA label, Bad Religion’s 1992 Generator LP on coloured vinyl.
Oct 29. STOP PRESS: We’re devastated to report that Tony Van Frater died earlier this morning after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 51. Tony was best known for his work with the Cockney Rejects. He started out in Red Alert as a teenager, played with the Angelic Upstarts among others and also co-wrote and performed on most of our Live Free, Die Free double album – he’s pictured here with Gal and Jennie Bellestar during a break in recording. Tony was part of the legendary Unidentified Cockney Gonads supergroup that played Leeds about ten years ago (with Mick Geggus on lead guitar, Pete Way on bass, Gal on vocals and Waysted’s R.D. Haslin – AKA MacGonad – on drums) – his Mum Brenda put us up at her home in Sunderland the night before and laid a massive fry-up for us all. As well as being a brilliant guitarist, Tony was one of the loveliest, funniest blokes we’ve ever met. R.I.P. mate.
Photo above: The late, great Van Frater with Jennie and Gal
October 29. Waistrel was bemused by news of Phil McDermott’s big rehearsal flounce out. “A funny way to hand in one’s notice,” decreed his Lordship, who we hear was in talks with Billy Gibbons to fly in for fret-board duties for our Gravesend gig “if need be” until The Bitch got involved. This poisonous individual whispered in Waistrel’s ear that Dave Hayman would make a better replacement and the matter should be decided by a cage fight at the O2, “the winner to be Gonads guitarist, the loser to be banished to the khazi of punk rock and fast-tracked into the East End Badoes.” Never! We’re all Phil loyalists here. Well, it is his round.
Message from Tony Feedback: the baggies are out, the new punked up Northern Soul incarnation of Long Tall Shorty will in fact opt for tonics and loafers. “I’ve always loved that suedehead style,” Tone tells us. Frank E. Wilson continues to revolve in his grave.
Oct 28. Last night we had the best rehearsals of our life. Fact! Largely because we never left the pub. Guitar god Phil McDermott was getting to the studio later than usual so the rest of us gathered in The Skylark. At ten past 8 Phil called to say he was there and where were we? He sounded grumpy. “Someone’s upset him,” said Wattsie. “It can’t be none of us, we’re not there... ” She went round to placate the great man while we got another cheeky round in. Phil then copped the hump and stomped off into the night. Result! The Skylark didn’t chuck out till gone midnight and if truth be told we were the best we’d ever sounded!
The next pop sensation: NABBA! As the Nads go Abba in ‘The Skylark Sessions’
Can this be true? Rumours hit us that Long Tall Shorty are reforming as a “Soul-punk band”. We call Tony Feedback who confirms it all. “I’m going to come out the closet as a Northern Soul fan,” he says. Blimey, so presumably they’ll be wearing Oxford Bags and vests on stage, and fucking up Frank E. Wilson songs.
Oct 24. Wattsie Watts WILL perform at our Spirit of the Streets gig with the Badoes! Her local Labour Party branch have moved their meeting so ravishing Wattsie can strut her socialist stuff at the Red Lion in Gravesend/Northfleet. The gig has been dubbed “the truest Oi! show of the year” because of its £5 ticket price. Wattsie’s twin sister Shona tells us: “More bands should rally to the SOS cause and rock against rip-off show tickets. Let’s keep it real, people!” (P.S. The PM reckons people will pay £6 on the door if she wears her cat-suit. Fat Col says they’ll pay £20 if she doesn’t. Sssh, fool, you’ll piss off the comrades.)
Record Noos: Menace’s London Stories album is now out on vinyl from Randale Records, 100 copies are on red vinyl, the rest on black, and it contains a lyric sheet so you’ll know exactly how many fucks there are in ‘Fuck You’... The Flatliners newbie, Division Of Spoils is a compilation of B-sides, rarities and unreleased songs including demos; it’s available from Fat Wreck Chords as a vinyl double LP or CD. Vinyl includes digital download plus two bonus tracks.
Oct 22. The Gonads have always prided ourselves on our pansexual appeal. We’ve had a transvestite guitarist, a gay Frankenskin and have written an anthem for the Dartford dogging fraternity (Sid and Doris Filth), but will we now be the first streetpunk band with a transsexual merch manager? Fat Col emails to say that having watched a TV documentary on trans people he is “tempted” to go under the knife. What, we ask, and become a woman? No, he replies: “But I don’t half fancy one of those eight inch pump up cocks. Mine’s so small that on cold nights Janette had to play Hunt The Thimble.” Oaf.
Henry Rollins of Oi Oi That’s Yer Lot fame stars in new indie/horror movie He Never Died. H plays an immortal but bored cannibal in the film produced by Craig Walendziak. It premiered at the South By South West fest a while back, but Craig tells us a limited theatrical release may follow if he can stump up the necessary.
Oct 20. The Cockney Rejects have recorded their new single, ‘It’s Gonna Kick Off’ at Steve Harris’s studio in Essex, produced by veteran Maiden and British Lion sound engineer Tony Newton. Commenting on the Facebook picture, Thomas ‘Mensi’ Mensforth says of Tony van Frater: “Could you do me a favour and ask the bald bloke in the middle if he would give me the number of his dentist. He must be very musical as his teeth appear to be on a sliding scale.”
Oct 19. 9am. You heard it here first: Iron Maiden will headline next June's Download Fest – their only UK date in 2016... and at the slightly less exalted end of the gig spectrum, Oi poet Garry Johnson is backing our forthcoming Spirit of the Streets dates with the East End Badoes. The streetpunk legend tells us: "I am absolutely behind the £5 gig deal. It is repulsive that so-called punk bands are charging £25 and more for tickets. It's just a fake, make no mistake - a rip-off. The Gonads and the Badoes are showing the way and deserve our support." There's only one problem: our 1st December £5 Gravesend show clashes with Wattsie's Labour Party meeting, and consequently we may be a Nad down. (Like Hitler, but only in that sense, obvs).
P.S. Garry Johnson to be "the new Nasty Nick in EastEnders (health permitting)" – you heard that here first, too...
Jeff Turner's The Outfit play the 100 Club this Saturday, launching their debut album. Tickets are £12 plus booking fee.
Oct 18. Here we go, here's the poster for the first Spirit Of The Streets £5 show with the Badoes on 1st December. We're back, barking and rocking against rip-off door prices.
Noos & Whispers: Aimee Allen's brilliant ska punk band The Interrupters are working on a new album... Bad Religion's LPs Against The Grain and Suffer now re-released on coloured vinyl by Epitaph... Cass Pennant's 2-Tone short Beverley has been nominated for best cinematography at the Seattle Shorts Film Fest... Youth Brigade's first demo will be re-issued by Dischord Records on 23rd November, it consists of eight tracks, six of them previously unreleased.
Oct 17. The Garry Bushell Experience (GBX) is now taking bookings for 2016. Various packages are available. All serious enquiries to email@example.com. Time-wasters will be battered by Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) and then deep fried.
The punk poet Garry Johnson is planning an exhibition of Oi-related artwork next year, health permitting. He tells us "Oi has had a significant impact around the globe but its iconic artwork has been under-valued and over-looked at home; it is time it was taken seriously as a cultural phenomenon." His exhibition is likely to include album covers and posters, poems, lyrics, tattoos, prose, graffiti, early casuals and fanzines. Gazza says he has been approached to stage the event at a posh West End gallery but dismissed the suggestion for being "completely at odds with the spirit of working class street art."
Oct 16. After days of tension, speculation and bitter recrimination, Lord Waistrel has finally reached his verdict on the future of this great band. It seems that after hours of pleading, a delegation of interested parties led by Terence Hayes PM, eventually persuaded his Lordship to allow Gonads gigs that have already been booked (France (5/12) and the 100 Club (18/12) to proceed as planned. Even the £5 Spirit Of The Streets Gonads/Badoes show at the Red Lion Gravesend, on Tuesday, 1st December is now back on! However, Waistrel is insisting that other dates in 2016, including the West Coast mini-tour, are definitely OFF, although he did add, almost as an afterthought: "Unless the most stringent of conditions are met in terms of billing, respect, riders and emolument." The new GBX project will still be unveiled in the new year, however. Will GBX be playing Rebellion 2016, we ask? Unlikely. Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) tells us sternly: "His Lordship thinks that's all bit old hat and hippy-fied. He wants GBX to perform at the Bermondsey Carnival, variety bills, working man's clubs, holiday camps, cruise ships and pukka theatres with yer Pasquale, yer Longthorne, Bassey, Roy 'Chubby' Brown and the like... it's strictly blue collar mainstream, baby." Blimey. "I see a new tomorrow," added Waistrel, his eyes gleaming like the headlights of a freshly-scrubbed Bentley. "A phoenix in the sky, the birth of a new band, the old one has to die". Ooh erh, missus.
Our old mate Vix (formerly of Vix & the Kix) rings to tell us that Fuzzbox are back and will play their only UK gig on Friday 13th of November at the 100 Club, supported by Saffron from Republica. Next year is already looking "super busy" with fests, the red-haired siren purrs. At which point Fat Col says something inappropriate about Vix's fuzzbox and the line goes dead. Oaf.
The Professionals play the 100 Club tonight, but without Steve Jones. Hmm. To go into the West End where the traffic is completely gridlocked cos half the effing roads have been closed by redevelopers, or to stay home and blast out the Harrington Saints's new Fish & Chips ep from Pirates Press and the re-mastered 20th anniversary re-release of Rancid's And Out Come The Wolves (plus bonus tracks)... ? It's all down to a flip of this double-headed coin.
Fears grow for the mental health of our good pal Tony Feedback. Not only is he bizarrely claiming joint song-writing credits for ditties he didn't write, he also appears to be popping up on TV under the guise of historian Simon Schama.
Oct 15. A quick reminder: the Punk Literary Festival takes place at the Cockpit theatre in London on the afternoon of December 12th mixing fact, fiction and punk rock prose. Talking about their books and lives – nice guy Rick Buckler (The Jam), the immortal Jeff 'Stinky' Turner (Cockney Rejects), our Gal (rock writer, novelist, & Gonad), John King (novelist, vegan & bar), Segs & Dave Ruffy (elderly Ruts rhythm section), the great Manic Esso (Lurker, novelist, miserabilist) and Ian 'Snowy' Snowball (Medway Punk authority). There will be bookstalls, signings and "refreshments". Tickets are £15 and are on sale from here.
STOP PRESS 1: Vicious Rumours yesterday pulled out of all of their December dates. STOP PRESS 2: Lemmy just rung to say that Motörhead sex toys were "a complete surprise" to him (and possibly a painful one). The bullet and torpedo-shaped vibrators bearing the band's logo went on sale recently. Lem tells us that the manufacturers "Did a deal with our manager, but he didn't tell us until it was too late to change it." In a related story, the Yeti has just ordered two Bastards and the "Iron Horse"... while Fat Col is trying to interest Sex Shop Si in the patented Gonads' "Throbber".
Oct 14. All attempts to reason with Lord Waistrel have so far failed. Yesterday he dismissed a delegation from the Jolly Pranksters who wanted us to play their Festivus weekender with a flea in their ear, describing the venerable Brother Barry as "an impudent, pudding-faced oik". Today he has quashed plans for the first £5 entry Spirit Of The Streets show pencilled in for the Red Lion Gravesend on December 1st, thundering the mantra "No rehearsals = no gigs = no band". Our cause was not helped by the intervention of Dave Hayman who is said to have gone "cap in hand" to Waistrel begging him to bin the Kent show on the grounds that Vicious Rumours were about to announce a show of their own in the same pub two days later as a "fund-raiser for John Mundy's travel costs from the USA", which he pleaded "only a handful of people would attend" if our gig went ahead. Waistrel "went up like Vesuvius" and monstered the band for ignoring his direct order not to book ANY gigs without his say-so (and at the moment the old so-and-so is still saying no). Luckily for the lads, his Lordship then turned his fire on this very website accusing us of "publishing toxic leaks" designed to subvert "firm but just feudal rule". The blog is "written by ulcerated toads perpetually wracked with paranoid fury" he fumed, going on to speculate that we spend our free time "drunk or constipated"... "or masturbating over 35 year old photographs of Sandra Bigg"... or "hunched over the toilet bowl throwing up the remnants of last night's take-away curry." Well, really! What can we say other, than he knows us far too well?
BLACK Monday, Oct 12. A dark cloud hangs over this great band, and it is one that threatens our very existence as a performing act. The problems began when Lord Waistrel asked to listen to tapes of our rehearsal sessions since Rebellion so he could assess the band's progress in the run-up to our December shows. Waistrel was shocked and then enraged when Scrotum, his wrinkled retainer, informed him that "There hain't been no rehearsals hat all, and there hain't none in the books heither, m'lud." His aristocratic fury thickened into "incandescent rage" when informed of the pitiful excuses rehearsals had been scrapped or swerved for: Labour Party meetings (!), gigs in covers band (!!), jet-lag from a trip to New York (!!!) and worst of all Gal's frivolous claims to be "subbing" at a newspaper and "writing books". According to Scrotum, only Gentleman John has been "hentirely blameless" and "has keen has a referee's whistle". Waistrel hit the roof – which as he lives in a stately home was about twenty feet off the floor. As a consequence there is now a ginormous question mark over ALL future Gonads gigs – including France, the 100 Club, the Spirit of the Street shows with the Badoes and next year's US mini tour. Recording sessions have also been put on hold, while Waistrel reaches a decision. "His Lordship won't allow the gigs to go ahead if we ain't rehearsed," an ashen-faced Fat Col tells us. "And if the band ain't taking the Nads seriously, why should he? This is crunch time. Straight up. This could be the end." But what of Gal, you ask, why can't he motivate the band into action? Sad to report our leader is said to be in a particularly bad way, weighed down by the black dog of depression and refusing to even leave Nads HQ. Fit Bird tells us: "He just sits there listening to Wagner and biting the heads off whippets, 'e won't even answer the dog & bone." So what about John King's Punk Literary Festival in December, we ask, will he not attend that? "At the moment there's more chance of Col getting off with Shona," she replies. Grim days, chums.
Oct 10. The Sleaford Mods give Gal a name check in their song 'The Committee' referencing 'Garry Bushell whoopee cushions as pop ephemera'. Waistrel heard about this and, long story short, GB whoopee cushions will now be on sale from our shop page this Xmas along with our fine line of Infected lingerie and Fat Col's "pre-stained underpants"(patent pending).
Slaughter & The Dogs' home reunion show at the Ruby Lounge last night was really special. Richie Rocker tells us poetically "the original Dogs came home and ripped Manchester a new arsehole." (For Manchester's old arsehole see Gerald Kaufman).
Coming soon: Joe Escalante's punk comic book Fear Of A Punk Planet. Drawn by Dominic Davi from Tsunami Bomb, it's based on Joe's old short-lived internet TV series (and was also the title of his band the Vandals' third album). Joe is currently writing True Nightmares on Discovery I.D.
Oct 9. Fed up with gig tickets costing a score or more? We know we are. So we're teaming up with the East End Badoes to put on a few reasonably priced, down to earth "Spirit Of The Streets" shows. Expect the first one around the end of November, beginning of December. Yeah, smell the bacon, motherfuckers, as Fat Col likes to say, and umm, watch this space for details.
We'd like to tell you more about our covers project but we've been sworn to secrecy by Waistrel's oppo Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) who is masterminding the recording sessions on his Lordship's behalf and liaising personally with such zeitgeist-surfing guest stars as Joe Pasquale, Roy 'Justified & Ancient' Hudd and Oti Mabuse off Strictly. So instead, we'll just remind you that the official launch for Rhoda's Rhoda Dakar sings The Bodysnatchers official album launch is at The Jazz Cafe on 31 Oct. although we notice there's an AC/DC covers band playing the Iron Horse that night and they've got Old Golden Hen on tap there.
Out now, from Pirates Press, Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One single 'U.S. Mail' b/w 'Hooligans', available as a postage stamp shaped 7inch picture disc and a 12inch with the same kind of postal theme going on. Both cost about £7, which is roughly the price of a second class stamp these days.
Oct 8. Gal's chat with Salena Godden is up at running at Litopia. And talking loveable/crazy poets, here is the first glimpse of Garry Johnson's new album, Punk Poems & Protest Songs, recorded with Sulo from the Diamond Dogs. It's out in less than a month by all accounts.
Oct 6. Lord Waistrel, back in Blighty for the "pinko" Tory conference, rings to "immediately over-rule" all of our future recording plans. Pausing only to wave a fistful of burning £50 notes at anti-austerity campaigners, the rascally reactionary insists that the next Gonads e.p. and album must consist entirely of covers, including he suggests "a rib-tickling version of Charlie Drake's 'My Boomerang Won't Come Back' featuring Joe Pasquale". It sounds like madness but his Lordship is convinced this will appeal to "the great unwashed." He then roared "Boris! Totty at six o'clock!" and the phone went dead.
OUT now: vinyl re-releases of three Broken Bones's LPs: Bonecrusher (from 1985), Decapitated ('93) and F.O.A.D. ('87); all available from Italy's Radiation Records.
Oct 5. The Twisted Sister movie will get its FIRST EVER UK cinema showing on 6th December at the Regal in Henley-On-Thames – cos nothing says sick motherfuckers like Henley...
The Undercover festival organisers have unveiled a one-day winter warmer event back at Bisley Pavilion on Saturday 21st November featuring 999, Witchdoktors, Charred Hearts, Church of Eon and more
Meanwhile glory boys Secret Affair play three dates this weekend: The Brickyard, Carlisle (9th), Classic Grand, Glasgow (10th) and then Sunday 11th at the Great British Alternative Music Festival, Skegness. They're promising a brand new set, including 'So Cool' from the second album played live for the first time.
Oct 4. The next issue of Street Sounds is due out "around mid-November" according to our source, who let's face it is pretty well-placed to know about these things. "Hopefully" the source continues the mag is weeks away from announcing the final track-listing for their long anticipated New Ska compilation.
In other news, Volume Two of Gal's Riff-Raff Rebels & Rock Gods book is expected early in 2016 and will feature such legends as Thin Lizzy, The Clash, Madness and Noddy Holder.
Oct 3. The Cockney Rejects are busy recording their Rejects TNT project – their hard rock follow-up to The Wild Ones and Lethal. Rejects TNT has Vince Riordan on bass and Jason Everitt on drums. This is separate to the normal Rejects who are recording a new single this month. "We're a beast with two heads", Mick tells us. (Unlike Fat Col who remains a beast with two faces). And talking hard rock, The Twisted Sister movie is likely to have its first showing on Sunday 6th December in Henley on Thames. Watch this space for more details.
Noos: Leatherface's albums Mush and Minx have been remastered and re-released on vinyl by Fire Records with bonus tracks and hefty liner notes by Jack Rabid... the Night Birds' third album Mutiny At Muscle Beach is out now, packing in 12 chunks of hardcore-infused US punk... The Filth FC are releasing a cover of 'The Letter' – it's the second single from their album Guns For Jesus and was of course a hit for Memphis soul band the Box Tops in 1967 and then re-recorded by one of British rock's greatest gravel-voiced vocalists Joe Cocker. John the Filth takes that gruff anguished classic and kicks the fuck out of it.
Oct 1. Has Lee Wilson shot himself in the foot? Ahead of the Infas' Leeds gig this weekend, the unrepentant round dodger is imploring "fans" to "buy me a pint and I will show you my body naked". Who the fuck wants to see that?? (Fat Col was last seen opening an account at Wetherspoons in case Wattsie ever makes the same demand). Meanwhile Wattie Buchan responds: "Big John will buy you plenty and shag you again." Again? Dear oh dear. After leaving the Exploited Big John of course went on to play with Nirvana.
Sept 29. Rhoda Dakar has just signed fifty copies of her new Bodysnatchers album – you can order one from here.
Sept 28. Gal recorded two new podcasts today, one with brilliant poet Salena Godden and one concerning modern women in rock featuring Dominique Oliver (ex-Shotgun House), Danie Cox (the Featherz) and Slovenian singing sensation Kristina Oberzan... (Wot? No Wattsie?!?)
Here on the right... Gal shocks Salena with quick burst of 'Threes Up'.'