Sunday, October 23, 2016

'Is she really going out with him?'

And no record looked like it either!
'New Rose' - the first single by The Damned - was released on Stiff Records on October 22nd 1976. I first heard it blaring... no, blasting... no, SCREAMING out of a transistor radio a few days after it's release. It sounding utterly unlike anything that I'd ever heard before. I'm not sure that I've heard anything like it since. It remains one of the greatest records ever made, a sub-three minute blitzkrieg of melody and noise that completely wiped the floor with all that had gone before it. I had no idea if I liked it or not, but I was desperate to hear it again. And when I did, it didn't disappoint. It's one of those very rare recordings that it soars above and beyond the sum of it's parts - although at this point it must be said that the performances of Brian James, Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies are all absolutely remarkable in pretty much every way, and Nick Lowe's still-astonishing production created a soundscape that captured every nuance of the band's blistering attack - to make something that almost stands outside of time. If it were released today it would still sound unique, and that's after 40 years of familiarity. I guess that's art isn't it? Well if it is 'New Rose' is important a piece of art as anything that's ever been created. I think that it is anyway. 

40 years to the day after BUY 6 hit the shops Ruts DC played at Norwich Arts Centre as part of the 'Punk In the East' celebrations. I'd not played or indeed ever been to the venue before but have seen it in gig guides for as long as I can remember - the list of bands and artists that have played there is endless, and it's also well-known as the place where Richey Edwards of The Manic Street Preachers cut '4 Real' into his arm in front of then-NME scribe Steve Lamacq. It's a great - no, make that great - venue, which seems to be well-supported locally as the show was sold out well in advance. This always bodes well for a good gig, and I'm pleased to say that it more than lived up to expectations. Ex - Jim Jones Revue guitar-slinger Rupert Orton joined us for part of the encore, and the whole evening was a pleasure to be part of from start to finish. But don't take my word for it - this review of the evening sums it all up and includes photos and footage from the show. Excellent!

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to play 'Damned Damned Damned'...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

'Time keeps on slippin', slippin, slippin'... into the future...'

Well the busy times are back, hence the lack of blogging. Like an idiot I didn't take any notes over the past couple of weeks, so stories of Ruts D.C. at the North East Calling festival in Newcastle (we thought we were playing at 9 o'clock but were actually on 3 hours earlier - we arrived at the venue less than an hour before showtime) and gigging at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton (I loved the backward 'S' on the end of 'Rooms', Noddy and co. should be proud!) and The Brooklyn Bowl in The O2 Arena (a Vive Le Rock - sponsored event that also saw great sets The Newtown Neurotics, Giuda and The Cockney Rejects) have somewhat faded from my memory... I also saw Sharks at The Borderline (where I met Paul Cook for the first time and somehow promised Professionals singer / guitarist Tom that I'd play on their upcoming album - I wonder if that'll ever happen?!) and Paranoid Visions with Steve Ignorant at The 100 Club on the same night (ooh I was tired the next day!) and played gigs with The Upper Cut (at The Dolphin in Uxbridge - not our best ever performance, we really must have a rehearsal sometime) and Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks (where two young Polish girls's dancing at the Black Horse in Greenford enlivened proceedings no end) as well as working many-a day in the shop, to such an extent that this feels like my first day off for weeks. Surely that can't be the case? Mind you I've spent most of it asleep so maybe it is.

 More of the same this week, and next week, and the week after that...