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!
Oct 31. STOP PRESS! Shit on a shitty stick. It looks like our November 13th gig has gone down the gurgler thanks to our government of clowns. Sorry all, we really tried to make this date happen, but Boris’s new national lockdown has blown it out of the water. We will be back, as soon as possible, with new live dates. So watch this space! It’s not like you’ve got much else to do…
Prankster alert: all Jolly Prankster speakeasies will re-open on Thursday in defiance of the latest lockdown. The message from the higher echelons of the Brethren is: FTL-FSU. And if you don’t know what that means we’re pretty sure your Tyler will explain.
Oct 30. Good news #1: our cracking new seven-track mini-album Give Her A Dog For Christmas by The Gonads Vs GBX, is released TODAY on iTunes, Apple Music, Deezer and the rest… Good news #2: we expect to have our brand new lyric book on sale at the New Cross Inn gig a fortnight today… Good news #3: Gal has written another corking song, Be Oi What?, which is said to be “as fierce as Unky Bunk but darker”, and “like Hendrix with a cob on meets the Last Resort”…
Oct 26. Here are some pretty pix from yesterday’s rehearsal session in Dartford. The band were of course in a socially responsible bubble. Of bourbon…
And here is an interview Gal just did with Grizz from Top Rock Radio. Cheerio.
Oct 25. It’s less than a month before Oi! Forty Years Untamed is released, so here we reproduce parts of an interview with Gal with questions by Sparrer’s Daryl Smith (more of their chat can be found in Rebellion 2020 programme) and parts of an interview with Brad Cartwright. Where they asked similar questions, the different answers are pieced together.
DS: You compiled the very first Oi! Album 40 years ago off the back of the working class punk that was being ignored by the mainstream press. With the Cockney Rejects cry of “Oi Oi Oi” opening the album and setting the stall out pretty clearly, did you think that 40 years later the album would be getting a re-issue, the bands that are on it still playing and the genre still as relevant and popular today?
GB: No. None of us had any idea that the album would be remembered decades later, let alone celebrated, or that it would inspire musicians and scenes all over the world like it has. I compiled Oi The Album and talked EMI into releasing it purely to give a voice to bands who were blanked by the rock media. To put it in perspective, NME had said punk was dead in 1977 (!), yet I was going out and seeing great bands all the time. I saw Oi as the mythology of punk made real. It was genuinely working class, the real voice of council estates, terraces, borstals, dole queues, pubs, picket lines, tower blocks, bookies etc. And because of that it was never politically correct, never could be and never should be. It was always going to piss off the middle classes, left and right.
DS: Were there any bands that ever turned you down or didn’t want to be included / tarred with the Oi! Tag?
GB: I compiled the first four albums and not a single band I asked to be involved ever said no. It wasn’t like that at all. The first album touched a nerve and bands started contacting me asking to be included in the next comp. This is how it was for the Business, Blitz, Partisans, Red Alert etc. It certainly wasn’t seen as being “tarred”. After the Daily Mail’s lies, more bands got in touch – including Black Flag who donated a song to the fourth album to show solidarity with the Oi bands. People who read Sounds saw what the bands were really about – working class punk. People who read the Mail, knew what the Mail was all about – snobbery and thinly disguised hysteria. What is less well known is that Sounds was owned by the company which owned the Daily Express, who were the Mail’s rival. That was their real motive for the hatchet jobs they conducted.
DS: In the sleeve notes of the forthcoming Cherry Red Box set “Oi The Albums” you mention that the latter albums should have included the likes of The Crack and Case. Are there any other bands that you would have liked to have included or regret that you missed off with hindsight?
GB: With hindsight, Nabat. But I didn’t know they existed. Demob. One Way System. The Press in New York, who were the first US Oi band, Doug & The Slugz who were the first in California etc. As the Rejects said, “the kids they come from everywhere, the East End’s all around”. The Bruisers were later but they were another lairy early band – we managed to gig with them in 1998. Patriot. The Templars... And of course there were bands in France and Germany and so on who we just didn’t know about.
DS: Personally, what’s your favourite album out of the first six and why?
GB: Carry On Oi, because the new bands were terrific and because it was infused with solidarity and defiance. There was a real feeling of unity about it. Although I think I got the running order wrong. Obviously, Son Of Oi too because my eldest kids were on the cover.
DS: Much was made at the time of the ‘studio bands’. How much of it was a wind up, an in joke with a few South Londoners creating a scene and how much was that a necessity due to there being a lack of bands to really fill a full album?
GB: You’re talking about the second series, which Garry Johnson compiled, although I contributed to them all. There’s an old saying that when a river is flowing it stays healthy but when it’s blocked it fills up with crap. Although there was a lot of good will and talent around, after Southall and the Mail, it became harder and harder for the British Oi scene. The major record companies bottled it, promoters bricked it, councils banned gigs. It was very tough. Nazis started attacking us. And too many of the younger bands at that time were content to fit into the media stereotype. So to try and keep Oi alive and healthy we attempted to create our own two-bob south London version of Holland-Dozier-Holland. The Orgasm Guerrillas were an obvious wind-up, taking the piss out of Dave Long (Splodge’s ex manager), but not all the studio bands were. With Prole, me and Steve Kent set out to create a serious side project and I’m proud of the songs we wrote together. Prole would have toured, but life got in the way. There’s still time...The very worst song ever committed to vinyl in the name of Oi was Gal Johnson’s If Looks Could Kill and he is welcome to take all the blame for that. Some of the later poets were diabolical too.
BC: what has been the response to the new 40th anniversary album?
GB: People who have heard it, think it’s blinding. People who haven’t heard it seem to have opinions too, which is slightly puzzling. Someone attacked it online but then admitted they didn’t even know who was on it! Garry Johnson was slightly critical because he said we should have had pathetique bands, female bands and poets, but then I don’t know any modern poets who are as good as Garry Johnson was. We did ask the Test Tubes but they didn’t have any new songs. Are there any truly great female-fronted Oi bands? I hope so but I don’t know them. I liked Steve Whale’s side project Jeniera & The Blades but they’re not around. I didn’t want to go in for tokenism.
BC: What was your thinking behind the bands you’ve included?
GB: I wanted to get new tracks from the bands who were there at the beginning, the ones that started it all. And they really delivered. I’m over the moon with the brand new songs that we’ve got from Sparrer, the Business and the Resort. We’ve also had new mixes from the Rejects and the Old Firm Casuals. Somehow I talked the Gonads into recording something new... one of our best ever songs as it turned out. The only ones I asked who said no were Infa Riot because they didn’t want to shell out £100 for three hours in the studio. I’m not sure why. It’s not like Lee is spending his cash on beer, or clothes... or condoms. Steve Kent went in and recorded a new and exclusive Prole track. Also, I asked significant bands from around the world like Stomper and Bishops Green, and Doug & The Slugz who have a real trad Oi sound. The compilation was always meant to look back and show how far we’ve come. If you band isn’t on there, it isn’t because I don’t rate you or I believe shit written about you online. We only had 12 tracks to play with. We could have filled a quadruple album if I’d asked everyone who I thought was any good.
BC: There are shit-loads of younger bands who cite the original Oi bands as their inspiration.
GB: Yeah. You’ve got Stomper, Lion’s Law, Perkele in their early days, the Old Firm Casuals, the Templars. I loved the early Dropkicks, Boys On The Docks era particularly. Rancid did an Oi song. You’d be surprised how many big rock bands rated the Rejects. I like NOi!se, Victory, Bishops Green, Duffy’s Cut, Hard Evidence, RUST, Marching Orders... Booze & Glory have written some fine songs but I understand why people see them as a bit on the plastic side. Grade 2 could grow into a great band – the potential is there although the songs weren’t at the beginning. I doubt that Argy Bargy qualify as “younger” but Hopes, Dreams, Lies & Schemes was/is a terrific album...
BC: Is this the end of Oi?
GB: I don’t think so. I know there has been talk of a new series of Oi or Oi-influenced albums starting next year, for anyone who is still doing it around the world and hopefully for a new breed of herberts with guts and gumption and something to say. There are lower class brats with loud guitars and bad attitudes the whole world over. Maybe not Antarctica. Unless Rothera have toughened up... To whoever does it, I would just say that there shouldn’t be a rule book with Oi, or a narrow expectation of what bands ‘should’ sound like or ‘should’ believe. It shouldn’t be Oi-by-numbers. It’s great to develop, great to experiment and absolutely right to question everything – including modern day virtue signalling – and think for yourself. And you can do that without watering down what Oi is and always was: the voice of the backstreets. The spirit never dies.
Oct 23. Here’s the final poster for our New Cross gig next month, with the new Fat Col approved all-punk line-up. He is believed to have personally vetoed a guest appearance by Belinda Carlisle.
Our pals at Pirates Press have taken the unexpected step of releasing an album by Kingston’s Shuffle & Bang called Island Bop which owes as much to jazz as reggae. The band are led by Korey Horn and his old man, Pops, and include veterans from The Aggrolites, Rhythm Doctors, Suedehead, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Original Wailers, Slightly Stoopid, and Stevie Wonder’s band. Plus their the pianist plays organ for the San Diego Padres baseball team. “It’s definitely an all-star cast,” Skippy tells us. “Something truly unique, with some real undeniable heart and soul.” Get in the groove!
Oct 22. A great indignity has befallen Terence Hayes, Divine Master, who tells us: “You know you’re in trouble when you play second fiddle to a dog. I am waiting for a referral to see a knee specialist, as my GP has said that a surgical procedure is the only way to put it right. Given the length of the NHS waiting list, I am told it is impossible to predict how long I will have to wait. So, the only way to relieve my constant pain is to get a loan and go private as I feel I must reject Fat Col’s offer of organising a benefit gig as that too may take some time.
As I was contemplating my options, things took a turn for the worst. My dog (believed to be called Sheringham – Ed) has developed a limp. He went to vet on Tuesday who diagnosed ligament damage. So, he needs a surgical procedure and must be seen ASAP. The stumbling point (excuse the pun) is that Dick Turpin, the vet, wants £4,500 to do it. And as he is a rescue dog, with a previous cancelled insurance policy, he was too expensive to insure. Family discussion ensues, my wife (The sainted Jackie – Ed) is the chairperson; the deal-breaking question, ‘Who brings more happiness to the household?’ Decision: the dog. Looks like he is getting shot of his limp before I do. Effing diabolical.”
Action is needed to save the DM. Fat Col suggests a Sherlock Holmes themed benefit album, entitled The Hound Of The Busted Tel. Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) recommends his personal surgeon, Del the Butcher, while Effete El advocates the efficacious medical use of a sack, a river and a stone of scrap metal. Sensible suggestions welcome.
Oct 21. It’s official! We are confirmed for Rebellion 2021! See you in Blackpool!! It will be special... .
RIP Spencer Davis who died on Monday, aged 81, while being treated for pneumonia in the hospital. The Welsh singer and guitarist founded The Spencer Davis Group in 1963 with Pete York, Muff Winwood and his brother Steve. Their hits included I'm a Man, Keep On Running and Gimme Some Lovin’.
Oct 19. Stand firm, people: our New Cross Inn gig next month is still ON! The management tell us: “Rather than throwing the towel in, we've re-evaluated, spent a bunch of money on more seating and smaller tables, and have ensured all gigs are Tier 2 Covid compliant. All ticket holders will receive an email asking for breakdowns of their household/support bubbles, so everything is as safe and compliant as possible. Once we have the delivery, more tickets will be released as singles, rather than tables, with a disclaimer saying you can sit with people in your household only.”
Oct 18. Sad news. Our spiritual leader Terence Hayes, DM, is beset with crippling knee pain and urgently needs an operation that the NHS is unlikely to provide for at least a year. Fat Col plans to organise a benefit gig to fund an emergency private op but blames “our government of clowns, Sadiq Khunt and the effin’ BBC” for making that unlikely in the near future. He tells us, “The agony is so great that Tel can no longer tuck his knees into his chest and lean forward, and that’s just how he rolls.” Ouch. Send us your fund-raising ideas and he’ll get to work.
Speaking of the fat fool, Col has co-written two more subtle new numbers for his 18 Stones Of Dynamite project with Clyde Ward (who should know better). They are Wanking On Sunshine and The Schlong Goodbye. “We’re gonna do a video for Wanking,” Col chortles. “We just need to find the right bird to play Sunshine.” Oaf.
In left of centre noos... Swedish Marxists Randy have re-leased their 1996 album, said to be “the fastest punk record ever made”. It’s now available again on vinyl, from Spain’s La Agonia De Vivir label... closer to home, there are still copies available of the Newtown Neurotics comp Kick Out! It comprises their first six singles including Hypocrite, When The Oil Runs Out and Kick Out The Tories (how’s that working for you, guys?) plus their Andy Is A Corporatist/Mindless Violence mix from 1983’s Son Of Oi! comp. The limited-edition album comes with a 32page booklet of photos, reviews, interviews and more...
In a less politically correct development, we hear of plans to release a Thug Rock compilation next year called No One Likes Us, “for bands who could never play Rebellion”. It describes itself as “music for convicts, headcases, rule-breakers and thieves... definitely not for cry-babies”.
Record Noos: The Bouncing Souls have just released Bouncing Souls Volume 2 on colour vinyl, a second collection of their best ditties – including Gone, Hopeless Romantic, and Argyle – “re-imagined in new forms”; it’s available now from Pure Noise Entertainment... Cock Sparrer’s Running Riot In '84 has just been re-issued by Pirates Press on 180g Vinyl LP. The band’s follow-up to Shock Troops was released by Syndicate in 1984 and then re-released by Link, Step-1, Captain Oi, Taang and Pirates Press (in 2010). Tracks include Price Too High To Pay, The Sun Says and Run With The Blind.
Oct 17. Some good news: the case for Gal Gonad’s expulsion from this great band was thrown out yesterday following the intervention of Terence Hayes, DM, who, like Tyrion in Game Of Thrones, acts as advisor to the mighty – in this instance Lord Waistrel. Dutifully briefed over a bucket of Chateauneuf du Pape, his Lordship ruled that “regretfully” a gentleman is no longer responsible for his wife’s activities (in this case, playing walking football for Crystal Fucking Palace) as it is no longer the 1950s (up to that point, Waistrel hadn’t noticed). It helped that defence barrister Amal Inn was able to prove that a “traumatised” Gonad and Leah McCaffrey had met officials at The Valley, Floyd Road, around this time in 2019 to try and convince them to set up their own over-40s women’s walking football team. Come on you slow coach Reds!
Here is Miss Management’s winning performance as STAN LAUREL in last weekend’s Curry Night Impressions Contest. Miss M triumphed over Paul SkaNad’s tight-fisted Lee Wilson, Phil Fury’s debonaire Dean Martin and Wattsie’s demented David Icke. Is New Cross another fine mess she’s gotten us into?
Gig update: we’re sorry chaps but we don’t know yet how our November 13th gig will play out. We are still intent on playing and are proceeding on the basis that the illogical London-wide tier two status will have been downgraded by then. Here’s hoping. In the meantime, seriously, Sadiq Khan stop wrecking our great city and sod off.
Prankster Alert: there will be special Smash The Lockdown event next Saturday (Oct 24) at That Other Essex Place. See your Tyler for details.
Oct 16. It's coming... like Christmas... the incredible new festive mini-album, Give Her A Dog For Christmas by The Gonads Vs GBX... Santa comes to south London and gets sozzled... out two weeks from now. You lucky people! Cop an earful here:
Oct 15. A “hurt” Paul SkaNad today dismissed accusations of suspected round-dodging as “alleged” and “spurious”. Fair enough, but we note M’lud that he still hasn’t shelled out for the three pints of Paulaner he was rightly fined by Lord Waistrel. No doubt Boris’s “tier two” bollocks will stop him from coming good for another month. Meanwhile the case for Gal’s expulsion from the band will be heard tomorrow...
Oct 13. Well here it is, Merry Oi-Mas (or something). We are hugely chuffed to unveil the cover of the brand new 40th anniversary Oi! album, designed by Chris Wright of Crashed Out fame, in all its pugnacious glory. The cracking compilation will be available direct from the Pirates Press store on November 27th. More details to follow at the weekend.
Oct 12. Odd. We get a tip that Lee Wilson was seen getting on a train to Liverpool just forty minutes after Boris announced he was closing all the pubs up there. Rumours that he plans to stand outside The Albert saying “Tsk, what a shame, it was my round as well” cannot be discounted...
Odder still, Fit Bird tells us that since we mentioned Gal’s health issues, he has had messages of care and concern from “two members of the Gonads an’ all the members of GBX”. Wait we say, aren’t they the same band? “They woz,” she snorts, and the dog ’n’ bone goes dead.
Oct 11. Here is a picture of unrepentant round-dodger Paul SkaNad enjoying a refreshing glass of the old Forsyte Saga on Friday night. Despite being ordered by Lord Waistrel to buy “three pints of Paulaner” to make up for his last shameful escapade, Mr Mummery deliberately turned up too late to buy a round, employing the old “The table’s booked for five minutes’ time” manoeuvre. There have been shocked reactions to this appalling episode from concerned citizens around the globe. Even Carmela Soprano was moved to voice what many of us feel – “he had the nerve to come to the pub crawl?” God only knows what Paulie Walnuts has to say on the matter....
Oct 10. Shock news: major developments overshadowed last night’s Gonads Curry Night. Firstly, with cunning timing worthy of Lee Wilson, Paul SkaNad turned up so late he was “sadly unable” to buy any drinks. He is now up for expulsion. Then Gal’s wife, the English country singer Leah McCaffrey, was exposed for playing football for... and the words stick in our throats... Crystal Fucking Palace. So Gal is now up for expulsion too. Lord Waistrel will hold an emergency inquiry next weekend. The results could potentially be “explosive and game-changing”. Said an ashen-faced Effete El (Club 77) “That slippery git Mummery might be able to wriggle out of the round-dodging charge, but the Palace connection is devastating. If true, this could spell the end for the Gonads after 43 years of glorious failure. Our plans to play Mexico and Brazil next year would go right down the khazi.” Grim days, chums.
Some good news though. Things are shaping up nicely for a four-track vinyl release next year, which would include new songs Three Chords & The Truth and Better Land. “A decision has been made to showcase the Gonads serious side,” explained Waistrel’s new adviser Chelsea Dom. “This means frivolous and unworthy nonsense such as Can You Take All This? and Filled By Phil (believed to be a Wattsie Watts solo number – Ed) would have to wait until the next album.” The only fly in the ointment is Fat Col who is insisting that the anti round-dodging lament, Just Split The Bill, is included “come what may”. An anonymous source (Effete El) whispers “Col is believed to be mobilising Club 77 to campaign for the song to be on the EP. Last night’s new charge against Paul SkaNad strengthens his hand.” Blimey.
Oct 8. R.I.P. Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, the reggae and dub pioneer who was one of Jamaica's most charismatic producers. Edward O’Sullivan Lee, who died this week aged 79, was born in Kingston and worked with everyone from King Tubby to Stranger Cole. He is best known for producing Eric Donaldson’s 1971 hit Cherry Oh Baby. He was a funny, talented man and will be sorely missed. In a rare moment of seriousness, Fat Col said “This sad week that also saw the deaths of Eddie Van Halen and Johnny Nash should encourage us to treasure the stars who shaped our culture. Now someone stick a fence round Charlie Harper.”
Here’s a link to Gal’s latest Highway To Hell for old school rock lovers.
Oct 4. Random guff: We’re looking at venues for a big event in south east London next May... we’re also waiting to confirm a new three-track vinyl EP release next year... and in Book Noos, the great John King has a 36,000 word novella coming out mid-November. Seal Club is a three-novella collection which also includes new works by Alan Warner and Irvine Welsh. JK’s story, The Beasts Of Brussels, is a Football Factory tale with a Tommy Johnson thread which is sure to piss off Remainiacs everywhere. Irvine’s story The Providers is Christmas with the Begbies, so that has a Trainspotting link. And in Alan Warner’s Those Darker Sayings, a gang of Glaswegian nerds ride the mainline trains of northern England on a mission to feed the habit of their leader Slorach. Frustrated, cynical and a big disappointment to his family, Slorach is also a man of great intelligence and deep knowledge, a British Rail timetables call-centre guru who just happens to be addicted to gambling machines. And pubs. Welcome to the world of the quiz-machine casual! It’s on pre-sale here.
Back next weekend. Cheers!
Oct 3. Here are the preview links for our new mini-album Give Her A Dog, which is released on Friday 30th October.
Apple Music : iTunes : Spotify : Amazon : Deezer : Google Play : 7digital
There is just one fly in the ointment. We have been contacted by the Anti-Sex League who complain that Give Her A Dog is “rife with blatant innuendo”. Stern-faced ASL spokeswoman Nora Balzoff said: “There is no place for double entendres in modern society. If you proceed with this filth we intend to picket your shows.” A bemused Clyde Ward comments: “I can’t believe we are being accused of double entendres. It’s wrong, misguided and completely unfair – most of Gal’s lyrics are single entendres.” He goes on: “Dog is a beautiful song about our four-legged friends. Nora must have a sick mind if she sees anything dirty in a cheerful cow-punk number about the joy of doggies that simply urges a gentleman to give his beloved one for Christmas.” Quite so. Let’s only hope the ASL never hear Gal’s latest ditty, Can You Take All This? This entirely innocent track is about a bloke asking a lady friend if she can assist him getting the shopping in from the car. They’re caught in a downpour and the poor woman complains about the delay because she is already soaking wet. Nothing filthy about that.
We asked ducker and diver Fat Col if he would pay for 12-inch physical copies of the mini-album, but he told us straight: “I’d like to but my money is all tied up in cash.”
Weekly round-up: Clyde Ward is working on a Ska Version of Pub Crawl... John Cooper Clarke’s autobiography I Wanna Be Yours is published on 15th October, it’s £20 in hardback... the Rejects live streaming gig scheduled for Monday has been postponed due to Covid... the Antagonizers ATL’s new single, Black Clouds (featuring Matt Henson of NOi!SE on guest vocals is out now, and is a taster for their forthcoming LP, Kings.