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 21. John King claims to have pictorial evidence that Lee 'Daktari' Wilson partook of our fabled Free Cider Bar in Montpelier. "He likes his pint warm," John advises, adding: "And your free cider would have quenched his thirst and meant extra savings..." The great man envisages a Gonads Official Scrumpy House opening in beautiful downtown Charlton with its own Gentlemen's Pissoir on the premises where 'Warm Apple Juice Surprise' could be extracted and sold on tap. "Please, step up Mr Wilson. A free pint? Freshly poured..." John goes on to insist: "There must be a Gonads version of 'I Am A Cider Drinker'!" And then he sings, in a voice steeled by decades on the Stamford Bridge terraces: 'Lee Wilson's a cider drinker/He'll drink it all of the day/Not keen on the smell or taste/But happy he don't have to pay/Ooh arrh, ooh arrh ay/Ooh arrh, ooh arrh ay…' Well it sounds like a classic to us! Cheers JK. Maybe we will record it, but bigger things must come first. (Exits blog-meister, cackling mysteriously).
The great Roy Ellis plays London on Good Friday backed by the Moonstompers as part as the London International Ska festival. The Symarip legend will grace the stage at Islington Assembly Hall on 14th April. And he wants ALLLLL you skinheads to put your boots on your feet…
Fat Col has posted his first Gonads video, and it's for 'Beano' under the guise of Rockin' Waistrel. Some of Colin's picture choices leave a little to be desired but, like Ed Miliband, at least he tried. Col, we can reveal, was schooled in the art of video production by a stern Wattsie Watts who arrived at his dismal Plumstead drum wearing a burqa with a fierce dog and two cans of Mace in her handbag ready to ward off any unwelcome amorous advances. Word is he's done 'Dogging In Dartford' too but we can't bear to look.
We've been asked to tell you that Lion's Law's first single, 'Watch 'Em Die' has been re-released as 7inch vinyl by Longshot Music. It comes with a digital download. As does Fat Col. If by 'digital download' you mean a trouser explosion worthy of Le Pétomane.
March 20. Gal's Rancid Sounds show starts on Second City Radio from 11am tomorrow night – you can listen online or via the app. And starting next month, watch out for his brand new Sounds of the Street show. The latest Rancid Sounds features the Godfathers, Booze & Glory, Neville Staple, Oxley's Midnight Runners, King Hammond and more with studio guest Nick Welsh. Best track? Beer Can by the Gonads – this is no time for false modesty people.
March 19. More big news. The Garry Bushell Experience (GBX) will record their debut single this June – there will be an unexpected new Gonads single this Summer too. And GBX will play a charity show in November. The gig, in Portsmouth, will raise money for a poor kid who needs to get to the USA for stem cell treatment to restore his eyesight. It's organised by the Hampshire Skinhead Association. (Gig details to follow).
March 18. The Phantom Major is certainly working his epaulets off on our behalf. He's even persuaded Lord Waistrel to lend us one of his jets – Oi Force One, pictured here with Gal and Clyde – for overseas gigs. Move over Maiden, we're coming!
STOP PRESS. R.I.P. Chuck Berry, "the Shakespeare of rock 'n' roll" according to Gal – the obituary is here.
March 18. Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys will headline the second It's Not Dead fest in August. The Buzzcocks, the Casualties and the Selecter are also on the show at the Glen Helen Amphitheatre San Bernardino, along with GBH, the Exploited, the Toasters, Slaughter & The Dogs and many more. Tickets go on sale at 9am Monday (West Coast time). Early bird tickets are just $30 a head – half what they'll be on the door on the day.
RECORD noos: The Slackers' out-of-print second album Redlight has been re-released by Pirates Press as a special 20th anniversary edition with 3 bonus tracks. Originally released by Hellcat in 1997, the classic US Ska LP has been re-mastered and comes with lyrics and an exclusive art-print insert. They're touring the States till June.
March 17. Happy St Paddy's Day. Here's some news: the Phantom Major has moved quickly to firm up various plans for this year. Today's announcement is a good'un: our split ep with Russian band Uchitel Truda will finally be released on vinyl on 29th April, so move over Ed Sheeran, we're coming! Called: We Will Never Be Divided, the cover art features Gal and Uchitel singer Pavel in a stirring Soviet-style pose. "They're like the Marx and Engels of Oi," sniffs Fat Col. "Sid Marx and Bertie Engels." More news tomorrow.
March 15. There's a very good review for our All The Loon Stompers album in Vive Le Rock, comparing the Gonads' rude reggae sound favourably with early Madness. Writer Shane Baldwin (once of Vice Squad) says we 'skank along nicely' and are 'strangely uplifting'. He dubs 'Charlton Tel's Stag Weekend' "a 2-Tone style tale of amorous woes" (so up yours, Street Sounds!). Shane also says 'Threes Up' "owes a debt to the Specials". We can't see that ourselves but in fairness he does give the comp the same fine rating as the new Neville Staple album gets. Very positive and perceptive. The Phantom Major will be delighted.
March 14. Here is the legend that is Laura the Explorer, far-left with Gal, after our show at The Secret Place.
March 13. Right team, click on these photos here for some pretty pix of our little trip to the South of France last Friday…
And here are the shocking stories we promised you. 1) The most disturbing confession (part one) – "Le Gentlemen's Pissoir". The Secret Place venue in Montpellier has a great club atmosphere but unfortunately it has no bathroom facilities for the bands. The only khazi in the gaff is a unisexual WC slap-bang in the middle of the bar area – causing problems for more elderly band members who had to negotiate two flights of stairs every time they needed a gypsy's kiss. It was while moaning about this predicament that we were informed of a special room in the backstage area known as "Le Gentlemen's Pissoir". The door opened to what appeared to be a darkened cupboard and with the aid of handy plastic beer glasses, vital relief could be enjoyed. All was going well with several musicians availing themselves of the facilities… until the fatal moment that Gal was caught "mid-act". It was only when the lights were turned on that we realised it wasn't a darkened cupboard at all but a fully functioning recording studio. The guy who ran it was not too pleased to spot the stains on his carpet where some of his, ahem, clients had not aimed too diligently. Clyde did volunteer to help him clear up but he replied "No, it is no problem, we are all brothers". Heads were duly hung in shame.
2) The most disturbing confession, part 2: Poor Wattsie cannot drink anything with wheat or hops in and was disappointed that there was no cider available. "They've got cider over in that room," said Mr X, indicating Le Gentlemen's Pissoir. "Good strong local stuff, French Golden Delicious. There are pint glasses of it lined up along the ledge, golden goblets waiting to be sampled." She got as far as the door before Gal broke ranks and warned her not to sample it just in time. Not everyone was so lucky…
3) The most inspirational fans: tall, beautiful blonde skin-bird Laura drove her and mates all the way from Rotterdam to see the show. That's an eleven hour run. And the lanky lovely, re-christened Laura the Explorer, knew every lyric to every song we sang! Now that is true dedication and it is matched only by the Gonads' loyal away firm, or Jai as she is known on her birth certificate, who travelled down from Manchester for the night telling us "The Gonads are my only social life, your gigs are always a great laugh." We love ya, Jai, but you've gotta get out more! Thanks muchly, and ta for the pictures.
4) The arm-wrestling: Lee Wilson challenged the lovely Laura to a public arm-wrestling contest. It was a mighty showdown and our money was on the duchess. But Lee won. How? Why? It turns out Wilson's wrists are as thick and powerful as a carthorse's cock. "It comes from years of keeping his wallet tightly clasped," whispered one observer.
5) The funniest: Clyde's naked dance. The morning after, Clyde got up for a shower, and stood towelling himself at his top floor window while admiring the view. Too late he noticed a spectator in the car park below; a shocked French woman who ignored his apologetic wave, got back in her car and sped off. Mercifully the gendarmerie did not arrive until several minutes after we'd left for Marseille.
6) The grossest: Gal had requested "local French food" on our rider. This came with a tub of a peculiar white substance. Butter perhaps? He sampled it with bread and discovered it was a pot of heart-stopping pork dripping. The white was pure lard with fatty pork beneath. Instantly addicted, he consumed the lot washed down with copious pints and then had the cheek to complain that he can't lose weight.
7) Communication breakdown: the award for best attempt to communicate in a foreign language goes to Phil McDermott who resorted to the time-honoured travellers' trick of speaking franglais loudly and slowly. "'Ow can I turn on ze air conditioning?" he asked a confused receptionist. 8) "Who's hardest?" Many pints into the night, we found ourselves being grilled by a young Spanish Oi fan as to which of the early names on the scene had been the hardest. The usual suspects were recalled with glee but for our money no member of the ICF could have stopped the Yeti. In her day, she was awesome. 9) "Borderline Paedo": we are advised by our legal team not to name the leading punk vocalist who, pictorial evidence suggests, has a thing for women who look little older than year ten. No doubt the song will make his identity clear.
10) The cock and balls story: So we set off to France on Friday with one medium-sized problem. We had no suitcases which meant the legendary stage cock had to travel in Gal's hand luggage…and once again it caused problems. Gal was hauled over by the airport security as soon as the handsome phallus was discovered. "What's this?" asked a burly gent. "A stage prop," Gal replied. "Well it worked for the Greeks…" the geezer replied, waving him through. On the way home on Saturday, Gal decided to take the cock out of his hand luggage and put it in a separate box to go through security. At Marseille, the x-ray machine was operated by an attractive young woman who took one look at the mighty weapon and looked straight at Gal who just shrugged as if to say "What can you do?". She collapsed in hysterics and waved him on, but when we looked back she had gathered a posse of other security women around her and they were all giggling at the image. And here's what made this odder – we didn't even play 'Infected'! Wattsie Watts refused to sing the song, claiming the cock is "inadequate" (typical woman). She refuses to work with it ever again unless it is "customised" with wheals and blisters to "really look infected…" So now the prop has to go back to the drawing board and re-designed. Said an ashen-faced Fat Col: "Wattsie is trying to sabotage the act, but she won't win. Wherever the Gonads play the stage cock will come on tour too. That is our promise to the world." Quite right and all!
Now we promised you big news, and here it is: Gonads legend Clyde Ward had such a good time at the weekend that the great man has re-joined the band permanently! Not only that but he has joined GBX as well! And we've already written brand new numbers including 'Carol Kirkwood's Puppies' – inspired by the BBC weather forecaster's love of animals, obvs. Fresh singles from both combos are now at the planning stage, and are said to follow Lord Waistrel's golden rules: "never be predictable, never conform and never follow". Waistrel is so chuffed about the development that he has assigned his drinking buddy, sorry, business adviser Ben Royce (AKA the Phantom Major) to "manage band matters during this vital transitional period".
In equally fascinating news it emerges that one of our earliest Charlton followers The Nosher is believed to possess a rare recording of our second single 'Ripper's Delight' b/w 'Whelks' which was released only on audio cassette in 1978 after the original line-up had split. The Nosher is still mates with Fat Col's ex-wife Jeanette and so he can't be the go-between, therefore The Phantom Major will handle those delicate negotiations too. It's all go, innit?
Random noos: the Cockney Rejects' Tel Aviv gig has been postponed due to "visa issues" (unfortunately too late for the Beast to cancel his booking)… The Oxley's Midnight Runners album is out now. Called Battle Volume 1, it includes all four of their singles plus 'American Made' from the Oi Ain't Dead sampler (all re-mastered).
March 11. We're back! Montpellier was blinding and full of unexpected twists and turns, including the horrifying story of "le gentlemen's pissoir", "Laura the explorer!", "Clyde Ward's naked dance", "Lee Wilson's big arm-wrestling showdown", "Gal's shock addiction", the unseen peril of the "French golden delicious", "borderline paedo", "Who's hardest?" and "Jai & the Gonads mighty barmy travelling army". Confused? So are we. But we promise we'll be back avec the full stories behind these incredible headlines on Monday. Or possibly Tuesday… along with pictures and a pukka news exclusive or too. In the meantime, thank you Montpellier and all of the chaps and chappesses who made last night so bloody special. Merci beaucoup notres amis, et vive la France.
March 8. Gal's new Rancid Sounds podcast is up and running here, with top tracks from The Godfathers, Booze & Glory, Neville Staple, Duffy's Cut, King Hammond, Oxley's Midnight Runners, Assault & Battery, Hard Evidence and of course us! Special guest is the immortal Nick Welsh, giving the world a taste of his brilliant new autobiography out this September.
We'll be back next week, assuming we survive beautiful, downtown Montpellier… See ya!
March 7. Another strong rehearsal last night. Our set for Friday is tighter than a nun's chuff after an intimate superglue spillage. BUT the most enjoyable part of the evening was the impromptu run-through of the rock-hard ditties 'ParanOi!' and 'Blacker Knight'. Lord Waistrel has moved swiftly to squash suggestions that they should be our next single release, but he ain't in the country forever…
Random tripe: Garry Johnson is busy writing the screenplay for his Serial Killer novel… the Dropkick Murphys will tour the US with Rancid from 27th July until 26th August… Missing, feared mad: Terence Hayes, PM. Has he fallen akip on the last train to John O'Groats this time?
March 6. Has the French air traffic controllers' strike been organised to keep us from Montpellier this Friday, or is it, as seems more likely, merely an attempt to keep Lee Wilson out of the country? Lee's round-dodging reputation has already reached the south of France where he is known as "Le miser de la bière" and "L'avare du punk rock". The strikers rightly assume that Lee won't drive himself there, but unfortunately for them, because of the generous backstage rider, he might well hitchhike.
Is Terence Hayes, PM, the Mystic Meg of Oi? On Saturday, Tel made the bold prediction that David Haye would knock out Bellew in the fourth. His other equally accurate premonitions include the Badoes to headline Rebellion, Millwall to beat Spurs on Sunday and "James will definitely ring you tonight, Gal, my life." There could well be a crack in the great man's crystal wossname.
March 5. Last year Lord Waistrel commissioned an internet research company (YouGob or some such) to survey people around the world about their favourite Gonads songs and the results are finally in. They divided our ditties into three eras (earaches, surely? – Ed) – the early years, the 90s and post-2000 and here are the Top 5 songs for each:
Early Years: 1) I Lost My Love (To A UK Sub) 2) Jobs Not Jails 3) The Joys Of Oi 4) SE7 Dole Day 5) Hitler Was An 'Omo
The 90s: 1) Gob 2) (What's The Story?) England's Glory 3)It's A Yeti 4) Beano 5) Oi Nutter.
Post 2000: 1) Oi Mate 2) Re-infected 3) Buy Me A Drink You Bastards 4) South London Aggro Girl (reggae version) 5) Sandra Bigg, Really Big (Greater Hits version).
Last night a furious Fat Col dismissed all this painstaking research as "a waste of Waistrel's effin' money". He went on: "Interesting though this might be, any list of the Gonads best songs that does not include Tucker's Ruckers, British Steel, Valhallaballoo, Infected and Conquest ain't worth the bog paper it was printed on. And where's The Drinking Song? Gertcha!"
March 4. Another surprising development on the Dogging In Dartford front – this week we were approached by a Dartford resident calling herself Delta Donna who said she'd support us in any court action brought against us by residents disgusted by our comic ditty. Unfortunately Donna, who describes herself as an "avid dogger and a dedicated international Bolshevik", chose to contact us via Fat Col who immediately blocked her on Facebook. When we asked why, Colin said that he found Donna's proclivities "sick, offensive and disgusting". He told us: "I don't mind what people do in bed or in car boots, son, but Bolshevism is completely beyond the pale. It's the god that failed, mate."
Good news! Gal is recording his latest Rancid Sounds podcast next week. He tells us he's hoping to record the show regularly every two months from now on. Fat Col will be setting up a PO Box so in future bands can send in their CDs instead of having to track Gal down at gigs or in the disreputable watering holes of Soho and South London.
March 3. We're happy to be taking part in a tribute album for André Schlesinger planned for release later this year. André, of Maninblack, wasn't just a great friend, he was also our first US member. We'll be recording our version of his song 'Revolution Now', which we first demoed about 13 years ago. André was inspired to form The Press, America's first Oi band, after hearing 'Tucker's Ruckers' on Carry On Oi. As well as being a vodka enthusiast and a fully paid-up curmudgeon, the side-burned synth-guitarist was one of the founding members of SHARP in the US, a private detective, the first New Yorker to join the Jolly Pranksters and a reverend in the Church of Satan. He is sorely missed.