Posted on Leave a comment

Peter and the Test Tube Babies

Make no mistake! Peter And The Test Tube babies have written some of the best punk songs ever. In the early ’80s they stood out, above all other bands to emerge, with their tales of the hazards of being young punks in Brighton – “Banned From The Pubs”, “Intensive care”, “Run Like hell”, the list goes on…all had the Test Tubes hallmark, combining personal experiences, real cool tunes and, most important of all, maintaining a great sense of humour.

At the time, their gigs were fun filled events with electrifying tunes and plenty of entertainment. Harmless humour of those early gigs was captured on their debut album, “Pissed And Proud”. From those early gems, the Test Tubes just got better and better. The next crop of songs, “Jinx”, “Blown Out Again” and “September” all featured on “The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs”, which stayed at number one for four months at the top of the independent charts. A US tour followed, climaxing with a 4,000 capacity sell out show at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium.

The Test Tubes first US domestic release, “Soberphobia”, is probably one of their finest moments. The use of keyboards and sax on some tracks may not have been what people expected but it worked a treat. The much sought after CDs “Cringe” and “The $Hit Factory” again proved the Test Tubes unpredictability in the early ’90s.

The mid ’90s saw the release of “Supermodels” and the departure from the band of Trapper and Ogs (bass and drums). The band brought in fresh blood, the young and dynamic Cave man Dave and ‘H’ known to the band and a Brighton stalwart on drums and bass respectively.

On their 20th anniversary in 1998 the band flew to Germany to record the “Alien Pubduction” album.
Peter, Del, H and Dave hit the studio again in the twenty first century in 2005, after a seven year hiatus, the band released “A Foot Full of Bullets”, recorded at Ford Lane Studios, Ford, West Sussex. The album was definitely worth the long wait demonstrating a familiar core sound matched with smart self assurance gained from decades of experience. Storming on with characteristic vigour, the Test Tubes gained praise as “the best band of the weekend” (Lars Friedrickson) at the WASTED festival before closing the year with the annual German Xmas Tour 2005.

A remix of “A Foot Full of Bullets” was produced with contributions from Campino (Die Toten Hosen) and Olga (The Toy Dolls) at the start of 2006. “For a Few Bullets More” was released in August.

2010 and the band are back at at Ford Lane Studios in the midst of recording their latest offering ‘Grandad’s House’ (working Title).

The Test Tubes remain one of the best punk bands to come out of Europe. See them live if you get the chance !

Posted on Leave a comment

Buenos Aires Punk

It was not long after an adolescent called Pedro came back from a holiday in London in December 1977 that punk started in Buenos Aires. He had travelled with his parents to visit his European family and came across with punks in the streets and the Sex Pistols and The Clash first albums in the record shops.

He was amazed by the style and raw sound, and since Argentina was under a brand new Military Dictatorship –fortunatelly the last that the country suffered- he realized that the setting was ideal and inspirational to import and create the most rebel kind of rock ever to exist on Earth that had just been born in London.

He soon learned to play the first chords on a guitar, adopted the nickname Hari B and Los Violadores, the first and most succesfull Southamerican punk band was on stage very soon.

Songs about repression, against the Government and its involvement in the Falklands War marked them as subversives and revolutionaries and almost all concerts ended with both musicians and the audience spending the night in cells.

“We were very influenced by Stiff Little Fingers music and lyrics, we thought that them coming from Belfast, they felt the same way as we did. They had Land Rovers, tanks and armed soldiers in the streets just like we had Black Marias and uncovered police waiting outside the venues we played to nick us”, he said in an interview.

In 1988, I was 14 years old and had been listening to Los Violadores and the local releases of
Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Madness and PIL for more than two years. A compilation of local punk bands called Invasión 88 was released and out of it came Comando Suicida, an Oi! band, and Attaque 77, both recognized among punks worldwide.

Another successful band, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, bursted that same year and brought ska and two tone on every radio station so we learned about Mod and Ska as well.

I was hooked and amazed. I realized that this was the music I really loved. Suddenly, most of my friends were into it and we became a gang of teenagers leaving childhood behind, going to concerts, roaming the neighborhood streets and parks, making a racket with instruments and trying to look the part, in contrast to normal kids or those who chose other musical styles (Metal or Hippie were very popular back then).

Thus, getting clothes was very important . The boots came from the National Service surplus, the braces from our Grandparents wardrobe and the Fred Perry´s from a tennis or golf shop from a High Street.

mport records were hard to get and expensive, but a trip to a record shop downtown was typical on a Saturday afternoon or on weekdays after school. We would check out the layout
of the album covers meticulously to see how Jimmy Pursey had painted in white
the collar of a leather jacket in Live And Loud Vol 1,  what brand of shoes The Business wore on Welcome To The Real World and how long was Wattie´s Mohawk on The Exploited On Stage.

Import records were hard to get and expensive, but a trip to a record shop downtown was typical on a Saturday afternoon or on weekdays after school. We would check out the layout
of the album covers meticulously to see how Jimmy Pursey had painted in white
the collar of a leather jacket in Live And Loud Vol 1,  what brand of shoes The Business wore on Welcome To The Real World and how long was Wattie´s Mohawk on The Exploited On Stage.

At that age, 14-16,  you hardly understood politics and you certainly did not care about it. All we knew, because of the songs we listened to, was that all coppers were bastards and all politicians had to be hated because they were liars, thieves and cheaters.

We liked to see ourselves as Anarchists because of the Sex Pistols and Crass thing so after painting a couple
of big As in circles on the walls we decided to go further and take it seriously. We tried picking up a couple of books by the likes of Proudhon and
Bakunin in the Anarchist Library, which was kind of a hippie- nerdie place full of pseudo revolutionaries. We understood fuck all of those books; it seemed like we had to study to be punk rockers.

We had too much school homework to do, so there was no way for us to read that. I even tried with Nietzche´s The Antichrist!!!. What the fuck???!!! After five pages, I was already reading again the only punk book written in Spanish at the time, Punk La Muerte Joven or kicking the football in the backyard with my army boots to make them look dirtier and older.

All we wanted to do was listen to music, buy records, go to concerts, get drunk, get stoned, fuck girls –we did not fuck but we tried more than a kiss or nipple touch- and fight against or take the piss of anyone who did not like us.

There was no Nazi / Sharp / Red / Anarchist nonsense at the time. Both punks and skinheads were seen as youth gangs who stood their ground and brought a new breed of music and image to a decadent and boring Argentinean rock scene. And we sure changed it.

Where were you in 1988?

Submitted by Mariano, Argentina

Posted on Leave a comment

Karens Story

Name: Karen Westbrook
Born: Barking
Grew up in Hornchurch
Became a skinhead in 1979

The photo was Jay featherstone behind me, Karl Hayes is the little one and Dominic Attard is at the front. We were all friends and they all lived in Manor Park. We were all 14 at the time. It was at the back of the Last Resort, which was a clothes shop which sold skinhead, mod and punk clothing, down the East End near Brick Lane market.

The day it was taken was a normal Sunday down the shop, loads of skins, and if i remember rightly Nick was a skinhead too. He just asked people if he could take their pictures for a book he was doing. We did it for a laugh, never thought about it until a neighbour, years later said she had seen the pic of me in it!! Then my son bought it home from school!

Continue reading Karens Story
Posted on Leave a comment

The Griswalds

“Amazing, The Griswalds are what got me interested in Rock & Roll”
– Elvis Presley!

“To me they are the greatest band in the world”
– Mick Jagger!

“I always wanted to be an astronaut, but after seeing The Griswalds I knew what I had to do”
– Charles Manson!

These are just a few of the things that have NEVER been said about The Griswalds, but what can we say about these lovable rogues of psychobilly?

The band was formed in 1987 by 4 likeminded musicians who just wanted to make music and have a laugh. Now 24 years later, the band is still going strong with all the original members (apart from 3 and 1 extra guy).
Over the years, Gary Griswald has seen many people join and leave the band, mostly leave, and is now currently enjoying the company of 4 young duchies.
Accompanied by Ramone Griswald on Bass, Joost Griswald and Simon Griswald on Guitars and Erik Griswald on Drums, the band are currently in the process of recording a follow up album to ‘Who Framed The Griswalds’ which the band released back in 1989.
Asked recently about the new members of the band, Gary Griswald said “I’m just happy that they have the same surname as me”, When prompted for further quotes the singer just mumbled and held his hand out asking “do you wanna buy a big issue”
Now in 2011 and the bands 24th year in existence it is safe to say that they have never been busier, they will be touring Brazil and playing many festivals all over the world. So hopefully if you are in the vicinity of one of these shows, why don’t you pop along and see for yourselves what all the fuss is about, then maybe you can tell me!!

Posted on Leave a comment

Tear Up, Playground Politics Album release Now Available on Subcultz

The first album by Tear up will be the first official release from Subcultz records. One of the UK best new Oi! bands that have literally been tearing up the British scene over the last year. And now its been recorded. Please support the band and the scene by placing your order now. Official release gig will be part of the Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton weekend, where the band will be performing the album, meeting and greeting. Its your support that keeps the scene alive! ORDER HERE

Playground politics

King of the car park

Fuck boy

Dead beat dad

Jimmy Saville’s greenhouse

Bollocks to the smoking ban

Not big not clever

This is england

Dodgy dave

One of the faces

Binge drink britain